Oh God, what have I done?
And then we moved. He was 28. We had a week in between my two jobs to go house hunting. Our very first house! The house we would raise our children in and grow old together in! We had spent years saving for the down payment. We were married in a courthouse, the “reception” was simply having lunch at TGI Fridays with three family members, no honeymoon, we shared one used car for years, no vacations, we rarely went out for dinners, I was lucky if I got a card for my birthday or our anniversary, constantly uprooting for our jobs. I didn’t care about any of that. All the hard work and sacrifice was finally going to be worth it—we were finally going to have children and we’d be living in our very own house! We even decided the back bedroom, which was tucked away from the noise of the house would be the nursery. It was an absolutely beautiful little room. I felt like I was suffocating on the rare occasions that I stepped into the room after I learned what Johnny really thought of having children with me.
The day after we signed paperwork for the house, Johnny flew back to DC to tie up some loose ends at the office. Before he left, he had made a comment about how buying a house seemed to increase my sex drive because I had initiated this time. I was a little confused by his comment because his tone was one of praising a 5 year old who had made her bed, but I shrugged it off. Apparently, he hadn’t stopped thinking about it because he spent his time on the plane writing a 14 page document about all the things I had to do to make him happy. He emailed it to me that night. In the email, he wrote:
Subtlety is a luxury I can’t afford lately, so I will put it simply. If you want to spend time together, spend time together. If you *need* me to handle something, state it in the least time consuming way possible…Any q’s with less than $100 on the line, take care of. barring that choose randomly and don’t envolve me until the outcome is known (assuming I need to).
That’s it. That was the whole message. Attached to that email was the 14 page document with the opening line “This is my attempt to address this problem in as straight-forward way as possible. Here is a list of things you do that drive me crazy, as well as reasons.” He also included things he wanted me to do, like using shower soap he prefers and “social planning means that if you ever did set up a social outing, I would greatly appreciate it”. Of course, keep in mind that he didn’t mean a date between the two of us—he meant a social outing with his old friends now that we were back in his neck-of-the-woods.
I was hurt, and my heart sank. I immediately wondered if I had made a huge mistake 24 hours prior by signing a mortgage with him when he had been treating me poorly recently and had seemed “off” for months. This wasn’t something the man I married would have done. Luckily I had built a safety net into the mortgage. I had refused to sign a mortgage that I couldn’t afford on just my salary. At that point, he had just gotten a large raise and was making much, much more than I did. It would be tight, but it was meant to keep us afloat if he ever lost his job. I never dreamed it would be a lifesaver for when he refused to help me pay the mortgage.