Where do I begin? Does it begin the day I was introduced to Beth? No it would have to be before that because it is important for the reader to understand, as best I can present it, what I brought to the table in that first meeting and into our relationship. It will also be important for me to convey to you the baggage that Beth brought to the marriage.
I will begin with me. At the age of 17, very unsophisticated and uneducated, I dropped out of school and joined the Navy. I was very undisciplined and without direction the day I entered the recruiter's office. I was subconsciously hungry for those things to be in my life. I realize these things now. I needed the military life in order for me to survive. My tour of service, which lasted nine years, is remembered as part of the best times of my life.
I know the reader will say, "yea, sure," at the end of the following statement but it is true. Toward the end of my first four-year hitch I volunteered, requested, begged and threw myself on the military altar of sacrifice to be accepted into Navy Seal training. My first task, I was informed, was to get a GED, which I did. I eventually got into the training and joined the elite group as an active member of a team. In the years that ensued I ran the usual gambit of a young sailors life.
With some restrictions due to my Seal status I indulged in wine, women and song in several countries under many and varied circumstances. When I entered the service I was a virgin. Short of my first awakening to the joys of sex, which consisted of a buddy and I jerking each other off at age twelve, I knew nothing. I, for some reason, probably my Mother's training, held all women on a pedestal. I was always the gentleman. Regardless of the female's status in life, bar girl or girl scout I found that my first concern was with their well being and happiness. I didn't want a girl to think for a minute that I wanted her body. That was indecent. I wanted to be their Knight in shinning armor, their protector, and their confidant. If a little sex was thrown in I surely didn't pass it up but I can say without reservation that I missed out on a lot. I had no idea how to deal with females. Body language, verbal innuendo, anything that would pass as a signal that they might want to play went right over my head. The end result was that more often than not the female would decide that I was either a bore or that perhaps she didn't measure up to my standards and next thing I would know is that some other guy, much to her delight, would be plugging her.
There was something else. I had girlfriends later in life with whom I had sex where there was some degree of feeling between the two of us. I also paid for the charade of love from prostitutes. In retrospect I realize that I never really got much out of it in either case. I always felt a little disappointed. Aside from my fascination with the female body I never really felt physically or emotionally satisfied.
The military had filled a very large void in my life but there still was emptiness.
I desperately wanted, what I have come to realize was almost totally absent in my childhood, a loving family. I was slow to mature. Even with my extensive experience in the military, living on the edge and exploring the world, I was still walking around with my mouth hanging open, so to speak. By the time I was in my middle twenties I think I was still emotionally and socially a teen in my ability to handle my own life.
Looking back it was really amazing. I had no qualms about dropping the hammer on a human target and had done so. I not only survived; I functioned at a high level of efficiency in an often very dangerous environment. With all of that, I still could not made a clear decision about myself. I still had no direction other than that handed to me by military order. If I were asked where I wanted to be in five years or what my goals were I could not answer, I could only guess. My plans were restricted to the military regulations regarding time in grade etc needed for promotion. You put your time in, you do your job and you retire.
At age 26 a major decision was made for me. I had a serious diving accident that put me out of the service. For the first time as an adult, I was faced with planning and controlling my own life. I was suddenly faced with the question as to what I was supposed to do with the rest of my life. Oh I reacted with the usual bravado and recited to those interested in listening how I was going to conquer the world and make my first million. Fortunately, I don't recall anyone pressing me for details as to how I intended to accomplish this.
There is a saying, "know thy own self and to thy own self be true." I had missed the boat completely. I had no idea who I was. Sexually speaking I was a babe in the woods. I never realized that I suffered a lot of frustration. The frustration was directly related to the fact that I had a tremendous sex drive that was not getting satisfied. My Bible belt training forced me to keep my natural instincts under wraps.
When the day came for me to take my worldly belongings, which all fit into one duffel bag, and depart the military I had no idea where I was supposed to go. It seemed most logical to return to the place of my birth and to the area of my family. This was a family that I hardly knew as a child growing up and certainly did not know after all these years of absence.
On reentering civilian life the first thing I discovered was that I had no job skills that were marketable. I was limited in my ability to carry on a conversation because my knowledge was in an area totally foreign to the people around me. No one wanted to talk about the comparisons of an M-79 grenade launcher to the newer over and under model mounted on an M-16. Guys would talk about cars and golf and I would keep quite to avoid being found out that I was a misfit.
I had limited training in the military in logistics and supply. With that I was able to get my foot in the door of a supply house that serviced Major drug chains with soup to nuts. The door I got my foot into was the warehouse. My job was shift super handling the paperwork loading and unloading trucks. I pretended that I was doing great but at the end of the day, alone in my little apartment, the depression would set in. I would pace the floor and search the walls and furniture with my eyes for answers. I simply had no idea what I was supposed to be doing with my life and therefore no idea what and how to plan.
After about six months a little light started to seep into my foggy brain and I realized that I essentially needed to go back ten years and start over again. It became clear to me that there were two things I wanted in my life. I wanted an education and therefore the ability to live a better lifestyle and I desperately wanted a loving family. I knew the old one wasn't going to work so the obvious next step was to create my own.
Things started happening very fast. I enrolled in the community college where I met a young woman who in turn introduced me to the girl that was to become my wife. I knew the moment I met her that she fit my pedestal perfectly.
Beth was sort of in the same boat as I. She had a college degree and a great job in middle management of a marketing firm. She was missing the family. She lived with her Mom who had divorced her Father. She was incommunicado with any member of her family other than her Mom. There were two other siblings who lived and worked in other states, and a Father that she hadn't heard from in years. I was sure that our lunch would be the last date when she found out about my meager holdings but lo and behold I had an ace in the hole. I owned a small run-a-bout and she loved boats. It was good for a full social schedule for that first summer.
I was eight years older than Beth, which put us closer to being a match emotionally. I was the worldly one with my military service. She, on the other hand was the product of a strict home with strong religious ties that dictated her lifestyle. Considering the absence of any family unity I believe she clung to the church as her support. Beth was smart dresser. She was meticulous to a fault with her housekeeping and her own appearance. These attributes fit very nicely with my military "everything in it's place" training.
Beth was a perfect Lady. Her manners were irreproachable. She had all the attributes of that female that I had been putting on a pedestal all of my life. There was a glaring factor there that I certainly would never admit to and she probably was unaware of. We were both very sexually inhibited. It was easy to deny that inhibition by chalking it up to "what was proper."
We dated that summer with not much than a French kiss between us. I would be too embarrassed to display my passion and my animal lust. I was afraid I would lose her if I did. I would go home and jerk off. I assumed that she wasn't having a problem. Proper girls didn't have such feelings did they?
I was in love. I began to dream of the happy home and the children.
Then it ended. Without so much as an explanation she suddenly stopped taking my calls after turning me down on a series of invitations to go out on a date. I was devastated. Then I was angry. It was my defense against the rejection. I decided not to call her anymore.
At my next college class I informed our mutual friend, Teresa, that Beth could go to hell in a hand basket if she thought I was going to call her any more. Teresa immediately relayed this message. That was exactly what I wanted. I waited for the phone call and the apology. It never came.
.... There is more of this story ...