Monday, November 28, 2011


Another stream of conciousness, driving home one night went something like this....

Ok I've worked out what I want..."A compassionate observer of my life experience" not a lot to ask. That person would make attempts to identify the difficulties in my life (if any) genuinely feel for me and attempt to alleviate them.
Then I thought of Hamish

Why can't he do that, just be there for me, if I am in trouble you know flat tire, broken windscreen, lost purse, minor or major health problem. Is it too much to ask (I haven't asked him by the way, I don't want to scare him off, I'm having too much fun), But I would do this for him.
Any way my next thought was

"Yes" it is too much. To expect him to take me on with my learning impaired, cranky, ill disciplined child. If it were a day to day thing, there is a risk it might lower his quality of life.
Then the next thought

Well, I must get my own shit together and demonstrate to him unequivocally that I am not out to use him, take him for all he's worth, hurt him, spend his money ... especially not on my child ...since he does not have one of his own, nor are we likely to have one together.
Then the next thought.

And for what? all this posturing, all this being the perfect, independent girlfriend, keeping my nose to the grindstone, asking for nothing? He can still drop me at a moments notice under the current regime.
And the last thought

Well through it all, the least I might have got out of it was to get my act together.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

More about Love

I did a quick google search of blogs that discuss the meaning of love. The list is long, but most of them are not very insightful, at least not to me.

Last time I tried to place a theory on love it was putchniks wheel of emotion. All I could muster is that what I had previously thought of as love was in fact admiration. In simon's case probably pity.

Lately I read in a blog called "Chemo Chic" the proposition that love is not an emotion, or a feeling, it is a decision or I think the author called it an action. This is starting to rest rather well with me. Yes I think love is a decision because at some point you can stop yourself falling in love.

I am hopeless at making decisions, but I fall in love easily. At first this may be inconsistent but actually it is not. Because my decision making style is Heuristic (Rule of thumb, trial and error, or intuitive judgement). Thus every man I get involved with is "the one" until proved otherwise. Many are also dismissed because I don't like them at first sight.

More analytical types might judge each prospective partner against a measurable checklist and not make that decision until they were sure of compatibility. Which explains the phenomenon of young Thai girls falling in love with paunchy old gentlemen.

Go hard or go home

I have been so lacking in motivation, due to a fair bit of pain from my hip and onerous parenting duties around Connor's reading difficulties. I have admitted to myself that what I want and need in life is to spend more time with my extended family. I have for weeks (or months even)  been looking for something to get me out of this hole. Now it seems I have turned a corner. In the process of applying for a grant (which I may not get) I realised all the good stuff I am doing in my career, and how it does have an important role in my life, right up there with parenting, my family, and trying to hold together some sort of love life.

Here is what I wrote to myself

"For this price that you have to pay, ie not living near your family, which remains, indelibly, your core value. Some benefit must be extracted. Assuming you are good enough to be a successful in your work, what is the point of doormatising yourself, hiding your light under a bushell, taking hits from other people constantly? Why not give it one last shot. Go out there and grab the opportunities that undoubtedly are available, remembering you are very lucky to be in this position.

If you can't do this, go ahead and fail, reject the opportunity, go back and be near your family and poor. Doing the bare minimum whilst it seems to work for some people (those with lucrative consulting sideline businesses, or rich husbands) is not helping your self esteem, your finances, or your ability to get back to see your people. Don't continue to be stuck in no mans land. Commit to your career as it deserves and see what you can do. Give it three years. I believe it is worth it. Yes Connor will be harder to move then but recent events in your home country (riots unemployment, sit-ins, vandalism, disrespect etc) have not convinced you it is the best place for him anyway.

You have been dressing up your discontent as "keeping Connor near his dad" putting yourself second for other people's happiness.  This is all part of your life situation and core values. However, the only way for you to be happy under this oppressive scenario (ie kept here under duress) is to be successful in your own right. Otherwise admit you do not care about the job, leave, and take Connor too and see what Simon does about it"
This grant application, and some other reading about motivating yourself at work has been like a window through which I am seeing some light.

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

These foolish dreams

Shortly after I wrote the last post I read this by failed at forty. I was going to add a comment saying "Are you me?" , but then I thought twice about these dreams, realising that's exactly what they are. They are the remnants of how we conceptualised our future in our late teens and early twenties. F@F managed to flesh hers out quite a bit more too.. kudos. However, almost nobody follows through with them. Some of my mum's group friends would appear to be doing so, but I have also seen the seamy underbelly of happy marriage (for another post) and so I am essentially unconvinced by them.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Clinging to an out-of-date dream

Something I realised about myself, and the way I am living right now. It's been dawning on me for weeks.
I am clinging to an out of date dream
Re-winding 25 years. I was looking for a (soul) mate to build a family with. Part of this dream included property. The reasons for this are probably fairly easy to fathom. I imagined that by my current age (45) I would own a home, have 2 or 3 functional teenage children around. I imagined these children would have grown up in the bosom of their extended family and by now, I would be settling in to mid-life knowing that there was no mortgage to pay, a man who loved me by my side, and every hope that these children would go on to be useful adult members of society. Being of the second wave feminist era, I also believed that the man I loved would support me in a career.

So at 25 I married, and went about (single handedly as it turned out) shaping this dream with someone who was not on the same page, and was not right for me.  I stuck it for 15 years and clung to that dream through what was, essentially, a demolition derby. He didn't want kids, he didn't want to live near family, he didn't want to settle down, he didn't want to have a regular job, he didn't want to buy a house. So I worked harder on my career, waited patiently for him to (what I might have euphemistically called) "grow up", ultimately chased down my dream of having a baby via IVF. Each year a bit of my dream  fell off. House prices rocketed, we couldn't afford to travel home for Christmas, I was infertile, I spent all my spare cash on putting him through college and taking him on holiday (!)

Then I woke up to myself, and thought if he won't follow my dreams with me, I'll have them alone. Marched off, and, with the help of a deposit from my parents, first attempted the dream with a sociopathic woman hater, and then finally, on my own.

But you know what? this dream doesn't fit anymore.  Why am I struggling to pay the mortgage on an overpriced townhouse at my age? so that I can set Connor up for life and die.  The last 20 years of my working life will be spent existing, in a job I don't particularly like so that I can put food on the table, and buy this place. I have no one to grow old with and only one child so rather than three children setting off to make their way in the world I will have one who has the option to "fail to launch" and live off me until I die then take my belongings and never have to work (much) himself. Just like his dad.  Why would I?  I need a new dream.

Monday, September 05, 2011


Today I listened for a few minutes to a program about child neglect - apparently more prevalent and just as harmful as abuse. And I had a bit of an aha! moment. I am hoping there is some validity in my extrapolation, because, for today anyway it is providing me with some strength

Professor Brigid Daniel described the problem, she said that parenting is very difficult complex and demanding and then she asserted that, along with poverty there is a toxic trio of; substance misuse, mental health issues and domestic abuse that can often tip people into being so preoccupied with their own needs that they miss out on those of their children.

Staying in the moment, and not becoming preoccupied is a constant challenge for me in this regard. Though I am not poor, mentally ill or suffering from substance misuse issues, but there have been times in connor's upbringing where I have been the object of domestic violence. Further, the "Preoccupation" trap is precisely what I now realise Simon is suffering from when he pronounces that he is "unable" to do what to the rest of the world is classified as no more than his fatherly duty. In fact his behaviour - basically keeping up appearances - e.g. turning up at the father's day breakfast, whilst it seems like nasty lip-service is actually the best he can do. He is in survival mode the whole time.

Thus without trying to give myself airs, or big myself up, or offer too many pats on the back to myself. This discussion underlined what I have long suspected... that
I am the one and only person responsible for saving Connor from neglect and giving him the tools to grow up strong and resiliant. Yes. Me only.

I have always thought it disrespectful to count Simon out of this important endeavour, and I have no wish to undermine his role as parent. But this radio conversation made it clear to me what all his weakness and protestation and inability represent. Not selfishness (necessarily) but preoccupation due to his mental illness to a level that is potentially dangerous for Connor. Should I be incapacitated, and he should be left in Simon's care. He would, undoubtedly, be neglected. This is why I have to keep going.

My mother, and my life coach friend have identified this already. But I have a tendency to discount it as bitchery toward Simon and an overstating of the case, but now I am becoming more and more convinced that No, all his confusing, and conflicting assertions and anger and refusal stem from this. That he is preoccupied with his own issues, and literally can't provide nurturing care for his own son.

Sunday, September 04, 2011


How might it compare to the tagcloud of 2009?

created at

To have a friend, you have to be one

This was one of the many pieces of advice my mum gave me as a child. Empathy, Compassion clearly are a vital element in any friendship but particularly in a life partner
Thoughts around this have stemmed from two sources;

(a) Trying to get into the head of Hamish, my recalcitrent lover and
(b) Trying to define what a good husband might be

I'll tackle (b) first. I guess Husband's (Wives or life partners) vary to the extreme in what they provide. Most would score between 3-4 on the following checklist

(1) Emotional support
(2) Commitment: The ability to be inately trustworthy and faithful
(3) Sharing of financial load
(4) Sharing in domestic economy cook clean look after kids family admin (bills, volunteering, clubs and socs)
(5) Regular safe (preferably hot) sex
(6) Companionship

Less than 2 items and I would say it is not a relationship. I think with Hamish so far I have only got number (5 and maybe 6) and if it does not improve I will be ending it by the end of the year.

Incidentally with Simon I only had (2, 4 and 5) and with Neil only (3)

I have had a very bad week, and when on Wednesday morning I was holed up in my car in a parking lot at work tears streaming down my face and literally unable to face the day, I had not idea who I could possibly depend upon to listen to me, and it dawned on me that there is no way I could turn to Hamish. It has only been 4 months, but still..

What specifically do I want after a hard, confronting, harrowing stressful day at work. Not sex, possibly some relief in the domestic economy, but at the very basic level, as I have said before, for someone to be a safe compassionate witnesses to my life experience. And I have just looked up compassion which is defined as a "Deep awareness of the suffering of another coupled with the wish to relieve it"

I told Hamish about my day, and he told me he was *not* surprised people treated me that way, and then proceeeded to make fun of my accent (teasing I suppose).
Which brings me to (a) in the spirit of empathy, another thing my mother would tell me was to try to see things from the other person's point of view. I used to think I was quite good at it, putting myself outside my own body and fully into another's (I was probably deluding myself) anyway here we go.

Hamish. A lone wolf. Loves sex. wouldn't mind having children, generally happy in his own skin and with his own company. Professes to want a relationship. But in practice, it mustn't be complicated. In fact he should not have to work at it at all (in which case he reasons something must be wrong).

However I think this work also includes being compassionate, empathetic, in short, being a friend. He doesn't mind people being a friend to him. He likes a listening ear from a woman, He helps out his mates when they need him, but not women, because with women ... I suspect he feels ... there is always a hidden agenda. It would seem, from his reactions, he is possibly wary of women - once bitten twice shy. He would also say he doesn't fall in love easily. He needs to keep friendship and sex completely separate. He would not expect his lover to need him (locked out, flat tire etc). You're a fuck buddy I don't do favours for you. You can scratch my back, but I won't scratch yours - that's not playing nice now is it?

Sunday, August 28, 2011

That Fiona is a Lucky LUCKY girl

This is a text message Hamish received from a female friend. The female friend is married. And I have no problem with that relationship (no reason so far at all to feel jealous about other women). But I am wondering if his friend (let's call her Miranda) knows what she is saying.

From my end I have a cute and adorable bachelor, great in bed, with lots of bachelor ways, who's never said he loves me or uttered any words that might suggest commitment, indeed I'm sure he would not dispute that he does in fact love his dog more than me.

So what is Miranda reflecting?

1) He's a great friend to her, and seems like an A1 bloke - any woman would be lucky to have him
2) She's not getting any, and is glad that I am? and P.S she wouldn't mind a bit with him if she weren't married, stud bucket that he is
(3) (girlish hopes raised here) ... he has actually told her how he feels about me, and therein lies the source of my luckiness.

Once again I guess, only time will tell

What I do know is that "relationships" can look very different from the outside. His friends do seem to assume we have all the couple accoutrements shared interests, time alone, respect for one another, future plans, love. But all I'm receiving from my end is a rather shaky fuck-buddy status.

Sigh (and again) Sigh.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Attack and Withdraw

The morning after my marriage ended (having slept for the first time in separate beds) I headed off to the track to do some training. I spent most of the morning choking back tears. But probably what I didn't write in the I'm replaceable post was that I did feel a lot of relief. I had spent literally years bending myself to his will and I didn't know who I was anymore. I was not afraid to be alone, even with a small child, and I was sure I would still meet the right person and it was also OK if I did not. I had to some extent been railroaded into the decision to end the marriage. After years (on my part) of subtle and not subtle questioning, begging and even threatening to leave in an attempt to get him to change, and after years of receiving nothing but a stone wall. He performed the ultimate act of power. He simply pulled the plug - no explanation, no complaint. And this modus operandi has continued to this day. In all negotiations around Connor, he stonewalls me and witholds all information. I understand this is known as pursue and withdraw. And you can see in this you tube video the effect this type of emotional withdrawal has on a baby. But Simon says everytime I engage with him, I attack him and he can't stand it. From my point of view it is communication. For instance he has connor for one night per fortnight. Last time, connor did not sleep at his house, but went to a friends house for a sleepover with his kids. To avoid being accused of attack, I say nothing at all, but leave it to Simon's judgement. However I do think this is not quality time with his child, and I personally do not feel trust for the person he left him with. He's a [occasionally dope] smoker. But what might I say so as not to devalue Simon?

Just to let you know, Connor has told me, and I am aware, he did not spend the night in your care, but at your friend Damiens. I had sincerely hoped that the resumption of nights at your place would be an opportunity for you to bond. But I respect your judgement. Fiona.

Even that sounds attacking doesn't it?

Sunday, July 03, 2011

Haunted by ghost baby

As you know I am in a relationship (or am I just having sex with?) a lovely 47 year old man. By the time my period arrived this month, after all the good sex we have been having I had all but convinced myself I was pregnant. This in itself is one thing, but what perplexes or surprises me, is that *I still want this* How can I still want this? I am 45 years old, I would not be able to dance at its 21st birthday, I would not see my grandchildren grow up. Three thoughts come hard on the heels of this revelation.

(1) Am I doing it for him - he has never had kids and would like them. Am I afraid he will run off with someone younger to have kids?

(2) How did my life go so fast? I always wanted a family, and I knew that did I let it pass me by?

(3) I begin to have very strong intimations of babies, singing my baby to sleep, holding it, smelling it. How I loved being a new mother. I am haunted by the babies I never had, or lost. Once again it revisits me and is unbearable..

Which in turn leads to two more thoughts:

(a) How rich the life must be of other women who have experienced this not, once, or twice, but three times, and have a family around their table including a faithful loving husband and how thin my life is by comparison

(b) How lucky I am to have experienced it once - for all the women friends, and those I don't know who by bad luck or accident missed out on being mothers when they wanted to be. Love.

And all through this haunting lullaby is playing. I can't find it on the web, but I remember singing it at school I think it was an african lullaby.

Monday, June 06, 2011

A new character

I have a new character to introduce to you. It's not my fantasy partner Dave, Hamish is younger, still older than me by a couple of years. Hamish doesn't have a teenage daughter, he has no children. He's very hot, he runs he own business as a landscape architect (similar to Dave), and I am in love with him. Whether he is in love with me is another matter. Sometimes I get the uneasy sense that he is compromising to be with me. That somehow he could score himself someone even younger and even better looking, but maybe my insecurities are playing out. Following my last post, I guess I have learned very little, apart from how to exit from these things. I throw myself in boots and all. I've known him for two months. What I like about him is his simpleness. He treats me with respect. He does all the right things, does not leave me alone for too long. The sex is straightforward. He is easily turned on by me and does not need me to do degrading porny acts to get himself warmed up. As with my early days with Neil, I admire him, I fancy him, and I love to listen to the stories of his life and friends. I long to be with him. I guess I am still in the lust phase leading into the attachment phase. I am determined not to sour it by asking too many questions. But as time goes by, my confidence about emerging unscathed lessens. Even now I know it will hurt when he says "It ain't me babe" or "I can't bring up another man's child", or "I'm not ready" or whatever the cliche of choice turns out to be. You think this sounds defeatest. What if, I turn out to be the one who ends it? Self sabotage maybe as in the case of "The one who got away"? or just get bored. Who could imagine?

Sunday, May 15, 2011

More about me

I fall in love easily

I had always seen this as a virtue. I am warm, open and see the best in everyone. So I was more than a little abashed when my life coach friend said "You need to take a look at that". She asserted that I clearly am lacking something in my own life that I need to look to others to "complete me". She also said that until I was completely happy with myself I could not love another properly.

So.. let's explore.. why do I fall in love easily? and what implications does this have for me, and those who attempt to love me back.

My first thought was that maybe it is just lust. Psychologists have clearly examined the three stages of love Lust, Attraction, Attachment. maybe I just fall in lust get a rush of chemicals and wake up with a (h/m)an(g)over.

My second thought was that it is a personality thing. If anything walks into my home/life be it cat, dog, guineapig, unusual lamp, clapped out wreck of a car, difficult child/in-law, homeless student, coffee machine. Sooner or later I pattern on to it, and begin to love it for all its foibles. I came from a loving and accepting home and by-and-large I am driven my the need to have people and things I love around me whether or not they love me back. Once again, I suspect, this is a side effect of my supposed lack of ego. It does leave me open to being landed with things I don't really want, or don't realise I don't want until I reach a boundary.

I reject my friend's theory though, because I do believe I know and love myself. I can be alone. I actually enjoy my own company. Having a hyperactive 8 year old in my life does not make these moments of quiet reflection easy, but I can definitely amuse myself I have a lot of talents. I play the piano, paint, enjoy the outdoors etc.

I have not enjoyed, as you will have gathered from this blog, being separated from my family of origin. And yes, I seek to recreate the warm, close, quirky, rabble of family life.

Ten years ago, I would've said I don't fall out of love easily. I am a swan-like bond-for-life type of a gal. But circumstances have dictated that I learn to deal with this. This is the one indication that I am not a love addict.

Yes I have indulged in co-dependent relationships with Narcissists.

Yes, I fall in love easily. But when it doesn't work out, I don't become a bunny-boiler. On the contrary, my paired to the bone, doormatism allows me to walk away and simply shave another little slice off my meagre self-esteem.

I guess the work I need to do, is to be able to say to myself, that person was not worthy of me. I am bigger than that, I have so much going for me. I am able to walk away when someone treats me badly. I am able to deal with not being called back, hold my head up retain my self esteem, and get on with my life. Whilst at the same time not appearing brittle. In "Act Like a Lady, Think like a Man" Steve Hardy suggests that you should tell your prospective partner that you want him to be the head of your family. Certainly massaging his ego, and implicitly telling him you also want him to be the head of you too. This would definitely need to be coupled with firm boundaries.

Perhaps the worst of it, is that the very fact that I have to have this conversation with myself, means that now I enter relationships in fear, with an exit plan in place. I am unable to throw myself giddily into love with all my heart and soul.

Sunday, May 08, 2011

It's not you it's ME

Sometimes you may think that my blog posts display some sort of victim mentality, or at the very least - how unlucky I've been in love? but what has been dawning on me for some time, and I guess what all good psychologists would have uncovered is:

There is something about me that invites toxic behaviour from those in relationships with me

..and that's not just men, but I'll come back to that.

Here, in the spirit of self knowledge, and from what others have mentioned, is what I can deduce about my personality

(1) I have low self esteem
People have commentated that when I present, I make apologies for myself, and bascially self sabotage my work - I had perhaps internally seen this as self-deprecating humour, but it is something that as a woman is to be approached with great caution. If you say you are useless, people will believe you. In relationships this leaves the door wide open for abusers and manipulators. They can tap into this poor sense of self-worth, and feed it. Telling you, for instance, that you are so bad that nobody else would want you.

(2) I have no ego
Internally I would cast this as a virtue, I am easy going, I am not opinionated. I don't care where you take me to lunch, whether I wear expensive shoes, I don't take strong political stand points. This allows me to care little about anything. I am basically paired down to the bone. You can't destroy me because nothing matters to me, at all. Once again this allows people in relationships with me to follow their own agenda they decide where we go on holiday, what I wear, how they spend my money, and I pretty much roll over and let them. I even keep my values to myself. Thus it becomes surprising to them when they reach a boundary ie they have sex with an ex girlfriend and I make a fuss - after all I have never made a fuss about anything before.

I was going to include two more personality points here (3) I am not assertive and (4) I am indecisive, but as I try to distinguish these they do seem to be covered by (1) and (2)

(5) I am a surprisingly strong woman in very specific ways
During my marriage Simon would occaisionally remark that so-and-so was a strong woman I believe Beatriz is probably a strong woman by his definition. She asserts herself, holds him to account and demands his time and resources. He clearly thought I was not a strong woman, and this would offend me to the core..

The reason I was offended was because, you see, I honestly believe I am strong. I was always physically strong and able to endure hard physical labour -I had immense stamina a match for Simon and better than Neil. I remember Neil once ordered a truck load of fertiliser for our lawn. The process involved aeriating the lawn, getting the fertiliser off the immense pile wheeling it across the yard and spreading it. So motivated was I that I kept going until sunset, long after he had gone in for a beer. Likewise after a 50 mile bike ride, he went to bed, feeling ill whereas I was energised.

I am strong in the sense of self-control. I can keep chocolate in the fridge all week and not eat it.

I am strong in the sense that I know I can trust myself to follow through. If I make promises to people. I know I will carry them out. Absolutely without fail.

And whilst I suspect I will never excel at anything, I absolutely know I will never be broken.

I am strong in that I know myself. I generally confront my issues head on. I cry about them, laugh about them, write about them and then move on.

Being strong, in this non-assertive,self reliant way invites people to treat you as a doormat. You're strong like palmyra fibres and will not wear out. Hence you will drive them about, cook their meals, clean up after them, organise their schedules and generally be a mother to them and not expect anything in return.

I think my mother is little different, the difference being the man she married is a benevolant dictator, so he always has her best interests at heart. When you go out into the world being soft, strong and very very long. People will wipe their asses on you.

Sunday, May 01, 2011

More dating reflections

Picture the scene, there we are five women in our forties preparing to go out on the town. They are discussing their makeup (what a fortune they spend). Honestly to me they are in danger of looking like trannies the amount of makeup they slap on.

But apparently they are still trading on their looks. Many of them have been brought close to bankrupcy by divorce so, whilst pretending to "love the single life" they go out, throw back their peroxide manes and attempt to attract someone who will truly love and respect them.

They are not settling for second best. No siree many of them have been in emotionally abusive relationships, they have been betrayed.

How life deals such a double whammy at this age. Clearly having been holed up in these (often lonely) marriages for so long has not prepared we women for life. And now, alone in out 40s we resort to the behaviour we used before our marriages to meet someone new. We dress up, we flirt and we put ourselves out there. We also put-out I believe in the hope of being loved. But the landscape has changed. Out there are a mix of;

(1) playboys (like Neil) who have spent their entire adult life cruising for sex and have got very good at manipulating the numerous women in their life to believe they are happy to be fuck-buddies.

(2) Fresh divorcee's who aspire to (1) because they have spent 20 years in a loveless marriage also, and aren't about to be caught again.

And here is what occurs to me; I am not bankrupt, broken and abused, and I do not need to snare a meal ticket and thus, I want no part of this.

My relationship with men is analogous to my relationship with glasses of wine. Sometimes I crave a nice one with a meal, but if I let myself be drawn in, and overindulge, I wake up feeling wretched, and I am starting to believe it is better for my mental and physical health to abstain.

Friday, April 15, 2011

My recent life

Before I even start this post, I know it is going to be unstructured. I have about three points to make, and I feel compelled to get them down. Nobody is commenting, I sincerely hope this doesn't mean nobody is out there and that I am truly alone in this world. Having been "confined to barracks" by my ex's actions I feel truly holed up like a sort of Anne Frank writing from the war front of sole parenting.

I know my last few posts have repeated themselves, always feeling original in my writing. These key themes keep coming out of:

(1) Trying to understand Simon's recent reactions
(2) Coming to terms with my marriage breakdown(belatedly)
(3) Trying to assess my own mental health with respect to this and
(4) Trying to create a platform on this from whence to start dating again.

Actually I don't think I'm depressed. I am overwrought, lonely and unproductive, but not depressed. I really do love some aspects of my life. Singledom suits me, not in a party large, shag everything in trousers type of a way but in a Thank God I don't have to consider another person type of a way...

I really do feel very trapped though, and blogging is one of my very few outlets. I really wish Simon would take Connor a few nights a fortnight so I could get out and socialise. I haven't had sex in over a year. Is that OK? And this is the first insight I had today. If I had to choose between using my lunch- hour for sex with a middle aged sex addict that was never going to end in a relationship (because believe me my lunch hour is the only opportunity I get) or using that time to work on research and further my career. I swear to god the time would be better spent on the latter. Emotionally, financially, mentally, physically...sad but true.

A part of me thinks I should capitalise on my sex appeal whilst I still have oestrogen and that clearly human beings need companionship and I should be laying the foundations of this for my older years, but seriously the time and effort one can put in for so little return makes me think academic work (which is laborious and yields very slowly) is a better use of time.

Another aspect of my life that I really love is my son. He still loves to be around me, and when I can spend time with him in my busy schedule it always pays dividends. I want to share something I realised today that makes me sad. I remember the sheer joy and happiness and togetherness Simon and I had when he came into the world. I suppose some people get to savour this happy time, and prolong it by having one or two more. But for me the euphoria was short lived. No sooner had my little baby sat up, that I was back at work and his dad, Simon was stealing the limelight with his suicide attempt. From there on in all hell broke loose and I have been a single parent. This was never my plan. But essentially I have known no different. I just stopped for a moment today to imagine the continuity and security that many women feel as they start their families, and grieved for the loss of this happy phase. Some of my friends seem to be blissfully still in it. They had two more kids, their hubbys worked and they keep the homefires burning, imaculately. My life could not be further from this. Yet how close I came.

In my attempts to understand Simon one that has jumped into my head lately but seems ludicrous is that, rather than just thinking with his little head and staking out time with his latino lover. He really, truly and honestly believes that his scaling back of time with connor is "doing the right thing" and that the boy needs to be with his mother, in one home and needs stability, and that this shit that he is putting on me is what he truly and honestly believes is a sacrifice and in Connors best interests. Or at the very least this is what he is convincing himself of.

And my forth and final unrelated point. In many of my recent posts you would sense a yearning for freedom. I can't get out and leave Connor unsupervised. He needs a lot of extra attention. I can't address the demands of my work life adequately, I feel trapped, and underperforming on so many levels. I am homesick and lonely and it seems very little can be done about this and yet, here is the comforting thought that emerges: "This too shall pass" At some stage in the next five or so years Connor will become more independent. For better of for worse, he will go out into the world. My efforts will show, or not. And I will be freer than I have been for a while. To cook, read, see picasso exhibitions. I bet I will miss him then.

So thats it, three reflections on love, loss and future freedom. Nothing more to say.

Saturday, April 09, 2011

Human rights violation: A response

Some counter responses:

If you are not performing at work, that is nobody's fault but your own.

It is common for men to run off and leave their ex-wives or girlfriends "holding the baby" and often they don't pay. The problem is Simon has just enough of a foot in the door to stop you exercising your other option, which is to go where your family are. It is against the law to take him away from his father to another country

It is uncommon for women left in such positions to thrive professionally.

Remember to frame your concerns around Connor, not you or Simon's rights.

{As an aside though whatever is motivating Simon;
Be it just the totally hot sex with Beatriz,
Be it that Beatriz is pregnant and demanging his full attention (which he never gave you)
Be it that Beatriz literally forbids him any contact with you, and only allows a small amount of time with his own child
Be it that he is totally under her power, under the thumb, weak etc
Be it that he is sick and grappling with severe depression}

None of this matters. You have to sort out YOUR stuff.

You chose to put Connor in a school near your home. Therefore it makes sense that he should live with you full time

Simon also can't cope with his full time professional job and looking after Connor overnight. He thinks that you can. You demonstrate that you can. He on the other hand waivers on the edge of a nervous breakdown all the time.

An action plan:

(1) Speak to a lawyer about the possibility of getting full custody and having the option to move "home"

(2) Streamline your life. Eat frozen meals

(3) Get a cleaner

(4) Rent out two rooms, one for income and one for an aupair to help with cleaning thus the lodger pays the aupair (and you share with connor)

(5) Restrict your dating to lunchtime dates until things improve

(6) Get what exercise you can

(7) Drink plenty of water

(8) Cut down on Alcohol

(9) Make Simon fully aware of Connors learning difficulties

(10) Garner his wages to assist in paying for tutoring

(11) Go out in the evening at least twice a month even if it means paying a babysitter

(12) Make sure you visit your family once a year (do this via work trips make getting funding for these a priority, it will reap rewards)

Has it become a minor human rights violation?

Some divorces are long and drawn out and messy. Mine wasn't one of them. We realised we had come to the end of our relationship, split our assets, debated at some length about how to share the care of our beautiful son, always keeping him centre stage. Then we met new people, and although there were some territorial issues, and petty jealousies, we managed to stick to our parenting plan. Then we didn't. We both ended our rebound relationships and I took Connor overseas for an extended period (with Simon's permission). When I came back Simon was in a new relationship, and things have changed. My motivation to find a new man is waning. Possibly it's case of once bitten twice shy. The motivation for this post, though, is when I Do meet new guys I now find myself in the position of having to explain why I have a child 100% of the time, get no child support and am not allowed to move away.

Simon, through sheer utter self absorption and a dose of manipulation, appears to have robbed me of something in the spectrum free-will/human rights/personal autonomy.

How is it possible for one party to a divorce to wield such power over another?
I am not being abused, or raped, I have a roof over my head, I have free speech, I can vote. But specifically I do not have the freedom to pursue my career, and I am not able to move freely between countries. Neither can I date without bankrupting myself - does this come under the category of freedom to marry who I wish? I am in a state of enforced celibacy. How did this happen?
When I got back from my sabbatical, instead of seeing Connor for 4 nights a fortnight. Simon declared that he would take him out for 7 hours a fortnight and it's always in daylight. This change alone has affected my life so profoundly that I feel completely trapped by it. As far as I can see there is no legal recourse to make a person see their children more. More often fathers are denied access to their children and this is a right too.
So what of this weirdness? how to interpret it? where to go with this story?
Those four nights a fortnight used to be used for catching up on work, resting, cleaning up, sleeping, reading and having a social life. Now, due to his actions, I am chronically behind on my work, which means I'll never get promoted, and neither will I have the credentials to apply to work elsewhere. It is career subsistance, basic, demoralising, down trodden, crushing and depressing.

I can only go out if I pay $100 dollars per night to a babysitter, and there will never be any "sleepovers" I am 10 and a half thousand miles from my family. So no popping over to granny's for the night or having my grown up sister babysit. The only option I have is to work my way out of it. In order to get more money to pay the babysitter I need to be promoted. In order to apply for a job of similar standard back in my home country I need to perform at work. Work is the key. Arbeit macht frei.

But I have one conflicting imperative, and one severe impediment.
The conflicting imperative: Connor has severe dyslexia. He inherited this from his dad. I'm trying so hard not to point the finger on this one, because Connor was also a low birthweight baby which could have been as a result of IVF and my poor breeding capacity. Raising this child to manhood with the best possible chance in life is my chief mandate. Thus if it means I have to leave work early, pick him up and try to spend time with him on reading, I will. So I have to make up work hours in the night, just to keep up with the eight ball, and perform at the expected level. I also have to find the money to pay specialist tutors.
The impediment: I am suffering from Arthritis. It is getting worse each day. I have to take pain killers just to get around normally. This pain makes working long and extra hours too hard. I will try to put Simon's point of view in a separate post. But I need reflections, suggestions and ways to move forward. There has to be a way to garner more personal freedom for myself, I know in the grand scheme of things this is not a major violation, but I have spent hours brainstorming with myself.
Relevant human rights Article 13 (1) Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each State. (2) Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country. Article 23 (1) Everyone has the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favorable conditions of work and to protection against unemployment.

Monday, March 28, 2011

They don't call me and I don't care

How things have changed since my 20s. Admittedly, I suspect, there were more eligible males around, untested, but with potential. There were all these boys taking a science degree with me, not unattractive, intelligent. I fell in love so easily. To me men were a beautiful miasma to be tapped into. They were all so cute, sexy and desirable. Now I find them slightly frightening. They just want to talk me into bed with no strings (in truth this was probably also true in my 20s – but they were coming into the commitment phase, if only I’d waited, and I had more cards to play). Now they are more sinister. They have broken marriages, strange attitudes to sex and sexual practices, venereal diseases, nasty habits and poor attitudes to women. They are less attractive, to even get into bed with them would involve a severe choking on my bile and if after that they are going to screw me and leave me, why would I not just pick the youngest best looking one I could? At least the process would be enjoyable. I do get asked out a lot, but we rarely get passed the first date, and when they don’t call more often than not it is something akin to a relief. On the first date they nearly always ply me with alcohol and talk about sex. There’s no secret as to where its all going. Its just a matter of it I’m willing and if anything looks too hard to them, they don’t call. And I don’t care.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Letters (1)

Dear Simon
I am writing to forgive you (no well actually i can't forgive you, I am in fact writing to blame you for stealing my life, in the hope that by the end of the letter I will be able to forgive you)

Simon, I forgive you for altering the course of my life so utterly that I lost 20 years of my life with my precious family. I forgive you for holding so tightly onto the purse strings that we completely failed to get on the property ladder. I forgive you that even as you held those strings it was me that was earning the money. I forgive you for letting me support you as you went through graduate school and for showing no gratitude. I forgive you for emotionally abusing me for 15 years, and I forgive you for denying me the opportunity to have a large family of our own.
Simon I forgive you for casting your estrangement from your own family as a virtue "We don't live in each other's pockets" I forgive you for mocking my homesickness. I forgive you for not understanding just what my family meant to me. I forgive you for taking me to the other side of the world, and tying me down there.

Simon, I forgive you for that time you said we didn't have enough money for me to buy new shoes for a job interview, and for spending the money on yourself when I got the job regardless. I forgive you for baulking at all the perfectly good houses we could have afforded that now would be worth twice their value.
I forgive you for two years into our marriage telling me that if I got pregnant you would expect me to have an abortion. I forgive you for being so unready to commit to parenthood that by the time you were ready I was already almost too old. I forgive you for becoming resistant when I was trying to get pregnant. I forgive you for saying that "the best babies are born naturally" when I was (we were?) doing IVF. I forgive you for expecting me to go hiking in 30C when I was seven months pregnant. I forgive you for seeing my shaky pregnancy as a weakness. I forgive you for the time you went of climbing when I was losing a baby and let me take myself bleeding in taxi to the hospital. I forgive you for seeing my miscarriages as something you needed to control by curtailing your own fertility and ultimately curtailing the relationship. I forgive you for freezing me out and ignoring me when I was in pain over losing babies. I forgive you for then going and attempting to have children with other girls.
I forgive you for blaming connor's learning difficulties on the means and circumstances of my pregnancy when their source could just as well be your dyslexia. I forgive you for seeking to extract yourself from his life when he becomes behaviourally difficult.
I forgive myself for my naivety in thinking that love would find a way. I forgive myself for believing in marriage so utterly and blindly. I forgive myself for thinking I had to stick with it no matter what. I forgive myself for not standing up to you in so many ways. I forgive myself for letting you run my life. I forgive myself for squandering my hard earned money on you, as though you were my child. I forgive myself for not letting you be a man. I forgive myself for going ahead and having a baby because by that stage it meant more to me than you did. I acknowledge that in my drive to recreate my family of origin I pushed you away and created a situation in which I am for ever separated from them. I acknowledge the part I have taken in bringing my life to this stage.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Dating reflections

The romantics out there will refute this, but I believe I am also in a dating corner. I am not too stressed about it. Other priorities in my life are more pressing but... Here's the thing:

I'm 45
I have a doctorate
And a good job
And my own (mortgaged) home
And a 7 year old child.

Go on! Prescribe me a man!!

Well I guess it would (commonly) be a 47+ year old, with a similar level of education...maybe divorced, with a couple of kids....

Except I am finding women married to 47 year old Doctors aren't divorcing them in a hurry*. So OK I can down date a little on the education front. Geez I am the first to have a healthy disrespect for academia. There is a slight problem with some that they don't want their partner to be more qualified than them, but presumably there'd be a bunch of 47-57 year olds who could put this aside.

The next hurdle I find is that 47 year old men who don't have this level of education generally had their kids younger, so their kids are all grown up and off their hands (18-25 usually) they express surprise at how young my kid is, and either overtly or not, slight repugnance - they've done that school age kid-wrangling thing. What they are looking for now is a nice mature playmate.

OK so we'll go younger. A nice hot young tradie, whose kids are a similar age to mine. Excellent. Well obviously here competing with the much younger less educated woman. So unless he is completely down on his luck, or a gold digger, he will be looking to find an even younger, hotter tradette. Also he comes with another set of blue collar expectations namely that a woman's place is to keep home.

* A note on divorcing a doctor: Well yes some of them are, but that is because they are dyed in the wool gold plated ass-clowns. The best way to survive in academia is to be right up yourself, and so they are pretty much unbearable. We are much safer not going there sister.

Monday, February 14, 2011

I painted myself into a corner

Well, twice this weekend I have found myself lying on my bed motionless, or sitting catatonic in my car, tears streaming down my face, feeling completely, and utterly overwhelmed.

Over the years various married friends of mine who I thought of as strong and independent women, have confided in me that work, and family responsibilites became too much for them, and they had to scale back and (usually) give up their job or go part time.

My external reaction was always one of sympathy, but my thoughts generally were along the lines of "you princess!!" "lucky you have a man to support you!! goodness me, you were always on top of your game what have you become! stay at home mum?? I can't believe it! where has the fire in your belly gone? where's your ambition??"

But as I lie here, house a mess, nagging insistent voice of my absolutely out-of-control child below, so behind at work it's not funny, all sorts of domestic, admin and repair jobs awaiting my attention I suddenly recognise where they were coming from. There is just NO WAY I can go on like this. Pity I took on a $300K mortgage just before I realised.

I struggled to identify when I went from being in control/having it all.. to this mess. And quite readily I could pin point it.

The turning point was August 2010, when I became seriously incapacitated with hip pain. Up until that point I was strong and could rely on myself. I addition until the start of this school year, I believed my son's reading problems were something he would grow out of, and not insurmoutable, and finally my ex-husband has relinquished his parenting responsibilities for no discernable reason. And as in my previous post, I feel let down by him.

So on top of a full time job (nearly put fool-time), being single, dealing with constant pain, the loss of my ability to exercise and be part of an active set of people, my son's need for lots of extra help with reading and writing.. cinderella (Simon) has scaled back his involvement in Connor's life so I never get a break.

I collapse into bed each night around the same time as Connor, exhausted, with many household chores left undone, and I wake up just as tired. I have no time to myself, and the one thing that might save me from all this.. ENERGY is sapped from me with constant pain.

I spent three full days last weekend, assembling beds, buying plants for the garden, cleaning putting away washing tidying - these three days were sick days after an injection into my hip joint. I reckon I could do quite a good job of housekeeping, if I didn't have this pesky professional job to go to everyday.

I think Simon's peculiar attitude and actions have contributed in a *final straw* kind of way. I would like to say his son is affected by his absence from his life, but really the impact is on me. Connor is so jealous of Beatriz he has withdrawn and just wants to be with me.


So what is the solution?

Stick with the job

I believe sticking with the job will get me the things I need in the long term -education for Connor, money for my retirement, travel etc, but this roadblock/hiccup may very well lose me my job through underperformance.

Would it be better to take time off my job, admit defeat? than to plough on like this and be found out anyway?

I don't feel that I am contributing to society/ making a difference through this job ANYMORE. I did once, but now I am unable to perform at a (to me) useful level. I am not overly invested in it, and would quite like something less cerebral. To this extent, if I could take less money and was free to move around the world, I would happily do something less high status.
HOWEVER there are two important points in relation to this. If it is less high status, I still need to earn money and also it need to be something that is not MORE physically demanding because I am now physically Weak. I doubt I could be a teacher for example.

Address the pain

I have made a lot of effort to address the pain, there has been physio, injections, painkillers... all to no avail...

Give up work
I could be invalided out of work and live off the state. Then the income differential would force Simon to pay me something. But my self esteem would take a battering. If I can hang in for a few more years i can maybe retire early.

Buy in help

Ideally I would not only keep the job, but get promoted so there was enough money to pay for extra tuition and other help. I would like to be able to afford babysitters so I can get out and meet people or do exercise.

Move closer to family

I have thought this one through a fair bit. I am driven by how I might feel if they die and I am not (and have not been) there. I have seen fit to spend 20 years apart from them, and (rather weakly) I have never taken responsibility for this, just always blamed someone else or circumstance.

One of my counsellors said "Well, you know, this happens when people from different cultures and different parts of the world fall in love, often someone has to compromise and something has to give" She didn't say how you were supposed to cope when you fall out of love, and have a child. I tried to justify it by saying well, this is Connor's country, and I love him so I should stay on his account, but again that is weakness. Because I am the adult, I have free will and I have the right to live where I am supported best.

The problem with this of course is that I would actually have to live in the hometown of my parents/sister to get any support at all, and they are getting older and are less likely to be able to help. Maybe to the end of connor's childhood at 18 when they will be 80 and 83 respectively.

Get a man(!)

Losing Neil and no longer having a man in my life is not at the root of this. At least not entirely. It's a contributing factor. If there is someone who is reasonably cooperative, and collaborative, there for you, at least in spirit, for at least some of the time, you feel less alone. By and large from what I have seen lately, they are more trouble than they are worth.

I am even slightly turned off by manhood just at this moment. There usefulness to women is as impregnators and providers, if indeed they can do that. I think by and large these days in 1st world countries where we don't have tigers or marauding gangs of theives the protecting role is defunct.

But all that aside, actually finding a man is very difficult because I have to pay a babysitter for every hour that I am looking. That is just a raw fact.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011


Well Simon hasn't had much coverage on this blog. Apart from as a pathetic figure, the knight in shining armour who expects you to carry him away on your steed.

There have been reflections on why I married him, but today's thoughts have brought me to a place I could/should have explored months/years ago, if I didn't have this bleeding heart liberal approach to him whereby I think, poor simon, he's sick he can't help it, he's weak I'm strong, I need to facilitate his connection with his son, I need to pay for everything he can't to make sure our son has a good life.

Since meeting his hispanic girlfriend Beatriz things have changed. He always cancels/changes his weekends with Connor.

Well finally my mental health is being affected. The hideousness of middle aged dating, the demands of work, the time needed to support a child with reading difficulties (did I mention) my injuries meaning I can't do sport. All add up to making me feel very alone. In fact hideous as it is, those nights out with singles are better that staying in all the time kid wrangling, and when he just SMS me to say "no sorry, no can do any of the nights I am slated to" (1) the bottom falls out of my world, I was holding out for my weekend off, I need respite (2) I get angry.

Having just bought the cute girl townhouse of my (short term) dreams, my need to be near my family and support group gets stronger. I went out for a singles dinner with a group called " a table for six" on Saturday night. I did not really click or relate to either of the men there, but the women were interesting. Every case of divorced and separated families I can think of the partners either offer practical, or financial support, or the custodial parent has full custody and the freedom to move around. Below I describe the two women I met and the dinner and one other

(1) The first girl had given up work to bring up a family, after the divorce, her ex husband still supports her to stay in the family home and be a full time mum (as does the government) although she is not near her family.

(2) The other girl, was in a situation not unlike mine, she was a 39 year old single mother of one daughter who had an excellent transglobal career. Her daughter though, was adopted, so no pesky father in the background, and she had migrated home to be near her extended family. But she did have the full time hands on job of caring for the child and no respite.

(3) I met a colleague at a conference last month, who had split up with the mother of his only child, she had gone back to her home country, and he continued to support her financially.

How is it? I ask myself that I get the worse of all possible worlds, no financial support from my ex (as in cases 1 and 3), not close to my family for support (as in cases 2 and 3) no financial or practical help from my ex (as in cases 1 and 3), and no freedom to migrate as in (2).

As far as practical help goes, maybe it is just easier for the majority of men just to do the financial thing and be free to get about, socialise, love, shag, drink and work like they're single again. Perhaps, I belatedly realise, shared care is not something that comes naturally to most men, it is a social construct. On meeting Beatriz, Simon wants to be free, and "luckily" for him he hasn't historically earned much, he has a rumbling mental illness that could flare up at any time, and I have a good job, which lets him off his financial obligations to his son. Why has he been pussyfooting around changing diapers and doing the school run all these years. Bugger it!! Be free!!!

Since our parenting plan (where he had 5 nights per fortnight and would've liked more) was filed in court. I propose to give him the option, in mediation, either to take Connor for 5 nights, or he will give me full custody giving me the option to move, and more support from the government if I stay.

Along the way, my mother and Neil had suggested this "full custody" plan to me, but I had always rejected it, believing it to be unfair to Connor and his dad. Now it seems I have to do it for my own sanity.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

of Love and Houses

Just after I moved into my dream home with Neil, his infidelity and sex addiction came to the fore. I had, maybe 10 days of innocent enjoyment.

Straight after I went back to work full time after Connor was born, Simon attempted suicide, and was committed to a mental health clinic. I had maybe 10 days when everything was going swimmingly, a baby, a working husband, a career a family income we could live on.

And now, I have grasped feminist nirvana. I have bought a house, on my own where I can live safely with my son... and again 10 days in Ex23 instant messages me. He loves me more than breathing. I have to go overseas, live near him and give "Us" a chance. I confess, I am lonely in my fortress.

He refers to my need to side with the sisterhood, and my refusal to cheat on his wife with him as "seeking the high ground" I really can't get my head around that. Marriage clearly is not sacred to him or he would not play with it thus. What? a normal (non prosthelytizing) person would say ah well, it feels good, its his choice to cheat on his wife, nothing to do with me, or what I do... crap.

He thinks I can give up a career, take my son away from his dad and travel across the world for the life of a concubine and a chance at true love.

Life turns on a dime. I've learned my lesson. This time I am going to take (attempt to choose) the security, not the man.