Thanks always to my Sweet Inspiration blackrandl1958 for her encouragement, advice, and of course, her editing.
We used to be very much in love.
My name is Allen Workman, and I have been married to my wife Lucy for thirty years.
That may have been confusing. If we “used to be very much in love,” why are we still married?
That, is a bit of a story that we need to go back ten years to tell.
At that time, we had obviously been married 20 years and had two children, Allen Jr, or AJ, 20, and a sophomore at UMass in Amherst, and Billie, 18, and a senior at Brockton High.
We had what I had thought was a healthy sex life, usually averaging three times a week, and were about as adventurous as you could expect for parents with kids. For our tenth Anniversary we had gone to an adult resort where we went to some topless and even nude beaches. We were both a little self-conscious at first, especially the first time Lucy took off her top, even though she had nothing to be self-conscious about. Unlike the movies, most topless beaches aren’t exactly SI Swimsuit Issue photo shoots, and at 30, even after two pregnancies, Lucy still cut an impressive figure.
Seeing no issues on the horizon, I was rather blind-sided ten years later, thankfully not on our anniversary, when she sat me down with those immortal words, “Allen, we need to talk.”
No good ever follows those words, but I was expecting something like, “I wrecked the car,” or “My mother’s coming to visit for a week,” I never in a million years could have expected what she hit me with.
It is probably painfully visible where this is going, but let me give a little background, anyway.
Over the last couple of years Lucy had joined the computer generation and was always on her laptop. She was on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and God knows what other online forums. It fortunately hadn’t affected our love life yet, but the jury was still out on that.
Apparently, one of her forums was on female sexuality and had put forth the notion that women’s ability to have sex more frequently than men, entitled them to have lovers, and Lucy had bought into it hook, line and sinker.
I, of course had been the clueless husband until this point, and Lucy was ready to correct that situation.
“Okay, Lucy,” I said smirking, “when is your mother coming?”
Lucy look confused, then proceeded to wipe that smirk right off my face.
“No, no,” she said. “My mother’s not coming; whatever gave you that idea?”
“I don’t know; I guess it was just a bad joke. Why don’t you just tell me exactly why we need to ‘talk’ and end the mystery?”
My irritation seemed to set her back a bit, but she quickly recovered.
“I’ve been reading an online forum on female sexuality, even posting every now and then, and I’ve learned about the differences between the male and female sex drives.”
“Yeah, yeah,” I said, not sure where this was going, “‘Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus.’ Why don’t you just get to the point?”
Lucy was starting to get pissed off.
“Why do you have to be such an ass? That’s not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about my taking a lover.”
I’m sure I gave a great impression of a gold fish with my mouth flapping open and closed and nothing coming out, but I finally found my voice, and it was LOUD!
“Are you out of your fucking mind? What in the world gave you the idea that I would stand by while you took a lover?”
Now that the ice was broken, Lucy warmed to the task at hand.
“Well, actually not A lover, that might lead to an awkward emotional attachment. More like a series of lovers.”
“Oh, that makes it SO much better!” I said sarcastically. “Just what happened to cause you to lose your sanity, and just why would you ever think that I would allow this?”
She was getting obviously frustrated, but pulled herself together.
“I haven’t lost my mind. It’s a known fact that women can have sex more often, and that men simply can’t keep up their own end. Surely, you’ve noticed how many times I’m ready to go again and you can’t get it up? Hell, sometimes you can’t even go two nights in a row!”
Now I was REALLY getting steamed!
“You never complained when I was getting a sore jaw going down on you; a favor rarely returned, by the way! When you were ‘out of commission’ during your pregnancies and such, did I bitch about it? No. I gave you foot rubs and bubble baths and stocked up on hand lotion!
When I “couldn’t hold up my end,” as you so delicately put it, I offered to buy you dildos and vibrators, but you said you wanted the ‘real thing.’ Little did I know that the ‘real thing’ was going to be attached to another man!”
I know I made a huge mistake with my next argument.
“Just because you’ve had your mind warped by some New Age feminist bull shit, doesn’t mean that I have to go along. I won’t allow you to take a lover or lovers. It will be the end of our marriage!”
Now that I had thrown down the gauntlet, she wasted no time in snatching it up.
“Is that so?” she snarled, “Just what makes you think you have anything to say about it? You don’t own me, it’s my body, and I’ll share it with whomever I like!
“The kids may be older, but I’ll still take you to the cleaners in a divorce!” she yelled, stomped into our bedroom and slammed and locked the door.
I could have easily jimmied the interior door lock, but it didn’t seem worth the trouble at that point.
I wasn’t really worried about her threat to take me to the cleaners; enough of our friends and acquaintances had been through divorces that I had a pretty good idea what I was up against. We lived in a no-fault state, so most things would be divided 50-50. Billie was 18, so child support wasn’t a big issue and Lucy worked, so alimony wouldn’t be burdensome. The thing was, I loved the stupid bitch and didn’t want a divorce, I wanted her to give up this idiotic notion. I was also worried about how our families, especially the kids, would take it. Would they blame me? God, I hoped not!
The next thing I knew she was coming out of the bedroom. I was hoping it was to apologize, but I was soon disappointed as she came down the stairs in her sexiest LBD and CFM pumps, putting in the earrings I had given her on our twentieth anniversary!
“Where do you think you’re going?” I asked, as if I didn’t know.
“Out. Don’t wait up, I may be very late.”
As she said that, I noticed she wasn’t wearing her rings.
“Please don’t do this, Lucy, it’ll be the death of us,” I pleaded.
“Oh, don’t be such a drama queen,” she said condescendingly. “This is just a little harmless fun. Nothing will change, you’ll see.”
“Everything will change the moment you walk out that door.”
She just looked at me as if I were a child that couldn’t understand basic arithmetic and swept out the door without further comment.
As I saw her headlights back out of the driveway and turn up the street, I shed a single tear for the death of our marriage.
I went upstairs, and started moving my things to the guest room. I’d be damned if I’d spend another night in that bed!
As I worked, I heard the front door open and close. Could she have changed her mind? I dropped the arm load of clothes and ran down the stairs.
“You’re home!” I called out excitedly.
“Of course I’m home, Dad,” Billie said, “I told you I’d be home early to study for my Trig exam.”
As I plopped down on the stairs, my eyes once again brimming with tears, Billie sat beside me and hugged me close.
“Don’t worry, Dad, it’s just a test, I’ll do okay,” she said. When I didn’t perk up she realized that something else was wrong.
“Dad, what’s going on? Where’s Mom?”
“I don’t know. Out.”
“‘Out?’ Out with who?”
“I don’t know. I don’t think she knows,” I said, “I think she was looking to pick up a guy.”
“What the fu...” I glared at her, “What the heck do you mean, ‘pick up a guy?’ She’s your wife, married women don’t go out picking up guys!”
“Maybe you can explain that to her, she certainly didn’t understand me when I tried to tell her.”
“What are you going to do, Dad? You have to stop her!”
“I tried, Sweetie, I tried, she simply wouldn’t listen to me. She’s got her head full of some New Age feminist mumbo-jumbo about some things that a father shouldn’t be talking to his daughter about...”
“You mean sex,” she said with a grin, and I nodded.
“Dad, I’m 18; I know all about the ‘birds and the bees’!”
“I know, but there are still conversations that I shouldn’t be having with you.”
“Okay, Dad, I’ll let you off the hook for now, but what are you going to do?”
“For now, I’m moving into the guest room. Longer term, I just don’t know. I suppose I can forgive tonight if that’s all there is, but if she doesn’t come to her senses ASAP, I’ll be looking into getting a divorce.”
“A divorce? Please, Dad, no, what will I do without you?”
“Even if I do divorce your Mom, I won’t be going far; you can see me whenever you want.”
“It won’t be the same,” she cried, and ran upstairs. I heard her gasp as she saw the things I had dropped on the floor, then heard her door slam shut.
A few minutes later, the phone rang. I snatched it up thinking that it was Lucy, but it was AJ.
“Dad, what the fuck (I guess the distance the phone granted gave his speech more liberty) is going on? Billie just called me in tears, I could barely understand her. All that I could make out was that you were going to be divorcing Mom! Why in the world would you do that?”
I sighed. I supposed that it would come out sooner or later, and as a young man he might be able to understand.
“It seems that your mother feels that I’m not getting the job done in the bedroom, so she went out earlier tonight to see if she could hook up with someone who could. I obviously can’t accept that.”
“I hear you on that, Dad! Should I come home? It sounds like you can use some back up.”
“No, no, don’t do that. You’ve got your semester break coming up; I think I can hold it together until then.”
“If you’re still talking to her, have her call me so that I can hear her side, not that I can believe that there is any ‘side’ to explain this.”
“Will do, AJ,” I said, “Thanks.”
“No problem, Dad.” We hung up.
Just as I finished moving my things into the guest room, I heard the front door open. I looked down and saw Lucy come in and close the door.
The good news? She didn’t have that “fresh fucked” look. The bad news? Her make-up and hair were mussed and her dress was askew.
Before I could say anything, I was nearly knocked over as Billie charged down the stairs and started screaming in Lucy’s face.
“You slut!” she screamed, “What happened to all those lessons you gave me on how a ‘proper lady’ behaves?”
Lucy had enough sense to look embarrassed.
“Y ... You’re too young to understand. You’ll understand when you’re older.”
“I pray to God that I’m never old enough to think that it’s okay to be a slut, especially when I’m married to a wonderful man,” she said as she moved beside me and hugged me tight.
Lucy looked like she wanted to say something, thought better of it and headed upstairs. I could hear her go into the bedroom, then she came halfway down the stairs.
“Allen, where are your things?”
“I moved them into the guest room.”
“B ... But why?”
“You really can’t be THAT dense, can you? Did you really think I would share a bed with you after you had been with God knows who?”
“I didn’t fuck anyone,” she said before realizing that Billie was right there.
“That may very well be, though I hope you’ll forgive me for not taking your word for it, but I could still smell his cheap cologne as you walked by.”
She made a small gasp, then I heard the bedroom door close and the master bath shower start running.
A short while later she came down wrapped in a thick robe while I was drinking my Sam Light.
As she was sitting down, I told her about AJ’s call and his wanting her to call him.
“You may want to wait until tomorrow though, unless you want to get another earful.”
“Wh ... What did you tell him?”
“Only the truth, Dear, only the truth; I thought that he was old enough, don’t you?”
“Oh, my God, what did you do?”
“What did I do? I didn’t do anything. This was all your doing.”
She jumped up and ran back up to the master bedroom.
I finished my Sam and went to my new room, and actually had a good night’s sleep.
I was the first one awake, and went to the kitchen to put the coffee on. Lucy was next, and silently got her coffee and was standing by the sink when Billie came in. She took one look at her mother, turned and left the room.
Just then the phone rang, and Lucy answered it. From her reaction it was AJ. She actually had to hold the phone away from her ear, and while I couldn’t make out the words, I could hear AJ’s voice yelling at his mother. Lucy could barely get a word in, and AJ eventually wound down and she disconnected the call.
“Well, I hope you’re satisfied,” she said angrily, “both of our children think that I’m a slut.”
“If the foo shits, wear it,” I said.
“What did you say?”
“Never mind, it doesn’t matter,” I said, “but it seems that we raised two very perceptive children.”
She looked puzzled for a minute until that sank in, tossed the rest of her coffee into the sink and stormed back upstairs.
As soon as the bedroom door closed, Billie reappeared at the kitchen door.
“What’s the good word, Dad?” she asked with a grimace.
“Not much, I’m afraid. Your mother still doesn’t seem to see that she’s done anything wrong. If anything, she’s angrier now that you kids know what’s going on.”
“Are you still thinking about getting a divorce?”
“I really don’t see any way around it. I certainly can’t condone what she’s doing, and excuse the TMI, but I won’t have sex with her while she might be sleeping with other men, even if she’s using protection, and that’s not much of a marriage.”
She shrugged off the talk about her parents’ sex life.
“Couldn’t you, you know, go out with other women? Maybe that would make her jealous or something?”
“I want her to realize that she is wrong, to want to be with only me because she loves me, not because she’s afraid of losing me to someone else.”
Billie nodded her understanding. I was so proud of my little girl!
During the next couple of weeks until AJ came home on break, we lived in a state of cold war, barely exchanging two words that weren’t needed for the running of the house. It wasn’t much better between her and Billie; most of their conversations ended with Billie calling her mother a slut and/or Lucy slapping her, and both running off crying.
Lucy DID go on a few more of her “dates.” I didn’t know, or particularly cared, if she fucked any of them. That was hardly the point, anyway.
As much as I wanted to see him, I was dreading AJ’s return home, with good cause as it turned out. I won’t go into detail, but it made her arguments with Billie seem like lovefests. He mostly hung out with his friends, but we did get together at the local pub for a couple of brews. (I turned a blind eye to his fake ID).
“How do you do it, Dad?” he asked, “Why don’t you just divorce the bitch?”
I was going to correct him for talking about his mother that way, but decided that he was an adult, and was entitled to his opinions, and she had certainly earned the appellation!
“I keep asking myself the same question,” I replied with a rueful smile, “and I can’t come up with any answer except that I still love the stupid bi...”
AJ couldn’t keep from laughing at my near slip of the tongue.