An Affair to Forget

So back to my friend Hank: When we last left off Hank’s Mom, Julie, found out that his father, Frank, was having an affair. It appeared that Julie had given up attempting to control Hank and his other siblings thereby creating a less the welcoming home for her husband. Though she did sense some stress in her marriage she did not know that Frank was having a yearlong affair with his coworker, Jan.

Frank and Jan worked together at a general contracting business. It was Jan’s job to book home improvements and make appointments for Frank’s clients. Compared to his wife, Jan was a rather simple looking woman. Jan had a hard appearance that suggested life had not been kind to her. Her tan skinned bordered on leathered and her mousy hair was in need of serious conditioning. She was not at all like the fair-skinned Julie whose cherub face was home to her sparkling blue eyes. Their personalities were almost polar opposites. Though they were both mothers, Julie was sweet and compassionate where Jan was more reserved and came off stoic. To an outsider, Julie was clearly the more attractive of the two and seemed to be a better overall companion. It did not make sense that Frank would start a secret life with Jan without trying to work through his problems with Julie. Nevertheless, start a secret life he did.

Years ago, when Jan and Frank started a working relationship, Jan was married to a firefighter. They were married at a young age and as they grew older, the relationship started to deteriorate. Her husband was the controlling type and Jan was not one to be controlled. Through her divorce, she leaned on Frank for advice and he helped her achieve independence. Frank met Jan’s young children and began to enjoy spending time with them. Slowly, Frank found himself visiting Jan’s home after work instead of going home to his own. Jan’s quiet tone and subdue lifestyle only highlighted the craziness that awaited Frank when he came home to Julie at night. He started to resent his marriage and own children and yearned more for Jan’s less complicated existence.

Julie never had the benefit of knowing any of this. Frank never explained that the kids and their friends were stressing him out. Julie was not given the chance to understand Frank’s problems and try to fix things for her husband. Frank never had a conversation with Julie to express hat he needed their environment to be more relaxed. Frank never even approached his own children about the parties; instead, he just retreated to Jan’s house for his solace. He found a way to get what he needed and did not see the point in fixing what he already had. It seemed easier for Frank to move onto “plan b”, a double life with Jan and her family. Frank gave up on his marriage to Julie assuming that thing had been a certain way for so long and therefore they would be impossible to change. He didn’t give the woman that he married the slightest benefit of a doubt.

Instead, Frank split his time between the life that he wanted and the life that he had let spiral out of control. He enjoyed his time with Jan, the woman that he now loved and resented his time with Julie, the woman he reasoned could not understand him. Frank assumed that Julie would perpetually allow her children to run wild, putting their need for fun above the needs of her husband. He ASSUMED that his marriage was not fixable and that Julie and his children would not change. So, when the evening came that Julie found out about Jan, Frank left Julie. There was limited conversation or explanation just a packed duffel bag and a promise to divide the assets in a fair manner. Julie was blindsided and powerless over the sudden failure of her thirty-year marriage.

Preview…

Up and until this point I have been sharing all the positive good things about Mr. Right and the progression of our relationship. In the beginning, that really was the case…things between us were damn near perfect. Our honeymoon phase lasted a long while and we/are were very much in love. However, like most things in life, reality does set in and there are significant downturns in even the strongest relationships. So, for the sake of objectivity and honestly, I do plan to delve into the dark side…it only seems fair. After all, life is hardly a fairytale and I ain’t no Cinda-freakin-rella.

See you on the relationship flip side ~ MB

Ireland…the Grande Finale

Mr. Right and I headed back down to the first floor bar at Murphy’s. While we were dining upstairs, the local crowd had filtered in. There were middle aged and older men toasting their pints and drinking away the last few hours of the weekend. They overheard Mr. Right’s accent and asked us where we were from. Upon hearing that we were American, a large political debate ensued. It was funny to hear an outsider’s view regarding Obama’s upcoming Presidency. The old men found the results of our election shocking and progressive where Mr. Right and I thought them par for the course considering our options (cough Palin cough cough gag). The bartender, who we also found was the owner and proprietor, was thrilled to host international guests and as a result kept our glasses brimming with Jameson’s.

As night progressed and we were quickly becoming the hot commodity at the local pub. We posed for pictures and toasted to our new found friends in Arklow. As the night wound down, I assessed my impractical shoe situation. Of course, I decided to trek into town that night wearing stiletto heals. The walk to the pub was most painful; the walk home would be downright torture. I chastised myself for needing to look cute. I asked the bartender if Arklow had a cab company. He laughed and offered to give us a ride to the B&B himself! How could the owner of the bar up and leave with all these customers? Grabbing his coat the bartender yelled, “Now don’t cha be pouring your own pints while I’m gone!”

Outside, Mr. Right and I piled into the bartender’s silver Mercedes and took of for our B&B (http://www.pinebrook.net/). It was the nicest gestures I can remember. Can you imagine a bartender in Philadelphia, Boston or New York abandoning his bar to drive a few patrons home? Can you believe a bar owner leaving a crowd of men unattended with all that alcohol? Unheard of but truly memorable. Back at the B&B, we waved off our new friend, thanking him for his generosity a hundred times over. We were on a high after our night of fun and classically Irish experience.

Back inside, I took a shower and got ready for bed. When I came out of the bathroom, Mr. Right was propped on the bed wearing a scowl oh his face. I attempted to cuddle, a gesture that was immediately rebuffed. He wanted to take a shower himself and was not interested in my affection. Ok, now that was clearly not in my head. This time I could not be accused of over sensitivity. We just had, what I thought, was the most awesome night! Why now that we are alone, had the dynamic shifted? As Mr. Right closed the bathroom door and turned on the shower, I started to cry. I had come halfway around the world to be rejected by the man I loved. All the effort and planning that went into making this trip magical was in vein. It was devastating.

Mr. Right emerged from the shower almost a half hour later; this was unusually long for him. Had he been trying to avoid me? Was he hoping I would be asleep so he could escape potential affection? I had enough. I confronted Mr. Right as he dressed for bed. Why was he being so cold toward me? How come in a crowd we could enjoy our night but one on one he shunned my company? His inconsistent mood was putting me on the defensive and creating a black cloud over our trip. His face looked sad. He sat on the bed opposite of me and held both my hands, “I know. You are right. I have been acting distant and holding you at arm’s length since we arrived,” he said.

“Why?” I wanted to know. I braced myself for the worst.

“I have something I want to give you,” he started. With that, he reached into his suitcase and pulled out a box. Next thing I knew Mr. Right was down on one knee. “I was going to wait until our night in the castle to give this to you, but I see now if I don’t get this off my chest I could ruin this entire vacation. I thought a long time about something special to give you on this trip, something meaningful that would show you how much I love you. I thought long and hard about the perfect gift and you know what it is? It’s me. Will you marry me?”

Mr. Right opened a navy blue box that held a sparkly diamond ring. For once in my life, I was speechless, utterly shocked, overjoyed and totally speechless. I cried, Mr. Right cried and we hugged each other for a long while. Mr. Right broke the silence. “You never said yes.”

I laughed. “Yes,” I answered.

Mr. Right confessed that he had been so nervous about the ring and proposal that he had been driving himself crazy. He had intended to wait for a romantic evening planned on day seven of the trip but in the meantime, he was constantly rehearsing his speech in the shower and throughout the night. The stress of waiting was keeping him up at night and making me miserable. For the sake of the trip and my feelings, the engagement came sooner then intended. As they say, the best-laid plans (of mice and men?) often go awry. I’m sure you catch my drift…

The proposal may not have gone as Mr. Right planned. There was no champagne or chocolate cake. We were not on our way to a romantic dinner or in a luxurious Irish castle. It was only Mr. Right and I in a small B&B somewhere in the middle of an Irish village. With the climactic proposal out of the way, Mr. Right slept easy. I on the other had lay awake staring at the ring. I was getting married.