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”This kind of self-scrutiny is nowhere to be found in Jen Waite’s husband, Marco, a handsome Argentine bartender who swept the author off her feet and was later discovered to be a liar and philanderer of towering proportions.In A BEAUTIFUL, TERRIBLE THING: A Memoir of Marriage and Betrayal (Plume, ) Waite retraces her steps through a relationship that first gives her the “strange sensation of seeing the world in color for the first time” but eventually reveals itself to be a series of setups at the hands of a master manipulator.
When she refuses to enter on her own, Lukach threatens to call the police.
After six hours in the emergency room, Giulia is sent home with new medication, but a few days later she’s back in the E. and this time admitted to a psychiatric unit in another part of the city.
Whereas Lukach is a laid-back surfer who teaches high school and coaches sports, Giulia is career-driven, corporate-minded and determined to micromanage her destiny.
They seem like the perfect — and perfectly complementary — couple. But at 27, three years into the marriage and a few weeks into a new job, Giulia begins to experience severe anxiety that rapidly merges with suicidal depression.
The evidence, much of it in the form of telltale emails, Facebook messages and GPS data, is too glaring to deny, though Marco denies it anyway with methods that range from suggesting his wife has postpartum paranoia to attempting suicide (or pretending to; it’s not quite clear) amid an apparent psychotic breakdown.
Along the way, Waite doubts herself — “maybe because he’s so overtired and overworked he’s making really bad decisions and doesn’t realize how inappropriate his behavior is” — until she can no longer ignore the facts: She married a man who may well be a sociopath.
But how do you tell the difference between the work required of any committed relationship and a life sentence of hard labor?
A realist might say that if you’re happy 51 percent of the time then you’re ahead of the game, though anyone who’s faced such a conundrum knows it’s hard to apply a metric to domestic despair — or bliss, for that matter.
It will be the first of three such hospitalizations over five years, one of which comes shortly after the birth of the couple’s son.
At home, Lukach is Giulia’s primary caregiver, one whose heroic rise to the occasion does not preclude moments of frustration and even rage.