Falling, Falling

It’s finally happening, after all these years. She’s finally getting a divorce. My best friend is finally leaving her pathetic excuse for a husband and I couldn’t be happier for her.

I don’t generally think that divorce is something to celebrate, and while I don’t believe I’m celebrating, I’m so glad for that she’s finally free. Watching her go through it over these last few weeks, though, has been one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to watch.

I met her a month after she had been married. My husband, who had known her since high school introduced us when he brought me to her house to meet her. She was bright and alive and I loved her immediately. I think I recognized a kindred spirit, someone like me, who just wanted to have a fun time. She took me to the basement of the new house to show off her wine collection and offered me a couple of bottles. This was in August. I didn’t see her again until December where she showed up at the group Christmas party wearing a gorgeous, long, black dress with matching black shawl.

I remember how bright her eyes were, how happy she looked. We had been chatting for a bit, and while I don’t remember the context, I will never forget the next part of the conversation.

“You know what would be fun?”

“What?” She asked.

“If you walked into your room wearing only that shawl to seduce your husband.”

Normally, I would have expected a laugh, a giggle, a blush, or something. I was never prepared for her response.

“Been there, done that, he wasn’t interested.”

I didn’t understand. I made her explain it to me because I couldn’t wrap my mind around this concept. Not only had she already tried, unsuccessfully to seduce him, but she eventually revealed that they hadn’t had sex in months. They had been married in August!

A flood of emotions warred in me, but foremost among them was pity. How could a man, her husband, not find this woman sexy? What was his problem?

In the successive years, there were all sorts of weird stuff that went on with my best friend and her husband. It was weird to me because it was so far outside of normal. They spent the first year of their marriage sleeping in single beds on opposite sides of the room. She had been angry with him and moved her bed to the other side of the room. All I could think was, why don’t you have a proper bed? Newly weds shouldn’t sleep with a yawning crack between them.

My husband and I love throwing Halloween parties, and one year we invited her, and she showed up wearing a trench coat. When she opened it up, she was only wearing lingerie! She looked so incredible. I couldn’t believe how sexy she was. She was wearing a black bra, with matching black lace panties, with a garter belt with hose and high heels. I asked her what her husband thought of the costume and she laughed and said it didn’t matter because he would never know she wore it.

This surprised me. This sort of thing still surprises me. How can people keep secrets like this from their partner?

Another time, I decided to invite them both over for dinner. I wanted a chance to talk to him, to try and understand him better because I knew how unhappy my friend was, but I wondered if he knew. I remember many times encouraging her to talk to him, to let him know how unhappy she was.  I guess she tried but things never went anywhere.

That night at dinner, I asked him all sorts of questions and we had a really great conversation. He seemed like a nice guy, if a little weird. I found him incredibly opinionated, but I liked that he wasn’t afraid to say what was on his mind. It wasn’t until later, after dinner, when we retired to the basement to watch a little television that I got the shock of my life.

We had been discussing sex (an inevitable conversation with me!), and the subject of toys and masturbating had come up. He told me, flat out, that if he ever found out his wife was using a sex toy, he would divorce her. I was shocked and appalled. I just looked over at my friend and she shrugged. He said it was akin to cheating and that he would never forgive her if she did it. He also said that he didn’t masturbate because he didn’t need to, and if he did, it would feel like cheating.

Over the next few years, that bright spark that I had originally recognized in my friend was dimming. She and her husband weren’t having sex, she was desperately unhappy, and she spent all her free time over at our place. Not that I was complaining, I had my best friend. I made her talk to me about her life, her husband, why she was so unhappy. She told me that they almost never had sex, they barely spoke to each other.  She told me that he was a slob, and that he never did anything around the house. At first I tried to offer her advice on how to communicate with him, how to make things better. I don’t know if she ever did, or when she did, he wasn’t very receptive. It made me sick. How could anyone live like this? How could she be so miserable with this man and still go home to him every night?

Eventually though, I started asking her why she didn’t just leave him. I really pushed her on this. For years I’ve pushed her to leave him. In hindsight, though, it wasn’t my place. It was a decision she would have to make for herself, it wasn’t a decision I could make for her. I tried to encourage her to make a new life for herself so she could be happy. All I wanted was to see  my best friend finally happy. I just couldn’t wrap my head around this life of misery that she insisted on living.

Then she let me know that she and her husband were going to buy a house.

I think I gagged. Why? Why would anyone make this unhappiness more permanent? If she wouldn’t leave him before, she sure as hell wasn’t going to leave now. And I was obsessed with the whole situation. She was my best friend and all I could see was the sadness in her eyes, in her face. Every story she told me about what was going on was between them made me sick. How could anyone continue to live like this? 

One night, my husband and I had some people over. There were lots of drinks and shenanigans, and it was a really great night. My best friend was there, and I introduced to her another friend of mine in the hopes that something might happen between them. He was handsome and I knew from personal experience that he was a great lover. I was hoping that if she could just see that there was something better, someone who actually found her attractive and sexy, maybe she might start to see that she could have something better. The next morning, she came upstairs and told me that she’d slept with him.

I was completely shocked me. Even though I set it up, I had never admitted that that had been my intention, and I wasn’t even sure she would actually do it.  It shocked me that she had done it, that she actually had the balls to to it. In my mind, her relationship with her husband was obviously over. I mean, if you’re going to step out and have sex with another man, clearly there is no relationship left. I was so excited at the prospect that this was the end of her terrible relationship. I mean, breaking up is never easy, and celebrating the end of a relationship isn’t very nice. However, maybe now she would find the courage to leave her husband, to live a bigger, bolder life where she could have the intimacy that she so obviously craved. She could find a partner with whom she could communicate. I would finally see her happy.

We spent the day talking about what it was like to sleep with another man, hanging over and hanging out.  It was a good day. Later that night though, she received a phone call from her husband. She started talking numbers. She told him to call the lady.

What was going on?

She hung up.

“The offer for the house went through.”

“What do you mean?”

“We just bought a house.”

I didn’t even know what to say. Usually this is one of the happiest moments in a couple’s life. She didn’t even look excited. How could she do it? How could she buy a house with this emotionally crippled man? She slept with another man the night before and then today she bought a house with her husband.

I couldn’t understand. As someone who lives by my emotions, if I was as unhappy as she was, I could never had stayed. I couldn’t grasp what her driving motivation was. I remember once, she told me that she felt like if she got a divorce she would feel like a failure. I don’t think she understood that living in a shitty relationship constituted a failure.

I was so sad for her. My heart broke to think that she had just set herself up for years more misery. It also made me angry. She completely disregarded all advice I’d given her (unsolicited, I might add), she refused to do anything, refused to find a way to change her situation.

Fast forward a couple of years, I had just given birth to our first daughter together (my second child). My best friend was still in her shitty situation, and I lamented that she would live like that forever. It made me so sad for her, but I knew I had to stop bringing it up, otherwise I’d risk losing her as a friend. Then I got a phone call from her saying that she might be pregnant. Oh god, why?

“Did you take a test?”

“Yes, but the line isn’t very dark, like, it’s barely there.”

“If there is any line there, you’re pregnant.”

“No. I’ll send you a picture so you can see.”

I knew that she wanted to be pregnant, I knew that she and her husband had spoken of having children, but I don’t think she realized what that meant. She sent me a text of the pregnancy test, which was a very clear POSITIVE. I called her back.

“Congratulations, you’re pregnant.”

“No I’m not. The line is barely showing up.”

“The line is there, it means you’re pregnant.”

She asked me if I could take her to the clinic so she could have it confirmed by the doctor, and I told her of course I would. The next day I met her and her husband at the clinic. There was nary a full smile between them. They honestly looked like they had just been told she was having a miscarriage. There was no excitement, no smiles, no happiness. It was so weird. They hopped in the car and I dropped her husband off at his work.

“So? Are you excited?” I tried to coax something out of her, any reaction besides the dead-pan look on her face.

She just shrugged. “I don’t know.”

I wanted to slap her across the face to illicit any kind of reaction.

“Don’t you think you should call your mom?”

“Yeah, I guess.”

Listening to that conversation made me want to cry. My friend didn’t sound happy, she sounded like she was telling her mom about a funeral she was going to attend.

“Just, don’t make a big deal out of it please…no, I just don’t want everyone calling me to congratulate me….I know, but don’t tell anyone at your work, please.”

That night when I told my husband that she was pregnant, he just looked at me (he shared the same feelings as I did about my best friend and her relationship as we had discussed it often) and said, “well there’s the final nail in her coffin.” I agreed.

I think my best friend and I have completely different memories of her pregnancy. I remember her being terrified and frightened. I mean, a lot of first-time moms are, but this seemed…more. She didn’t seem very happy for most of the pregnancy, but when you ask her about it, she remembers it completely differently. She remembers being excited. If she was, she certainly never showed it.

During her pregnancy, she met up with an old friend of hers (the maid of honour from her wedding) who she hadn’t seen since her wedding. When my best friend confessed to her that she was afraid and unsure about being a parent, the girl told my best friend that she should have an abortion, and that she should never have married her husband in the first place. My best friend was shocked, and never spoke to the girl again. She was so angry, but I couldn’t help but agree with her friend. And I had told her as much (minus the abortion part).

I knew she would never have had an abortion, and I would never even dream of counseling her to do it. It’s just the way she talked about her pregnancy I couldn’t help but wonder why did you get pregnant in the first place?

I suppose that’s neither here nor there because now she has a beautiful 5-year old girl who could be called Snow White with her fair complexion, and dark hair.

It was a hard labour that resulted in an emergency C-section, and her husband abandoned her at the hospital, leaving her all alone with a new born. It was disgusting. There were a lot of things that he’s done over the years that absolutely disgust me. That make me want to rail and scream and shake the shit out of my best friend until maybe some sliver of sense might creep into her mind.

I think I got bogged down in the details with this post, but it feels good to get it all out. This is the first part, but there’s 5 more years to go, of our friendship and her relationship.

She asked me to write this for my perspective, I sure hope she doesn’t regret it after reading it!