Tearing at the Fabric

Of the space-time continuum

Happy, happy, joy, joy

28 Comments

Well. We got there. Christmas 2015 ticked off. Survived.

I used to quite enjoy Christmas. I guess we were pretty spoiled. We had a large and happy extended family who celebrated at my in-laws. They still lived in the main homestead on our farm, so we didn’t have to travel far. We had a good income, we were financially fairly comfortable, and I could buy a few gifts without too much budgetary restraint and we were both self-employed and not beholden to anyone else. With change came a new job for me, I now work for someone else, and have done since he sold our farm and effectively made me unemployed. This year, my boss bought new accounting software on her accountant’s insistence. We have been battling away trying to make it work for four months, and it has basically created another 0.7-0.9 admin position, which we cannot afford, when the whole point was to save about $5K on accountancy fees. She made the call to go back to our old software about a week ago (the old system was simpler, but very effective) and I have been doing long days transferring balances into spreadsheets to import back into the old, as well as dealing with our traditionally busiest period leading into Christmas. It has been frantic, to say the least. My boss let me know how relieved she was, and how incredibly grateful she has been for my extra hours worked to get things sorted. (Almost!)

I struggle a little with Christmas now. My happy, contented and passionate life is now a bit of a memory. I don’t feel truly passionate about….well, anything really now. I have tried to cultivate passions. But I kind of now accept that it may never happen. The deep love I felt for Roger may have been it. In any case, it isn’t something you can cultivate. I feel good about plenty of things, but not PASSIONATE.

Anyway, the point of this meandering post is that we had a pleasant Christmas. Our eldest daughter drove up from the capital and our son was home by 3pm from his summer job. We had our main meal in the evening. It was nice. But it isn’t really special anymore. Earlier in the day, Rog and I had a quiet conversation. I noticed I was a bit sharp with him in the morning about something trivial, and he bit back in kind. That is not how we are, and I later went to him and held him, apologising. We both agreed that we needed to regroup about that kind of behaviour. I also spoke quietly about my battle with this time of the year. Leanne’s birthday is Christmas Eve, and as an old “friend” I always think of her.

The year he dragged us away from his family, 2008, I decided we needed to create new traditions. So, I bought a beautiful artificial tree (I am a real tree kinda girl) and travelled down to decorate the lake house, inviting my father and brother and his family down there, planning to have a gorgeous Christmas in a new location, with my family, instead of his, who had rejected us all. The thing is, in hindsight, this was in the thick of the most intense period of their affair. I had no idea. But I do remember him being completely disconnected from us all. He seemed distracted, and I put it down to missing his family and his general dislike of Christmas. However, I was a bit resentful that he didn’t play the game, didn’t get into the spirit of trying to build something new together, for our family. I noticed he was a bit fidgety, always needing to go outside, or go on a mission to collect something. Truth was, he was busy trying to get a mobile signal to constantly text her – for her birthday, and then the next day, for Christmas. He was getting updates about what her son got for Christmas, and took no notice of what our much older kids were doing, and enjoying. He shakes his head in disbelief, and cannot recall that time in any detail – unlike me, I remember it well.

My brother and his family rang to say they had turned back home at about lunchtime, so it was just my depressed and depressing Dad, and us. That was fine by me, I cooked and prepped food for 40! I hadn’t adjusted to the much smaller gathering. But I enjoyed myself nonetheless. Christmas since then has been tough, as I recall Roger’s complete disinterest in us, his ruining of Christmas memories in so many ways, but mostly how he robbed time from our family to text a stupid and selfish bitch, and how I now associate Christmas with that, no matter how hard I try to put it all behind me.

This afternoon, my mother’s bestie messaged me to let me know he was thinking of me. He has recently found out that my relationship is over, and was concerned for me. Β He adores Rog, too. Mum was a real Christmas girl, and this was my fifteenth without her. I let him know that Christmas was quiet and relaxing. He made tears fall down my cheeks with how he said I was my mum’s girl, and to call in any time “if I feel like getting lost.” I love him to bits. He lives about an hour away.

I guess, the point of this rambling post is just to write it out, the sadness I feel about loss. Still. But also that I am coping better, life is going on, but the gloss has definitely never returned.

I hope you all managed Christmas well. I enjoyed the two eldest’s company, and video chatted with my youngest who is in Marseille with her host family. I didn’t eat too much, but feel like I have! Must get more focused on my exercise from this week, the past few weeks have been so busy, it has gone on the back burner, and I feel very tubby!

I hope one day I will feel peace and joy again, like I did for the first 41 years πŸ™‚

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28 thoughts on “Happy, happy, joy, joy

  1. Paula, I praise you for approaching your husband and making amends. It’s such a terrible loss that this time of year will never be truly special for you again. And it’s amazing how much husbands do not remember while they were in their affair fog. Sending Christmas love to you across the pond. SWxo

  2. This is beautiful and full of sorrow and loss. I am hoping 2016 has a ton of new and fantastic things in store for you.

    • Thanks, CR ☺. It already has! I start my Masters in 2016 and have a two week trip to Argentina planned for March/April. Can’t complain really. The thing is, this experience has changed me in less than positive ways. Although I am looking forward to things, there just isn’t the pure joy and sparkle anymore. It’s weird. And not something you’re allowed to admit in “polite company.” And it makes me feel like an ungrateful shit!

  3. Love how you write and are able to say exactly all that you feel. I don’t feel so alone reading you when you do post.
    ❀ NH

  4. The new normal ain’t like the old, but we do eventually learn to live with what we have now. Sometimes it feels like a whole lot less, but it is our life. I love that you made that connection with Rog. It is good for others, and good for us when we treat people with kindness. This is a strange time of year. It sounds like you are at a place where you are enjoying what you can. You have accomplished so much this year and 2016 looks to be very promising! I can’t wait to see what happens next for you! xxx

    • That is certainly very true, about the new normal, Kat. The thing is, for me, I choose something different to many here. I think it is possible to find something better than staying with a man who I love dearly, but no longer feel respect for in the way that I need to be able to share my everything with. I also believe we will always have a connection. We are amazing friends and he can still make me laugh and feel understood. We are kind to each other, it is important, but I find I do slip into snark if I am tired, and I wasn’t like that before. That is the resentment that comes out when I am less mindful/tired. I do feel that there is more out there for me than looking at him and feeling the stab of pain that I ALWAYS do. Not only that, I believe there is more out there for him than having someone who is so disappointed in him constantly. He fucked up, and I don’t think I will ever be able to release him from that, it will always be in the background of everything we do. He admitted to me recently that he totally forgives himself (which for the record, I think is actually pretty healthy) and honestly, I just don’t. Not the way I’d like to be able to to stay with him. I guess I no longer want to learn to live with the new normal. I think there might be a better way for me personally :-).

      • My point exactly. You are defining your new normal, for me that is far from a stagnant concept. We all have different circumstances. We all move forward in different ways. I don’t really look at it as whether we are able to forgive or not, but how we choose to live our lives post betrayal. It’s not really about them anymore. Personally I think there is more out there for all of us. Stay, go, friends, estranged, it’s all about living the best way we know how. The better way is your new normal, day by day. xxx

      • Thanks Kat. I just wish I didn’t feel so mean and such guilt about not being “forgiving” enough. The doubt. Am I cutting off my nose to spite my face? I know better. But still feel the guilt and doubt and loss and sadness and….

  5. Holidays are strange times. They pull out a lot of emotions. Holidays are also markers. This time next year you will probably be in a far different place from where you are now. I hope it will be a place where you find your passion. Merry Christmas and happy new year ❀️

  6. Paula I have missed you! Glad you got through this hard time of year. Me too. Somehow! I have a long story to tell about my absence but I shouldn’t do it on your comments. All is well and I hope it is on your side of the pond too.

  7. I don’t know if it’s because his affair coincided with our children becoming teens and then during the recover them becoming young adults but the magic and sparkle has definitely gone out of our Christmas. Like you I enjoy it but I don’t ‘love’ it anymore. It’s a funny time of years isn’t it? The pressure to enjoy, or appearing as if you’re enjoying yourself is immense. And the things that are lacking, the missing essentials are held up to the light.
    2016 is going to be an amazing year for you, you’re taking for yourself the things you need – props my friend!! X

    • Cheers, owlie. Yup. And yup. The affair was also during my kids’ teen years, and occurred after some big changes in our lives, and he made those changes, without my full consent. I was a good little partner and went along with it, not liking any of it, talking to him about how it made me feel, and discussing how we could make things better, and I didn’t fuck anyone else? In fact, I think if anyone thought anything, it was that I had more “reason” to cheat than him, and that in and of itself kind sucks! Anyhoo, that is all ancient history, and the present is what we all deal with, the changed present, the present where that purity of faithful and truly passionate love is gone, where love is a changed beast, and you have to decide how to proceed.

      Thank you for believing in me. I don’t see a starry future, but I do hope for and strive for some of that very underrated contentment that I know I used to enjoy and appreciate! You too, chick!

      • And the fact that you strive for it still and don’t give up, that is immense. The hardest thing to do is keep moving forward in the face of a new reality that we don’t want and didn’t ask for. X X X

  8. Horses… I hope 2016 is magical for you. I kind of stalked your blog because you have so much that is intriguing to me, and you seem super rational and yet also you want to have fun… you are a bit wild, and yet all your zest is lost (I’m not saying gone because I believe Stella will get her groove back someday…) I just started my blog, detailing my new adventure down the rabbit hole as a betrayed spouse. I can’t figure out if it was kismet or something that led me to find so many awesome bloggers before I had D day or if I somehow knew but didn’t know so I felt drawn… Regardless. Feel free to hop over and read my ramblings of you have time. I can’t wait to see some pics of your trip this year!

  9. Happy New Year Paula ❀ I’ve been staying away from the ‘blogosphere’ for a while now in a bid to focus more on the present, but I always find myself drawn back to you. I know that you see this blog as just a way of making sense of your feelings, but I mean it from the bottom of my heart when I tell you that your words have meant more to me than you could ever know. You are a shining star in a cloud of darkness, and I find such comfort in your words. My admiration for how you have handled yourself in this awful situation is beyond words.
    I’m thankful for having three young children as their excitement and joy got me through this Christmas, but there was still such unbelievable sadness, particularly as I watched my husband play with the kids. He really does adore them, the joy in his eyes is radiant. He has always said that being a father is his greatest achievement, as a teenager his friends would take the Mickey out of him because his dream in life was to be ‘a husband and daddy’. When our first son was born he paraded him around the whole town like a new toy, our daughter followed and he cried as he promised her that he would be the best man he could be for her. When our youngest arrived, our chubby baby boy, he smiled at me through his tears and said “You keep giving me these gorgeous kids, you’ve made me the happiest man alive”. I used to beam from ear to ear and feel fucking INVINCIBLE when I recalled those memories, and now they, like so many others, are just tinged blue with utter sadness. I watched my beautiful wee family playing together on Christmas morning and I didn’t feel invincible anymore, I felt destitute. And Paula I totally empathise with your feelings of “am I just being ungrateful?”. I know that there are so many BS’s who would kill for what I have; a husband who had a one-night stand that he instantly regretted and told me about, a husband who by all accounts is genuinely torn apart with remorse and shame, a husband who says he will stay and take whatever I have to throw at him, who will do whatever it takes to win back my love and trust. So why isn’t this enough for me? Am I the problem? Am I the obstacle to my own happiness? I think this is probably the saddest lesson that comes from infidelity, and one that both my husband and I feel so very deeply, and that is; sometimes you just can’t make it better. Sometimes all the remorse and self-improvement and trying cannot undo the damage. If I could say one thing to anyone out there who is thinking about being unfaithful it would be that: are you prepared for the fact that you might never be able to make things ok again? It sounds ridiculously simple, but that’s the thing that haunts me every waking minute. That this is now my life, every corner touched by the infinite sadness that things will never again be as they were, and even if we try to make it something new my joy has died and there will be no resurrection.
    Sorry if this post brings anyone down, I just wanted to say that I understand your grief. It’s always a hard time of year. I truly wish you peace and happiness for this year to come, and hope you will continue to write as I look forward to seeing where life takes you next xx

    • KJ. I am sorry to have taken so long to reply. I read this and just didn’t have any words. I still don’t. But I want you to know that I heard you. And I understand. It just taints love in a way you have no idea about. “Just” a one night stand. Might as well have been a ten year love affair. It’seems a weird pain. One that isn’t comparable to any other I have suffered. And one that makes us feel guilty- “just get over it, worse things happen, yaddah, yaddah, yaddah….” but the fact is, this changes everything. Weird eh? And gutting. I hope you find a way. It is a slow climb.

  10. Thank you Paula, although it hurts my soul to know that there are so many of us in this mess, but there is also a strange comfort in knowing that I’m not alone, that somewhere out there in the world there are people who understand what I’m feeling. ‘It might as well have been a 10 year love affair’, you hit the nail on the head right there. And I know many BS’ would probably disagree and say that they wish their husbands had only had a one night stand, but I can assure them that the pain is just as bad. When a spouse has a long-term affair there’s room for questions, picking apart their psyche trying to find out what drove them to make the terrible choice to cheat, there’s therapy and self-help books and a chance for self-improvement. But I have to live with the knowledge that my husband simply made the drunken selfish choice on a whim, there were no feelings of inadequacy from his childhood, no deep-seated insecurities from marriage or life. He just did it because he wanted to. With his so-called ‘friends’ who ‘cheered and clapped’ outside the door, egging him on like a bunch of horny frat boys. These men were groomsmen at our wedding, some of them are godfathers to our kids. They’ve been as much a part of my life as my husband. Now I can’t bear to look at any of them. Did I really mean so little that they could encourage my husband to do that to me? I had the support of their embarrassed wives for a while, but alas it wasn’t THEIR husbands who cheated, so ultimately their loyalty has fallen with their own family, and I’m left as the constant victim, her who just can’t ‘get over it already’. Within days of it happening the news had already spread through our small town like wildfire (which is why I’m not all that grateful for the fact that my husband confessed to me, he insists that he would have told me regardless but I think his act had less to do with altruism or any sense of respect for me and more to do with him getting a jump-start on the narrative because he knew that the news would reach my ears soon enough) My husband grew up in this town, his whole family live here, I was the glamorous city girl who came to live with the beloved country boy, and he is still beloved by all, the good guy who just did something silly! And I’m the outsider who just doesn’t understand the country way of life, who ought to be thankful for her blessings and stop acting like I’m the only woman who’s ever been wronged. There’s still an old-fashioned culture around here of ‘men do what men do, and women need to just put up and shut up’. Not exactly a good environment for healing, but I am trying. Even when I don’t want to try anymore, I put one foot in front of the other and keep going. But thank you for your kindness Paula, if it wasn’t for your blog and some others I think I might just have gone crazy by now!
    Can I ask, how did you feel when Roger told you that he has completely forgiven himself? I know you’re in a different place than me, but I really don’t think I would handle that well at all if my husband said those words to me. I think my alter-ego Miss Sarcastic McSnappypants would have chimed in with “Well isn’t that nice? I’m sure glad one of us is able to forgive you completely!” Xx

    • I reacted just as you say you would! It wasn’t said in a cocky way. Not at all. But he admitted that he has mostly come to terms with the hideousness of what he was capable of. When he did say that, I was furious and felt a huge sense of injustice. Great. You, the perpetrator of the worst-pain-in-the-world, get a fresh start. A kind of free pass. I don’t fully forgive him. I never will. What he did, with my friend, in my homes, on my property, with my children in the house, etc, etc is actually, literally unforgivable. And I think you are wrong about looking into the psyche behind the entitlement a one night stand in front of all his mates! That is some deeply selfish and bizarre behaviour. Roger is here and I read it out. He said no way would he have done that with any mates around, it would be deeply frowned upon. And no one would cheer him on. And we live near a town of around 6k people. Rural as anything. I believe your husband does have to look at why he felt the mob mentality made it okay in that moment. The whole examination of the psyche and background isn’t to point a finger and “blame” anyone or anything, Roger has done a lot of this, and he actually had a not bad childhood, but the nuances of it do make it clear why he developed his non-communicative ways. I don’t blame his parents, I think they were doing a pretty good job given the circumstances and their own skills brought to the parenting table. It was just an era where communication was not always encouraged. A lot of suck it up buttercup shit. Being the youngest, and the only boy, I think, MAY have also contributed to slightly “entitled” thinking, he doesn’t think there was a lot of this, but he does think that he was a little “neglected” with high maintenance sisters causing dramas, he just got on with things in his own independent way. This is all “normal” stuff. The thing is, somewhere along the line, your husband learned that if he fucked up, it would just be a moment, and that he could apologise, get back on track, and no major damage done. And this seems understandable. But I KNEW all along that cheating is MAJOR to the hurt party, it lasts forever, and causes deep insecurities and a mistrustful outlook. Roger never took that lesson on board, possibly because he wasn’t so badly damaged when cheated on in a previous relationship – with the OW! But also, and he will tell you this, he observed people “just getting on with it, like they seemed to get over it.” It isn’t like he didn’t think I would be hurt, he just thought that people heal fully and completely if they stay together. He knows better now, and I just face palm wondering how anyone can think that way, all the while understanding that many do!

  11. You’ve given me a lot of food for thought there. My husband too is the only boy, and the eldest, with four younger sisters. He was (and still is) the ‘golden boy’. Spoilt by everyone. So maybe there is some kind of deep-rooted subconscious sense of entitlement. ‘I can do whatever I want and people will just shrug it off because I’m the golden boy’. As for the mob mentality with his ‘friends’, I constantly question ‘why my husband’. He’s not the boisterous one of the group, he’s not the show-off, or the daredevil. So did he think he had something to prove? I mentioned before how my husband’s friends often teased him because his dream in life was simply to be a husband and father. Did this teasing maybe hit a nerve with my husband? Did he carry around some hidden insecurity over people perceiving him as ‘boring?’. It’s been over a year now since D-Day and still the questions questions endless questions. I’ve always been a pragmatic person; if I have all the information I can make a clear and concise decision. But with infidelity I find that the information I receive is just never enough. It brings me no peace. I feel quite petulant at times, I know that this is my new reality and that I must accept it, but goddamnit I really don’t want to! Forgiveness is a tricky issue for me, I feel like there’s a certain level of victim-blaming in forgiveness; the insinuation that you are bitter and unable to be the bigger person if you don’t forgive, and that forgiveness is somehow the key to eternal peace. I’m not buying it. I don’t think forgiveness is owed. Reconciliation is not owed either, but I’ve chosen to remain in my marriage, I can only hope that I’ve made the right choice. Thank you again for talking with me, it’s a huge comfort xx

    • Nothing happens in a vacuum, KJ. There are always factors that contribute. I feel you are onto something with the possibility that he felt a moment of “fuck it, I’m not so boring.” Sorry, my memory is not great, have either of you had any therapy to deal with any of this? Our best MC opened up a lot of dialogue about why Roger ended up where he did. He was actually quite honest about his doubts as a young therapist about going back to childhood and pinning stuff on that, but in practice for a good twenty years with couples, he said you can’t not take childhood stuff into account. We are formed by our pasts, and how we perceive them, react to them and reinterpret the world due to our experiences. That said, there is also a real element of not ever really being able to get to the bottom of the whys. There will never truly be any answer that satisfies, explains and makes things perfectly clear. But that does not mean that we stop asking. It is a bloody hard and frustrating road.

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