How I cheated without leaving the house
The Marital Problems Begin
In early 1997 I had been married for about 2 ½ years. My daughter Normina had just turned 2. My first ex-wife is named Mary (Marina). Mary and I lived in an apartment in Matawan, NJ. Our apartment was a little two bedroom place which was comfortable for me and her and Normina. Our life wasn’t perfect. Mary was diagnosed as an agoraphobic at the time. She was being treated with Xanax. This is a palliative only. It does nothing really to solve the problem.
Agoraphobia is an interesting issue. The afflicted has ‘safe people’ and ‘safe places’. When not in the presence of either, the afflicted tends to suffer from panic attacks. A panic attack feels like you are suffering from cardiac arrest. In reality, there is no physical effect, but a strong psychological one. The net effect is that the afflicted is, depending on the severity, unable to function in a normal manner.
In Mary’s case it meant that she couldn’t/wouldn’t leave the house for any reason short of her mother coming over and escorting her out. If I wasn’t with her, that is. Now, somehow she managed to take the baby to pediatrician visits, but this was normally in the presence of her mother. You can see the complete dependence there.
Working In The City
While this was going on, I was working about 12-14 hours a day in New York trying to make ends meet. We started our marriage in a real hole and were leaking money at the rate of $120 a month while we were eating pasta for the one real meal we had a day because it was cheap. I was only making about 31k a year at first. Commuting itself ate up about 4k of that, and the rest went to rent and a car payment and whatever bills we could afford. Things were pretty bleak since her condition pretty much precluded working, not even minding the fact that Normina was at home.
I did all the laundry and the food shopping when I got home from work. Don’t know what she did during the day besides care for the baby. I know that is work, certainly. There are so many more things involved in keeping a house running. My stepfather and my lawyer like to point to this period as where I made my mistake: I should not have taken on all the responsibility for everything. But she certainly wasn’t competent for more than she took on, as she continues to prove today. If her new husband weren’t a good guy, their household would collapse.
Things Get A Little Better
By the time early 97 came around, however, we had some money in the bank and i’d doubled my salary. I got a $25k bonus that year for some hard work I did for the bank I was working at. Personally, I wanted to ball up about 50k before we bought a house. I received most of my bonus in slowly vested stock. We weren’t close yet. And I wanted to do it with one child rather than two. I wasn’t sure that I wanted another child. Raising Normina had been a hard grind so far. I wanted to enjoy life a bit and get comfortable and well heeled like we hadn’t taken the time to do before. This didn’t fit in with Mary’s plans.
Mary was ostensibly on the pill. I wouldn’t suggest our sex life was vibrant at the time but it was ok. We fucked enough that I can’t pinpoint the night that Shartbox was conceived. She had stopped taking it without alerting me. When I heard she was pregnant again I wasn’t happy. I took it as a betrayal when she said “I stopped taking them months ago.”. This being in about late January 1997.
I wasn’t happy about it from the beginning and I grew no more happy with it as time went on. The year moved on into March. Her mother acted as motivator for her and they began looking for houses, since the apartment was clearly insufficient for four. I became convinced we could barely afford a house. I turned out to be right on that score, ultimately. Also, I was having my doubts about her and our marriage after the betrayal. I put my foot down, saying that I wouldn’t buy a house. Her response was that she would leave if I didn’t. I gave in out of fear of something stupid causing me to get divorced. It is easy to point to this as my largest error. I should have let her fulfill her threat and then claimed abandonment.
Buying The Ill-Fated House
That said, I signed all the paperwork and committed myself to a house. It wasn’t a bad house but it was 3 blocks from her mom, who had too large of a role in my household already. Later, I found out why I had such little purchasing power on my salary: she’d been buying food for her mom’s 6 foster kids and their household. Her mom is one of those foster child stipend people who basically pack the kids in for the money and then give them the bare minimum. So I was a cash cow for their family, love the idea. But Mary showed many times how wasteful she was with our funds. If it was in the bank, it was her right to spend it. Regardless what bills were coming out of it.
I immersed myself in games at this time when I wasn’t at work. I played a lot of Diablo 1. Then I got interested in Linux and built a box on Slackware on a Dell 486/50 server chassis. EISA bus – nifty stuff. I installed Angband, the Roguelike text game. Heard about an update and went in search of it. I did a search on ‘Angband’. Got towers.angband.com, the Two Towers LPMUD. MUD stands for “Multi-User Dungeon”. Like a textual version of World of Warcraft. T2T was a Tolkien based MUD and a fairly large one. It tended to place highly on MUD lists. T2T was even more popular back then.
I created a character named Kiradan, a Dunadan warrior. It means “man of the cutting blade” or something close. I styled him Kiradan i Minhiriathi, “of Minhiriath”, a region of the lost realm of Arnor. In other words, a dispossessed noble similar to Aragorn but of less lineage. I adventured about for a long period of time – at least a month and a half, two months, from early August 97 through late September 2007. Barely talked to anyone while I was online. I play MMOs similar to single player games. Totally hate asking for help. I do everything solo if I can. So I learned the game and stuck to strict roleplay when I did have to (rarely) interact with others. It was quite an exhilarating experience, the first MMO type game I ever played.
During this time period, Mary had Shartbox. More placid than Normina, she has always been a smiley kid and Mary calls her “her little sunshine”, which is what she is, really. Shartbox has always been a little blessing and while I don’t forgive Mary for what she did, I have to admit we make some pretty good babies.
Mary had some severe postpartum issues and was completely icy towards me for months. My interest in her was low after the betrayal. I was not happy with her and she knew it. That said, I took care of Shartbox and did pretty much everything as was the norm in our house. When she got older, Shartbox had this cute habit of waking up when she knew I was coming home from work (10pm or so) and jumping up and down in her crib but never crying – until I came to get her. She did her little bonding thing with me and then fell asleep in my arms.
After Sharty went to sleep, i’d mud for an hour or so till I got tired and went to bed. That is, until one night shortly after Shartbox was born. An elf named Twilight met me in Bree. We had a bit of IC conversation and she suggested we go somewhere quieter, so we found our way to Archet and had a long discussion. She was so *interesting*, each touch of her hand had meaning even though it was only text. She listened to what I had to say and would have a witty comment for everything. No shadow was on our friendship. Our conversations were the complete antidote for the negativity with Mary. We parted that night only with signal regret.
A few nights later, after several long conversations of this sort, we professed affection for each other, and she took me to a quiet place and I got to experience textual sex for the first time – not expecting it at all. The textual sex was intriguing but it wasn’t consummated. She turned me on a bit, but it wasn’t something we ever did much of. I think she was just in the mood that night to talk slightly dirty – and she was always classy about it. I was mortified the next day but I rationalized it out that I hadn’t actually *had* sex with someone. Would learn later that this sort of entanglement might as well have been physical coitus, but not yet. After all, Mary was barely talking to me.
Of course, Mary started noticing that I wasn’t coming to bed immediately and I stopped pestering her for sex. I started harboring fantasies of actually having this woman I was corresponding with IC in real life. I learned her name: Debra, nicknamed Salty. She was from British Columbia and was from a fairly high profile family, was a gem and coin dealer, well off. Not a flighty or bad person one would assume.
Salty And Twilight Have Flaws
One flaw Salty has and had was that she suffered a brain injury in a motorcycle accident in her youth. The net effect is that her memory is very spotty. You could tell her something one night and she would completely forget. Mind you, this woman is easily as intelligent as I am, which is not shabby comparatively. The handicap seems very egregious for this reason. Particularly after a certain hour – her brain would stop really working. Of course, this was when she was most cuddly and loving. It had an inhibition lowering, almost euphoric effect on her. This I didn’t grasp till much, much later, after this episode was over, in fact. But it will help you understand some things.
I had told Salty I was married. It never registered with her apparently. Mary started searching my ICQ and mud logs around mid-December 1997. She hit paydirt apparently. Honestly we were in general just professing affection for each other. We had no plans to meet or anything like that. Even voice contact was not initiated. What Mary found was enough for her.
Catching A Beating
One night I came home from NYC and was treated to a screaming fit. I had a monitor thrown at me to boot. I kept the monitor until a year ago because of the big mark it had on it from her tossing it at me. 19” tube, she’s no weakling. Gave me a nice bruise.
Mary also contacted Salty via ICQ and announced that she wanted her gone from her life, no more contact with me. Salty was well, upset with herself. She only was able to stay away from me for about 7 days, I think she missed the attention quite a bit. In any event, Salty and I changed the nature of our relationship after that.
Real Life Relationship
After the screaming fit and the compulsion to do marriage counseling I received (from my parents, mostly), it seemed to propel our relationship in a real life direction. I opened up a secret bank account, secured a private mailbox, became expert in prepaid phone cards, and overall became an expert in covert relationships. Mary didn’t have a chance of detecting the continuance of mine and Salty’s relationship. We started exchanging packages in the mail. Video tapes. Poetry, cards, and cute little things. Pictures of her daughter. Pictures of my kids.
She would call me horny in the middle of the day and I would lock myself in a LAN closet and rub one out with her moaning and ostensibly doing the same on the other end. I conned Salty into approving a vasectomy for me. My line: I’ll leave you if you don’t. Figured what was good for the goose was good for the gander. I’ve thanked my lucky stars 100 times since then that I got her to approve that – most urologists are unwilling to perform the operation absent a spousal consent. Liability for deprivation of children is the reason, later on.
Then Salty started getting depressing, calling me drunk on my work phone at early morning hours and leaving rude messages, then apologizing later. I took stock of things. Basically, I loved Salty. But I knew that a relationship born of two-timing my wife was not going to last, i’d never have respect for her. So I broke it off clean with her, trying to explain myself the best that I could without promising anything. Salty was addicted to me. She couldn’t let go. I actually had to avoid her entirely for weeks till she gave up. Still hoped to take up with her again after the whole mess was over. I would be happy to be restored to a real marriage with Mary. Either way, it wasn’t working what we were doing. I’d completely lost my mind and was trying to restore sanity to my life.
This was mid-May 1998. I resolved to make my marriage work. This resolution did not cover her actions, though. She was bouncing checks all over town. She was having her own mud relationships, having followed me to the mud. The fucking other guys on the MUD was supposed to incite me to jealousy. I think it just disgusted me more than anything else. Had to let the supermarket take her to court over one of her most egregious checks. I had to pay the fine. What I wanted to happen happened. Mary came in front of the judge. Then Mary was made to explain why she wrote a rubber check. She couldn’t. I had expected her to show some shame. She was too far gone for that.
The situation got worse and worse, our relations deteriorated further and further. The children were being affected. I was ‘focusing’ on her but I had no intention of giving up my grievances against her lazy, slovenly nature. Her inability to clean anything or to follow a routine in any way, shape or form annoyed me to no end. Her care for the children degenerated into literally throwing bologna into the living room with a gate up and letting them eat it while she mudded. I’d come home from work to two lonely kids. I’d try to give them some remedial care but with my hours it wasn’t easy.
After about 6+ months of this, I decided to put my foot down. I went to see a lawyer who told me to document everything so I got a pocket recorder. Made arrangements to attend a meeting of the coders of the mud, which I had become one of in about June 1998 (partially to escape Salty, since as a coder I could still inhabit the place but not be visible to mere players). I didn’t anticipate what it would be like. I had figured some drinking would be involved. Got a new job – this time with the Federal Reserve, and went to the “MUD party” between my two jobs, for 5 days.
MUD Party And Alexia
I didn’t know that I was to be plied with alcohol. One of the women there had a severe crush on me. Her name was Cathy, but she had changed her name to Alexia and was an aspiring scriptwriter amongst other things. She’d been in the Army for a few years and I liked her immediately. She had poise, at least at that time. Alexia made sure she sat next to me at all times. She had her hands on me as much as she could. She would come out and smoke with me at every opportunity. Alexia kissed me. I didn’t resist.
When I went to lie down for the night, she lay beside me and grasped my hand and pressed it to her breast. Her body was beautiful and her desire for me was just like a breath of fresh air after all the shit at home. I took her and held her and dwelt with her for the remaining 3 days I was there and cried when I had to leave her. I still remember calling her from a pay phone after I got back and telling her that real life had to take a front seat.
Expulsion From My House
It wasn’t long after that. I was sick of Mary’s neglect of the kids. Took some steps to end it, pictures and recordings. I said it had to improve or DYFS would be involved. Someone broke into the filing cabinet the next day. The thief removed the camera. No one was home when I got home from work. The police arrived a few minutes later and escorted me out of my house, never to return. I was told that a restraining order had been entered against me for physical abuse based on a civil complaint she swore out that morning. Her mom at work. Fucking welfare cheat, knew how to work the system. Next shot was my turn though. I checked into a hotel and bided my time. It was April 15, 1999.
Something I had on my web site for a long time – it may be there still:
Twilight Tinrilwen, edregol bain! Bor Kiradan i Minhiriathi na vedui.
Translated roughly: Twilight, shining maiden, most beautiful! Kiradan of Minhiriath is yours till the end.
How many lies are in that sentence will have to wait for another episode far removed from 1999, where we leave off.