Breaking Things & a Broken Marriage
As I’ve been writing about my marriage, I hadn’t realized there were so many unresolved issues. It sucks that I couldn’t talk to Bear about things that really bothered me. If it was something he did that bothered me, he ended up throwing a fit and refusing to talk about it. (When he did that in front of a family counselor, I shut down from trying to resolve things that bothered me about him.) The last days of living together, life often became unbearable. If I didn’t leave the house, I locked myself in my room and binge watched The Office. It was the only thing that made me laugh, to get me through this horrible time in my life of feeling alone in a house with a stranger that I used to trust. Everything was unpredictable, and I’m sure I was one of those things.
One day, Bear mentioned something to me he wouldn’t have come up with on his own. This is another example of how I knew he was listening to someone else, and the feeling I got was that this was someone I knew. Bear insinuated that I only wanted the marriage to end when the money ran out. The money ran out? What money? We never had money, but we had much less of it now. This seemed like more of an issue to him than to me. He likes status, and I couldn’t care less. For my husband to accuse me of basically being a gold-digger proved to me he didn’t know me at all – and that hurt a lot. Did I really just waste seven years of my life with a man that didn’t even want to know me deeper than surface level? All of this emphasized my feeling that money was more important to Bear than being real, and I could never stay in a relationship with a man like that.
When we first met, Bear said similar things about his first wife – that she used him so she could go to school. (I would’ve loved to have a talk with her!) He had significant benefits from his job, but his wages were no more than a teacher’s. His extra pay that helped out a lot was because of being married and for housing – and he’s the one that brought all of this money situation up before we married. By the time Bear got out with his 20 years in service, he should have been a much higher rank (people in their 12-15th year were making his rank), but he was unmotivated to better himself. His retirement would’ve been much higher. And the $30K that he insisted on using to buy the house we ended up short selling? That was part of his retirement deducted. These were all things at the beginning of the relationship that I had warned him about, because I thought they were bad financial decisions. He wanted what he wanted, so he got it.
I made a very conscious effort throughout the marriage never to call names or intentionally insult my husband – and sometimes it was hard, especially when he was being an asshole. Something he said when he was furious at my daughter (I have told no one this) was, “I hope everything bad happens to her in life. I wish that every bad thing that can happen, happens to her.” As it would any mother, that really upset me. It broke my heart to hear Bear cast such hate onto my baby. I know I must have cussed at him for that. What is wrong with you?! That’s my baby, and no matter what she did, never wish for something like that! This type of behavior confirmed my belief that Bear was really ignorant about a lot of things, and it’s probably another reason my attraction for him was gone.
Bear often did and said things that made himself seem holier than thou, the greatest husband in the world. (I will admit he was a great husband in a lot of ways, but don’t pat yourself on the back with one hand while stabbing me in the back with the other.) If he did laundry or anything domestic, he found it necessary to post it on Facebook in order to show off. He made it seem like I did nothing, and that pissed me off more than ever. It was kind of sickening, definitely childish and self-serving. He had to have attention and credit for everything, and of course, all the women friends made comments about how great of a husband he was. (While I’m thinking, yeah, fuck off.) If I posted every time I cleaned the house, it would fill up my entire page! He had no idea how much work I did, and he didn’t seem to care. He didn’t appreciate me – and it showed! Therefore, I quit cleaning, quit doing his laundry, and did my own dishes, leaving him to do his own. It didn’t take long for his dishes to pile up – sometimes he left them for days. I guess he thought I would get sick of looking at them and do something about it, but I’m pretty stubborn, so that wasn’t happening. After about the third or fourth day, he finally cleaned his damn dishes. (I don’t think he shared that with everyone on Facebook.) With four animals and no one vacuuming, the pet fur grossly piled up. I secretly dared him to say one word to me about it! He’s the one that used the living room 95% of the time, so he can clean it. I cleaned my room and my own messes. I was done doing anything for him.
Hating my life, I had no direction, especially at the end of a school year. Now I had to find another job during a recession in an area I had left 23 years prior, because professional jobs are scarce. I was heartbroken that my marriage didn’t work out, and that it was ending with unnecessary drama. Leaving my animals behind broke my heart just thinking about it. Without money, I couldn’t leave my situation. Bear wanted me out of the house, but I had every right to be there, just like he. He kept asking when I was leaving or if I’d found a place yet, which got on my damn nerves, because I was already under enough stress. He was only making it worse by pressuring me, making me feel like a piece of shit, but I was doing my best. The last week of school arrived, and I still had no place to move. A friend knew of a place that was a last resort if I needed to go. It was in an area I didn’t want to live, but the price and size were right. I did the best I could with trying to save for a better place, but it was impossible when I was still contributing to our bills.
One afternoon I had some cocktails in the backyard, and I had enough of Bear’s shit. I had hidden my true feelings for so long, and now I had all of this bitterness and anger that had to be let out. Using a bin of bottles that I saved for a project, I
tossed threw them at our fence line, breaking them. It felt great! Clank! Clank! Clink! Woo-hoo! Clink! Clank!
Bear came running out, yelling, “What are you doing?!”
“Breaking bottles! What does it look like I’m doing?” Clink! Clink!
“Stop doing that!”
“Why not? It’s fun! Like bowling!” Clink! Clank! “See?”
“You’re drunk! I’m calling the police!”
“You’re going to call the police? And tell them what?” I laughed, and because I had been drinking, it wasn’t a laugh I could control well. “That your wife is breaking bottles on the lawn?”
“Tell the police you’re drunk and throwing bottles!” he yelled. I laughed harder.
“Guess what?! I’m allowed to be drunk on my own property and throw bottles!” Clank! Clank!
“Go ahead and call them. They’re going to laugh at you!” Clank! How dare he threaten to call the police on me after the shit he’s pulled! He slammed the door.
I laughed harder, because I thought it was hilarious. Most of all, he was stupid to me. It felt great to break things, and I wish I’d done it sooner. It was kind of a relief in a way. Shortly after I finished, Bear got in my face, screaming at me, coming at me with his body and using his body to block me from getting out of the way. At first, I backed up, and then I stopped. I would not let him bully me around again.
“Put your hands on me one time, and I will call the police. I am sick of you bullying me! You fucking punch walls all the time! I’m just breaking bottles! Bottles that are garbage! What the fuck are you so worried about?! Leave me the fuck alone!!!”
Bear went to grab my wrists, and I screamed, “Don’t touch me! I will call the police if you put one hand on me!”
He finally stopped when he realized our neighbors may have heard us. I’m pretty sure I spent the rest of the night in my room with the door locked, crying myself to sleep, if I even slept. Sometimes I fell asleep out of pure exhaustion. Other times, I was up all night and had to make it to teach the next day. It was pure hell for my body. I knew I couldn’t do it much longer.
A few nights later, it was no longer home to me.