Tuesday, November 21, 2017

The past is a foreign country

The whole thing began about 2 years ago. A casual flirtation on Facebook. An exchange of jaunty emails. A chaste evening in one another's company and a sequence of increasingly less chaste passionate and affirmative correspondence. Culminating in what ridiculous levels of "good breeding", and atrocious communication, would preclude George from admitting, was an embarrassment to him....

 Me, arriving at his bachelor pad, to find him bachelor no more.

If he ever looked hard enough at this tableau to truly engage with it, or admit to his part in it, I think he might feel some guilt.

And I for my part, as I said in a previous post, as a function of my mid-life state of mind, my ennui for my home country, my readiness to fall in love, embued him with a lot of significance he just didn't have.

About a year ago, the pain was still to intense to bear, and I was still in counselling trying to let it go. Then in about February of this year having ignored me for a long time, he said something a little rude to me in a Facebook comment. A tiny string broke. Finally when he retired from Facebook, just before his Birthday in late August thus severing all contact. I was able to let it go

And in the quarter that has passed since then, the whole story has become strange and unbelievable to me. I don't recognize myself in the story, or how I felt. It is a foreign country, and I was a foot soldier in a battle I never chose to fight, and which I fought alone.

10th Anniversary

Originally written December 2016
I meant this milestone to pass with some ceremony. I was going to reflect on the last 10 years maybe claim my place in Blog history. I thought I might defect to Wordpress even. But late November and early December was a very lacklustre period, and so it just passed by. I can't believe the rise of Blogging in this period. The Blogging stars and YouTube sensations that have emerged as I simply got by day by day. This is so typical of me. I  am often an early adopter of things, but miss the boat at the same time.

I was an advocate for women in IT in 1994, but was somehow encouraged to let it go in favour of becoming a role model myself.

During Y2K I was holed up in a minor university at the end of the earth, and my students graduated and immediately earned three times what I did.

I've been on Twitter since 2009

And I have been blogging since 2006.


Roy Hattersley's dog

I do not pretend that my grief was unique - I merely state, as a matter of fact, that nothing has ever caused me as much pain as Buster's death  
Roy Hattersley was evidently  surprised by the depth of his grief over Buster, and by analogy I have been totally bowled over by the depth of my grief around the loss of a "potential" relationship. I sometimes wonder if I am somehow preparing myself for the greater losses that are bound to occur in my life, of my parents for example.  Like Mr Hattersley nothing caused me as much pain as being rejected by George. The only thing that came close was a late miscarriage of twins when I was 34.

Maybe the mere fact of him was masking a whole lot of other stuff around my family of origin, the circumstances of my migration, and my own choice of husband a few years after we left school. I imbued him with a significance he just doesn't have.

I offer you no explanation. I just hope that the universe will hand me a solution in the next decade or so.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Dear George

Well, one way I have found to cope with something that is hard to understand relationship wise is to tell the story, as sympathetically as possible from the other person's side. Up until last week even I was so broken, so changed by you with the feeling of nothing to live for that I wasn't able to do this but I think maybe I have finally got some perspective, and that this could finally comfort me (somewhat) the story of what *I* felt is separate. So here goes..

Your marriage ended, and between this happening and the divorce coming through, the woman that you really liked went a little colder on you. She had her own concerns and seemed to be locking you out. You felt very lonely. Then in walked me. You were vulnerable. Who knows maybe you were abusing some drug or other or maybe just alcohol but you told me we had a connection, when I left you said you were missing me you said you couldn't wait to be with me. This went on for a few months and we became close. You said I had been very good to you. Things got a bit intense and a sexual relationship seemed inevitable. Then maybe that lovely girl started paying you more attention. Relying on you and being close with you again, about this time you needed to scale me back but it was a bit late you had already asked me to come and visit. So there was a little bit of subconscious "hedging of your bets" at my expense. After all at this point you did really like me at least in a sexual way. You had fancied me at school and you had still liked me in a pub in London in January. For whatever reason you didn't tell me about the subplot until I arrived. This is one thing I think you could've done much earlier. Not hedged me, not led me on. So then I arrived and you told me as soon as you possibly could but instead of being absolutely clear about it though there was a little half-hearted fumbling. I think you could've set up a bed in your front room. It would've been disappointing, but I wouldn't have made a fool of myself. But you didn't.

Then contrary to what "It said on the box" you didn't introduce me to your friends. You deliberately locked me out which was sealing the deal on the notion that "I hardly knew you" despite the fact that we had been chatting most days and had become quite close. This was the second cruel and disorienting thing you did besides the hedging. I think you secretly hoped I would make alternative arrangements. You found me clingy, needy, insecure. You deliberately locked me out of your social circle claiming to be busy. But all the time you were tirelessly polite and hospitable.

In those months when we were close, I came to trust you. This was misplaced. So I opened up to you which was a mistake. After this the hatches were battened down, and friendship via social media, the only possible outlet, was closed.

Actually no, I need it to be less sympathetic. In fact though on the surface it seems innocent enough, it seems even that you were a victim. You were depressed and “struggling”. In fact you used me as a source of “supply” of what you needed. Emotional pick me up, sexual titillation and Love.

You used me to get over your unsuccessful rebound. You lied to me with your "can't wait to see you etc" and you're lovely etc. Those things could not be unsaid with a simple shrug of the Shoulder and gas lighting me into thinking I imagined it all. I have the texts. It was a classic bait and switch. This is the truth about you. You perceive me to be “lower than you” what do you have to lose? ok so you piss me off and give me a year of shit to deal with, but I’m not your boss, and I don’t pay your wages it is going to have zero repercussions so what is there to lose really. The mistake I make is thinking everyone is like me. They are not. Most creditably you could call this strategic but really it is game playing and manipulation.

You caused me some pain. Paradoxically what you think matters to me. The final act of kindness might be to recognise how harmless I am and not lock me out. As I said ages ago I'd settle for being a
friend or "big sister" figure as opposed to being locked out. My feelings for you which might've seemed base or lustful were quite the contrary I felt affection and sympathy. And I certainly wasn't in it for any sort of personal gain, or to get my hands on your filthy lucre or whatever.'

So we are now strangers again. And I am left forever wondering if I did something to piss you off monumentally, or if you just needed to stop feeding me to make me go away.  Either way i am crushed. You are Capricious and mercurial and you have given me a year of confusion to deal with.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Social Isolation

My parents have been staying with me for a long time, and when they left I felt a sudden slump in motivation which led me to reflect on social isolation as the cause of my recent sadness.

When I talked about being collateral damage in other peoples' mid life crises what I really was, in both cases was a victim of deliberate social isolation. Through some sort of weird power trip, through negligence or through sheer self-centredness these two feature relationships of 2016 had the effect of locking me out of something and making me feel shit about myself. Both built me up and then knocked me down.

But coincidentally, these particular scenarios apart, when I am socially engaged I feel more motivated. This I guess is just a hangover from our tribal roots. I need to feel part of the tribe. So whether this has anything to do with my relationship woes or not. At least it keeps me from brooding a bit and acts as a salve to my bruised ego in these hard days.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

The functional face of love


Simon came from a family of four boys. It was a functional but undemonstrative family, and a family that didn't share its feelings.  The closest thing my mother in law got to sentimentality was to recall how at the start of each school year there were four sets of clean school shoes laid out (by her) on the bottom step. Yes, she did  a great job. She raised four polite and ostensibly functional boys.

George was also one of four boys, from a military family, sent off  boarding school with,  I imagine, a similar crisp sense of proper grooming and behaviour. Like Simon's family one or other of them have suffered with mental health issues from time to time.

Despite the intimacies George and I shared online the reality of him was one of functional, polite, respectful base-covering kindness with really no personal connection whatsoever, and it suited him to keep it that way. "I've left a bottle of cold wine in the fridge", "Stay as long as you like".

Somehow I see a common root in these two men with whom I tried to get close. A perhaps peculiarly English need to not show emotion and to soldier on. Both men are quite patently vulnerable inside but bury it so deep as to deny its existence. Further  they chose to somehow shut down when I show my own vulnerabilities. Even to the point of mocking me for the (to them) weakness of showing my feelings.  I first thought of this post back in August, but I was reminded somewhat of the sentiment again by Alain de Botton on "How to be warm".  A lesson they could perhaps both take.

Wednesday, October 05, 2016

A gift maybe

This is a stock photo of Rick Moranis from firsttoknow.com. I picked him because he's kind of a regular looking (if a bit goofy) sort of  a guy.

Anyway this couple I  know split up lately, And the guy who is goofy and middle aged is taking it very badly. He messages her all the time and she can't handle it so she took to ignoring him.

So he's started texting me to try to find out what she's up to. The trouble is I know he had a bit of a thing for me before they went out, and I don't fancy him. No not even  a little bit.

But I am caught in this little trap. It is rude to ignore him so I send non-commital polite little responses and he sends me more. He likes every darn thing I post on facebook. Even I feel a bit smothered and I am not and have never been in a relationship with him, And eventually I put him on a restricted list so he can't see what I post and I muted his messenger contact so he can't see when I'm on line.

Maybe this is a little tutorial from the stars. In fact it was followed by a tutorial from Alain de Botton which to my mind is pretty much on the same subject. When George said "You've put me on a pedestal" I swear I had not, but this is how he saw it.

I never tried to insinuate myself back into George's life by contacting his friends. And our friendship did start off quite a bit more promising than this guy (lets call him Rick) and I did.

But how I am feeling about Rick must at some point have been how George began to feel about me. Right. I can't handle this, she's goofy and way too into me and I am going to put her on semi permanent hold. But Ill try to be civil with her.

The funny thing is we never were lovers, Or friends either once he realized he didn't fancy me as much as .. let's call her Juanita. But in the interstitial space between love sex and acquaintance there was a time when he was there for me and took an interest in my life.

So I guess Rick is lonely. Probably looking for a replacement,

You would've thought if I was lonely and wanting someone to be interested in my life there would've been plenty of places to look. but female friendship doesn't quite cut it. My mum and my son's care and attention do.

So this I guess is the odd little gift. The gift of being placed in George's shoes.  I still hope for contact from George but, looking at Rick I know there is not one single thing he could say or do that would make me want to draw him into my inner circle. That's not because he's a bad guy, or that there is anything wrong with him. I just don't want to encourage him. The same applies to me. there is basically nothing I can do to change the way George feels even about friendship. That kinda stinks since we were never lovers. Its almost as though even having designs on him at some stage has ruled me out as a friend.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Unresolved Loss

This blog is almost 10 years old, and has been a private affair for most of that time. It has been almost like a diary. I recently took the bold step of registering for the Mumsnet bloggers network. There has been a modest increase in traffic since then. Hello new people! I have also really enjoyed reading your blogs, especially those in the sex and relationships category where, apparently, I0naFi0na belongs. However, I must apologize on one account. You have walked in on an interesting time in my life. There has also been an upsurge in my posting, but this has been all around an intense and frustrating love-affair which has resulted in unresolved loss. Before I go on though, a bit of history. This blog, and I have traveled an uneasy path through

Mental health
(Yep in that order)
Sex Addiction
Single parenting and now belatedly
Love and

I am concerned that my new audience will find a self-centred, preoccupied middle aged woman in the throes of a mid-life crisis over a ridiculous self-centred toff who somehow needed to exert power over her, or use her to massage his own ego, or as a stop-gap on the road to his own relationship nirvana.

Also my recent post about how to get over a break up was unique to me, it was bespoke as it were. There are many more qualified to help you through break ups. But one element which I suspect is quite common in divorce in particular is, as I mentioned above, unresolved loss. This is exemplified by the case of someone who goes missing. The family are not able to grieve their death and continue to live in hope indefinitely which is painful.

My particular florid - but ultimately non existent  love affair is a case of this. Grief does not have to occur as a result of bereavement, there are many other life experiences that cause it. And there are also many great resources to help with grief. So the unique and heady mix of quasi-break up, unresolved grief and other unresolved issues I didn't know I had have resulted in a unique footprint which I have been moved to address in writing. In fact what I have been doing in the last 15 posts or so is, as grief recovery method advises, completing some unfinished emotional business  even the triggering reminders when I am trying not to think about this person are common in grief as well, and what I need to do is build an accurate memory picture. And again from grief recovery method

"We must grieve and complete our relationship to the person as well as to our relationship with the pain we generate when we think about or are reminded of the person. And, we must grieve and complete our unmet hopes and dreams and expectations. You must become willing to re-experience some of the painful events, and finally communicate what you would have said had you been allowed to, or if you had known how. It may seem frightening to root around where there has been so much pain. Perhaps it would be more helpful to be frightened of the alternative, a life of restriction and limitation caused by staying incomplete. The alternative of keeping the pain forever, of trying not to remember, of trying to avoid any circumstances or events that remind you of that person. Many people today talk of giving away your power. There is no clearer or more painful example of that then to have your life's actions and reactions ruled by the painful memories of someone who is no longer here."

As the author Russell Friedman says, even if the person you are grieving is still alive, you need to complete your part of the relationship, That living person won't change, they will probably carry on being just who they are, but you need to live a life of meaning not limited by painful reminders.

Clearly George was able to process and dismiss his role in the "relationship" quite easily, probably with the aid of  his own personal narrative which I can only guess at but might have been something like "Oh it was only a bit of harmless flirting, I didn't expect her to take it so seriously. I was only being gentlemanly when I asked her to come to stay. I thought it was better to tell her face to face about the real love of my life. Anyway I think she got the message she hasn't contacted me lately"

So my narrative which is emerging through months of tortured blog posts is something like "He was in a difficult place, he may even have not been in his right mind, he probably liked me at the time, he essentially got a better offer and was too cowardly to tell me, I think I massaged his ego and saw him through a difficult time. I also think from my point of view I imbued the friendship with a lot of other things I shouldn't have. Conflating all the things we have in common, even probably down to temperament, as implicit reasons that we are right for each other, getting my hopes up of righting some of the wrongs of my teens and early twenties and returning to my country of origin feeling a desperate need to keep this emblem of all I was looking for (or thought I was looking for) in a man, in my life. There will never be another like that. Well there may never be, but by his very actions he has proved that this particular emblem may not, in fact, be what is good for me. He was like a drug for me, and it has taken a long time to come down and process the withdrawal"

It was like anticipating a trip to a colorful market and finding it closed on arrival

Monday, September 19, 2016

What can't be cured must be endured

Between about the ages of 6 and 10 my dad was out of town studying, and my mother was working full time. My mum hired an old family friend to look after us for a very cheap price. She was as old as my grandmother and full of homespun wisdom. She smelt of tea and talcum powder and she looked something like a wizened old version of this Disney character. She had set of neat but ill fitting false teeth. My feelings towards her were neutral. You might think the tea and talc remark implied motherly cuddles and nurturing but it wasn't like that at all. My older brother was her clear favorite and they would gang up on me to make me do things (or that is how it felt). She was full of home spun wisdom and I couldn't stand it. She actually made my flesh creep a bit (unfairly really) but being the child of a rather down at heel family at the time I didn't want to hear about make do and mend. I didn't want my expansive world to be narrowed down with platitudes about "what can't be cured must be endured". Hell No!! what can't be cured must be the catalyst for change. Or the trite and superficially diplomatic assertion that "it takes all sorts to make a world"...when I ventured a less than complimentary remark about a friend. It all just seemed so cloying and unimaginative.
But since my world has now narrowed so utterly as I said before I am beginning to have more sympathy with this woman and her cliches. She was one of those who never married because all the available men were killed in the war. She had lived in Nazi occupied France on the 1940s and contracted polio which had left her with three permanently curled fingers, but still she managed to knit. She lived in a very meager fashion and was really dirt poor and doing us a favour. So I have to give her  posthumous pardon for her apparently small thinking. She was just surviving. She really did have to make the best of a bad lot and remain cheerful, and stay on good terms with people,  and if that annoyed me for its narrow mindedness well, I guess I had a lot to learn.