At this point, in my yarn, my oh-so-happy little tale, we’re about a year into our new situation. We’ve tried two couples’ counsellors – three if you count the one I went to solo before I had any clue what was going on! One individual psychologist for me, and I also had a seven session stint with a hypnotherapist. You see, I never got a moment’s peace. I described it to the shrinks as the wallpaper of my mind. Not one second of the day, or night, goes by without this swirling in my brain. The Roger of back then thinks this is an overstatement. He obviously doesn’t know me! He says, “but you have work, kids, the rest of your life, you can’t possibly be thinking of this ALL the time, I mean I know it’s a lot – we never go a day without a discussion about this – but no way you can be thinking about it ALL the time?” I can. I do. Good old woman’s multi-tasking brain. I can FUNCTION while the movie of them fucking and torturing me plays constantly. What skill!
Meanwhile, also in the background, the OW doesn’t let go without a fight. Bunny boilers everywhere are a special breed. Ours kept texting, mostly in flurries, then backed off for a while. She sent threats. I told him to just change his number. Now, he did a whole heap of incredible things, and 99 per cent of them were absolutely the right thing to do. He point blank refused to change his number. For over two years. This was really the only access she had to us. That and physically driving the several hours to our house, which I never saw her do. Easy huh? Starve her of oxygen. Change your number, right? You would have thought so. I thought so. He didn’t. In retrospect, he has regretted that as one of the dick moves. He knows it was about two things. Control, and addiction. He thought he could control her bunny boiling if he knew what she was up to. Monitoring her via the texts she sent seemed to be the way to do this, he thought he was protecting me. Addiction. There’s no question that affairs are often symptoms of addictive behaviour. He identified this. He knew he had been using her as an emotional crutch during a time of great stress. He wanted to demonstrate the principle he described to me as the recovering alcoholic, the guy who is so far into recovery that he can go to the pub with his mates, and not drink. He wanted to demonstrate that he could have “access” to her, and not partake. To himself mostly, but probably to me, also. He could be strong and “say no.” Idiot. He says to me now, “I needed to do what YOU needed me to do first, my needs were of only secondary consequence, I needed to change my number for YOUR safety, and deal with MY shit later, or differently. My biggest regret, or second biggest after climbing into her bed in the first place.” This is one stubborn SOB. When he digs his toes in, there’s no winning. I learned early on to pick my battles, and only pick those I KNOW I can win. Hell, I am stubborn, too, but I think I came second in that race. Someone had to give here or we would have never made it these more than two decades to that point! Turns out it was me. At least to a degree.
So, we get flurries of texts, flurries of voicemails (he won’t answer her calls, thankfully) and even a couple of written letters. To be fair, I believe (and I did a whole heap of snooping that post-affair period, his phone was always available to me, I am a better techie than him, so I knew how to access deleted stuff, and I went through his bills with a fine tooth comb, he never once screwed up in that period, he knew he was fighting for his life, and if he fucked up, he fucked off) he never once initiated contact, but he did answer some, with my knowledge, always with leave-us-alone-you-are-making-an-idiot-of-yourself-now type answers. Her first major threat was this. Her mother taught our two younger children as new entrants at our previous, small, rural primary school. She’s a nice lady. A real mother hen, and perfect for littlies. She adored our guys, and was very good to them. This was years and years before any affair. I was the school PTA chair for years, and Rog was the property officer on the Board of Trustees (the school governance body.) She was the staff rep on both bodies, and we got on really well. I do recall one creepy moment, just one, but it was very odd and a little unnerving at the time. After all, this was the mother of his ex-girlfriend, who had serious dreams decades earlier that her daughter was going to marry Rog. Until her daughter proved herself to be a chip off the old block, and a multiple cheating whore, just like her dear old daddy. At the school agricultural day one year, Mrs M sidled over to my MIL, and said, “oh, I just love seeing Paula and Roger’s daughter, S, son, G, and daughter, D. I often think, they could be my grandchildren.” WTF??? My MIL told me this afterwards, and we both shuddered a little with the creepiness! I tell you this awesome tale to help you understand the next level of spook the following created in me. About five or six weeks after D-day, OW texted Rog and basically said, you have made such a mistake. How could you possibly be happy without me. You can never be happy with Paula. She’s a fat nobody (ouch. Like I wasn’t already suffering self esteem and body issues after his demonstrated preference for those without breasts and hips! I am a curvy, hourglass figured, shortish redhead, she is a tall, willowy, ex athlete, with a super lean figure, nice.) She continued. I am awesome. Remember? I know you love me. I know you and I are supposed to be together. If you don’t sort this out, you will leave me with no choice. Mum and I will have to go visit your parents and discuss the mistake you are making. They need to know that we are DESTINED to be together. Holy shit!!! You can’t make this stuff up! I got really spooked by that. I mean, it’s a small town. EVERYONE knew what he did. I was so embarrassed, it was hard, but I had to hold my head up in town. I knew myself that I had done nothing to be embarrassed about (other than stay with a cheating arsehole, lol.) But, small towns, I must be the woman who is a terrible partner, a real bitch, shit in the sack, you name it. I had to walk those supermarket aisles while I knew people were judging me. I guess I knew that his parents, who live in that town should hear it from him. They need to hear it from the horse’s mouth. His mother’s darling boy was a cheating arsehole. Her grandchildren had a lying, cheating arsehole for a father. I asked him to talk to them several times, so they didn’t hear it through the grapevine, as they were bound to.
OH! I forgot! An aside. One of my big piss off moments was this: his sister, who had told a whole lot of lies around town about him, was going to love this. She was right, he was a lying, cheating arsehole. See! See, everyone! I TOLD you, I TOLD you he was an arsehole! Good one Rog. How to prove your mean sister right. How to give her ammunition. Might as well have pulled the trigger yourself. Jesus!!!
Hmmmm. Back to Nan and Grandad. I decided that if he wouldn’t talk to his parents, I would have to. Good old Paula would have to avert a potentially scary moment for everyone. Again. Go me! Rah, rah, rah! I mean, this woman is serious, she’s doing some scary things, like threatening our children. She was totally capable of carrying out the door knocking of his parents, and I even wondered if her mother might be on board with it, I just wasn’t sure! So, I went to his mother’s house. She made me a cuppa, and I said, “I have something I need to talk to you about.” This was HARD! We went and sat in her posh living room, man, this must be serious! I sat down, and just said, “J, Roger has done something really sad. He had an affair. A long one. And I need you to know, because it’s over, but the woman is making threats, and one of them was towards you, and I needed you not to be blindsided.” She looked at me, I felt almost in disgust. Then she said, “are the children okay? Who was it?” I told her. She was unmoved. Heck, I suddenly realised that I might have been telling her, not just to protect her, but hoping for some small comfort from her??? I had lived next door to my children’s grandmother for nearly twenty years, I loved her, and my own mother had sadly died seven years earlier, very suddenly at just 55. I think it dawned on my there and then, I needed a motherly hug. I got nothing. She never asked me if I was okay. She never asked anything else. I just told her. She took it in. It has never been mentioned again these past five years. From that day on, I cooled my relationship with her. I make sure the kids check in with her, she’s a loving grandma, and I am polite. But I withdrew from her. I looked at her, and realised she didn’t have the emotional skills to deal. In subsequent therapy, we worked out a lot of stuff that Rog was dragging into adulthood, you know, FOO stuff that you don’t look at until there’s been some kind of crisis. Heck. She’s a good woman. She came from a very dysfunctional background, she’s done incredibly well in life in the face of that, is intelligent, has held a position for many years as world head of a large organisation, travelled all over, to out-of-the-way corners of the globe with regards to this position, and writes freelance articles for many major agricultural publications. She is capable and I have a lot of respect for her. But she couldn’t be there for me. She doesn’t have the emotional tools. Not her fault. I know she cares. We often get phone calls that I know are “checking in” calls, as I no longer “call in” or “catch up” with her, but she can’t come out and say anything. This was her favoured child. I wonder if she thinks I must have done something to deserve it? Probably. Or she just can’t deal. I give her the benefit of the doubt, and think it is likely to be the latter. I think that was my first clue to realising I was on my own. No one could, or would help me.
I miss my Mum. I missed her then more than ever. I still miss her today. Every day.