Former couple worked toward a happier relationship
By Cheryl Lavin January 7, 2013 6:42PM
Updated: February 9, 2013 6:14AM
Jill and Hank were 19 when they met. They married eight months later. She says he was “very good looking,” and they had “a lot of fun” together. This was in the late 1960s. Hank was drafted. When he was discharged, he went to work for the phone company.
It wasn’t long before Jill suspected he was cheating.
“He would hang out at the bar with his co-workers and stay out late. At first I thought it was a guy thing, then some of the women from the phone company started hanging out, too. When I asked him about it, he said they were just co-workers. I always had my doubts, but I wanted to believe him.”
This went on for many years. Jill says she accepted the situation because by then she had two daughters, no skills and no proof. But when her doubts became too strong to ignore, they separated. Hank moved in with some co-workers. Jill took a part-time job delivering newspapers.
“I would go by the house where he was staying, but his car was never there. He said that he parked it in the garage. I believed him.”
You know how when there’s a new love in your life you have an overwhelming desire to talk about them? Well, Hank indulged that desire. He started mentioning a particular woman to Jill.
“Why he told me her name, I will never know.”
Jill looked up the woman’s address. One night, after she and a friend had a few cocktails, she went to the woman’s house.
“I looked in the garage, and there was my husband’s car. It was around midnight. I knocked on the door and asked for Hank. She told me to get off her property. I could hear whispering behind the door, so I sat on the steps. She told me she was going to call the police. I told her to go ahead.
“Then I decided I was making a fool of myself and no man was worth this, even though we’d been married 15 years. I left and filed for divorce the next day.
“After I filed, reality set in. I didn’t have any skills, except to deliver newspapers, so I did that and took on two other part-time jobs. It took me a long time to get over the deception. Divorce is like death, except Hank was still there and still with her. But, eventually I pulled myself together.”
Jill had help. Terry, one of Hank’s friends who used to hang out at their house, became a shoulder to lean on. They’ve been married now for 29 years. She says he brought her back from “the brink.”
“Terry is the most wonderful man in the world. He took on a lot on when he married me — two girls, two dogs, a house I was trying to maintain and a lot of bills. I look at him as my guardian angel. I don’t know where my girls and I would be if it wasn’t for him.”
As for Hank, he married the woman Jill caught him with that night. They divorced nine months later. He’s remarried and — get this — Jill, Terry, Hank and his latest wife are all friends.
“They come here for Easter, Thanksgiving, all the parties for our kids and grandkids. Sometimes we go out for breakfast or lunch. I could hate him, but life’s too short to stay angry.”
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