Friday Firesmith – Marriage

I knew my marriage was bad. How bad, it was hard to tell, really, it was. But she was odd about me being alone, very odd, and even when I was sitting on the toilet she would come in and look at me. She came into the bathroom and stared at me in the shower. One day I came in from work and I sat in the truck listening to a song on the radio and she came out to see what I was doing. I could open the back door, shut it, then duck into the kitchen and she would go outside and look for me. 

But it was worse than that. 

During marriage counseling she admitted to installing a program on my computer that tracked everything I did. Every email I sent she read, and every email I received she read. She read everything I wrote for work, fiction, and every site I visited; she knew about it. What she didn’t know was I found the program the first day she installed it. I wrote long emails to friends telling them how great married life was, and how much I loved it. 

The look on her face when I told her I knew it was there was epic. 

Marriage counseling also revealed that when I went to play tennis with a friend of mine, she would call my friend’s wife, and tell her I was on the way, and then my friend’s wife was to report when I arrived. Then when I left, they would trade calls again, to see if I was slipping off somewhere. I stopped at a convenience store and bought a soft drink, and when I got home she asked me which store I had bought it. The next day she went to the store to see if there was a woman working there. This was something I hadn’t known about until we started counseling. 

I always wondered why some men spent so much time at work. These guys would come in an hour early, then sit around and talk after work, sometimes for hours. But they had bad marriages, all of them, and they were avoiding their wives by working. I started doing this, too. I became one of those men. I built a tiny shelf at work, no bigger than a matchbox, hidden under my work station. Stored on this shelf was a thumb drive, so at work I could save it there. In all of my existence, this was my only truly private spot. I felt a surge of joy when I went in on a Saturday, and there was my thumb drive, and I had time to explore my thoughts without someone tracking my every word, and standing behind me, watching me. 

The day she packed her stuff and moved out was surreal. She pulled out of the driveway and was gone. I was alone. The house was empty except for me, my dogs, my stuff, and as I locked the door, the realization of space was overwhelming. That night in bed, the vastness of my world was like a man on a raft, looking up at the stars, floating on an endless ocean. 

I filed for divorce on May 10th, 2002, on a Friday. It’s hard to believe that was twenty-one years ago.

Take Care,


Mike writes regularly at his site:  The Hickory Head Hermit.

Opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those of the management of this site.

10 thoughts on “Friday Firesmith – Marriage”

  1. The ex is gone but the experience is a permanent scar on your experience, your history, you.

    • Bruce, I wonder why this is. Most people I know who have had a marriage fail are scarred for life. Hell, we all lose people along the way, but divorce seems disproportionally damaging.

  2. A few things I told my kids when they each left home.

    Love doesn’t come with a lifetime guarantee.

    How you were raised and what you find out in the world will be total opposites of each other. Your parents planted the roots, you get to decide how big the tree will be.

    You are who you are now because of your values, beliefs and experiences (both formal education and life education). You are who you become when you change any of these.

    You get to decide who is worthy of you.

    When you look in the mirror are you happy with what you see? If not, then change what needs to be changed.

  3. I had a similar feeling with my last relationship ending. It was January of 2004. I still call it Freedom Day. I had been so stifled for so long that I almost lost myself. It affected my relationship with my son and to this day he resents me for allowing that person to be in our lives. It’s unfortunate the things we put up with. I regret the time I’ll never get back, not because of my wasted time, I learned from it, but because of the strain on my relationship with my son. He’s my only child, and I kick myself for not seeing that he was being bullied by my ex.

  4. Mike, it sounds like you lived in a Police song (like the stalker song, “Every Breath you Take”).

    Reminds me of when I was talking with a co-worker about ex-girlfriends (at the time, neither of us were married). He was surprised I did not hate my exes (they were decent woman and the break-ups were more-or-less amicable)–he said “My exes are exes for a reason. Infidel winches.”

    I hope you found happiness and a better relationship with another woman.

  5. People move, die, walk away, it’s not personal. Divorce is very personal the other is saying you failed, it’s always “your” fault. It’s human nature to wonder if you could have done better no mater how bad the other was.

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