It was about ten years ago when I noticed his anxiety

18 Apr

Late 2002-early 2003

At first I thought Kyle was panicking because he was turning 30 and hadn’t found his calling, the one job that fulfilled him in every way. He watched his friends climb corporate ladders and obtain master’s degrees and settle into building families in secure marriages. On top of that he had issues with his body. He always thought he was fat; his weight went up and down by 20 to 30 pounds. But I pointed out to him that he was losing the pounds through running and going to the gym. He didn’t see the difference and he certainly wasn’t any more content.

He was distant. He read the New York Times daily, along with The Wall Street Journal and the Financial Times. Kyle read anything in the house, whether it was a recreation center brochure or a Vanity Fair magazine or sections of Edward Gibbon’s Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. He devoured the written word. He knew more about current affairs, and could actually contextualize them, than anyone I knew. I was proud of his unparalleled knowledge even as I was jealous of it, for it seemed to offer him more than I could. I couldn’t penetrate his private world – the news, the analyses, all of these had a hold on him.

It’s not that I didn’t try to get in. I would wait several months, then break down crying, telling him I thought we weren’t meant to be together. That I longed for good times, dancing, rock concerts, joking around, laughing. Perhaps, I would say to him, we are oddly matched.

Yet I craved his attention more and more. He had a hectic travel schedule. He went to Australia seven times, Ireland, Rome, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam — all with his management consulting firm. My family and friends thought he had a sophisticated, worldly profession and lifestyle. They commented how his employer afforded him a unique view of global economics and values. From the outside, Kyle seemed to have a confidence and genuine humanity that few didn’t find endearing and admirable. But at home I struggled to make our relationship what I had always wanted – an exchange not only of ideas, but a sensual union full of kisses, caresses, sex and cuddling on a daily basis. I was embarrassed about our lack of intimacy and worldly relationship. Though he was so caring toward his coworkers and family members, he hardly seemed to care for me. Once we went nearly six months without having sex. We were only 30 and 31 respectively. Hardly an old married couple.


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