Monday, December 11, 2006

No smoke without fire

Just after we moved in together, Neil left his phone on the kitchen bench and I saw a text message from a girl called April. To my shame, curiosity overcame me, and when I read it, I got more than I bargained for... Thanks for the sex last week, so enjoyed f**king you, lovely memory. I forwarded it to my own phone and deleted it. I was going to play strategically get myself and my son out of the house, and then confront him with it, but in the next few hours, an argument flared up (in front of Connor). I told him it was over between him and me, because I knew he was sleeping with someone else.

He denied it, and said it was just a stupid text message - for all he knew I had sent it myself just to create a reason to leave. And, after all, how many times had I sent a message to the wrong person??? - "April", whoever she was, was probably drunk.

"you're a very good liar" I said, whereupon he took an office chair and repeatedly threw it to the ground smashing it to smithereens. I was in tears, and my dear little son was trying to comfort me by passing me a soft toy. The reason for this outburst was that he, Neil, hates one thing more than anything else in the world...being falsely accused.

My son was with his father that weekend, and I spent the weekend in a hotel trying to work out a strategy. Neil had told me I needed to give him 6 hours notice if I wanted to come back to the house - it was his home, and I had no rental agreement. He removed all the money from our joint bank account (presumably so I couldn't rip him off as well as falsely accuse him)

For some reason (probably nowhere else to go) I moved back in with him. I had made a booking for a removals van, but Neil checked my phone and confronted me with it, and I cancelled it. All the rental properties I had applied for had turned me down.

In the months that followed, he dealt with the problem by always having his mobile phone turned off when I was around. He didn't want anything as stupid as that to come in the way of us again. He told me he loved me several times a day. I gave him the benefit of the doubt - recalling that I had occasionally sent an sms to the wrong person - although doubting I would've fired one off with that sort of content without double checking it first. The topic came up a few times, usually ending with him being angry. I even asked him what he would do if I received something like that. He said he would be vigilant for a while and then let it go.

4 months later I received an email from someone I didn't know...

Dear Fiona , A friend of mine from your workplace said that you are seeing or were seeing Neil Brown. I was just wondering if this was true as I may have information that you may be interested in. kind regards, April.

Could this be the same April? and what could she have to tell me?

In a few days I got the answer.

Yes it was the same girl, yes she had bonked him in August and furthermore had been doing so ever since the last time being after the work Christmas party (December 1st) when I had left early to take my son home. She sent me dozens of (quite explicit) emails between the two of them. The timing of their liasons also shows that on the days he (oh so generously) dropped my son off at daycare, he visited her on the way back to work. And on the nights when I struggled home on public transport with my son and all our bags, he used my car to go and visit April.

In some way my whole world crumpled. In this time we had bought a dream home together, and we had been trying to have a baby together. His lies are unfathomable. He had made a huge fuss about me meeting an ex- boyfriend from 15 years ago (who happened to be in town although he now lives overseas) for a coffee, and all the time he had been carrying on with April, with his phone switched off to protect our relationship from ME, MY suspicious mind, and MY false accusations.

I haven't posted for a while because I am in shock. After all I have been through, I am so tough, very little touches me now, but this??? how am I going to uproot my son again?? I could stay and put up with it, but I am not a kept woman, and most people would say I do not have to. He has disrespected me and lied appallingly. He, despite his protestations to the contrary, is not a good man.

I have put my life savings into the house. The cost of moving there was enormous. I will suffer a huge financial loss if I try to get out.

I was already facing Christmas without my boy, since he will be with his dad and new girlfriend, I was hoping for a romantic time with Neil, but now I am frankly repulsed.

I am being strategic this time and not telling him that I know, but frankly I am at a loss as to how to proceed.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Why did I marry him?

In trying to come to terms with my divorce, I have been back to retrace my steps, and to try to climb inside my 23 year old skin and discover why I married him. It is like trying to see through a frosted glass, I do not recogonise my former self.
It is true: "The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there". L. P. Hartley ['The Go-Between', 1953]

Sorry Diana - I just needed someone else who began their marriage with big dreams...

I had this belief that I never really loved him. I recall on the eve of our wedding, "knowing" it was "so wrong" but wondering how I could possibly get out of it, and then putting it down to nerves. My diaries tell another story.

The night I met him "He was this most beautiful blonde haired boyish type with a refreshingly idealistic approach to life".

Later "This feels so right, I'm sure god couldn't deny me the pleasure of such a beautiful relationship" (yes god was still in my life in those days, and I hadn't had sex for over a year)

"I felt completely love sick all day"

" It's really no effort at all to get on with Simon. Now I realise what I've been missing and how I've sold myself short. Its all very well loving someone unconditionally, but it means a lot to be loved back equally (I feel like this whenever I meet a new person, and this time I had actually found someone who loved me)

"It is hard to believe he is so understanding an kind in everyway"

I was a christian, and getting lots of pressure from my christian parents to do the right thing, marry and settle down. I wanted a good christian marriage. I met someone who loved me for a change, having spent a lot of time falling in love with people who just wanted a shag. It was about love, it was about doing the right thing, and it was about not having to play field anymore, which I found punishing and bruising

I married him straight away, and less than a year later, how the picture had changed.

"Simon has become unbearably grumpy this week, things are getting really bad, I only put up with it because I know I have to"

"I had no idea when I married him, how mean (as in tight fisted) he was, he won't let me even buy a pair of shoes for a job interview and all I have is walking boots or flip flops"

"I also know that marriage is about security, being often as not financial security provided by the man. Marriage provides a stable environment for bringing up children. It is now apparent that these will never be part of the arrangement. Perhaps I fooled myself into thinking that they would fall into place"

Thus 6 months in, the seed of a problem that would end the marriage was planted. He didn't want kids, and he couldn't hold down a job. The underlying reason being, which neither of us knew at the time, that he had a mental illness.

On the upside (for him), I believed that splitting up with someone you weren't married to was sad, but divorcing was a crime against God. I hung in there for 15 years as my Christian faith slowly faded, and would no doubt have hung on for grim death if a few dramatic things had not rocked our sad little marriage boat.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Break me once, shame on you, break me twice, shame on me

My husband was a self centred, snobbish, ineffectual fop. So it seems my subconcious sought out the exact opposite. A needy, jealous, violent, arrogant misogynist.

I am sorry to have to report this to you, and I apologise sincerely to myself and my son.

I have never been so terrified of another person as I was this morning. I have never had such a dry mouth I couldn't speak, been trembling and shaking so I couldn't move, and I have never felt that to climb out of a moving car would be safer than staying in it. And nobody has ever let me weep, beg and debase myself and continued ruthlessly to disparage and put me down.

I have always been appalled at men that put their wives down in public, but I now beleive this is far more honest than doing it in private. The dear friends that see it can acknowledge what is happening and hold out a (silent if necessary) lifeline.

Those who act the loving, affable, and decent public and break their partners in private are contemptable. And this is what both my life-partners have in common. I had thought of this as an advantage - you can take them anywhere, everyone will love them etc etc. But the price you pay....

...and once again, even though there is noone listening out there, I know, I DO have control over this, I am letting it happen to me.

Shame on me.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

I'm replaceable!

When our marriage came to an end. Quite apart from the fact that we had a good sex life, he decided that a line should be drawn in the sand, and moved into a separate room. A couple of days later (whilst we still seemed to be cohabiting in a frosty yet cooperative way) he asked me if it was OK if he went out on Friday night ( we usually asked each other since we had a little 18 month old son to look after).

"Who with?" said I
"Oh a chick wants to meet me for coffee" he replied

mind whirring now

"is it someone from rock climbing"
"from your organic gardening group
"no" he said
" actually I met her on the internet"

So whilst we were still living under the same roof, and the sheets were still warm on my side of the bed, he had gone on the internet looking for a new love. This shocked me most of all, that after 15 years I was so utterly replaceable, he had been down in the basement, using a computer I had bought him, to try to meet someone new. I felt commoditised.

I thought we might spend those few days/weeks contemplating our decision, making sure it was the right one, finding some way to recover emotionally before moving on.

That Friday when he got back from the "date" he was aglow. Finally someone who listened to him, finally a bit of fun.

I spent the night in our over-soft spare room bed tossing and turning, not sure how this new reality could possible settle with me.

The next day at training, I was close to tears whenever anyone spoke to me. But funnily enough that was it for the tears, can you beleive? I never cried over him again, he moved out, and I felt nothing but relief.

And he didn't end up staying with that date but within 2 months he had found someone else and moved in.

He didn't need me, he just needed someone.

Monday, November 06, 2006

It wasn't him, it was men

I married young and only had one partner, my husband, for most of my adult life so when I found myself adrift after our separation, I think I was naive about men. Like a sort of rip van winkle, I awoke from my marriage as savvy and worldly wise as an 18 year old college student, and (I assume) expected the men I encountered to be 18 year old college students - drunk, eager, inconsiderate and commitment phobic.

But they weren't

They were bald
They had kids
And ex wives
And baggage
And money
And had seen the world

But one thing I learnt, the more things change, the more they stay the same. Some of the things that irked me most about my husband, turned out to be not about him, but about men. Some of the more astute among you may point out that this may not necessarily be about all men, but the men I pick... none the less here I go.

All men like to win and argument, and will sulk until you come round.
All men have to be behind the steering wheel if you are both in the car.
Men are all hypochondriacs.
Men are fussy eaters - be it no junk food or nothing but junk food the job of feeding them is never as easy as it first seems.
Men are territorial

Now I know this I am no longer disappointed. Perhaps I have lowered my expectations.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

My own declarations of love

Since I separated from my husband of 15 years a storm has been raging. I barely had the time or energy to do my job and look after my 2 year old son. And so it was that I moved out, got promoted, met someone new, bought a house and moved again all before the divorce was finalized.

When it came to unpacking the boxes in the new home, many ghosts appeared, but perhaps most poiniant of all, my own declarations of love. I am a horder, and it seems that as every birthday Christmas and Valentines went by, I could not bear to throw away the cards we sent to each other, no not even the ones that came from me.

He has sailed off into his new life. I was left nursing a love which I myself had transmitted, when the antennae have long since rusted and been retired.

At some level I was supposed to be the hard one in this relationship. Although I didn't leave I apparently made the home so "toxic" he had to leave.

As the cards slip from my hands and flutter to the ground, I wonder who was kidding who.