To be clear I’m not talking about A husband. No. Not any dusty old husband, but the man that is widely known in my stories as ‘Husband’. MY husband. I think it’s important to mention at this stage that the mould wasn’t just broken when he was made but well and truly annihilated. Husband is an old school man who doesn’t really like to show emotion or any feelings and under no circumstances would want anyone to think he actually liked me, his wife. He prefers to play the role of a long suffering victim that has been forced against his will to settle down, marry and have a family. He is also the biggest wind up merchant I know which lends itself nicely to the lies he likes to tell about our relationship.
His favourite thing these days, 18 years on, is to pretend that I tricked him into marrying me, trapping him at various points through our life and that I planned the whole thing from the beginning. He especially enjoys this little fabrication when he is drunk and we are amongst friends so he can tell his tale. This is his party piece.
I met him when I was 22 and he was 29. I admit it was a bit whirl windy and after our fourth or fifth date I never really left his house, bagging my own key after about 3 weeks.
Trap 1 – Moving in without his consent.
(He actually invited me to move in because he liked me (I am very cool) and had already told me he loved me – Of course he denies this and always will until the day death takes him)
When the topic of children arose, which granted, wasn’t often because honestly until I was 27 I wasn’t a fan of ankle biters, he would sternly tell me that he had his girls and that he probably wouldn’t have anymore. Before we met he had started early and had a 2 year old and a 5 year old by the time he was 23.
Now for the honeymoon period of our relationship this never bothered me. Certainly not for the first 5 years anyway. I never liked children and wasn’t sure I even wanted any. Never the maternal sort, I’d shy away when customers came into the bank where I work showcasing their newborns, trying to make everyone in sight coo over and cuddle their offspring. I’d be the one slinking in the shadows when everyone else would be queuing up to have a turn. It was slightly different when friends would have a new baby, after all it was a squidgy, cute extension of the friend in question and so easier to warm to.
Now I mention this because by the time I was 27 something had happened to me. Mother Nature appeared to have launched a full no holds barred attack on my womanhood. It was brutal and unprovoked, a real kick to my biological clock. And just like that I longed for my own small person. Around this time there was a false alarm incident which had me sweating as I knew Husbands view on it. When it was discovered that it was a false alarm however he seemed disappointed, not totally gutted but marginally deflated which was the only green light I needed. I stopped taking my pill and was pregnant within 2 months and when I told him the news he was thrilled.
Trap 2 – Having a baby with him.
(He was super excited when we welcomed a feisty little girl into the world, a new little sister for his older girls)
One January evening, when our first born was around 18 months old he came home from work and announced that he had decided that we wouldn’t go on holiday that year but instead we would get a ring.
I was furious. This was for two reasons.
Firstly, I had been endlessly looking online for a belter of a holiday deal day and night for the best part of a week. Hunched over the laptop until my back hurt and my eyes were square. Now only to be told we wouldn’t be going anywhere. Secondly I had no idea what a ‘ring’ was. Was it a new piece of building kit for his job as a brickie? Was it a curtain ring? Not really one for fully explaining himself in any situation that is all he had said. It never even occurred to me that it could be something as wonderful as an engagement ring. Right from the start of our time together he had always maintained that marriage was a waste of time and money and was just a pointless piece of paper. Christmases and birthdays had been and gone in the 7 years we had been together and even though I always knew the likelihood was slim to non-existent I felt let down each time I was never presented with a ring in a fancy box, so by this time I had accepted it was never going to happen.
Me – Are you joking? I’ve been on the laptop again all day. I’ve found some great ones. What’s a ‘ring’ anyway?
Him – An engagement ring. Doh. (always a charmer)
Me – Oooh. (stunned silence)
Him – You should have a look and see what you like.
Me – Ok. (Lost for words, confused and a bit scared. Aso planning how enormous my ring would be and if we would have to sell the house and live in my mum’s garage to be able to afford it.)
After a bit of browsing I had decided what style of ring I wanted and had made the argument that because I hadn’t been blessed with slim fingers that it would have to be sizable to prevent it from looking like a pimple on a pig’s arse. He agreed and it was only a few weeks later that I found the perfect one through a private jewelry dealer. Big, beautiful and vintage, I couldn’t wait to go and try it on. I was a little concerned about the price but Husband seemed pleased when I told him we had an appointment to view it and try it on. I knew he wouldn’t have agreed to go if we couldn’t afford it, he didn’t do things like that. The risk of losing face was too high.
I instantly loved it and it fitted perfectly. Even Husband was fussy and he’s generally not the sort to break a sweat over anything. We told the jeweler we would be in touch as we didnt want to seem too keen, maybe he would knock a few quid off if he thought we were keeping our options open. The whole way home and all the next day I was unbearably smug about my impending jewel. That was until Husband told me to call the dealer and tell him we couldn’t afford it.
With no real explanation about the bomb he just dropped and after a few tears and choice words from me I made the call. As the words stuck in my throat I was told it wasn’t a problem as he had a few other interested parties. I was gutted. I also never spoke to Husband for a week. Fancy letting me go and try on my dream ring and then making me call to say we didn’t want it. What a knob.
I had barely got over the whole charade when Valentine’s day hit a month later. I was still imagining all the ways I would torture and kill Husband more than I should have been. I suppose I was still miffed. For that reason this particular year I bought him a card but no present.
Valentine’s day morning.
Me – Happy Valentines day (handing a card over)
Him – I haven’t got you one
Me- Is this a Fucking joke?
Instantly I began to picture all the grizzly ways I would get rid of him. It really wasn’t good enough. Upsetting me last month about that bloody ring and now he had the chance to make it up on Valentines day but he hadn’t even bothered.
I was FUMING.
Dramatically throwing off the duvet, huffing and puffing and desperately trying not to bludgeon him to death with the bedside lamp I got up to get my dressing gown. If he thought for a second he was getting a nice breakfast or anything else he was very much mistaken.
Him – … but I have got you this, if you want it.
Spinning around to see what miserable thing he had just found down the side of the bed and was now trying to offer to me as a present I saw him holding a big fancy box. Not only was it a big fancy box but inside it held my dream ring. The very same one I had told the jeweller we didn’t want. It turns out that he had already bought it before I made the call and it was all an elaborate ruse to throw me off the scent, that everyone was in on except me.
Trap 3 – Picking out my own engagement ring.
(He likes to conveniently forget that it was all his idea and that he actually asked me to find one. He rewrites this in his mind as me just randomly choosing an engagement ring off my own back, therefore forcing him to buy it and marry me.)
So I got my ring after all.
Three months later we were married at a beautiful place in the country with an intimate guest list for the day and had a huge party on the night. My step daughters made beautiful bridesmaids, our first born the cutest flower girl and we discovered just before that I was actually 3 months pregnant with our son so when he asks why he wasn’t in the photos I tell him he was there but nice and cosy in mummy’s tummy.
And that is the story of how I acquired Husband. The true version.