Tearing at the Fabric

Of the space-time continuum


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The dating app life

Oh, those on dating apps, who are in fact, NOT SINGLE!

Yep. Fun fact. Many of these people lie! Shock, horror!

When I read Roger’s profile on matchdotCON, I felt sick!

The lies he told. And the messages with all the other women…🤢🤮

What a lovely, lonely man he was.

Yeah, right!

Except he was still with me, the completely faithful, loving mother of his three adult children and I had been duped, was totally under the impression we were healing from his long affair with his cheating exGF 🤦‍♀️

And I even drove all the way to the AP’s city, to tell her in person, that HE WAS NOT SINGLE, I didn’t get that memo. I know I was in deep shock, and was probably far too “nice,” about it. As I left, we hugged, FFS!!!

It was so humiliating.

The messages I retrieved, and the ones I was sent by one of the OW. Bloody hell. I saw how I had been duped! This guy was an expert level love bomber. Far more subtle than you’d think. Sweet. Kind. Concerned. Not in your face, jewellery and flowers, more creepy. Because it sounded so genuine! My skin prickled, breaking out in a sweat when I read the words exchanged.

But I saw the patterns. He was telling them what he told me…fuck. That was painful. I wasn’t special. I wasn’t exclusively adored. I wasn’t the sexiest woman alive (well, d’uh!) I wasn’t the only love of his life! 🤣😢

I wonder how Trinket is able to live with all of this? Does she really believe him? I guess she is like me, vulnerable, and easy to lie to, soaking up all the bullshit like the unloved sponge her dead cheater husband made her. I actually feel sorry for her and the life she led. But that doesn’t excuse what she did to me.


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Mondayitis

It blew a gale last night.

I was going to come home, but stayed. The weather got worse. Rain drove in under the seal on BG’s bathroom door.

I didn’t sleep past 2am. He slept soundly.

At 4, I decided I would get up, shower, and drive home through the storm. There might be road closures, and I had to shift stock and get to work. Arrived home really early, in the dark, so climbed into my bed, and napped for half an hour, before heading out to shift my heifers, and feed them hay, in the rain.

It wasn’t so bad over here.

But I’m feeling really blue. Weird. I haven’t had the Monday blues for a while.

I think I was so spoiled, so loved this weekend, I miss him already, and wonder how we are going to make this work.

I am still independently working on my future. And it’s a bit frustrating. Scary, too, as the banks are getting very nervous.

Tired. I’m unfit, and feel really crappy. I need to take myself off to bed, so I can get up an exercise in the morning. I haven’t been looking after this body properly.

Keep going. Just keep going, Paula.


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Introverted

Because I wear bright colours, had a purple mohawk back in the day, and pushed small town boundaries, people thought I was an extrovert.

I didn’t know where I fit.

I knew I wasn’t an extrovert.

But I wasn’t introverted.

I always knew I was trying to find my peace.

Roger is naturally comfortable and loves social situations. He was a perfect match for me, a socially anxious person. I could ride in on his coat tails

The above post explains it so well.

And, I thought about that eight year period. Where I knew he was a cheater, and worked my butt off, to heal US.

Looking back, after he cheated again, I can see he never bought into the whole healing journey.

I was doing all the work. He just hoped I would “get over it.

A friend posted this.

Perfect.

When I realized I was the only one doing the work. Scheduling therapy, getting sitters for therapy, reading books, taking our kid to therapy, reminding him of every little thing, etc. I told him to schedule the next therapy appointment. I never reminded him, and he never did.

I was giving him credit for MY efforts. So what if he showed up for therapy I scheduled, got a sitter for, reminded him of, and got us to on time? I realized he was like a puppet I was projecting my hopes and dreams on. I made it look like he was trying – but he wasn’t trying.

So appallingly frustrating.

And the best reason I have for being no contact.

He never loved me.

Not real love.

I loved him.

And still do.

But I know the man I love does not exist.

It’s a grief no one understands.


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Getting spoiled

What a weekend.

Started off on Friday with a lovely lunch at one of my favourite places. A drive up the coast, to some of our favourite people, another divine meal at their local delight.

Wake up to their stunning, 180° views

This view never gets old

A day to myself, to meander. Ingrid was teaching a jewellery making course in her studio. Her and Andy’s son (BG’s godson) was building a computer. Fascinating. I helped him hold as he assembled, etc. He got it finished, and it is amazing. All neon LED lights and clear sides.

I love my own company. Always have.

So, I went for a drive to a nearby town, pottered around the art galleries, and walked along the beaches. Decided to walk out to a tourist spot I haven’t visited since my teens. The only car in the car park. Magical!

Back at Andy and Ingrid’s, the boys arrived back from golf shortly after I did. A few beers (I was sober driving) and a chat about relationships, Andy talked about the guilt of his 24 year relationship with Ingrid – “officially” 21 – as they started while he was married to his two older children’s mum. It was ugly. Infidelity always is. I know he has talked about it with me before. And “justifies” it, as such, with “at least I am still madly in love with her. No way should I have done that. But we are very in love, at least. And E (ex wife) talks to us. It took a while. And I don’t blame her, but we are all civil and share these great adults now. It has never been something I am okay about.”

I did say, curtly, “except while you were doing it…”

New guy to the group, Irish Paul, was sharing he had a new girlfriend, of two months. Talked about how he has to remember he is partnered, let her know his whereabouts, etc. There was a bit of banter about how she comes from a seriously wealthy family, her kids, who were born triplets, one not surviving, and one of the now 20 year olds having special needs.

Then Ingrid asked, “but is she a wonderful, lovely person, too? Like our Paula here, who BG brought into our lives? How long has it been now?” (Naw, how sweet is she???) BG quickly said, “three years! On the 18th of May.” I laughed loudly inside. And he explained our start. I piped up with, “well, I was a bit flighty. Disappeared after two lunch dates, for nine months.” The lads looked at BG. “What did you do? And she came back! What?”

“Yeah, well, wouldn’t you run, too?” He laughed.

Then, “I knew she wasn’t ready.” Andy added, to let Spud and Paul know, “she’d just left her husband not long earlier.” I corrected, “well, he left me.” He nodded and said, “there was leaving.” I explained it was only two years since he announced he was leaving me for another woman. The wounds were still pretty raw.

But yeah, I came back. I did some more work on healing. The only guy I talked to, obviously made an impression, lol.

We went to check out an open home for Spud, who is looking to relocate out of Auckland.

Home. BG had hinted there was something going on, earlier in the day. And had obviously told the lads, as they all nearly let the cat out of the bag. I got nervous!

“Get dressed, darling. I’m taking you somewhere, we have to leave by 6.45pm.”

Turns out, he had booked us into a luxury boutique hotel’s restaurant.

It was a bit of a magical mystery tour! Get in the car…

Fun fact. The first boy I ever loved, helped build this hotel, in the 80s! He’d done a year of uni, then decided it wasn’t for him. Went to live at his parents’ bach, to surf and figure life out. Had a job there as a builder’s labourer.

When I dropped out of university in the winter of my third year, although we were not a couple, I went to stay with him. We slept snuggled into each other, he held me close as I came to terms with my disappointment and fears about what next. He was a very special guy.

And as we sat, enjoying a red wine, I reflected quietly.

Had Rog ever done anything like this for me???

Had he booked and surprised me? Taken me on a tour to an unknown destination?

And I couldn’t remember any event like it.

A simple, but amazing, surprise dinner.

Am I not remembering “us” well? Am I blanking out nice things he did???

And this made me really sad. Did I live with a man I adored, who never did lovely things like this for me? If so, why did I love him so very deeply?

Ugh.

A lovely man, whom I love (and internally, I always add, but this is different, and he doesn’t know me like Rog) did something truly delightful for me. And I am trapped in memories, trying to untangle the whole awful mess of my previous life.

I mindfully brought myself back. I let BG know that this was a very special, truly thoughtful gesture. And I appreciate him so much.

He was quietly chuffed with himself. I know this isn’t something he feels he is good at. Showing how much he loves me by “gifting” such experiences. And I think he realised that I do really appreciate gestures like this. This is the kind of gesture that would be nice on a special occasion. And was doubly nice “just because.”

A weekend counting my blessings, for sure. I really do live far more mindfully than I ever used to.

But today, my mind is going through its Roladex.

Flick, flick, flick, flick…

Surely Rog planned some nice surprises for me?

Surely?

How can this happen? That I can’t find any. Have I got so good at remembering the horrors of those last few years, that I’ve deleted memories of how very wonderful we once were?

My heart aches. I’m so grateful for BG, and his love. But yeah, much as I have worked hard to heal, my love for the Rog I knew has never died. And I know not to grasp at straws, but I’m stunned at how affected I was by BG’s thoughtful, grand gesture.


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The fourth year

We are at friends up the peninsula.

A lovely dinner out, drinks and shooting pool afterwards. The boys jumped in the spa pool late, I went to bed, snuggled down and tried to sleep.

This is such a great life. I am so damn lucky.

Yesterday, BG drove an elderly man to the neighbouring town, so he could catch the bus to visit family. He does this. Random acts of kindness. Looking out for those who need some assistance. During our lockdowns, he organised a community check in system, for some vulnerable people. Once we moved to level 3, he had the club’s kitchen make meals for those who may need them. Vacuum packed and contactless pick up or delivery. It is a part of his charm!

Anyway, I had a quieter day, just some stock work, some small DIY tasks to address, and a trip to the city, to pick up some pre-ordered door hardware and drop some boots of BG’s off, to re-sole.

He messaged. “Lunch at the FR? 1.30?”

A gorgeous wee restaurant, set in a small forest, on my way to his place. I went straight over after driving past the building site where my business is going to be, to check on progress.

So, that was a lovely start to the weekend.

Home to his. Then he packed a bag, and we headed up here.

On the way, he was chatty.

His work is – as always – very stressful. Not enough staff. It is concerning him. One young, valued member, was hospitalised yesterday. She has some ongoing chronic health condition. And it’s awful to hear she is sick again.

But, another one out sick as well, it puts a lot of pressure on the under-resourced team. He constantly worries the good staff will leave, if they are not supported by the rest of the team. If they don’t get decent time off, etc.

This talk always leads to “I should just resign, come live with you.”

Then he said,”but only if you still want me.”

Hmmm. This gets old. “Why would I be sitting in your car, if I don’t want to be with you, darling?”

Then, some of his well guarded vulnerability slipped out. Something I hadn’t considered.

“Well, because it’s year four. It always goes pear-shaped in year four. My work obsession, the negativity, that’s what happens.”

I smiled at him. “Then don’t let it. Let’s not do that. Let’s choose differently.

And what’s ‘always?’ You mean once.

Chrissy.

Chrissy left around the four year mark. Who else?”

No one. I knew that. But I got, “maybe Colleen?”

I replied, “no, nowhere near four years. And she didn’t leave you. You both decided that you are better friends (internally my brain repeated, friends-with-benefits) than being in a relationship with each other. So that doesn’t count. Who else?”

The truth is, other than Linda, who is the mother of the kids – now adults – he still cares about, and financially and emotionally is still there for, no one was four years. Linda was over a decade. But they were off and on. They never lived together. He really only kept a connection with her because he cared about her and the kids struggling. He was honest with her. He never loved her. He cared about them all, as they were vulnerable. Under-educated single mum, a drug addicted ex, two vulnerable kids living in a town with big social problems. He tried to protect them, provide a buffer, and some kind of stability, without over promising to her.

So. Four years. This is the scary fourth year.

That he has constructed a weird discourse about.

I thought he’d been a bit weird since our anniversary.

It makes sense now. He’s nervous. He has rarely had a relationship come this far. He’s never had a joint bank account. He’s never worked towards moving to a partner, moving in with her. Instead of her moving to, and in with him. He’s only once considered changing careers/jobs for a woman, and it never happened anyway.

He’s in that nervous waiting room. He’s been sitting on 99 not out, ever since, almost too scared to play a shot. All of the shots played are defensive.

What am I going to do with him?! 🤣

I just held his hand, and said, “I’m here. I’m not going anywhere. We’ll talk again when we get to thirty years, and you are leaving me for another woman.” Winked at him and in return he flashed his dimples and rolled his eyes, “fuck, thirty years, I’ll be dead and buried by then!”

We all have our shit. Sometimes, it seeps over the edge of the pretty box we built to try to contain it. The stench of that shit can upend the rest of the pretty stuff you have worked to surround it with.

If you let it.


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Crazy

I know how Roger tells the story.

To his friends.

To Trinket.

To all the other women, who ask.

I was unforgiving.

I am crazy.

He HAD to have another affair. I made him do it. (I have these superpowers. Shame I couldn’t seem to use them to stop him fucking around…)

I spent time last weekend with my “adopted” family. Some of the siblings of my former-very-best-friend- current-still-good-friend.

Her eldest sister, C, whose holiday home we all met up in, is twice divorced. Four children with her first husband, and a bad rebound marriage. Over twenty years ago, she left fourteen year long marriage a lovely farmer in a small town. She just realised she didn’t love him anymore. It was super sad. She felt huge guilt. But knew she needed to move on and do more authentic things with her life.

And in doing so, let him go. He is remarried now.

And she was painted as crazy, in that town.

I remember it all quite well.

After the weekend fun with her, BG and I had dinner with one of his best friends, M. They, coincidentally, are from the same district, and family friends with her ex’s family. His first marriage collapsed around the same era.

C was a teacher at the local high school. There were really awful rumours that she had an affair. One of the rumours said it was with the school’s head boy. She didn’t, and ewwwww! But she is a good looking, friendly sort, about a decade younger than her first husband, and that probably seemed flirty to a small, conservative farming community. She knows that town labelled her. Two of her four adult children, the parents of her four grandchildren, live there still. So she still has connections.

M, said to me, “oh, I hear you were with C yesterday. She’s all good, just a bit fucking crazy though.”

Hmmm.

The funny thing is, M is a bit nuts himself. In the very best ways. Talk the hind leg off … well, anything really … well read, eccentric, funny, interesting, arty… But, he’s a man. And there is no crazy lady/ex narrative about him. Women are emotional/crazy and men are rational/sane.

Of course.

So I know how I am painted. I know it was easy, when Rog manipulated, lied to and about me, to make me the crazy ex. I walked right into that trap.

🤦‍♀️🤦‍♀️🤦‍♀️


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Intent

I didn’t mean to hurt you.

This was Roger’s calling card.

I usually just sat silently with it.

When the stupid came out of his mouth.

But really?

What did you think would happen, dude?

You didn’t think.

Because you were so clever. You would never get caught.

They are never concerned about consequences.

Or pain.

It’s all exciting.

Erotic.

A rush of adrenaline.

Until we know.

And the pain is ugly.

And yeah, guess what? Fucking painful.

Damn.

Bugger.

Fuck.


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Here’s the thing

We are having a lot of stress at work.

I say we, meaning everyone, as a team.

The pandemic, closed borders (just slowly reopening now) has created pressures on small business that are stressful for all. Not least of which on managers and business owners.

People are fatigued.

And have learned bad habits. Don’t go to school if you don’t feel like it. Work? Optional.

My boss is funding a dairy conversion for her husband. It’s pretty ridiculous. I don’t get it, as an ex-dairy farmer myself. At 53 years of age, to start milking cows, why??? And he’s spending huge money on infrastructure and compliance to milk – wait for it – 50 cows!!!

That is so freaking ridiculous it isn’t funny.

So, the staff are struggling. I am the buffer zone between the them and our boss, and I realised our top little star was not coping yesterday – it’s been building for a week or two. So I talked to her yesterday and asked if we can help, maybe reconfigure things a bit to let the pressure valve off a bit.

I related my conversation to our boss this morning.

She lost her mind.

I know she is under a lot of pressure, but the whole house of cards will tumble if we don’t act now, and lose good people.

Anyway, I know I will be dealing with this soon, myself. I’m not silly, I see the pressures of employing staff. But I think I get it, am intuitive, and can pre-empt problems by cutting them off at the pass, as much as possible.

I didn’t sleep much last night. The mind movies of Rog and Trinket still circulate at night, often. I tried a few of my mindfulness, settling techniques.

But music was my saviour, as it so often is. Lately, I’ve been listening to a fair bit of Courtney Barnett. This one got me in the feels, could have written the lyrics myself! But, her languishing delivery soothes me every time…


https://youtu.be/y808utBEuak


“Here’s the thing
Can’t stop thinking about you
Yeah, I’m writing
It’s the only thing that I know how to do
I don’t know what to say, you’re so far away
I don’t wanna be annoying
I don’t know what to say, you’re so far away
And I feel insecure
Your windowsill
Is momentarily filled with sun
And it’s these small thrills
That get me through the day until the next one
And I’m not afraid of heights
Maybe I’m just scared of falling
And I’m not afraid of heights
Maybe I’m just scared of falling
I’m your man
Mysterious at your command
And it’s understandable
That you’re in such high demand, it’s true
I don’t know what to do
It’s looking like I’ll never leave this room again
I don’t know what to do
Gonna write this letter to you that I’ll never send
(Yeah)
Here’s the thing
Can’t stop thinking about you”


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Telling your story

I was deeply ashamed.

Firstly, that I stayed.

After his affair. What kind of strong feminist, role model was I to my children if I stayed with a man who actively chose to hurt me every day? Who didn’t even care enough about their mother’s health, to roll a condom on when he fucked another woman?

I was embarrassed about staying. So weak.

Later, I was ashamed of him.

The man I chose. To love. To honour. To cherish. To breed with. To share my body and my life with.

So, I started to withdraw. From society. I wanted to become invisible.

I’m not an invisible kind of girl. I wear bright colours. I’m feisty. I stand up for injustice and against intolerance.

But, Roger’s affair with my so-called friend, made me ashamed.

I started blogging some time later. I had connected with a small handful of women, and read a lot of information and books about recovery from a partner’s infidelity. I started to feel safe with a select few, to tell my truth.

You can’t tell it out in the real world to many people. But I started to share it here, in the blogosphere.

Oh how it helped! Like unshouldering a heavy backpack. The shame shrunk, little by little.

I started to believe what I knew was true.

This was not my shame to bear.

It started me on a healing journey that was long and slow, but progress was happening.

Telling my story also eventually made it okay for me to do the kind of geographical research I did for my Masters, and for some postgrad papers. It meant I got to publish a chapter in an academic handbook. Things I would have never achieved had I not had to do the hard work of recovery.

Had I not become brave enough to tell my story.

I was thinking today that I should really thank Trinket.

For taking him out of my life.

Because he never believed in me. Even when I started achieving academically, it was better for him if I was beneath him. I did his cooking, cleaning, shopping, accounting, milking, feeding shearers, farm labouring….

There was such a power imbalance. I always knew it, felt it, but was given enough to make me think maybe he saw me as an equal.

So, those lovebirds down there, I wish I could just go, oh great. Good job. Be happy.

But I can’t.

Because I really loved that man.

He shouldn’t have been hers to take.

And it KILLS me thinking of him giving all that love – that I really believed was mine, all that charm, attention, touch all that incredible lovemaking – to that whore.

My stomach still aches, thinking about them together, all loved up. All smoochy and blissed up together.

Just like I used to be with him.

Anyway. It is what it is. I need sleep…


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It’s unanimous

Being cheated on sucks.

It’s the worst.

We are not allowed to compare to losing someone when they die.

But, I hear it a lot within the betrayed community. Couldn’t agree more. Death is easier.

This, posted yesterday on a support board.

See, it’s not just me…I read because I relate, and feel that I’m not alone. This is as bad as I feel it. I’m not making things up. Etc.

“Yep… death of a loved one is so much less painful than this! At least when a loved one dies you know they loved you and want the best for you. This is INTENTIONAL pain betrayal abandonment and so much more on THEIR part! No one brings flowers cards or casseroles when we get shit on!”

I had a wonderful weekend, catching up with my former very best friend (who has never “got it”) and some of her seven siblings, 5 girls, 3 boys all together. A family I grew up with. Some of whom have experienced this, and do get it. So very lovely. I’m an honorary 6th daughter…

BG drove over to the beach house of the eldest’s, and I introduced him. He slotted right on in, and had links. This is a large, Irish Catholic family. BG went to our largest catholic boarding school with friends who are interwoven/shared. I love this. My life, interlocking with his.

I hadn’t seen the family for a long time. Thanks infidelity (I hid after Roger’s cheating was exposed, the shame was too much for me, so I retreated.) And Covid.

I wasn’t invited by my friend, but her little brother. It was a chili themed night. We made smoked chilis. Chutney. Masala paste. Sambal. Ate Mexican food with slow cooked meat.

And of course, chili margaritas!

Hence BG. He was my sober driver. Sweet man. He rescued me really! We were home, tucked up in bed by about 11pm. They kicked on until 4am! When we went back to collect my car the next day, the hangovers were immense!

Back at BG’s he was excited over something really stupid. I brought him some of my ham and barley soup. “Yum! I love pearl barley!” But cautiously asked, “no peas in here, right? Not pea and ham soup?”

“I’ll never trick you into eating peas, darling. Not even by hiding them in soup. I promise, lol.”

Dick.

It’s soup. Not a Michelin starred dinner!

Last night, back after having a wine with his bestie and his wife, I heated soup for our dinner, adding fresh spinach, heating sourdough, making herby butter, we talked. Addressed my concern. He knew he’d messed up. And I felt awful. Not because I was wrong. But because I struggle with asking for what I need, and holding boundaries. I told him this. That I HATE asking for anything. And that forcing myself to do it, then that request not really being heard, well, that is devastating. I am really low maintenance, but damned if I will be used and abused because of that, again!

He held me, apologised. Said he didn’t realise he’d hurt me. But would do better. Agreed that we both had “stuff” clashing here. He’d been directed to do so much, did it, still got shat on. I’d made my needs small, asking for the bare basics is hard, we came at this with our baggage swinging!

Let’s see.

I’ve been promised better before…

It was a good talk though. I have been worried about his stress levels. And identified that I may have inadvertently added to them.

Without me, he was going through the motions. Decent job. Nice location. Close friends and family.

Now he wants to come and live with me, combine our lives. But he is scared. He needs a similar income. They aren’t always easy to find. I know he is worried. I have the economic power. What if we split up, and he’s moved his life, for nothing.

I get it. So, we talked. He eventually admitted he is struggling with change. He wants it, but is fearful that this dream might crumble, and he’ll have gone backwards. Backwards at a time in life where he needs to solidify and ensure he can live on what he has earned. There’s not a huge nest egg, for retirement. There’s some. But not really enough. He worries he’ll be a burden.

I just said it’s okay. I’m in no hurry. We can keep doing this for longer. The distance. The commute. As I have said before, there is some upside. Sure, you miss them. But that can be exciting. And I have my life. Not wrapped up in someone else.

I slept the best I have in a very long time last night. Curled up in his arms. He got up when I woke, at 5.30pm, for more cuddles, to help me pack my car. Held me tightly, smothering me in tiny kisses. “I miss you already. Don’t want to go back to bed without you.”

He’s not usually like this. I know he is letting some very carefully constructed and fortified walls down lately. Taking big risks with me.

I’m very flattered. And love him for trusting me enough to do so.