Tearing at the Fabric

Of the space-time continuum



Took my almost-sixteen-year-old daughter – the youngest – laptop shopping at the weekend. We took a friend of hers, and saw a fun, British romcom as well.

I avoid these now, even more than ever. But they wanted me to come.

I guess I could say I am a cynic, always was. The formulaic nature of these always made me mutter into my popcorn, “yeah, right!” But I also secretly liked the fluff. It mirrored my own love story so often. And the British take is usually fun, with quirky characters and the kind of humour I understand.

Just don’t tell anyone! (Embarrassed, shushhhhh…..)

But now it all just makes me tearful. I didn’t let loose with any, but boy, I sure felt a few quivers of the old bottom lip! What do you do when you want to just jump up in the middle and scream, “yeah, that’s bloody marvellous, but what about when he starts fucking your friend after more than twenty years of this wonderful love story?!!! What about that, huh? Make a damn movie about that shit! One that doesn’t make the whore the ‘love of his life’ and them as ‘just being with the wrong people/misunderstood/sexless/unappreciated.’ I dare ya!”

Anyway, what with that, and a friend’s mother dying (cancer) over the weekend, and I was at his house when he was fielding calls, etc, it was probably a bit of an emotional time. Daughter and I got talking on the way home, after we had dropped her friend home. Β It was the first time I have talked to her since the actual, “I’m sorry guys, I’m leaving your father and I need to tell you why,” speech around four or five years ago. We left the door open for them to talk to us, and there has been the odd small thing, but really all three of the kids haven’t delved any further into the whats, wheres and whys. I thought it best not to use them as sounding boards, but to be honest and leave it open ended, they could always ask either one of us whatever they liked. We both made that abundantly clear. I asked if she had shared any of how we are, and what happened with her friends. She said, she has, with a couple of close friends. They are sad for her, and supportive, mostly. But twice she has found friends have made the kind of comment that goes, “well, that’s no surprise, your Dad is an arsehole!” She said she thought he was an arsehole at first, too. Was very pissed off with him. But as time has gone by, she can see that he made an awful series of choices, and then realised he had screwed up and tried to fix them. He’s her Dad, and when someone dissed him, she was mad! I felt for that poor wee mite. Then I turned to her and I said, “for me, one of the saddest parts is that you don’t know how great, how in love, and how connected and special we were for those first twenty plus years, this has been going on so long, and you are so young, you haven’t ever seen what a good relationship looks like at home.” She quickly said, “oh, no Mum, I remember, you guys were awesome, I remember how you used to always touch, always look at each other with such softness and kindness, how you seemed to be kind of the same person, or at least so on the same page, you guys were ‘better’ than all my friends’ parents. Don’t worry, it hasn’t put me off guys, but I will be really careful to make sure I pick a good one.” I quietly said, “yes, I know what you mean, my parents’ situation did all of that to me, and I also thought really long and hard about giving my heart to someone to take care of, the awful part is, you can truly think you’ve got it right, but they can still explode your world, sorry to shatter your ideas about knowing someone’s character, darling.” She nodded, and said she knows, she knows that Dad is a good guy, but he fucked up – and she’s sorry. I just apologised to her for making it all seem so much harder than it should be. She said that’s a good thing, not a bad one.

She is as wise as I was at fifteen. Why wasn’t that enough?

That broke what is left of this heart. I thought she didn’t know about “fabulous us.” Bless her.

And the continuum of the damages done just stretches on and on…..



14 thoughts on “Continuum

  1. This makes me cry, Paula. I really feel your heart break. I’m so sorry. Hugs from so far away xxoo

  2. Paula, I have gone back and read every word you have written. I kept feeling “off” about what I read. I think that you are trying so hard to find “reasons” for Roger to cheat that you keep giving him excuses that do not hold water. He is a serial cheater. I do not know a single man who has had as many sex partners as he. He declared his love for you, then fucked his old girlfriend to “show her”, sent you off to the UK, and proceeded to screw anything with a vagina. You must have mistrusted him from the beginning but gradually let your guard down over the years. “Poor me” Roger was the baby so he “got no respect” so he bought propery that put you in debt. You went to work to keep your family from drowning so “poor baby” just had to fuck his old girlfriend FOR OVER A YEAR and defile every family place you held dear because he was just so pitiful. Paula, he has been blowing smoke up you ass for nearly 30 years. Your depression is because there is nothing authentic about him. I think you are full of rage because his actions have NEVER matched his words. This man cheated and lied to you because he wanted to. There are no other reasons.

    • Oh. Entitlement. Hell yeah. No arguments from me, Let go. Yes, he fucked a prostitute and lied. Yes, he fucked his ex just a week or so after we went out for the first time. That is a serial cheat. But I don’t hold his sex life while we were not together against him. And I don’t know where you live but he has slept with considerably less people than most of my contemporaries. Less than ten. That is not obscene in my book. Maybe it is in yours? I don’t believe he’s been a smoke blower forever. I know there are definite instances though. And yes, I think every one of us who has been cheated on wants answers. Usually the answer is entitlement and a lack of moral fibre. Pretty simple stuff. I guess I feel now that I am just working out who I can be. And there is no way around the sadness about a life lived as a lie, especially such a beautiful one. I know it all reads as crap. But it really was wonderful TO ME at the time. That is what was reassuring when my daughter said she remembered. For all his faults, and there are many, he was loving and lovely for the vast majority of our time together. That was real. I often wonder if I imagined it. But it was real. And he did mean it. He just had this side to him that he didn’t crush when push came to shove. I don’t think I’m making excuses for him. His behaviour was atrocious. But he is no monster. And he was genuinely hard working (none harder) kind and loving. He still is. But there was a time when he wasn’t. Fact. He knows it. And is ashamed and apologrtic. I am comfortable I did and am “enough.” The problem is certainly his. And he owns that.

    • I’ve actually thought the same thing. I believe you when you say he was a good, kind, generous person, but right from the beginning, there has been this streak of entitlement, selfishness, and deceit–promising you one thing, then doing whatever the hell he wants instead, and a willingness to take what he wants at your expense. Based on what I’ve read (which I know is only one small piece of the picture) he strikes me as someone who believes it’s better to ask for forgiveness then permission–especially since you’re so cool and what not, that even if you did find out about his assholish behavior, you’d be just fine with it (eye roll).

      Paula, I just think you deserve so much better. I want you to have better–someone who actually is everything he seems to be at his core, someone who really does put you first in all things and keeps his promises and treasures you the way you should have been treasured all along. I hope you get all those things. I really do.

      • Thanks TLM. I know I deserve better. I don’t want another relationship though, just to find peace and some degree of joy. I like me, and I know I can be better with my own company.

        He ABSOLUTELY is an asker for forgiveness rather than permission – something I identified very early on. I chose my battles, I learned how stubborn he was- boy did we have some passionate fights in those first years! (make up sex, HOTTT! – I am too, but I backed down on some things – but I fought them hard when I needed to. He knew that when I put my foot down, I bloody well meant it, and I am an immovable object when I need to be! I am a bit of a nerd, rules are there mostly for a reason, he was one to push more boundaries as far as that goes, a risk taker. To be fair to him, he grew our assets from very little to quite a lot by pushing boundaries, yes, they have stagnated with this choice, but we are pretty well endowed with millions of dollars worth of property, and no debt, but we have no cashflow. He made that choice too early as far as I am concerned – I wasn’t even 40! We were growing still when he pulled the financial handbrake on, I worried about how we would educate the kids. But the money is not really a problem, yes, we were quite well off, but now we are only just comfortable (well, I worry more about money than I ever have, except for when I was a teen student.) But the quality of life is pretty good, we have organic, home-killed meat, an organic vege garden, we eat well, healthily, and I still dress well, and can afford decent skincare, and the odd lovely bottle of wine, and the kids have been on many overseas school trips, etc. I do watch the money far more than I ever did, but that’s not a terrible thing :-).

        I really appreciate your kind words, TLM

  3. Depression is rage with nowhere to go. Roger and what’s her name got away with “it”. Nobody went to jail for killing a marriage. You can’t beat the crap out of either of them. What do you do with all that anger? You turn it on yourself.
    If you and he separate permanently he will find another woman and be a good husband…until he isn’t.
    He is your spouse and you certainly know him better than anyone reading your blog but, Paula, his actions with the whore, and the others, while you while you were in the UK, don’t read as devoted. Soldiers go on deployments with no promise they will make it back home but those left behind should be true to their loved ones. What would he say if you screwed around as much as he has?
    There is no doubt that he is a good father. You write that he was a good partner for years. There is a saying here in the US. You don’t shit in your nest. He did that big time.
    People make poor business decisions all the time just as he did but the burden fell on you and you got rewarded for that by him cheating. Another US saying…..It is enough to gag a maggot. There is/are something, some things that have made you feel less than whole. His mother, your ex friends, his major decision while you were away and of course the good old adultery? Some thing or things. To go from a happy woman to what you are now seems as if your sense of self has been stolen.
    I wish I could just be a disinterested reader but it is impossible. …..joy cometh in the morning. This what I wish for you.

    • Yes, I have told him all of that. I was in love, I needed no one else. He needed sex, and some kind of emotional sounding board. Even when single. Some people just can’t be on their own. It’s pathetic. In our case it is not “if” I leave him, but when, as we are in agreement that we will dissolve this partnership in just over two years, when our youngest leaves home. He understands, and is not mad at me, he really gets how I feel, and that I am perfectly entitled to feel the way I do, but he is resistant, in that he feels he would love for us to salvage something, but I have told him that is impossible, that I cannot live with someone who didn’t totally treasure me, even if he does now, too little, too late. I am special, and I deserve respect and proper love, the kind of love that I earned! But he ruined that by being a selfish, entitled prick. That said, we do get on well, and have committed to truth, and respect until then, including the possibility of any new partners (I have no desire for this, but if he does, we agree to discuss where he needs to move to.) He says he wants no one else, but his actions prove he cannot say this with any certainty. He misses sex too much. I don’t think he can do without it for two more years! That’s fine, but he just needs to take it elsewhere, and he says he will tell me if this occurs. I don’t care, he can do what he likes, but he cannot do it in front of the children until we are separated in actuality. He did all of those things you describe, and he admits and owns this as the most shameful and personally harmful thing he has ever done, and probably is likely to ever do in the future.

      In the beginning of this post-affair period, when we thought we were saving “us” – I thought it seemed a pretty stupid thing to do, to go through all of this, the counselling, the self-awareness he gained and fully participated in, only to separate and “give him” to some other woman in the future, a fully reconditioned model! But the past sticks, and I have said it on another blog, he can be a good man again, and I honestly believe he will be, you gotta see the remorse and the way he has lived these past years – but he can never be MY good man again. He is permanently tarnished FOR ME. Shitty life lesson for us both.

      Funny thing is, I didn’t mistrust him, not ever. Not in the beginning, not during those great years. The only time I started to doubt, and it was the tiniest of niggles, was not long after he started screwing her. For another year, I had no doubts about him, but then I started to notice there was something off. It seemed she was texting more, and at odd hours (the desperate bunny boiler was coming out as he was trying to unstick her claws from his clothing!) But I never did any digging, I trusted him to tell me the truth if I asked a direct question. That is how much I trusted him.

  4. It seems your daughter has worked through it and is handling it well. I’m glad. My children, although they were all in their early 20’s when they found out, have shown visible stress from the experience and they struggle with their emotional lives. And unfortunately, I see it clearly but Daniel does not. His head is still stuck in the sand where his children are concerned. He realizes that it was difficult, but he thinks they have all gotten over it. He does not see that children are affected deeply and, like me, have been changed by it.

    • I worry about mine, as I thought I processed my own parents’ divorce really well, but know now that it was just sitting around waiting for a hurt to catalyse it into the pain I feel today. Until this, I didn’t feel any loss. I don’t want to poke too hard at them, but I am curious to see what they think.

      I am so sorry that your children have all been affected in a negative manner, DJ. I asked Dee if her, or her friends thought I was weak, or stupid for staying. She shot back, “not at all.” At her age, I would have thought a woman who stayed with a dirty cheat was both weak and stupid. That was either interesting, or she was trying to spare my feelings. Of course everyone is changed. Their whole worldview was shaken and turned on its head. Daniel is in denial about this, and that is very sad. Roger can see the effects on the kids, but feels a bit helpless about it. I try to talk and be open and honest, whereas the cheats tend to want to hide their shame. Rog has talked with our eldest daughter (almost 22) but not really the other two much. I think it would be a great dad-son topic one day in the not-too-distant future. Especially the safe sex part, and the part about how Leanne conceived a child using stolen semen from a used condom that a sex partner did not dispose of himself. If he doesn’t I will definitely be talking to him myself before he leaves for uni in late Feb!

  5. Your daughter is certainly wise for one so young.

    I know a lot of you believe I should have told our kids what a cheating asshole their dad was but when I read stories like yours and DJ’s I’m so pleased that we kept it from them. The truth is, that with so many married people cheating, the odds are that with 4 kids, 2 of them will cheat on their spouses whether they know of their dad’s infidelity or not. I’m just not sure I would have been strong enough to deal with their devastation as well as my own. Kudos to those of you that have been honest with your kids xx

    • PW. I don’t think there is a right or wrong. I didn’t tell mine for nine months. I only did when I was about to sign a lease on a rental when I was going to leave him – but ultimately didn’t. We were careful not to be overly emotional, but there were tears from me. I explained how hurt I was and how gutted he is. I think everyone decides for themselves what is best for their children. I felt in a small town where everyone knew I owed them my version πŸ™‚

  6. My boys know and it has affected them. I wish i could have kept it from them, but there was no way, not with their dad being passive aggressive and a total arse (using your word Paula πŸ™‚
    I try to talk to them, to be open and let them know that they can come to me anytime, to talk or ask questions.
    My kids are my life. Not my husband or my marriage…

    • lonely, there is no right or wrong, you just do the best you can with the circumstances you find yourself with. If you were visibly upset such a lot, the boys needed a proper explanation, not some lame, “oh, Mommy is peeling onions/remembering a sad movie/thatkindofcrap,” and hey, this is real life, they know how much their Dad’s choices – to help or not to help you – have impacted on your emotional wellbeing. What’s wrong with that?

      My partner was the one I loved most, the one I chose. I totally love my kids, but I got what I got, I CHOSE the partner, they just came and you make the best of what you are entrusted with :-). I see why you love yours more. I don’t feel a whole lot of love for anyone now, yes, I mostly like them, I know I must love them, but it doesn’t feel fierce, like my love for all of them – him and them – used to xx.

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