Road Signs
Road Signs
Posted by linda_notonfb - Tagged , , , ,
In recent months I’ve talked to two women who are ending 30-year marriages–and whose husbands turned out to be in the same league as my ex, mr. invisible. I also have a gay friend who is divorcing his husband (partners for decades and married for five years) for some serious indiscretions. These mr. invisibles all have one thing in common: They lived secret lives and had other “interests” they were addicted to–while we were in the dark. In all of our cases there were very innocuous signs along the road of life that meant nothing when they occurred–but, in retrospect, should have screamed out, “DANGEROUS CURVE!”

Does this make us enablers, dear readers, for living with what professional therapists call addicts? Where does one cross over from unwitting participant to the E word?

On this extra hot steamy day in the desert where I live, I went to the cool, dark theater to see the documentary about politician Anthony Weiner’s fall from the ivory pulpit from which he preached to Congress, and I saw the painful process of addictive behaviors played out over and over. “Wiener” covers the period in 2013 where he ran for mayor of NYC, and came in a sad fifth place in the Democratic primary. Turns out that Hester Prynne’s scarlet letter has been reduced to a grainy iPhoto shot of a good-sized bulge in a pair of gray, nondescript men’s cotton briefs. Weiner regularly whipped said bulge out and photographed it like it was the male Mona Lisa for women with nothing better to do, I guess, than comment on the size of his dick.

Yikes, what’s an educated, high profile, business-savvy wife to do with a scumbag like Weiner? Stand by her man and with lips pursed in a tight, straight line, look as if she’s about to vomit for much of the hour and a half documentary.

But, news flash, they are still together as far as I know, and so dear readers, I ask: Is she an enabler?

There is no accounting for why some women stay in relationships that appear to be toxic from the get go and why others bail at the first sniff of a sexual peccadillo. And having been humiliated myself by my own personal weineresque ex, I’ll never judge what another woman (or man) does in these situations. But with Weiner’s hubris, as grand as that bulge he’s so proud of, you can bet his wife’s had to purse her lips a time or two since the cameras quit rolling.

My DD, darling daughter, told me while I was still in shock from discoveries about my ex that I’d be hearing from friends who saw him do or say something during our marriage that felt off or out of character–and a handful of friends have come forward with stories that made no sense to them at the time. I can say that the last few years with him felt particularly void of joy–there was a flatness to our day-to-day interactions that hadn’t always been there. If you think back to the “Oprah” days, her experts talked about stuff like that on the show, how sometimes we get into ruts and need to take it up a notch to bring back the spark. I tried shaking it up, to get him to feel, to talk about the blankness–but he remained mum.

If I really look back around every curve in our marriage, I see a number of flat, emotionless times that I tried to fluff up with happiness and holidays by creating a warm and inviting home, a place where family and friends loved to gather. But when the last cocktail glass went into the dishwasher and all the candles were blown out after a damn good time, that little bit of giddiness disappeared. I felt the slow creep of an unease descend upon me, and at times the muscles deep in my gut would start to cramp.

“Hi, my name’s Linda, and I was an enabler.”

Hester may have had to wear that adulterous A for the rest of her life, but this ol’ gal has shed the E stamped on my chest, and I know one thing for sure: Never again.

Click to read the next post: “Cock-A-Doodle-Doo”
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  • Avatar Tim Wheelock says:

    Hello, my name is Tim and I’m an enabler. I was thinking more clearly today. I have been so unhappy for so many years in a bad relationship that it is foolish to be unhappy without that bad relationship. In the past few months I pined and sobbed and ached so badly I thought I needed a wheel barrow to carry my heavy heart. I enabled a 28 year relationship that should have never started. Tim

    Loved ROAD SIGNS and will be reading lots more! XX

    • Avatar linda_notonfb says:

      Take that E off your chest, hold your head up high, and take one step at a time–forward! Reach out to friends who love and support you, and ask for what you need. You will be amazed at the life that YOU can create for yourself. Much love to you, dear friend…