I find my soulmate, but a cyber lover causes a rift in our bond
In Marina’s last episode she begins therapy with a psychologist and realizes that she’s become estranged from both her creative, and feminine sides.
BY MARINA GIULLIANI — After years of hopping from bed to bed I’d finally found a place where I felt truly comfortable. I sealed my promiscuous past in a vault at the back of my head and jumped at the chance for a normal relationship.
Chris was the love of my life, and we were involved in a full time relationship from first sight. The product of a nasty alcoholic father, and a mother who made up for all his father’s evil deeds, Chris had more goodness than any human being I’d ever met.
My Aunt Joan even commented on his photo, “Oh my God Marina, he looks like Christ. Look at his eyes!” He was such a gentle soul, even tempered, thoughtful, kind and loved me in a way I could never have imagined. He’d been raised a Catholic, but wasn’t practicing, so I didn’t hold it against him. Chris was the only man I’d ever met that didn’t make screwing his reason for living. We loved each other deeply, and had a fun and exciting sex life. At first.
My Grandfather and abuser catches up with me
After two years together, Chris asked me to marry him. Our wedding day was truly extraordinary. My grandfather’s comment was the most memorable of all. After too many drinks he took my hand in the most grandfatherly way, smiled adoringly and uttered words that made my skin crawl.
“Remember, you’ll always be my lover.” Did he realize what he was saying? Was it a Freudian slip? It had been years since anything happened. Could he possibly have meant that the way it came out? He then swung his arm in a grand gesture and burned my wedding dress with his goddamn cigarette. Nice touch Gramps. I smoked quite a few joints on our wedding night.
Chris and I had started a business together a year earlier, and, after our wedding, I quit my job so we could work it together full-time. He was a talented art director, I was a TV producer/director, and work was coming in fast and furious. Our love life fell off bit by bit, but I attributed it to all work, no play and the general strain of looking after our life.
A friend once asked me, “Do you still enjoy sex with your husband?” “Enjoy it?” I thought. “I can’t remember the last time we did it.” Her story was the same, so I figured our life was like most everyone else’s and didn’t concern myself over it.
Besides, Chris was an incredibly kind man, which made me love him even more. I just chalked it up to ours being a more spiritual than physical relationship. We didn’t need sex. We were deeper than animal urges. I never for a moment wanted to change that.
My father’s death changes everything
In the years to come we continued down the same path until my father fell ill with cancer and died nine months later. As my father slipped away from me so did my mind, but I didn’t seem to miss it for almost a year. While one part of me was playing dutiful daughter and wife, the other part was living in a parallel universe.
I had been working via email with a West coast writer who, I found out, shared my warped Catholic heritage. He was too funny for my own good. We bonded one day over a very raunchy crack I made, involving him, the Pope and a blow job, and the banter continued daily from there.
When I mentioned one day that my father was dying, in a single keystroke he went from being my daily dose of wise ass to compassionate friend. Words of wisdom flowed from this man like he could actually see what was inside me, one day a joke, the next a wicked story and the day after that a prayer. An email love affair was in the works, and I didn’t even realize it was happening.
Starting to reclaim myself — but healing takes much longer
When my Dad died, Chris was by my side for a few hours and then scooted back to work. We had breezed by each other, coming and going so fast in the previous months, that it was the most time I could remember his being near to me in a long time. So a few weeks later I dropped a bombshell squarely on his head.
“I’ve been unhappy with our relationship for a long time.” The words were totally calm and unrehearsed. “I just realized that I’ve been getting more support from a stranger, a person I’ve never seen, than you’ve ever been able to give me. You left me alone on the day of my father’s funeral, so I’m withdrawing our lifetime guarantee.”
In the months that followed, I spoke to almost no one. I spent my days sitting in a chair. I hardly ate, couldn’t sleep and lived for the next email message. All the signs of depression were surfacing, and I didn’t recognize one of them, or myself.
When friends would call, I hurried them off the phone and checked my email again. Everything I did focused the high that came with chasing a cyber lover.
Marina Giulliani’s book, Sins of My Faith: Innocence Lost to Incest, chronicles a true story of stolen innocence and the ultimate redemption of a little girl raised in the Roman Catholic tradition.
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