By: S. Sadie Burbank

The first step I had to take to resolve my problem was to define what it was about our marriage that I did not like and how I was responsible for it. After much introspection I was able to single out a few things.

I didn't like our home; my clothes; our social circle, being a full-time housewife and mother; in short, my life. Most of which I believed had been forced on me by Charlies' manipulative control. I started to suspect that the old edict, "keep them barefoot, pregnant and at home", was Charlies' mantra.

After all it was Charlie along with his mother who picked out our house. He had already made an offer to the real estate agent before I'd ever even seen it.

It was twice the size of the three bedroom house we lived in and had all white walls. When he finally did take me to see the new house I took one look around and said, "I'll be doing nothing but cleaning house all day."

Charlie said, "No you won't, it won't be that bad."

But it was.

Charlie also picked out my clothes for me. All of my clothes. Even my lingerie. They were nice clothes but suited to his image of me not mine.

He also decided my hair style. Which combined with the frilly dresses he chose gave me a look that mimicked Sandra Dee's character in the 1959 movie A SUMMER PLACE.

We had seen that movie when we were newlyweds and Charlie had been very impressed with her. So much so that all the way home he had talked about how cute I would look with her hair style.

He kept harping on it until I finally said, "Well, if you like her hair so much let's cut mine to look like it."

So we did. Well, he did or rather he tried to. Now Charlie was a very artistic and talented man but he knew zip about cutting hair.

I went to a beauty shop the next day and listened to the woman rant about, "Who in the world did this to you?", as she tugged and pulled and snipped; all the while frowning at my image in the mirror.

As for our social circle most of our friends were either business associates of Charlies' or people we knew from our church. Upon reflection I can only remember one woman who I felt friendly with and even that friendship was based on our association with our church.

The fact that I knew no one to whom I felt close may have been my motive for seeking the company of my so-called hippie friends. I was lonely.

I did not have to hold down a job. I got to stay home 24 hours a day with two toddlers and take care of a huge beautiful house in an upscale community.

A situation which, although possibly enviable from the perspective of an outsider, nevertheless to my way of thinking made me little more than a combination maid and nanny. I was depressed.

Although this was all true I finally began to understood that most of it was really as much my doing as Charlies'.

I was the one who signed my name to the mortgage papers on a house I hated.

Iwas the one who didn't fight back when Charlie insisted he pick out my clothes and style my hair.

Iwanted babies as much if not more than Charlie did.

I had done nothing to widen our social circle to include people who might have been interesting to me as well as Charlie.

In fairness to us both I could no longer blame these things solely on Charlie and still take my place among the adults of the world.

I realized that I had been a push over. I never stood up for myself and fought him for what I wanted. Hell, half of the time I didn't even know what I wanted. I just knew I didn't have it.

While Charlie and I had agreed to try to save our marriage we didn't have enough sense to realize that it would take much more than me just quitting smoking and Charlie taking off an extra day now and then.

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