I remember reading a Sidney Sheldon novel years ago. I don’t remember the title but it dealt with three women who were all in medical school. One of them had a brother who was working for the Mob and she became sort of a Mob doctor to pay his debt. Anyway, that’s not the important part. This is: One of the male doctors was a real player and one of the three main characters was a very straight shooter. There was a bet going on about whether or not the cad doctor could bed the good doctor. The three female med students made some kind of a bet and the line at the end of the chapter was something like: They didn’t realize it but they had just signed the death certificate for one of them.
Obviously, this has stuck with me. It’s been well over 25 years since I read the book. But that line comes up sometimes when you start to put two and two together and realize <here> was the moment it fell apart (or came together, if you are feeling positive). For me, TiVo and Facebook were the precursors to the death certificate for my marriage.
Let’s begin with the seemingly benign TiVo. I bought it for my husband one year for Christmas. Couldn’t even tell you exactly when except that it was sometime after 2002 and before 2006. Lost was airing, if that helps. He loved it! Loved being able to skip the commercials. Loved being able to record things that he would miss otherwise. Loved, loved, loved it. As far as gifts go, it was a good one if the recipient’s joy is the only measure of a good gift. In looking back, however, I can see that it was the beginning of the end.
You see, when he got TiVo, television became more important than the family. We used to eat together, even if we watched tv while doing so. Once he got TiVo he ate his meals downstairs in the finished basement. I would bring the kids downstairs to see him (and they were at most preschool and toddler age), perhaps even try to eat with him, but he would complain about how he couldn’t watch his shows because of the kids and the noise they made. Shocker- toddlers and preschoolers make noise! I remember several times he would pause the tv, look at me and say, “I’ve been trying to watch the last five minutes of this show for the last twenty minutes. Do you think you can take them upstairs so I can finish this?” Of course, Your Majesty! Care for a quick blow job before I head upstairs?
The kids and I began to live our life on the main level, more and more, while he lived his life, alone, in the basement. He even took to sleeping in the guest room downstairs so that I could have the queen sized bed with the kids, instead of continuing to sleep on a twin sized mattress and a trundle bed. He slept down there, showered down there, took his meals down there (remember, I would fix his plate and bring it to him every night!), and lived his life down there, i.e. watched tv.
I cooked and cleaned and watched and interacted with the kids. I fed them; I bathed them. I got them ready for bed and I got them ready for preschool. I didn’t watch any television until the kids were asleep because I didn’t have TiVo; I knew I would end up missing half of what was being said if I tried watching anything while they were awake. My TV viewing didn’t begin until around 9:30.
In other words, I lived life with my kids while he was stuck in front of a TV. I didn’t have a partner. My kids didn’t have a father. We had a live in roommate. I did the adult stuff, the parent stuff, and he did whatever he wanted. He says we grew apart after having kids. I say, “Hell ya, we did! He never grew up. He just wanted to be one more person I took care of, instead of him stepping up and being an actual partner to me and helping out with the kids.” To be fair (and I am nothing if not fair!) once I got our son ready for bed, Cousinfucker would rock him to sleep.
Things weren’t any better when we moved. Instead of him hanging out in the basement, though, he now hung out in his bedroom. He would come home, say hello and then head to the bedroom where he sat in the bed and watched television all night long. I again brought him his damn dinner. Even went in and collected his plate some nights, although to be fair, most nights he would venture out of the bedroom to put his plate in the sink. He did have a brief period where he would play on the Wii out in the living room, but then again, any time he showed any initiative he would get pissed if we didn’t immediately kiss his ass and thank him for his efforts.
This is how we lived. And of course, by now we have Dish so we both had a DVR! But again, I was out in the living room. I was with the kids. I was present. I was running them to activities. I was volunteering. I watched a whole lot of Disney and Nickelodeon in my day! Occasionally he would call one or all of us into the bedroom because there was something he wanted us to see, but then we were usually promptly dismissed, especially if the gathering ended up with us *talking* or *laughing*!
It’s hard to connect with someone who has made television his whole life, someone who has decided he’s going to live out his life in the bedroom. But feel free to blame me and let me know how this is all my fault. Because that’s his story.
Now, as if all of this isn’t bad enough along comes Facebook. I will preface this by saying there are an awful lot of good things about Facebook. I have moved many times over the course of my life and it’s so nice to be able to stay in contact with people that I’ve met over the years. I love seeing all the kids as they’ve grown. I love seeing the baby pictures and the wedding announcements and all the achievements of my friends and of their kids. I like the high school graduations and the kindergarten graduations and the puppy school graduations. I like it all. But as they taught us on The Facts of Life: You take the good, you take the bad… Facebook can be an amoral cesspool of infidelity. This was my “She had unknowingly signed her own death certificate!” Only in my case it was, “She had no way of knowing she had just led to the demise of her own marriage!” For you see, it was I who created a Facebook page for my husband. He didn’t want one, saw no need for one. Who would be his friend? I thought it would be funny to create one for him, propel him into the current century. Oh, it was hilarious! It didn’t take long for skanky ol’ Harley to become his “friend”. Yes, I remember sitting there at Thanksgiving creating the page for him and by April, a mere five months later, they were “in luuuuurrrrrvvvvveeee!” Ah yes, Little Miss My-Marriage-Isn’t-So-Rosy met up with Mr. I’m-Just-A-Handyman-And-A-Paycheck and it was a match made in Facebook hell. All those furtive messages, longing to be together, knowing that only the two of them understood one another, the private agony they had both endured in their loveless, non-rosy marriages. Ah, it was one soliloquy shy of Romeo and Juliet. Facebook led to texting and texting led to sexting and that all led to phone calls and naked pictures and dreams of a life together. Funny thing, they never counted on outraged children or spousal support. Affairs are funny like that.
I got rid of her the first time. Maybe I should have let her have him then. It would have saved me and my kids some heartache. I wouldn’t be living where I’m living. I’d still be surrounded by a large network of support. Nonetheless, the facts are the facts. I got rid of her. He supposedly chose me and our family. But Facebook continued to let her have a ringside seat into our lives. Thanks to everyone in his stupid family who didn’t see what the harm was in continuing a relationship with her she was able to observe us and swoop in. Hell, his mother was the one who encouraged her to do so. “He’s so sad! Why don’t you get down on your knees and give him a nice blow job and make him feel all better!” OK, quick disclaimer here. I don’t know that she encouraged a blow job. That’s entirely made up. But, she did encourage the whore to call him. Because he was so sad! Because his wife (that’s me!) hadn’t completely forgotten about the events that had happened less than two years ago where he had betrayed her with a white trash whore. Because I hadn’t killed all those thoughts and buried them deep where no one could see them. Because I still wondered and reflected on occasion. Because I could still be triggered by certain events and names. And because I still had a hard time forgiving his family for their support of Harley. However, I had forgiven him. I had stood by him. I had fought for him and our marriage. I had moved across the damn country for HIM and his dreams. And once I was away from my entire support system and completely dependent on him, I got to deal with all of his issues- his supposed PTSD, his supposed anxiety, his supposed social issues that were magically reappearing, his driving issues. Oh, and his drinking. That was a new one. But what I hadn’t done was I hadn’t forgotten, and let me tell you, that apparently was a deal breaker and worthy of him cheating on me AGAIN.
I know better than to blame TiVo or Facebook for the demise of my marriage. But I can certainly say they both contributed to its decline. And as far as Facebook goes I did pretty much sign my own divorce decree when I signed him up. I’m not sure she ever would have been able to get ahold of him otherwise. Then again, if he’s so easily led astray do I really want him? No!