"He's So Needy, It's Making Me Crazy"
Her Turn, continued
"I foresaw none of these problems when Roy and I were dating. My first husband was a businessman who was bossy and domineering, so I was thrilled to be in a relationship with a sweet, kind man who adored me. Roy had taught art to all three of my sons, so I knew him from parent-teacher conferences. He'd always been Mr. Wilson to me. Then three years ago when my youngest son, Carl, was in ninth grade, a mutual friend set us up. It was a blind date on my end -- my friend told me that a 'great guy' would pick me up. He also said that this mystery man already knew me and was eager to know me better. The day of our date, a gorgeous bouquet arrived at my office; the card was signed 'Mr. Wilson.' I was flabbergasted but very flattered.
"From the moment he arrived that night, our conversation just took off. Roy told me how devastated he had been when his first wife left him for an international businessman, then moved to Europe with their only child. His daughter is 27 now and he feels he barely knows her. He said being close to his students helped compensate for her absence. Then he told me a wonderful story about Carl, who'd been a reluctant art student but blossomed when Roy pointed out the connection between perspective and science. That's the moment I got hooked. What a refreshing change from my angry, self-centered ex -- or, for that matter, my equally angry and self-centered father, a police officer who barked orders at his family as if he was still on duty. I began thinking how great it would be for Carl to have a positive male role model. Sadly, it's too late for my two older sons, who are already in college.
"We started seeing each other practically every day. Three months into the relationship, he proposed with a gorgeous ring he'd designed himself -- a center diamond encircled by rosettes of other gems. The kids were delighted to have 'Mr. Wilson' as a stepfather. On our honeymoon, in Paris, Roy acted as my personal tour guide at the Louvre. As we strolled along the Left Bank, the sight of Parisian couples walking hand in hand and kissing inspired us to do the same. It was the most romantic time of my life.
"But trouble started the minute we got back. Roy had the summer off, while I had to go right back to the office. I'd come home to his clinging-vine routine -- as well as dirty socks on the floor, spices all over the countertop, and pots and pans in the sink.
"One positive note is that Roy is really good for Carl, just as I'd hoped. They like to kick a soccer ball around in the backyard, and Roy has been helping Carl with his college applications. That's great, but it doesn't make up for all the problems. I was swept off my feet by Roy's romantic gestures, but now I'm feeling suffocated by his need for togetherness. Plus, I'm not having great sex, I have to clean up after him, and I'm stuck with all the guy chores. He says I'm the love of his life and will do anything to improve our marriage. But most of the time I just wish I had my old, peaceful life back."