It might seem odd that I’m posting about my ex-wife after all the posts about Ann, but there’s a few current posts that require the backstory. My relationship with Cat played an important role in how I am in relationships now, so think of this as a belated preface.
Cat and I got married young, before we were both 21. We were best friends and dating at the time but marriage was mostly a practical decision, not a romantic one. Sure, we were in love, but neither of us had big, romantic ideals about the notion of marriage. I had decided to join the military to get out of town and make some money, she wanted to come with me, it seemed natural enough that we get married for the benefits and the free move to another part of the country.
A new marriage and the military are a terrible match to begin with, though we didn’t know that when we started. Sure, we were moved to Georgia together but I was working crazy hours and was already scheduled for a deployment.
Cat was a very outgoing, sexy, confident woman that thrived on attention. She lived for adoration. She’s the kind of woman that can catch the eye of every guy in a bar, make each and every single one fall head over heels in love with her, and then dance back out the door without a backward glance… trailing broken hearts.
A wife that thrives on attention and a husband who’s never home. Cue the foreshadowing music.
When I left for my first deployment we decided that Cat should go back home until I returned. She didn’t know anyone in Georgia, hadn’t found a job yet, no friends or family nearby. At least at home she would have a support network while I was gone.
Half way through deployment I started getting emails from friends and family back home saying that Cat had been seen at the bars with various guys. I blew off the messages. Cat was a notorious flirt, I figured she was just having some fun.
It might sound like I was being flippant but my skepticism was reinforced by the fact that my family never liked Cat. My mom looked at her as the loose woman who stole her son and moved him half way across the country. While my mother never openly bad-mouthed Cat, she gleefully undermined the relationship at every opportunity.
The messages though, they didn’t stop. Eventually, the doubts and insecurities began to creep in, especially as the emails from Cat got more and more infrequent.
When I returned from my first deployment, I found out how much truth had been in those rumors. She wasn’t waiting for me at the airport or our apartment, she was still in our home state. I received a message from her, telling me that she was in love with another man and had decided to stay home to see where it was going.
Wait, what? My wife was in love with another guy? What the fuck?
I had joined the military, just spent most of the last year deployed, to make sure I could provide for her… and she was off fucking another dude. Worse, she was unapologetic and wasn’t interested in coming back.
As with everything else, I internalized it and blamed myself.
What did I do wrong? Why am I not enough for her? What’s wrong with me that she needs him? I must be too boring, lame, bad in bed, not fun enough, not passionate enough. I’m just not enough. Why would any woman love me when there are millions of other, better options?
All my life I’d been told to find that special woman, treat her right, provide for her, love her, and everything would be right with the world. If everything I had been told was wrong, what hope was there? What was there to look forward to if not happy endings?
I lost it, I jumped into a bottle of vodka and didn’t look back.
Over the next few weeks I found out a few things about the dude Cat was seeing from friends back home. He was kind of a bad boy, older than me, made more money, was larger than me (body size, I never asked about cock size), and was also engaged to his girlfriend at the time.
Yes, my wife was cheating on me with a dude who was cheating on his fiance. How fucked up is that?
One helpful friend provided his fiance’s phone number. Several times over the next six months I came close to calling her. First, because I wanted to fuck up his life as much as he had fucked up mine. Secondly, I was miserable and wanted to commiserate with someone. Cat begged, begged me not to do call, and being the sap who still loved her I didn’t.
I decided if she was going to fuck around so was I. I ended up dating an 18 year old, I was 22 at the time. I didn’t know her age, that she was a virgin, or that she was still in high school when we met. It just kind of happened and turned into one of the strangest relationships I ever had. I wrote about it on my old site, Gail.
That Christmas I flew home to see family and find out where things stood with Cat. It was two of the worst weeks of my life. Cat still wasn’t sure what she wanted to do and didn’t want to return with me until she sorted things out. She slept with me on the trip but also stayed a few nights over with her boyfriend.
The nights when she “slept on his couch” I couldn’t sleep. Wide awake, I stared at the ceiling, images of Cat and her boyfriend fucking in my head. She insisted that she wasn’t having sex with him, while I was there anyway, but that made me wonder what she told him when she stayed with me.
Next to the bed was a stack of photos, treasured memories of her summer home. Weekend adventures around the state, hikes, exotic locales, and bars. Almost all of them were pictures of Cat, grinning at the camera with a racy sparkle in her eye. I didn’t have to guess who was behind the camera. I recognized the sparkle, though it had been a while since it had been directed at me.
Cat and I were staying at her parents’ house, though she wasn’t around much. Their house was an hour drive away from my family’s home. There was a huge dead spot between the houses where there weren’t any radio stations and the only CD in the car was the debut album from Maroon 5 that Cat had bought. So, I spent many, many hours driving back and forth between the two houses, frustrated, angry, depressed, emasculated, and crying while listening to that CD.
To this day, I still can’t listen to that album, it pulls up too many bad memories.
I couldn’t even tell my parents what was going on, I had to put on a fake smile and pretend everything was fine. Had my mom figured it out she would have done everything in her power to destroy the slut-wife cheating on her son. Facebook wasn’t around back then but my mom was her own social network, the wrong word to her and hate filled message would flooded our small town, terrorizing me, Cat, her boyfriend and his fiance. Would it have just hurt them I might not have minded, but the idea of visiting friends and them knowing that I was the sap with the cheating wife, I couldn’t face that on top of everything else. It was bad enough that I knew, I didn’t need to be looked at with pity and have it brought up in every conversation.
“Dude, that sucks. Marriage sucks.”
“Yes, thank you for reminding me how pathetic I am and how my life absolutely blows. I’m sure you’re feeling a bit better about your own loser life now. Excuse me while I go jump off a bridge.”
After the Christmas vacation I returned to Georgia alone. I continued seeing Gail, though I was pretty devastated by the whole fucked-up marriage situation. I wasn’t really in a “relationship” with Gail anyway, but she was an ego boost and fantastic arm candy.
A few months later, Cat flew back to Georgia. It turned out that her fuck buddy wasn’t going to leave his fiance for her, so… that was it and Cat came back.
But Cat returning didn’t make me feel any better.
I wasn’t good enough before, why would I think anything had changed? And it wasn’t like she left him because I was better, she left him because she couldn’t have him. I was her second choice. At that point, I knew if a better version came along she’d go after him. It felt like it was only a matter of time.
I’m not sure what was worse, getting cheated on or being the fall back guy. I was the safe one, the reliable one, the pussy-whipped one, the one that would put up with anything, the kind of guy you marry but keep a “bad boy” on the side for fun and a good fucking. That’s how I felt, at least. I felt like a rube, like a fool, like half a man. I felt totally used and worthless.
By this point I was pretty much ruined, I couldn’t stand being married to her but I couldn’t divorce her either. There were circumstances out of my control, I’m not going to go into those here, but suffice to say I couldn’t leave and have the possible consequences on my conscience.
I felt trapped.
And then circumstances changed in the wrong direction. We found out that Cat was pregnant.
Cat was vehemently against ever having children. It was a complete accident, unexpected and unwanted, but it cemented us into the unhappy marriage. There was even a rumor running around that the child wasn’t mine but honestly it wouldn’t have mattered either way. I was raised up and taught that a man takes responsibility for his family… no matter what. If that weren’t enough, the military has strict regulations about caring for the children in military marriages, whether or not the child is biologically yours you are required to care for it. None of that mattered though, as soon as our daughter was born I knew she was mine.
But having a baby didn’t change all those bad feelings I had, feeling like an idiot, a rube, emasculated, like a second choice. They didn’t go away, they just simmered under the surface for years. It didn’t help that Cat continued to cheat, even while we were under the same roof playing the “happy” married couple with a baby. We could hardly stand to look at each other.
Several times over the next few years Cat brought up openly dating other people. We talked circles around it, her trying to convince me it was a good idea, me trying to get her to drop it. I’d been there, done that, and didn’t want to go there again. I knew that if she found a “better” guy she’d be gone in an instant.
After six years of marriage I found out that I was getting transferred to the opposite coast, thousands of miles away. Cat had a life, work and friends. She didn’t want to leave and I didn’t have a choice but to go, we needed the money.
We ended up compromising. I would do the transfer, get all set up in the new location and a year later Cat and our daughter would move there.
Once again, Cat brought up being in an open relationship. Our marriage was already fucked up and we were going to be apart for the next year, so it made perfect sense to her.
I’d always told her no when she brought it up, but this time I agreed. We would start openly dating other people.
Of course, I didn’t really have a choice in the matter. Agreeing was my subconscious, passive-aggressive way of trying to regain some control over the relationship. Despite all my previous protests Cat had cheated half a dozen times in our “closed” relationship, so I knew after I left she would be seeing other guys no matter what I said. At least if I “agreed” to it then it was like a partial victory for me.
And that’s exactly what our open relationship started out as, me pretending to be okay with it but secretly seething.
Not a beautiful beginning for the open relationship… but there’s plenty more to the story. Stay tuned for part 2.