Tearing at the Fabric

Of the space-time continuum


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Anniversaries. A limited edition.

Some of our friends are starting to hit 25+year wedding anniversaries. Starting to catch Rog and I up.

We made it over 30.

But I will never make it any longer than that. There will be no celebration of long, deep, true love for me now.

Reading a friend’s post this morning, about their silver wedding romantic trip. Ugh. I want to die, it hurts so much.

I mean, these are really nice, really good people. I’m genuinely pleased for them. Not Fakebookers. Wished them well.

But sadly, my own pain is unending.

He stole it all. Stole my security and carefree happiness. I’ll never get that back, fully. I mean, you carry on, but it’s never the same again. Everything is careful, mindful, thought out. Spontaneous enjoyment doesn’t exist anymore.

I wanted the long, true love story, and genuinely thought I had it. I couldn’t have loved him more.


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Another anniversary. This is getting confusing! 😜

It’s BG’s and my anniversary.

Um, which is weird. Because we went on two very chaste dates nine months earlier 🤣

He left his phone charger at work last night, so I sent him an email, to his work, this morning…

His reply was super cute. And x-rated (after the cute part!)

Basically saying how much he appreciates me, and that he can’t believe he finally found someone to share his life with, who he yearns to be with every day.

We are idiots. And it’s so nice to be appreciated by another similar idiot!

Happy anniversary us. We are so very, very lucky 💕👍


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Silver

My lifetime bestie and her husband are celebrating 25 years today.

So good.

Their wedding was very chill. Very fun. We had a nearly school aged littlie, and a newborn. A wedding at home on their farm. A very funky short-lengthed dress, designed and made by her fashion designer new sister-in-law, and bare feet. A big farm party. Rog and I danced our arses off! Despite being the only ones with two babies at the party!

This was an odd couple. I like her husband, T.

But they were from different worlds really.

And Rog told me that T fucked one of the strippers at the stag do.

I’m not cool with that.

So not cool.

He’s always been all about the “dirty girls,” as sex workers have long been referred to by the “lads” in local circles. He loves a strip club. An escort. A lap dance.

Apparently, sex with a pro!

But hey. I found out after more than 25 years with Rog, that he also had sex with a hooker at his best mate’s stag party. He lied to me about it for more than 25  years.

But he was clever.

He told me they went to a brothel.

The first version, for over fifteen years, was that he just sat, waiting for the boys to finish their entertainment.

About ten years later it became, “I did go into a room with hooker. But just got a hand job. I was very drunk. I hated it, and couldn’t get hard.”

A few years after his affair with Leanne, the story was that he fucked the sex worker. Nearly thirty years after the event, I got the truth.

Maybe? He’s got a very casual relationship with the truth.

Friends who have holidayed with my friend, J, and her husband, T, have told us about T’s predilection for hookers. How he’d drag the boys to strip clubs. “Just for the beers,” of course!

It’s always concerned me.

But. This couple had five children. Have had a lot of fun.

And some huge heartbreak.

Tragically, they lost their youngest in a terrible boating accident three years ago. 

They’re survivors. They love each other.

At what cost?

I really don’t know.

I remember our silver anniversary. It was not celebrated publicly. We were in recovery.

From his long term affair with our “friend.”

Besides, not long after that, celebrated his 50th. With our closest friends. At our love nest. Our built-by-us-in-love, fabulous holiday home.

His mates were incredible that night. Loving me, hugging me, laughing with me, telling me how fabulous I was. For staying after all his lies. All his deception. They said we were a beckon of love and hope. That I was an incredible person, a truly loving, forgiving woman, for still loving their mate. That he didn’t deserve such a top chick. We were so obviously still madly in love. It was a wonderful night.

No celebrating 25 years.

I will never get a wedding.

Or a long term anniversary.

Trinket and Rog, the cheaters, ensured I never would.

Never could.

I never wanted a wedding. But maybe it might have helped, when I never got the long term anniversary celebrations either?? To at least have one set of gorgeously happy “big occasion,” memories?

Luckily, I have plenty of other wonderful blessings in my life.

But I definitely deserved much, much more.


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Well, there goes that plan…

Bugger!

I’m on the immuno-compromised list, for an early Covid vaccine.

We have been very slow rolling this out in New Zealand.

I guess, with no community transmission for a very, very long time (NZ has basically been Covid-free, except for cases locked down in mandatory MIQ for two weeks on arrival into the country,) we are a long way down the list of the supply chain!

Then, there was a massive Ransomware hit on the local District Health Board (DHB) computer system a few weeks ago. This was chaotic, surgeries and clinics cancelled, no one knew what the hell was going on! I’m so glad I wasn’t in radiotherapy now, as that was also cancelled for a few weeks. So concerning.

I am now just over three years since completing my surgery and radiation treatment for cervical cancer. I am in remission, but not considered “safe” for another two years. My bloods do still tend to go up and down a bit more than is perfect, but I am generally in good health.

But it has meant that the roll out of the vaccination program in my region has been further delayed, ugh.

Anyway, I don’t mind that I am not yet vaccinated, I’d rather they got to the aged population faster! My Dad is 77, and not yet had his first jab, as not yet available to him. He had a rough year last year, with renal problems, and pneumonia, with four long hospital stays, culminating on the removal of a kidney, finally. He’s done really well since, bounced right back, he’s generally a fairly youthful, healthy and active 77 year old.

I had planned to fly to Brisbane, see my son for a few days, then up to my uncle and aunt near the Whitsundays, and up to Cairns, and out, for a week to ten days in August, before our breeding season got underway, and work got crazy again, but I have now been advised to just sit patiently. To not travel. Damn!

New Zealand and Australia opened a quarantine-free travel bubble recently, and it seemed an ideal plan. However, New South Wales has had an outbreak, and a traveller wandered around Wellington last weekend, before realising they were Covid positive. Welly has just gone into a Level 2 lockdown. This is Lockdown Lite, with restrictions and guidelines, but no stay in place mandate other than that you are not to leave the region during this perioid. Just for 72 hours, to see how much damage was done, and to try to contain any outbreak.

BG’s sister, the one I haven’t met in person, just group chats and Zoom calls, because she lives in Sydney, is due to fly in on the 8th. To surprise their mother for her 87th birthday, on the 12th. That is now looking sticky. There is a no quarantine-free travel status for people from NSW for at least 72 hours. They are having a pretty big flare up of the Delta strain over there. Bugger!

It’s kinda weird. His other sister rang me this morning, to firm up plans. It’s quite funny how this always falls to women! I have only been a part of this family for a short period, but she is already using me to prompt him – he hasn’t responded to her email (it is the club’s AGM tonight, and he’s frantic.) She was insisting I come, and stay with her and her partner, we have the large bedroom earmarked apparently, with middle sister relegated to the smaller room – if she can even come now – what a laugh! I was under the impression that they wanted sibling and Mum time, as there are some personal things to be discussed, about her care. Robyn laughed, and said, “bugger that, you’re part of the family!” Um, that is really nice, but it really isn’t my place to say anything, just support and back them up in the decisions they make together regarding my sweet, new mother-in-law’s wellbeing.

I sometimes look at my new life, and think, wow!

How did I get here?

Who are these really loving, funny people?

None of the conflict that was in the previous family I came to via a relationship. The two sisters made our life very difficult in the last eleven years Roger and I were together. It was honestly the saddest thing, losing those people. Those nieces and nephew. I was so heartbroken. I loved them, but had to be very loyal to Rog when there was a huge family conflict. It was horrific.

These three genuinely like each other, and will fight you if you hurt one or the other of them. It’s interesting that there is a nine year spread of ages, and they are still great mates. And are easily in agreement about their mother’s care. They bonded hard over the disgust in their father’s long, three decade long secret affair, and eventual discard of their by then aged mother. And then her health challenges and how to help her have a good quality of life. Selling their family home and ploughing the funds into her retirement village serviced apartment and ongoing care. They work together to help her, financially, taking her to health appointments, etc. I just love this so much! Kindest people, but really real, down to earth, with great senses of humour. They are the epitome of the close “Westie” family, lol.

So, damn. Still won’t get to catch up with my Mum’s only sibling.

Oh, and how weird is this? BG’s mother’s birthday is the same date my mother died. It will be twenty years in a few weeks! Her name is my middle name, and BG’s family name is very similar to Roger, and my children’s family name! He remarked on it the other day. I already knew, and was a bit creeped out, but BG’s surname contains Roger’s surname, with letters in the same order! BG said, eww, that is pretty weird, you’d think you would have avoided me!

I laughed, and said, hey, I didn’t even know your surname when we first started out! I was (and still am, lol) saved as Paula (my town’s name) in his phone!

Which is lucky. Be awful to be talking to the other Paula by mistake, right?

The Other Girl. It’s not a great joke anymore. The kids and I thought it was hilarious when we (stupidly, without a damn clue) referred to Leanne, as “Dad’s girlfriend.” That still makes my skin crawl, and everything in my body cringe and tighten. How stupid were we???


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D-day

It’s the antiversary.

Of the night my world exploded.

When the OW – my so-called friend – texted me details about her affair with my most beloved darling.

That is all.


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A birthday. A death day.

BG’s mum had her birthday today.

We went and picked up her two surviving siblings, sisters, on the way to her city to celebrate together. Every birthday, as older people, is celebrated well.

It was lovely. Meeting his 88 and 82 year old aunts.

Glorious women.

I chatted away, on the drive up, and we surprised BG’s Mum with a lovely lunch with his NZ based eldest sister.

We headed to my new mother-in-law’s apartment for cake and to Facetime his other, Sydney-based sister. My brother dropped my Dad off and he met my new in-laws.

It was such a nice day.

I sat between the two aunts as we drove back down country, Aunty Wilma, quite deaf, and having had a recent bad fall, was first off the “bus.” Aunty Raewyn and myself bonded well for the next couple of hours. I heard her tell us that Uncle Snow asked if BG had just got engaged 😂😱

I did later ask the barman if he’s ever been engaged…and when he looked a bit shocked and replied, “no,” I told him what his uncle said.

“So your uncle thinks you’ve got engaged for the first time at 54. Oh. Kay!”

He shook his head and said, “yeah, I dunno. Old people are weird.”

I heard Dad and BG chatting away happily in the front seat.

I didn’t tell my bar guy it was also the nineteenth anniversary of my mother’s sudden death, until we had dropped all three of them home, and we were sitting in front of the fire, with the dogs.

He was gobsmacked.

“You mean to tell me my mum – who has the same unusual name as your middle name – and your mum share a birth, and a death day? WTF? Wow, I’m so sorry, baby. It must be a hard day for you,”

Not really. It’s sad my Mum died so suddenly at just 55.

But I’m glad she never witnessed what happened to me years later. What Roger put me through for at least a decade.

I know she would support me in my endeavours to survive and heal from this abuse.

And the memories now of this anniversary are also of Roger. And how we banded together, after his own shock at Mum dying, several hours away, just at the start of our crazy, busy, calving season. It was bloody hard. Three little kids, a shocked, grieving stepfather, hundreds of cows and pending calves to care for. A funeral several hours away to plan. An estate to take care of, as the executor of hers. I was so busy, and thought I had the best partner in the world.

That we were so in love.

Yeah, right.

This will be BG’s and mine last night together for quite some time.

Gird your loins, my friends, lol 🍆🍆🍆😂😂😂

I never wanted another relationship, but I am so very glad I have never sought men to “sleep with.” That there has only ever been Rog and my (well endowed, lol) barman.

And his adorable family are an enormous bonus.


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Well, I’m a fuck up

Having not really ever been an anniversary girl, I have just realised I fucked up.

Went back through our messages, and the 28th is not a year! The 18th was! 🤦‍♀️🤦‍♀️🤦‍♀️

But, I told BG it was the 28th. What a dick I am!

The 18th should be easy to remember. It is 2 days after the TENTH anniversary of DDay. The day Leanne bragged to me, exposing her long affair with my beloved partner.

How did I get that so wrong?

Because my needs were small. Marking dates, expecting acknowledgement was a stupid thing to do in my previous life. I learned not to expect anything.

Am a bit mad at myself now, lol.


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Reminders from the literature

An abuser can seem emotionally needy. You can get caught in a trap of catering to him, trying to fill a bottomless pit. But he’s not so much needy as entitled, so no matter how much you give him, it will never be enough. He will just keep coming up with more demands because he believes his needs are your responsibility, until you feel drained down to nothing.

When the pain waves hit, and you struggle to remember you are a strong, capable woman, who was used and abused by their code of idolise, devalue, discard, you remind yourself of the reality.

Re-reading Lundy Bancroft’s Why Does He Do That? Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men. It is so clear. I always wondered why Rog was so emotionally needy. It was pointed out to him, when he FINALLY agreed to come to counselling with me, nearly three years after D-day, by reputedly one of the best couples therapists in our country (the guy that diagnosed him as a love addict) as his anxious attachment style. Inadvertently caused by his mother’s depression as a small child. She loved him to bits. But with fragile mental health then (which no one ever named!) he got the message of come here, go away.

So confusing for a small boy.

I tried so hard to love him totally. Thought my love would be enough.

I loved him with absolutely everything I have.

But, once he hurt me, he got angry I wasn’t the same person I was prior to his fucking around, giving me diseases, and himself to another woman, lying and making me feel like I was losing my mind.

He was quietly seething that I was broken and hurt. Of course it had nothing to do with his actions, and his continued need to be right, and in control (see such evidence as him refusing to change his phone number to cut contact with her, him meeting her and sleeping with her again, two years later, it was never his actions at fault, always my reaction….)

One of the things that always got me was how infuriating he could be. Totally stubborn. Always right.

And always so damn “calm.”

People like Rog. So much. Not everyone has been able to comprehend his cruelty. So then, of course, it must be me. I must have deserved his abuse.

YOUR ABUSIVE PARTNER DOESN’T HAVE A PROBLEM WITH HIS ANGER; HE HAS A PROBLEM WITH YOUR ANGER.
One of the basic human rights he takes away from you is the right to be angry with him. No matter how badly he treats you, he believes that your voice shouldn’t rise and your blood shouldn’t boil. The privilege of rage is reserved for him alone. When your anger does jump out of you—as will happen to any abused woman from time to time—he is likely to try to jam it back down your throat as quickly as he can. Then he uses your anger against you to prove what an irrational person you are. Abuse can make you feel straitjacketed. You may develop physical or emotional reactions to swallowing your anger, such as depression, nightmares, emotional numbing, or eating and sleeping problems, which your partner may use as an excuse to belittle you further or make you feel crazy

I was portrayed as “unstable,” when I got upset. My rage at the injustice…not allowed. Just calm down and pretend all is well. Calm your farm. Don’t get your tits in a tangle. Sheesh.

When I started to withdraw and isolate, in reaction, there was something wrong with me.

Hell, even I started to think there was.

No. He was still being secretive, still pretending to be loving, honourable, while making several online dating profiles and chatting to dozens of other women, still lying.

No wonder I was fucking struggling. I BEGGED him for truth, openness and honesty. All while being suckered by his physical want for me. Ugh.

One of the obstacles to recognizing chronic mistreatment in relationships is that most abusive men simply don’t seem like abusers. They have many good qualities, including times of kindness, warmth, and humor, especially in the early period of a relationship. An abuser’s friends may think the world of him. He may have a successful work life and have no problems with drugs or alcohol. He may simply not fit anyone’s image of a cruel or intimidating person. So when a woman feels her relationship spinning out of control, it is unlikely to occur to her that her partner is an abuser.

My research respondent, Maureen, spoke of this. After she was widowed at 50, her next relationship was with one of these guys. She never saw it coming. She fell in love with a real charmer. His first wife even tried to warn her at one point. She still wonders why, as a woman, she couldn’t absorb another woman’s experience. I think we all get a bit sucked in by love. Either the first wife is bitter, or this darling man could not POSSIBLY do that to me, nd probably even, could not POSSIBLY have done that to her. Far too sweet, loving and nice.

Appearances are so deceiving.

The gendered message has always been, women are irrational, overly emotional beings, and men are steadfast and rational. It makes this kind of abuse so damn easy to hide!

Am in tears, my friend Violet, just sent me a Snapchat of her weekend away to celebrate her and her husband’s 31st wedding anniversary. I sent my love and admiration back to her.

Her reply? “Hey, that means it is kind of your anniversary too, the elephant lives on!”

Funny story, they married about six weeks after I moved in with Rog. I barely knew them, but was asked to buy their wedding present. A dumb kid. I bought a sculpted elephant. The card got lost, and for years, Violet wondered who the arsehole was who bought her an elephant! Her bizarre mother-in-law had a house full of elephants. So, not really an ideal gift 🤣🐘

I had no idea! So, for years, I kept my mouth shut. Embarrassed it was me, lol.

It is a massive joke between us.

Violet is steadfast. She believes in me. She was the first person I rang, in crisis, when Roger told me he was cheating again. She met me immediately for coffee.

And said, straight up, “he’s no good, Paula. Don’t you DARE ever take him back.”

She knows. She knows my agony. I don’t tell her. But she knows.

Her words are soothing. She told me right away that Roger’s other best mate’s partner has no time at all for Rog. Went right off him after the affair with Leanne went public.

It’s comforting, on some level, to know that some see it, even if they have to play nice.

Better get going. Bad cramps, no sleep, and off to Seville! Hopefully sleep on the journey.

Keep rising, you wonderful souls xxx.


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Another anniversary

There are so many. But this is the big one. And the first one alone.

I moved in with Roger less than 9 weeks after we started seeing each other. I knew I never wanted to marry, so moving in was a HUGE deal for me, my “wedding” day. It was just a few weeks after he cheated on me with Leanne, on his birthday, in January, as I sat at home waiting for him to pick me up to go for a birthday drink. Instead of realising that was a giant red flag, I thought it was a slip up, that he was getting her out of his system. “I feel awful. I didn’t mean to. She just showed up, I did it in anger. I don’t know why I did that. I’ve fallen so deeply in love with you, Snooks. I’m so, so sorry.”

Joke’s on me, right?

A triptych a friend’s daughter just painted. LOVE the words. Real eyes realise real lies 🖤

It was the 19th of February 1988. And it was the day before the biggest local race meeting of the year. Today is not the 19th. But it is the day before that meeting. I have been invited by some friends to join them, a different crew to the one I usually attend with. Rog always hired a marquee spot, and I would prepare BBQ food, antipasti, nibbles, drinks, etc.

This time, I just have to show up, with my smile. How refreshing! But yeah. Anniversaries are always tough. There are a few. There is the late December one, of us meeting and swiftly falling madly in love. DDay in May. Then two years later, in April, when he met Leanne again to fuck her. Another DDay, in August, of I’ve Met Someone Else. Good old Trinket Day. Good old MatchdotCON.

Then the March ones. Of the last time we made love, and the day we moved, when he held me close, kissed me deeply, and drove out of my life.

Of course, there are others sprinkled throughout the year. July 1992, when I left for the UK. December, when I returned, 6 months pregnant with our first child. Birthdays, dates when I made new discoveries about Leanne, and dates like the 10th January (first time he fucked Leanne) then June, when I know he bizarrely stayed home when I took the (disappointed) kids on a fishing trip, so he could go and fuck her, you get the picture. So many, it sometimes seems like no part of the year is untainted. Especially when an affair spans more than a year in duration.

So yep. Big girl panties. They sure are getting a hammering, lol. But dammit, I must reclaim these dates, my life. This is where I live. They are making their own damn traditions down there. I am fighting hard to build mine – to stay in the world, here. To try to stop the tears eventually…