Just another love story. Part fourteen: Testing the marriage.

Floral Bouquet

I’m posting my favorite flower bouquet, again, just because I love them so much… even after everything I am about to write here, the flowers I never got still cheer me up! ❤

After the wedding, and the honeymoon, and the other wedding reception, and a long drive back to southern California, we settled in to what would be the most hellish two years of my life, prior to d-day that is.

Even though Blue Eyes was in law school, and he technically had another month of summer break, we were both working. It was a better routine than during the school year as we had regular work day jobs and could theoretically spend nights and weekends together, and money wasn’t as tight. Shortly after returning to our apartment, however, my sister asked if she could move in with us. The first big mistake of my life, was saying yes.

This would be my only full blood sister, the one who had recently turned 21 and had been struggling back home to figure out what she wanted to do with her life. When she wasn’t attempting to make house with one of her abusive boyfriends, she was home fighting with our mother. She begged and begged to live with us in southern California.

As we would find out over the next few months, she was heavily addicted to over the counter medications, you name it, Nyquil, other sleep aids, plus caffeine pills to wake her up, and then, inevitably alcohol at some point in the day. Our normal working-couple honeymoon was cut short by a flurry of negative energy and anger from my sister and a revolving door of suitors. She showed up with her bikini body and bleached blonde hair and took over the guest room, which was right next to our bedroom. And by took over, I mean TOOK OVER. She brought her big alley cat, Punky, with her and he was a holy terror and at first fought day and night with our Himalayan Persian, Sabrina. Later they became the best of buddies and spent all night running up and down the long hallway driving the neighbors below us crazy. My sister unpacked box after box of her clothing and paraphernalia and hung her skimpy bikinis on the wall as art.

The third bedroom, which was at the front of our large and beautiful Spanish style apartment, had a gorgeous set of louvered windows and a view of palm trees out front. That room was dedicated to Blue Eyes. To his law school studies. My sister wanted the room, badly. It was larger and farther from us, but since it was off the living room, it was a great environment for studying, and I really didn’t want her mess out near the main living space, I told her no. In the end, nothing I did or said would have changed the outcome of the disaster that would be a newly married couple inviting an unruly and high strung substance abuser, a beautiful yet mentally disordered person with the emotional equivalent of a 12 year old, into the snare of a budding sex addict. Maybe some of you, a lot of you, can see where this is going to lead. But the truth is, I couldn’t. I didn’t know my husband was a sex addict. I didn’t know my sister had a mental illness. I knew she was a difficult human, and I had spent my life taking care of her. I knew my husband, a man who had been in my life for more than five years, had just the month before vowed to remain faithful to me. That is what I knew.

Blue Eyes went back to Law School in the Fall, and my sister procured a job at a local travel agency as their receptionist. She never had trouble getting those kinds of jobs. She was young and beautiful and full of energy (and drugs). Soon she was sleeping with her married boss at the office (this would begin a long line of married boss sexual relationships for her) and spending her evenings picking up guys at bars. She also briefly dated The Traveler (they were enamored with each other after their time spent at the beach on our wedding night). That ended very badly as The Traveler struggled with his own demons, was roughly a three hour drive away from us, and was often late for their “dates.” By the time he finally arrived, she was always drunk. In between seeing him, she slept around, a lot. One weekend afternoon while she was out and Blue Eyes was studying in his office, a young man in military uniform came to our door. He held his hat in his hand and nervously asked for my sister. He was so young, maybe 20 and he looked at me with big, sad eyes. I had never seen him before. He said he had met my sister in a bar a few weeks before and they had spent a lot of time together the first few days after they met, and then they had seen each other less frequently over the past two weeks, but he was in love with her. He wanted to ask her to marry him before he had to leave for service, but he couldn’t get a hold of her. He had called a mutual friend, but the friend was noncommittal. I invited him to the living room and explained as best I could that he did not want to marry my sister. I could tell from looking in his eyes that he did not believe me. He didn’t know me. Truth is though, he didn’t know my sister either.

He eventually left and when my sister came home to change clothes for the evening, I told her about the visit. She went nuts, totally unglued. She yelled and stomped and swore and said she had told him she never wanted to see him again. How could he possibly want to marry her? I came to realize, many years later, that the better they seemed, the kinder, the more generous, the more loving these boys were, the faster my sister ran from them. I don’t believe she could not see their value as a boyfriend or husband. I really feel she knew she could never be a proper girlfriend or wife and she needed to cut ties as quickly and brutally as possible for fear they would follow her forever. Once she cast her spell, they were hooked, and only anger, bitterness and abuse on her end would sever the bond. I know there are women who stay with abusive men, and people cannot understand it. Well, there are also men who stay with abusive women. We all have wounds.

Months passed and things were not better. One day I came home early from work as I wasn’t feeling well and I found Blue Eyes masturbating in our bedroom. I was devastated. I had never really thought about whether Blue Eyes masturbated when he wasn’t with me. I guess I figured he didn’t need to. When I was home, I was always available for him. I never turned him down. Of course we weren’t as active as we had been when we met or for the first couple years, but he never went without. I cried to him that what he was doing made me feel undesirable. I told him I couldn’t understand why waiting for me to get home so he could have “the real thing” wasn’t worth it. He said he had always masturbated and that it had nothing to do with me. He didn’t say it in a mean way and he was very loving and nurturing about it. He said he considered making love with me and his masturbating to relieve stress as two completely different things. I told him I kind of understood even though that was not something I felt like I needed, but we were different people with different needs. I never thought twice about it after that. And as Blue Eyes and I struggled to find some semblance of sanity in our lives, my sister became more and more unreasonable and unmanageable. Blue Eyes buried himself deeper and deeper into his studies and spent almost zero daytime with me unless it was a planned trip to see his parents for a holiday or another event. I spent more and more time at work and with friends.

I desperately wanted to move from my skirt-wearing desk job in the catering department, to a uniform wearing floor supervisor position in the events department. The catering department was fine and I had mastered every aspect of it, but it was all about the planning stages. Chatting up the clients, scheduling meetings, events, and menus. Although I loved going underground to the kitchens and chatting up the Japanese chefs and helping plan elaborate menus, it wasn’t very exciting the rest of the time. It was a nine to five job. I wanted to be on the floor, setting up the events, running around during the parties, making sure everything was perfect. I am a great organizer and manager.

My hours were totally flexible with Blue Eyes studying 24/7. I wanted something that was more interesting. There is a method to the madness in these large hotel chains. Generally speaking, you have to be willing to move locations in order to move up. Well, I couldn’t move because my husband still had more than a year of law school to go. We had been separated enough. I was passed by for the floor supervisor position. I was told I would not get it unless I was willing to move. This hotel was a training ground for many other hotels. The reason the job was open so often was because people were trained and moved out rapidly.

Blue Eyes was interviewing for summer law clerk positions back up in Portland. Neither of us wanted to live near his parents and so we planned to move back to my home post law school. He received a summer clerkship offer at the largest law firm in Portland at the time. We were both very excited. I quit my hotel job before his summer clerkship began. We ended up living with my parents for the summer and saving the money from his job to pay rent back in California and for rent and other expenses while I was looking for a new job. He still had one final year of law school to go. We had one car and since Blue Eyes was working downtown, I drove him into the office every day and picked him up every night. It was such a relief to be away from my sister. We had a great time that summer, which just confirmed that I hadn’t made a mistake marrying him and I knew our life would be better once he graduated Law School. The law firm planned numerous events for the clerks and significant others. Many of the summer clerks were not from Portland, so a lot of activities centered around getting to know the area. It was fun.

What was not so fun, however, was returning to California. When we arrived back at our apartment, it was a disaster. My sister obviously had not cleaned once during the three months we were gone. Things were broken and missing. The living room furniture was stained. Our old Japanese futons were saturated in cat urine (we had our cat with us). I just could not take it anymore. After a couple days of cleaning and asking what had happened to this, or that, and more of her belligerent and general alcohol-induced behavior, I said we needed her to move out. It was too stressful having her live with us. Of course she went berserk. She started yelling at me about what an awful person I am (I had been hearing that for years). We were standing outside Blue Eyes’ office in the living room and eventually in her screaming fit she said, well, “maybe you should ask your husband whether he wants me to go or not. He’s the one that thought I was good enough to have sex with.” She knew she had hit me hard. She just stood there with her arms crossed. I mean seriously guys, my sister turned heads. She was hot enough for any heterosexual guy to want to have sex with, but she was talking about Blue Eyes now. I believe I said, “did you have sex with him?” She looked at me like I had stabbed HER in the heart and she said, “oh, I knew you would blame this all on me.” I told her I wasn’t blaming anything on her, I just needed to know what happened.

So, the story goes like this. One day while I was off working and Blue Eyes was theoretically studying for exams at the end of the term before we left for Portland, my sister was in bed, most likely sleeping off a bender, and Blue Eyes approached. She woke up startled to see him there. She asked what the hell he was doing in her room. He asked her if she would give him a hand job. She said she screamed at him, “hell no, get the fuck out my room.” He then asked if he could masturbate in her panties. Yeah, this is painful to write but time to get it out here. She became even more angry and started yelling and throwing things at him. This story was added to by both my sister and Blue Eyes at the time and both stories matched. Later when she was more awake she said she went to him and told him that if he didn’t get some kind of help, she was going to tell me what he had done. He begged her not to. He said he would see a school counselor. He said he was under so much stress and he was sorry. What neither he or I knew at the time, was that my sister had been sexually molested and raped, by more than one person, one a family member, one a friend’s father, by the time she was 12. When I found this out many years later, it broke my heart that my husband had added to her already tumultuous history and fragile self worth.

After my argument with my sister post returning from Portland, we agreed that she would move out and that Blue Eyes and I would also move apartments. As much as I adored the place, I couldn’t live there anymore. It was closer to a job I didn’t have anymore than to Blue Eyes’ law school and we both needed a change of scenery. Blue Eyes went to a school counselor a few times and she told him that he was just stressed out from the pressures he was feeling all over the place and that was why he acted the way he did. Pressures at school and from his parents, pressures to get a lucrative job post law school, pressures as a newlywed, pressures having my sister living with us, etc… etc… etc… Poor poor Blue Eyes. She suggested he figure out a healthy way to de-stress, which he never did. During the time I was searching for a new apartment, I also procured a job at a University in the area working for two epidemiologists writing and editing grants and accumulating data for their large medical research projects. It was fun working on a college campus in a sunny climate. A real mood booster and I made new friends. Many of my friends from the hotel had moved on, mostly to other hotels in other cities over the time I worked there. Blue Eyes and I agreed that the apartment we would rent would be closer to my job since we had one car at this point and my day would be longer. He would drop me off and pick me up this time.

I guess if I was reading this about someone else, the question I would be thinking is… why wasn’t she more concerned about her husband’s behavior? I am sure what Blue Eyes did would be a deal breaker for some. I am going to be bluntly honest. I don’t know. We were 26 years old at this point. We had been together for more than five years. My husband had serious coping issues, and I knew this. I know people make mistakes. All people. I think I thought he had gone temporarily insane from the pressure. He apologized so convincingly and absolutely. My sister forgave him and just said, “Blue Eyes is an idiot.” If my sister could get over it, so could I. I was never jealous of my sister. I never believed my husband wanted to be with my sister. I always instinctively knew Blue Eyes had serious issues, but again, I thought he would mature. In the end, I guess he never matured, but in fact just managed and honed his addiction so that he could hide it and partake in it when he needed it without me being suspicious.

Moving into the new apartment was fine, but I still had so much time on my hands even after working all day at the University. I took an evenings and weekends job at a toy store in the mall, just a stone’s throw from our apartment. I was around people all day and night and barely had a day off. Blue Eyes continued his final year of studies. Things were fine with us. I was busy, but really just biding my time. We didn’t have the stress of my sister. The final year of law school was much less intense than the first two. Blue Eyes wasn’t nearly as stressed out all the time, and then, exactly 25 years ago yesterday (on my father-in-law’s 56th birthday), the condom broke and I just instinctively knew, I was pregnant.

12 thoughts on “Just another love story. Part fourteen: Testing the marriage.

  1. I think one of the sadder and harder aspects of being betrayed is dealing with the “oh come on! How could you not know?”sayers. Those who never said a thing. Those deeply smug people who either have never been betrayed in this manner, or don’t know they have. My former BFF was one. She tells me I was too trusting. But she knew Roger was friends with Leanne and she trusted him! She didn’t question it. But I was supposed to have somehow known? So we get a little defensive. “Oh, if only I was more onto it.” Well, judgey public. We were NOT aware of any issues. That is what communication was invented for. To share information and feelings. To avoid the “you should have been more wary” lines. Yeah. With 20/20 hindsight the propositions should have been further investigated. But we were YOUNG and life was still being learned. We still hadn’t quite had the penny fully drop that not everyone who loves us is decent and will always do the “right” thing.

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  2. This is why I find blogging so therapeutic. We can say whatever we want and we feel heard and understood by people who know what it feels like to be in our shoes, and to know that we are not alone. I saw a great counselor who helped me greatly, but most therapists are messed up in their own lives, and maybe not the best to give advice 😉

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    • That was definitely the case with Chatty Kathy. I think she will go down as the worst of them all. So selfish, self centered, with a really messed up relationship with her husband that she wouldn’t shut up about. I have to question the sanity of the people that referred her to us/me. What worried me was watching the other people go in to see her… I wanted to yell, “she’s a quack,” and run away.

      I also find blogging incredibly therapeutic and healing and I really care about many of the people I have met this way, present company included. Thanks for getting me. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I totally get it. I turned a blind eye to many things that were huge red flags. The fact that your sister played a part in this must make it even more difficult 😳
    I also notice this pattern of professionals dismissing the gravity of BEs actions and always turning it into “oh poor BE” and that really sucks.

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    • I guess we just believed in the goodness in people and that they loved us and didn’t mean to hurt us. I think the red flags to me were people being who they were, and me having no idea what it all meant. I knew BE was messed up to a certain degree. I learned really early in life that we’re all messed up in one way or another. I could be writing this story about BE taking drugs behind my back, or my sister giving him heroine or something and I don’t think people would be as critical. I know I wouldn’t have been as traumatized. Sex complicates everything.

      I actually, honestly, think having my sister involved hurt more only because she was so broken and in BE’s eyes, vulnerable and he tried to use that. In other ways, she received legitimate amends because she did not participate with him (although she was complicit in keeping the secret until we were in an argument) and we could all be open and honest over the years about what happened. When BE sat down with her after his diagnosis, I think it was then that, like me, she totally got it. The full picture was revealed. She kept her own secrets for decades. She was preferable to me over women who pursued sex with BE and who I can’t have a conversation with, and who don’t care about me and my feelings. xxx

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        • I totally get what you are saying, C, but remember… I grew up a caretaker. I was trained to take what was put in front of me and make the absolute best of it that I could. To try and keep everyone happy and civilized. My needs came second and that was somehow okay with me. I was very compassionate towards my husband. I took care of my sister for years. I knew she was incredibly broken. What I neglected to acknowledge until after d-day, was how what I was doing was actually hurting me. Considering what she could have done, I am totally proud of my sister for standing up to Blue Eyes… I mean, he was older, he was providing her a place to stay, she had sexual demons of her own, she used sex to medicate, cope and especially for her, manipulate as well. She didn’t do anything with BE because of how much she cared deeply for me. This I believe. She has hurt me in many other ways over the years, but not that time. I wish she had been honest that very day, as soon as I returned home, but most likely she ran away from it all, and a couple months time in the telling wouldn’t have changed much. She convinced herself that my knowing would mess things up and hurt me. I know she blamed herself for Blue Eyes propositioning her. She was a victim too. If we didn’t have the dynamic we had, with her being so much younger and relying on me so much, it might have hurt our relationship badly. As it is, she accepted Blue Eyes into the family as much as anyone and has managed to get along for the better part for 30+ years. In terms of my sister, the thing that has hurt me the most, is that she didn’t treat my two sons equally. She didn’t have the capacity to treat them both the same, even though I know she loves them both. It is still an issue for me and even though I know he wouldn’t admit it, I am sure it hurt our younger son as well.

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    • Also, the whole system is very sympathetic to the addict. The only one, in my opinion who treated me with respect, kindness, grace, and professionalism, was the Los Angeles trauma therapist. She was well trained and good at her job. The rest of them just saw me as a confident and aggressive female who expected too much of BE. Therapists want you to go to those broken places and be weak so they can repair you. I had already done a lot of that and didn’t want to live in that place anymore. It didn’t go over well. I think some of the therapists actually caused me trauma and hindered BE’s recovery progress. We live in a very imperfect world.

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  4. So…the counselor told Blue Eyes that he acted the way he did because he was stressed out and under pressure? Are you kidding me? I don’t even know what to think about your sister. I understand the abuse…believe me I do….but to betray your own sister…no. It was a double betrayal….from her and Blue Eyes.

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    • Technically I guess the counselor was correct, sort of without taking into account how horrible the behavior was, and any underlying causes. Obviously, however, she was not brilliant. BE also never told the truth, not even to the therapist he was seeing while he was full on cheating as recently as two and a half years ago.

      My sister was complicit only in the fact that she kept the information from me until she felt cornered by me. This happened with my best friend too. They claim they were protecting my feelings… until they decided not to anymore. I know my sister never would have done anything with my husband, ironically, she has been a fierce protector of mine over some very tumultuous years. The friend, not so much. I know her fragile ego fed off the attention of my husband. I loved her anyway, but sadly for the most part our friendship has ended.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’m glad to hear that about your sister. A sisters’ love and support is very important.
        Protecting feelings? That’s a cop-out. How much better off (and younger) I would have been if somebody had just considered my feelings…..and my HEALTH.

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