I had been a completely independent woman prior to meeting Bear, and now I somewhat depended on a man for the first time in my life – and it sucked. I wanted to leave as soon as I found out he was lying to me and being sneaky behind my back with this Stacy chick. We weren’t getting along, and I could not see myself with this man for any longer than I needed to be. Financially, neither of us were in any position to make any moves.
Bear was still on my case for not working enough hours. Even in a shitty economy, he felt I should make more money, and I had to remind him we live in one of the lowest paying counties in the state – and it’s a recession! What I was making, I could have lived somewhat comfortably on my own. No matter what I did, he wasn’t happy.
I could tell that Bear resented me. I could work fewer hours than he and make more, but he kept telling me what type of job he wanted me to have! He wanted me to work full time somewhere with retirement benefits, preferably a government job. That sounded grand and all, but the only jobs in my area like that were ones with specialties and/or experience I didn’t have. Some of his demands became clearer later.
Then the vodka talked again.
Stress flares up fibromyalgia, and I was in constant pain with insomnia. I was exhausted, and teaching young children didn’t help. Children demanded attention from me all day, and being an introvert, I just needed some space. Bear yelling at me didn’t help, either. He was drinking a lot more and being an ass. If I said that I was in a lot of pain, he yelled he was in a lot of pain. If I said something happened, he had a bigger problem. I was sick and tired of his competing with me about everything and wanting attention more than a normal person.
The vodka really kicked in when Bear began getting braver and louder, mocking me condescendingly (changing his voice along with it) about my home business. Bear said he was going to quit his job and do what I do, as if anyone can do it. He mocked me about other jobs I’d done in the past, as if what I did for a living then mattered in the present moment. He brought up things that were hurtful just to be hurtful. And that’s when I shut down.
When someone can’t have an adult conversation and acts the way Bear did, I shut down. I get quiet, go somewhere alone, and I don’t speak until I’m ready. In other words, we lived in the same house, but I stayed in a room alone and only attempted to come out when he wasn’t home. Sometimes that lasts for a few hours or a day. But this time was different. He crossed boundaries again, and there was no going back. This time my solitude lasted three days, because I had absolutely nothing to say to him. I’d already fallen out of love, but I was quickly losing any love I had left for him.
Apparently, Bear was so drunk, he didn’t remember what he said to me that caused me to be upset. I was completely over and done with that type of abuse from him. Growing up in a house with that going on, I certainly would not live my adult life that way. Again, I was in no financial situation to leave, and I was afraid if I let on that I wanted to leave, he’d make my life even worse.
One afternoon right before the Thanksgiving holiday, Bear said he wanted to talk. I wasn’t sure what he was going to say, except maybe complain again that he wasn’t getting sex. He made us some strong drinks; we talked a little about what was going on in the marriage, and then he said it.
“I think we should separate.”
Wow. I was dumbfounded, because I didn’t expect him to be the one to say it first. It really was shocking! Of course, my mind wandered, thinking he’s already hooking up with this Stacy chick. It was an all-around emotional moment, because I was feeling so many things at once. Knowing for sure that the real ending to my marriage was unraveling felt like a slow death in the family. I finally said what should have been said weeks ago.
“What’s going on with you and Stacy?”
He cannot possibly pretend he doesn’t know who the fuck I’m talking about!!
“Your friend, Stacy, the one you talked to for an hour and a half on the phone and send text messages to all the time.”
He looked me dead in the face in the same exact way a scared, guilty, lying three-year-old does and said: “No, I haven’t.”
“You can’t lie about it. It’s on our phone bill.” I rolled my eyes, almost laughed at the absurdity.
“No, I haven’t been texting her. I only talked to her once when I told you, not for 90 minutes.”
“Oh really? Because it’s on our phone bill. 90 minutes, text messages. It’s all there. You can’t lie about it.”
He knew I caught him, but he still denied it.
“IT’S ON OUR FUCKING PHONE BILL, BEAR!! STOP LYING!!”
I was furious at his childish behavior and the needless lies. Again, I felt like I couldn’t have a serious talk with him about anything without lies or projection or getting into another argument. I don’t know how in the hell he thought he could get out of it when proof was literally in black and white.
Suddenly, Bear remembered he must have sent Stacy something, but said that she didn’t reply. That confirmed where I saw on the bill that he was the one initiating the conversations. He told me about her health issues (same ones I had and then some, but never acknowledged mine). I didn’t give a rat’s ass about some woman I didn’t even know that was somehow involved in my marriage. He assured me that there was nothing going on with Stacy and him, that they were just friends. However, in my mind, she was the reason he wanted to separate; he was already lining up his next relationship. No wonder he wanted me to have a certain type of job; he was planning to leave me and didn’t want to have to pay me any type of support if there was a big income difference.
There was a lot to discuss, but there wasn’t. Which animals to separate? When was I planning to move? I still had to finish out the school year and needed that time to save what I could. It was a tiring conversation, a sad one, and being so close to my animals, it was also heartbreaking to know I wouldn’t be with all of them. And Bear was my best friend, so I felt like my entire life was falling apart.
The day Bear and I separated was the same day my ex-husband (child’s father) got married. Even though she was already an adult, Baby Girl took the separation news pretty hard. Our entire family and friends were shocked, because we’d kept hidden the worst parts of our relationship. No one had suspected a thing. But the worst was yet to come.