THE BACHELOR CHAPTERS: A THINKING WOMAN’S ROMANCE
My hidden romance with Jon matured into a marriage of comfort and commitment. I regretted cheating on Beth, and moving forward, I vowed never to betray him. Jon and I were an independent couple, with adventurous, but unshared interests. I was a serious hiker, constantly planning the next solo trek in the mountains of Nepal or the jungles of Vietnam. He was a private pilot, and sunk his free time into his airplane. We were supportive of one another’s activities, and we created a loving oasis in our home. I felt like my ability to love and be loved had matured with my age. We rarely argued, and our sex was hot. Our marriage was realistic, not romantic, and I was convinced we had designed the perfect partnership to take us through our lives together. Informed with life experience, love finally made sense. No more drama. No more baggage. I adored being an adult; I was a married lady, excited by the present and certain about the future.
Yet, gradually, around the tenth year of the relationship, my marriage began to annoy me. I loved my husband and felt blessed to be dependent on our partnership, but the differences between us started to nag me and I was too embarrassed to admit it. Covertly, I started to question whether I could spend the rest of my life with him. I was outgoing, spontaneous, and social. Jon was self-contained, premeditated, and friendless. Growing old with someone who rarely laughed, rarely spoke, and had no desire to be around other people suddenly looked like a nightmare. How could I live like that? I felt guilty even thinking about it. I had taken those marriage vows as an inviolable contract. He was the same man he’d always been. I had been happy for years. What was wrong with me?
One day I surprised myself and almost dealt with the situation. He was in the kitchen putting away the dishes.
“Honey, how are you feeling about things between us?” I asked. “Has there been anything on your mind? Anything you’d like me to know?” Jon never answered a question quickly. He stood in front of the open cabinet, a plate in his hand. I held my breath, knowing I had nudged a land mine.
“Well, yes. There is.” I was stunned, but played it cool. Could it be that he was dissatisfied too? He went right to the meat of it. “There are lots of times when you don’t shut the kitchen cabinets. I come home from work, and you’ve left all the cabinets open.” He placed the plate in the cupboard, closed the door, and turned to face me. “Honestly? It pisses me off.” Speechless, I watched the gap widen between us.
“Sorry, honey. I’ll pay more attention.” I’d found my voice, but I’d lost my courage. I walked to the freezer, pulled out two martini glasses and the gin. I’d been brooding about the future of our marriage. He had a cabinet door issue. I poured the gin and handed him the drink.