Tearing at the Fabric

Of the space-time continuum


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Playing the long game

I’ve always played the long game. Never really been one to buy into instant gratification. Consequences of my actions are considered.

That’s not to say I can’t be spontaneous. I’ve splurged too often on a gorgeous piece of clothing, driven several hours to meet a lover (Roger) to surprise him, passions ablazing. Taken off at a few minutes notice, made love outdoors, in the rain….

I was just reading this article about betrayed women and other women. And whether these other women are happier than us betrayed women in the long term. Because, lordy, does it HURT like a MOFO that I put in three decades of bloody hard graft, and Trinket waltzes in with her wrinkly neck and sob story about a serial cheating dead husband, and skips off into the sunset with my life.

It seems so fucking unjust that they get to be all loved up, while I have to start over. Mum always said life wasn’t fair, so get on with it.

True dat.

The reality is, I have known from DDay that being authentic, honest, loving and doing the goddamn hard work of recovery, rather than trying to sweep it under the carpet, pretend it didn’t happen, or plaster over the agony by replacing Rog with another dick (or me with another willing vagina) is not a recipe for long term success and happiness. Poaching someone else’s partner would grind away at me. No question. No matter their story. I made someone else so unhappy, my happiness would be forever tainted.

But maybe that’s just me.

From the research. (Betrayed) “Women report that they are more attuned to cues of infidelity, dishonesty, and other ‘low mate value’ signals following having their mate ‘poached’ by another woman.

“Women also report that they are now more aware of their female friends and associates behaviour regarding their significant other.”

Oh yes! This is a big part of my grief and loss. I trusted EVERYONE because I trusted Roger. Meaning I probably trusted no one more or less than anyone else did. But I was never jealous nor suspicious, because I trusted him implicitly. I had the most soft, kind, loving, ex-cheated on guy in the world. His words were that I was the only woman for him, that somehow we had found each other. A perfect match. Two weirdos who got each other. When no one else did. He even said that as he was leaving me. “I can’t ever have with Trinket what I had with you, but I broke us. Maybe one day we will find our way back to each other.”

Cool story, bro.

Now I trust very few. I have lost a lot of long friendships over this. But, I do realise I also gained so much. A fearsome tribe of amazing friends, much deeper, much more genuine than the social acquaintances you think are your friends.

As the study explains, “the woman who ‘loses’ her mate to another woman will go through a period of post-relationship grief and betrayal, but come out of the experience with higher mating intelligence that allows her to better detect cues in future mates that may indicate low mate value.

“Hence, in the long-term, she ‘wins’. The ‘other woman,’ conversely, is now in a relationship with a partner who has a demonstrated history of deception and, likely, infidelity.

‘Thus, in the long-term, she ‘loses”.

The problem I have with it remains the level of intelligence. When yours is low, I think you still believe you have won the prize. It’s easy to delude yourself under the shower of love bombs.

Rog was always a love bomber. Always super attentive, loads of texts, loads of cards, notes, constantly in touch. I’m learning I got addicted to that. Expecting constant affirmations that I was so desired. That is not normal, or healthy. Yes, it feels incredible. But now it has been removed, I’m anxious and needy. It is a terribly unattractive thing. I really did used to feel confident. Because my brain had been wired by Roger to love only him, the source of all of that self esteem kibble.

How awful.

Rebuilding is hard. I’m far more vulnerable and lacking in resilience and self love than I ever realised. Seeking external validation is seriously gross. I feel myself wanting someone to tell me I’m beautiful, or sexy, or any other of a myriad of vacuous physical bullshit. I was never like that as a teen, or young woman. I never valued myself by my looks, or lack of them. In my 50s, however, as a betrayed spouse, my self esteem has taken such a hit I feel such disgust that I somehow, in some way, now value that bullshit. Which is why, I quite like this whatever-it-is with BarGuy. He doesn’t spout on about my looks, or flatter me with false crap. I get the odd compliment – he swooned over my intensely green eyes briefly, the other day. Roger constantly flattered me about my boobs, my arse. Running his hands over them, proprietarily. I like BarGuy’s smile, kind blue eyes, and his lack of bravado. We are in our 50s. We’ve lived life. It’s bashed us around some. We both look after our appearances, but most importantly, our health. He worries about his extra weight. I am disappointed by my loose skin. But I keep moving, stay active and keep my brain engaged.

Playing the long game. I fought cancer, and fight suicidal urges. I’m determined to keep playing the long game, and keeping my integrity.

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Terrified

I am genuinely the biggest dick in the world.

I never got the whole “dating” thing as a young woman, and I think I am possibly EVEN WORSE now! It sucks!

So badly.

I’m a bit of a mess today.

Considering seeing someone new when still completely messed up and heartbroken after your life’s love leaves you for another woman, is incredibly hard. I thought I was healing enough.

But I’m struggling today, all the awful not good enoughs, all the misread signs, all the, I don’t know what the hell I’m doings. All the no one ever loves me’s. All the I’m repugnants. All the please don’t be an intense weirdos.

I am super crap at dating.

I always was.

And really, really vulnerable and … let’s just call it what it is… pathetic. I hate myself today.

This man who is being so kind, and gently attentive, sent me a message on Sunday morning, knowing I had been out on the town with girlfriends. It was nice. Just asking how my night was, and that he was cooking bacon and scrambled eggs for breakfast. And that it would have been nice to share it.

To which I replied, “with anyone, or is that an invitation?”

I was two hours’ drive away. And he lives two hours away from my home – all a giant triangle.

He said, “if you want it to be, you would be nice. Next time.”

Ugh. I was confused.

And then it got worse.

He asked me how I saw this plan coming together.

And I lost the plot somewhat, thinking, oh shit! He wants to get out of this distance thing, or for me to make a call about moving there, or him moving to me? After a month??? WTF? (And yeah, I thought about how Roger just planned to sell up our whole life, and move to Trinket’s town, after chatting with her online for just three weeks…)

So, I replied I would come home via his place, and we’d talk. I had shopping to do in the city, and got to his place about four or five hours later. He wasn’t home, so I let myself in and let him know I was there.

When he arrived shortly afterwards, I flapped about like a total dick, asking what his plan is, I wasn’t sure I had a plan? What did he want? He kissed me hard (probably to shut me the fuck up, lol!) and said, chill out, I just wanted to know if you were coming today.

Oh. Fuck. Why am I like this?

I hate myself.

Bloody hell.

Later, we went for a brisk walk around the town, and along the beach in the crisp air. On the way back, he said, “let’s really feed the rumour mill, wanna go get a beer and have a bet at this sports bar?” To which I replied, “with the same girl as last weekend? Lift your single man game! The town will be so disappointed in their bachelor hospo guy” He laughed and snuggled me closer.

Yep. We did. And he raised an eyebrow as he ordered a beer, and I ordered one too. “You drink beer? My rosé girl?”

To which I laughed and said, “not sure why you think I’m so posh and precious. I’m a farmer’s daughter from a small town. I went to the hardest drinking uni in the country. I can do beer. Just not often, for my waistline!” And he laughed saying I was always so well dressed, well groomed (jeans? Lol) and look pretty put together.

Then, we started betting on the horses. And came out $60 richer. The best bet of the day being an inclusion of a horse we bred at work in a boxed trifecta.

Cuter still, when we got home, he started stressing about what he was going to cook me for dinner! And he says he doesn’t cook. Well, I got incredible pasta. All homemade sauce, lots of delicious chili. All plated up beautifully, chef style.

Later, he read me a text he was sending to a potential new sous chef he’d just interviewed, wanting my opinion on content and whether I thought a quick text to let her know he’d call to discuss on Monday was appropriate.

So why am I like this? Feeling stressed and stupidly anxious? I did not want any of this. And I know the trauma is running things. I’m terrified of catching feelings, and this sweet guy has been through the mill. I’m scared we are gonna get hurt here. I’m so not ready. And it can’t go anywhere, because we live so far apart, and there is little to no likelihood we will ever live closer.

Overthinking like a goddamn boss! Go me. Fucking trauma.

I don’t want this guy to know what a genuinely first class fuck up I really am! He knows I was very, very badly hurt. He knows I ran, sobbing my heart out from him, disappearing for six months, when he first tried to kiss me. He must know I’m a total disaster…

This piece from waikikipepper’s last post got me right in the feels today. About how to treat someone you supposedly love, after you cheat on them. I begged Rog for honesty. Always. And I was honest about my journey after betrayal. I worked my ARSE off to heal, knowing I was struggling, being honest, giving him a date to work towards. To find I got to the healing place, on time, as promised, only to be told, “yeah nah, I’ve met someone else.” The goal posts were not just moved, they disappeared entirely. I did as I promised. I worked diligently towards healing. I never looked sideways at another man, as an alternative to putting in every last ounce of effort to get better for us, after what he did. He lied, kept secrets, and made false promises.

It is actually an oxymoron to me, “if you’ve betrayed someone, but you really love them”… If you love someone, how the hell do you cheat on them? Let alone keep doing it?


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Misconceptions

I had an interesting – and yes, frustrating – conversation with an otherwise very nice guy this weekend. A single guy, who has never married, had a couple of long term relationships though. About his best mates. And what men do or don’t share with ‘the boys.’ He said, the married ones never talk about sex. You assume they’re getting just the right amount, and quality. If they stray, is when you know they weren’t getting it from their wives, I guess.

Um. No. I corrected him fairly sharply.

Not usually true! Cheating, isn’t usually “caused” by not enough sex in the marriage. Ask me how I know! Cheating is caused by one partner not communicating their needs, what is going on with them! I had plenty of really good quality sex with Roger, never skipping a beat during pregnancy, after childbirth (we were gently straight back into it) etc. The only time sex became a problem for me, was AFTER he had an 18 month long affair with my friend, in my homes. Giving me chlamydia and HPV that eventually turned into cervical cancer. And all my sexual insecurities, traumas and fears were triggered. I felt fat, ugly, stupid, useless. But we were still sexually active, even throughout that period. He was getting fantastically amazing sex during the seven months he lived with me, while he was “dating” Trinket! Hysterical bonding Mark II.

People assume such awful things about loyal partners. That we are somehow terribly lacking. My self confidence is shattered. So many people assuming I am a bitch, or slack in the sack, etc. It really pisses me off.

And, I got propositioned by a creep. I always seem to attract creeps. Yuck. Some dude who thought he could just invite me to his home, a ferry ride away (so trapped on an island until the ferries run again the next morning) who didn’t even give me more than a Hi, I’m Shane. Come to my place, it’s …. WTF is wrong with people??? Like, does that ever actually work???

And I lay in bed, thinking about intimacy, and pregnancy. How into my pregnant and lactating body Rog always was. How he joked about biology, and how he understood why men just wanted to impregnate their partners all the time, during some intense love making sessions…ugh. I miss intimacy. So much.


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Cocktails, gigs, intuition

Up here in the big smoke, catching up with girlfriends at a gig last night.

And for the second weekend in a row, a different, intuitive friend said, “what’s up with you, Paula? You look incredible. Is there a man? Your eyes have got their sparkle back.”

Fuck.

What?

Am I that pathetic? That transparent? Some guy pays me a moment’s attention, and my hair shines, my skin glows, and my eyes sparkle? Jesus. That sucks.

So, I admitted to both of these intuitive friends – who know each other well, but said this to me separately (I smell a rat?) – that there is a man who has taken me out a few times, but it’s nothing, very early days. And both times, I then teared up. Quite badly, ick.

Both women hugged me, saying, but that’s so great, Paula, you deserve it, and why wouldn’t someone want you, you’re hot as fuck, empathetic, loving, independent, smart as hell, what’s wrong?

And I admitted it feels scary, really, really scary, and I don’t want to catch feelings.

And. That it feels like I am cheating on Rog, going out with someone else. No matter how appallingly he behaved, I love that man. And yes, I know he wasn’t ever worth it, and that he never loved, cherished, protected me.

Which is horrendously stupid.

Ugh.

Anyway, the bar we ended up at last night was fantastic. And the bands they had playing were both amazing! Love keeping it live and local. Danced my arse off. Yass kween!

Why does it hurt so much?

I better get home and let my dogs out for a run. They are home alone for the first time.


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Back to the academic

Today, my Academia.edu account sent me an alert to a newly published paper by my Masters co-supervisors, about the fragility of academic work spaces, care and mentoring.

It has had me in floods of tears tonight as I read and recalled that incredibly difficult journey. That academic struggle out of my dark place, to a place of understanding and acceptance of what Roger had chosen, and how my “safe” spaces of home had been so severely damaged by his affair with Leanne throughout them. All that fucking her in my homes. All that secrecy of her smearing herself in my children’s beds, on the couch I snuggled with him on later at night. Leanne thinking she was so fucking cat with the cream as we sat across from one another, chatting and laughing, in my homes, sharing my wine, my food, my man. Me making love with him in the same bed he had earlier fucked her in.

I feel sick.

Of course, Trinket only has the spin Roger will have put on his affair. She doesn’t know about the others. How endemic it is with him. Female “friendships” that seem so healthy…She didn’t live with the lies, the deceit, the diseases and disrespect. She has that prize now. That man I believed. Of course she believes him! I did!

And my journey to come to terms with what he did. The diseases he gave me, because “condoms are hard to use when you are struggling to stay hard,” cool story bro. Lies. He probably never had ED. He used to tell me he struggled to maintain an erection with her. I call BS. He NEVER had that problem with me, so why did I buy that story?

Because I wanted it to be true. I wanted to feel more sexy, wanton, attractive than her, when he made me feel unwanted, ugly, sexless, revolting. It was such a struggle. He did some terrible, terrible things. Those years of lies, secret, dirty fucking a diseased whore….

I am mentioned in the article. And the way I am described broke my heart for that poor girl who was struggling so hard to find a foothold in the ruins of her safe life. I was apparently fragile and “going through personally challenging life experiences.” I needed care, and it was “emotional work” for my wonderful supervisors, who often discussed how to best support me.

Shiiiiit.

I thought I presented as together, thoughtful, and coping well. Hmmm. Ugh. Apparently not.

And yeah, I am actually a bit shocked to find myself in a bizarrely longing state. I was not in the slightest bit lonely when there was no possibility of a romantic interest. Why now? So stupid. It’s a weekend where I have planned lots of girlfriend time, a trip to the big smoke, live music and cocktail bars, to distract me from the fact that I won’t be catching up with long distance guy at all. He is picking up his stepdaughter from the airport today as she returns home after a long OE. Then they are visiting with his Mum, who resides in a rest home there. Which is one of the things I like about him. He has no bio kids, but has a wonderful relationship with the two he helped raise, even though his relationship with their mother did not last. And he shares the care for an elderly, betrayed wife mother, with his two older sisters.

He’s someone I am trying to ensure I stay safely distant from though. To protect my heart. Stupid. I knew I did not need this stuff yet.


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Just another day off

On a scheduled day off. Yay!

Got my heat pump serviced and repaired fully. Tidied. Sorted.

My fire glass was replaced. Fire roaring.

The fibre guys have been here for three hours, to install fibre for better internet.

Inserted a CDIR in my heifer to get her ready to breed.

Bought a cute armchair for my bedroom. Needs zhooshing. Faux fur, remove my Moroccan pouff to somewhere else…etc

…And I just bought an investment property!

All this on the back of a day that started with me seeing a message, that Roger wrote me in a super cute card on the 27th of June 2017. Just 11 days before his first messaging with the woman he left me for. And a month before I submitted my First Class Honours Masters thesis on heartbreak and constructions of home. He told me he was leaving me, the first I knew of her – or his secret online dating – on the 10th of August. A month and two days after he first made contact with her on matchdotcom.

His loving message to me reads,

All the very good in my life, comes from you.

All the bad, I did myself.

I will love you forever, Snooks

Norm xxx

Jesus. Who the fuck did I breed with?


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Women mourn. Men replace

I’m hurting hard again, caught in a painful part of the cycling process. Struggling not to cut.

A friend who knew both of us was talking to me tonight about the way men cope. With death. With divorce. With loss. She reminded me that women mourn, and men replace. Of course it is a huge generalisation. But with male cheaters…

She went on to say, she is glad she is not Trinket, the “replica.” That she must feel very insecure as the replacement. (I don’t believe that. I think they are super happy, and believe she feels she “won” a tussle for a man – who she loves – at last, after decades of a cheating husband, and he feels he has found a vastly superior woman for him than me.)

It’s a phrase I’ve heard before, and it gets abbreviated to “wife appliance” on Chump Lady. This friend was trying to point out that Roger might “miss me” and so tried to replicate what we had, by recruiting a “new Paula.”

Hmm.

I hear what she is saying. But holy hell, that is fucking cold.

To me.

I’m still here. I still love him. Holy shit. That’s a stretch!

Just imagine if Roger has tried to replicate our incredibly happy first twenty something years by fucking me over and replacing me. Lol.

Just a thought.


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The whole not good enough saga

Grief gets you.

It comes back and bites you constantly, when you feel like you’ve just been slowly making progress.

It’s hard stuff.

I slept an hour and 23 minutes last night.

And am proud of myself as I fought the urge to self harm. Yassss! I battled it so damn hard last night.

I lay recycling all the not good enough.

Not enough for one man, the man I fell so desperately and deeply in love with, that I moved in with him after knowing him just five weeks (love bombing…) whom I loved so very, very dearly. With every fucking ounce of my being.

Like a complete dick.

The man I believed would protect, defend, shelter me with his life, from bad things. Would never cheat. He hated cheaters. How wrong I was. He likes to rescue broken women. Any broken women but the one he broke, me. Oh God it hurts.

I worked my butt off for and with him. For thirty years, I put him first. Our children second.

I came a stupidly long way last.

He protects a “stranger” he met on the internet now. No concern whatsoever for me, who I thought had his heart forever.

I wonder if he ever thinks how terrifying it is for me to think about another man touching me, or – in contrast- how much I’m dying for affection, but still completely terrified of being hurt/raped. To let go and stop feeling scared is such a huge battle for me, through the trauma of relived rape in my nightmares.

Nah. Of course he wouldn’t.

It breaks my heart.

You can’t make someone else value you, no matter how hard you work, or love them.

Value yourself. I can’t tell you how horrendous this is. When your life unravels through the actions and choices of another person. Someone who didn’t see your value. And you lost yourself in doing everything to make their life easier. Sucks balls.

And this, I’ve seen it a lot. I wonder if Trinket’s religious family think this about her fabulous new man…


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Grief. Again

It was three months yesterday, that my oldest friend lost her little boy in a tragic boating accident.

I woke up and immediately sent her a loving message. Later that day, she posted some love on social media. Her ache. So, so hard. And they have a coroner’s inquiry to come. Which will no doubt expose some awful things, play the blame game etc. Ugh. I shudder thinking about dealing with that.

This. From my previously shared link regarding the unending nature of grief, so very true.

Her grief is recognised, and she has huge support. It doesn’t reduce her pain at all. I do know that. It’s horrific to lose a child.

However, I also feel the unending grief, and because no one died, and because Roger got to ride off with a huge shit eating grin, loved up to the eyeballs, getting his every need met, while I lost my past and my planned future, it isn’t “seen.” The support is less, or not considered to be required. Yes, I will, and am rebuilding. But this is NOT what I wanted. I loved that man. With everything I had. I tried so hard to be a fantastic partner. I desperately did not want what happened to my mother to happen to me. I thought we were so successful. So suited. So perfectly matched. I foresaw a beautiful, lifetime love story. But he never treasured either that, or me. It was never his goal.

So, my grief is very deep and very real, and I don’t believe it will ever leave me. Yes, I can still have a functional life. Yes, there are things and people I love, treasure, celebrate. But the grief is permanent. It isn’t widely acknowledged, or socially accepted that this type of grief is. I know better now. It has and will affect me very deeply for the rest of my life.

To understand the psychological effect grief is having on someone, Haidermota says you’d need to decipher an array of variables.

“The loss that the person experienced, the relationship with the person they lost, the circumstances under which the loss happened can all influence the grief process,” she says.

“The age of the individual, the personality of the individual, all of these are contributing factors.”

There are many variables that influence the grief process.

What is important, Haidermota explained, is the support systems around the grieving individual.

Unlike with age or the relationship between the deceased and the living, support systems and the environment in which the person is allowed to grieve can be changed to suit their needs.


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Values

Can you be friends with people who cheat? I have found that I really can’t. I have kind of tried to in the past, to “rise above” people’s past choices. I had a friend who married her married man. It probably ended our friendship.

We had mutual friends who both ended their marriages to be together. The man is a serial cheat.

I have never accepted a friend request from his current partner, despite knowing (and mostly liking) her for thirty something years.

Roger’s best mate’s current wife cheated in her first marriage, and tried to cheat – in fact gave a BJ – to her current husband when he was still married to his first (cheating) wife. No wonder she and I always struggled…

I could go on.

If your values don’t align…it’s kinda not worth it to me.

One comment that stood out for me on a recent Chump Lady post, about friendship with cheaters, was this:

One requirement for repentance with Cheater o’Mine was that he make a 180-degree shift from the adulterous relationship and never (NEVER) have one drop of communication with her ever again. ‘Still in contact with’ screams ‘still having the affair.’ She’s testing the waters of your boundaries

Roger would not go no contact with Leanne after DDay. I begged him to change his number, or block her. But for two long years after DDay, she would message, and harass. Until he fucked her again. Almost exactly two years after he last fucked her. When we were supposed to be rebuilding. When (I think) he eventually did cut her off. He finally changed his number, saying, “oh, you were right. I should have starved her of oxygen. That was a huge mistake, not doing that.”

Well, d’uh. Good idea, bro.

(Apologies for the typo in the meme. And the irony. Using a cheater’s image to preach about cheating. Ugh.)

So, our youngest daughter has driven her grandad down to stay with Rog and Trinket in their new love nest. I’m keeping as busy as possible to ensure I don’t think about my kids having to share space, make polite conversation with, sleep under the same roof as cheaters. Not my values. I tried to raise them to have boundaries and morals. But you can’t really avoid them having to accept cheaters as part of their lives when a parent is one.

Who brings his affair partner into your children’s lives. The grief of this lost love, is unending.

Ask me how I know about acceptance of parents who cheat.

My Dad. A cheater. Whom I have no respect nor love for. But whom I do care that nothing bad happens to. Who I do have some kind of relationship with.

It is the never ending shit sandwich all you can eat buffet.