Hope everyone’s had a good week! We’ve been in Missouri, spending time with my parents and extended family and celebrating my mom’s birthday. We head back him tomorrow. Happy Mother’s Day to all who celebrate, and happy weekend to everyone. Here are a few links you might find interesting:
“According to psychologist Amanda Gesselman, associate director for research at Indiana University’s Kinsey Institute, the pandemic has motivated American singles to look for partners rather than casual sex. While ‘there will [certainly] be people having the time of their lives’ when it’s safe to do so, Gesselman says, ‘we actually found that people are less interested in no-strings-attached sex than they used to be.'” — Are we really in for a summer of love? A post-vaccine dating investigation.
Happy Friday! We’ve made it to the end of April – what T.S. Eliot famously called “the cruelest month.” For many of us, the pandemic winter – both the literal one and the figurative one – is over and we are moving to the next phase: the re-birth of spring. Tomorrow Drew and the kids and I get to see my parents for the first time since before the pandemic. To say the kids are excited is an understatement. Joanie was four the last time she saw her grandparents in person. Now she’s closing in on six, has lost a couple of teeth, and has learned how to read. Jackson, 9-1/2, wears glasses now, has grown about a foot, and looks like he’s aged about five years in the past 15 months. My mom has a milestone birthday in a few days, and I’ve been thinking about her last milestone birthday a decade ago when my parents still lived in Germany and Drew and I (and Jackson in utero) met them in London (where Drew had been covering the royal wedding for work). It almost feels like a different lifetime. Anyway, I’m very grateful to science and good fortune that we get to continue making memories. I’m looking forward to May and to the months ahead as we continue moving back to a new normal and embrace the things we’ve missed for so long.
I hope you all have a great weekend, and here are a few links that may interest you:
I started dated my fiancée, “Karen,” in 2018 when she was 23 and I was 26. I proposed to her last month on our three-year anniversary. She has a great heart and personality (when she isn’t upset or angry), but she grew up unstable. When she was 9, her mother and father separated. Her father didn’t have much to do with Karen because she had been the result of an unexpected pregnancy. In addition, her mother abused drugs – and still does – and abused Karen when she was little. So, when she was 9, Karen’s grandmother and grandfather began raising her and continued until she was 20 or 21. They also weren’t the best role models (they argue daily, gamble, and are manipulative) but they still financially supported Karen (and helped with college). But Karen has mirrored their behavior all of her life, and it has affected our relationship.
The first five months of our relationship were heaven, with no problems at all. I will say, however, that one red flag did come up in our second month when she asked, “Are you on your period?” But then she said was “joking.” Then, after around five months of dating, Karen’s ex started to reach back into her life (sending texts and even sending flowers) because he was jealous. She told me every single time when her ex would reach out or do anything. Nothing was hidden. I told her it was best for us to ignore him unless his behavior became harassment or stalking. This went on for at least four months and started to cause tension. Around this time, Karen moved back in with her grandparents to help them out financially. Since I visited often, I’d see the toxic behavior that Karen had witnessed all of her life.
So, long story short, I feel like Karen is toxic, narcissistic, definitely aggressive, and controlling. An example: I mentioned to her that I think I want a new car, and her response was, “You should try to have a plan about marriage, a home, and children first.” She has asked why it took me three years to propose to her. She has also emasculated me and called me names at times, and had given me an ultimatum that if we weren’t married at two years, we were done. She has broken up with me at least twelve times. I’m beginning to feel like our marriage would be miserable. On one hand, I have the most amazing, wonderful, caring, loving, fiancée (she cooks, cleans, and is affectionate, caring, and loyal) but on the other hand, she can be vengeful, intimidating, and a hateful demon.
I want our relationship to work, but I don’t want to be miserable the rest of my life. I already have cold feet about marriage. — Cold Feet After a Month
My spouse of 23 years was diagnosed with terminal cancer last August. In September, after starting chemo, she told me a coworker would shave her head. I said I wanted to do it, and she offered that, because he was bald, he would be best. She brought home an electric razor a few days later. When I saw it, I told her that this was a signal event and I could easily shave her head. I wanted every moment with her. She offered odd excuses. It got my antennae up. He shaved her head.
I did something I had never done before: I went through her phone. I found she had been having a torrid affair with the head shaver. Over time I learned, using computer forensic skills, that the affair had lasted for 3+ years and had included trips to Vegas and elsewhere. Two of her girlfriends often provided cover. There were receipts for hotel visits 1-2x a month, lewd venmo messages, pictures, texts, secret credit cards, etc. It wasn’t just that she was good and had help; I had trusted her.
While she was forced to admit the affair, it took repeatedly presenting evidence for her to stop lying about much of what I described above. She did volunteer that all the sex was without protection. It also became clear that she had been trying to get me to agree to buy a house near this man prior to my discovery — and has tried repeatedly since. I feel so betrayed.
To say I was floored is an understatement — it came out of left field. I thought we were doing well. We spent time together, are raising two teenagers together, share in household tasks (I do 99% now), and, I thought, loved each other very much. She says that she has been unhappy—AND that she is newly polyamorous.
Ok, now for the twists. I haven’t left. As I mentioned, she has terminal cancer. It may be in months or years, but she is dying. I vowed to care for her in sickness and health, and I honor that vow. I want my kids to understand such commitment, but I also made clear to them that this affair is not okay and that I would otherwise leave. I have been on the couch since September, caring for her without complaint. She tells everyone I am doing a great job of it. But, she is angry that I won’t sleep in the bed.
Twist number two: She refuses to stop the affair, even now. When she isn’t debilitated by chemotherapy, she sees him. I did move out for a time, coming back each day to care for her and the kids, but she attempted suicide soon after, and I came back to protect the kids and to help her. I can’t stand the idea of taking them from her or leaving them alone with her in such precariousness.
The kids and I are in therapy, btw; that base is covered. But, I am incredibly stuck. I alternate between bereft and crestfallen. Ideas? — Bereft and Crestfallen