TL: “Where did my friend go?”

We left the shit hole and, due to logistical reasons, oldest child (OC) and I went back to the US for about a month while MC tied up loose ends at his old job. We met up with MC and moved on to his next job. Our first year was one of the best of our marriage in many ways. We learned to dive together. We spent a lot of time at the beach with friends and as a family. We started Saturday morning dives followed by lunch as our special date time. We had Wednesday pizza and wine nights at our house with friends. We had Sunday morning brunch on the beach with friends each week. It was a really lovely life in so many ways. Then things started becoming unsafe and MC’s job was starting to go down hill as well. We went on vacation back to the US. The country really took a turn for the worse. MC had to return to our house, our dogs, and his job. But OC and I were not allowed to return with him.

Three months later, OC and I were allowed to return. We arrived the same day as MC’s boss was flying in to town. MC, after three months apart, was unable to meet us at the airport. Yet again, work came first. I tried to be understanding, but a part of me could not understand why he didn’t send someone else to meet the boss instead. Work first, work always first. I arrived home and the housekeeper was there to greet us. I got a weird vibe from her. MC walked in to say a quick “hello” and she was looking at him and acting nervous. I later privately asked MC if everything was ok with her, did something happen while I was away? He told me he had no idea what I was talking about, she seems fine, nothing out of the ordinary (ha!). I believed him.

While away from MC, I exercised every day and was the fittest I had been in years. I felt good, I looked good and I was proud of it. I was pleased to find MC appeared to approve of the new fit me. I kept up my workouts upon returning, going to the local gym with friends each day. Our sex life improved too. I wasn’t sure if it was from him missing me or because I was more fit now, but I took it.

Before we returned, MC called every day to talk. His job was not going well and he was down, depressed, sullen and glib. I chalked it up to the job and to us being away. He claimed to miss us deeply. When we returned I noticed he was not talking to me like he used to do, but I continued to chalk it up to problems at work. I used to be his confidante about a lot of things, but especially work. Now, he would get mad if I ever brought it up and he would not talk about it with me.

We still had our Saturday date days, our Sunday morning brunch, and our Wednesday pizza nights with friends. I relished time with friends for many reasons, but most because it was the only time I would see MC at ease, laughing, having fun, telling stories about his day, talking about what was going on around us in country, etc.

A couple of months after we returned, I became pregnant with youngest child (YC). MC continued diving Saturday mornings, just without me. Our date days stopped. I was bleeding and put on “modified” bed rest. I could walk short distances, just no lifting, no carrying, no straining or exercise. Our social life was reduced, but not eliminated. The pregnancy was difficult and lonely in many ways. MC would refuse to touch my stomach to feel the baby kicking. He wouldn’t touch me, again he wouldn’t look at me, and he really wasn’t talking to me about anything except logistics and items on his “to-do” list. What the hell was going on? Where did my friend go? Where did he go?

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4 thoughts on “TL: “Where did my friend go?”

  1. I’ve just read all the posts in the ‘Our Story’ section and first of all I’m so sorry you had to go through this, second, I’m grateful you guys are writing this as it’s been so unique and interesting to see both sides, gives me a little insight into what might be going inside my husband’s head. Thirdly, it feels like exactly my story, sadly. Having some fun advantagrious exciting years together, expats in places with easily available cheap sex, unsuspecting wife, lost friendship, husband wasn’t involved at all in the pregnancy (mine not even interested in the baby really, until after d-day – which just makes me suspicious of his motives). I hope our stories will end happy some day.

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    1. MWS, thank you so much. It is a heart wrenching journey. I’m so sorry that you too are going through this! Pregnancy is supposed to be a joyous time and even that sharing of joy was taken from us and it sucks.

      I do struggle with sadness still. But, some days are certainly better than others and more and more as days go by.

      We appreciate your reading and hope that providing both perspectives may be not just a useful tool for MC and me to rebuild our narrative together, but to other couples facing similar struggles.

      I have a feeling that there are far more expats in our position than our little world supports seeing the light of day. Little is done for prevention or awareness. And, since nobody talks about the problem that exists, too many of us suffer in silence and isolation. I hate that you are here with me in this, but I must tell you having someone out there who understands so many angles of this struggle is a little less isolating and so appreciated!

      We have a desire that perhaps one day a support network for expat couples could take shape.

      I hope your husband’s motives are now honorable and that each of our journeys, no matter the path forward, are filled with more joy than pain in the days ahead.

      TL xx

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      1. Thank you TL. I sadly agree with you that the occurrence among expats (especially in Asia) is probably way higher than average, for obvious reasons. And, just like I had no idea about what was going on, there are many like us who will one day, maybe too late, find out about their husbands’ double life and will suffer dearly, without the support network of family and friends readily available. They will have to throw everything up in the air even to just get help. So very sad. I know what it did to me and my heart breaks for all the others out there who (will) suffer in silence. I’d be very interested in helping out setting up that expat couples’ support network. I’d also love to stay in touch for mutual support if you are open – I’m on myworldshattered at yahoo.

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        1. MWS, I think that would be fantastic. Our email is reconcile.4.life@gmail.com.

          The Asia factor, oh yes, talk about cheap and available. But, it goes so much further too in to so many other geographies, especially less developed ones. I find it so ironic now how MC and I used to joke about how so many socially awkward American men ended up with gorgeous foreign spouses from developing nations.

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