Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Id

I think I just had an insight into Neil's world. To him after years of non-commitment and frankly using women for gratification he was quite astounded to find himself "in love". It had happened so rarely. (I, on the other hand, was extremely used to coupledom - but we'll come back to me).

So his expections were romantic. He had given himself over to a woman like never before. In this, he was giving me something. Something rare, exquisite, for him which does seem arrogant I'll grant you... But you have to remember he is the id. By and large to that point, he had existed for his own pleasure. I am trying not to make this a judgement. It's just one personality on the spectrum of personalities. In some ways life had been cruel to him. His mother had rejected him on many levels, and he had become tough, and self-serving to survive. He would Never let his defenses down and he would literally screw people before they had the chance to screw him. So when he experienced love (which grudgingly I am starting to believe he did) It was an unfamiliar, wobbly, unsafe place to be suddenly feeling vulnerable and afraid of losing someone. He had let his indominable defenses down and let me in, and I did not appreciate it. He got jealous, he demanded a greater portion of my time (he needed me to make him feel secure) and, when he did not get it, he finally he assumed I did not love him, and resorted to the comfort food of random acts of coupling, thinking perhaps that it wouldn't hurt me, after all it was only sex.

For my part, I was swept off my feet by him. He seemed affable, easy-going, funny. He was intelligent, tall, and he seemed besotted with me. I wanted to have baby and buy a house with me...all the mundane-white-picket-fence dreams I felt I had been denied in my 16 year marriage. I felt a new dawn, I had been under the thumb for so long, and Neil set me free. Things moved very quickly, he put me on a pedestal, he wanted to spend hours just smooching. I naively assumed monogamy and collaboration in the household economy (ie doing the washing up etc) came as standard. And those things, with a small toddler in tow were important to me. I wanted to feel secure, and since we were both working full time I wanted help with the household duties so I wasn't too dog tired cleaning up after him to put out. In short, my expectations were rather more practical. In sixteen years of marriage if nothing else I had mastered the art of collaboration. I also have (had) this disconcerting habit of falling in love with who I have sex with rather than the other way round.

So to him, I was hidebound with domestic concerns, and to even voice this was not to love him, to get my priorities wrong. And to me, he rapidly became stifling. He wanted to know where I was and what I was doing whenever we were apart, he demanded my time when I needed to be with my child, and (probably coincidentally) he passed all domestic duties over to me so I was too tired to stay up late with him (not to mention the rounds of IVF). He was really hopeless at being a couple in the practical sense, but definitely he was feeling vulnerable and needed me to dote on him, adore him, make time for him, canoodle, spoon, keep the homefires burning, whatever, but not necessarily have sex. He could get that wherever and whenever. For me, with sex being mixed up with love 'n' all. Sex was actually quite important.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

I give you.... the small u

I am completely aware of the power of positive thinking, manifesting, praying, affirmations. But still life continues to present me with continual minor challenges, hurdles and disappointments that distract me from what might be my main purpose in life. I think I am just plain unlucky.

But I am unlucky with a small U. It's not the big things car crashes, death of loved ones, disability, bancruptcy, redundancy, life threatening situations. No I get the cut down version, but continually... broken windows, flat tires, miscarriage, relationship breakdown, injury causing minor impairment, underperformance at work, rejection, infertility, dyslexia nothing out of the normal in any person's life. But it absolutely never lets up, and just when I think I see a clearing and that I might be able to get control of things... off it goes again put-downs, disappointment, poor investment, a broken tooth, lost passport, parking fine....

Lately I have actively been trying to think positive and be more organised, to relish the small achievements, and believe better things are coming, but evidence seems to be to the contrary.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Why did I marry him Part II

Being single in my 40s feels quite different from being single in my 20s. I would say the main word to describe it would be "a relief". I am frustrated that I can't understand my mind set from my 20s.

Photo Credit

I recall a feeling that it was "wrong" to be single, and a yearning to be in a partnership. Each day as I travelled on the subway I would spend the journey checking women's ring fingers. Then an internal dialogue would ensue - "Well She's married and I'm much prettier than her" it was just a nirvana, it was a goal I desperately wanted to attain. I thought being married was a measure of how attractive and normal I was, and felt, I now cringe to admit, sorry for those who were not in that happy state by the time they were 25. I had no concept of people marrying for any reason other than love. In my mind, each and every one of these ringed creatures on the subway had been singled out, loved, and given the greatest gift life can bestow.

I thought marriage was the right way to exist. I didn't mind so much if the person was a soul mate. All I wanted was for someone, who I found attractive, and therefore could have sex with for 40+ years without gagging, to promise to love me for ever. In return I felt my status would rise. I would be a married woman and at length I would therefore have my own home and family and someone to share it with me through thick and thin. I assumed this would just follow. I was happy that we both should work outside the home to achieve this. That was the deal. But I had no idea how to make a man commit. Men were a mystery to me. None of them had ever been particularly emotionally close to me. It had all been rather superficial, teasing, flirting, having sex, talking about the news, politics....

Significantly money, or the ability to earn it, was not important to me in a mate. My Grandfather even said to me at one point "for goodness sake marry a man that can work". To me this sounded crass. Of course my boyfriend was a hard worker, and had the capacity, he was very young, and in time, like the rest of his family, he would find a profession that suited him.

If you had asked me I would've said "of course marriage takes work, it is a two way street both partners have to work at it" I would've also been quite happy to give myself over to this person in love. To really be there for them and be fiercely loyal to them.

In all of this however, no concept of a man providing a lifestyle ever entered into my head. Along with my Jane-Austen confused pretty-headed attitude to love and marriage, I nursed a strong feminist streak - I will never depend on a man, I will stand on my own two feet. In fact to look for that type of assurance would be wrong, sexist, and smack of grotesque inequality.

In this, I have since learned, I am somewhat unusual. Many, if not most girls are brought up to single out a good worker, and would not marry someone who was not. My time working in Asia underlined this most decidedly. A man's qualifications and earning capacity and assets are most definitely part of the package, and if I had read my Jane Austen properly, and listened to my Grandfather, I would've known that.
At this point, I might say though, I have an intuition. That there are many happily married women out there who went into marriage with this precise same mind set, and it worked out for them. Because they happened to pick (sorry, be picked by) the right guy, or they managed the one they did get well. They are happily celebrating their 25th wedding anniversaries none the wiser that this set of critical success factors were entirely the wrong set for picking a husband.
But back to me....
So in walks Simon. Simon pretty much exists for his own pleasure. And this girl who desperately wants to commit to him and give him a home and earn a living and is pretty and clever to boot certainly gives him pleasure. To date he has been rather unsuccessful in love because the other girls were looking for providers. He is pretty, there's no doubt about that, but he's also fairly dim, ineffective, combative, opinionated (without basis), irrational, stubborn and has a latent mental illness.
And in walks me... happy to settle, after all if you fancy someone, are prepared to work at it, and they're happy to commit, everything else will fall into place right? wrong! And so followed 16 years at the hands of an irrational dictator, where I bent myself into a pretzel to try to "make him" happy, and he subjected me to his whims, belittled all my dreams and milked me dry. Despite coming from a well-off family, and having a good education, he literally embraced poverty and actively rejected any form of providence or empire building rather he would give up jobs at the slightest provocation, live off my earnings in a rather louche style and yet always enjoy the best of everything - Italian mineral water, red wine, organic meat, pure new wool socks, skiing holidays...
Which, when reading that back, is what many women do, although they have child rearing as a focus. In the final analysis maybe he was a much better Elizabeth Bennet that me.

Monday, October 25, 2010


Hi there! Welcome to my perfect single parent lifestyle. First I'd like to introduce my son Connor. He's a great kid. He's happy and well-adjusted and doing well at school. He sees his dad more than once a week, and they get on well. He loves school and often comes home with prizes for academic work and sport. He makes me very proud.

He also is very well behaved. He does his chores when asked. He still finds a lot of time to be cheeky and play. One day he'll make someone a great husband. Our house is always full of children, he is so gregarious. We live near his school so they often pop in on their way home.

Photo credit:

Come on through the doors of my chic low maintenance home. I've paid two-thirds of the mortgage off now. We have three bedrooms and two bathrooms. For a while there we had a lodger to help pay the mortgage. Now I think that extra bathroom will be great to give us some privacy.

Photo Credit Photo credit
The maintenance is all handled by the body corporate. It does have a little patch of grass out the back, and soon when the trampoline comes down. I think I'll plant out some garden beds.

My work is pretty manageable these days. I'm enjoying it. I'm on top of the preparation, and am starting to get quite a bit of funding for the research I want to do. I get to travel and most times I can take Connor with me.

My partner Dave has a teenage daughter Nessa. He lives in a city about 70km away, where his ex wife lives, so that he can see Nessa during the week. Dave's involved in town planning, but he is also a very talented amateur musician. He plays cello in the symphonia up in his home town. Connor and I often go and listen. He comes down mostly on my child free weekends and we have lovely honeymoon times. We manage to spend about 5 days a fortnight together. He is pretty good at helping out with Connor, and we have had a few skiing and fishing trips together which were great. We are even planning a trip to Bali in the spring. Nessa is going to College in my town, so I hope Dave will spend some more time with us then. Eventually we hope to move closer when the kids are grown up and hopefully travel a bit. But we both seem to like it the way it is at the moment. When he's with me I really look after him, we have lots of great meals together and cook for our friends. Dave knows he can absolutely rely on me if he needs me in times of crisis. I adore him, and love the times we spend together.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Be the man I'd like to marry??

I think in taking up with Ex23 in revenge for Neil's SA I was somehow responding to the mantra

"be the whore you wish you're husband wasn't"

These past few days there has been a lot of pain, over something there shouldn't've been. For about six weeks I have been "No touch dating" (not at my instigation) a man who I have come to like a lot. He is, as well as being all the things on my latest "check list", financially secure. Frankly I wish he wasn't really or at least that he was only as secure as I. AKA "A battler" I absolutely hate that he can use his success, and my child, to write me off as a romantic possibility.

Read the story of our last date below, and perhaps you'll see why I have a new mantra

"Be the success you would (once) have liked to marry"


By the time i arrived home I was feeling pretty uneasy. Eventually I plucked up courage to call on the pretext of thanking Him for the night. Pleasantries completed, he was about to hang up when I blurted out...

"John. Are we just friends?"

He had clearly been awaiting this call. And listened calmly as he told me the following.

  • His life is in too much of a state of flux to commit at the moment.

  • He doesn't want to rush into anything that would leave him with 'obligations'.

  • He is pretty secure in his life and could retire and doesn't want anyone or anything to jeopardize that.

  • He has found relationships with women who have kids of Connor's age rarely succeed.

  • In such relationships he has found that he has to assume second place or lower

There were some vague remarks about knights in shining armour. . And to my questions about
chemistry or if he found me attractive...his response was "I won't even go there .."

I cried after we hung up and again the next morning. But what really was the source of these tears? I genuinely liked him. I haven't lost his company, he is quite happy to be friends. Maybe I was fostering a dream? Maybe I am lonely or sexually frustrated. But the truth is in saying all that he made a judgement of me. i.e.

that I am more liability than asset and that I am not worth the risk.

My attractiveness or otherwise remained steadfastly, tactfully, unassesed leaving me paradoxically even more insecure, and needy like I had never been when I thought he liked me.

I truly, honestly, vehemently hate the place I am in right now. I work extremely hard, I have a good professional job. And yet I am a dating pariah on account of being "down at heel" in relation to single men of my own generation who have been more strategic and/or lucky in their choice of job and investments and ex-partners. No! I don't want a knight in shining armour! I don't want to be rescued! I want to make my own way in the world with a loving respectful partner at my side. When I stop spitting tacks I might puke, or cry. I'd've been better of procreating with a millionaire and taking him for everything he's got. Many women in my "posh" suburb are there purely on account of their rich husbands. I, unlike them, am a good, hardworking, solid woman of integrity.

But then I hear the first tiny voice... Did I see him as a way out? in some way? given my earlier post I knew perfectly well that it would not be easy to invite a man into my chaotic lifestyle, so why would this outcome surprise me? The last two comments I think were encompassed in point 3 of Neil's exit report. If you have a child it makes it harder to look after a man, and men like to be No1. Those last two points hurt because they are true. It is incidentally also true of married men, but they have obligations to their children.

In the earlier post I think it is paradoxically that it was connor's behaviour, my gritty self reliance and my assets rather than lack thereof that I saw as a barrier.

Then I hear the second little voice. Maybe he's just not that into you. If he really found you as mesmerising and "right" as you find him he would overcome those things.

Yes, and that is a topic for my next post. I have suddenly got a whole bunch of inspiration. Look forward to my writings on

  • Another offer to wait
  • Arbeit macht frei
  • The price of this child
  • Perfect single (parent) lifestyle

Then and now

I have, stuck into my old diary on the date 31/08/1984, the following list of features of MY IDEAL MAN which I annotated as being "not in any particular order". I was 18 this was more than half a life away... this is presumably the order in which I thought of them

  1. brains
  2. long legs
  3. blue eyes
  4. straight nose
  5. clear skin, clean body
  6. fit
  7. sings in tune
  8. reasonably fashionable
  9. modest
  10. nice smile and teeth
  11. christian
  12. not materialistic or right wing
  13. not a male chauvanist
  14. loyal
  15. only speaks when he has something to say
  16. not overweight but not weedy
  17. not bad breath
  18. sexy & romantic but not condescending

And here is a list I put together more recently

  1. Tendency to be faithful/loyal/respectful
  2. Tendency to be collaborative/power sharing/consultative
  3. Tendency to be honest/upfront and not manipulative
  4. Employed
  5. Genuine love of women not objectification
  6. Fit
  7. Appreciation of the arts/literature
  8. Creative
  9. Similar sense of humour to mine
  10. Social conscience
  11. Practical/good at fixing things
  12. Taller than me
I guess the things that the two lists have in common are fitnesss (maybe I take some of those things about bad breath and washing as a given these days - I guess it was teenagers I was dealing with then!!!) There is something around respect for women in general, and something around loyalty to me in particular.

Apart from that a lot about image has been replaced with personal qualities. I guess at 18 expecting someone to be "employed" or have a career was unreasonable. Maybe "brainy" was a proxy for that although "not materialistic" came to bite me in the form of Simon.

Monday, October 04, 2010

Surprise Surprise! I got the chance to read the Saturday paper - rare indeed. Simon has Connor for a few days to give me a break.

I'm not sure why I am still dwelling on this infidelity nonsense, but I am and the paper gave me a shot in the arm. In an article called "Our Cheatin Hearts" Infidelity was explored from a number of angles. Perhaps more interesting are the 44 comments on the online version which seem broadly polarised between "It is just so wrong, and can you believe how hurtful it is" and "we are not designed to be monogamous - get over it" with a significant proportion espousing a sort of planned polyamory.

The article refers to a book by Kate Figes called Couples: The Truth

Figes notes that even though some relationships don't survive the blast of an affair, others emerge out the other side, with "a deeper intimacy". She suggests our "sanctimonious" stance on fidelity belies an insecurity about our relationships. With people today able to have sex, kids and a material life without marriage, "all the old reasons for [it] don't exist any more". With nothing else left, fidelity is held up as the prime symbol of marriage, to try to assure its survival in a world of raunchy temptation and easy divorce.

I tend to agree with that. I think what's important is love, trust and respect. However, how you implement them is totally up to you. Marriage, open relationships, whatever - as long as there is love, trust, and respect. Monogamous faithful marriage doesn't suit every couple, and more particularly it is the dynamic between them that is critical . A woman who is happily married may not have been so if she had picked a different partner. Perhaps if there were less pressure to "grow up, get married, settle down" then marriages would be more likely to occur only when both participants were in that zone.

One interesting comment to me was from a woman who had been cheated on by her husband and his (single) work colleague. She called the woman a parasitic home-wrecker and accused her of actively pursuing her husband, whereupon she was brought into line by another commentator who said

I can empathise but I think you're wrongly apportioning the blame. Your husband was the one in a committed relationship. Assuming that his lover was not, your husband committed moral wrongs that are much, much more despicable.

Which in some way provided me an answer to a comment put by one of our own who had put into question why a single woman will have an affair with a married man, but cease when she herself is in a committed relationship. The answer had been obvious to me, but the reason for it more obscure. I suppose it is just that violating your own committed relationship is harder to justify than violating someone elses.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

A serious look at my options

I am feeling trapped by single parenthood

I love my child desparately, but a number of things have conspired to make me feel alone, unable to cope and really admit to myself that I am not doing a good job.

My work is demanding,

Running a home alone is tiring and requires a greater financial input than living with someone else (mere economy of scale)

Connor is becoming unruly and I don't have to tools or energy to address it

I am bored by my career frankly and its only purpose is to keep the money rolling in to pay the bills

I hardly ever get to relax truly. Partly due to Connor's demandingness, and partly due to my own dilligence about work. It honestly never leaves me.

I am in pain a lot of the time.

This last one is the clincher, without that I could summon my usual indomitable energy to the problem, but I really am just surviving most of the time.

Trying to think laterally about how I might get out of this rut.

Work smarter - actually get promoted, actually do a good job, get recognition, more money to pay cleaners/nannies/ a mortgage

Make Connor's dad take a larger part in his life - by fair means or foul

Run away and start a new life

Identify a new career and work steadily towards it.

Develop a sideline career

But first..... need energy....need to get rid of this pain...not with opiates....

It seems advisable to fix my parenting style before inviting a man into my life

Strange relationship vacuum

Once again I am painfully aware that I don't know myself it is similar to the feeling when I first cheated with EX23 of being able to forgive my SA. That was probably a fake feeling but I suppose I felt the table had four legs in some way. I was no longer having this done to me, but I was doing it right back.

And now Ex23 is out of my life. In rushes this craving to be with someone. Uh? I wasn't really with him, or in a relationship but somehow it was substituting for it, and I felt empowered to be single. Happy to just be me because... I wasn't. In the back of my mind, I had this illusion that someone cared for me, someone found me attractive, and someone was planning to make a space for me in their future.

I also had the illusion that he was somehow my friend and confidante. I used to email him all sorts of detail about my life with Connor, long descriptions of happy and sad moments. Often he would tell me about his family too. We'd talk about our college days and how our friends from that time were going. I thought he was an old friend.

For his part I was "the perfect sly fuck" and his reaction when I asked him not to sms or call me ( I didn't want him having carte blanche to dial into my life whether I was out with friends, visiting my parents or in bed with a new lover, but I wouldn't have minded the odd keep in touch email) his reaction was "OK will remove you from my address book to avoid temptation" . In my girlish naivite this feels like throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

And I am craving closeness to someone. Sigh. Another false dawn. Now I have some real work to do to really exist on my own and feel secure in this world.

Single Parent Cling-on

Being the single parent of a single child has many challenges. On the upside we are the smallest, neatest family you can imagine. On the downside, Connor has no playmate but me, and that can be quite exhausting, so from time to time inevitably we look for alternatives.

During my five years of single parenthood, I have always been grateful for families that take us under their wing. We are absorbed by them on their day-trips, holidays, Christmasses and parties. It is lovely to feel part of something bigger, and I am grateful it is just the two of us, as we are very manageable and invites are often forthcoming. However, some element of this is starting to wear thin. Namely that I always feel like a third wheel, gooseberry, lemon.

This is just about bearable when I am with a couple I know well and like and the arrangement is made well in advance. However Connor, being a very gregarious child often picks up families at school or on holiday and gets us invited along. So I find myself hanging out at cafes, beaches, playground with couples I hardly know basically cramping their style like an oversized chaperone. Or that is how it feels to me. Sometimes it just seems it would be easier to dispense with the niceties and say "Just mind my child for a while I'm off for some me time" But that too feels socially unacceptable, unless it comes with a reciprocal arrangement whereby I get 3-4 unpredictable rampaging kids in my apartment for the afternoon. They at least get the pleasure of each other's company at the end of a day of kid wrangling.

This, as much as other elements of single parenthood, is almost enough to propel me into a relationship.

Friday, September 24, 2010

The gut instinct

Well here I am on date 3 and he still hasn't tried to kiss me. I think this is good. Because now I have this horrible intuition about myself that I fall in love too easily. The moment I get "that kiss" he will become my partner and I will rearrange my life around him. Please no! but Please how??

I also need to take careful account of my initial feelings here and record them. But before I do a little SA spotting digression

I was trying to develop a clear measure of what it was that Neil, and Ex23 did on those first dates that made me feel uneasy. Here is one example, which is of course triggering for anyone who's been with an SA. They asked me to describe to them, in detail, if I ever made myself come, and if I did how I acheived it, exactly. And they both would've asked this on the first or second date. And do you know a funny thing, I told them, even though in 16 years of marriage what we did in private, and in the absence of each other, (or anyone else!!!) remained a closed book for Simon and I. I did sometimes ask him if he helped himself out you know, but he was very reluctant to share and I didn't push it and he never asked me. Yet we had a very happy and regular sex life.

OK so here'd be my intuitions on the new man - lets call him John

(1) He's a little bit controlling.

(a) He made this remark that if anyone tells him to do anything he absolutely will not do it but if they ask him, more than happy. I think at some level that is normal, but will it be an eggshell type of thing where you have to ask in the right way for fear of accidentally barking an order???
(b) He always rings if he's like 2.5 minutes late, or indeed if you are. Puctuality is clearly very important.

(2) He's a bit repressed aka a cold fish- although anyone would seem that way after being with an SA. He doesn't give much away, and he hasn't even tried to brush my hand, let alone hold it, or kiss me, but he keeps asking me on "dates" maybe we are just friends? In the past though if a fellow thought there was no chemistry I have been summarily brushed off after 1 or at most 2 dates.

(3) He may be a mommy's boy. I actually think this is less toxic than hating your mother. However he cancelled our first date to take her somewhere, and he is again not calling today because he is with her. She is old and a widow, so I guess she deserves some support. But I wonder could this ever come between us? Simon's mother could do no wrong, but this would appear to be a new level...

(4) He's never had kids and never wants them, so very much so that he has actually had a vasectomy - we did talk about that. Which is fine, unneccessary on my account since I am functionally infertile anyway, but two questions. Is is a symptom of the aforementioned control? does he want to make damn sure no woman spawns with him and steals his assets? and most importantly, if we did get in a relationship what, if any are the implications for Connor? he doesn't want his own kids why would he want someone elses?

So for the record, that's the summary of gut reactions. Is is bad? should I run, hold hands what???

ps another thing that has helped me deal with Ex23 the last couple of days is this

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Gone too far

I've often been disappointed in the way my life went. My choice of men, my infertility issues, I didn't get promoted at work, have to live too far away from my family. But overall I have always told myself that I got a "good package" I'm relatively nice looking, smart, I have a great family, I earn enough, am quite good at sport and generally have little to complain about. Then I woke up this morning, and quite suddenly realise that this is no longer true. I'm not sure if its the loss of Ex23 or what but I can no longer pretend that my life doesn't stink. I've lost my home, my love life, my child is spoilt and unmanageable, I am crippled with some mystery hip disorder which is causing me a lot of pain and not allowing me to do the things by which I previously measured myself. I am underperforming at work. It's no use, we have ticked into the red, and I really have no idea how to bring things back in line again.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Letting Ex23 Go

I have finally let ex23 go. And it hurts. But in all honesty my conscience got the better of me. Surprisingly, his didn't. I can now re-embrace the sisterhood. Accept my slap on the wrist and promise, as far as is humanly possible never to do it again.

Two posts helped me. This one, oddly annoyed me, because I used to be that person, a wronged woman who would never touch a married man, I had firm lines around what I would and wouldn't do, until I re-encountered Ex23. My defenses were down, and my sense of wrong and right twisted. What started as a one night stand turned to love and besottedness. And it was shown to me, graphically, that we are all fallible.

I apparently have some sort of daddy hole it wouldn't be my choice of nomenclature, but none the less after Neil cheated, came out as a sex addict, and treated me with indifference, I had a hole in my soul that badly needed plugging by "Just a boy" (credits to Get to the inside) the thrill of reuniting with someone I had last been with half a life ago (in 1986 to be exact) was absolutely and utterly overwhelming, intoxicating. We were 23 again. How was I to know it was, in fact fake love? Actually I remain in doubt. I still harbor a suspicion that it is the real thing. But I cannot bear to be kept on a string. I said to him when I ended it, what do you expect? for me to wait 30 years for you? "Yes" he said, "because I'm worth it". That has a very narcissistic after taste I can tell you.

I will miss his daily sms, and declarations of love, and midnight phone calls. Perhaps he did truly believe we belonged together, but the facts remain, as long as it stayed as it was, he still has an in tact, functioning family to go home to, who have the benefit of his presence, love, and money. Whereas I have nothing... I'm sure a dozen married men in my own city would be more than willing to offer what he was offering when it is boiled down... occasional no-strings-hotel-sex and (fake) declarations of love.

But what of "Just a boy"? get to the inside describes him as "a boy or man who has yet to learn how to love outside of himself; a boy/man who unknowingly and unintentionally hurts others due to his inability to consider other people besides himself" awww little innocent lamb. I think I specialize in these.

I listened to quite a funny radio show about cheating today, it was a variation on the sex-addict meets love-addict theme. Suggesting women cheat because they are looking for love to fill and emotional void, and men do the same thing, but they are incapable of expressing their emotions except, as validated by society, by hitting someone, or by having sex with them. At the end of the show the panel were clearly divided between the kick-him-to-the-kerb camp and the you-shall-learn-and-grow from this camp.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Repartnering - The great dichotomy

My friends and so-called advisors fall into two categories (whether they know about the SA or not strangely). Although few could understand what it does to your moral compass, or the PSD associated with it. So this is what they say:

(1) Grab yourself a man quick before your charms fade - and don't be so fussy
(2) You are a princess and settle for nothing less than perfection

Well I got brave and went on a date. And surprisingly I quite liked him. He was nice looking, fit, not offensive to women (thus far) well qualified (if that matters) and quite amusing all round.

Surprising when I had pretty much sworn off men, to find myself with this conundrum. I find myself asking

(1) have I somehow lowered my standards? In that there is, it turns out, an intelligent, handsome and charming man out there who wants to date me where I had thought they were all overweight, hairy, dependent, sociopaths.

(2) So what's wrong with him? and why can't I see it?

(3) Am I carrying out my due dilligence - ie how can I not get trapped in the same old nightmare again?

The right time for lifestyle

I was walking home at sunset last night and caught sight of an elderly woman sipping a drink on her urban terrace, surrounded by terracotta pots and flowers. And I thought.... that's what I want to be.... And then... but that isn't so far away. In 15 years' time I'll be 60.

The only way I had believed this vision could be mine was by buying a house or apartment on my own which would involve extreme stress and hard work over the next couple of decades. Then I suddenly had the thought... why put yourself through that? save for retirement, and you can rent the apartment of your dreams.

When is the time for lifestyle? Most people want to provide a love-nest/family nest for their growing family with as many mod-cons as they can afford. Lawn/pool/family room/chef's kitchen. My time to attain this is running short. Connor will be grown up by the end of the decade. I have no lover for my love-nest. What's the point really, of enslaving myself to home ownership when I have no-one to enjoy it with and the one I can enjoy it with is on his way out?

Fast rising house prices? security? Inheritance for your children?
I spent my young married days living in downright hovels saving money, and my savings did not keep up with the house prices. Then I put my savings into a dream home and lost the small amount of appreciation to my cheating de-facto. So now at 45 when many have nearly paid off their homes. I have at best 1/3 of a house and 20 years to pay off the other 2/3 alone.
Despite my providence I am not secure.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Damsel in Distress

I spent the evening with my friend who is a life coach and she at some stage trotted out this platitude that all men need a damsel in distress to rescue, and all women need a knight in shining armor.

I think the former is true in my experience, if you are a little bit tough or successful (or tougher or more successful than them) many men will seek to weaken you or put you down so they can fulfill that role.

If Neil could hear my internal dialogue now or read my postings about new found independence, and squeamishness about wanting a man in my life at all, he would tell me this is just typical of me because I have to be right. Having lost him, I now seek to justify it, to prove to the world, come what may, that I can survive without him. But he would be gaslighting me.

I feel no sadness about having lost him, only relief. My heart has been broken before, and this is not it. But he would need for me to be sad, to not be coping so he could feel validated, needed..

So I don't doubt that men need to be the knight in shining armor and don't get me wrong I think it can be a beautiful thing. I even think women who play on it and work it to their advantage are quite smart. "Poor silly me, I can't change a car tire!" after all their men want and need to feel strong and dependable, why not let them? I just couldn't do it myself.

So what of the damsel in distress? you're waiting for me to say NO NOT ME NEVER. Following my last post, this wouldn't be a surprise. But I can imagine circumstances where I would love to be swept up, supported, and made to feel safe. When other humans use or abuse me, when I'm in shock after an accident, sick, overburdened or suffering loss. But to expect to have men do work I can perfectly well do myself is, to me, contrived. On the other hand if they don't help in these fundamental situations, but instead replace it with meaningless groping or minimize it that is not good enough. The difference to me is very clear, but for all the men I have met so far this distinction would smack of game-playing.

But in reading back the second paragraph there is a very ugly underbelly to the knight in shining armor and the damsel in learned distress scenario. Namely it fosters learned dependence and if everything or anything should ever go wrong, who is left de-skilled? Not the knight.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Harsh Training

It's very hard bringing a child up on my own, making all my decisions, feeling out of control and having noone to bounce ideas off. But as I finally get it all together and realise that I have done this alone, as I build my own haven, the place where a man would fit closes over.

I really have this strong intuition that if a man came into my life and started offering to carry my bags, open doors for me, grope my tits when I am anxious about work, I may actually choke. To someone used to operating at this level, to make a difference would require so much more...

So all this hardship doesn't train you to be a yielding wife or lover at all. It trains you to be a hard nosed survivor. I feel sorry, but I am changed from being incompletely and unproperly loved all these years.

Sunday, August 15, 2010


I feel a bit churlish proposing this, and I don't wish to underplay my other achievements, but I think separating from Neil has been my biggest achievement of the year.

The other night I found a file on my computer entitled "Questions for lawyer" in which I make toothless requests to be compensated for my investment, to be treated fairly regarding my contributions, for transparency in transactions since our split.

It became painfully apparent that there is an underlying truth here. To get separate from that man I had to lose the home that I loved, take a financial hit, ignore his game-playing and, unless I wanted a year of pain and uncertainty over getting the house ready for sale, and selling it in a down market, I also had to accept what HE could afford even if it was below market rate. Not to mention the disruption and expense of moving and storing all my stuff and resettling my son. It has been a monumental effort.

But now the dust has settled, and I contemplate the alternative of still living with him, being undermined, cheated on, gaslighted and made to doubt myself further and further. It has not only been worth it, but a great acheivement. I get a chance to start again and be free.

Monday, August 09, 2010

A strange new place (for me)

I remember back in the old days when friends said to me "I don't want a relationship right now" I did not understand, and simply could not believe them What? you're not searching for ever lasting love? you don't want kids and a family? are you gay? but not out yet? Have you no libido?

I'm not saying I understand it now, or can offer any explanation, but I am now suddenly and inexplicably in that place.

If my libido has not actually disappeared, it is at least in hiding, and I find what I see out there to say the least very unappealing. I was married for 16 years to Simon who was (and is) a rather good looking guy, tall slim, fit, great bone structure, lovely head of naturally blonde hair... Why would I want to even think about making out with some out of shape bald middle aged guy?

I really don't want a domestic relationship for (at least) three reasons

(1) The whole property settlement twice in 5 years thing has left me defensive of my assets - such as they are

(2) I don't want to impose Connor on anyone - he's spoilt and difficult and takes up all my time

(3) I am relishing making it on my own for the time-being as hard as it is

And I don't even know what I do want. Just some social life with the chance to flirt with some nice men, and maybe at sometime in the future very occasional sex with a weekend lover who is good at fixing things.

I know this may all be about me, and my issues with trust, having spent the last four years with a sex addict and then seen first hand how unfaithful a married man can be. Probably I am protecting myself but for now at least it feels like a safe and comfortable place to be.

Sunday, August 01, 2010


I have never confided our recent struggles with the headlice that Connor has been bringing home periodically over the past few months, I've sprayed, and combed and lost myself in a hair conditioning slurry and over the months I confess, I have developed a grudging affection for these little critters.
But I had an epiphany when I saw this in a science bookshop lately. Yes! A cuddly headlouse.
It's the physical manifestation of my codependence....
Yes! anything that invades my life, abuses my trust, sucks my blood, lives off me I immediately develop an attachment to. Works for me.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

The second post of the day

I couldn't work at home this morning, the place was a mess, Connor not here, so I set out for breakfast at a cafe with my computer. Soon after a dad came in with his severely intellectually disabled child and sat at the table next to me.

Every interaction that I overheard made me feel close to tears. That the dad clearly loved him so much, that the boy was really trying to read and write - unlike my spoilt, yet perfect child who never tries at anything.

Having grown up with an intellectually disabled brother, you would've thought I'd have something to offer, but more often than not, when I encounter families with disabled kids, I over-identify and become emotional. I really wonder at myself. If they can handle it? why can't I? Maybe its because I know first hand what has to be overcome to keep going in life with a child like that? Maybe some unresolved childhood survivor guilt, that I am OK and I couldn't fix him. Or maybe I am just a sook. But I would be hopeless in a professional role with disabled kids. How would the parents react to a carer who just kept bursting into tears????

Husband-Missing (Or missing the spot where he used to be)

It started as a commment on Et Tu Husband then it just blew out into great big thing that was all about me so I decided to admit it and make it a post. Bernadine was admitting that in one aspect she missed her husband. Now I think I am through the frank outright missing my husband phase... I've had the rebound relationship...etc.... but I was having a similar (or sort of aligned) thought about Simon today

Here's the thing:

He still feels at liberty to laugh at me - calling me a cougar (for no discernable reason) or suggesting my latest craft endeavour is a substitute for sex. In fact Anything I confide in him, or try to negotiate like an adult, he turns into a joke - like an annoying little brother. Sometimes even using a little high mocking voice. (e.g. "whooo! little bit touchy there" when I asked him not to go through my drawers ostensibly looking for something for Connor)

Today I was trying to work out why it annoyed me so much, and it was this. We USED to laugh at each other and that WAS fine, because we knew deep down that we loved each other and were there for each other. Now this trust is long gone, and I can't rely on him, I don't love him, and he irritates me intensely. I no longer feel that is is appropriate for him to laugh at my expense because he's not giving me the safety net for my fragile ego. He is no longer. as one commenter put it, a safe compassionate witness to my life experience.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

I can't undo that

But like sleeping beauty's fairy godmother, I can soften it a little....

You won't die of marriage, you will just go to sleep for 20 years....

Before I fell asleep this is what I heard

  • There is no his and hers in marriage
  • There are no roles to play
  • Each person is perfectly and completely respected in the role they choose
  • That you don't know the person when you commit, is the most beautiful aspect of all, ie that you trust and grow together
  • There will be hard times and you may have to work at it, but never will those hard times eat at you from the inside out, consume your soul, or leave you as a shell: When marriage is working it is not that hard
  • You will both make mistakes, but you will never disrespect one another or lose trust and faith in your partner
I expect there are some of you out there who still quite like the concept of marriage...

Monday, July 26, 2010

My take on Marriage

In recent years it has been my tendency to blame Neil for my jaded view of marriage, but as I sit here in the school playground - admiring the yummy mummies... and daddies I start to realize the other latent influence in my life EX23 is just as culpable. But I'm jumping ahead of myself. Here is my *current* cynical view

Women in Marriage:

  • Are subjugated,
  • Lose all their decision making power,
  • realize too late the job of child rearing:
  1. will be all theirs and
  2. will severely impinge on their careers
  • Have to turn a blind eye to cheating husbands
  • Have to deal with daily put downs from same
  • and are made to feel unattractive by same

Men in Marriage:

  • Discover that their sole function is wage earning machines
  • Have to come home after a stressful day to do a second shift and be unappreciated
  • Their wives are increasingly reluctant to have sex with them and give up trying to look attractive
  • Whatever they do is not good enough
  • If they divorce they have to give away the proceeds of their lifetimes' work
  • They ultimately "treat themselves" to extra-marital affairs

My granny used to say "Sex was a lot more fun before everyone knew about it". To me Marriage was a lot more palatable before I saw the underbelly. And affairs were a lot more fun/romantic beforel I was affected by them.

Now I know there are men wandering about who have such scant regard for fidelity - ie that its on the "nice to have but not essential" list, and women who are too weak, deluded, desperate to say no. I can't really bring myself to commit to one.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

I'm with Miranda

Cynthia Nixon as Miranda Hobbes in Sex and the City

"Believe me, I would love to be one of those people who's all, "we loved, thank
you, you enriched my life, now go, prosper," but I'm much more "we didn't work
out, you need to not exist."

I'm with Miranda on this one. I am sick and tired of managing Ex's. Neil occasionally signs off his maniacal legal demands with "I hope when this is all over we can meet up as friends over coffee". Like HELL we can. If I had wanted cosy coexistence with you, I would still be living in the spare room. I FLED. For a good reason.

And take note all you young things. If you have a child with someone they will always "Exist"...


I warn you, this isn't going to be an insightful post. I am self-pitying, premenstrual and yes slightly drunk. I have had a terrible day. It is becoming increasingly difficult to visualise my future.

But then, when could I?

I guess when I was happy, I lived in the moment. For those 3 (4?) years when I was pretending to be in a relationship with Neil where did I actually think it was going to end? Happy reconciliation, kids, family home, world travel, sexy matching careers???

Perhaps more likely I thought we would co-exist amicably, see the least possible of each other, maybe even find lovers outside the relationship, but maintain the all important "family home"

When I split up with Simon where did I think it would end? Happy supportive co-parenting
No I don't think I thought that far, I just needed to be AWAY from his toxic, controlling influence, at that stage Connor was so young I thought of him as part of me, I had no idea I had to negotiate with Simon for-the-rest-of-my-life.

So about my bad day. This weekend I holed up in my tiny overpriced rented accomodation and tried to catch up on the work I had missed with a whole week of family admin: Getting Connor into a new school, buying a car, changing my address on my bank accounts, THE LAWYER in final rip-off settlement with Neil. Moving my stuff about from friend's places, storage etc.

I had a couple of dates arranged with girlfriends at the end of the weekend to look forward to. Then on Saturday night EX23 calls me with a tirade blaming the fact we are not together on me, talking dirty, being incredibly rude to me. But mainly putting me down at an incredibly low point in my life when you might expect an "old friend" to pick you up. He's an ego manic extraordinare. I attract them. I realise he is probably sick and it is definitely over between us. Whatever "it" was. I am so sad about that. Then today both my friends cancel. Finally, Simon delivers Connor back and I have to endure 3 hours of tantrums about how he wants to be with Daddy, he doesn't feel safe with me. This is the child I fought for, the only person who means anything to me in this world. I am so excruciatingly and exquisitely trapped. I am almost ready to give Connor his wish and lodge him permanently at Simon's which is madness. Simon is mentally ill and Connor is the only thing I have ever truly fought for.

Absolutely noone is here for me on this side of the world. I want to run back to my folks.

But even that is sad and regressive, they will die, then where will I be? I can't believe that a girl with such potential could screw everything up so comprehensively? I should be safely ensconced in my family home with 2.2 kids a white picket fence and a cheating husband by now.

So what of the future? a slow decline into menopause or even senililty - my memory is shot to pieces, decreasing control over my child, my career, my life? a crippling mortgage? a loss of ability to do sport which had been my main means of meeting people. Yes, it emerges this week I have the early stages of Arthritis. How to go on? How actually to put one foot in front of the other?? and why bother?

But still on the work front a batch of new projects are looming. I have to front up, be the boss, do my thing. With zero enthusiasm. Someone please paint me a future....what do sports people who become crippled do? what do maiden aunts do? I need role models, ideas I need to move forward.

Sunday, July 04, 2010


Over the past few days I've been wondering

Is control a good thing, or a bad thing?

Here's the thing. I have been taking comfort in the fact I have no control over my life in a "Let go and let god" kind of a way. That is, there are certain things I just cannot control and I will hurt myself trying. However I am wondering where the boundaries lie. By which I mean, at what point does this become abdication of responsibility?

i.e I can't control when I feel too tired to get out of bed and go to work!

So I turned to for the answer. Broadly it seems anything to do with controlling your diet, or your anger, is OK and controlling your life is OK until it becomes OCD. Having anyone else control you is toxic and bad and you need to learn to say "No"!!!

I think as my ex husband's psychiatrist said, we all need some level of controlling behaviour to function in professional roles, but the trick is not to let it get out of hand where we need to control other people to feel in control of our own lives. This will never be me. I always follow the codie route in that regard.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Thank you Blogosphere

When I think about the challenges I face. From the tiring, work-a-day tasks, to the awkward to the truly unpalatable, the sad, hard or heartbreaking choices I have to make. Nothing consoles me more than the thought I can write it out here. When nothing else remains, I will still have writing, and for this I am very grateful.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Feminism, the sisterhood, bitchy women and the games people play

Once again life with my SA partner has called me up short on how I see the world.

In his mind, all his ex's and FBs had mental health issues. In his words, they were MAD!.

They called him in the middle of the night MAD!
They tried to get revenge by torching his clothes MAD!
They ranted about feminism MAD!
They wanted more, and simply could not accept his "deal" MAD!
They clung on when it was well and truly over MAD!

As far as I can make out some of these are a bit deranged, some of them could be construed as love or infatuation. And his response to that? "I told them I was only in it for sex, if they wanted more they were perfectly at liberty to leave"

And what I read in all these comments (eventually) was "You, Neil, are a toxic, woman hating mysogynist" It is also a very easy way of covering up a rogue sms or phone call. "SHIT it's that MAD! woman calling me again. Can't believe how many times I have told her to sling her hook"

Now there is a beautiful post on MAD! women over at woman of experience, which completely explains how all this fits in with your sex-addict-woman-hating-mysogynist-fuckbuddy philosophy...

But suddenly I begin to see a different angle on this. Which is that if not mad, many women are bitchy and do play head games with men. And if men like them a bit mad, truth be told they also like them a bit bitchy. In my clumsy forays into dating I have found the old addage of "treat them mean, keep them keen" (which I always hated) has worked inadvertently more than I could possibly have imagined.

I hated that addage because I thought it was disrespectful to men. If you love them, let them know, if you don't let them know also. Treat them with the openness you would expect yourself, and through mutual respect build a loving partnership. I remember some nerdy young fellow who had been chasing the prettiest girl in my stats class saying to me "the thing about you Fiona, is that you are so, SO, er...straightforward" I took it as a compliment. Likewise regarding the sisterhood. I would never talk disparagingly about another girls physical attractiveness to a man, put another girl down, sleep with another girl's boyfriend...

But hang on! I actually don't think men want a straightforward girlfriend. Seeing from this middle age vantage point how very very much young men want sex and what they will do for it. Playing them, and trading up could have very serious advantages for a young attractive girl. Plus they love the thrill of the chase.

I see little girls doing it to their Daddys. They won't smile until they get what they want. They keep him waiting, they pout and cheat and lie to get what they want, and the Daddys fall for it every time.

And frankly I wish I had more than that. If men are going to be nasty manipulative mysogynistic bastards. Sock it right back to them. All's fair in love and war.

Monday, June 21, 2010

You'll never walk alone

Last Wednesday I set out on my bicycle to my friends house, about 5 miles away for an evening with the girls, it was a lovely warm evening, and the bunny rabbits were hopping in the long grass as I took the path across the common and down by the river in a secluded spot behind the golf course. When I came to ride home in the dark, it was a different matter. I heard every fox rustling in the undergrowth and every cow ruminating and shifting its bulk as I took off across the meadow on a damp moonless night with only the rasping of my ancient dynamo light on my bike to light my way. In a word I was petrified. I was so delighted to finally get home around 11.30pm I nearly kissed the earth.

Then two days later I was driving to the doctors when a song came on the radio "You'll never walk alone" sung by Siphiwo Ntshebe. He was going to sing at the world cup but died of menigitis. He was in his early 30s and a magnificent African tenor. As I listened my eyes filled with tears. That Siphiwo has been taken from us, and that I feel as though I am very much walking alone as I return to the other side of the world to carry on my life, away from my family. In fact it feels very much like plunging into that dark, dark forest with all its unknown assailants and associated terror.

Friday, June 04, 2010

INFP: The Idealist

Reposted from The REAL Personality Types:

I am and INFP and am starting to wonder if this is the problem. I am attracted to ITSJs in a predator-prey type of way (with me being the prey)

The INFP is a dreamy, imaginitive, idealist, capable of finding the good in anything or anyone, even something as foul as Newark, New Jersey. INFPs are sometimes dangerous to the well-being of society as a whole, as they are prone to adopting subversive and destructive ideologies like "The world should be fair," People should treat one another well," and "You know, 'Friends' is a really, really stupid television show."

These irrational thought patterns may sometimes cause INFPs to run off and join the circus, the Resistance, or the Rebellion, where they tend to do well in any position requiring excellent hand-eye coordination or mastery of the Force.

COMPATIBILITY: INFPs and ISTJs generally exhibit a natural predator/prey relationship, which, though it might appear harsh and cruel from the outside, is all part of the natural cycle of life. In fact, were it not for the predation of the ISTJ, the population of INFPs would soon grow to unsustainable levels, overwhelming the ability of their ecological niche to support them.

Famous idealists include that girl in your sixth-grade homeroom who got the teacher fired for saying that girls aren't good at math; that guy in the cubicle next to yours who got the manager fired for saying that women don't make good employees; and Anais Nin.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Limited Liability Love

I've just been to see sex and the city 2, and yes story-wise it probably is as bad as the reviewers claim. Maybe not like being lobotomized with a pink plastic teaspoon....... as Hadley Freeman of the Guardian would have it. However the insecurity that Charlotte feels surrounding what her husband might do with the Nanny whilst she was away got me thinking.

If not exactly triggering, it made me return to my own experience of infidelity and how I might handle it differently next time. The train of thought went something like this:

I will never demean myself by getting into such a state about my partner and another woman
I will trust him implicitly.... hang on....
I could never trust any man implicitly
I will keep my own counsel and have enough going on in my own life not to waste time obsessing about this....
Whilst at the same time loving him appropriately and giving him enough attention so he doesn't want to stray.... and if he does I will love him enough to forgive him....
but hang on, all this love and forgiveness... will he do it for me?
or will he waltz off with my home, my child, my savings....
I will be hurt
Best not to go there at all
Best to just have an arm's length lover
...And won't "having enough going on in my own life" and "giving him enough attention" be mutually exclusive?

It seems in love there is no compromise. As I seem to recall the archbishop of Canterbury saying a couple of decades ago (before I got married).

If we love on a limited liability basis, we limit our ability to love at all

So I feel that all this self protection and boundary setting will ultimately be futile. If you love you need to do so fully. It is not inconsistent with having a really healthy self esteem however. In which you know you can survive whatever happens and you only rely fully on one person - yourself. It's a tough call.

Monday, May 24, 2010

I would be scared of anyone who was attracted to me right now

Photo credit:

This is a quote from Et tu Husband which has become bed-time reading for me lately.

Yes. Until we fix ourselves we can go on attracting the same type of garbage.

Lately I have been feeling totally fine without a man in my life for the first time. Thought it might be the beginnings of menopause! (I'm only 44 though and no other symptoms as of yet) ... it'd be a shame.

...or more a sort of way of protecting myself from predatory men who see me as a weak animal ready for attack.

Something like when I tore my ligament and all my muscles went on strike to protect the knee. This is something I have to go through to know what I want.

And Ex 23 is definitately a preditor if not an SA. However much I may believe that I love him. A healthy choice about this is pending.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Cosy Suburbia

Photo credit:

I walk through a leafy suburb peering through the windows of those (ostensibly) well ordered homes, and realise I am yearning for the some sort of middle-class existence that I always thought I would have, and cannot accept that I do not and will not. But I came close, yet only when in the clutches of a manipulative, sociopathic sex addict. Sigh choices, choices...

Thursday, May 13, 2010

A recurring theme

Just reading back the last four posts, it seems I am on a theme. Perhaps it's no wonder nobody has commented because if they did they would have to say "Get over yourself". Here I am bleating about the choices I made in life, blaming it on men and trying (without effect or resolution) to turn the personal into the political.

The facts are;
(1) I was not lucky, savvy or calculating enough to find myself a man who earned a living AND was nice to me and
(2) now I am afraid of facing the future, with possible declining health, and definite decline in my own attractiveness, and supporting my child, based solely on my own resources.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010


I apologise, I had breakfast at MacDonalds this morning. Nasty capitalist world dominating institution that it is. It does rather good Sausage and Egg Muffins. I sat down and got my laptop out, and whilst it was firing up, I looked around. The place was literally full of young, poor, single mothers - whiling away a few hours with their legions of pre-school children. I must be getting old but a thought popped into my head - "What is the world coming to?" or more specifically "Is this what feminism has acheived for us?"

I'm sure its not what the suffragettes and early feminists envisaged for us they were trying to release us from domestic slavery, to give us choices. Instead we have the right to stay home with our kids on the breadline. With the freedom to work nights pole dancing and get a boob-job.

But its not the young middle class girls who find themselves in this predicament, it is the young working class girls. There is no shame in being a single mother now, and women are equal to men. They can go out, get drunk, have anonymous sex...

The young middle class girls I assume supported by Mum and Dad as ever have a termination or two, get through uni, live with their boyfriend for 5-10 years and if they're lucky he marries them. Then they can have a couple of kids and she has a get out clause via the current legal system to be supported by him until the children grow up. Lucky?? alternatively he could realise just as her ovaries are packing up that he doesn't want marriage and kids, at least not with her, and leave her possibly unfulfilled but probably with career in tact.

What honestly is the incentive for men to get married and/or have kids? They can have a lover, a fellow wage slave, home comforts, they can say they're not ready for kids or commitment, they can go on like this for decades.

For women the picture is rather different. If you leave your run too late you may never be a mother, if you get pregnant young and single with an impoverished man and don't terminate the pregnancy you sentence yourself to a lifetime of hard-labour (single parenting) and scupper all your chances at education. So the minority, smart university educated women go Jane Austen style - and snare themselves someone who has career prospects and can support you in the style you would like to become accustomed to. Who could blame them? Cohabitation is all very well, the court will recognise de facto relationships but nothing is quite as concrete as a good old wedding certificate.

Being an educated, middle aged, single parent, I increasingly find myself sympathising with both young poor single parents and fathers in single income families.

Later: I had a couple more thoughts. For the younger poorer girls it is often a rational choice too. Have a baby and get out of home and be supported by the government if there is no dad around.

But here's the thing, many Western goverments have the following philosophy about children:

If the husband can't pay, then the dad should pay, if the dad can't pay then the step-dad should pay, if the step-dad can't pay then the government will pay.

How is this empowering to women? maybe in my case.... if none of the above can/will pay she can pay herself.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Mid Life Crisis

No, its no use, that's what it is. I can't deny it anymore.

When I see those manicured SAHMs with their matching LL Bean kids pulling out of the drive of their holiday home in their top of the range 4WD I can't help asking...

what did they do to deserve that???

shag a banker is what...

or a lawyer,
or a doctor,
or a diplomat...

and more specifically have children with them so they are locked in financially to all eternity..

But in truth, that just sounds bitter. I have my self esteem. I didn't sweat over that science homework, university entrance, graduate school for nothing! No! I get to be an underpaid single parent member of the intelligensia living in a rented apartment. I am not materialistic! Where is all this claptrap coming from?

I think I am angry with myself for not playing my cards better. The choices you make at 21 have a significant impact on your lifestyle at 42 there's just no way of getting around that one. You might marry for love, take the moral high ground, save the whales, see the world, believe in the power of one whatever, but it won't get you a chef''s kitchen and holidays in Martinique.

And worse despite working hard all your life you might end up in poverty. I think perhaps my awesome childhood raised my expectations that if I worked hard a reasonable lifestyle would come my way, and relying on a man was just a weak and inappropriate way of going about it. I did expect that whatever man I ended up with would work as hard as me, and treat me with the same benevolence, honesty and integrity with which I treat them. Wrong again.

No feminism has not delivered. A colder more calculating way of getting your man and seeing your main chance even if you are highly qualified yourself is a better strategy, because basically men have not evolved. They will rarely enter into a genuinely equal partnership. They need to be teased, cajoled, pampered and played like this and have the bar set high for them. Otherwise they just behave in the lowest way they can get away with.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Calibrating my reactions

When I consider someone has ripped me off, put me down, pushed me too far. This is a sign that I really have been taken beyond all reasonable limits. I know this because I often get remarks such as -"I don't know how you put up with it" "I never would've taken that from her" "Just say no to them" etc. And it's NOT because I have a thick skin, it is a combination of very low self esteem - ie I don't deserve to be treated any better, and being brought up in a culture of forgiveness, and turning the other cheek. In other words my offense-ometer is set too low. It makes me a nice person to be around, I make friends easily, I almost never take offense, however it also means I can be pushed around, abused and assumed to be gullible. And generally I internalise the results of this treatment.

It is also quite rare for me to really know what I want or have a strong opinion about anything. Again externally I am easy going, but on the rare occasions when I do - wanting to have a baby or own my own home or be near my family...I need to be able to stop at nothing to get it. It is totally unacceptable to let the things that are important to you pass you by because someone else has a stronger opinion.

In my new life, when someone oversteps the mark, I am going to look very carefully at my reaction. NO. It is NOT "OKAY" for you to leave me with all the work, put me down in front of my colleagues, subdue me and my dreams. I need to firmly and politely say NO.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Choosing to live alone

Single occupier households. The largest growing group. To my younger self, and to an extent my current self this seems like an unhealthy trend. People are too selfish, damaged, frightened, antisocial, unlovable to share their home with another.

Yet this is the choice I am finally going to make.

And it has a lot (though not everything) to do with my ovaries. Up until 40 there was still a chance of starting a family with a man, now there is not. So unless a man brings me true delight, companionship, love and an acceptance of who I am and where I've been, there seems little reason to open my heart, home and bank balance to him.

I feel I have played my hand all wrong. My life has not been unhappy, and I look forward to the future. I imagine in my solo home I will surround myself with interesting friends, be involved in sport and other activities and live a happy and fulfilled life. However I do feel within me the stirrings of a post-feminist backlash. Whose little mocking voice says: "If you want to raise a family in a comfortable stress free environment, trade on your assets whilst you are young. Use your pretty face and narrow hips to snare the best prospect you can, snare him before he becomes a hardened bachelor, and put your enviable intelligence into supporting his career and raising your kids"

As I sat on the train on the way home I pondered my options. (1) Hook up with my ex (2) Go out there and find the devil I don't know (3) Have an FB

..and in all honesty option (3) is looking the most attractive. I don't want any more court battles. Both Neil and Simon are entirely impossible to live with and by extension probably so am I. And my little frying pan is undoubtedly surrounded by fire.

Friday, January 22, 2010


Some time ago I thought Plutchik's wheel of emotion [] might provide some inspiration for my blog. Just to see if I had visited every emotion and to tell stories from the wheel. I am having some difficulty with my "packages" so today I have decided to address contempt which lies between boredom and annoyance and can escalate an emotion between rage and loathing. This is what I feel for Neil in a nutshell. Interesting to look at the opposite side of the wheel where opposite rage we find terror and opposite loathing we find admiration. The reason I feel such contempt is because during the course of our relationship he intimidated me with terror, I never felt this negative emotion toward Simon because he did not. I feel anger toward Neil for what he did to me, forcing me to submit and not respecting me. On the other hand when asked to recall what attracted me to him in the first place it was admiration. Not love, I now realise, but admiration for his accomplishments in life. Thus our relationship began on an uneven basis with him intimidating me, and me admiring him. So perhaps it is natural that as things came along to challenge our partnership, already feeling intimidated I gathered the strength not to submit, but as contempt took over, to actually leave.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Package #1

I'm not sure if this was in the original bunch of packages, but there is a package that seems to include a bricks and mortar home and aspects of financial security. My parents were reminding me today about how they had to sell their house when my dad re-trained, and we all moved into a rented apartment. How much I craved a house. I used to draw pictures of 'A pritty house' with a front door AND a back door.

They felt guilty about having taken me away, and when they became slightly more prosperous started looking around for places in a much inflated market. One time apparently I fell so badly in love with one of the houses they looked at that I threw up when they decided they couldn't afford it.
Still later when a student I tried to create a homely environment, and fantasized about buying, yes owning my own home. I was put off by my parents who clearly thought I should find a man to do this with. So I married Simon, and imposed this dream on him. He finds property ownership a slightly dirty prospect, but it did not deter me from desperately trying to change his mind for about 10 years as the property prices crept up.
And then, after the divorce I took the short cut with Neil. A house and another baby. My dreams come true. Except they didn't.
This morning a (hippy-ish) thought occurred to me. Maybe the universe it trying to tell me something, I am not, and will never be a home owner. What should I look for as an alternative to this. What precisely is the lure. This is what I came up with so far:
(1) Some sort of dislike of having to pay rent and jump to the command of a landlord
(2) A feeling of security of "owning" or working toward owning a piece of realestate. I actually liked having mortgage that I could see going down each month due to my own dilligence and a beautiful house to live in.
(3) Stability of a place to truly call home.
Perhaps I could invest in something else, or a property I did not live in, and become a kept woman of some sort so I didn't have to worry about a landlord either. Be a housekeeper or gamekeeper or dogkeeper or something so my work was my home.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Loving the unlovable meets the love that dare not speak its name

This has been going on for 2 years. It has never been a transactional sort of arrangement, but just this week. I receive a gift. An unmarked CD of songs that apparently remind him of me. How romantic. I find a time when I am all alone driving and relish the message that it brings. But wait. All the songs, it turns out one by one, are trans-global tales of Hapless females being done wrong by dirt bag philandering males. This isn't how I see myself or how I wish to be seen. It is, if I let myself think about it, somewhat demeaning. I am, if not crushed, strangely unsettled, unconsoled, and disappointed.

Then tears prick my eyes at the thought of just how compromised I have become, that I would yearn for human contact, appreciation, love, being fully willing to return it to someone who cannot do the same for me.

Yet to be given this, this offering.

He urges me to tap my feet to it, and not read too much into it. I guess there are people out there who don't really listen to the lyrics of songs.

I recall a time almost half a life ago, when a fellow at work developed an admiration for me. He was a good looking young chap, and he too had a girlfriend and he too expressed his pent-up, unexpressable emotions by sending me a tape of songs. Loving those who cannot love me back has been a theme of my life. Played out in return, in these instances, by a love that dare not speak its name.

Friday, January 01, 2010

Post (traumatic) Script

I left, I did it. I put all my stuff into storage^ and I fled the country. The sleepless nights I was having over the unbearable weight of leaving my beloved home evaporated, and suddenly I could live with it. Although my life savings are still tied up there.

I am living with my parents on the other side of the world, part working, part recouperating I believe, I feel like Anne Frank scribbling in an attic room.

Simon has let me bring Connor for a protracted stay. However Simon is back in the Psych clinic having split from his partner of 3 years (coincidentally)

I am still fantasizing about true love with my ex of 23 years. He feeds it but has no intention of leaving his wife. And anyway he is in another country, further away now. I'm sorry about this one, but I have to be honest, since this blog is becoming my online diary.

By and large I have disengaged from my life to survive. I don't dare take a good hard look inside my mind, because when I do this is what I see....

Little tightly wrapped packages, they're not labelled, but I know what's in them.

See! this one is packed full of reflections on what happened with Neil and what that has done to me ... all my deepest darkest fears, that he manipulated me, was never faithful to me, converted me to his wrong way of thinking, abused me, abused my child, and is now trying to sabotage our financial future.

Here, this one contains the damage I may have done to Connor through my divorce, through working too many hours, through being stressed, indulgent, inconsistent...

Still another contains the ghost of Simon and our 16 year marriage. Will he try to get back with me? control me? Am I responsible for his illness? for him? What about all those years? were they happy, how do I account for them?

Then there's Ex23. This is possibly the only one I can unwrap with any clarity. It probably needs to end, but I am not ready to end it. I like it. He makes me happy. I am deluded.

Then there's one containing THE FUTURE. By the end of this decade I'll be in Menopause. With a teenager.

Ooh look, this little one is my health. Gone in one year from master's athlete, to hopeless cripple who can't run across the road. Terribly bereaved by this loss of capacity. Getting flabbier, floppier, more unfit.

Yet on the surface I am a survivor, a funny, sanguine, magnanimous, good daughter, attending to her career, bravely accepting single mother hood, forging ahead.

^I think my life is in storage