- Gender and Relationships»
- Separation & Divorce
Now Who is the Smart One?
Roberta would tell you
Keith had dazzled her.
He was young and handsome,
charming and lively and
seemed on a rocket ride to
He was happy, confident, with
not a drop of uncertainty.
That he was interested in her
boosted her ego, and had her
half way in love with him at first sight.
When the relationship became serious she was almost amazed, for Keith was all that... so hey! She must be all that too!
They married and everything was story book.
When you live with someone
When you live with someone you are exposed to their faults. Some are not much. Being a die hard supporter of a football team, and needing to watch every match.. that is survivable.
But living with a man who has a huge ego and a sense of superiority, who never listens to a word you say and makes decrees; no.
Keith had this belief in his own brilliance that had not disturbed her at first. He was all that... or so she thought. But living with him, she found his judgment flawed on many occasions. His assumptions were based on nothing but his belief in himself.
Almost every week he made some faulty decision or assessment, and it began to annoy her, especially when she would try to tell him the sensible path.
He would not give her the courtesy of listening, but immediately slap away her opinions and ideas as if she was too stupid to tie her own shoelaces.
He would give her chapter and verse why she was misguided. And when he was proven wrong did not even give her a nod.
Again and again.
It was not a simple error such as thinking the supermarket was still open but it was closed, it was that he would make assessments of people and businesses, and make inferences that he was considered special, or admired, when it was obvious that they disdained him and his ideas.
Anyone aware of his surroundings would notice the people were not merely unimpressed with his monologues, they thought him boring and ridiculed him.
Keith was too blind to see it.
If she tried to stop him, he’d fling away her attempts and berate her. When his nose was virtually rubbed into his misconceptions, such as not being invited to a function, or not selected for a particular plum, he would not defer to her, appreciating she had read them correctly, but blame her.
He always blamed her and anyone else for his own faults.
He had, after three years of marriage, taken up a prestigious post at a major corporation on contract. He considered himself more CEO than mere accountant. He was not the key man, he was an accountant on contract.
How could he not see that if he behaved too presumptuously, if his co-workers learned him, as she did, his contract would not be renewed?
She could see it from her distance, he could not’t see beyond his nose.
If his sense of superiority or rightness happened once and awhile it would be ‘normal’. But it did not happen once and a while, it happened all the time. Keith saw things through his eyes, and they were, in his limited purview, the only eyes.
Keith made plans and organised activities and never consulted her about them. Never asked if she wanted to do this or that, he made arrangements. When he told her, it would be too late to cancel. Her expressing of her decisions or desires it would set him off on a diatribe in which he ridiculed and insulted her. It was this attitude that she was inferior and virtually comic relief which hurt her the most.
When each of their two children were born he set rules and regulations and schedules, which he demanded she follow.
The rules and regulations and schedules were ridiculous and worthless and because he went to work on week days, she could do what she knew was right.
On weekends, she would turn the children over to him, and go on forever shopping expeditions or visits to her mother. leaving him to enforce his rules and regulations and schedules which didn’t work.
It was on one of these forever shopping expeditions when she was sitting in a coffee shop over hearing a conversation.
The husband had just made a statement and asked the wife what she thought.
The wife began to speak.
Roberta expected ‘Keith’ style responses, ready to hear the husband say;
“You should dye your hair blonde..” when she made that first lame remark.
Instead the husband asked his wife to explain.
The wife went through possibilities, and Roberta could hear Keith saying;
“Are you ten years old?” Instead the husband listened, asked questions.
Roberta looked at the husband, the love on his face, the interest and respect
in his eyes.
And that was when she realised her marriage should end.
No matter how ridiculous and flawed his ideas, Keith, certain of his superiority would never admit he was wrong. Would never admit she was right.
Keith had never treated her with respect or deference as that husband did to that wife.
It was this which caused Roberta to fall out of love with Keith.
The withdrawal had begun slowly, almost imperceptibly, but persisted so that just after their fifth anniversary, Roberta realised, she no longer loved him.
In fact, he had become more of a clumsy dog she was used to and lived around than her husband.
Roberta considered divorce. But, divorce on what grounds? Misrepresentation?
She had stopped confronting him, arguing by their first anniversary. At first, she had not attempted to express an opinion because she thought he knew best.
Then, when she did, she appreciated that he never listened to anyone but himself, ridiculed all other ideas, so there was no reason to argue.
Soon enough she stopped caring. She stopped listening. It was a matter more of contempt than disagreement. There was no purpose in wasting her hearing listening to him blather. By the second anniversary she knew whatever he thought or believed or assumed, it would be wrong.
By the sixth year of marriage, with the older one in Kindergarten, and the little one attending Play School, she had time to think.
She reflected on her marriage. She noted that after the first year, she did what she chose, regardless of what he said. She was not ‘disobeying’ him or deliberately being anti his pro, it was that she did not listen to what he said.
She did what she chose as if she lived alone.
Once and a while he noticed she had gone contrary to his views, but most times he didn’t. He would make his decree assuming his subject would carry it out.
When his contract was not renewed, as she expected, Keith performed one massive monologue, unable to comprehend how the company could possibly exist without him.
The shock he evidenced at the company not renewing its contract with the Great Keith exposed his twisted and disproven sense of superiority.
After two days of verbal vomit, he realised he needed to find another position.
Roberta had the certainty that his behaviour at work was not unlike that at home and had been such as to make gaining a recommendation unlikely.
For a prospective employer to communicate with his past company should gain sufficient information to make it highly improbable he would be hired.
Roberta took this as her opening.
Consulting a divorce lawyer, learning how much it would cost, and then having no real grounds, she hit upon the idea of having him divorce her.
Divorce her for what?
Learning from History
Roberta had read a book about an English Queen whose husband wanted to get rid of her. The Queen decided to have him charge her for ‘treason’; for in those days, adultery, for a Queen was treason.
The Queen, aware that her ladies in waiting were spies, put out a great deal of information, fabricated information, which ‘proved’ she had committed adultery with a number of Lords.
Some of the Lords she purportedly had affairs with were dead, some were abroad and had been so for decades. One was old and infirm, another lived hundreds of miles away.
So anxious to get that divorce, that ruling of treason, the King did not investigate. He raced ahead.
When the case came to trial and the impossibility of the Queen’s adultery with these named persons
came to light, the King was totally humiliated, and could not put her asunder.
If it worked for a Queen, it can work for Roberta.
One evening, Roberta did not remain silent when Keith was pontificating.
The difference of opinions turned into an argument, and when he told her that she knew nothing about anything, she recounted that he knew nothing, and ‘revealed’ she had affairs with his boss and one of his friends.
This stunned him, and suddenly he was screaming. The neighbours came pounding on the door, and Roberta opened it.
Nosy neighbours filled the room, and while Keith shouted, Roberta got on the phone, called her mother. One of the neighbours called the police.
With the crowd pouring in, and Keith restrained, in complete insanity, he stormed out of the house.
Roberta played the excitement, the embarrassment for all it was worth. She was almost amazed that she, Roberta, the appendage of the Great Keith, had so read him, so played him, that he behaved exactly as she wanted.
She was ‘consoled’ by the neighbours, but felt to laugh.
The children came from bed, wondering what had happened, given pacifying words, they returned. Then the police arrived, took reports as Roberta’s mother pushed in and took up sentry duty.
It was a not uneventful evening which would be talked about for months. How Keith accused the dear Roberta of adultery with his boss and his friend, and Roberta had done nothing.
Aware that Keith or his folks would be pounding on the door early in the morning, Roberta left at nearly the crack of dawn to find a job.
Her mother, who had spent the night, would stay with the children and get them ready for play school.
It was just past seven a.m., (according to her Mother) that Keith’s parents arrived to gather his stuff.
Watching them carefully, which caused annoyance, an argument broke out. The neighbours, lining the hall, listening to every word, rang the police who soon arrived.
The parents were confined to collecting Keith’s clothing and shoes. Nothing else, not the computer, the television, not even the chargers for the cell phones he owned could be taken from the flat.
Shortly after, Keith called Roberta speaking loud and insulting. Roberta taped the call. Keith used the worse language to describe her, from parasite to whore, and she had to do all she could not to burst into laughter.
Little Roberta, the dumb one, had written a script, and Keith was following it as an automaton.
When she got home that evening, she packed his stuff in a suitcase and put it in front of the door and called him to pick it up.
She, her mother, and the children, went to her mother’s house. They left just after the locksmith changed the lock.
The neighbours were alert. When Keith arrived they gave him the message that the locks were changed, that no one was home, and Keith realised these neighbours didn’t like him, these inferior people were ridiculing him. He grabbed the suitcase and stormed off.
In a very short time, Roberta received the a divorce petition, citing adultery.
Now she would have her revenge, just like that Queen.
For Roberta had never committed adultery and beyond those fiery words, there was no proof at all whatsoever that Roberta had ever touched another man’s hand during the years of her marriage.
Falling into the Trap
Knowing Keith, he would race out to prove himself, and get a girlfriend he could parade about, to sop his ego. This, of course,would prove he was the adulterer not her. To add to his boastings, he posted many photos of he and his gal on Facebook.
The female looked and dressed like there was a cash register on her bed, and Roberta captured the images, and made sure everyone saw them.
From the moment of his wife’s confession of adultery Keith became so erratic he couldn’t find a job, forget his non-recommendation from his previous employer, they didn’t want an accountant who looked like a volcano.
When he calmed a bit, and passed the first interview, the better companies did the old Facebook search. They saw the images of he and his gal and declined to hire him. He, with his ego, did not even look at the smaller positions.
Not at first.
Roberta, however, had quickly found a job and her mother would help her mind the children.
Together they had cleaned out the flat, taking what they wanted, leaving what they didn’t, and gave the keys to a neighbour. It was the neighbour who phoned Keith and told him to come and take what he wished.
As the rent was due and unpaid, and Keith did not arrive, the landlord cleaned out the flat and put the things in the basement. Had Keith come the first day or the second after the call, he’d not find his property jumbled and broken in a basement.
But for Keith to come when summoned was too far beneath him so, he paid the penalty.
The Plot thickens/sickens
Roberta, home with her mother and children, having a nice job, making new friends, was doing well. In fact, she was doing better than she ever had.
Marrying Keith had given her a false sense of self, a inferior self, so that suddenly being on her own, responsible for her own decisions, elevated her and convinced Roberta of her own abilities.
She looked forward to each day, to each challenge and began to grow this kernel of hatred for Keith and what he had done to her.
Keith, for his part was doing badly. His attorney obtained certain 'interim orders’; Keith would pay a certain amount per week for the maintenance of his children and have bi-monthly visitation.
His children were not ecstatic to see him and he tried to love them as much as he could during the few hours he spent with them, but it was hard not to criticise how they looked, or were dressed or spoke, or thought.
This was standard Keith, the arbiter of all fashion, of all social interaction.
When the Court Date Arrived, nothing prepared him for how humiliated he would be.
He had spent the intervening months bragging how he’d say and do and the Court would condemn Roberta. He had her out as the worst person who ever lived. He couldn’t hold a conversation that he didn’t demean and attack his adulterous wife.
His girlfriend grew increasingly uncomfortable with his diatribes and left him with the caveat that if the relationship was to continue he was to focus on her; not his wife or children.
Keith dressed for Court to show off how handsome he was. Roberta dressed to prove how sedate and decent.
When Keith got to blast about his wife’s adultery, her lawyer asked for proof. All he could say was that ‘she said’.
This was not particularly useful.
Roberta’s lawyer played the recording of his angry speech which attacked her with no reference to any evidence at all. No proof that she did or had done what he accused her of.
Roberta’s lawyer put many of the photos taken from Facebook into Keith’s hands to ask him about the woman. The judge saw the images, and drew the expected conclusion as to level of the female’s morality and the fact that the adultery was being committed by Keith, not his wife.
Keith’s Petition was rejected, and Roberta was advised to divorce Keith for adultery.
Further, Keith was condemned for the costs of the Petition, the costs of Roberta’s attorney.
Roberta kept her face straight and left the Courtroom.
The Game continues
It was not that Roberta wanted to remain married to Keith, she did not. However, it had all been his way from the start. It was going to be her way now.
Some of her friends had disagreed with her, why not get it over with? She had a pat answer, which was partially true. She would not have ‘adultery’ on her record as she was not an adulterer.
The fact was, to have Keith at her mercy just this once, proving to him that he was not superior to her, was worth the time and expense.
She had not been aware of the deep well of resentment she felt towards him, thinking that it was a veritable shrug. But it wasn’t.
Living with her mother, being treated with respect and love, having a job where she was liked, spotlighted the years of virtual degradation she had gone through with Keith.
Seeing the photographs of the gal he was involved with, to show the world he was completely over Roberta, had backfired.
The Judge’s face when he saw those pictures, the way he spoke to Keith left no doubt that if she were to go for a divorce ...
Her lawyer said; “We should have filed a Counter-Petition...”
“Yes, when he refiles that is what we do.”
“What if he doesn’t?” her Attorney asked.
“He will...” she smiled.
The Next Gambit
That evening she told her mother how humiliated she felt when he made those adultery attacks, and her mother grabbed her cell phone, called Keith and roundly insulted him, then his family, before hanging up.
Roberta knew he’d be at his lawyer’s first thing in the morning.
As she went to work, she asked herself, what was she proving? That she was ‘better’ than Keith? Yes, sure... but...
She wanted custody of the children, she wanted alimony and maintenance and half of his assets. He might not have much now, but knowing Keith, he would prefer to sit on a sidewalk and beg then get a good job and have to give her and his children half his pay.
For the next ten years, Keith would self-destruct to avoid ‘losing’.
When you live with a person, you learn their faults. Some are minor and livable. Others are not minor and not livable.
All his life Keith was the pandered to spoiled brat who always got what he wanted. The superior intellect who knew everything. A man who took no advice, who listened to no other opinion, and went through his days as if he were King of the Earth.
If his parents would have restricted him, shown him limits, not supported him when he was wrong, then maybe he would not have made their lives together so one sided, so ‘his’ way.
If he knew that he had to ‘play well with others’ he would have had his contract renewed, instead of terminated.
But, still thinking he knew it all, Keith proceeded on his path, and she, Roberta, would encourage that path. Encourage him to file another petition. If by some miracle he grew a brain and didn’t in three months she would file her own.
And she would charge him with abuse, adultery, and limit his access to the children, considering his choice of a companion.
Ten years from now she would be at the top, her kids would be wonderful people. And Keith would be even less than he was today.
Perhaps then he might, just might reassess his perceptions; but, knowing Keith, he probably would not. He would devote his life to blaming her for all his failure. Which, to think of it, might actually prove true.