We met in the spring of 1996, and our first date was at the California Pizza Kitchen in Tyson’s Corner, Virginia. It was a blind date, and he told me years later that when he first saw me, he thought to himself that I couldn’t possibly be who he was supposed to meet because I was too pretty. And …sigh, my boobs were so big that he couldn’t be that lucky. I know…groan, right?
We were married in late 1997, in a small, intimate ceremony lovingly shared with our families and a few dear friends. At the time, my husband was a graduate student, so money was limited and our honeymoon, such as it was, was a long weekend in a quaint little town in central Virginia. It didn’t matter to us because we were just happy to be together, and quaint towns are nice anyway.
The first sign, post-marriage, that there might be a problem, was about five months later. My husband told me that he’d been talking to his dad about us, and that he’d complained a little about my weight. I was maybe 40 pounds heavier than my ideal weight, but I hadn’t gained any since we’d met, so this wasn’t a sudden change. Anyway, he told me that his dad asked him why he’d married me, and he said that he answered, “I don’t know.”
His answer has stayed with me, and in my mind, was the first obvious chink in the armor of our story. I was so hurt by it, though. We’ve talked about it since then and he says he told his dad that he loved me, but…if that’s true, he didn’t tell me about it then. It’s only come out since our post-DDay conversations, and I have my doubts that his memory is very clear about that conversation.
There were other signs, but they all seemed simply confusing to me then. My own parents had divorced when I was only five years old, and I never had any close role models from which to learn the reality of marriages and even just relationships. But my husband’s parents were still married, and that was important to me because I hoped that we would beat the odds and avoid divorce – that they would be role models for us both. I couldn’t have been more wrong.
For example, about six months into our marriage, he told me that we would need to visit New York because he was considering graduate school up there. Grad school? He was already in grad school! He’d never brought up his intent to pursue a doctorate; truly, I had no idea, and yet he had applied to several and was in the process of choosing between three of them. But his parents knew. He talked to them about everything, but not to me.
I remember one day, he was visiting his parents while I remained at our home. I called to ask him when he’d be on his way so I could plan dinner. Apparently, he told his mom that he had to leave or else I’d be angry. I didn’t understand why he’d say that, but about twenty minutes later, his mother called me and chewed me out. Told me that I was trying to control him and that he was pu&&y whipped, and called me some pretty awful names. In hindsight, that was at least a yellow flag – my husband was conflict-avoidant, and rather than tell his mother that he wanted to go home to be with his wife, he lied to her and “blamed” me. If I’d known then what I know now…
If you are a betrayed spouse, can you now identify early signs of unhealthy or troubling behaviors that your unfaithful spouse showed long before he or she cheated?