I am depressed and at a loss. I am angry and ready to kill. I am Jim Hanson, an unwitting cuckold till yesterday. At the same time, she is on top of the world. She is the mother of my ten-year-old twins, Ralph and Julie. She is Gloria Hanson, a cheating wife who was pulling a fast one on me till yesterday.
You have to understand the reason why I am not behind bars on the charges of killing my wife and her boss, Trevor Bailey. For one, I have not done it yet and for another, I am not even thinking about it.A dead mother and an incarcerated father would not foretell a great future for the twins. Plus, the information that I am a cuckold merely reinforces a prior decision to end this marriage. I have been contemplating a divorce for quite some time now.
So what is it that I have planned? I surely expect a divorce in my near future. I cannot and will not live the life of a cuckold. Furthermore, I will not lose much in the divorce proceedings since I am just an odd-job man. In the past year, I worked as a plumber, a lumberjack, a construction worker and a shadow for a PI. No, I am not excellent at any of these jobs. I just know enough to fill in for missing people. I work cheaply, and in only a half day's work, I am able to accomplish what most workers do in a full day. It keeps the contractors happy.
My wife, on the other hand, is a lawyer. Yes, it was the story of the simple-looking girl with a hot body getting pregnant by the no-good jock and then marrying him. She progressed well in her chosen line of work and I am still looking for mine. In a way I am a kept husband who lives off his wife's earnings, and in the case of a divorce the chance of me getting alimony is quite high.
My wife has a very busy schedule that keeps her away from home a lot, and I have been worried about what would happen to the twins if she got the custody (which would be likely). She might have to cut back on her work hours, which I am not sure she would like too much. Even if she did cut back at work, she would still have no clue how to be a mother to the kids.
Am I a passive doormat who contributed to her affair? I don't think so. I believe I have defined very clearly what I am willing and not willing to do and to be.
When I found out about the affair I wondered if I were being strung along until she found better prospects. This happens a lot in marriages, but most of the time partners hang on long enough till the rough patch of the marriage gets over. I think it goes with the territory, hanging on through the rough patches. Do I have hope for us as a couple and our marriage? The answer is no. I do not see a path to recovery. Yes, I am still in love with my wife, but I fear my future and I am unhappy with my present. I am afraid I will be setting myself up for disaster or disappointment if I overlook this indiscretion.
Since finding out about her affair, I have learned a new understanding about myself and my needs. I have redefined my path and my plans. I will need an ex-wife willing to be half-way supportive of me in order that I can continue a decent relationship with my kids. Easing her out of my life, I am sure I will be fine, happy and content — a better person in the long run.
So, there you have it, I am a man whose woman is stepping out. What am I supposed to do in these circumstances? How am I to bring it up with Gloria? What about the twins?
With all these questions in my mind I sat down for breakfast on that Sunday morning. Gloria was sitting on the chair opposite mine reading a newspaper. It has been common for her to ignore me for days lately. I was not smart enough to weave a yarn with her anyway. I had barely finished my cup of coffee when she said, "I will be going out today. I have a day at a spa planned with Marge and Betty. It might be late by the time I come back. We plan to go shopping and then we will spend some time at the disco on 12th street."
"How will we get a babysitter with this short notice?" I asked her.
"Why? Do you have plans?"
"I am going apartment hunting with Joe."
"Joe, moving out of his house? I thought he was getting along well with Hilda," she said.
"It is Helga, not Hilda and no, Joe is not moving out," I said.
This got her attention and she neatly folded the newspaper and kept it on the dining table. She measured her words well while asking me.
"Are you moving out? Is the apartment for you?"
"Yes, I have been thinking about it for a long time. You and I married for all the wrong reasons. Do not get me wrong, I am not sorry about the kids. They mean more to me than life itself. But, let's face the facts. I am not an equal to you. I can never be the husband and life partner that you want. When you take a break from work and look around in a few years, you will get rid of me anyway. At that time you will have all the options in the world. You will be rich, free of the hassles of bringing up babies, and you will still be an incredibly beautiful woman.
"The only one losing out will be me because I will be a poor nobody with a failed marriage behind me. If I work on a new relationship right now, maybe I can find a woman who will be happy to live the life I can afford — in a trailer home somewhere on the outskirts of the city. I am realist and I want to ground my feet again."
She looked at me hard but did not reply. Then, with an elegant swoop she got up and went to the living room. As I did the dishes, I saw her pacing in the living room talking on her mobile.
When I stepped into the living room after doing the dishes she was seated on the couch deep in thought. When she realized that I was in the room she looked at me. There were tears in her eyes. Not overflowing, but a hint of them.
"I have cancelled the day at the spa," she said and then asked me, "Can you skip apartment hunting today and talk?"
"I can do that but there will be little good to come out of a talk. I realize you are used to me now and you will miss me when I'm gone but it will get better with time. I am only a mute companion who takes care of your house and our children. Trust me; a good housekeeper can do all this, even more efficiently.
"I will call Joe to let him know we will go apartment hunting next Sunday."
I went to the phone in the corner of the living room and made the call. When I came back to sit down with her I saw that she had a glass of white wine and a beer on the table.
I grabbed the beer and sat down. "So, what do we do now? Talk? I'm not very good at it but let's do it anyway."
"What prompted you to spell the end of our marriage?" She went right for the jugular.
"I have already said my piece on that. You deserve better. What you deserve is an educated man who can talk to you while you have your breakfast. You need a man who can take you to parties, someone you can introduce to your educated white-collared friends. You deserve a husband who is not a beer guzzling simpleton."
"But there is another reason that drives my decision. We married for the wrong reason. We married because you were pregnant. We married because it seemed the right thing to do at the time. I will be honest to you, as I have always been. I was not in love with you when we married. I was a convenient lay for you. You were too busy with your studies and your new job to form a relationship. You met me, the guy who made you feel great in bed and with whom there was no chance of any emotional complications."
She tried to speak at this time and I stopped her, "You asked me a question. Please allow me to finish my reply. You will get enough opportunities to cross-examine me during your rebuttal."
Her eyes widened for a moment when she realized that I actually knew how to speak. In the beginning of our marriage she used to practice in front of me and I had picked up a few words here and there and even some of her mannerisms.
"When we started sleeping together, I knew my position. I was the relief guy. You came to me twice a week like clockwork and had your fill of sex. I never dreamed that I would end up being married to you. I knew you married me because you thought it would be easier to have children around with some help, rather than being a single mother. But then I did something stupid. Once we got married, I fell in love with you. Sure, it was not the love that is written about in Harlequin romances, but mine was love of a common man for his beautiful and charming wife." I stopped to catch my breath. Try as I may, I could not get rid of the feeling of loss and despair that engulfed me at that moment.
Now her eyes had tears and a few teardrops rolled down her silky smooth cheeks. I leaned and wiped the tears away. "It kills me to be the reason why you are crying, but when you hear me out you will know it is all for the best."
"In our six years of marriage I have been a dutiful husband and have done everything to keep the flame alive. I remember hearing you one morning on the phone talking to Betty and telling her that you thought you were gaining weight and wanted to join a gym. I knew that you did not have enough time to join a gym and make a routine of it, so I did the next best thing. I built you a home gym. I will tell you something about the gym, something that you do not know. I did not take a penny from our joint accounts while building the gym. Every penny that went into the gym was mine. I sold my baseball cards for the money. These cards were collected by my grandpa and my pa and there were some additions that I had made in my days as a contract player for the club. I sold them online and got about 12K for them. It was enough for the equipments and the fixtures but did not cover for labor. So, I did what I do best. I invested my sweat and blood in it. I had to get eight stitches for one of the wounds that I got during a small mishap." I took a swing of the beer and continued, "You have used it every day since then but it is funny you never thanked me for it. You said it was wonderful and how it solved all your problems and you even showed it off to your friends when they came around but I am sure not one of them knows that it was my idea and my efforts that built the gym."
By now, I could see that she was dying to say something but I continued.
"Do you remember the first time you threw a party for all your colleagues at the house? It was the day you made a junior partner. You asked me to get all the things arranged and then you asked me if I would mind spending the evening bowling because I would be bored by the conversation at the party? I stayed away, of course. I knew my limitations and I did not want to be an embarrassment to you. But I can tell you now that it hurt like hell. I did not go bowling. I went to a pub across town where I was sure of not running into any of my friends and I sat alone in a booth and cried. That was about a year ago. On that night I made a decision that I would bow out easily and not give you any further opportunities for putting me down.
"Call me a fool, call me a wimp, but I could not admit that it had to be done quickly. Because I delayed, I did give you opportunities to put me down and you took them. Do you remember the day you came home all worked up because one of the cases you were working on suddenly had new evidence and you had to analyze it all in one night? I think it was the case of the missing bid documents that made you a full partner. Trevor had come home with you that day to drop you off and I entered the living room just as you guys had settled in. Trevor asked me, without a 'please, ' to get him a beer and you chimed in that while I was at it I could get you a glass of wine too. At that moment Trevor, whom I had met only a couple of times, was treating me like a man servant and you allowed him, heck even participated in my humiliation. That was six months ago. Since then, I have been saving a little at a time to enable me to move out. I know I am not as educated and as cultured as your friends, but I have been an honest, faithful and loving husband. I do not have to take this from you or anyone. I am depressed all the time and my self-esteem has gone into the toilet. Before I married you, I was poor guy, living for himself but I was full of life. I went dancing, I had fun with my friends, and I loved hanging out with my friends and their wives. Now they avoid me because they know you do not like them. They would much rather not meet me than come between us. I am lonely ... I am so lonely that I could die and no one would miss me except our two children."
By now Gloria was openly crying. She was looking intently at my face and sobbing. I felt sorry for her. But she would land on her feet. Trevor was already in the middle of a divorce and he would be free to marry her when the dust settled. I don't like the guy at all, but I guess they deserve each other.
Gloria ran off the bedroom when she realized that I had said my piece. I sat and drank beer. What else was there to do?
It was later in the day, around noon, that she came down. She was still dressed as she was in the morning. It was obvious that she had been crying but was calm when she came down.
"You have had your say and now it's my turn. I will start at the beginning of our relationship and work through the timeline. Yes, when I first met you, I was the prim and proper girl looking for some hot construction worker sex and I found you. Yes, you are right that there was a comfort in the thought that we both expected nothing from our time together apart from mind blowing sex. But then I did something stupid. I fell in love with you. I have a confession to make today. I did not become pregnant by chance. I knew that you would not think of me beyond a good lay and would never try to build a relationship with me, so I deliberately became pregnant. I was in love with you even before we got married."
"Then why..." I started to speak when she put her finger on my lips and asked me to stay quiet while she had her say.
"Now, we come down to the gym that you talked about. I honestly had no idea that you sold your baseball cards for it. In fact, I had no idea you even had a collection. This shows how little effort I had made to assimilate myself in your life. I have been a selfish and pampered child all my life and I thought that it was enough that I was trying to assimilate you into my life. Now that you have talked to me, I realize that I had not even done that. I was conveniently living two lives. No, that is wrong, I was just living one life — that of a working woman. You were still my sexual relief and the children were my way of keeping you busy."
She stopped speaking for a while and composed herself.
"I am not even sure how things got the way they have. The only reason I avoided taking you to my office gatherings is because I thought you would be uncomfortable. As for not fraternizing with your friends, look at me. Do I have any friends? I have lost touch with all my friends, so how am I supposed to keep in touch with yours? I think it was because I knew that my job was important for us. I have lived with the pressure of being the sole bread winner for the house."
"As for love, Yes, I do love you, still. You are an honest man and no one can blame you for not trying. We all live with the limitations that we are given. Your limitation is your lack of education and I cannot complain because I knew, even before I married you, that you would be struggling professionally all your life. I guess in my closed mind that made you a loser, but then not everyone is cut out to be a professional success. Look at me; I am a loser too, at least on personal front."
She stopped and looked hard at me. "The question is where we go from here?"
"I do not see any other option but divorce. I am not getting a doctorate anytime soon and I will be what I am." I said, "And you deserve better."
I was thinking at that very moment that I deserved better than a cheating wife but I did not want to part on a sour note. That would put a dent into my relationship with my children. If she knew I was in the know of her relationship she might avoid contact with me either out of shame or resentment and that would mean less contact with my children.
"But I do not want a divorce," she said.
"Life cannot always be about what you want. There will be times when what I want would matter too and this is just one of those times. I am sorry but I am not in love with the woman you have become. I respect you for your conviction and your contribution as the earning member of this family, but I do not love you anymore." I said, "You are young and I am sure that you will find someone who will be an equal partner to you. Just let me go."
She looked at me with tears in her eyes. "So, this is it?"
"I guess so. I have consulted a lawyer as the first consultation was free. The only thing I want from the divorce is that you pay for the lawyer and that you give me unlimited visitation. I will not abuse the unlimited visitation and will accept any boundaries you set for me. I will be available as a babysitter anytime you have a social commitment, even a date. I will need a couple of hours heads up, though. Travelling on buses can be time consuming." I laid my card in front of her.
"You do not want any alimony or split in marital assets? You have supported me in my job by taking care of the household and you deserve some." She was quick to point out. Somehow, I don't want a divorce was missing now!