Working it Out

Our first year of marriage I started out working nearly full time in a fabric store.  One of my classes had a practical requirement, so I had to fit in some hours volunteering at a local daycare.  By the end of the semester, that became a full time job for me and I was able to quit the fabric store.

One day, for some reason after we had been married about six months, I logged onto MrJJ’s email account.  I found a completely empty inbox.  The sent box contained at least one message.  One message is all I needed to read.  It was to some woman.  It  read: I love you @>—->——-

For those that don’t know, the last thing is an internet version of a rose.  I can’t even remember if there were other emails, I just remember changing his password and logging off. My heart plummeted.  Even just typing this out, my stomach is in knots.  I had to go to work, while there I vented  to a friend.  She agreed I needed to confront.  When I came home, I stormed into the apartment.  MrJJ was shocked.  He said it was nothing, just someone he met in a chat room.  It was a game, she wasn’t real to him.  He had no problem with me monitoring his emails or ending it.

She became real when he got a picture and card from her a couple of weeks later.  She had discovered where he worked and sent it there.  It freaked him out.

But the lesson I learned was that my newlywed husband didn’t love me.  He couldn’t, or he wouldn’t have been able to betray me like that, right?  I also learned that he thought internet flirtations were ok as long as they were online.

I further felt  devalued when I found a letter he wrote to his ‘crush teacher’.  You know, the young teacher in high school that the guys all have a thing for?  J.W. was that teacher and apparently nearly had an inappropriate encounter with MrJJ while he was in school.  MrJJ kept in contact with her now and then.  This particular letter detailed all of his accomplishments.  And, on the back of page two, two small sentences.  “I also got married this year.  You’d like her, she’s nice.”  I was a foot note in his life.  Yet I loved him desperately.

Our relationship, our marriage, became me feeling unloved.  Like I had to earn the love.  Then resentment would build up and I’d blow up at MrJJ  I have a quick mind when it comes to words and I can be very caustic.  MrJJ would feel left behind, confused, attacked.  He’d lash out physically.  He’d shove me, grab me, pull me.  On two occasions he lifted me off the ground by the neck.  I never called it abuse.  An abused wife had bruises and broken bones.

It became my fault.  I’m a bitch, I’m a nag, I’m too controlling.  I accepted it.  I have always been harder on myself than anyone else.  I was a combination of the proud, independent woman I had always dreamed of being when my stepmother was controlling me, and the weak girl-woman that so desperately wanted her husband’s love.  I resented it, I held it in and lashed out about other things.  I kept the core of who I was secret and protected.

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