Tearing at the Fabric

Of the space-time continuum


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The aftermath

So, I finally got the life history out of the way.  D-day.  Now to the time that has passed since.  How am I still alive today?  

It hasn’t been easy…….can I get a prize for understatement of the century anyone?

At first, I was surprised how much I still loved and adored him.  WTF?  Aren’t you supposed to immediately be turned off by and HATE with pure venom a man who cheats on the woman who gave him everything she had to give, who gave up her personal dreams and aspirations to put all her faith, trust and love into his basket?  Aren’t those the rules?  How pathetic am I?  I mean, really Paula, HE FUCKING FUCKED YOUR “FRIEND” FOR OVER A YEAR, and pretended he still loved you, what a weak-arsed excuse for a man. Who could love that?  What is wrong with you girl?  Pack his shit and get him away from you!

I realised pretty quickly that he had had some kind of life crisis.  He was completely shocked and gutted that this had happened, but at the same time, kind of weary, like he had been watching a train wreck in slow motion for a very long time, and it had finally arrived at his feet.  We talked, and talked, and talked, he answered every question.  He didn’t like it, he squirmed a whole lot, but he understood immediately that this was the ONLY way I wouldn’t leave him, and there were no guarantees that this would save our love either, but he had to try – and I asked everything, from sexual positions, to what she was good at (nothing, lol) to where, when, how did they do this without me ever knowing, or suspecting, how did he find the time, what about her small son, what happened to him during their trysts, was this the love of his life, had I got in the way of their “great love story?” she lived so far away, and he had such a frantic work schedule, what did they text, what did they plan, was he ever thinking of leaving me, what were the plans for that, he shared things that I didn’t ask like how he parked the car in the exact same place in our driveway if he met her, and topped it up to the exact same level of gas, he scrubbed things clean, he ensured there was no sexting, and no messaging that could be misinterpreted, so I could pick up his phone, and there’d be nothing, he told her if she ever sent anything inappropriate, he would end it there and then, he told no one, he never mentioned anything about any problems to his best mate……..and did a shitload of fucking, and a shitload of intense LOVEmaking, hot, hard sex, and soft, gently re-exploring of each other’s bodies, for hours, and hours – I mean, how did we find the time?  We must have averaged three or four times a day for a year.  Answer, I didn’t sleep.  I couldn’t swallow food, I stopped drinking any alcohol for six months, couldn’t bear the taste or the feel of any food or beverage in my mouth.  And nothing had any taste, or texture.  I vomited a bit, and I am vomit-phobic – it’s fine for someone else to do, and I am a mother and farmer, so don’t have a weak stomach.  I just hate to spew!  And I ran.  I ran and ran and ran.  I got skinny.  Bona fide skinny, for the first time in my life.  And I couldn’t enjoy it, I just felt wretched, old, droopy and wan.

It seemed he had hung onto that night we moved, and used that silly little five minute conversation to “justify” his thinking.  Apparently I abandoned him that night.  He really believed that.  This despite all the loving talks, the lovely kissing and still great sex we had.  This despite I could have left him, but promised I wouldn’t, was jumping through hoops to make our new life work.  His brain just clung onto, “she doesn’t love me anymore.”  Ridiculous, but his reality.  Of course, I said, “well, leave then.  Don’t fuck around.  Leave.  Be a fucking man!  You arsehole.  I had no way of protecting myself from your filthy whore, because I  had NO IDEA you were fucking someone else!”

Oh, I missed that part!  I went and got tested at the nearest Family Planning clinic.  42 years old, mother of three teens (who I continually ram home safe sex messages to) middle class, one sexual partner ever, NEVER partaken in any “risky” sexual behaviour insomuch as multiple partners, or no condoms.  God, I can’t tell you how low I felt.  But then, the results came back.  I  had chlamydia, and HPV.  Cool.  He was so fucking angry at me for getting tested, “she’s clean, she was only sleeping with me,” he might as well have said stop being such a drama queen. Well, Buster, guess what, your schmoopie is a dirty, filthy, disease infested, rotten whore, and now I am too.  We sorted the chlamydia out easily, but I am still dealing with six monthly smears and cervical changes that have been treated with very painful and invasive procedures, three times.  The last LEEC I had  – this is a hot wire scraped over your cervix to scrape the cancerous cells off (owwww!!) was on my 45th birthday.  Happy Birthday to me, it was special.  Thanks skank, love you.

We did pretty well for those first six months, I knew we couldn’t unfuck that goat, I thought I understood this was forever.  I hurt like nothing I could even imagine, but we still loved each other, he was sorry, attentive, completely  transparent.  Of course we would be okay, it was just going to take time.  I contacted a counsellor, male, an ex-dairy farmer, retrained.  He seemed good.  He told us a few facts, like how this was likely to play out, how long to expect to be suffering for (that seemed so OTT, 2-5 YEARS – not us, we LOVED each other, lol, we’d nail that!) And then, I fell in a really deep hole, started feeling more suicidal.  I was hanging in there for the next appointment, and we went along, and he wasn’t there!!!  He FORGOT!!!  Roger was furious, he knew I was on a knife edge, and he rang the counsellor and let him have it.  We re-scheduled, and got there the next time happily.  BUT, IT HAPPENED AGAIN later, he FORGOT another appointment.  I was beside myself, thinking it was a “sign” – I mean, a professional didn’t even want to help me, and I was PAYING him.  I don’t know why we didn’t report him, I can only guess we were too traumatised that early in.  Roger wanted to kill him, my usually mild-mannered, reasonable and kind boy (yeah, right, but he used to be that guy) was actually filled with murderous rage.  I often wonder if it was a bit self-directed, like he wanted to punch himself as he watched my suffering.

Something had to give…………….

 

 


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Meat. Or, where it gets really hard.

We are now moving onto a new phase of our life together.  I spend the next five months commuting to milk our herd, feeling quite down about what has happened, and wondering what the heck is wrong with me.  But, I kind of know.  I know it is the feeling that I didn’t matter much.  He made big, important decisions, and he didn’t consult me.  I felt like the previous twenty years were worth nothing to him, and I start to question why I have given so much, for so little.  Once we get the dairy farm sold, and the herd a new home, I start to think in earnest about MY future.  What will it look like when the children have grown, and left home, that is now within sight, with only the youngest still at primary school.  I know I need to explore new ground.  I try to talk to Roger about how low I feel.  I tell him I think I might be suffering from mild depression, at the loss of my cows and home, and that when I drive up our road, I feel tears well up, and sometimes they fall quite freely.  This scares me a little.  I am not a soft girl.  I have never done a whole lot of crying.  I don’t play girly emotional games.  What you see is what you get and these tears are concerning.  I say I think I might need some help, and I find a woman to talk to about what I am feeling, this deep sense of loss.  His parents, sister and her two children lived alongside us all those years, and now the two sisters, and my much loved nieces and nephew are not allowed to talk to us, they ostensibly hate us.  And this is a small town, she is telling all kinds of truly TERRIBLE lies about us all over town, about supposed greed and ripping everyone off.  I know my real friends don’t believe her, but I am cut to the core, she was my friend!  I loved her kids like my own, I had looked after them often as she was a busy single mum and I helped out wherever I could.  Now, they didn’t exist. 

The counsellor is nice, sympathetic, and walks me through some basic relaxation and forgiveness techniques, allowing me to be angry.  I feel no better though, really.  I decide the best option is to remove myself from the day to day of the farm, as it seems whenever I go out to help, Roger yells at me for doing something wrong.  We worked alongside each other for nearly two decades, and loved it, never had too many issues, and now I can’t seem to do anything right.  I apply for a job, and am offered a better one within the company I applied to.  Yay!!  It is supposed to only be 35 hours per week, which means I will still be able to run the kids to their after school activities.  Great!  But, it was a newly formed position, basically running the small company, including setting up and employing new financial systems, some marketing, import/export and maintaining client relationships.  I loved it!  I was good at this stuff!  BUT, the more I did, the more I got asked to do.  I never learned to say no, and the hours (all fully compensated for) are heading up to 60-70 hours per week.  Yikes!  I am doing so well at work, getting everything done, but I am tired, short tempered and generally a grumpy bitch at home.  Then, it gets worse.  I start drinking more than I usually do.  The relief at the end of every work day is immense, and I throw back 3-4 drinks most nights, sometimes more.  After several months of this, I realise I can’t continue to drink this way, and I need to stop.  I realise I can’t!  Help!  I might be developing a drinking problem.  I mean, I can go a few days without a drink, but I really, really want one.  Or five.  It takes me four months to finally stop drinking on a daily basis, and limit myself to a glass or two of beautiful wine on the weekends only.  My employment contract was for just one year.  When it is up for renewal, I ask Roger what he thinks I should do.  He had made noises about how much I was away, and how that was impacting on our family.  So, I asked what he felt I should do.  There was a significant pay rise involved, and he said, “go for it, just renegotiate your hours, please.”  So, that is what I did.  

About this time, I started to feel that something was “up” with us, I couldn’t put my finger on it, but “something” wasn’t right.  I talked to him loads about it.  I even said I was worried enough that I thought we should see a couples’ counsellor.  He just cuddled me close and said that I was imagining things, everything was fine, he loved me more than ever.  I was being really silly.  The feeling didn’t go away, and I eventually booked an appointment with a therapist, and begged him to come along, “just to humour me, just to check we are going okay, PLEASE!”  Of course not, we were apparently absolutely fine, everything was hunky dory, stop being so dramatic.  I went to three sessions alone, not having a clue why I was there, but explaining to the therapist that I “knew” something had changed, but I couldn’t describe it.

When I first started my job, his ex girlfriend had started to get in touch with me again, more than she had for twenty years really.  I mean, she had moved overseas for years, then recently had returned to our country.  She used to catch up from time to time with “the girls” when she was in town, or for birthdays, etc.  She had a little boy by now and told us all that she had met this great guy, and they had moved in together, so in love, and they decided to have a baby.  She got pregnant fast, and at eight weeks, he changed his mind, and left her.  We all felt so sorry for her.  All lies, by the way.  The true story is, she got to nearly 40, wanted a baby, by her own admittance, “to dress up in pretty clothes and have someone to love me.”  She had never had a relationship last longer than six months, EXCEPT for the long distance one she had previously had with my love.  She got a firecracker of a little boy.  A little ball of dynamite.  He questioned everything, and she was pathetic, and couldn’t say no to one thing.  He had her wrapped around his little finger, and at three, he knew it!  She was going crazy, she hated being a mother, he was SO demanding and wouldn’t sit nicely in his designer clothes, AND, she ordered a pretty little girl – ripped off!  He was actually conceived by her fucking a client (probably married, just flew into town from time to time) who would never fuck her face to face, she always had to be facing away from him – I would say he felt like I do, she is no oil painting, but has a smokin’ body!  She stole semen from his used condom and impregnated herself with it.  Was most upset when he refused to meet the boy, or pay maintenance until DNA made the courts order it.  Delightful – this I all found out MUCH, MUCH later in the piece.  At this stage, I felt a little sorry for her, and we used to meet up occasionally for drinks, and I invited her to our home.  Roger was surprised, after all, this girl had bad-mouthed me around town twenty years earlier, and was a nasty piece of work.  I just thought she needed a friend, and that maybe twenty years (I had seen her from time to time during that period, but it was very sporadic) had meant she’d grown up a bit.  Turns out, not quite.  

Our filly won a race in a city near our home, she was holidaying there, so she went to the races (I was at work, and missed it all) and witnessed the win.  Roger was there with several of our friends, some of whom part-owned the filly.  One of the partners in the horse decided we needed a big celebratory BBQ that night.  We all went, including Ms My-Kid-Is-Out-Of-Control-Single-Mum.  Fun night.  Then my partner said he was off to our holiday home, that was always the plan, he was going to take the kids, and I would come down the next day after work, it was a long weekend.  He asked me if he could take Ms MKIOOCSM and her son with them all – I had previously invited her to come stay with us.  Of course, no problem, makes sense, I will catch up with you all tomorrow.  I took him aside as he was hopping in the car, and just said, “be careful, you know her.”  He laughed and said, “yeah, right, like I’d be interested in that loser. Don’t worry, I’m just offering her a break from Jack (her son, he thought our kids would sort him out.)  I kissed them all goodbye, and off they drove.  The party guests were aghast.  “What did you just let him do?  I would NEVER let my husband head off overnight with his ex girlfriend!”  I reassured them all that it was fine, we trusted each other, he hated her, and this is how we were.  Open and honest.  Don’t panic all, I will be down there tomorrow.  Good grief, drama queens!

I drove down there the next day, as planned (he had driven her car down, and we were planning on coming back in my car) and was a bit later than I expected, and she had left before I got there, had forgotten an appointment, or some such. She texted me to say thanks, and sorry she was going to miss me.  Life continued on.

Seventeen months after that date, she texted me to tell me that she and Roger had been having an affair.  I had quit my job six weeks earlier, Roger and I decided the stress was too much, and I had started farming with him again, we were having a blast!  Sex all over the farm, laughs, and so much love, I hadn’t seen him smile so much in a long time.  He said his face hurt from all the laughing and smiling, we couldn’t be apart, constantly touching, he seemed to need to have skin to skin contact constantly .  Phew, we had made it through a really tough couple of years, but here we were, back to awesome us.  Not that those two years were personally that bad, we still loved each other (or so I thought) and made love often and with great relish!  When I quit my job, Roger ended their affair.  She was pissed off. 

We were at the same horse friend’s 40th birthday party, we had expected Leanne, yes, it has a name, to be there.  We had gone to a nearby city during the day before the party to do a little shopping, and she had been texting a lot.  Heck, they texted a lot all the time, and I knew it was her, he told me, he showed me her texts.  He would text her when we were out for dinner, on the couch watching TV, etc, etc.  In the past few months, I had questioned why he always knew so much about what she was up to, why they texted quite so much – and I didn’t have a clue about how much was going on during the day when I was at work.  I looked him in the eye one day, and said, “ummm, you are not doing anything silly are you?  You don’t think I am the stupidest woman in the world, do you?  You would tell me if I asked you if you were doing anything inappropriate, right?”  He looked me in the eye, and snuggled me close and said, “you funny old sausage, of course not.  Ewww, she’s gross, and a slut, I don’t have anything in common with her, and I love you.  Of course not.  Do you think I would let you know how much we text if I was doing something stupid?”  And it made sense to me.  I mean, we made mean little jokes about her.  How money hungry she was, how she got star-struck by dumbass right-wing politicians, how she had no kind of social conscience, that she was a tabloid reader, that she had no empathy, no parental skills, didn’t seem to be able to show love for her boy, that she was crass, without class or taste, and that, worst and most damning of all – SHE WAS SO BORING!!!  I mean, smokin’ hot bod, and she wore grey, pretty much sweats a heck of a lot of the time.  She had money.  She could have dressed to the nines, but had no imagination.  Of course I believed him.  And I felt REALLY guilty for even thinking, let alone asking out loud if all was above board.  Naughty Paula, how could you?  He did show me their texts, I had drinks with her, and a holiday with her, without him, I mean, who would do that?  Of course things were fine.  Idiot, how could they be anything but, silly billy.

But, they were.  For fifteen months they were fucking.  All over my homes, all over my cars, all over my farm, all in our children’s beds, all over my life.  When I was at work, which I felt I was doing partly for me, but a big part of my working was because he sold the golden goose, and we were left with a financial disaster – I needed to work to top up his income which had drastically reduced, and I had told him it would, but he didn’t believe me.  Hate to say, but, “I TOLD YOU SO!” It started that night, the night I waved them goodbye.  I even asked him about how weird was that – later, I mean, how was it staying the night in our home, with your multiple cheating ex-girlfriend?  Must have been really weird?  He just said how ridiculous, as there were four kids, including our two teens and one almost teen, it’s a small house, with minimal soundproofing, she slept in our teen daughter’s room, Ewww.  How could you think that?  Gross.

The drive home from that party, the night she didn’t come, the night she decided “Paula has to know” and oh so bravely texted me the details, was a long one.  I was sober driver, I had received the message several hours before we left.  I don’t think I was numb.  Trying to process it, was it real, re-reading it, was she kidding?  Just trying to take in that the world had shifted on its axis.  We got about half an hour into the drive home when I turned to him (he was slightly drunk) and put my phone in front of his face.  “Mmmmm, what do you have to say?”  He looked at me, completely broken, then he asked me to pull over.  He out his head in his hands and just said, I will get home and pack a bag, I’m so sorry, I’m so sorry, I’m so sorry.  I asked how many times (the text sounded like once, maybe twice? recently?)  He looked at me, so, so sadly, and said maybe six or seven times.  I couldn’t breathe.  Even then I knew six or seven times meant multiply that by ten – this shit was real, and it was long, and it was planned, not a “mistake” – whoops, I accidentally fell on her and my penis accidentally went in her vagina.  Hell.  What should I do?  What should I say.  I started the car, and drove home.  Now I was numb.  What was going to happen to my babies?  I just said, “don’t pack your bag unless you want to leave me.  If you want to go, go now, get out, get out and go far away, get on with the life you want, but if you love me, I think I might need you to help me understand this.”  I was surprised how calm I was, and how reasonable.  I mean, cheating?  Cheaters get turfed out of MY house. Cheaters are scum.  Cheaters are filthy, low-life liars, who can’t stay in MY house.  What are you doing, Paula?  Who even are you? We talked all night.  I asked when it started, “I honestly don’t know, I’m not kidding, I really can’t even remember.”  Okay, alright, sure. Then how many others have there been.  If this was such an insignificant thing that you can’t remember, then it is because you must be a serial cheating arsehole liar.  How many?  For the entire 21 years? He just answered that he was very confused, he wasn’t sure. I suggest the holiday home, he looks at me, and says, yes, it might have been, but I’m not entirely sure.  I think it was, oh, I’m not sure.  Shit, I don’t know?!!  There’s been no one else.  Ever.  I promise.  I know my promises mean nothing now, I’m so sorry.  I’m so sorry.  

We had the hysterical bonding.  We talked a whole lot.  He eventually remembered.  It was the lake house.  It was then.  “You remember dates and stuff so much better than me, I just wasn’t sure.  I am pretty sure now.”  When next?  He told me they would go four-five months without seeing each other, without fucking, as they lived so far apart.  He volunteered the whens, the wheres, the hows over the next month or two.  He knew I needed truth.  He was worried how hard it would be for me, he would say to me sometimes, “I hope you really need to know this, because it’s disgusting, and you can never unhear it. I never loved her, I never said I loved her, I told her I loved you, and I didn’t know what i was doing.”

I realised after a week or two that I had assumed he had safe sex.  After all, we had discussed that so often, how disgusting would it be to be cheated on, AND the cheater gave you a disease.  Of course he wore condoms, right?  “Oh, oh, oh, no.  No I didn’t.  But it’s okay, she’s clean, she was only sleeping with me.”  HAHAHAHAHA!!!! Oh. My. God.  She is so pure, she is only having sex with you once every four or five months, knowing that you are sleeping with me.  HAHAHAHA!  Are you kidding?  You’re kidding right?  Oh. You’re not?  WTF???


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Babies, cows and life happens

We have a baby.  A long labour, with an ambulance transfer for an emergency C-section, that I refused on arrival.  A baby girl.  Tears seep softly out of the corners of his eyes, the first time I ever see those, it will be a long time before I see him cry again.  We bring our little critter home, and our new little family thrives.  In the next year, he and I make plans to buy his parents’ farm.  The only way we can manage the mortgage is if we convert it from stud beef to dairy.  No problem.  We re-mortgage, stretched to near-breaking point, until the next year when our lovely neighbour buys our farm, after we subdivide the house and five acres and sell to a young family.  A new adventure awaits, I do make some noises about how is this going to work with his other siblings, are they all on board, will this cause family strife later on down the line?  He is adamant that we have got it all under control, the sisters have been informed, and are in agreement.  His eldest sister and her husband bought nearly 50 acres of the front of the farm a few years earlier, and they had a lot of financial help from their parents to do this, our buying the main farm will pay their mortgage off and the other sister was going to get a large payout when we bought the farm, so large that it paid off her mortgage on her enormous house in a million dollar suburb in our largest city – they are both mortgage-free in their very early 30s.

We built a cosy little house, his parents stayed in the main home, and we embarked on a new phase.  We ran the farm together, I started a Holstein-Friesian stud (can’t stop me from breeding things, lol) and we went from strength to strength.  We were very interested in organics, adding value and sustainability from the word go.  We never went fully organic, but we used far fewer chemicals, drugs and artificial fertilisers than our contemporaries, all the while growing our production, planting riparian margins, developing wetlands and generally loving our environment, and our lifestyle.  We added two more babies, four years after our daughter arrived, we had a son, at home, with no midwife in attendance, just my darling and me (the midwife had visited three times, the last part of my 22 hour labour went so quickly I didn’t even have time to get back in the birth pool!  He was AMAZING! Calmly guiding our son into the world.  As soon as he had ensured he was breathing (he was worried he was very blue) we were both wrapped up warm as we awaited the midwife who was speeding to us – arrived twenty minutes after our baby – he poured himself an enormous single malt scotch and started phoning his friends.  I did suggest between my shakes (my body went into shock) that family might want to know ;-).  Two years after that, we had another, after a 34 hour labour at home, to complete our family with another little girl.  Hey, I give up, these labours were getting longer!!!  We were so happy.  He loved me pregnant, he loved me post-natal, he loved me fat, skinny, flabby, toned.  We were just so into each other.  And he was so supportive and kind.  We laughed and fought and laughed again.  We worked damned hard.  I milked up until the births of the kids, and I was back in the shed within days.  Springtime could mean 20 hour days sometimes.  We built a nursery onto our cowshed, and the kids and babies would get carted over there in the dark, and snuggle down to sleep in their warm little beds there until the pulsators in the shed were turned off, the rhythmic sounds soothing them.  That’s not to say it was all plain sailing, our middle child never slept more than two hours in a row until he was fourteen months old, often half an hour would have him up and at ’em!  It was exhausting, and we formed a fantastic team.  He could always sense when I was about to lose the plot, and step in to relieve the pressure.  He and our son (in his pushchair) must have run several marathons around the outside of our house at 3am, 4am, etc, to help him sleep during that first two years!

As our family grew, we both got involved in the kids’ activities, and the local school, both of us serving on various committees.  We had become traditional.  My friends were mostly still travelling, partying all the while climbing their corporate ladders, I was up to my armpits in nappies and cowshit!   It was those busy sports, music, drama years.  But we always found time for each other.  We love quality film, literature, music, the outdoors (tramping for both of us, and hunting for him) not to mention fabulous food!  Oh, and I have a serious fashion habit!  But always knew what I could and couldn’t afford.  I would buy one special, precious piece, maybe a gorgeous pair of shoes, and dress them with loads of chain store and op shop finds.  And then there’s our shared love of horse racing.  As we got more financially secure, we bought a couple of fillies and raced and bred from them.  A lovely interest, and a great excuse to get out and about.  We followed our horses racing all over the country, and loved having our young stock at home, nothing like seeing a couple of gorgeous mares and foals in your front paddock, knee deep in lush, green grass.

Seven years ago, I saved up for eighteen months and took my children overseas to my brother’s wedding, a two week excursion. When I came home, he announced he had bought a dry stock farm that he had inspected while I was away.  I was gobsmacked.  He had fought tooth and nail to get the farm we had, the third generation farm, his 78 year old father had never lived anywhere else. Literally.  Same house.  His whole life.  We had added some more land to it over the years, and were through the hardest financial years.  Things were getting more comfortable, I was no longer required fulltime on the farm, although I was still very involved, rearing all calves, and still milking several times per week, I made all the breeding decisions, and did all the artificial insemination, etc. I bred them, and he fed them.  We had recently employed staff and life was good.  Then, BAM!  We had five weeks to move.  We hadn’t sold the home farm, and had bridging finance for the whole thing, millions, and millions!  Whoah!  I admit I was a little unnerved, and worried that we would lose one of the farms.  He never asked my opinion.  WTF???  Who was I then?  Stock?  Did I not get a say in my own life?  I, uncharacteristically was fairly quiet.  I told him I was shocked, a bit disappointed, but he told me that he had been struggling with how to get separation from his family for the past few years, he was in his 40s, owned his own very successful business, but was always thought of as “the boy.”  For example, his father had never owned a dairy cow in his life, we had been running a highly successful dairy stud for about fifteen years, and yet, if we were at a sale, or the like, it was amazing how often his father was asked by the stock agents if the reserve had been met – NOT US!!!  It was frustrating.  I didn’t even know it annoyed him.  But he told me he was pretty unhappy, and needed change.  How could I possibly protest?  So, I went along with it all.  On the first night in our new house, I got into bed with him, and talked.  I told him how hard I had found this whole thing.  He just said, “but you’ve always supported me, you’ve never not believed in me, I just never thought you wouldn’t support this.”  He had bought the farm in his family trust’s name, so I hadn’t even seen a lawyer, or been involved.  It immediately became apparent that both of his sisters were very unhappy, and were threatening to sue us.  This despite the fact that they had both had high society lifestyles due in part to the moneys they had received when we bought his parents’ farm, and so much of the proceeds were distributed to them.  We worked our butts off while they partied and travelled.  We worried about whether our old banger of a car would get another year out of her, while they swanned about in new European models.  We slogged through mud and rain with small children attached to our bodies, breastfeeding on test buckets, while their children were tucked up with nannies preparing them warm food!  His parents were very supportive of his choice.  Barristers came down from a large city, all guns blazing, and I WAS NOT ALLOWED TO GO TO THE LEGAL MEETING!!!  I was furious!  How to be completely discounted and dis-empowered.  (The barristers were only ten minutes into the meeting when they took the sisters aside and explained that they had absolutely no case, that they were dreaming, we had done everything completely above board, and informed them every step along the way!)

When I suggested, that first night, that maybe I needed to go “home” for a little while – I was commuting half and hour to milk a lot anyway, as our staff were not coping with the animal health system I had in place – until I got my head around it, but that I was not leaving him, no way, just needed a moment to breathe, and think it all through, shared homes for a little while.  He cried.  For the second time.  He said, “I did all of this for you, to get you out of the family situation we had got embedded in, to get OUR independence properly, at last, PLEASE don’t leave me!”  I immediately said, “okay, of course I won’t do that, I am always here for you.”  

I stayed.  I let him know how committed I was to us, even if I didn’t agree with what he did.  I loved him.  We made love, urgently, and I thought it was dealt with……..

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My girls, how I loved them so!


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The beginning, proper

So, after all the stuff with his ex girlfriend, we soon moved forward.  The lease on my flat was about to expire, and the Swedish girls I was sharing with were both about to move onto their next adventure.  I talked to Roger about what next, I knew I hadn’t made the cut at vet school, and I felt maybe I should try something else I was planning on a Bachelor of Agricultural Science, or stay enjoying the job I had, there were career opportunities there that I hadn’t first thought of.  He was very encouraging, and said I needed to find my passion, and follow that, not feel I had to finish a degree I started, or one I hated.  Then he, half-jokingly, said, “why not move in with me – at least until you decide?”  I looked sideways at him, and laughed.  “Be careful what you wish for, buster!”  So, we discussed it, and I told him I wasn’t the kind of girl who “moves in” with a guy, that if I did, it was a lifetime commitment, not a convenient place to stay!  He just said, “let’s do it!”   So.  We did.  Five weeks.  Fast moves!  

Things were amazing, from the start.  We clicked so well.  It was like we were some kind of yin and yang, that just fit together, we balanced each other out.  It was so much fun, and we just adored each other.  He loved it on my rare weekends off (I worked crazy hours and rosters) when I would come out and help him on the farm, particularly in springtime, with cows and calves.  We had four years of this utter bliss, we still had disagreements, great fights that usually ended in amazing sex!  You know the drill, young love, throw a passionate, opinionated redhead into the equation. Then I knew I needed to stretch myself again.  He could see it coming.  I felt like an appendage.  You see, he asked me to marry him probably seven or eight times, but I explained that marriage wasn’t for me.  I apologised, and told him I was totally committed to him, but that I didn’t “agree with” marriage – not for me.  I saw so many of them disintegrate, it seemed that it meant very little in the long run, married people still split up, and plenty seemed so trapped by unhappy marriages.  I told him that I wanted to be with him, as long as he wanted to be with me, and I hoped that was forever, but that marriage would make it harder to end things well, if they needed to end.  My thinking was that if and when we fell out of love, we would have a very adult talk, and work out how to let each other go, kindly.  Mmmm.  Remind me of how old I was again?  We saw a lot of cheating going on around us, lots of divorces, lots of acrimony.  His older sister, who cheated with her husband, on his first wife, had married him, and had two small children, he was a serial cheat, had cheated continually on his first wife, and cheated on his second.  She kicked him out, they lasted less than seven years, three and a half living together, just over three married.  You do tend to reap what you sow.  Roger had been very close to this sister, but never agreed with her “stealing” another woman’s husband, another little boy’s dad.  Although we all accepted it, it was never thought to be ideal. It was like an epidemic.  I was glad to have found a good one.  His parents seemed reasonably happily, kinda, married for over thirty years (when we met) – they still are, more than 55 years later.  He seemed to have the same morals as me?  

Back to the thoughts about my future.  I felt I was never really involved, or fully accepted as his equal partner, legally, and by his family.  They were nice to me, I was close to one of his sisters, and his parents were really good to me.  However, I knew I had to forge my own path.  So, I planned an OE.  We Kiwis love to travel.  It is a rite of passage, and I had partnered up young and almost missed it.  Roger had lived in the UK for over a year when he was just seventeen and eighteen.  He had a great time, and learnt a whole heap of life skills.  It was my turn.  We agreed that we loved each other, but that when I went, on a one way ticket, we would separate.  I left, a very teary goodbye, he drove me and kissed me very passionately goodbye.  My lips were singing for the entire 36 hours I was flying, or in transit.  I had hardly any money, just a couple of job contacts in the thoroughbred industry, I was off to the UK.  

I arrived in London, staying with a friend of mine for a few days, time to do a bit of clubbing (I was very aware I had next to no money, thanks to an English grandfather, I had patriality and was able to enter the country on a work visa with such a pauper’s purse.) Thankfully, I quickly landed a job on a good farm, preparing yearlings for the upcoming sales.  It was in the Cotswolds, how beautiful!  I got to work.  Four weeks into the contract, I broke my arm, and was on lighter duties, frustrating, no money, so I just pottered about, taking in the local sights, and hosing legs, doing little chores for the team at work. Roger and I stayed in touch, he rang me a few times, and we wrote constantly.  Things were good, I missed him like crazy, but knew I had to do this, so did he.  He was moving on, living the single guy life, nudge, nudge, wink, wink.  Around four months into my contract, I thought something was up with me, I was exhausted all the time, and, my gosh, my boobs were sore!  I thought it best I take a pregnancy test.  I had been diagnosed with PCOS not long after I had moved in with Roger, as I very rarely menstruated.  The specialist I saw reassured me there was no way I could get pregnant, as we monitored me for about a year, and I never once ovulated.  I would be needing IVF to help conceive if I was ever that lucky, he said it was perfectly fine to go without contraception, particularly considering I was in a committed relationship.  So, we had never used any contraception those four and a half years.  You can all guess what happened next.  Turns out, the pregnancy test is positive, I think. It is pretty faint.  I take another one.  Mmmm, same.  So, I make an appointment with a local GP, take his test. Inconclusive.  Okay, he sends me off to Banbury to have a scan.  My friend who met me off the plane in London was now nannying for a family not too far from me, and has the use of a car.  She drove me to the appointment, sworn to secrecy!  The scan shows I am 16 weeks pregnant!  I must have conceived within days of leaving NZ.  Good lord!  I wasn’t too fazed, a little shocked, but obviously I had been thinking this was a possibility for a couple of days, and had run through some plans.  16 weeks!  Too late to terminate, but I had already decided that I would keep the baby, as with my fertility questionable, I didn’t want to risk this being my only opportunity to be a mother.  I had very little maternal instinct, I was not quite 25, and life had a lot more in store for me before I even thought about whether I even wanted children!  But, I rang my Mum, and nervously told her – and she was AMAZING!  She said, “oh, Paula, how wonderful.  Come home, and we will help you, you can go back to uni, or get a job near mine, you can stay with us if you need, we will help you out.”  I really thought she would be horrified and a little afraid, but she was incredible.  My mild panic was over, I was, or rather, we were little baby, going to be okay.  I couldn’t tell Roger over the phone, so I wrote him a letter.  I told Mum.  I asked her not to say anything to anyone for a few weeks, while he was informed, and I found out when I could book tickets home.  

Roger and his father had a combined annual bull sale for their beef studs coming up.  Mum rang him on the night of the sale.  The sale had been a slashing success, he had had a couple of beers with clients to celebrate, and when Mum said, “congratulations!”  he replied with, “oh thanks, that was an unexpected result, but we are really pleased with the prices.”  Mum immediately realised that he had not received my letter yet, and chatted away with him about his success.  Whoops!!!  A bit later, he thought, “hang on a minute, how the heck would that city woman even know it was our bull sale day, let alone that we had done so well?”  The cogs were slowly turning in his head.  Then he rang me, early the next night, my time.  “Hi, how’s things going?”  Me: “good, pretty good, you?  Have you had a letter from me lately?”  Him: “no.  But I had a phone call from your mother last night.  That was interesting.”  Me: (nervously) “oh.  That’s weird, what did she have to say?”  Him: “oh, she was congratulating me.  The bull sale went really well.  But, I don’t think that was what she was congratulating me on, was it?  Ummm, do you have any idea what she was meaning……..”  Me: “oh shit!  I wrote you a letter.”  The end result was, he had kind of worked it out in his head, I told him I was expecting his baby, but that I was okay, and was prepared and happy to bring it up with the help of my family, he was off the hook.  He was lovely, and said to take care, that he would be in touch soon.  A little later, I don’t know how long, a few days, a week, two?  He rang me again, and asked me if I wanted to give “us” another go, he had been thinking about it a whole lot, still loved me desperately, and wanted to make a go of us.  I told him I only wanted to do that if that was what he REALLY wanted, and he was SURE, and he wanted ME, not the baby-and-mummy package. He said he wanted to ask me back when I first told him, but that he knew he had to think it all through properly, really make it sure in his head and heart, not just blurt that out in the emotion of the moment.

So, I booked a flight home, for the last possible moment that I was allowed to long-distance fly pregnant.  He met me at the arrival gate, with a huge bunch of flowers, and lifted my swollen seven months pregnant body (I wasn’t too large, had even kept it a secret from my boss until the last minute) off the ground in the most welcoming hug I could have hoped for.  Then we drove home in fairly awkward polite conversation.

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Us


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And, as sands through the hourglass………

Well.  I’ll back up a step or two.  Prior to leaping into a “lifetime commitment” – yeah, right – with each other.  Just a week after we started seeing each other, his ex, who was also an old school friend of mine, had her 21st.  We were both invited.  Separately, of course.  So, we went together.  A big shindig put on by her cheating father (and her downtrodden mother) who adored his first-born princess. I was on crutches, with a heavily bandaged leg, a horse injury, and yet we danced all night.  I was oblivious to any daggers that might have been shot in my direction.  Our other friends were dancing and having fun with us.  After all, she cheated on him, multiple times, and couldn’t possibly want him, or why would she have cheated?  (Oh, the young and naive me!)  They had been over for nearly a year.  I thought they were friends.  I was friends with my exes.  Sunshine and lollipops……

So, we went there, had a blast, thought all was good.  His birthday was three weeks later.  He had made plans to go out to dinner with me.  I got home from work that night and he phoned to say he had arrived at his parents’ house, and she had turned up.  Mmmm, okay.  Whatever (at this stage, I thought we were having an intense summer fling.)  Then he apologised and said he was trying to get rid of her, his parents thought it was a bit weird, HE thought it was a bit weird, but he would get rid of her, sorry we couldn’t go out for dinner, “I miss you, and I’m really sorry about this.”  No worries!  That’s fine.

The next night, he came around and wanted to talk.  He wanted to confess something.  We sat down in my living room, with a glass of wine, and he nervously told me he’d fucked her.  There’s this nervous gesture he has, where he talks kind of behind his hand.  He did this for the first time that night.  I have seen it done many times over the past few decades.  He fucked her hard and mean.  I was not too fazed.  I mean, he was telling me, and he said, “I am such a total shit, I don’t even know who that guy is, I have never done anything so hideous before. I am so sorry, I know we are not ‘official’ but that was nasty of me.  Nasty to you, I am sorry, and I know you won’t want to see me again.  I don’t know what got into me, I just wanted to punish her for all the game playing, and I fucked her, then turfed her out of my house into the dark with, ‘don’t EVER come back here, we’re done, you slut.’ That was a pretty awful thing to do to both of you.”  I just said that while disappointing, that I understood, and it was no drama, we were just having a fun summer fling.  He looked at me, and said, “no.  I wasn’t.  I’m so sorry, I could see this going on forever, and I’ve screwed it all up before we even begun.  She is my past, and I let her overlap and ruin my future, so I could get revenge on her.”  I replied that I wouldn’t have thought fucking someone was really revenge, more like reward for her efforts?  He then said, “no reward, it was terrible.  She is crap in bed, and I just served it up to her, she didn’t get off, but was a willing participant, she was the one who led me to my bedroom and undressed, it was really terrible of me, I am so ashamed of what I did.”  We talked some more, and I really did get what he what he did.  I asked him more about his true feelings, that maybe he wasn’t admitting them to himself, that maybe he really loved her, even though she’d hurt him, surely he must?  But he has always, for 26 years, said that he NEVER loved her, he never felt anything even close to what he feels for me, she was “convenient” – he was young, they lived hours apart, so didn’t have to see each other often, kind of girlfriend on demand, no strings sex.  He says that if they had lived close it would have only lasted weeks, as she annoyed him.  Her values were miles from his, and she has a really whiny voice!  A shallow, vacuous, short-sighted, tabloid whore.  If only I had a crystal ball that night……..


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Let the rambling begin…….(trumpets and all!)

Well.  Where to start.  Oh, that’s right, I kinda have already.  More back story?  Yeah, That’ll do.

I grew up on a dairy farm, near a small town, happy, healthy, a bit sporty, reasonably bright.  Not a care in the world.  Well, I did my job as a teenager, and had the angst, normal teenage stuff, got down about things that didn’t matter, listened to lots of emotionally driven music, but didn’t act out too badly.  We partied like it was 1999! (And it was only the 80s!)  I had great friends, and a great life.  Just waiting to finish school, get out of the hell hole that was my own small town, and live!  Back then, in small towns in my country, not that many kids stayed until the end of high school, by the end of my final year, there were only about 27 of us, at a school of around a thousand students.  Made us close.  We had a blast!  Most of my best mates were male. My BFF and I hung with the “cool kids” but we never got into all the sex, drugs and rock and roll they did, we were there, passing on the joints, drinking the booze, listening to the music, having the sleepouts under the stars, having a laugh, but abstaining from all the sex and drugs.  Our mates who were into it all never minded, we were just some of the guys, there was no judgement either way.

At the end of that year, when I was planning to be the only one from my year to head to a university at the other end of the country to study law and commerce, my parents sat me down, and told me they were divorcing.  BAM!  Didn’t see that one coming.  My traditional parents, who looked to be still in love after 19 years married, were divorcing.  Okay.  Whatever.  They asked me if I knew why.  Oh, yeah, I was just turned 17 (I was bumped ahead a year in school) and I, like every other 17 year old knew quite a lot, right, I mean, of course I knew more than these old crusties!  Money.  Of course.  What?  No?  No, Dad is gay.  Okay.  Whatever.  Sorry about that Mum.  Are you guys okay?  Yeah?  Okay then.  Cue Dad leaving, and never looking back.  Mum grieving pretty hard for around a year.  She used to say it was like memory loss, going through the motions numbly, although I was away at uni, I saw her coping incredibly well.  After all, she sold the farm, bought a gorgeous house in town, got her first job since she’d been married, learned how to pay bills, invest money, sorted my two younger brothers out.  What a star.  The only thing was, I asked questions.  I said to Mum, “well, you used condoms, huh, when you found out about Dad, right?”  It was 1985, of course she did.  NOT.  Then I panicked every time she rang me at uni.  She rang often, at least once a week, or I would call her.  We got really close in the aftermath of divorce.  She was such a good egg.  Every time she rang, I thought she was calling to tell me she was HIV positive.  I know she got tested, but I kept thinking she had been re-tested and was going to have it.  For sure.  I was bloody sure I was never going to have unprotected sex with anyone.  Maybe ever.  I didn’t want to have sex if it meant you could get sick, or die.  Hell, AIDS was the tip of the iceberg, sex had so many filthy diseases associated with it, right?  So, I didn’t.  I had a high school boyfriend at the end of that last year , who I loved very dearly.  One of the guys, one of those great mates, who grew into the man I loved.  We had an on/off thing for the next few years, he was in a different part of the country, and we were “off” when at uni, but wrote almost daily, and we’d always spark up when the holidays came around.  I thought we were pretty cool about it all.  I loved him, he told me he loved me.  I decided he would be the guy I would first have sex with.  Okay.  All good.  Except, I never could.  We would get so close, but I could never “fit” him in.  This went on for far too long!  I eventually stopped it with him, or he eventually stopped it with me?  Not really sure, we remained great mates, and very loving ones, but stopped with all the shenanigans of trying to “do sexing” (cue Stewie Griffin.)  Sooooo, I guess I got the idea that maybe there was something wrong with me.  I mean, I LOVED this guy, I was 19, it was time, and I WANTED to have sex/make love with him, he was very gentle, very HOT, very romantic, VERY patient!  So WTF?  Be normal Paula!  Have sex.  You want to.  So why isn’t this happening???

In my third year of law school, I struggled.  I struggled to see what I was doing, I was HATING uni.  I hated the legal “ethics” we were exploring, and I decided I didn’t want to be a lawyer.  So, I dropped out, just after halfway through the year, and moved “home” – to Mum’s new house.  She had a job interview for me the next day.  I took it.  It was on a thoroughbred stud farm, and racing stables.  WTF?  Only the scuzzy people with no brains at my school did that!  But, I LOVED it!  I grew up with ponies, eventing and show jumping, and loved milking and helping Dad out on our farm, so this was liberating, I loved the horses, I loved foaling, I loved riding trackwork, I loved the long hours, I loved it all, I didn’t have to be that corporate arsehole after all, WOOHOO!  I had a ball.  Then I decided to go to vet school.  I had always wanted to be a vet, but got pushed into law and commerce by the school guidance counsellor/careers advisor (the greed is good 80s) as I topped my year in English, Accounting and Economics, no more Sciences for you my dear (and I adored Chemistry!)  So, the following year, I headed down the country to vet school.  Yeehaa!  Of course, I partied way too hard, and had far too much fun to get in.  Oh, and towards the end of the year, one of my male friend’s flatmates, a guy I knew and liked, a very overweight guy with a great sense of humour, violently raped me.  I got help.  I got stitched up, inside and out because I was ripped to shreds, swabbed, tested, comforted, asked if I needed help with the police.  I was so dazed, and confused.  I thought, “hang on, I know this guy, he’s a good guy, WTF? Maybe he made a mistake……I don’t want to ruin his life, I’m okay.  I’m not gonna report him.” I thought I processed it all in a really healthy way.  I knew it wasn’t my fault, I was alive, I was okay (no diseases, a morning after pill) and I didn’t feel emotionally screwed up.  Notch that one up to experience.  BAD experience, but that is how life goes, right?  I never thought about it again too much really.  I knew it was bad, but I was okay.  I was one tough cookie, right?

Fast forward about six months.  I was back in my hometown, back working on the stud farm for the summer.  I was flatting with two great Swedish girls I worked with.  We were having a fab time.  One day at the annual pre-Christmas local raceday, I ran into Roger, I knew him vaguely, a guy that used to go out with a girl I went to school with.  I’d met him briefly a few times, nice guy.  Skinny.  Tall. A foot taller than me.  Quite good looking, but I hadn’t ever really noticed before.  A local farmer who had recently returned from overseas.  We got talking, and laughing, he was FUNNY, and KIND, and FUNNY (and sexy!) and we ended up spending most of the afternoon and evening together.  He offered to drive us (including my flatmates) into town after the races and we all had dinner, and drinks.  He drove us home afterwards.  Nice guy.  No drama.  The next day, I came home from work, and he pulled into my driveway, he had my handbag, I’d left it in his ute!  Oh, God, what an idiot!  He asked me out for a drink.  WHAT?  I thought he had a thing for the Swedes.  OOOOOO-kay, got that wrong, so off we went.  And that was that.  I fell for him immediately.  He used to be on my doorstep every evening I arrived home, a hand-picked bunch of flowers from his garden, or a bag of groceries to cook me dinner in his arms, or would phone me within minutes of arriving back, asking me if he was being a bit full-on, he didn’t know what was happening, he had NEVER been so forward with a girl, and he’d never felt this in love before.  I fell into bed with him within the week, WELL within the week!  He was amazing.  He didn’t even try to make love to me the first time we slept together, he tells me he sensed I was a little … he wan’t sure, vulnerable? So he held me, and kissed and stroked my body gently all night.  When we did make love, later, he was gentle, urgent, and incredible!!!  We were fused.  I decided not to go back to uni, and moved in with him five weeks(!!!) after first meeting him.

Now, I knew about his ex, my old friend.  I knew she had cheated on him.  We talked.  I made sure he was over her.  He told me the whole sordid story.  She lived in another city, they only saw each other every second weekend.  He caught her fucking four other guys, well, her flatmate told him about one, after months of suspicion, late night driving up to her house to try to catch her out, and subsequently he heard there were at least four.  He tried to make it work with her, she was sorry, she was lonely, yaddah, yaddah, yaddah.  His family always hated her, his best mate hated her.  I was never a fan, she was in the periphery of a social group I knew at school, very upwardly mobile, I am sure she saw young farm owner, cha-ching$!#!  He promised me it had been over for a fair while, he couldn’t stay with her, he tried, but he sacked her and had moved on.  She had tried to stay in his life, hanging on by her claws, but he had cut her off.  We were delirious on a love high!

To be continued…..(sorry if you are asleep by now!)


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In the beginning….

It’s taken me almost five years to get to this stage. The blogging stage. I have read and commented and read and commented. Taken breaks. Participated in various versions of therapy. Cried.  Talked.  Loved.  Screamed.  Separated.  Reconciled.  Loved.  Understood. Couldn’t understand.  Did I mention loved?

But I got here.

“So, where did you get here from?”

I got here from twenty-one years of intense, fulfilling love and commitment to the most darling man I could imagine.  Add five years of hell.  The only man I ever trusted.  The only man I KNEW was a good man, a man of character and depth.  And then the very fabric of the world tore. Ripped. Shredded. Screeching, it cleaved apart. You see, I found out that he cheated. He cheated. And he did it for a long time, and he did it with someone who appeared to be a close friend of ours. Someone who I invited into our homes, our lives, our children’s lives.  Someone I cared about.  Someone I knew was unhappy/unstable/inhuman???  Someone I wanted to help.  Someone who knew I cared.  Someone I should never have brought into our lives. But you do that when you know you have a good man, a man of character and depth, don’t you, and you are a kind and caring person who likes helping others? And I never knew. I should have known.  He ended it after fifteen months.  We were doing so fantastically well.  I had quit my job that had caused him so much stress and angst. I had re-entered the paid workforce two years previously. I had worked unpaid in our business for seventeen years, but he made some changes to that, and I felt I was made redundant. So I started a new career.  He hated it.  So, I quit. For him.  For us.  He ended the affair, the affair that I never had any clue he was having.  We were having a blast.  Six weeks later, she texted me that she had been fucking my love.  Out of spite.  To wreck the thing she wanted, that we had.  Until he smashed it into tiny atoms of……. matter.  Never to be put back together in the way it once was.  Never to be rebuilt to something “better.”  How could it be better? How do you get better than what we had?  I loved him so damn much.  I should have known.  But I didn’t.  And he didn’t use any protection. And I got physically and mentally very unwell from what his choices were for us. All five of us, as, you see, we have three children. This is the beginning of my world imploding.  Five years ago in just a few short weeks. Continue reading