Resolving My Marriage Pt. 01byBrettCanon©
The Emerging Issue
The morning dawned grey and gloomy. I heard Carol moving around getting ready for work at 6 and tried to sleep a little longer on a pillow that now seemed too hard and uncomfortable. I could not get back to sleep.
Defeated, I brushed my teeth, looked at myself in the mirror, bleary eyed from a night of tossing and turning, and sat on the bed to meditate. Carol, cheerful as always, put a cup of tea on my bedside table, kissed me and said she'd see me in the evening. My feeling of dread deepened.
My thoughts turned to the previous day. Carol and I had slept in and cuddled when we woke together. I made us some coffee and then we made leisurely love, moving together with the slow familiarity of a couple who know each other well after eight years of marriage. Carol is a beautiful woman and I love her dearly, but as usual I could not let myself go feeling that we were close to the end. It was a poignant moment. A tear slipped down my cheek and she licked it off, asking what made me so sad. Despite the deeply fulfilling sexual experience and Carol saying that she loved me deeply and completely and would forever love me, the dread continued to grow.
We live in a large apartment complex which has a pool, barbeque area, gym and many other facilities shared by the tenants. We met Bob and Amanda at the barbeque area at 12. We had got to know them both well over the last year, following their move because of Bob's job at the same healthcare facility where Carol worked.
After they met at work we got friendly with them as a couple. Bob is a high powered administrator at the facility and works with Carol on the senior administrative team. They worked closely together.
Carol has a background in nursing and administration, has a Masters in Nursing and also in Business Administration, and is one of the most organised persons I have ever met. We met while I was at Medical School, in a group that we participated in together over 4 years that was designed to teach healthcare professionals how to work together on health problems.
Amanda is probably the most gorgeous woman I have met, other than Carol. In their bikinis that peeked out from their diaphanous tops they had all the eyes of every conscious male in the pool area and many women as well. I was used to this as since the start of our relationship men hit on Carol all the time. I truly like and admire Amanda. She is some sort of senior financial advisor and analyst and according to Bob is the most organised person he knows. Their two children, Jake 12 and Tamara 9. played with a group of children while we organised the barbeque.
Life with Carol is not like any other marriage that I have ever encountered. She had climbed out of bed at 10, we showered together and she moved into high gear. While she did the laundry, she tidied up and marinated meats and prepared 4 salads. Her cooking is to die for. When I got out of the shower to make the bed, it had been changed and fresh sheets put on. The bedroom had been tidied. I tried to empty the dishwasher but was told I was underfoot and I needed to relax or go to my study to prepare a paper or do some reports. Carol came in half an hour later with a cup of coffee, a tender kiss and told me I was her adored husband. This was nothing new. This is how it has been for our entire marriage.
She looked after me like I was a precious object and she devoted herself to me. This had been very odd for me. My parents both worked. I was highly independent and did everything from home maintenance to cooking and cleaning. We all had our allocated chores at home and we felt we needed to play our parts in a household where money was not plentiful and both parents had to work hard to keep the family going. It was a loving family and a joyful childhood.
The first trip I had to go on after we were married was an odd experience. Carol had packed my bags and laid out my itinerary for the conference. Everything was in a folder and my case was packed so that nothing came out creased. I was nevertheless quite horrified and upset. I had been feeling increasingly that my independence was being submerged. This lead to another facet of Carol that I increasingly got to know over the years.
Carol could sell anything to anyone and convince people to change their beliefs completely. This is not manipulative in a nasty way however. She is truly altruistic and caring and one of the warmest people I have ever encountered. She is the most deeply complex person I have ever encountered and I am flummoxed by her thought processes constantly. She convinced me that she was taking away the hackwork of daily living for me and my duty was to do good for mankind through my medicine and to be a loving husband. She felt that she wanted to do this for me as she felt I had an important role to play. Despite arguing that helping around the house, doing some cooking and laundry, making the bed etc would not detract from any of that she managed to take over most of the organising of my life. I have always done a lot in the house and as our hours were different I still took pride in emptying the dishwasher at times and cooking when she would be late at least for awhile.
Carol has a very high powered job and she initially supported me while she worked and studied part time and I studied and did a small amount of part time work. We could with ease live on her salary alone.
At the barbeque Carol, Bob, Amanda and Carol unpacked the food. I had been allowed to carry a couple of baskets down.
Bob had told me that Amanda was similar to Carol. She was able to do much of her work from home and he said her earning capacity was prodigious. He said she organised the household like a general and he was well treated though he said that some issues had arisen early in the marriage. He did not explain and I was left to find out later.
Amanda's children were well brought up and were delightful children.
We sat down to eat with Carol sitting next to Bob and Amanda and the children next to me. Carol and Bob slipped a number of times into work related conversation and touched each other constantly. Carol looked at Bob as she had only every looked at me with love in her eyes. Amanda and I chatted but she looked annoyed as she looked over at Bob and Carol. She raised her eyebrows at me in shared understanding. I had seen this growing relationship over the year as had Amanda.
Amanda and I had never discussed what was happening with Bob and Carol directly. One time after a dinner two weeks previously after more wine than she usually drank that her tolerance of Bob was fraying.
I had a growing sense of dread at the barbeque. The children ran off to play. We all swam and played games in the pool. I could see Bob fondle Carol but Amanda and I were more restrained.
That night I felt maudlin. Carol asked me what was wrong and I told her I was concerned about her falling in love with Bob. She asked if I did not love Amanda at least a little. I was shocked at the question. I said what is not to love about Amanda. I was forced to admit that I did love her but said as a friend and that I would not act on it. Carol sighed and we landed up going over the same past issues and I just gave up. She made tender love to me told me she loved me and that she would love no one else as much as me. She went to sleep while I remained awake and churning.
I went to work and spent the day ruminating about Carol and the state of our relationship. I could see it coming to the end soon. I had just about reached the end of my tolerance after 8 years of bliss joy and pain. I just could not take the growing pain and it was different now.
I left work early at 4. I could feel the nausea rising in my gut as I knew what to expect at home.
Carol's car was in the garage and I could see Bob's Jag, next to Amanda's Lexus.
I opened the door quietly and walked into the apartment. I felt light headed. I quietly walked towards the bedroom and heard voices. I heard Carol say, " I do love you Bob, you know I do."
My legs felt weak. I could hardly hold myself upright. The nausea was rising. I didn't want to hear anymore. The pain felt overwhelming. I could hardly breathe. I heard myself gasping.
Bob said, "I am looking forward to us spending the weekend together over east. I really miss sleeping with you and cuddling you overnight. You are such a beautiful woman. I love you in my arms.
"How does Dan cope with you and me?"
Carol replied, " I am really getting worried about him. He is not dealing with this well. I love Dan so much, he is the love of my life. I wish I knew why I am doing this to him and me. I have never loved anyone as much as I love him and yet I am doing this with you.
"The last thing I want to do is hurt him, yet I do it constantly. I seem to be driven to continue repeating the hurt. I'm looking forward to this conference and the time we'll be able to spend afterward, but I'm increasingly worried that Dan is having trouble coping with this and I don't want to lose him."
I sank to my knees, asking myself why she continues. I have never understood. I felt overwhelming emotional pain. This was the moment I had dreaded since we had met, the time when she would love another. I peeped in the door. They were lying together. Carol had one leg over Bob's and I could see the cum seeping from her vagina. She was smiling and caressing his face.
"I do love you, Bob, but you have to understand that Dan comes first and always will."
Yes, I thought, but she certainly has a strange way of showing it! My wife going away for a weekend with another man? What a novel way of showing that I came first! From the look of her seeping vagina, she had already Cum first.
Overcome by nausea I rushed to the toilet and vomited. I could feel my head splitting. I could hear movement from the bedroom and Carol's hushed voice saying that Bob should go and she needed to take care of her man.
She came into the bathroom her face ashen. She put her arm around my shoulder and said "You poor darling, how much did you hear?"
I shook her arm off my shoulder and screamed, "Fuck off Carol I've had enough of this bullshit! Just piss off. I can't take anymore of this. This is betrayal. Just get the hell out and leave me to vomit in peace."
She looked horrified and with a sob moved back.
"Please", she said, "you know I am trying to work it out"
"I've had eight damn years of you working it out. I've had it. This is my worst nightmare. What normal man in his right mind could deal with your damned mind games. Just get out, I'll talk to you in ten minutes in the kitchen. Get yourself dressed, you Cum filled betraying little slut", I shouted feeling overwrought and overwhelmed.
She stood there with her mouth opening and closing. Normally I hardly ever shout. I am usually calm and easy going. I had only been like this once before when we broke up after we had been going out for a month.
"So much for your promise. Look at the cum pouring out of your cunt. Get out, shower and dress before you bring your lying carcase to speak to me."
"Please" she began.
"Get the fuck out of here" I shouted so loudly that I shocked myself.
She scuttled out as I burst into tears over the toilet bowl.
I must have fallen asleep for a few minutes because the next thing I remember was finding myself stiff and sore on the floor, with Carol standing over me patting my shoulder looking panic stricken, her stethoscope on my chest.
"Oh, thank God" said, tears pouring down her cheek. "I thought you'd had a heart attack or stroke. I cannot not cope without you. You are the love of my life. I do love Rob, but its like nothing compared to how much I love you. Please don't leave me"
I lay curled up on the cold tiled floor, sobbing for awhile as she stroked my arm, sobbing even more broken heartedly than me.
"I've called Hester and she'll see you now, she's cancelled her last two patients and she wants you to stay for dinner with her and Claude before we speak further" she said between sobs.
I felt old and achey. My joints creaked as I got up off the floor. I moved to the basin to wash my face.
Carol sat on the toilet seat with her arms around her knees, sobbing and crying. She kept mumbling and chanting, "No, don't leave me, I love you so much"
This went on and on.
I went to our bedroom and tried to take out an overnight bag.
"What are you doing", she sobbed. "You mustn't leave me."
She pulled at the bag and tried to stop me from putting some clothes in the bag. This I knew how to deal with.
"Pack my bag for one night, please, I'll use my room at Hester's."
Carol packed my bag. She couldn't help herself. She was also terrified of Hester.
Chapter 3 Hester
Hester has been Carol's Psychiatrist and Psychotherapist since her mother's death, when Carol was 17. After we first broke up, Carol took me to meet her therapist.
As we neared the building on that occasion I recognised it instantly as Carol pulled into the parking lot.
I smiled as the secretary, Annie, hugged me and then ushered us into Hester's room.
'Aunt Hester', was a family friend of my parents and a surrogate parent to me since I was three years old, when she re-introduced herself and Claude, her husband, to my parents on the beach. She had been a schoolmate of my mother's until her parents had moved when the girls were 11.
She and Claude became very close friends with my parents. As they were childless, my mother donated my services as a child to Hester and Claude. I even had my own bedroom and bathroom in their apartment.
They had a massive penthouse apartment in our complex. Claude and Carol's father had been partners in many property deals over the years and developed the complex together. Both kept massive apartments in the complex. Carol and I had inherited her mother's apartment. She had received it as part of their divorce settlement. It was on the second floor, as Carol's mother hated heights.
Over the years, during difficult times in our marriage, Hester would see me with Carol in her official capacity as a psychiatrist. It was complex from a boundary point of view as she separated parent and psychiatrist. She did discuss it with both of us at the start, but Carol was really happy that Hester knew me and played the 'therapist cum mother-in-law' role when necessary. She wasn't comfortable about it but every time she suggested Carol or I see another therapist Carol had a hissy fit. She adored Hester and said she had no issues with Hester as surrogate mother in law. Hester raised the issue at least 5 times a year as far as I was aware.
As I walked to the lift, with Carol insisting on carrying my bag, I asked her "Is she seeing me as your therapist or as my mother?"
Carol replied, "I've booked you to see her for an hour as part of therapy professionally, then you'll stay for dinner with her and Claude, as mother and father."
Annie was waiting for me at the lift. She hugged me, glared most unprofessionally at Carol, and took my bag from Carol saying,
"We'll take it from here", while holding the lift for Carol.
I've known Annie almost as long as I've known Hester. She'd lost her husband to cancer and came to work for Hester when I was 6 and had mothered me nearly as much as Hester did. We had all spent Christmas's together and she was much like a family member in both Hester's and my family's home. She shared their large apartment which they had subdivided to give her her own sub-apartment. She had never had children of her own and similarly adopted me as her child. She still behaved as if I was a ten year old.
"You poor boy", she said.
She held my arm with one hand while carrying my bag in the other. I tried to carry my own bag but she would not have any of it.
"Hester is very upset. Let me carry your bag. She cleared two patients, which she never does except in a 'grave emergency' and will see you professionally for the first two hours; the first is as part of Carol's timee, the second as her dinner as your mother."
Hester is always Hester I thought. She is the same as mother or therapist; typical shrink mumbo jumbo.
"I'll take your bag to your room, while you are in with Hester, and make up the bed for you. Carol is going too far this time" she said angrily. Annie never usually speaks her mind about patients. I smiled as she put her arm around me protectively and said, "You poor boy, we'll look after you." Then she burst into tears.
"I love you both so, why does Carol have to be like this? You've been so patient, what is wrong with her?"
She cried on my shoulder as I patted her reassuringly.
In my relationship with Carol, I have often felt like I am in an Alice in Wonderland-like story. This air of unreality pervaded our entire relationship. My thoughts turned to her and Rob and how I felt I was a cuckold fool. What wimp idiot would accept a wife screwing other men for years. I had a sense of disgust and self loathing. Carol was on the other side a great woman and a wife like no other. My head hurt. She seemed to love me so much but how could she hurt me so much. It must now end. Then I thought who would manage the inventions and who would help in my research? Where would I live? I was so dependent on her it sickened me.
The door to Hester's office opened and she came out with arms outstretched. She hugged me with tears in her eyes.
"You poor, poor boy", she said.
"Annie these are exceptional times, bring me a brandy and soda, weak, and a whisky for Dan, make it a double with ice from Claude's collection and let me know when Claude arrives. Annie, please stay for dinner and can you please get it going?"
Some people collect single malts. Claude only collects the best of the best. He only drinks a bit on Saturday. Hester drinks a bit of wine only and rarely anything else. She never drinks during the day normally.
With that, she shut the door and motioned for me to sit next to her on the heavy leather sofa. Usually she sits and writes at her desk while we talk, or in latter years she has used a computer for notes.
Hester is a striking woman. If anything, she is better looking than my mother was. She was a model while she went through medical school and took off a year to go on the international circuit before concluding her studies. She passed medical school at top of her class, and after her internship, entered psychiatric training. She published a number of papers while she trained and won the prize for best student nationally.
Hester dressed beautifully. She was in an elegant grey business suit with a silk blouse, fine black hose and shoes that framed her feet. She sat down next to me, her legs crossing with a rustle. Her perfume wafted towards me.
"Oh Aunty Hester, you look so lovely and smell so delicious. I don't know how I'm going to think with you sitting next to me. If you weren't my mother I would throw you on the sofa and ravish you", I said trying to cheer myself up and moving into our teasing mode. I felt the pain and nausea rise as she sat quietly, not entering my gambit to distract the painful discussion.
"What did Carol say when she called?", I asked.
"She spoke to Annie and said that she had broken her agreement with you and betrayed you. Annie then told me, after I finished ten minutes later with my patient, that she had cancelled my appointments for the rest of the day and she that would personally kill Carol when she saw her. She loves you as much as your mother and I do and I fear she has no objectivity about this issue. What a mess. I am angry with her too and it stuffs it up for me dealing with her and her needs.
I understand more about it than Annie does, but I am not sure I have enough professional objectivity about all of this. Dan, as you know, I have agonised for years about managing Carol, as your wife while working with you as well, but I will continue. I have lots of complex cases with colleagues and complex boundary issues that I have to resolve. We'll get through this.