I recalled a recent Sunday afternoon walking the few blocks home from a museum to our New York City apartment when I said to him, teasingly, "You know, if this were our first date, it would also be our last." He didn't answer.
"Either you've turned into a really boring person or something is bothering you," I prodded. "Is something bothering you?" He still didn't answer.
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"Is there something the matter with us?" I ventured. No response.
Finally he said, "I guess I just don't have enough time to myself. Like time to really read the paper." We had a 14-month-old daughter who had been born seven weeks prematurely. Between getting her settled in and working full-time, neither of us had enough time to ourselves. How To Survive Your First Year Of Marriage
I almost started to laugh. "I don't think you get time to yourself for years."
We had a full-time babysitter, but she left on weekends. Saturdays, I usually took care of shopping and did things with our daughter. He took some time to play squash at the University Club. Whatever time to himself he didn't think he was getting, it was a lot more than I was.
I felt increasingly distant from him even though he was just a few feet from me when we were at home. It was the worst kind of loneliness— feeling alone when there's someone so close by.
Finally I ventured, tentatively, "Is there someone else involved? I don't want to try and guess what's the matter with us if there's a third party." Instead of reassuring me, he didn't say a word.
"Well, if the answer isn't no, it must be yes," I continued. Still he was silent.
"Well, it must be Marion," I concluded. Marion was a woman he worked with at Citibank, and I'd once said to him, "If I were less secure I'd be jealous of Marion because you're always saying how great she is." His answer then had been, "If you ever saw her face, you'd never be jealous."
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But he must have decided that whatever he thought of her face, it wasn't that important. Or maybe she made him feel better than I did—telling him how clever and smart he was. In truth, I thought he was smart, and handsome, and a good father. He would walk around cradling our baby on his shoulder to comfort her when she was crying; he would tuck her in at night with her stuffed donkey, Nelson, and then make a cup of cocoa for me.