Life Begins at 39

This is all very personal, but I’ll try to keep it as succinct as possible.

I turned 39 in March of '04. Life at that point was pretty mundane- I had been married for seven years, and we had been together for eight years prior to that. The marriage was not working for me anymore. I didn’t think she respected me enough, I felt taken for granted, and it basically seemed that we had become merely roommates. Sexually, we had been going downhill (not a pun) for quite some time. So, the situation was not good for either one of us, but I was scared to death of changing my circumstances. What if no one else wanted me? Yes, I had some considerable self-esteem issues. I was sleepwalking.

I went to Arizona for work for three weeks, along with a good buddy and this girl (let’s call her Sally), who was married to a guy I used to work with. Her husband was a real frat-boy jerk-off type that I never liked. I always thought she was too good for him, even though I didn’t know her that well. The gig was an easy one, and the three of us had plenty of time to hang out, drink, and get to know each other better. Well, getting to know Sally was a revelation: she was a lot more fun than I ever knew. Much flirting commenced. She hugged me good night our last night there, and told me drunkenly, “You’re like the male me.”

So, back in our hometown, the three of us start hanging out together. Since her husband was much more interested in his golf game than her, and my wife was traveling a lot and not very interested in me either, we had plenty of time. We fell for each other pretty quickly. Nothing physical happened for a while, as we both tried to resist becoming adulterers, but eventually we gave in. I’m certainly not proud of cheating, of sneaking around, of lying. But, I saw a chance to make myself happy, finally, and I went for it. By August, I was seperated from my wife, and Sally moved into her own apartment (in my building) soon after. Happy? Damn straight, despite the guilt.

By October, problems arose. She was getting very close to my friend (let’s call him Harry), and I started to get jealous of them. I thought I was going crazy, they wouldn’t do this to me, would they? Long story short: she broke up with me and soon after I get the news from Harry that now he’s fallen for her, and she for him. You can probably imagine the pain, the rage, the homicidal thoughts. Funny thing though, I somehow found it in me to give them my blessing, eventually. I realized that, while she may have had the hots for me, he was probably a better match for her personality-wise. Maybe I’m just a sucker, but I don’t think they did anything behind my back. Sally and I needed each other at the time, but now it was time to move on.

Jump to New Year’s Eve: I went out with a bunch of friends and ended up making out with a divorced friend I’d always had a crush on. Turns out she (Maria) had a long-standing thing for me, too. Just like Sally. (my self-esteem was really coming back now) So, things are great again until the earthquake happens: Maria gets pregnant. We had only been together for about six weeks, so this was going to be a major complication, but we decided to soldier on, knowing it was going to tough. Everything was cool for a while- we got along, our chemistry was fantastic (all that stuff about pregnant women and sex drive? Believe it.) until complications arose again. Not to gross anyone out but, she started bleeding when we had sex. A lot. So, no more sex. This may sound shallow, but good sex is important to me now after many years of not having much. We lost the intimacy, the closeness that comes from being naked and sweaty and panting together. If we had a fight, we couldn’t make up properly. We tried for a while, but the stress of being a 37 year-old, unwed mother and trying to keep me happy too, was just too much for her. So, we decided to lay off the romance for now and focus on the upcoming baby. It’s been difficult, to say the least. Our relationship has turned kind of chilly and that’s depressing. I have no idea how we’re going to raise this child once she arrives. Maria says I can be as involved as I want to be, but does she mean it? I won’t be able to stomach having a child I never see. I don’t want my daughter to grow up hating her father. I don’t know if there’s another earthquake coming.

Still, I’m glad I changed my life. All this pain and uncertainty beats the hell out of numbness, at least in the long run. I’ve had the pleasure of being with two great girls, and now I feel like I can have somebody great in my life, and that I deserve somebody great. I turned the big 4-0 in March, and somebody once said that’s when life begins. Living proof over here. Comments, advice, criticism?

So, are you still with your wife, or what?

There’s a baby on the way. This is no longer about you and what you want.

You might not be the father!

Left out that detail didn’t I? The divorce became final in May, the same day I found out I’m having a girl.

Yeah, I get that. It’s still my life, however. It’s still undetermined what my role is going to be, since I’m not with her mother anymore.

Ouch! But, even without a test, I’m pretty certain of it. She’s not a skank.

Everybody makes mistakes. It’s how we deal with the consequences that matters. How do you think you should deal with the consequences?

And yes, it is your life. It just got very complicated. Don’t expect easy answers.

So, how is your ex-wife? How is she coping with this? What a mess. For so many people. Good thing you’ve discovered yourself in the process, though.

I’m sorry, I’m having a little trouble with this. I’m not trying to tear you down (this isn’t the Pit), so please try to take my post in the spirit in which it is intended.

You and your wife have divorced. Having been though it myself, I know there’s more than one underlying reason. You had a relationship with a woman you say you “fell for,” but it sounds more like you were just physically attracted to her. You were jealous when she started seeing someone else, but you concede that she has more in common with the man she ended up with, so that’s for the best. You then went on to have a fling with another woman that you “fell for.” But from the way you talk about the chemistry and your physical relationship, it sounds like you really didn’t want much beyond sex there, either.

Yes. If you cannot make up “properly” without sweaty, panting sex, then it is shallow and this is not a relationship.

Also, this:

Pretty much leads me to believe that what you really want is to be able to have as much sex as you want without the added responsibility of a relationship. Which is fine, but at least come out and admit it. I realize you’re trying to not look like an asshole, here. Nobody wants to be seen as a jerk. However, this leads us to…

It isn’t about you. Repeat that to yourself often. You are a father now. If you don’t want any part in your child’s life, then you are beholden to tell the woman that so that neither she nor the child will expect you to be there and end up hurt and disappointed when it doesn’t happen. Don’t put it off because you’re afraid of a fight. The longer it goes unsaid, the more hurt it will cause.

Regardless, you should expect to be held at least partly financially responsible for that child.

Have you considered a vasectomy?

No, I was really in love with her. I kind of glossed over the end of that, to save time, but I went through a hellish time when she broke up with me. I lashed out, I didn’t sleep or eat much, hair fell out, the whole bit. Hell, I could see her apartment from mine, try *that * sometime. It’s even possible I’m still in love with her, on some level. But, I honestly want her to be happy, because she’s a great person and has been through some rough shit.

This may or may not be true. I was struggling with whether or not we were a good match before it ended. Probably, we are not. But, when we lost that intimacy that we had (and I didn’t describe it very well), we lost the best connection we had. You know, laying there in the aftermath, vulnerable, staring at each other, telling our secrets. It’s actually something I really love. Remember, it was still a very new relationship, and we still didn’t know each other that well, despite the fact that we had been acquainted for almost 20 years.

I don’t know how I gave this impression, but I have no intention of shirking my responsibility. I left out this part in the OP, but I had pretty much given up on the idea of ever having children. I’m excited about having this child. Scared shitless, but excited. My worry is that the mother and I won’t be able to get along, and that will affect the little one. But, I think we’ll come to an understanding eventually. We have a lot of mutual friends, I know her family, and we’re still speaking, even though it’s pretty uncomfortable. But no, I really want to be a good father, and I’m going to put everything I can into it.

Considering it right now, as a matter of fact.

Yup, know it, love it, crave it. But if make up sex is the only thing that can get you through a nasty fight and sex is the best connection you had, then I would stand by the opinion that you didn’t have much.

Good! I’m glad you said that. As long as you keep that attitude, and as long as she feels the same way about your daughter, then you’ll be able to work it out with each other. As long as you both put what she needs first, then you’ll be able to find a workaround on the disagreements.

Wow, that’s a lot of excuses piled up. “We fell for each other…”, “Since her husband was much more interested in his golf game than her,” “my wife was traveling a lot and not very interested in me”, “I went out with a bunch of friends and ended up making out with a divorced friend I’d always had a crush on…”

One does not “end up” making out with another person when one is in a committed relationship. It is a conscious choice, and you don’t get to blow it off to a mere chance encounter.

Dude, you were not a passive participant. You chose to become involved with these people, and you chose to have sex with them. You chose to cheat on your wife, and you chose to become involved in a relationship with someone else’s wife. And I’m surprised that you don’t think that “Sally” did anything behind your back; she cheated on her husband with you, so what makes you think she wouldn’t cheat on you?

You also imply that you ditched “Maria” because she was no longer able to have sex with you, because it might have endangered her pregnancy. If that is accurate, then she is a far wiser person than you, because her priorities are in order. To “make up properly” does not require intercourse, in any mature, adult relationship.

And just for the record, referring to the mother of your unborn child as a “great girl” is rather offensive, at the very least.

I was already seperated from my wife, just not officially divorced yet. I am guilty of procrastination.

Actually, she is the one who initiated the “breakup”. Sorry if that wasn’t clear. I was very willing to try to make it work, and I’m still open to giving it another shot, eventually. She is the one dealing with all the stresses of being of “advanced maternal age”, single un-wed mother, and all that implies. I, basically, have the easy part. I understand that. Defining my role, in this crazy situation, is what I’m struggling with right now.

I’m sorry, but I just don’t get this. Is it the world “girl”? If so, I can’t really apologize for that. Almost all the “women” I know refer to themselves as “girls”, and none of them are offended by the term. She is a great “girl”, and I still hold out some hope that we can make it work out, once this storm subsides.