Rheumatoid Arthritis and I left my husband.

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I left my husband. And more people than you would ever imagine have said my current position is my own fault, because of that fact. Because I left my husband.

I have no right to complain, or feel lonely, or wish it was different.

Because I left my husband.

But he abandoned me long before I left. It’s almost embarassing how hard I tried to get him to love me (again? not sure he ever did).

He didn’t believe I was really sick. He wouldn’t come to my medical appointments with me (I asked him to…though I think that should have been something he did as a matter of course, considering the physical shape I was in). He put water just beyond my reach….just…beyond. So I would have to stand up to get to it. Because when I said I was in excruciating pain, clearly I was exaggerating. And he was helping me. I needed to keep moving, right? Because ‘depression’ isn’t helped by ‘sitting on your ass all day’.

He didn’t help with the house work, because it would still be there tomorrow, when I was better. He didn’t cook, he didn’t clean, he didn’t wash. I don’t think he knew where the vacuum cleaner was kept. He rarely came home early from work to pick up the kids, even when I couldn’t. I found it the ultimate in humiliation to have to ask ‘friends’ to pick my kids up from school because I couldn’t stand up, let alone walk or drive. And believe me, those ‘friends’ called in those favours. They got their pound of flesh. From someone who was really, really sick. But who looked great! Good for them.

He didn’t like to see me cry. In the thirteen years we were together before I got sick, he’d seen my cry maybe three times. And two of those times I was pregnant. It’s not that it hurt him to see me cry. It’s not that he felt helpless. It just annoyed him. That’s not what he signed up for. I was never a cryer.

Because I used to be a rock star. And I mean that figuratively and literally. We played in a rock band, and I was the songwriter, guitarist and singer. I was cool. And he was the guy who was married to me. Cool.

And then I wasn’t.

Then I was older, and pregnant and overweight and not hot to anyone anymore.

Still, I was the adoring wife. I brought home the bacon. The same amount of bacon he did. Often more. And I took care of everything. All the house work. All the financial planning. All the bill paying and car maintaining and gardening and cleaning and the scut.

Until we had a child with special needs. And life got hard. But that was OK, because love will get you through, right? All the difficulties, the distance, the me being too tired to do anything except kiss and cuddle and basic sex would be solved once the kids were a bit older.

And they did get older. And things did get easier. And I found the time to spoil him, and plan romantic evenings, and weekends away, and buy him expensive gifts on a very, very tight income. Because love is really all you need.

But it was too late.

I remember surprising him with a weekend away. I told him I was taking him to lunch. But in reality I’d organised a whole weekend away, and I’d organised the time off with his boss. Surprise!

I remember another time I got the kids to sleep, killed the lights, lit the candles, pulled out a pre-prepared platter of all our favourite finger food, the sofa bed and his favourite movie in the three minutes it took him to go to the toilet. Surprise!

I remember working side jobs, building website for cash that he didn’t know about so that I could buy him the plasma screen that he so desperately wanted, back when they still cost $6K. Surprise!

And I remember asking him, begging him, to come home after work instead of going to training with Jack (Jacqui as it turned out)…begging him because I needed help with the kids, if not for me, then for them. And he said…no.

Surprise.

How fucking humiliating.

And then I realised that he never loved me. He loved what I did for him. He didn’t love me. No one has ever loved me. And when I got sick, I wasn’t going to be able to do that stuff for him anymore. So…

He wouldn’t agree with my analysis. But he never could tell me why he stopped wanting to be with me.

And I stopped asking.

And I decided to start working on building a friendship. A genuine one. Based on the things we once had, and just forgetting the nasty in between. For our kids. Because they didn’t deserve to be dragged through the slag. They didn’t deserve to have to choose which parent they loved more. They didn’t deserve to hear the fights and the yelling.

They didn’t deserve to have their family broken, but I had to do it anyway.

I had to.

Damage control. And a salvage operation. And loving my kids more than I could ever hate him. More than I could ever hate anyone.

And so we are friends.

I left my husband.

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