Tuesday, November 10, 2009
It occurs to me that this is the first time in my life I have voluntarily given up something I love. I mean I, as and adult, have personally taken this decision to give it away.
I searched for analogies of where this happens to people
- A teenage mother giving up her baby in the 1960s
- A woman having her breasts removed because she is at risk of breast cancer though she does not already have it
- prosperous Jews, Palestinians, Turks, Greeks, Armenians, Hootus and Tutsis, who fled their homes and businesses
- Young people in love who are separated when their parents move cities
- A couple deciding to abort a much wanted but fatally flawed unborn baby
These are all more severe than my situation, but the thing they have in common is that the alternative is worse. Human nature being what it is though, in about half the cases it is because of aggression, intolerance, or disrespect that the alternative is worse.
In my case the alternative is to have a protracted battle with an abusive, disrespectful, manipulative ex partner.
Friday, November 06, 2009
By Elizabeth Bishop
The art of losing isn't hard to master;
so many things seem filled with the intent
to be lost that their loss is no disaster.
Lose something every day. Accept the fluster
of lost door keys, the hour badly spent.
The art of losing isn't hard to master.
Then practice losing farther, losing faster:
places, and names, and where it was you meant
to travel. None of these will bring disaster.
I lost my mother's watch. And look! my last, or
next-to-last, of three loved houses went.
The art of losing isn't hard to master.
I lost two cities, lovely ones. And, vaster,
some realms I owned, two rivers, a continent.
I miss them, but it wasn't a disaster.
---Even losing you (the joking voice, a gesture
I love) I shan't have lied. It's evident
the art of losing's not too hard to master
though it may look like (Write it!) like disaster.
He calls me in the morning to micro-manage me, and remind me of the things I have not done or more particularly paid for for our son and of late he has begun what appears to be a campaign to get full custody. All this timed perfectly for when I'm in the middle of a property settlement, moving house and major surgery.
So now I am cast in the role of absentee father, because I work and he does not, because I have to travel for my work, and have no "partner" to look after Connor. It now appears he wants Connor to live with him, and me to pay. All this from someone who was too mentally ill to even have the boy for a weekend for the first six months of this year, someone who didn't want fathehood in the first place.
Life truly has turned into a bad joke.
Motherhood is the thing I cherish more than anything in the world. I fought for it. I am not a man, and whilst I strive, my woman-like outlook and concerns do not allow me to thrive in a man's world. I receive prejudice at that side too.
If I was a man I would climb the corporate ladder treading on everyone in my path to get what I wanted. Wash my hands of all this, and go out and score me a younger woman. But that option is not open to me either.
A rock and a hard place.
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
"I've never yet met a man who could look after me, I don't need a husband. What I need is a wife" (Joan Collins)
Neil had a habit of belittling the work of stay at home moms (SAHMs). His argument was quite logical, that their work simply did not have the value that society assigns to it. Take for example a wealthy barrister. If his wife dies he can easily pay for all the services she provides, childcare ($100 a day - pah), a cleaner, a chef, a prostitute.. this doesn't even take up a quarter of his salary. So how when they divorce does she get half his assets? it is simply out of proportion.
My new found strength and independence has lead me to believe that I can go it alone as a single working mother - I only have one child! 2 of us, that's half a regular family right? Plenty of men on my salary support a stay at home wife and two kids.
So, I now get to do "the practical" of what Neil was describing, and it is very difficult. Because dear friends if I had a wife at home she would be doing so much more than cleaner, childcare, chef, hooker. I could rely on her to pick the kids up if I worked late, she would give me emotional support and feedback on my adult concerns, she would take care of all those niggly little jobs - taking the car for service, liasing with the kids teachers, dentist appointments, booking holidays... Economy of scale! Danah! suddenly 4 can live for the price of 2.
Then there's the house. Somewhere in the recent past I accepted that I live here in some sense courtesy of Neil. The house is an artifact of our relationship. But I have actually put more money onto the mortgage than him. Now the relationship is over, much as it hurts me I have to give up the house.
Not Neil, No sir-eee!! He believes the house is his. Because he is the man of the house. He enjoyed that joke about the global financial crisis which went "this is even worse that divorce - I lost half my assets and I still have my wife". So he thinks he can just pay me off with a token sum and I'll be out of his hair. He actually believes that, courtesy of living with me for 3 years, this asset is his birthright.
Clearly he lives in a man's world with mans concerns where women's work is valueless and all women are out to fleece men regardless of their own (the women's) earning capacity and financial standing. Because they give birth they can never truly perform in a man's world and as such are by definition eternally beholden to their men folk, and further they should be grateful for this and not get antsy in any way up to and including divorce.
Friday, September 04, 2009
I thought of taking my dad's advice and meeting a "retired professor" yet suddenly it becomes totally unappealing because this person (or their family) will think I am somehow after their assets. I never ever want to be beholden to anyone, nor did I ever. I am perfectly capable of supporting myself and my child. The level of false accusation surrounding finances in my current breaking down relationship makes me sick, I wish I had never combined my life financially with him.
I worry that these years with a promiscuous SA have left me with undiganosed STIs which might rear their ugly heads at any time. I feel as though I am a time bomb. No decent new man deserves that.
I acknowledge I am very bad at nurture. Having worked for 20 years and toughed out this single parent thing. I don't want some hyperchondriac old man to look after.
I don't want to have kids now, and soon the chance of that will be finished. So I don't need a sperm donor.
I have lost faith that any man will effectively contribute to the domestic economy (cleaning up after himself) and feel I am on the back foot asking for this with a child around making mess. No I will deal with that too thank you very much.
Perhaps when the storm clears there will be room for a lover. That's all.
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Did my fifth decade forge in me
a fiery ship of burnished steel?
A long withheld capacity
to love you and to let you be
the helmsman of my wheel?
Did my fifth decade forge in me
a passion from across the sea
So strong, and desperate and real?
A long withheld capacity
to be myself and truly see
the way you make me feel?
Did my fifth decade forge in me
A softness borne of misery
of wounds that never really heal
A long withheld capacity
to give you all that I can be
Since you laid down the keel
Did my fifth decade forge in me
A long withheld capacity
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
So you'll never go to Hawaii again? so what, at least you've BEEN to Hawaii...
You'll never be married again? at least you WERE married once.
You've known love... You've known what its like to have a loving husband...
You can't have any more kids? oh well at least you've been part of a big happy family....
You'll never have a house on the river? you were lucky enough to grow up near your grandparents who lived on a river.
Your career is stagnating? Oh well, at least you could once claim career aspirations. It was good for a moment there.
I worry that I won't have enough to retire on. Then I look at what retirement means to the current generation of baby boomers. Endless cruises, seafood buffets, holidays in Asia, beautiful perfect home. Its all great but how much does someone need? wouldn't all this comfort pall after a while?
I guess the philosophical point in here is that life is short, and full of experiences, but we don't need to gorge on those experiences to be happy, we just need to have them. Dive on the barrier reef once, see the Taj Mahal, Fall in love, have a baby, get published. It may never come back again, but enjoy it whilst you can.
Monday, August 17, 2009
These are apparently the roles of a man. And I have been REJECTING them, ALL MY LIFE. Since I drank at the fountain of feminist enlightenment with my Grandmother. NEVER DEPEND ON A MAN, GET YOURSELF A CAREER, BE SELF-SUFFICIENT.
It would be an insult to expect someone to provide for me. Taxpayers have invested good money in my education, and further I do not want to be beholden to a man. When I first heard the expression "Marriage is prostitution" (at the tender age of about 30) I had no idea what it could possibly mean. I have been married once, but I have never expected a man to PROVIDE for me in return for services in the bedroom and kitchen. HORROR.
As for protection. I am not weak, I do not need protecting.
During my marriage, this worked quite well. In Simon, I had not sought out a provider, he was ineffective at work, but still had the manly attributes of strong opinions and apsirations. We both worked, we both cooked, we both cleaned. Until the baby came along. Then Simon lost his mind, and, just as I had never expected to be protected or nurtured, I found myself quite incapable of nurture.
But, it seems the joke is on me. Because many men want to fulfil the protector and provider role and many women of my generation are happy to nurture them in return, and, in maybe half the cases, where they are able to respect one another, there is not even a sniff of prostitution in the process.
I could've forgotten about getting an education, focussed my energies of attracting a provider and lined my little nest. I have to say this would've been much easier than the single parent role where I try to be Mummy and Daddy... huffing about trying to get ahead at work by day, endlessly wiping and cleaning by night...
But stay, what of that other 50% those unhappily married for whom the deal did not work out. They have no skills they are trapped by a unfaithful, disrespectful, user and abuser.
Perhaps in my attempt to avoid this, I also passed up the opportunity to allow a good man to protect and provide for me.
For a little moment here I had the worst of both worlds. I was able to go out and earn a living in a respected professional role, whilst having to opportunity to share my home with someone who expected me to be a chef in the kitchen and a whore in the bedroom, an who would physically slap me down If I tried to speak up for myself or negotiate in the domestic economy. Someone who offered me a form of protection and provision I never asked for - "Oh you have magnificent breasts! What's for dinner?" The protection and provision were so hard to discern they were almost theoretical, and yet he traded on them. You clean up after me, because I work FOR YOU.
I have, in my time, been guilty of feeling sorry for my single friends because they could not snare a man. Oh the lonely life of a spinster, to be pitied. And yet that joke is on me too, because had I not entered into this whole marriage/partnership enterprise I would be in no worse a position. Perhaps better even. No unemployable husband living off me, no testosterone charged zealot cheating on me, hitting me, spending my money of flat screen TVs. I would've been able to direct my hard earned dollars to investments that worked for me. If I had not treasured old fashioned notions marriage and family I could even have become a parent.
But now I picture a new stronger me. My efforts will no longer be focussed on finding a partner to share my life, but to creating a better single life for myself. The best it can be.
And what of my feminist grandmother? She died last year, protected and provided for her whole life by a man who loved and respected her. Perhaps she felt dis-empowered, so she had these dreams for me, dreams of freedom, autonomy, personal wealth and its rewards, respect from society.... I think I know where she was coming from.
Yet somehow I think perhaps like many of my generation I am caught in that narrow alley between feminism and post-feminism where there are three options;
- throw caution to the wind and love freely hoping to be given the freedom to pursue your dreams,
- trust only yourself and remain single, or
- become a case study in mismanagement of the feminist ideal as have I.
Sunday, August 02, 2009
I have been squeamish about including the term sex addiction on my blog. I preferred to think of what happened as a little slip. A one-off infidelity. Maybe I thought Neil's searches for it would bring up my blog. But now our relationship is officially over. I venture to suggest that his sex addiction never went away. Nor was it ever really a problem for him. It is a lifestyle. A real woman with hangups, domestic concerns, worries, hormones, demands is actually something he doesn't want to deal with.
I believe and acknowledge that our relationship is over, and yet for some reason I am driven to have one last snoop. And as always, it bears fruit. Sexually explicit SMS from someone we both know, which leaves me in no doubt that they are or have been intimate.
Its not as though it is the first time this has happened. Let me remind you...
1. The original No Smoke Without Fire in which I surmise that regarding an earlier row over a text message, his infidelity was not in fact in my imagination. Too bad I've had several rounds of infertility treatment and bought a house with him in the interim.
2. There was the STI scare (and he currently has another) although these things can lie dormant and don't really signify infidelity in any real sense. Disturbing for a good convent girl who knew for a fact she had not been with anyone else.
3. The second No Smoke Without Fire in which he accidentally stays logged into his email and I find quite a few leads..
"Nah" I think, "I'm imagining it. They are probably just good friends". One at least turned out to be a male colleague of his!! Lesley!! (and anyway I'm no saint myself by this time)
4. The unexplainable receipts
5. The German controversy
... and finally this. Finally there is very little doubt that he has never been faithful to me (if that matters)
I have repeatedly given him the benefit of the doubt, wondering if I am reading too much into this? Is it all in my head? Are they just good friends?
I am not particularly hurt by this, but it does give me the impetus to actually move on and start a separate life. I love my home, and I have no doubt this will be damaging to Connor, but I can't live my life as the room mate/ house keeper/ admin assistant and Connor won't look back when he's 40 and say "Gee mum, thank you for staying with someone who you didn't love, and who continually cheated on you to give me a stable home"
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
(1) If I want sex I should learn how to do it! Foreplay, I need to do foreplay I need to warm him up... btw those FBs may not have been marriage material, but they knew how to **
(2) I always have to be right, and I let that get in the way of everything including (ouch) my relationship with my child
(3) I have treated him badly (not cruelly, or unkindly, but badly) this stems from the fact that I just do not know how to look after a man.
He has been unhappy for a LONG time.
For his part he has been working like a dog. Maybe not around the home, but at his job which in his accounting ledger counts as work he is doing for me. When he completes a report at work or closes a deal at work, it is for me. This surprised me and brought me to thinking
here might be another difference between men and women
When I complete a report or close a deal at work (we are at the same level in our careers), I know am doing it for me and my career . The money that comes in as a result is a side-effect. I would never dream of saying it was for him or shirking my household chores in lieu of it.
Oh faithful readers, I expect you are trying to imagine what sort of a woman I am? or even empathizing with poor Neil stuck with this sexually overeager, self-righteous, neglectful, unappreciative woman.
Whilst I will try to my lesson, if you met me you would not recognize that woman. I am a hard working, loyal, reliable, funny and lovable friend.
So we agreed to be flatmates, until we are both living in the same country a year from now, and then think about selling the house. Which to be honest was my major stumbling block.
I still cook and clear the dishes after every meal. I pay the bills, kill the weeds, and do what is my job entirely without support - look after my son - and somehow find time for a full time job. he comes and goes as he pleases, and now does not have to tell me what he is doing. And nothing has changed except we acknowledge we don't love each other and sleep in separate rooms. What have I gained?
Monday, June 01, 2009
Perhaps you would do all those wifely things for a person you had spent your life with and raised kids with, but not for the current squeeze.
I think I have just crossed this border. Up until 40ish I still embraced the romantic dream of "the one". We all make mistakes, there is still time to try again, settle down with a new person and have a family... and then there isn't. I made this move just a tad too late.
Now I think that raising kids together is not an option. Although he may not agree, Neil is not "raising" Connor with me. We are like the single mum and the bachelor. I'm sorry, but he does not deserve the pay-off of being looked after in his old age. The prospect of an old needy, grumpy man in my home and my bed is terrifying.
Sunday, May 31, 2009
Basically under the tutelage of COSA I reasoned that I could not control who he slept with and when, so I basically may as well not worry about it. Assume it happened, and care less about it.
And this is what he heard..
"I want an open relationship" Or more particularly..."You can sleep with who you like."
Now this most certainly is not meeting my needs. You get to sleep with who you like, and I get the manage the property?
What did I just give away? The last vestige of belief in a loving, respectful, trusting cohabitation between a man and a woman. He may think he can sleep around and still "love" me. No matter how I reason it, I can't see that as love. If I was doing that, I would not be loving my partner.
I understand a lot of men can still love their partners and sleep with others.
However I think the point I am trying to make is that, regardless of what he is doing - he may be doing nothing at all now. There has been a perceptible shift in my thinking that is really the point of no return. Out of self preservation, I no longer love him. And that the relationship has become asexual is inconsequential. I doubt our relationship could now be fixed even with a good dose of healthy marital relations.
Maybe the actual truth was that I wanted a family for most of those 16 years, and it was the sunk cost type of decision making strategy. I had hung in there thus far, if I left now, at 37 I felt I would never meet someone else and be able to have kids.
So I got my kid. He, having lost control of me, and the family situation, had a breakdown, and we split up.
I was so relieved.
Whilst I know I do not want to be here in this relationship, it is different. A generaliszed discomfort and mistrust, profound uncertainty about the future, and a sensation of being a square peg in a round hole. I can keep on sanding myself away. I'm not distraught, but I am afraid of the consequences of "just leaving" in that I have no idea if he will react violently.
But perhaps once again there is an ulterior motive. What I am just as afraid of is that to get out of this, I have to lose my home. The thing I craved for so long.
Sunday, May 17, 2009
(1) How could someone not want to be with this paragon of manly perfection which leads to
(2) I must be mad
That's it in a nutshell. I have known for sometime that I absolutely do not want to be here. Intellectually, spiritually, emotionally - not to mention the dreaded morally. If I were to try to workshop telling him... (some of this has actually happened some has not -yet)
Fiona: Its not you, its me. I have been unable to accept what happened between us.
Neil: Well get over yourself. It happens in all relationships. What did your mother say?
Fiona: She said it happens
Neil: Well your mother is right as usual.
Fiona: You are not meeting my needs sexually
Neil: Well accusing me like that is very "Sexy" isn't it. The more you talk about it the less likely it is to happen.
Fiona: You are not meeting my needs to be part of a family
Neil: Well you gave that away when you got divorced. I can't be Connor's dad you know.
Fiona: Why can't we eat as a family? go to bed around the same time, get up together?
Neil: Sorry that's just the way I am. You can't change the way I eat and sleep.
Fiona: I need practical support help around the house
Neil: You just won't be happy until I'm doing it all will you?
I'm realising I will never "wrap it up" by nagging, or even improve it. Basically to him, this form of communication is just me having a head-rush. I need to be humored, firmly put back in my place (physically intimidated if necessary) because I am clearly out of order. Then life will carry on as normal.
So the upshot of it is. When the decision has been made, when I am bold enough. I have to just go. Not telling, showing. Which is apparently what his last fiance did, and he simply could not understand it. For years.
Neil has introduced me to a whole new world, in which people are not faithful, 1 in 4 babies is born to a man who is not the partner of the woman concerned. Women and Girls who dress in a certain way literally ask for sex (as in FMBs - he believes they are in fact code). Women and Girls who ask men back to their home/hotel after a party want sex. And if, as a man you merely progress towards sex, without asking permission, 9 out of 10 girls will not stop you. Further 80% of the women are chasing 20% of the men. We are mobile breeding machines, they are alpha males, it is a jungle out there. As I have often said in this blog, I reluctantly accept this. How could I be so naive?
However, it does not appeal to my experience. As a married woman I went to literally dozens of parties/receptions/conferences dressed howsoever I wished, where people came back to rooms and that was not the agenda at all. We would drink, flirt, talk then go home. If the above were true, it is a wonder I had not been either victim or assailant in seduction/inveiglement/lure or rape on numerous occasions.
I would proffer that I gave off "Married vibes" and I was steadfastly committed to my marriage vows. I would also proffer the crowd in which I circulated, hard working, professional, men and women of integrity. But not once was I propositioned. I am only human (as we shall see) and may not have been so strong under duress.
So I learn the hard way. About a year into our relationship I learn that Neil is having sex with someone else. I am (in my naive way) shocked, nauseated, horrified, stateless, confused and.... changed.
I struggle not to blame anyone else for what happened next. This erstwhile choir girl, married woman, pillar of society quietly embraced revenge. If you can do it so can I. Not actively, not rushing out there, but alive in that world I had previously doubted existed. And in the fullness of time opportunity came my way.
For maybe a decade before he met me, Neil had no formal relationship, he had a roster of "FBs" who satisfied his needs, and they his. There were no strings, although they did sometimes show troublesome signs of wanting to commit, in which case they were kindly but firmly reminded of the terms of the relationship and if they didn't want it they could go.
So what we have is 4 or 5 women actively trying to "catch him" whilst outwardly declaring they were fine with friends with benefits status. Their role very much akin to that of the other woman (having now been one myself). They would always be dressed well, coiffed, plucked, perfumed, never nag, badger, or complain.
I have learned that living with someone who has been this kind of a "bachelor" (read SA) makes for a very hard act to follow.
I have learned that the reason I did not cheat on my husband was less iron will and more lack of opportunity/motivation.
I have learned to be careful what you wish for
Is this post feminism? One thing that would've kept me on track in my younger days is the sisterhood. How could I do that to another woman (assuming I knew about her)? Are we all just back to snaring a man by fair means or foul? Why am I jealous of my lover's wife who, at quite a mature age managed to marry him, have two kids and give up work for the forseeable future?
How could I undervalue my career so? as I lurch from near disaster, to headlice outbreak, to forgotten lunch, lost hat, board meeting, presentation, bikini wax, sales pitch in the blurry life of a near-single parent? I should remember, she gave up her freedom, her identity and her so-called husband is playing away.
One of the things Neil trotted out when he reached exasperation with my high moral stance was
"There's no law against it"
Well negotiating your way through it without rules may be an intellectual and personal challenge but it does not favour women.
Saturday, May 09, 2009
It is unfair to him because all this was at the core of a shared dream.
I'm not sure how I could've been blind to this. I felt as though I was in love with him
Sunday, March 22, 2009
As the COSA philosophy goes on snooping, basically evidence does eventually fall into your lap. So here's the latest. Once again like my "no smoke without fire" it could be my imagination.
First, Neil's widowed father is planning to visit him overseas and during the visit Neil has a business trip to Germany. His father suddenly cancelled because he didn't feel able to organise/afford accomodation or be left on his own whilst Neil went to Germany. If my mother was visiting me on her own, I would have a whale of a time taking her along as my consort to conference dinners and having her explore the town during the day. I have been wondering why this is such a problem...
Second, some time ago a "little bird" told me Neil was rumoured to be sleeping with a colleague who has, incidentally, gone back to Germany.
Third, each day Neil and I send each other SMSs. It is always the same boring "Good morning, darling x x " so I decided to be a bit playful and wrote one in German today. Not consciously thinking about it, just wanting to have some fun with him "Guten Abend Mine Liebling" probably shocking German, then I wrote another... and finally I got one back "W.T.F." (which I'm sure you can translate)
Either he really doesn't understand any German at all (you'd've thought doing business in Germany he might've whipped out a phrasebook once in a while) perhaps he thinks I am making a fool of him, or trying to show off how clever I am...or he was reading something more into my SMS.
Suddenly a curious suggestion pops into my head. He is off to Germany for a tryst with the ex-colleague. That's why dad can't come, and that's why he is angry at my use of German he thinks I am backhandedly accusing him
For a translation of the Title visit "The English German Dictionary"
Wednesday, January 07, 2009
(1) Please show me a way to get out of this. Just one little exit and I'll be gone
(2) Planning my life in the long term getting the house set up creating a future for my boy
I can't be the first, but I think I would be happier and more able to focus if I was true to myself.
Monday, January 05, 2009
"I have known all of love's pain and none of its reward"Elinor Dashwood: Sense and Sensibility
I can't find this exact quote anywhere, but I swear I heard it in the 1981 BBC mini series.
This is how I feel about my current relationship. He gives me so little apart from a half share in a roof over my head, and some sort of weird brother-like affection. We no longer have sex, because he is not interested.
It is partially my own doing. I broke off the engagement, around the time we discovered we couldn't have children. Because 2 years after his sudden proposal of marriage, I still could not trust him or understand either his sex addiction or his supposed recovery from it. And after several rounds of IVF I realised I did want another child, but not with him.
And now I think to ask myself the question "why did he admit to sex addiction? why didn't he just admit to a little meaningless sex?" He is quite practised at manipulation and lying why would he have been so candid with me? A little slip-up would've been so much easier for me to accept. In fact that's pretty much how I have dealt with it - imagine it was just the end of his "philandering ways"
So here's the timeline
*Trying to get pregnant
*Shock email from ex-girlfriend describing numerous trysts
*Confession from Neil of sex addiction
*Proposal of marriage
*Uneasy acceptance by me
*More trying to get pregnant
*Give up trying to get pregnant
*Try to end relationship admitting I have not properly forgiven him and the only way I can cope is to disengage.
*I actually want him to go off and find someone else to have babies with
*Sex life ends
From his point of view maybe he was only having sex with me to get pregnant, or maybe he was so hurt by me putting the brakes on our marriage plans, or perhaps, he is just getting sex elsewhere. It isn't such a stretch is it? on current evidence.
In exploring "Husband not interested in sex" the answer by barbarafl about half the way down struck a chord. It starts
Wow Ladies,I can't discuss it with him. In fact if I do he gets angry or facetious saying things like "you nagging me about it is so sexy"
I feel compelled to respond. I have been in this situation for 18 years. It is only the last year that I truly discovered the real problem. My husband is a sex addict. After lots of research, and therapy, he is in recovery. A long hard road for both of us. There is many levels of sex addiction. Some only use masturbation and porn and some use prostitutes, affairs, etc. There is something also known as sexual anorexia. Where the sex addict will masturbate but avoid intimacy with you.
But he still occasionally says he love me, or that I am his love. I think perhaps he needs a mother. His was depressed angry and unavailable to him. Now it seems he is trying to find this lost comfort through me. Here is what would really work: If I were to run the house like clockwork. Quietly and efficiently moving around him, and never making demands on him. Let him lie in, clear away his mess without ever complaining, never ask where he's been or why, defer to him on every decision and opinion... He will love me totally and will reward me with hugs, and adoration, but never sex.
Really folks what's in it for me? A half roof over my head (I work too remember) and stability for Connor. But Connor is not going to come back to me in 20 years time and say, "thanks so much mum for putting your life on hold and living with that man so that I could grow up in a misogynistic, self centred, dysfunctional - yet stable household"