My husband never talked about being unhappy. He never suggested anything was missing in our marriage.
I don’t know how or why the idea took over his heart. I’d like to say he just drifted away from me, but it was more like a bolting dash once he started perusing all the possibilities posted on the Internet.
Looking back on it, he was anything but discreet. He was lost in an intense search for several days before he found someone to fulfill his unmet needs.
There were emails, followed by phone calls, and then he announced he was withdrawing money from our joint account and making a trip out of town.
When I asked him how this had happened so suddenly, so spontaneously, he said that this was something he’d always wanted. It was time for him to make some decisions about how he was going to enjoy his retirement.
As open-minded as I try to be, when he introduced me to Annie, I cringed at her youth. She was a perfect specimen of female fecundity: petite, with a neat waist, movie-star-too-sparkly-white teeth and naturally-curly, naturally-red hair.
She wiggled when she walked. She’d start to vibrate when he glanced at her. It was clear she adored him, the way she’d cling to him and look to him for guidance.
She was exuberant about everything. She always let him have the last word. Maybe part this relationship’s appeal was what was missing – namely, that free flow of feedback my husband gets from me.
He assured me theirs was just a “fun” connection, that it might even add some spice to our relationship. It would be different, but we could make it work, he was certain.
The first time the three of us were out together, I stood stunned when he dropped my hand and walked off to window shop – with Annie wrapped in his jacket. I trailed behind like a formerly favourite blanky, slightly sick with the realization that I had to find a way to accept her in our life if I wanted to keep the household together.
He started spending more and more time with just her. They’d take advantage of the hours when I was busy at work to do their own thing. And he had to tell me about it: their bike rides, walks on the beach, or what she did when they drove into town – without me.
On the rare occasions when it was just the two of us, it was clear he was distracted and missing her. After a dinner date, he’d race home to check in with Annie.
I’d overhear him talking, laughing more warmly than he did with me, gushing with abandon. He was happier than I’d ever known him.
He insisted it was innocent and well-intentioned, even though he was obviously smitten.
I was taken aback, but I love my husband, and I couldn’t consider denying him such joy.
I thought the glow might wear off. But with time, he grew even more attached to her, and fiercely protective. Annie could do no wrong.
There was no criticizing her behaviour, no suggesting that maybe she was a bit messy or too loud – or that she didn’t need to sleep in our bedroom…
So I held my tongue.
It’s been two and a half years now, and I’m slowly getting used to it.
Last week, they spent hours setting up her Facebook page.
A man and his dog. (Sigh).
I’m picking the next puppy!
Julie Ann Luoma is happy to share quirky conclusions drawn from life’s little dramas.