To cheat or not to cheat on my wife, that is the question I need to face right now. I have been living in hell for the past six and a half years. Then I met two women from my past who have made me question if my vows are worth the agony I am suffering now. We have been married for twenty years, now. Our 19 year old daughter, Melody, married her high school sweetheart, Sam Marlowe, last year. Their courtship was much like ours way back when. I hope and pray that their life doesn't end up like ours.
Let me go back to the beginning and then I can describe my dilemma of where do I go from here. My name is Bob Stone. I am now forty years old. I graduated from high school at sixteen, but turned seventeen before starting college. When I was a sophomore in college, I garnered an internship with a local architectural firm doing design work and drafting on CAD. AutoCAD was in its infancy then, and I was given the job of learning the system and then teaching the other architects, once I was proficient at the system. My first house plan, of a three bedroom home, took me three months to do, learning all the ins and outs of the CAD system. My second plan took a month and my third one was done in two weeks. After that it was 'Katie-bar-the-door.' I continued my studies for an architectural degree, and finished in just over three years. As I went to school full time, I worked, too.
While in high school, I met Cathy Wood, my future wife. She was a senior, the same as I was. At the time I was sixteen, she was seventeen. I asked her to the St Patty's Day dance and she accepted. I was floored when she said yes. I was a geeky kid of 5'-10" and weighed about 115 pounds. Cathy was 5'-6" at about 110 pounds, with a nice 37-24-32 frame. She had auburn hair that came to about four inches below her shoulders, and the most beautiful hazel eyes that flashed either green or blue depending upon her mood. We dated the rest of the school year, and even beyond, into college. I didn't see her much while we were going to college, even though we did go to the same local college. However we dated when we could get together if our schedules coincided. We were two months short of graduating when we got a scare of her being pregnant. She was on birth control, but she missed two periods. We were scared until she went to the doctor, and he told her it would sometimes happen like that.
Anyway that scare gave us the incentive to marry after graduation. I started working full time at the architectural firm where I had been interning. Five years later, I tested and became a PE. After ten more years I was the lead architect of the firm, Perry and Associates, as all the other architects either retired or went off and opened offices of their own. Steve Perry, who started the company, had three sons and a daughter, Gerald the oldest stayed with the company until he retired, and then sold the company to me. I now had three new hotshot architects who were working under me. I just ran the business and did some design work now and then.
Cathy and I had a daughter during our marriage, Melody Alice Stone. She was born less than a year after we married. She was the apple of my eye and we both showered her with love. My marriage was great for the next fourteen years. We had an active and varied sex life, we loved each other madly, and I tried to give Cathy and Mel everything they would ask for if we could afford it.
We found out after Melody was born, that we could not have any more children. Cathy miscarried twice after Mel was born. It all stemmed back to when she had those problems with the missed periods. Something in her uterus was wrong or twisted or something, I never actually got a straight answer from the doctor about that. So we went on with life after I got snipped. Life was good until suddenly, just before Cathy's thirty-fifth birthday, she started complaining about not feeling well, or being tired, or something ... whenever I wanted sex. From that day forward, sex stopped dead; nothing, no playing around, no mutual masturbation, nothing.
Well I really loved Cathy and so I settled for Rosie and her five sisters. I figured it would only be a temporary problem. We made an appointment with her OB/GYN doctor and we tried to see if there was a problem causing it, because the last three times we had made love she complained it hurt her during intercourse. We tried several doctors, even a couple of psychiatrists to see if there was a problem in her mind to make her think there was a medical problem. After a year, I gave up hope of ever having a sexual relationship with my wife again.
During that year things changed at home. Drastic changes happened after we exhausted our pleas for answers. Cathy quit work. She really didn't need to work by now, as I was quite successful. I made good money building custom homes and working with several developers for starter homes, and mid-range homes, too. I was bringing in about 165k a year and things were good on that front.
Mel didn't know about the problems Cathy and I were having regarding sex, but she did notice when Cathy quit her job and just stayed home. She would go to bed about nine or ten in the evening and then sleep the clock around. She would get up, eat a meal and then read a book and/or watch TV. She ate all the time and she gained almost ninety pounds over the next few years and she just looked like hell. Her shiny hair now looked terrible, yeah it was clean about every three days, but her hair had no luster anymore. Then she cut it short and started wearing house dresses like a muumuu or a robe all day. She didn't even cook anymore. I did the cooking for suppers and Mel had to make her own breakfast, if she wanted to eat. I tried talking to Cathy, but I got nowhere, she just wouldn't talk to me or she would say, "Everything is fine, now leave me alone."
To make a long sad story short, after four more years of this hell, I found an outlet for my frustrations. Mel had graduated high school, and was going to college. There was nothing at home for me, so I worked late quite a bit. It's not like I was welcomed at home! I would come in from work, and say 'hi' to my wife, and she would grunt an answer. She might say 'hi' back, but her nose was in a book, or she was intent on watching something on the TV. I would fix us a microwave dinner, and then I would go running to stay in shape. I hated those meals, but they were quick and easy, and anything to get me out of that miserable environment was fine by me. Running became my sexual outlet, for now, except for occasional frantic masturbation sessions in the shower.
Rachel Fairfield was a girl who lived next door to me, when I was growing up. We saw each other at the grocery store one night, and we talked and tried to catch up. It was the first time I had seen her since I graduated high school. She was divorced, now, and she was lonely. She had a sad story to tell, and wanted to know if we could talk over coffee sometime. I told her that I would meet her at the local diner, up the road from the grocery store, the next night.
The 'Old Rail Car Diner' was actually three train cars that used to be box cars. Someone had brought them in, and had then made them into a U-shaped diner. The center of the 'U' was enclosed, and was the kitchen. The dining area was inside the box cars. They had cut windows and had insulated the cars to make a really fine diner. The food was good, and the coffee and pie were great. They had old railroad signs and advertising on the walls and lanterns and signal flags and all that stuff to make it homey and stylish.
Rachel Warring, nee Fairfield, was a year behind me in school, but a great tomboy. Tommy Southern, Bill Algren, Rachel and I were the terrors of the neighborhood when we were about ten to fourteen. When I was twelve I changed from being the carefree guy I was, to someone who knew that schooling was going to be very important to me. I went from fifth to seventh grade and then skipped eighth as well. But I still palled around with the neighbor kids until I gained high school. Then I was the nerdy kid, who left the rest behind as I did nothing but study.
I met Rachel Thursday night after my run and we sat and talked old times and really had a great evening together. It was like I really missed the companionship that I lost when Cathy changed into a hermit. We closed the place at nine PM, and Rachel suggested that we meet at my place or hers as the chairs would have to be more comfortable than the ones we had been sitting on all evening. I explained some about my home life and she suggested her home instead, as she lived only three blocks away. I said if she didn't mind a sweaty visitor I could stop by after my nightly run.
"But, Bob, I normally run in the mornings at about six! Maybe you can run with me, and we can talk as we go along. How does that sound?"
"Rache, that sounds terrific. What's your address? I'll meet you there at six."
She wrote her address down for me and I recognized the number as the house on the corner two streets over from ours, it had the gates at the drive and a large front lawn. The house was a two-story clapboard house with two columns in front that hold up the balcony above the front door. The house was huge probably over 4,000 square feet.
I thought nothing of the invitation as it was just running and catching up. There was nothing overt in that, which I should look out for.
We started a routine of running in the morning, and then we stopped at her place for a quick coffee. Before a month was up we were meeting in the evenings too; for the company, more than anything else. By then Rache had wormed out of me my whole home life environment, and my lack of a sex life. I did say that I took my vows very seriously; however, she did make an offer I had a hard time denying.
"Bob, since our illustrious ex-president could deny oral sex as a sex act. Would you help me keep practicing my oral skills ... and if you were so inclined you could practice your skills as well. You wouldn't have to reciprocate, but it would be nice. It would also allow me not to go down a path too many divorcees go, by hanging out in bars trying to relive their youth. Please think about this offer before you say no."
By the time two more months had passed, I acquiesced and a weekly oral activity took place at Rachel's home. This seemed to solve my problem with my disgruntled home life, and it saved Rache from combing the bars for guys to take out into the parking lot or a nearby motel and get her ashes hauled. It also let me be a little more tolerant of Cathy's moods and hermit like nature.
My tryst with Rachel went on for a while, maybe six months before I started feeling bad about cheating on my wife. But was it really cheating? To me it was more like mutual masturbation, even though our mouths were in use besides our hands.
When I went to bed each night with Cathy snoring beside me, I argued with myself whether or not I was really cheating her out of anything. I was achieving something she was cheating me out of, sexual love. Did I love Rachel? No, I may have liked her a lot, but love ... no. Did I still love Cathy? Yes, of course I did. I just didn't like her a whole lot, right now. But that was different. She was sick. I didn't know if it was physical, or mental, but she was definitely sick. I mean I had tried for just over a year to try to find out what was wrong with her, but to no avail. She wasn't incapacitated and therefore in need of constant care, she could care for herself. I mean look at her, she was huge, so I knew she could feed herself and take care of bodily functions by herself. I never found her to stink, so she had to bathe. But that is where all semblance of a 'Cathy being a wife' ended. We didn't interact on any level; we were strangers in our own home. Cathy had her activities, and her life, and I had mine.
I went to work, and I exercised. I bought what was on the list of items needed that Cathy left on the counter or the refrigerator, and I put up with the slovenly person who had been my wife. So, was I the bad guy who cheated, or was she the one who cheated me out of a proper life of being married? It got to the point that I just stopped caring, anymore. I went on with my life, and I let her get on with hers.
I just stopped looking at her. I stopped talking to her except when she directly asked me a question, which was very rare. I pretty much ignored my wife, just like she ignored me. Life went on, endlessly boring, except for my time with Rache.
I was at the point I was going to file for divorce on the grounds of abandonment. I mean, that was what Cathy had done to me. She had thrown me to the side and abandoned me, even though we lived in the same house, and slept in the same bed. I was discussing it with Rachel when I came to the conclusion that I had to do something, even if it was as drastic as divorce. Rachel surprised me by asking me to hold off for three months.
She said, "Bob, I know you want this now, but give it a little while longer and make sure this is what you really want. Once you start down that path, there's no turning back. Look at me, and my situation. I sometimes think I should have stuck in there a little longer, and given Ray a chance to discover that I was bored with him and our life together. I know I should have confronted him with my feelings; but I was hurt that he couldn't, or wouldn't, see what was happening to us. We were much like you and Cathy, except he was the one ignoring me. He was working too much, staying away too long, and not taking any vacations. It became just too much, so I left. Once he realized I was gone, it was too late to try to patch things up. Too much had been said that hurt both of us. That is one of the reasons I won't let you stay very long. I know if you stayed the night, that sometime during the night, you or I would stop being friends trying to help each other out. We would become lovers, and that would ruin your marriage, such as it is."
"But Rache, there is no marriage for me. We are just two people living in the same house. There is no love in either direction, anymore. Why should I try to keep it going, when it appears that Cathy has given up on me and our marriage?"
"Okay, then do this, try to talk to her and let her know how you feel, tell her you are thinking about a divorce. Put the ball in her court, for a change. See if she makes an effort, if nothing happens in a week, then leave. Move in here, or somewhere, and then wait a month. If she doesn't change or want you back, then I say go ahead with the divorce."
"Do you always argue with your lovers like this?" I asked laughingly.
"No, Bob. I only argue with the cute, stubborn ones that I want all for myself, to have forever."
I went home that night, and Cathy was still up reading. She was almost finished with the book she was reading. I waited until she finished and then stood in front of her and said my piece.
"Cathy, I really need to talk to you about our marriage. Please pay close attention to what I have to say, okay?"
I got a nod, so I continued, "Cathy, I'm not happy with the way things have gone on now for the last six years. You quit a job that I thought you really liked. You became a hermit in this house, with you sleeping all the time and reading your books. You have gotten fat and sloppy about your appearance, and generally you have ignored me and our daughter until she was forced to move out. I am giving you a week to recognize where we are in our relationship. If after that week, no changes are made, I am going to seek a divorce. I want some happiness back in my life, whether it is with you, or with someone else. It is up to you, now. Think this over and give me an answer within one week or I start proceedings. Do you understand what I have said?"
"I understand perfectly, you are tired of me and you've found some new woman that you are doing. So, go have your fling. You will eventually come back to me, because you love me. No man in his right mind would let his wife do what you have put up with for the last six years if he didn't love her. So if you need to go fuck somebody, go; but don't come crawling back to me and ask forgiveness, because I won't tolerate a cheating husband. Good night, I'm going to bed."
Cathy bumped me out of her way and went into the bedroom. I went into mine ... well, into the spare room. I had been living in it for the past month, because Cathy's snoring was getting worse. I could no longer sleep in that bed with her. I couldn't lay there next to what my wife had become. I couldn't believe what I heard from out of her mouth. She felt like she was the injured party here. Unbelievable!
I did or said nothing for a week. Then I rented a box truck and I moved out. I moved into Rachel's house, I think it was actually the servant's quarters. It was at the back of the house and had its own entrance. I was there for almost three months when I received a phone call at work.
"Perry and Associates, this is Bob, can I help you?"
"Daddy, what is going on? Mom is frantic! She hasn't seen you or heard from you for over a week now, what happened? I thought you guys were kinda okay."
"Mel, I moved into your old room over four months ago and I moved my stuff out three months ago. Your mother never even knew I left. I told her I had to leave to keep my sanity and she told me to go fuck my whore, and then see if she would take me back. Honey, I have not had a woman, any woman, in over six years ... least of all, your mother. You noticed when she turned thirty-five she changed. Well, she has not done anything different since you left home. She is still like she was. I couldn't take it anymore. I had to leave her before I gave up and shot myself or her, or maybe both of us. With you away at school, I thought you would find out from her that I left.
"Mel, I'm so sorry that you had to find out this way, I have tried so many times to call you, but I really didn't know what to say, or even how to bring the subject up. I still love the woman I married; but that woman, in that house, is not her. That woman is sponging off my generosity, but not for much longer. I'm going to talk to my lawyer, today. In fact, I need to get going if I'm going to make the appointment. I'll call you tonight for sure, Honey. Remember, I love you, Mel."
I hung up and let Suzie, my secretary know where I was headed, and roughly how long I would be gone. I left our building and walked the two blocks to Denis Harding's office at Dean, Koenig, Sanders, and Harding. Paul Dean was my company lawyer, Sheldon Koenig did civil law, Doug Sanders did criminal law and Denis was for family law. I've known all four of them since grade school. I walked into Denis's office five minutes early, and was asked to wait as he had a client already. I waited, and soon Denis came out with a young lady in tears. He had his secretary take her to the restroom, to clean up.
I was escorted into his office and Denis started out with, "Bob, so good to see you, but I suppose not under these circumstances. You said something about wanting a divorce, right?"
"Right, Denis. I have some questions, first, so we can figure out what grounds we are going to file under. Can I prove that my wife abandoned me six years ago, even though we still lived in the same house, and until four months ago we slept in the same bed?"
"Bob, what? Abandonment means that she left you alone and she left the area. Now how can she abandon you and still live in the same house. You have me very confused."
So I related the whole thing, from when she turned thirty-five until this latest development that I had found out from my daughter's call. I neglected to tell him where I lived now, and what Rache and I had done over the last six months or so.
Denis thought and then went to his bookcase along one whole wall and started thumbing through one book after another, stopping to read a section then going on.
He finally sat back down and said, "Bob, that might be a tough sell. But, if Cathy would admit that no sex took place for those years, and we had before and after pictures of the house and her, then I think we just might get it to work. It would be much easier to file for irreconcilable differences. That is something we can prove with no problems, but why the abandonment?"