Shortly after D-day, TL asked me to get a vasectomy. TL was unable to get pregnant again due to a medical issue. TL was worried that I would carelessly cheat again and end-up getting some woman pregnant. Mostly, TL worried that I would one day walk out the door to start over with someone new, without ever looking back at the destruction I left in my wake for her and our children. She wanted some kind of tangible insurance that our children would never have to share my emotional, physical and financial resources with any other children. I knew I did not want divorce, and I knew I would never cheat again. But, TL did not know that for certain. The polygraph and the post-nuptial showed her that her safety was my top priority. The vasectomy was a means to show her that our whole family was also a top priority. I agreed.
I did not, however, rush out and find a doctor the way I found a polygraph examiner, counselors, and lawyer. I kept letting that particular item fall further down my to-do list. I guess I was afraid. I was afraid of under going surgery in such a sensitive area. I was afraid of something going wrong. Late last year she questioned my intentions. Why would I agree to do it, then not see it through? It was a continuation of old behavior patterns in her eyes. She felt it was once again me telling her what she wanted to hear with no intention of following through. I got the vasectomy in December. It was disgusting and painful, but it was worth it.
That lead right into our next crisis. TL was there in the room when the doctor was preparing to perform the vasectomy. I was talking to the doctor, asking about post-operative care and when I could get back to normal activity levels. He said to be off my feet for a couple days at least. Falling back into my old ways of thinking, I said something like, “Oh, the dishes and laundry are going to pile up.” This, of course, completely ignored the enormous contributions TL makes to dishes, laundry, and lots of responsibilities to support household and family. This made TL feel like she did not exist, that I thought she was not capable of handling our home alone, even though she just spent an entire year alone doing exactly that.
It also showed my continued obsessive-compulsive attitude toward those activities. I think in my worst moments before D-day I thought compulsively about sex and porn. After D-day, I conquered that tendency. But, I was left with continued obsessive attitudes toward tidying and organizing the house.
Even as those words were rolling out of my mouth, I knew they were wrong. It was like watching a ceramic cup fall from a high shelf after you have carelessly bumped into the shelf. You see it falling in slow motion, the whole time wishing you could turn back time and prevent it but knowing it is too late. The cup hits the ground. It shatters into various-sized pieces. You hear the gasps and questions from everyone around. You regret the loss of the cup, the fact that you caused it, and the fact that you could have prevented it if only you had been just a little more thoughtful, vigilant, and careful. You brace yourself to ask forgiveness, clean it up, and try to replace the cup.
That’s what happened. I said the hurtful words that focused on my obsessions, ignorant of TL’s feelings about the matter. Worse, I said them to another person. I had vowed to start recognizing TL’s virtues and contributions in public, in contrast to the way I failed to appreciate her before D-day. Instead, I devalued her contributions there in front of that stupid doctor.
I spent weeks trying to apologize and make amends for that foolish error.