You Have to Be Ready

I am, at 75, 13 years into a delightful relationship. This is my third marriage and my second really good husband.

My first husband was also a good husband, at least in my book. He taught art in a ghetto high school. Granted, he’d become a teacher in order to avoid the draft, which may have been not OK to some folks, but to me it displayed the kind of flexible imagination that is sometimes necessary to stay alive while, in the bargain, also ensuring that you will not have to be involved in something that goes against your moral code while, in addition, making a difference in the lives of many young people.

He impressed me. He was remarkably skilled and, apparently, remarkably patient. He bought home delightful and sometimes almost unbelievable tales from school, things that one would never encounter in a posh suburban high school. He found humor, genuine humanity, and real talent in his students, and they appreciated him for ‘seeing’ them.

In addition, and much to my dismay at the time, he also became active in the teacher’s union. It was to my dismay for a couple of reasons, the first of which was that it meant that I was home with two young children more or less constantly. I knew that he was doing good work, but I was young and selfish and more than a little paranoid as I had, in my very recent past, been a cheater. I projected my own bad behavior onto him… which is something that can happen when you’re feeling guilty.

He literally never let me down, though. He even agreed to at least start therapy with me. He didn’t keep it up because he wasn’t, after all, the one with the problem… except he kinda was, but the problem was me. We’d never been exactly on the same page sexually, hence, part of my running around. He didn’t see himself as a problem, though, and I can’t say as I blame him. He just wanted what he wanted or, perhaps more to the point, didn’t want what I wanted.

I thought that would be part of why we were going to therapy… but it wasn’t, because he didn’t want it to be. Talking sex with strangers, or anybody, really, just wasn’t his thing. That aside, he was a good man… and I wasn’t ready for a good man. I’d endured a sexually challenging childhood — pretty much all of which, at the time, I’d been successfully repressing. In other words, I had no idea how f’d up I actually was and how that might be affecting my sexuality.

The marriage lasted 14 years but eventually ended… badly. I’d been cheating again, with a married man who had a pregnant wife. This man had determined that he wanted to be with me, and he had seemed to be on the same page as I sexually. I asked Good Husband #1 for a divorce which he refused to grant me unless I relinquished custody of our children, who, at that point in my life, had been the only real love I’d ever known. But I was desperate for the chance at being able to be with someone who was on the same page as I, sexually.

I was married to husband #2 for 23 years, during which time I spent four years with a disease — diffuse progressive systemic sclerosis — that, while threatening to deprive me of my life, also turned me into leather inside and out. I was in a massive amount of pain. Husband #2, who, as I would come to discover, thought of me as his property, made every effort to find medical help for me, because I was no use to him dead, but continued to insist that we have sex despite the fact that it was beyond painful for me. It was, in fact, torture. But it was, he told me, “The only way I can express how much I love you.”

That was when I began to realize who this man really was, but there I was, crippled by disease and bound to him. Eventually, thanks to a clinical trial that worked for no one but me, the disease went into remission, and I got most of my body functions back. (I’m typing this with the sides of my thumb nails because my fingertips now permanently rest close to my palms.) Eventually I got well enough to work. Further down the line — after his death — I would discover that during the time we had been married he had pocketed all my income and had lied to me about paying into Social Security.

Now… I am, apparently slow to catch on, but I perhaps not entirely stupid… I finally did divorce his ass when I was able to realize that he was an A++ narcissist.

I am in my third marriage, now. This is Good Husband #2 and this one stays… at least until one of the two of us either dies or falls off a roof… again. (That wouldn’t be me!).

The reason ‘this one stays’ is precisely because I’d had just enough therapy, at the point when we met, to have understood who I had been, why I had been who I had been, and why I had behaved, for the majority of of my life, like a bitch in heat.

The therapy continues… though the appointments have grown farther and farther apart… and the bad dreams that used to plague me, thank heaven, are no more. I was not ready for Good Husband #1. I regret, both for me and for my now grown children whom, I know, must have very mixed feelings about me, that I wasn’t ready then; that I couldn’t have been the mother I’d wanted to be… but then… I imagine that we all have our own very particular challenges to meet… and I guess I’ve been theirs. (sigh)

Life can be such a bitch but, oh, when she’s good, she’s very, very good… and an excellent teacher to boot.

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Astrology-Informed Artist; Author of self-help books on healing with Ozark Mt. Publishers; survivor

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V Pendragon

V Pendragon

Astrology-Informed Artist; Author of self-help books on healing with Ozark Mt. Publishers; survivor

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