Sunday, December 18, 2005

My marriage, part ten

Disclaimer: Aah.. fuck it again.

This is the tenth part. The tenth!

Ok, where were we? Ah, RedHead's rashes.

The doctors couldn't pinpoint the reason, so we were stuck with her itching. We excluded all the food that we could think of that might have an impact. Tomatoes, strawberries, ketchup, paprika, white bread and so on. What ever we could think of that might make a change.

We kept track on everything she ate. One week she would only eat pasta with meatballs for a couple of days and we would watch if the rashes got better or worse. Then we added something, a piece of white bread or some sauce and watch what happened. For a while it seemed to get much better and then suddenly we seemed to be back on square one. The results were suddenly inconsistent.

I soon found out what was going on. Since RedHead had gained a lot of weight and was nearing the 100 kg (220 lbs) fast and having trouble with her knees, I had long pleaded to her to stop stuffing her mouth with chocolates and soft drinks since those too, more than likely, might have an impact on her rashes. For a while I could just as well have been talking to a wall. She just wouldn't listen. She pretended that she had stopped eating and drinking that stuff but instead did it in secrecy. I got mad as hell and asked her if she wanted a divorce since she obviously had no intention to get well. In anger I told her that if she was to commit suicide, there were a lot faster ways than waiting for a cardiac arrest. She told me to go to hell. She ate and drank whatever she wanted to.

I didn't mind RedHead getting a bit plump but I did mind when she complained about it and then stuffed her face with everything she shouldn't eat. Especially when the things she ate caused other difficulties. She has inherited her biological fathers frame, which means that the excess body fat is all but evenly distributed. It all ends up on her stomach. Years after CartoonBoy's birth and after she initially lost the "birth weight", people suddenly started to ask if she was pregnant again.

One night we sat down and discussed all of this. I told her I couldn't go on seeing her destroy herself. Her rashes hadn't become any better, our sex life was non-existent and I had started to fear that they would call me from her work, telling me she had been hospitalized or even worse. I also told her that I took it as if she didn't want to have sex anymore, since she didn't seem to care about what she ate and definitely didn't seem to care about me. When I told her that we hadn't even cuddled for more than a year, she told me that it was because she didn't want to get sweaty. If she got sweaty, she started itching.

-Yes, and still you eat those things that make it even worse."

During all of this I had begun to learn a lot about computers. The forum where I used to spend most of my spare time transformed from a nice oasis on the web to a kindergarten for grown-ups. The tone changed from polite to pie-throwing and I stopped visiting it. I found other places to hang out. Most importantly I started to write again. Short stories, articles and some poetry. I found a lot of friends and felt I was on the road to recovery, in spite of the trouble we had with RedHead's rashes.

For some reason, most of my new friends were women. Of all ages, ranging from the 19-year old punk-girl to the 78-year old great grandmother with 8 children, 25 grandchildren and a small village's worth of great grandchildren. There were ordinary mum's who were happily married and single mom's who had been abused, women who had lost their babies and women who refused to have babies. One woman confessed she cheated on her husband on a regular basis, another had done it once and was very remorseful. What's important though, is that I never got tempted to meet these women in real life. Not the very cute punk-girl, not the good-looking woman who cheated on her husband, not any of them.

Then, at some point during 2002, I returned to the first forum. It was the usual stuff with people flaming each other, people who pretended to be more intellectual than they were and people who didn't mind putting others down. The biggest difference was that there were more people hanging on the forum. And then there was this young woman putting up posts everywhere.

At first, I thought she was just another bubble-head but I soon started to notice that there was more to her. Behind all the *lol* and *lmao*, rants and flames, there was a bright brain, even though she sometimes wrote things without thinking first, or at least gave that impression. I don't remember if I answered one of her posts or wrote a reply on another but we started to chat with each other on the forum and one day, just like that, I found that I was infatuated by her. At that time I still didn't know what she looked like but I didn't care. I had this feeling she would look good. Then she posted a picture of herself and it just blew me away.

She wasn't magazine cover beautiful but the combined effect of her hair, eyes, face and, above all, her smile knocked me over. I felt like a bloody teenager. Considering my age, I felt bloody stupid too. I can honestly say that if she had lived closer to me, I would've left RedHead, regardless of the consequences. That's how bad it was. I felt like I was living in a fucking love drama.

We started to chat over MSN and she became not only a dream but also a very good friend in whom I confided with the most private of things. She still knows more about me than any other person, including RedHead.

Of course there were feelings of guilt on my part. I was living together with a woman who had endured three child births, whom I had sworn to love through "lust and need" and whom I appreciated for the years she had put up with me. Still, it felt like something had slowly died between us the last couple of years. My depression and her lack of sex drive didn't help much either.

Now I had three battles to fight. First of all against my own demons that only very slowly had withdrawn. Then there was RedHead’s rashes. And then there was my own guilt.

During the summer of 2002 we had been bathing a lot and spent much time outdoors. The sun seemed to have a good effect on her rashes and we actually had sex once. I, having bought a digital camera, took a lot of pictures of RedHead and the kids. One of these pictures showed RedHead in profile. When she saw it she asked me if I had altered it in any way. I told her I hadn't, which was true.

-No wonder people ask me if I'm pregnant again. I look as if I'm giving birth any second."

Finally she realized that she had to do something. She started to listen to what I found out about her rashes on the net and stopped drinking soft drinks. She allowed herself chocolate on weekends. She avoided white bread, hamburgers and anything that contained a lot of citric acid. Through her job she got the chance to become a member of Weight Watchers for free and by Christmas she had lost 15 kilos (33 lbs) and weighed 82 kilos (180lbs).

During fall of 2002 I found a letter on the kitchen table. It was from my old friend "kronofogden", the enforcement officer who takes care of unpaid debts and taxes. I thought we had got rid of that guy... I opened the envelope and just stared at the line at the bottom. Then I gave the paper to RedHead and asked her what the hell this was about. Remember we earlier managed to pay off 5/6 of my old debts? All those years I had thought that she was taking care of the bills and old debts, well... she wasn't. She paid the rent and the other bills, like electricity, but not one single Swedish krona on my old debts and other "unnecessary" bills. For some reason she considered especially the TV-license as "not so necessary" to pay.

(We pay about 450 SEK/quarter for our public television. RedHead had managed to give me another 30.000 SEK in debt. That's a lot of "I'll pay that next month". To top it off, her biological father had died and left some money. Did she use that to reduce our debts? No, instead she somehow managed to get us even deeper in shit, which I was soon to discover.)

She claimed these new debts had occurred during my sickness. I pointed to the dates. Not one of them was from the time after I got sick. In fact, they had all occurred during the time we both worked, when we had money to spare. We had a somewhat heated argument about where the money went but she couldn’t explain how a family of two adults and three children failed to live on a budget that would support a family with twice as many children.

The argument ended with me leaving the kitchen, shaking my head in disbelief. I felt like giving up altogether. I had literally been working myself to sickness, earned a lot of money and she was to cheap to pay all the bills. Especially a bill that came every third month.

Then I got furious, (maybe I should thank RedHead?), and decided that this was never to happen again. I took complete control of our budget, bills, shopping, the lot. This is how I discovered that she not only managed to put a load of debts on my shoulders, but she had also managed to get herself in debt by shopping via mail-order and "forgetting about it". I believe that most men would have left her, then and there, but I didn't. Not because of RedHead but because of the kids.

One of the things that saved me was that I had my "romance". I learned that even though I had a rough time, there were people who really had it worse. Even though I felt guilty about my feelings towards her, she had become the light that kept me going. Another was my writing, but above all, my kids saved me from falling through.

I was still studying but in late 2002 I had to quit since RedHead fell ill with a big boil in her groin. Damn, it was nasty! She had to have surgery and the consequence of it was that she needed help 24/7 with the simplest of things. I had to quit school. It was impossible to take care of her, the kids and my studies at the same time.

In spring of 2003 I took a firm grip on our budget, paying as much of the debts we could afford without starving. Since RedHead worked afternoons, and slept most of the mornings, it stopped her from shopping. I planned our dinners weeks ahead, thus knowing exactly how much money we spent. I never told her how much money we had, ever. I didn't trust her anymore and only gave her enough money to buy cigarettes, the occasional chocolate and tabloid. Other than that, she had to ask me first.

Her rashes came and went during this time. Her periods lasted for ten days and she had hardly recovered from one before the next was due. I tried to persuade her to use tampons, to reduce the temperature in and around her crotch. She refused since "tampons are disgusting" and "I'm used to bandages". I never succeeded.

A week before her birthday in June we once again discussed the problem. I told her we hadn't slept with each other, not even cuddled, for more than a year now and that I got very frustrated in helping her out sexually but always getting that infamous phrase thrown at me. If she wanted to stay married to me she'd better get her act together and start to see us as a couple, not as two separate entities where one was always on the receiving end and the other always had to give, especially when it was about sex.

And the rashes... She still ate things we both knew made it worse. As long as she had those rashes, intercourse was impossible. And, for what it's worth, I strongly believe that satisfying sex is one of the components that keep a relationship alive. One can love people without sex but you can't be lovers without it.

Yes, there will be a part 11.


ScandinavienNova said...

Has it already been so many years? 2002.. well, tha was a good year.

I guess that this hair headed woman with that nice smile just put up an act when she was writing, she did not want everyone know that she had more the cotton between her ears..and I do think that she tends to write before thinking :)

ScandinavienNova said...

hmm.. air head should it be not headed woman..hehe, at least I seem to be writing before thinking ;o)

PissedOffPencil said...

Luckily, your not be-headed, even if one might think so looking at your first comment. :D

The opposite of a hair headed woman must be... a bald man? ;)

ScandinavienNova said...

As you see, I did not get it correct even the second time LOL

Men du.. bara så du vet så berörde den här posten mig väldigt mycket. Och jag har på inget sätt glömt den tiden heller... Som jag brukar tänka: Du vet och jag vet..det är som allt som behövs sägas tror jag.

Du är lixom en på miljonen mina kära B.

thatfarmgirl said...

POP - Uggs are suede boots with shearling inside. They are incredibly warm, yet the shearling keeps your feet from sweating. You can wear them summer or winter! Unfortunately, my dog ate one of mine the first night I bought them a few years ago.

Catherine Vocalist said...

Goodness gracious, pop. You can qualify for sainthood with all you've put up with with Redhead. No disrespect but if something like that would happen to me with my partner, I would be furious and I don't know if I would be able to get past it.

I applaud you. You're a better person than me.

Virginia Gal said...

This is like reading a really good book, I just hope it has a happy ending (my fingers are crossed).

Francesca said...

You are giving good insight into the ups and downs of marriage, relationships, and family life, that is from a male perspective.

Looking forward to Part 11 (and the disclaimers!) lol

Me said...

Shit, this marriage sounds like a real mess! And this is coming from me-a woman separated from her husband and about to divorce him for good! YIKES! I hope things get better in your next post!!