"My Sick Husband Got Better and Our Marriage Got Worse"

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Her Turn, Continued

"Nate got teary and said I was the only woman for him and that he'd try harder to get along with my family and tone down his temper. The next day, Tuesday, he went to a clinic to freeze some sperm. (His fertility was already low from the chemo, and the stem-cell transplant could leave him totally sterile.) Meanwhile, my mother and I bought flowers, food, and a dress for the wedding. My whole family was terrific. I remember Mom saying that it would be good for Nate to be one of us since he was pretty much alone in the world.

"We got married the next day, Wednesday, by a justice of the peace, and had a little reception afterward at my parents' house. On Thursday Nate went to the hospital.

"This was in May. As a teacher, I was off for the summer, and I threw myself into nursing Nate. Even though it was touch-and-go for months, this was one of the happiest times of my life. I felt so needed and so loved -- the way I had felt growing up. As the oldest child, I was a 'little mother' to my six siblings, and I relished the role. I fell right back into it during Nate's convalescence. We never fought and Nate got to know my family much better because they were in and out all the time.

"Nate responded extremely well to the procedure, and the prognosis for his long-term survival is excellent.

"But once he recovered from his surgery, he reverted to his old ways! He started putting down my family, yelling for no reason, holing up with work, and leaving me alone while he played softball or golf with his buddies. And heaven forbid I should call him on his cell while he's out. He gets really curt and tells me not to bother him. Honestly, I might as well be single. We barely even have sex anymore. But the last straw was the day my father and brother were helping Nate patch our roof. My brother was on a ladder and accidentally dropped a tool that landed near where Nate was standing. Nate went ballistic, screaming, 'Get that clown out of here -- I'll do the job myself!' I was mortified. My dad and brother left, and I expected Nate to apologize. Instead he went on a rant about how my family controls me. I was so upset, all I could do was sob. He just shrugged and turned on the TV.

"I should have known from his upbringing that Nate was damaged goods. I need someone who'll treat me and my family right -- and clearly Nate is not that someone."

Continued on page 3:  His Turn


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