In the summer of 1979, I finally got my big break in the job market. Having only a high school degree was a limiting factor in what jobs you could get, and how much income you could earn. Everything was manufacturing, retail, or food service for me. None of which paid much more than minimum wage. However, in 1979 I was hired by IBM (okay, still manufacturing) and doubled my annual salary. And the cherry on top was that they were also willing to help fund my college education (something I had always dreamed of)!
WOW! I was so excited! I had no idea that this was a BIG bump in the road for my marriage.
Imagine my surprise, when my husband told me how much he didn’t like it. Not one little bit. He didn’t like that I was going to school and making myself “better than him”. He didn’t like that I worked around 90% men. He didn’t like that I was earning more money than him, and he didn’t like the fact that this made me feel empowered to want more.
I was both shocked and in denial. I thought, surely he’ll get over it. I’m sure that he’ll come to appreciate how much I can help. We’ll be able to live in a nicer house, go on vacations, do more things! Boy, was I wrong.
Many a Friday night when I would go to school, he would drop off our son at his mother’s and go out with friends. He started to coach the girls softball team at work. I didn’t think anything of it, because I was on the girls softball team. It seemed as if the better I did at work, the more we fought. Then came the “ultimatum.” In order for our marriage to stand “a chance”, I needed to give up my job and my education.
I was floored. And yet, we still hadn’t really reached the end of the road. We agreed that maybe a separation was in order. Maybe we just needed time apart to realize that the grass wasn’t really greener on the other side. So, we sold the house and each moved into our own place. Me into an apartment, him into his parents old house and caretaker of the Isaac Walton. We dated other people, yet we still talked and remained fairly good friends. After a few months, we decided to give it another chance.
Unfortunately, nothing had changed. I wasn’t what he wanted in a wife and I wasn’t about to change. The signs became clearer each passing day. He’d spend more, and more, time out with the girls softball team and I would go home to watch and care for our son. The end of the road was coming quickly.
I found that I didn’t care if he went out “with the girls.” I had my son, my job, my school. I spent my time at work, at the gym, at school, at home doing homework and playing on the girls softball he coached. Then came the night that when the road ended.
End of the Road!
He stayed out until 4:00 AM. When he came home, he slept on the couch. The next morning, he told me he had spent most of the evening with one of the girls. He wasn’t sure, but he might be interested in her. Maybe we should try another separation so he could work through his feelings. Keep Reading...