Janet: "Mark and I were married nearly 20 years. We have four wonderful children; Julie, age ten; Denise, age twelve; Anthony, age fifteen; and Michael, age seventeen. Mark has always been a great participant in parenting. If there was a contest as to the world's greatest father, I think our children would nominate him and I would second the motion.
In fact, everything Mark did was exemplary. I always felt inferior to his abilities and accomplishments. The only way I felt I could measure up to Mark was to be so pretty and sexy that he wouldn't notice all my shortcomings and if he did, he would hopefully ignore them. He would often say, "It's a good thing you're so cute!"
We lived in the gilded ghetto. Everyone in our community were either millionaires, close to being millionaires or multi-millionaires. All the wives had Botox, facial fillers like Juvederm, Restiyn, silicone, etc. The plastic surgeons could make a living just from the women in my community.
I'm sure they had a few male patients as well. The women had everything imaginable worked on. My neighbor even had her vagina fixed; and I don't mean tightened. She had that procedure done years ago. She told me she had it made "prettier." Anyway, you get the picture by now.
All the husbands worked long, hard hours and most genuinely wanted to give their wives and children the best that money could buy. The kids all went to private schools. They all played in some kind of sport activity, had far too much homework and many were so overloaded with extracurricular activities that they were worn out each evening, hardly able to get up for school without prodding from their parents.
They were under pressure to perform and succeed, so their teachers and parents could feel better about themselves. The competition was outrageous. We were creating the next generation of automatons. Many of my girlfriends, who are moms, stay in bed each morning until everyone leaves.
Some, like me, wake up early to make breakfast. Some have live- in nannies and many kids just have to figure out what to eat on their own. Mark was not a typical husband and father. I guess one might think of him as obsessive/compulsive. I certainly did. He had to be the best.
His compulsivity affected his health. He developed high blood pressure at an early age. He was only 45. His father had a heart attack at the same age. Mark wanted to make everyone happy to a fault. He was also a workaholic. He worked himself sick to make sure we had what everyone else had because his earnings were not quite as high as most of our neighbors and friends, but you would never know that.
I mean, he made a very good living, but I guess everything is relative. He just didn't want to deny any of us anything everyone else had. I suppose it would have made him feel like less than a man. Mark was a control freak and I was a typical dependent housewife, trying to do the best I could to meet his expectations.
He was generous to a fault but I never could meet up to his standards. Taking the path of least resistance had always been my nature. I really don't know what came first; my ineptness or his "take charge of everything" personality. It doesn't matter, only that we managed to find each other. I guess my dependence was seeking someone who I could count on to take care of me.
I didn't realize when I married at 22 that the price would be so high. I convinced myself and everyone else that he was perfect and we made the perfect couple. My father was absent most of my life. My parents divorced when I was 10, but they argued for years, since the dawn of my memory. I was the youngest of three and depended on my two older brothers to do the job that should have been my Dad's.
My brothers resented the surrogate role of Dad and husband they had to take on, and I always felt that something was missing. I was not unlike my mother who cried like a baby most of the time, complaining she had no one to help her. I will admit that except for the crying, I identify most with her.
Mark and I rarely had much to say to each other, except perhaps on the weekends when we would go out. But even then, it was always with other couples, most of which I chose and he disliked. One of my positive features was that I was sociable, so I arranged most social events. Our communication with one another was minimal, as we rarely saw each other due to his self-imposed heavy work schedule and picking up the slack of what I didn't accomplish.
Mark's need to "make it" over shadowed everything; although, he would take a defensive posture to that. He would justify his long hours and noble effort to the cause of giving the kids and me a better life. I believed him, but somehow, it felt like bull shit. Not that is wasn't so, but I think he also enjoyed the feelings of being powerful and providing plentifully.
He enjoyed wearing the white hat, being super Dad, super coach, and just plain "Superman!" I am sure it fed his ego to enable my shopping addiction. Now that I think of it, he never said no to any of my wishes, even the ones that were inordinately unnecessary and some that were even risky. Our intentions were good, however, the outcome was disastrous.
Mark came from a family where he had to learn very early to take care of his mom and younger brother. His Dad was sick from the time Mark was born and died when Mark was 11. From that time forth, Mark was also the surrogate husband to his mother and the surrogate father to his younger brother.
That didn't play out well for him as he literally had to give up his childhood to become an adult before his time. His training as a child to behave like an adult prepared him for marrying me. So, we each did what came naturally. As the years progressed, so did my plastic surgery.
I had my nose done, my eyelids, two boob jobs, regular Botox injections, all kinds of skin enhancements and fillers—and I am sure by any standards of the American Psychiatric Association, I was Anorexic. I only ate raw foods and hardly enough to feed a rabbit and worked out excessively.
I think it was about control. I had to find a way to balance my life and feel like I had some power over it. I guess those were the ways I did. The other way was to pretend to enjoy sex. In reality I hated it. I can't understand how Mark couldn't feel my absence during our love-making; either he never noticed that I was MIA or he never expected or even asked me to initiate any sex; a role he always assumed was his.
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