I REALIZED WHAT WAS BOTHERING ME. * 4th in Series


I was beginning to see what was bothering me.  The way I began to see it was important, because it was so subtle an issue in our culture, not really personal to either my husband or myself, but it was devastating to be affected by it, acting in terms of it, and not realize what it was.  It was that there is and was a double standard for men and women, and then, for women to trust some few men completely, and to distrust others, seeing them to be all alike, or all after the same thing.    As men put some women on a pedestal, thought them more perfect than they really are, and then to depreciate masses of other women as being less than anyone to be respected.

 

My husband put me on that pedestal, and he believed all his friends would do so too.  Some did, some did not.  No one seemed to relate to me as just being me, not even my husband.  I trusted him, and I was uncomfortable with some of his friends.  But, I had not known why.  These men were particularly charming.  But, they were also charming with any and all other women face to face.  I had invited my female cousin, 2 years  younger, and my sister, 4 years younger, as well as each of my brothers at different times to stay with us in the city, to look for a job, or to shop, or for whatever reasons to come into the city from the farming country we all came from.   These guys were so charming with my sister, and my cousin too.  These guys had dates sometimes whom they brought to our home, and they were charming with their dates.  BUT, when the woman was not there, they talked about her as if she was just a target, a foolish person believing their every word.  She was to be a conquest, and a laughing matter, at the first opportunity.  This was not said to me, but I was there to hear it, like a piece of furniture in the room, in charge of making popcorn, and coming up with clean glasses for drinks.  Drinking was the way to get these women to let down their reservations, par for the course, first line of attack.  And, my husband listened to them avidly, laughed at the jokes, and generally seemed to feel energized and accepted as one of them, as he joined in.  Yet in another way, they were taking advantage of the home and party situation he offered, and for which I cleaned up.   They did not really like and respect him, it was to their advantage to seem to do so.  And, my husband felt he was popular and liked by them.  There were a number of 4 letter words used as substitutes for any of these women’s names.  They were just a C. a S. a F. a H.  These even had slightly different meanings when used.  It was always a joke, or so they said.   I began to complain to my husband afterwards about this, and about him going along with it.  I was saying it was an insult to me, to the use of our home, and to the women, most particularly.  

He defended it as—just a joke, I could not take a joke, I was no fun, I was a party pooper, I did not want him to have friends.  I was too sensitive.  I could go on with what I was told.  But, at another time, he had not meant any of it and was sorry he had said it.   But, next time, it was said again.    It was easy to say  it was only the guys, and my husband had been influenced by admiring them as examples of being a real man.  I made every excuse for him that I could.  But, the bottom line is that he brought them into our home, for a good many  years, and enjoyed their company, and it was often, or always at my expense, even if on the surface, they were acting in a charming way to me.  

 

Finally, two incidents took place.  First, one guy had been drinking, and came to our place supposedly to wait for Art to get home, expecting  him to be there, or so he said.  I had only one son then, in his crib, but was pregnant for the second one.  The guy started to chase me around the house.  I realized that this was a bad situation.  I could not leave, but I pretended to run out and slam the door, and hid in the coat closet.  He ran out after me, and I locked him out.  When my husband came home soon after, he had made no arrangement to meet the guy, but he laughed it off.  I had taken it all wrong. None of his friends would ever do anything like that, I had just misunderstood it completely.  That particular guy never came to our house again, and I do not know if my husband was in touch with him after that or not.   Up to then, I had trusted my husband completely for his part in all this, explained it away, felt he was totally innocent and only the guys were like that.  But, he did not trust or believe me.   That was a turning point for me to begin to realize, I had to see this for myself, and not let myself be undermined in my own feelings and viewpoint.  Yet, I still did not and could not insist on any big change, only little things to whittle away at what all was going on.  Both of my brothers did not particularly like these parties.  One of them tried to fit in but then would not ever do so again.  The other felt that he was odd man out, and blamed himself for being a prude, and being so much like a fish out of water.  But, he too avoided being at any of these relatively soon.  My husband felt they were the country bumpkins, not able to fit into the real world of men.  


The other incident took place later, when his visiting friend was from college, and even brought gifts of cowboy suits for our two sons. (Which I let them keep and wear, because they liked them so much.)  In this, there was too much drinking and I was assaulted, not ever sure if I had been given a “spiked” drink or not.  Only many years later did my cousin and my sister tell me of similar encounters with this same college friend at earlier times, whom they had rather found charming up to then.  Art wrote to him the next day after his departure, and told him to never contact us again.  He did not, we never saw or heard of him again.  BUT, my husband felt very guilty, and still told me, “we will never speak of this again”.  And another BUT, my husband took it as only the way that one friend had behaved, and not at all to apply in general to these other men he looked up to and enjoyed.    Not much changed.  But, it had again been a reason for change for me.  


I want, at this point, to tell you (and will not do so now), my many reasons for trusting my husband, not completely, to be sure, but out of learning more about his background (from his mother) than he had ever been willing to tell me.  But, the change was, trusting is not to trust someone else more than trusting myself, or trusting my inner guidance senses.  It is not total distrust, either, but it sure is a matter of how much, when, about what.  I still loved the man I had married, and when the guys were not around, he was more the man I had fallen in love with in the first place.  But, this is only the first part of this situation we shared, there was my part to it.  Previously, I had said that it would be very hard to write this because I blamed him so much.  Well, the other side of that is why I also made so many excuses for him.  It was a see saw of emotions.  I could not write it until I did not put blame first, or excuses first, and really not if I only told one side of it.   


There were things I did remember and work out events from my past, still to be included in this story,  but toward the end of the 4 years of learning from what this guiding dream had showed me, one thing happened just before the next guiding dream came.  

 

I was in a situation where a man confided in me as he approached getting a divorce, and I also was relatively estranged in my marriage, and confided in this man.  Just the way we talked, opening our deep despair and feelings to each other, gave us so much rapport.   It was a brief relationship of a kind that neither of us had ever had anything like it with anyone ever before.  He met my parents, and I am sure they saw this closeness the two of us had.  Mother told me it was too bad I had not met him first.  But, I had been married 8 years by then.  In only the one mutually responsive encounter, I became pregnant, and felt that I was pregnant long before it could be known for sure.  When it was definite, I had thought it through.  He was still getting a divorce, and had wanted me to go with him when it was really not manageable, nor was he ready.  I would have brought my children, and that would be totally disruptive to them.  I had not told him I was pregnant, and chose not to do so.   We just cut off all contact and went our separate ways.  Later, from a mutual friend, I heard he married and had three daughters.    I decided not to have an abortion, and I went to my husband and told  him I was pregnant from this relationship.  I told him I would not have an abortion, but I would stay or leave, whichever he decided.  I told him I would go home to my parents, not to the other man.  My husband told me he had been fearing this, and that he  had planned to commit suicide if I had left.  He wanted me to stay.  But, again, and we would never speak of it again.   Nor has he, nor could I with him.

Yet, with this decision, my husband became a better father to all 3 of our sons, when parenting had been left pretty much to me until then.  He was a better man and a better person because of it.

 

This is my youngest son, who is now 58.  When he was in Navy Boot Camp, he phoned home, why did he have a different blood type than the rest of us, was he adopted?  I told him the truth on the  phone.  Knowing he was close to  his brothers, and would need to be free to talk with them, I told my husband this, and said, I wanted him to tell the older sons, each separately, or I would. That it could not be kept a secret if it meant the brothers could not talk it over with each other.   My husband hated to do this, I went to bed, and did not listen to a word of the phone conversations.  The wives heard it all too.   And, they have seemed to respect me as much or more, for the way the secret finally came out.  They have asked me things about it, but I would be fairly certain my husband would never have even spoken of it to a counselor, the more so to any one of the family again.

 

This was the hard part to write.   I could not sleep well last night.   From here on will be easier.   Maybe stranger, but easier.  

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