Albert accepted the fact that Dorothy did not need him in her life anymore. She had become too independent. He was no longer valuable. Instead of sulking and making a scene, Albert decided to embrace this reality. It was no longer a husband and wife relationship. The masculinity that afforded Dorothy great professional success was very alluring and appealing to her. She was bringing this masculinity home.
This was now a co-parenting situation. Two strong self-actualized independent agencies raising children. The heavier part of parenting fell on Albert’s shoulders because he was home more hours than Dorothy. Her need to know and control things kept her well informed of all activities the children had, via calendar.
To keep the peace, Albert rarely moved an agenda that would create an argument. The cost of fighting was not worth it to him. Dorothy had a very level head and had noble ambitions. Her dream for her children was for their good. They would be wonderful adults without his input, thanks to Dorothy’s strong leadership. If they wanted to know the man behind the role of father, they could always ask.
That was what it had boiled down to. Albert’s failure to secure the thrown early in his marriage meant that he was reduced to a few select roles to play. These, he played very well. Living any life on his terms had to happen outside the marriage. It took plenty of planning and careful note taking of how the family operated. Soon, Albert had figured how to create his own life outside his home life.
There, Albert thrived. He had found a place to express himself. Be himself. Enjoy himself. This life, he kept well protected. It was his outlet that allowed him to perform his required duties at home.
It was also in this private life that friends started to share their worries with Albert. He had invested a lot of resources to keep these two lives separated. Should this wall of separation fail, they worried that Albert would be crushed by the implosion of his marriage.
When his friends heard of Dorothy’s inquire into Albert’s minimal footprint at home, they called him in to have a special intervention. They needed him to understand that his life was about to experience untold pain if he didn’t do something quickly. Running away was not the solution.
During the intervention, Albert tried to understand the concerns. They were legitimate. A woman needed to know that she was the universe to her husband. The discovery of a life outside of her threatened that sense of security she had. Trust got damaged quickly whenever evidence showed that a man’s heart was not 100% committed to the life his lady knew.
Albert did not want to give up living. What he had was working for him. He was able to meet Dorothy’s needs without having her control his. There was no cheating going on. There was no lack of focus. There was no lack of love. Albert just wanted to feel alive and wanted somewhere. Dorothy had no need for him other than being an assistant with benefits. A civilized pool boy.
The friends didn’t take to kindly to the reference of friends with benefits. It was a shallow way of living. Towards the end of their intervention, Albert shared his greatest fear. Should Dorothy learn of his good fortune and fun, she would quickly take actions to destroy it on the grounds that his fun was immature and irresponsible and a social liability to her.
Although the friends tried to assure him that he was reading the situation wrong, nothing they said could address the feeling that Dorothy did not need him. Her perfect world was built on his presence being minimized. To introduce his life into this world would be a significant threat to the power Dorothy craved.
Getting a divorce didn’t make sense to Albert either. They weren’t fighting, they weren’t enemies. Life was not horrible. Had Dorothy not tried to break the separation barrier he had set up, life would be moving along beautifully. Albert took pride in being ahead of Dorothy’s list. It was easy to ignore her questions about the list because he knew he had it covered.
One of his friends asked for clarification, as this made little sense to her.
Albert explained. Dorothy would provide him a list of things to do by the weekend. It was fun to get them all done by Tuesday. That way, he was free to do as he pleased the rest of the week. On Thursdays, Dorothy would start freaking out and questioning how the list was going and if it was done. He’d simply ignore her and let her fret the day. On Friday, like all Fridays, she’d get an email update with the entire list done… including the items she forgot to place on the list that was stressing her out the most.
Dorothy would feel satisfied and happy that her list was covered. Her attention would turn to other things. Albert carried on and geared up for the next week’s task. The predictability was such that Albert was weeks ahead of most ‘surprises’ Dorothy liked to throw his way to keep him on his toes and sharp.
Their marriage was coasting along nicely. The cost of separation made no sense to him. But. The threat of one, should Dorothy uncover all of his hobbies and got rid of them, was a significant concern Albert could not take lightly. If it was up to him, Dorothy would have never learned of his private life… beyond what she already knew.
Albert had made a very costly mistake. He had removed too much of himself from the house. Now, Dorothy wanted answers. He should have known better. He should have fought back more and left a larger footprint of himself there. Albert had no way of knowing this was such a costly mistake when he made it. Now it was time to get ahead of this before the price had to be paid. It was time to get help.
< To Be Concluded >
Feminism Changed Our Marriage – Trilogy
Thank you for reading and enjoying part two in this trilogy. For those who shared this with others, massive huge thanks. Really appreciate the clicking of like too… as it signals to me that you’ve enjoyed the read.
Below, for those reading in the future, here are the links to navigate the chapters of this story.
- Feminism Changed our Marriage – intro - Intro - When gender roles get challenged along the career path, some strange things start to happen in Dorothy's and Albert's life Will their relationship survive the changes? Trilogy coming...
- Feminism Changed Our Marriage 1/3 - Part 1 - Trilogy Dorothy discovers, through friends, that she's not leading her family as strongly as she should. Feminism isn't such a bad word. Seizing her power, she ramps things up. All is well until she discovers some dark secret that Albert has been hiding. Trouble falls on paradise
- Feminism Changed Our Marriage 2/3 - Part - 2 Albert tried his best to make Dorothy happy. All seemed well. However, over time, Albert realized how much control he had given up. Worse, he was being wiped out of the home he thought he was co-leading Friends were helping his wife remove him from his own marriage. Then, one day, Dorothy discovered his secret. Now the marriage was in jeopardy
- Feminism Changed Our Marriage 3/3 - Part - 3 Negotiating changes in gender roles is one thing. Change in culture and purpose compounds the challenges Dorothy and Albert now confront this big secret with the help of a therapist. Will the marriage survive? Can a new balance be found without Dorothy feeling a loss of power? Or Albert feeling less of a man?