My ex-husband is a salesman–a very good one. I am a teacher. I believe that teachers are also salespeople in a way. What makes a good salesman? The ability to listen to the needs of the clients and then sell them the products which will best suit their needs. Communication! I used to tell D that I knew he was one hell of a salesman when he convinced me to marry him. There is some truth in that statement. Whenever I pointed out to him that one day our age difference would matter, he assured me that it wouldn’t and I believed him. When I told him it might be difficult to step-parent three daughters, he told me he was up to it. When I told him his parents might be unhappy with his decision to take on a ready-made family, he was sure they would like me once they got to know me–and they did, eventually.
When we first met we talked nonstop. About everything. We never ran out of things to tell each other. I think it was our ease in communicating that first drew me to him. We laughed. We had fun together. My opinions mattered to him and his to me. I told him all about me–the good, the bad and everything in the middle. He seemed just as forthcoming with me. But I learned later that he held some things back, things he knew I wouldn’t approve of, the most obvious one being his use of recreational drugs. He told me just a short time before we got married. I established hard and fast rules about that from the beginning–no drugs in the house with my daughters. And he honored that.
I am happy to say that he was stone-cold sober and clean when he asked for a divorce, and had been for years. But I guess I will always believe that the drugs and alcohol contributed to our eventual misunderstanding each other and our inability to talk things out in the later years of our marriage. Some bad habits developed as the result of his having to partake of his illegal substances away from home. He almost always came home late. The girls and I finally gave up waiting dinner and ate without him. He felt guilty, I’m sure. I felt neglected and angry but I tried not to let the girls see how I felt. I doubt I did a very good job of it.
I’m proud of him for staying clean and sober through this divorce. And for many years before we divorced. But I’m not sure I ever recovered from the substance-abuse years. I was already damaged from my childhood with a substance abuser and those years with D and the deceptions that go along with that life were a major setback for me.