On November 13, 2009, my marriage was in jeopardy. My two sons were fourteen and eleven. Good kids, who were close to their mother, but barely knew their father. Though my husband had a good job, he was distant, distracted, and irritable.
On this date, I had just had my 38th birthday, and I was likely feeling disappointed, as I always did back then. Usually, I got a necklace that my husband bought me multiple times before. He always bought me the same thing. I recognized that he had a definitive taste for black and silver jewelry, but did the necklace have to be the same every time? Black onyx face encased in a silver rectangle-shaped charm. I think I have four or five now. Maybe my cynicism went deeper than a misguided birthday gift.
During this time, my husband was in a midlife crisis, that started when he was diagnosed with diabetes. I’m not sure why this caused him to withdraw, other than maybe it was the facing of his immortality. It’s no surprise that men have all sorts of “affairs” at some point in their lives.
Sometimes it’s for another woman. Sometimes it is for a new sports car. One friend said her husband remodeled their entire house. My husband’s vice of choice was an internet game called, World of Warcraft. To say he was having affair with a game could seem odd, but what was an affair really? The moment when a spouse gives him or herself to someone, or in this case, “something,” else. Person or thing, it didn’t matter, the effect was still the same. His heart was divided and he was clearly distracted. He did not come to the dinner table, go to church, or attend any of his boys’ numerous shows. Like a single mother, I attended each of the performances alone. Other parents even wondered if I really was married and making it up.
For over three years, each night, my husband came home from work and sat at his computer. He moved only to go to bed and to go to work. Sometimes neither of those were enough to pull him away from the game, and he’d stay up all night and take a personal day. In addition, we barely talked, and when we did, it was only to find out “what’s for dinner?” He was more annoyed by my emotions, than curious about how I was doing. At times, I didn’t know if we would make it, so I moved the kids to a new school closer to my work, and I opened my own bank account. People offered to take us in at a moment’s notice. I was despondent and sad, but mostly alone. It was a dark time in our marriage, and one that we might not have survived, if things hadn’t changed.
Around this time, my sons and I went to Washington state for several weeks. After several weeks of not seeing us, something changed. It is still a mystery what happened during his time alone, but what is known is my husband stopped playing his game. He not only came to dinner but stay after to talk. He also began attending various events. It some ways, that was when our marriage began. The moment when a partnership was birthed. In 2018, we celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary. Today, we are best friends and closer than I could ever have imagined. When he first started to talk to me, I was afraid to breathe, worried it would end. But it didn’t. If I could talk to myself then, I would say be more vocal, but also don’t give up, it will get better.
Kimberlee Mendoza is the Dean of Language and Literature/Associate English professor at Wayland Baptist University and a cover designer for The Wild Rose Press. She is the author of over a dozen novels, including Dark Cognitions (Pelican Book Group), one non-fiction book, nineteen plays, and several poems. She has a MA in Humanities with an emphasis in literature and playwriting, a Ph.D. in Leadership & Education, and is seeking a MFA at Lindenwood University.
Kimberlee is a big advocate for lives being changed to greater ones. She would like you to consider donating to Teen Challenge. Since 1963, they have provided thousands of children, youth and adults an effective, faith-based, solution to drug and alcohol addiction at absolutely no cost to them. Visit teenchallenge.org.