Today is my Wedding Anniversary. Hubby and i have been married for 28 years, this by anyones reckoning is a very long time. i am not necessarily good at remembering past events in detail, but i am pretty sure i remember large parts of this one, even down to the weather. It was a cloudy but warm day and rained during the evening. Like most young brides i went into the whole thing full of romance, nearly as much in love with the idea of the wedding as i was with my new husband.
You could describe the last 28 years as a rollercoaser. At various times i have considered myself content and happily married and at other times much much less so. The first few years were particularly tricky, i remember the period soon after the wedding when i confided in a friend that marriage was less exciting than i had expected. I couldn’t put my finger on why i wasn’t completely happy since hubby hadn’t done anything wrong at them time. We had a party when we had been married for 5 years. I arranged it because i felt that against some kind of odds we had reached a milestone. He rewarded me by having an affair with a woman from work which continued until after my son was born. I vividly remember going out with family members for my 30th birthday, without my husband who i told them was working away (actually that was what he told me and i kind of believed him).
My bubble burst one day as i stood in my dining room ironing, my toddler son near by. The woman turned up on my door step and confronted me, saying she loved my husband. i have gone through what happened next many many times. i was angry with her but more so with him. i might have hit her if i was that kind of person, we spoke for a few minutes and somehow i got her to leave. She followed the visit with a long letter about the things they did together and the fact that they were engaged. i think that may well have been a low point in my life!
Just as i had been in love with getting married, i now became obsessed with keeping my husband from ‘that’ woman! i fought for him, i told him i loved him, i didn’t want him to go. In truth, i think i was more worried about the implications of being left alone, of having to face people as a single parent than in working through the implications of staying married to a man i neither trusted nor really fancied any more.
For a long time i found sex with him really difficult. i would be turned on, i would want us to make love but then once he touched me, i would immediately feel revolted by him and turned off. i realised that i might have made a mistake but once again fear led me to just get on with it.
The last 15 years have been better in terms of us living together as a family. Hubby and i have learnt to manage our life together and at times we have had some reasonable sex. My not wanting him to touch me all those years ago though have led directly to him thinking that there is no need for foreplay and our ‘lovemaking’ has been something that occurs infrequently and is over in minutes.
Marriage is about more than sex, whatever form that sex takes. We have concentrated on providing a safe and loving environment for our son to grow up in. We have loved each other, how could you remain together for so long and not love each other? I no longer hate him in the way i once did, i am no longer repulsed by his touch, but i am not sexually attracted to him.
Today we will go out for lunch for our anniversary, it will be a nice occasion but not quite romantic. Neither of us minds. We are marking the occasion which feels right but we both know, even if we don’t speak the words that we are unlikely to reach 30. Going it alone after such a long time feels pretty scary, but i really don’t think it would be fair on either of us to keep up a facade that has gone on for too long.