Sunday, July 20, 2008

Can anyone predict the ideal husband?

That priest gave sound, time-honored, indisputable advice. But here's the confusing part for me: My ex met most of those criteria. He wasn't overly tied to his mom, nor did he ignore her. He had a great sense of humor. He had lots of friends, and his parents were good people who shared a happy marriage (though his father was subject to serious depression). My ex had a decent character. Yes, he allowed me to "run" things because his life hitherto had been chaotic, so he was drawn to the stability and direction that I offered. And he wasn't one to balance the checkbook or pay the bills, so that function fell to me. He was freer about spending money than I was, but that made for a healthy balance. We complemented each other in many ways, and we shared the same values.

So I still can't put my finger on why things went so catastrophically astray. I followed that priest's guidelines, and my ex was a good husband and father for nearly 25 years. But he went through a sea change in his fifties that rendered him a depressive, narcissistic, self-pitying, lying philanderer. Did he have a weak character from the git-go that I didn't pick up on? Or can a good husband go bad? Some husbands turn to a younger woman when the gray hairs begin to sprout, while others stay contentedly with their wives. And can we really forecast which husbands will be which?

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