I complained that my husband has been sitting on the toilet too long every day, then on my thirty-fifth birthday, I discovered the reason why.
My husband and I had been married for ten years when I noticed that his behavior had changed. He started showing some peculiar habits, one of which was to spend a lot of time locked up in the toilet several times a day.
This strange habit of his wouldn’t have been so bad if we didn’t live in a small, Victorian cottage that I inherited from my parents and which had only one bathroom. Since we had three small children, Gerald spending hours at a time locked in the bathroom was very inconvenient.
I only really noticed my husband’s peculiar behavior a few months ago, when my oldest daughter Ruby started whining that she had to GO and daddy wouldn’t get out.
I was used to having to drag my two youngest children out of the bathroom, but never my husband! I knocked on the door. “Gerald, honey, are you going to be long? Ruby needs the toilet!”
After a long silence, my husband replied, “Can’t a man have a little peace and quiet?” Then I heard the toilet flush and some peculiar noises before the key turned in the lock and my husband exited the bathroom.
He looked a bit upset, so I gave him a quick kiss before hurrying to get dinner on the table. But when bedtime came around, Gerald was nowhere to be found. “Ruby,” I asked, “Where’s daddy?”
“He’s in the toilet!” shouted Ruby. “He’s been there for HOURS since I brushed my teeth.”
“He LIVES there, mom!” added Ellen. “He’s there ALL THE TIME!”
He must have a lot of poo,” said Joan, the baby of the family. “Maybe he has a tummy ache.”
That night when he came to bed, I asked Gerald if he was alright. “I’m fine,” he answered. “Why do you ask?”
“You’re spending a lot of time in the toilet, Gerald, so I was wondering if your stomach has been upset.”
I’m fine,” he repeated, and turned over on his side of the bed and started snoring. Now I was really worried. Gerald was either suffering from some embarrassing bowel ailment, or he needed the privacy for something else.
Immediately I started imagining what he could need that privacy for, why did he need to be alone? And then I realized that these days no one is EVER really alone, as long as you have your phone with you.
Don’t imagine dark motives for people’s behavior without proof.
Gerald has his phone with him all the time, and in the toilet too. Maybe that’s why he needed privacy. He was probably talking to someone online, or trading texts with his friends.
Or was it just ONE friend, one person? A woman, maybe? An old girlfriend? Gerad was forty to my thirty-four, but he was still a handsome man. Was he sitting on the toilet romancing some floozy?
I was enraged, and the next day I talked to my best friend Terry. “What’s he doing locked up in the toilet all those hours?” I asked.
“Look, be sensible! He’s probably having tummy troubles. Men his age do, and they are embarrassed to talk about it.”
“No,” I said firmly, “I don’t believe it. He’s talking to some cheap skirt in there. Look at me!” And I tugged at my long hair. “I’m a mess and I’m getting OLD. I’ll be 35 in two weeks!”
“In that case,” Terry said, “I think we need to do a make-over and plan a birthday party so you can show off your new glamorous self!”
I liked that idea, and I threw myself into going to the spa with Terry, picking out an outfit, and making a guest list for my thirty-fifth birthday party. I also made a point of completely ignoring Gerald’s prolonged visits to the toilet.
After the party, I promised myself, I’d get the truth out of him no matter what it cost — and if I was right and he was having an affair, I wanted a divorce. I loved Gerald, and I couldn’t stand the idea of him being unfaithful. It was all or nothing
If Gerald didn’t love me, then he could go! I thought this and tears rolled down my cheeks. I had to keep calm and see the party through, and then and only then could I decide on the fate of my marriage
The party was days away and Gerald was even more distant. I asked him to pick up some wine for the guests and he was so distracted he had to come back, car keys in hand, to ask me what I wanted!
On the day of the party, I went to the hairdresser and dressed up in the elegant sexy dress Terry had helped me pick out. Ruby was very impressed and said I was ‘bioootiful’ but Gerald just smiled at me vaguely.
Then the guests started to arrive and I had to put Gerald out of my head. The party was a great success, up until the moment Terry brought out the cake so they could sing “Happy Birthday” to me.
Gerald stepped forward and interrupted the celebration. In his hand, he had a small gift which he gave to me. “Brynne,” he said, “I’ve spent the last three months writing this for you
“I started thinking I should be telling you I love you every single day, so I’ve written you some poems. They may not be very good, but they are from my heart.”
I was staring at him, my mouth hanging open (Terry took a photo of that). Gerald had been writing poetry? For me? I unwrapped the gift and it was a small volume of poetry, beautifully printed out and dedicated to me.
“Is this what you’ve been doing?” I asked Gerald.
“Yes,” he looked a bit embarrassed, “I’m sorry, but it was the only place where I could lock myself in and write!”
You’re not having an affair?” I asked with tears in my eyes.
“NO!” said Gerald, “Never! I love you, Brynne, now and forever.”
Those poems were darn good, and our guests thought so too, and I told Gerald he should carry on writing. I saved up and had the pantry changed into a study with a lock on the door. No more writing in the toilet for Gerald!
What can we learn from this story?
Don’t imagine dark motives for people’s behavior without proof. Brynne ended up anguished over Gerald’s mysterious time on the toilet but he was writing her love poems.
Encourage your loved one’s talents. Brynne built a study for Gerald so he could have the privacy to write.