I had just planned and played the starring role in the most fun wedding ever.

After the wedding comes a marriage.   Often it works out, but I have not been so fortunate.

As I stated, similarly,  in the story about the failure of my first marriage – I am a good person.  Gary was a good person.  We met at church.  Why didn’t it work?

Because we just were not a good match.  It would be easy to say that we didn’t spend enough time getting to know each other, which is true, but if we had been right for each other, I do not believe that the timing would have mattered.

We had laughed and had so much fun while we were dating.

Once we got married, everything changed.

During the first week, creditors that Gary had avoided for years came out of the woodwork.    He had successfully dodged them for so long that he probably thought they had given up.  There was no reason to tell me about all of that, right?

I had never missed paying a single bill in my entire life, so this was quite upsetting to me.   I did not like being threatened by collection agencies.  However, they were nothing in comparison to the IRS.  The IRS actually came and knocked on our door.

Gary owed them thousands.   Much to my chagrin, I learned from this tough IRS collector that Gary hadn’t paid any income tax for years. Even if they dropped the penalties and interest, it was still thousands of dollars.  And the IRS didn’t care about any of our other bills.  They would allow us a certain amount for food and rent, but wanted all other money paid to them, until the debt was cleared.

I was informed that by marrying him, I was fully responsible for his debts, and my wages could be garnished  also.

I was terrified.  I called one of my brothers to ask for advice.  My brothers and sisters discussed the matter, and offered to lend us the full amount of what he owed all creditors, from my mother’s funds.  (By this time, my mother, with dementia, was living in a nursing home.  My sister had her power of attorney.)

I wanted to save my marriage, so accepted their offer.  That, at least, stopped the creditors from calling, and we could focus on our relationship.

As I write this, I am also recalling some of the good things that happened.  Gary had 2 daughters, who lived approximately 4 hours from us. They spent 2 weekends a month with us.  He would drive up and get them on a Friday night, and then we would both take them home on Sunday night.  He and I had some good talks during those 4-hour car rides.

His oldest daughter was 13, and she and I had instantly hit it off.  His youngest daughter was 11, and she still wanted her parents to be married (even though they had divorced when she was 2).  Therefore, she resented me, but adored her father.  Having stepdaughters was my favorite part of being married to Gary.

We had one Christmas together.   I love surprises, so didn’t put name tags on any of the gifts.  When the girls arrived and pawed through all of the boxes under the tree, they were frustrated that they didn’t know which ones were theirs.  They immediately yanked the gift tags from the wrapped gifts they had brought.  I stuck to my guns, despite all of their whining.

On Christmas morning, when they finally opened their gifts, they were joyfully surprised.  They both hugged me and told me that it was the best Christmas they had ever had.  Before that, they had always been able to guess what was inside their presents.  I think that Christmas changed their way of thinking about surprises.

Gary had been a police officer for a number of years, but had quit the police force about 7 years before we married.  To this day, I believe that he was still suffering from PTSD (post traumatic stress syndrome).  Gary and his partner had answered a domestic abuse call.  When they arrived, the husband was pointing a rifle at his wife.  Gary dropped to the ground, but his partner approached the husband, who turned the rifle on him and shot him in the face.  His partner survived, but I don’t think Gary ever recovered from that incident.

He became extremely short-tempered and eventually left the police force (or was asked to resign).  At one point, he decided to bottle up all of that rage and “put on a happy face.”  He went from being very responsible to not wanting any responsibility at all.  That’s when he stopped paying his bills, quit paying his taxes and worked for minimum wage at a skating rink.

When I met him, he had a salaried job for a construction company, but he hated it.   He came home, miserable every day.

Once we were married, and I was around him so many hours, I became very aware of his masked rage.  He had nightmares almost every night.  All of these nightmares involved him fighting – literally.  Because I was lying in bed next to him, I got punched or kicked.  Obviously, this was no fun.  I knew it wasn’t my fault and that he needed help.  But he didn’t think so.

Until one morning when I made the bed and his pillowcase was covered in blood.  He always left for work very early, while I was still asleep.  When he came home that night, his face had many thin scratches from his scalp to his chin.  I asked him what happened, and he said, “That’s the same question I have for you.”

There was an open safety pin on the night table next to his side of the bed.   That safety pin, with blood on it, had caused those scratches.  He thought I had done that to him, but I knew I hadn’t.  (As I read what I just wrote, I am wondering what you readers must be thinking about some of these bizarre events.  I assure you that I can’t make this stuff up!)

We got an “emergency” appointment with a psychologist.  The psychologist talked to him about his anger and assured Gary that I had not inflicted him with those scratches.  …that I could not have done that in my sleep so precisely, and that if someone had been doing that to him, he would have woke up.  The conclusion – he had scratched himself in his sleep.  (This is way beyond my comprehension.)

Although, Gary and I continued in counseling, I doubt that he ever believed what the psychologist said.

Having failed at one marriage, I was determined to make this one work, no matter what.  I didn’t care how much counseling or work it would take; I was committed to solving our issues and ultimately having a good relationship.

Gary had a different agenda, but I didn’t find out about it until too late.  I had started a home business, making wearable art, to supplement our household income.  One weekend, I was gone to a craft show several hours away.  When I got home, Gary had moved out.

He had left the rent check, unpaid, on the floor, with a note that he had moved in with his brother.  I could call him there the next day.

I was crushed, but relieved.  I didn’t realize how unhappy and scared I had been until he was gone.  I was insulted that he had taken such a chicken way out, but I also knew that if he had told  me was leaving, I would have talked him out of it.

Our marriage had lasted a little over one year.  A rough year for both of us.

As a postscript, the money that he had borrowed from my mother, was subtracted from my inheritance when she died a few years later.   That was only fair – I had made the choice to borrow the money.

He made the choice to not pay it back.



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