Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy New Year

I promise I am going to blog more.. All coming in January

The seven ages of woman
Changing partners in the 5th age
True Love
Esteem and Self Esteem
More two year reflections

Happy New Year

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Daddy Dear

My father is about to have a significant birthday, andI will be present at his party. I will walk through the door, walk over to him and hug him. Trouble is, the way I feel right now, I think once he's in my arms I may not be able to let him go.

My dad was not a hands on father, he didn't take me to sport matches, watch me compete, or take an interest in the small concerns of my life. He never asked me how I felt about anything, or even told me how he felt. He set the bar very high for me educationally, and showed disappointment when I didn't acheive his objectives. He had high standards morally too, for both my brother and I, which we often failed to meet. I think he wanted me to be a cross between Ellen MacArthur, Mary Archer and Princess Diana, and quite frankly short of getting a PhD in Nuclear Physics from Harvard, Sailing around the world single handed, and being a virgin on the day of my marriage to the Prince of Wales, I could never meet his expectations. But it never stopped me from trying.

I grew up, left home, married, did quite well and somewhere along the way his expectations and my acheivements came uneasily into line. He retired, became more relaxed, and I was able to see that he does have a sense of humour. Now I can't think of a sweeter calmer person to sit in silence with in the garden over a beer, or a cup of tea. The same high moral standards he sets for others, he always lived up to himself. He is kind, fair, gentle, generous, funny, works hard, plays hard, eats well, keeps himself fit and contributes to society. He has weaknesses, his compulsion to "speak as he finds" often gets him into trouble. He is uncommunciative, when he does speak he often makes off colour remarks, he is eccentric to the point of being antisocial.

I fear I have tried to replicate elements of my father in my relationships. First Simon, fit, moral, energetic, emotionally unavailable, then Neil, highly intelligent, eccentric, but with these elements have come a plethora of undesirable traits I was never prepared for: frailty, inprovidence, anger, violence, slobbishness, abuse, infidelity, disrespect. None of these could ever describe my father, and unlike the little girls whose daddies leave them none of it can be blamed on my father who, I am rapidly coming to realise is the only man I have ever truly loved.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Objects of my desire IV

When my sister in law's mother died, my mum took her out and they bought a lipstick togther. My mum had never been close to Anne, but in (Anne's) grief they were drawn together, My mum provided a shoulder to cry on, and the lipstick was their first true bonding experience.

Years later she and I bought a lipstick together, identical brand, identical shade, and for different reasons it was also a bonding experience. Now we have this shared, intimate object, which we use everyday and which reminds us of one another, although we are far far apart. It is almost as though she is here with me

Objects of my desire III

The Emperor
When I was a young woman, I had a three month love affair with a pianist. As well as being a semi professional pianist, he had another career underway, he was handsome, polite, good at sport, gentlemanly. In short, he was the one that got away.

One hot summer evening I went to hear him play Beethoven's 5th Piano Concerto in a major concert hall in the city. I remember the hot city smells and the faint sound of birdsong from a nearby park and how green the trees looked through a neaby open window. My heart swelled with pride love and passion.

I have no idea why it didn't last. My insecurities made me think he could never be mine and made me so suspicious of him. I actually dumped him. I have no idea why. I was totally infatuated with him.

Still the sound of this concerto brings it all back, but in a good way. I remember that heart stopping, breath taking sensation of young love, and it is mine again.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Objects of my desire II

In the aftermath of my separation from Simon. Life became quite chaotic. I moved into a small flat near to my work, became an exhausted single mother and called in favours from all my friends to help me juggle work and motherhood. Simon treated his depression with an energetic burst of internet dating which made him essentially unavailable for parental duties. Officially too sick, I suspected he was actually too busy trying to get better by finding someone new to love. Anyway, with the separation, I lost my wheels, and it took me some months to get a new set. Months of trudging back from the supermarket on the bus with bags and bags of shopping strung over my wrists, to add to my already all encompassing exhaustion.

Imagine the joy when my parents came to visit and with their hire car, I was able to visit car yards and find the car of my very modest dreams. It cost less than $2000, was over ten years old and had a perplexing rattle. But it was (or had been in its day) red, sporty and full of personality.

This was my freedom car. A clapped out little Honda Civic to get me to and from the shops. Or to the beach at the weekend. All mine, my choice, my money. I was in heaven.

Since meeting my new partner, the car got a bit of a thrashing, being used for commuting more than I had ever planned, and it finally died this year, but man did I love that car and all it represented.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Objects of my desire

My great uncle Herbert was a dentist, and, like many dentists was good with his hands. You may not know this, but there is a significant cult of dentists who take up jewellry making, with varying degrees of success. My mother tells me that a few of the men in Herbert's graduating class made their wives' wedding rings in a grand romantic gesture. More recently I notce Missouri state has set jewellry making as a prerequisite for dentistry, clearly being good with your hands had moved from being a coincidence a requirement.

When Herbert retired he made jewellry for all his female relatives. When it came to my turn I was priveleged to be involved in the design process. He called me in and asked me the kind of thing I would like. Having recently returned from a school exchange, where I had seen, and coveted, some Inca bracelets in a market, I asked him to make me a silver cuff bracelet with of lapis lazuli stone. He hummed and hawwed for some time and then said it would have to be my christmas AND birthday present because it was going to take a lot of silver (I think it was 25 dollars worth in 1981). He kept the making secret and delivered it to me at Christmas, he had dug out one of Aunty Maud's old jewellry boxes with the name of an old time jeweller stamped in the yellow crushed velvet interior. It truly was a thing of beauty.

(Not the real bracelet)

Some of my aunties had scoffed at Herbert's style, but this was his finest hour. My mother said it was the best thing he ever made. I have kept it and worn it for over 20 years. About 10 years ago Herbert died, and this thing has taken on a precious significance. Herbert was a cultured and wise man, but in many ways he annoyed me. When I got engaged to Simon, who Herbert didn't really know, Herberts one take on the subject was "For goodness sake marry a man that can work, and for god's sake Fiona even his family has disowned him. At the time I couldn't even see a grain of truth in this, I thought he was an interfering old man, but his words have come back to haunt me...

Once when I was about 12 I was I was trying to play A Bach Prelude he insisted on singing Gounod's Ave Maria over the top in a raspy voice. Thus stealing my thunder and distracting me at the same time.

A few months ago I was driving along and this same piece came on the radio. Suddenly I felt not only his memory but his very presence in my life. Tears pricked my eyes, his jewellry, his memory and his wisdom have never left me.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Sister Links of Strength

My friend Vic who writes her own intelligent, supportive and often poignant Blog, asked me to identify some blogs I visit regularly that are written by people going through a painful transition.
I do have two, but I think they have already transitioned. I am perhaps a bit unoriginal in nominating the lovely Mir at wouldacouldashouda. She has been through some terrible and amazing things, and writes with great dignity and humor. Justifiably she has a huge following. Let me join them. Another one is a room of mama's own. She struggles with her husband's infidelity, and a child with Autism, and comes through with such dignity, strength and compassion, I can only look on in awe. And Vic, I stole your picture too :)

Have me and hold me some more!

Oh I just need to say some more about my Jaeger Suit, it seems I am not alone in my admiration for it. Admiration which borders on obsession.

So comforting to hear a Guardian editor opine that you could probably be buried in a jaeger suit and it would survive your coffin. She's right of course, I fully expect to pre-decease my Jaeger suit.

She was actually commenting on the re-birth of Jaeger from the slightly stuffy don't-frighten-the-horses style (the spirit of which lives on in my suit) to new hip style for the over 40s.

But wait, there's more, it would appear that donning of a Jaeger suit is an important mother-daughter sacrament, a rite of passage which remains aflame in the hearts of many powerful and successful women...

Angela Patterson 37 year old recruitment hot shot "borrowed" her mother's Jaeger suit and nikked off to London to launch her enviable career at the age of 19.

Frances Lynn accomplished author, doubtless writes from experience when she tells the story of a young girl whose mother gave her a "nice Jaeger suit" for her birthday.

and my favourite Stacey Tasker whose mother sent her off for her first interview after university in a Jaeger suit exclaiming "Don't be silly, how can anyone turn you down in that beautiful Jaeger suit?' " She went on to be the first women governor of wealston prison at the age of 39.

Oh Jaeger suit! you are, for me, the embodiment of a life well lived.

Monday, September 10, 2007

To have and to hold

I've just been over at Proper Prophet
who seems to have come up with seven reasons not to clear out your wardrobe, which gave me an idea for a new post. My Jaeger suit. It fits all of her seven reasons...

It was very expensive, it has sentimental value, my mother gave it to me (for my 21st birthday), I'm sure I'll fit it again one day..

And some of my own
  • I think it may very well have come back into fashion,
  • it is a classic (oh you can see past those 80s shoulder pads),
  • it is pure new wool (although that lamb popped its cork many years ago) ,
  • it was Made in Great Britain - Look see the label, can you beleive that whichever designer shops get their stuff made in "Great" Britain these days???
  • and my favorite, it outlasted my marriage
Now come on girls I know some of you have wardrobe issues, and hold onto things longer than you should, but this suit has been with me since I was 21 which is nearly half my life. It deserves a medal.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Second adolecence

Here I am, nearing 40 in a relationship I can't feel sure about, behaving like a teenager

...and not in a good way either... not in a reckless, in love, knickerless through a cornfield kind of way...

No it seems at the moment, I am totally incapable of knowing what is best for me, so I either behave impulsively or rely on other people to make decisions for me.

Where have my frontal lobes gone???

I continue to try to have a baby to try to make Neil happy, just like a teenager has unprotected sex because her boyfriend pressures her to.

And like a teenager I wonder about how he will react. Not if I get pregnant, but if I don't. A teenager would worry that her boyfriend wouldn't stick by her if she got up the duff, I wonder how he will react if I don't. Will he take his sperm elsewhere????

I will be relieved when the whole pregnancy thing is off the agenda.

Monday, August 13, 2007

In My Shoes

I am finding the handovers on Simon's weekends are a bit easier these days, and perhaps more so the being apart. I used to feel physical pain at being separated from my wee boy when he was only 2 but now I can stand it.

One feature of handovers that still makes me sick to the core is seeing my ex's shoes laid out near the door with his new girlfriends' and my childs'. I have always had a low grade foot fetish (how else to describe it) and because of this, the line of shoes is a domestic metaphor that I just cannot handle.

I remember in my uni days coming back from a trip taking trains around Europe to find my long term college boyfriend had not only left me, but moved in with someone else and negleted to tell me ( a very bad moment in my life). I went round to catch up with him, saw the evidence, but because I loved him, and needed to be near him, agreed to stay for coffee (she was not there). Man that coffee stung my throat, but it was the line of shoes that brought on a wave a nausea. I had never met the woman, but her shoes were like small birds, all tiny intricate and brightly coloured. There was no ignoring her presence in is life. I fled and cried for two years.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Prince Charming

I have spent much time recently watching or reading fairy tales with my 4 year old. I don't wish to rob him of the really rather beautiful fairytale concept - They met, they fell in love, they married, they lived happily ever after - but these days, it says nothing to me, it is actually irritating and cliched to the point of nausea. It seems plain wrong to indoctrinate children, and particularly girls, with it.

How little either of the men of significance in my life resembled prince charming. Imagine the handsome, strong jawed strong brave, hero

(1) Breaking down in tears and turning to cinderella to sweep him onto her horse and take care of him forever, or

(2) going off and bonking the ugly sisters in his lunch hour?????

Saints preserve us

Two year reflections III

More two year reflections

I am sure I have said this before, but I still don't understand my divorce. It is different from not understanding why he left me. I have been heartbroken before, and I know the agony of thinking everything was fine and then having someone walk out on me.

I feel the need to call myself to account, to have a consistent story to tell myself and maybe one day my son. I don'twant to dress it up, lie or fill it with platitudes. I need something that makes sense. So here are three versions, the best, the worst and Simon's ( I can only imagine Simon's)

The best:
After 13 relatively happy years of marriage I finally realise my dream of having a baby. Simon meanwhile realises that he has been living a lie, there is no way he can keep up the pretense of doing his stressful job and earning enough money to support a family and a comfortable home life (ie earning the same as me). He always wanted to keep his options open - not have kids, and not commit to a career, so that at any minute he could up stumps and go back on the road. He wanted me to be a playmate, not a breast feeding, baby obsessed homebody. It is not fair to
himself or his wife to commit to the 2.2 kids and white picket fence, and he has just realised. He panics, he feels suicidal, he tries to back pedal, and ends up trying to take his life because he feels so trapped by it all. He is completely out of his mind and begins to get a lot of psychosomatic symptoms, he behaves bizarrely and I do not recognise the man I married. He is blind to what he has just done, halfed the household income and left me literally "holding the baby" working full time, picking connor up from daycare, running to and from the psychiatric clinic everyday, I am under a lot of stress, my work suffers, when he says "I can't give you what you want" and "I am very ill I may never work again, you have to tell me - Are you on this journey with me or not??". I remain numb and can not answer him, having a very keen understanding of my marriage vows. When he leaves, I feel nothing bur relief. What he was offering me was an adult child, he never empathised with me, he never pulled his weight, and now he was asking me to support him financially and emotionally for the rest of his life. I thought (rightly or wrongly) I could do better on my own.

The worst:
I was a selfish woman who negleted her marriage vow "in sickness and in health" and ruthlessly upgraded, within a year, to someone who could give my child and I the stable home life I craved. And the outcome was.... what poetic justice, I was hoist by my own petard and moved in with a self obsessed, potentially BPD, possibly violent, unfaithful man. All the opposite attributes of simon who was - no no they have something in common - self obsessed, ineffectual, gentle, idealistic, sensitive, dependant, failure of a man.

We were happily married for 9 years and then Fiona became desperate to have a baby. This was made worse when she lost twins at 15 weeks and then had another earlier miscarriage. I hated to watch her go through so much pain, I think she was depressed. There was nothing I could do to support her. I felt the best remedy was to give up on having kids. She had other ideas, she practically forced me to go through IVF with her (after 5 years of trying we had now been married 14 years). No one understands what IVF is like for a man, it is so disempowering, it is all about the woman. It caused me a lot of stress, I worked hard and took a better paid job that was frankly beyond my capabilities.

Although she was successful on the first round of IVF she had a difficult pregnancy, she was in and out of hospital, it was like having an old car that was always going wrong. I was afraid the whole time that she would lose the baby and I couldn't face the effect it would have on her. I swore I would never go through this again. When the baby came along, Fiona was happy, but she was so wrapped up in the baby she didn't notice (or understand) the stress I was under. She took 3 months unpaid leave from work, and I hung in with my job until she returned to work full time and could support the family, feeling unsupported and utterly stressed I didn't realise what was happening to me and a year after our son's birth I tried to take my own life. In a blur I had Fiona get me admitted to a mental health clinic for my own safety and where I could recover. She visited me with connor, every evening or almost every evening, but I don't think she ever understood my illness. At one point she said "I just want a functional husband".

After 4 months I came out of the clinic. She was cold and hard and impatient with me. She seemed focussed on the past and determined to stick to her goals of having a big family and buying a home. I told her I could not give her what she wanted, to have another baby and buy a house. I told her I would probably never work again and asked her if she was on this journey with me or not. Around this time she got angry with me, lost patience and cuffed me.

She broke my heart in that moment. I was at my lowest ebb and she could not support me. We went through counselling together, but we had nothing left, our goals were just too different. Eventually I moved out.

Silent scream

Who to tell? Thank god for my blogging friends..

I have been in a sort of personal purgatory, visiting and revisiting the events of last year and trying to make sense of them, finally resolving to talk to someone and speaking to a counsellor who says "you tell who you like!" so I agonise over to whether to tell my mother. She has always been my chief confidante. I felt sure she would see something amiss, ask a few well directed questions and I would crumble and spill the beans. It was just a matter of which, and how many beans I would spill. So I prepared my responses in increasing levels of shocking detail.

It was almost a releif to find no questions whatsoever. But then

is she interested?
is she too busy?
how much more alone I feel

I find myself impatient when my family club together and try to resolve the minutiae of my life when they know nothing of the lumbering iceberg that lies just beneath my psyche, and are apparently now unable to detect it. I feel overwhelming sadness when my family, and particularly my mother, appear to be no longer on my wavelength.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Infaithlity infertelity ??

For half of last year I was undergoing IVF treatment. I have been through this before, and I know the indignities one suffers. Including prodding probing and testing for both parties (but chiefly the woman) Often you are asked how often you have sex, or even if you are having sex successfully :) as part of the early fertility work-up. And to maintain sperm count and quality you are advised to have sex "every other day"

Had a funny thought today... If I had known what was really going on with Neil, when the Dr asked these questions I could've answered "Oh yes doc, my partner has no problem ejaculating - every other day for all I know - just not with me" What a truly insensitive man he is to let me go through that and not be 100% on board with me.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Wistfulness be gone!!

After a particularly acid interchange with Simon over the handover of Connor, wistful thoughts are banished from my head -temporarily at least

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Chanelling my Inner Joni

The two year post divorce inventory continues. The fog cleared, I looked around and whilst I thought I had been doing OK, thought I had moved on, it would appear there is a pile of ex-marital debris to be sifted through. So what do I see...

The shared memories..
- aforementioned rice paddies at sunset and more in the travel genre (you'd like to hear it?)

The unique marital culture
- how we used to tell the story of how we met, to each other, to our friends and make everyone laugh
- the in-jokes
- the sheer smug gloating acheivement of staying together as long as we did

My mother-in-law

- oops there she goes again popping her head up from the rubble

Being able to tuck my son in every single night.. and the unique joy of parenting together
- no-one can share him like my husband did.
- Neil is good with him, they love each other even
- ...but imagine gazing on the cherubic face of the adored child you created together. - Priceless, unique, lost.

Joni Mitchell captured this wistful feeling quite well ..

and when she says "But now old friends are acting strange They shake their heads, they say I've changed Well something's lost, but something's gained In living every day" I know she's right and I live every day for the sheer joy of it, and the hope that I will soon be able to enunciate those gains, and they won't be merely financial ones.

Dear friends I enjoyed putting those losses out to the universe, in the hope they are not lost because someone out there will identify with them, and they can once again be shared.

Blind Alley

I've been away, for days, thinking. I guess my blog (life?) has come to some sort of dead end. Here I am having been through some shocking stuff in the past few months, and yet oddly seeming to accept my position for the time being. Almost in apathy. I have read far too much on the Internet about Neil's issues and have worried myself half sick, meanwhile he blithely carries on focussing on his career, giving me and my happiness never a thought.

I worry about it at work, I take notes and think about it when I should be working.

I have to make a promise to myself to work at my career, whether I can follow through on this remains to be seen, some drive needs to come from within. For myself, for Connor, for whatever the future holds, I let myself down when I spend so much time pandering to Neil, worrying about Neil when he doesn't afford me the same honor. He let me down, he did the bad thing, I am wearing it, while he remains productive.

Where is this post going? A resolution. To focus on work more, and Neil less.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Nervous/Marriage Breakdown

Another little reflection.

When Simon had his breakdown, he reinvented his life, and reinvented me out of it. He put his past behind him and moved on.

I was indulging in a particularly vivid memory of walking through rice paddies in Indonesia as the sun set (part of our travels)..

when I thought. "Its OK for him to breakdown and choose to forget everything about our life together, but I don't actually want to be "broken down" as well. I choose to remember".

However, in leaving me that is what he has done. I have no choice but to bury our past, many of our mutual friends, people in his family who I knew and loved, and start over.

This is no mean feat at our age.

Here we are in our 30s, he through his illness, therapy and subsequent reinvention has lost his past, by choice, I have had mine ripped from me.

"The One" Part II

Over the years of my marriage to the dour and depressed Simon, I often sought out the company of other friends (male and female) who were live wires. A lot of my female friends are this way. Sassy, funny, keen observers of human nature. The male live wires were generally part of a couple, and whilst enjoying their company I would envy their wives. Imagine living with someone who was so much fun! so clever and quick witted!

Incidentally before I emigrated, the extended family in which I grew up was also like this. The intelligentsia. A collection of eccentric, talented, articulate people.

I slunk back to my humourless, self obsessed, angry husband, and consoled myself that at least I had these friends and family. After all a husband doesn't have to be everything to you does he?? Often you find your emotional support, humor, fun, elsewhere. The trouble is I found everything (bar sex !!) elsewhere.

So I have always thought someone who made me laugh would make a great life partner. Neil rarely makes me laugh, although he is quick witted, his humour is often bawdy, at others' expense, and heavily focussed on the double-entendre.

...But the other day, I took a look at myself. I am rather quiet (until you get to know me), serious and bound by duty. Often my life is so full of caring for others, doing what I have to do (work) to the best of my ability, and keeping myself sane that I don't have two funny stories to rub together, I struggle to even keep abreast of current affairs. So I am most unlikely to be a magnet for the live-wires of this world. I believe a witty, erudite, polite, informed person such as that would be looking straight over my head.

Monday, May 07, 2007


I have come to some sort of an uneasy compromise about leaving my life as it is for the time being.

(1) The house is an investment - whatever money I put into it, I will get back- so I shouldn't sweat it. Just get a good pre-nup to ensure this happens.

(2) I have bound myself financially to Neil, but I don't need to do so via kids. No need to make that mistake again. I have a reason to embrace the menopause within the next decade - it will set me free of this decision.

(3) Home comforts and stability are best for Connor

(4) I can never rely on Neil to be faithful. That's the bottom line.

Despite all this, my gut is telling me to run. Funnily enough the last time I felt this way was as a teenager/in my early 20s the time would come, a boyfriend had done nothing wrong in particular, I just suddenly thought yeuch, I don't need this I'm going to move on. Trouble is now I have baggage.

I read to many blogs by vindictive, discontent divorcees. I know they write for themselves, and for comfort no doubt. Like them, I never intended to do more than share my diary, but the washing of dirty linen in public makes unsettling reading. I vow to view the world with more humor and less catharsis.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

The One

In my two year reflections I have started to contemplate the idea of The One.

(1) How is it that two people in a relationship can have such different views with one believing the other is the soul mate, the one, and the other looking at the door?? Neil frequently calls me his soul-mate, the love of his life, his one and only etc. But I know the thing he is in love with is a pale reflection of the real me. Is he honestly in love with such a superficial, disengaged person that is really nothing more than a warm body? None of my true self comes out around him. The real me is interested in the arts, gourmet cooking, travel, outdoor pursuits and more than a little angst and introspection. My life with him is a trawl around a shopping centre sharing fart jokes and looking for donuts.

(2) Should we all strive to find The one even if it means being alone in the long term? Yes!!! the romantics chorus. But we all know that many people are out there quite happily living with another.

(3)And what about arranged marriage? isn't there a joy to be had from "working at it" and building a home and a family together, and looking back at that long hard life together to finally realise that you are partners, you rely on each other, and you have unwittingly become soulmates. When you divorce, you give that away. I wonder, if I was meant to have a life of quiet endurance, wouldn't it surely be better to have done that with my husband and the father of my child???!!!

(4) Panic. I know I have never had The one in my life. My married life was one of cosy, conjugal, cooperative (for the most part), cohabitation. But I never yearned to be with him. When he was away, or I was away, I enjoyed my own company and didn't miss him for a minute. Sadly my current relationship is the same.

(5) But I do know the euphoria of being with someone you truly love, of feeling your heart skip a beat, of wanting to hold them tight and never let them go, I feel all that for my Son.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

2 year Milestone and Me

I feel very blue. My last post about 2 years on was 7 days ago and I still feel the same. It is something approaching divorce regret. I can't believe my feelings have been so deeply buried for so long it has been 2 years!!

And now I wake up to myself.

I grew up overseas and met my Scottish husband in the UK. I never planned to emigrate. I spent the first 10 years of my married life in wistful regret. My childhood, the family so far away, so many memories I couldn't share. How I envied those who could walk down the high street and bump into an old school friend.

But at least I had him.

We travelled, we saw the world we developed a new history together, and finally we had a baby. It was beautiful. Until it was unbearable. Living with a controlling, grumpy, depressed person wore my down. It was like having another child, nothing I did could make him happy.

Now I have another set of memories to keep to myself.

I write because I love to reflect. I have kept a diary since I was 14. What an irony that I should be forced for my entire adult life to live in the present, to live on the surface with a yearning for a deeper connection with my past.

I even miss my mother in law! There, I've said it.

Now I feel so removed from the things that I love and value (starting with my parents) that nothing bothers me. I am unable to connect with anything at a meaningful level. I just survive.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

2 Year Milestone and my child

2 years post separation and I am finally starting to feel the effects of my marriage breakdown. Chiefly through the lens of my son. By allowing the separation to occur I robbed him of many aspects of his future, and made his childhood more difficult. It is not that I did not consider him. Things moved too fast, my ex pulled the plug and I was left barely keeping my head above water and very numb.

Connor is starting to try to understand why Mum and Dad live in separate houses, and starting to notice that whilst it may be normal for him (he has really known no different) it is not normal for his friends.

There was no point "staying together for the kids" at least that is the conventional wisdom, and at the end that is all we had. We had weathered many a bad patch, but this was much more fundamental. And friends and counsellors assured me that kids are happier when their parents are happier.

So what did I do? move from one unhappy marriage to another. This one is just unhappy in a different way. Now have the bizarre inclination to stay in this one for the kids even though he is not his kid.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007


I wake most mornings at 5am and lie there for an hour or so worrying. The topic of today's worry was the effect on my son of being raised (partially) by my current partner. There are a lot of things about his dad that I really liked. We had a lot of shared values about the big things like faith, honesty, integrity and love, the medium things like diet and exercise, and the mundane like table manners and etiquette. When we separated, the one thing we could agree on was to do our best to raise him together, and to make him our priority. It seemed simple at the time. Life had become unbearable together, we could not give each other what we were looking for, and we would go it alone. (As you know no sooner than the 'ink was dry' on our verbal agreement, he made a priority of dating, and I made a priority of working full time and looking after a toddler, getting some sleep and not going mad. Connor's dad was too sick to take a major part in his upbringing at that point - but that's another story).

Soon I realised how alone I truly was, and how I had next to no support, my family live far away, and all my friends were very transient. Some helped me out by picking connor up from daycare, occasional babysitting, but one by one they all moved on.

Then I met my new love. He was a breath of fresh air, he was relaxed, successful, enjoyed food, and most of all loved me, and cared for my son. His values seemed good, very different, but good.

The focus of his values are; The big ones; work hard, give back to society, and look out for yourself and your family, because nobody else will. The medium sized ones; there is no need to feel guilty about anything you do as long as it is not illegal and nobody gets hurt, life's too short for boring stuff like exercise, religion causes wars. What's the point in wasting time on fancy recipes, cook-in sauces/ takeaways save time and do the job - food in belly. The small ones; no need to be prudish about farting or belching in your own home, let it out.. be it at the table, in front of the TV wherever, what's the harm in eating ice cream straight out of the tub then putting it back in the freezer when you've had enough? - lighten up.

A slightly more incidious one is playful lying. Through his games he has taught connor all the basics of good lying:

(1) Denial - me eating sweeties? No!
(2)Just say no - I have no idea where that sweetie packet came from no, nada, not me
(3)Offence - don't accuse me of eating sweeties!!! I was just eating a carrot
(4) Accuse someone else of lying - you must've eaten the sweeties
(5) Gas lighting - I think you're imagining that you had sweeties
(6) Collusion - don't tell mummy

Now maybe all 4 year olds lie, and playful sharing/hiding of candy is fairly harmless, but in my predawn worries I saw this as a workhop/test bed for the bigger kind of lies my partner carries off so effortlessly. Connor should never lie, and there should be nothing he can't tell mummy about. Though his father may be a improvident, ineffectual and self obsessed, he would never cheat, lie, disrespect other's beliefs, morals or personal space, or cross the boundaries of good taste.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Short cuts

I was at a kid's birthday party at the weekend, observing how all the SAHM's manage their kids - for good or bad, these gals have had 100% input into how their kids are shaped, and as far as I could see it was mostly for the good. By 4 you start to be able to see the effects of discipline, routine and good nutrition and (sigh) a stable home environment. I noticed their kids listening to what their mothers said, minding their Ps and Qs and going into time out without a fight if things got bad. My son on the other hand, talked his way out of every problem with increasingly eloquent explanations, leant across the table to get what he wanted, and was very territorial. I had a wake up call. I have not had 100% hand in his upbringing, in a fortnight he spends roughly 35% of his waking hours with dad, 41% with me and 24% at preschool. So I have really passed over a lot of his upbringing to others.

When we separated, the situation was so dire, I somehow imagined I would get custody and would be tucking him in every night. My husband ejected himself from the marriage and spun off uncontrollably, he was unwell, and he focussed his efforts in the early weeks and months on finding someone else. This I assume was his (possibly subconscious) shortcut to getting himself back on his feet. His new girlfriend attended to his support (emotional, physical and financial) then he set his mind to getting joint custody - or as near as he could.

Meanwhile I found a shortcut of my own. I wanted a house and family (something like my family of origin) whilst I still could, I went for what I thought was a safe bet, the first man I fancied, who wanted these two things as well and was able to help me attain them. He was bright, he was funny, and he had helluva lot of baggage.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

The girl that was me

My parents gave me a good start in life, and I was a hard-working, clean, ambitious little girl. I did my piano practice, went to church twice on Sundays and did my best in pretty much everything I tried. There were no ugly violent outbursts in my home, no desertions, we were not itinerant - staying in the same town for my whole childhood. My parents loved and were faithful to each other. I had my fair share of teenaged angst, but life was safe, life was secure and predictable. I had reliable friends who I still keep in touch with to this day, although they are far away. I could talk to my mother, who would sit me down for long girly chats over a cup of tea after school. My father's high expectations of me, a burden at the time, probably projected me into the enviable position I am in my career today. So how did I become this confused, disenfranchised, co-dependant jelly? Perhaps because this gentle upbringing did nothing to prepare me for the seamier side of life into which I (and regretably my beautiful son) have now plunged? Fifteen years of marriage served only to freeze me in my schoolgirl innocence, and I emerge a sort of post marital rip-van-winkle, ill equipped to deal with the harsh realities of the world. I treasure that girl, and I don't want to let her down.

Photo courtesy of belfast high school

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Mess with my head II

Since I have been with Neil, apart from the obvious "don't falsely accuse me" followed by discovery of at least one affair (I say at least one because he then realised he had an SA) one woman doesn't make a SA. Life has been tumultuous.

Then there was the STD scare. I went overseas for a month and a half - came back with peculiar symptoms "down there" and I knew for a fact I had only slept with him - Still he suggested I had caught it elsewhere and that he struggled, and yet was benevolent enough to give me the benefit of the doubt - ha ha

There were of course a number of lies associated with the infidelity, which are hard to expunge, usually cast back on me

"listen, I turn off my phone because I don't want your snooping to come in the way of our relationship - an innocent mistake could ruin everything we've got".

"Could you leave the car at work, and get public transport home, its so hard to get decent public transport when I'm working late" - sure did need that car to drive to another suburb late at night

"I've been run off my feet all morning" (once again with the phone switched off) - sure was "off his feet"

"Its all about you isn't it? it's your way or the highway! Why do you always get like this when we have a big decision to make (buying the house) You are hormonal

Hormonal, hmm quite likely, I have been having fertility treatment lately, however even I can't see an excuse for what happened yesterday, I got mad about a series of sms he seems to be getting from a woman (the ones I have seen are x rated) so I took a look at his phone.

When I would not give it back he knocked me over to get it back. His story now is that I slipped. But I'm pretty sure I know the difference between slipping and being chucked to the ground - I am quite a sturdy girl (145lbs) but how I experienced it was this. An approach by him, being lifted off the ground ( or possibly having my feet knocked from under me) , a period of stillness (airborne?) and then "Whooomf" hit the wooden floor with elbow and head simultaneously. When one slips one normally puts out a hand and does not land on one's head.

I was quite livid and went to the ER immediately, it was a 15 mile ride so I had to stop for a cry by the side of the road frequently, I was (once again) in utter shock.

Later in the day I call him and he says I'd better not tell anyone because that would be libel (in fact I only told the professional counselling staff) further, had I told the hospital about the drugs (hormones) I was on? And all the time "What on earth is wrong with you Fiona? why are you behaving this way?" Also he implied that he would not report me for hitting him - I have no idea how this happened but there was a graze on his chest after the altercation.

For some reason once again I came home, locked myself in my room and slept all day and all night, I have not discussed it with him, and to be honest I am frightened. He has been uncharacteristically kind.

He is quite effectively managing to convince me that a) I am hormonal b) no assault took place and if I label it as such I am lying c) this is my problem.

A pattern emerges of everything being blamed on me, his conscience is alarmingly clear about everything (he is very happy in this relationship - whilst my life is tumult, he is very happy and relaxed - a sign of my mental instability of course!!). Even the infidelity - Fiona, take your blinkers off!!! it is remarkably common!!! 1 in 4 kids are not genetically their father's. It is not against the law!!!

I have (in my fog) managed to work out why I stay, I love my house and I dream of a home and a larger family, but who in their right mind would pursue it with this man???? He professes to love me, but what is this? I am aware of my faults, often hormones do make me grumpy and sometimes I get angry and lash out, but I still can't help thinking that a line has been crossed.

It is utterly disrespectful to sleep with other women, addiction or not, and to maintain feisty sexual email contact with others, and culpable though I may be in many ways, it is utterly wrong and disrespectful to throw someone you love on the floor.

Monday, March 19, 2007

The Crunch

Now standing at a safe distance from my divorce, I can see it as other might.

It looks as though I traded up. My ex was too sick to work and provide me the lifestyle I wanted, so I moved on to someone who could.

Believe me in my mind nothing is further from the truth. Life with Simon had become unbearable. I was called a pathetic useless bitch, whilst running after him, earning all the household income and looking after our child what seemed like single handed. Having pursued (and often funded) his dreams with him (travel, extreme outdoor sports) he was unwilling and unable to help me to pursue mine. And further he belittled them.

He offered me nothing but as churchill would put it " blood sweat and tears" no he was not going to get better, no he could not give me the life I desired ( a home and another baby) and I was going to have to like it or lump it.

Admittedly he was sick, and I was very stressed after a year of coping on my own, but so help me I lumped it, and he left me, and I felt nothing but relief.

Like all divorcees I do wonder if I did the right thing, particularly from the point of view of our lovely child.

In the months that followed, I felt a surge of energy - free at last - a place of my own - a weight off my shoulders, but for some inexplicable reason also began looking for someone to date. The weekends alone became cumbersome. I thought I should be getting out more, and in no time, too little time, I was serious about someone again.

He did the same thing, and swiftly I was replaced . But really I never did learn to be single, now I wonder if I should've given it a better shot. I was actually enjoying it. I love my own company and once again i yearn for it.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Farewell Teamwork

My ex husband often says "I'm not here to make your life easy" when I ask him (for example) if he can look after our son when I have an unanticipated or late meeting at work.

I just took this as churlishness. Inappropriate perhaps, but none the less a valid position.

One of the tenets of our final counselling sessions was that we would work on one thing together, what is best for our son, and leaving him with a string scantily qualified care givers is not.

So often I have thought that rather than "not making my life easy", he is actually making my life difficult.

This morning, I was considering how I would cover these unscheduled events this year, and it crossed my mind to ask my partner if he could step in, and it certainly isn't his job. ...

And this is where something about marriage dawned on me. In Marriage, you are there to make the other person's life easy, and to work as a team. In fact if both parties do everything in their power to ensure the other's happiness, that is one secret of a happy marriage.

And when the marriage is over, that is the first thing to go...

Thursday, February 15, 2007

If you love him, forgive him, if you don't go

Another thing I've learnt about myself, I sit on the fence. I simply am not ready to make the decision in the title.

A part of me says "Life is an adventure, who cares what happens I will be able to deal with it when it comes"

Why is it that although we've been together over a year, I don't know him. I still have to supress beliefs that he is a sociopathic woman hater. I don't trust him, I trust the mailman more and in my darkest fears he is a predator.

I spent hours trawling the web looking up Misogyny...
Then decided it was more likely Masculism..
I identified with the experience of those married to someone with Borderline Personality Disorder...
Feeling I was undoubtedly in the clutches of a skilled Manipulator or a Narcissist....
and faced the possibility of Sociopathy....

There are elements of all of them in him, but he is not any of them specifically. Finally I look at myself, perhaps the most scary possibility.. it is just me that is Mad, over-reacting and hormonal?

Yet I choose to stand back and take and academic interest, when am I going to get that signal that is so clear, this is not my problem, I have to go? or will things improve?

How about this. Either he is telling the perfect truth, when he goes off for a drive, or works late that is precisely what he is doing, or it is an even more elaborate cover up than before, previously when I became suspicious, he became angry and swore that he could not possibly have done anything in the time/was too sick/ any woman he may have met would've been working etc. but I found this out to be untrue.

If the second turns out to be true. Why does he insist on messing with my head and lying to me? I find it to be demeaning, insulting and disrespectful.

Given his history and his addiction, it is slightly more likely that he has upped his game and is now finding better ways of covering up. If this is true how should I react to play him at his own game. Options include; Cheat myself, have him followed/track him, go with him, just leave the relationship. or disengage.

One thing is for certain, obsessing about it is not healthy for me. One article I found usefule for getting my head straight was this. But so far the best I can do if I opt to stay, is disengage.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Disloyal, Ungrateful

My dear readers. I know my last post may have seemed disloyal. Most people write vitriol about thier ex's not about their fiances.

Could it be that somehow I am projecting onto him some of the anger I feel over my divorce? My Single time between Marriage and dating again was so short, and I relished it. I wonder if I should have stayed there longer.

He could be just a decent guy, who has finally met the right woman, has some issues about sex and sexuality, but is desperately trying to clean up his act. After all, he has been single for a long time, and the way he behaved was fine for a single guy, only answerable to himself, and the women who were fool enough to be drawn in. This is the way I like to think.

Then there is the dark side I am the one being drawn in. As Meg said

There are 2 pre-requisites to being an addict or a cheater.

First, one must be an excellent liar. Secondly, they must be a master manipulator. Without these two skills, a person is unable to be either of those things for any length of time!

If you really loved someone you would not cheat on them however loudly your loins cried out for satisfaction, and for me to believe I am special or different, is just a symptom of the fact that I myself am being manipulated.

Could I be in the clutches of a predator. Neil is my fiance, he claims to adore my child, we have bought a house together (we earn the same by the way, in case you think I am a gold-digging ingrate) and so far I have put more cash into the house than he has.

I will go on living the dream, but I will protect myself.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Living the Dream

My parents are staying with Neil and I at the moment. In our, oh I have to admit it, breathtakingly beautiful home, with Neil being the soul of diplomacy, tact and affable good humour - to the point of actually overdoing it with my mother - hugging her goodbye, saying how much he looked forward to their visit ! (isn't there some law of nature about sons in law and mothers in law?). The view, the parties, the flawless diamond ring, the future plans so engagingly shared, so playful with my little boy.... Everything is, on the surface, perfect.

Anyway it occurred to me, if Neil was the man they think he is, I really would be living the dream, but they don't know in the short year we have been together he has been porking other women and lying shamelessly about it. I only found out by mistake. The only reason I stay, apart from this facade of a dream, is that he is doing everything he can to move on, and getting therapy for sex addiction :) Mind you like other addictions, the lies that have come with it over the past few months have been damaging in extreme to those close to him. I read this anonymous email on a support group web site lately.

I was married to a "sex addict" who was also very adept at hiding, prostitutes, girlfriends, you name it, he did it.

When I found out, he obviously expected me to help him "recover" from his addiction, because of course I'd have to constantly monitor him, his computer usage and his movements, telephone calls, etc.

Nope. I divorced him. After all the lying and controlling and cheating, I did not know who he really was, even though we'd been married for almost 20 years. And I had no desire to play policeman, especially since if I ever slipped up in surveillance, he'd have an excuse because I didn't watch him closely enough. Gah.

I don't think he was really an addict. I think he's narcissistic and selfish.
anon 12.02.05 - 11:44 am #

I have to fight the urge to act as this woman did. Don't tell me to move on, I'm not ready. So many other things are in the right place I need to sit this out. But I need to write it, to show myself I am doing this with my eyes open.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Looking for inspiration

Watch this space whilst the fabric of my life unravels in new and interesting ways and I have the courage and inclination to tell you about it!!