All on the table
2001-03-08 23:54:39 (UTC)

Here goes... I am in my 40s,..

Here goes...

I am in my 40s, married for almost 20 years. I have a
daughter, a wonderfully talented 16 y.o., Kristine. However, I
have a dead marriage - and it has been for 12 years. My
wife, Ann, is very controlling, obsessive, and cold. How cold?
She never kissed me this Valentine's Day. We did not have
sex at all during 2000. Plenty more of that anger to
come... but let me move on for now.

For these 20 years, I have never had sex with another
woman, so you could consider me a faithful husband. Or
not. You see, there is a close friend of mine at work, Suzie,
that is going through a separation with her violent, abusive
husband. She and I have been friends for six years - for the
last three years, when I confronted her about her bruises,
I've known she was being beaten at home. One month ago,
she took her two children and left him. She and I have
talked more and more privately over the last four months,
and we've become quite close. We hug, hold hands, kiss, and
find time away from work to spend with each other. I have
not had sex with her, and I won't yet. I have to draw the
line somewhere, and i've drawn that at physical passion, but
I know that I've already gone too far emotionally with her.
Am I a faithful husband? Between my legs, yes. In my heart,
no, I'm already gone...

When I was in high school, Gail used to sing me the song
"Stuck in the middle with you." I think I am stuck now,
where I shouldn't be, with too many people I will hurt sooner
or later. It isn't my nature to hurt people - so much that it
is a fault of mine that I avoid being up front and direct to
foolishly spare feelings. But, it will happen:

I know I am hurting Ann already. As cold as she is, she
isn't used to me being just as cold, and I certainly have been
for the past year. I did confront her two weeks ago with
how much I thought our marriage needed help, and asked her
to see a marriage counselor with me. She thought about it
for a few hours and turned me down cold. I will walk out on
her some day, too, and it will cost me financially very dearly,
but I will gain myself back when I do.

I know I have hurt Suzie, because I know my relationship with
her is over the line. She has an already horrible situation,
and while I want to be as good a friend as I can, I'm adding
emotional complications to the mix.

And Kristine - oh, my God, what have I done over the years
to my child? Her example of a marriage and a home has
been a cold, emotionless struggle for power for as long as
she can remember. I thought all these years that I should
stay in the marriage for her sake... until a friend of mine just
recently pointed out what a horrible disservice it has been to
her not to see two adults in love as a model for the kind of
relationships she should have.

I just don't know... and I can't undo any of this. What I can
do now, my new friends, is at least put it all out on the
table and start to deal with it.

Thanks for reading...

- Samuel