Sunday, May 31, 2009

Some clarity out of this

My partner cheated, and I reacted by closing down. I thought I had forgiven initially, but what it turned into was "OK I will love you less and you can't hurt me" and finally "I now don't give a shit about you". Ultimately I told him I did not feel the same, and he could no longer hurt me.

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.

A very different end

I was with my ex-husband for 16 years, and for a lot of that time I was very unhappy. Because though I didn't realise it, I was being controlled. I wanted a home and a family. I felt he had to eventually come round to my way of thinking, but he never did. I cried on the way to work, I was frustrated. I felt trapped, but had a dogged sense of duty to this relationship. I looked with envy at couples outside. I thought the fundamentals were good. Even though I was impotent in every meaningful decision in our lives, and I was in the hands of an irrational dictator.

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

Breaking up (is hard to do-o)

Its hard for a whole new reason that I have just realised. When I try to break up with Neil in the normal way it simply "fails to compute" for him.

(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.
: 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.

What I've learned

Its been four years since my marriage ended and somewhat less since I was introduced to the murky world of infidelity. At 40, I was a babe in the wood, truly. I believed that many, if not the majority of married/de facto couples had meaningful, mutually respectful relationships and regular satisfying sex. I knew that couples argued, and at times loathed each other because I was married for 16 years. In my marriage I was somewhat controlled, and my needs (for a home, a family) were disregarded in favour of his "higher" needs, but we could always trust each other.

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

Forgive myself - Understandable?

I wanted a baby, but I realised in the nick of time that I didn't want a baby with him. Or rather, serendipidously it turned out I couldn't have a baby with him in the nick of time.

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