Tearing at the Fabric

Of the space-time continuum


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The end of the story

I don’t even know how to start this post. I wasn’t going to blog about it, because I am still processing, and the pain is very fresh again.

Firstly, Roger’s affair notwithstanding, I have made some terrible mistakes on this journey since D-day. I know I am not the only one, and I mostly understand and forgive myself for being human, traumatised and trying to get help to negotiate the stormy waters of intensely emotional times. It has been over eight years. It has been very tough. Way tougher than even I imagined when I read those words on my phone that shifted my whole world on its axis.

As I said, I am not sure about the order that this will spill out of me. But, I will try to get it out here.

As I was finishing up, pushing for the finish line for my Masters thesis, it was hard. Harder than I expected. The intensity of the emotions that I was researching, the place-based emotionality of my participants, I started to notice a change in me. I wasn’t sure about it, I was feeling very stressed as I rubbed up against the submission date, and was not quite happy with what I had written – I had to go a week over – which is allowed, with no penalty, as long as you apply in time. But, the Type A personality I am, I was disappointed. But, I got it in two weeks before the extension deadline. Phew!!! And, I slowly started to understand the feeling. It wasn’t euphoria, it wasn’t relief, I started to come to the realisation that is was healing. The process of researching home as a place of heartbreak and rebirth had been cathartic! Still, I didn’t trust myself fully. So, I took myself off to Wellington, to spend a few days with my eldest daughter. International Film Festival time. We spoiled ourselves, ate out, and saw several beautiful films. Then, I came home, knowing that the talk I have talked for the past two or three years – that I was strong, and was never going to stay with a cheater – was largely bravado. I loved this man. I had written these words in my thesis acknowledgements, in the last week before I submitted it, knowing that I still loved him as deeply as I ever had, that we had been through the fire, and with hope (HOPE!!!! FINALLY!!!) that we could go forward together, and that I was finally ready to put the past where it was healthiest, to the side, not front and centre every day:

“To Roger, my love of 29 years, for the decades of intense love before and despite huge challenge, and a very difficult recent journey, you are the love of my life, and I totally adore you.”

I arrived back from Wellington a fortnight ago. It was early afternoon, and Rog was home. I made us a cup of tea, and asked him if he had a minute to talk. He said, yes, of course. We sat at the dining table, and I looked directly at him, nervous as all hell. I said, “I have made a HUGE mistake. I totally adore you, love you truly, madly, deeply, always have, and now know I have the desire and enough information to fully re-commit to us. I don’t want us to split up.”

After years and years of him pursuing me relentlessly, I guess I had assumed that this would be the moment. The music would swell, and we would be carried off on a cloud of passion and forgiveness! (DJ scratches the record….) He looked sadly at me, and said, “I’ve met someone else.”

My heart broke again folks. Loudly and completely. I thought I could never feel the pain I felt after D-day. I was wrong. The thing is, I do not blame myself here, I needed eight years, an undergraduate degree and to spend 18 months of my life learning and researching, in a totally navel-gazing manner, to heal my wounds. And I missed the timing. By three weeks. I did not fit Roger’s timeline – and I know that is crappy of him.

You see, the thing is, I did push him away. For the greater part of three years I have been holding him at arm’s length, determined to protect myself, maybe to teach him a lesson? But mostly to try to release him from the pain that was ruining MY life, and by osmosis, not doing him a huge favour, either. I thought it was best to let him go. I always knew I still loved him though, and I did tell him this. The other thing is this – we had agreed not to involve a third party until we physically separated, and this would be hard on the person who was not involved – the non-loved up one. (Oh shit, I can feel the pain seeping from my feet upwards right now, as I type this out.) I even said to him, on several occasions, please let me know if you think this is not gonna work for you – literally grab me by the shoulders and say it to my face – as I am pretty distracted and encompassed by this research. He says he did. He did not. I found two charges this year on his credit card for dating sites since February this year. I immediately asked him if he wasn’t coping, and did we need to find alternative living arrangements. He said that he got lonely, but that the sites were awful, and he had cancelled his subscription quickly both times. He lied. Not that he had cancelled, but he has been chatting to women for most of this year. I asked to be informed about this, and he did not tell me. I was naive, and I took him at his word – he was lonely. I could see that. But he never said, “I am talking to other women, and I think we are over.” Instead, I asked him to PLEASE wait until my Masters was done, and we could reassess where we were at, and start to make some permanent decisions, kindly and mutually.

My deadline was the 23rd of July. I handed in in on the 31st. I have now gone through his phone records – remember “my” technophobe partner, the one who never had a social media presence, and didn’t use his phone for much except business? Well, I knew he had opened a Facebook account relatively recently – we are friends there – it made sense, he has three young adult children, he communicates with them via Messenger. Well, he finally got a 51 year old widowed mother of three to give him her phone number. He sent her 1256 text messages between 8th July and 10th August. And I know they mostly communicate via Messenger now. The thing that gets me is, I have talked to this woman, she seems very nice. A suburban mum, whose husband was an unrepentant serial cheater, and died 5 years ago of prostate cancer. So, WTF is she doing with a man who admitted that he had cheated, and was still living with his partner??? I had some communication with her, she lives about four hours drive from here. She seems lovely. A kind and sweet woman. But WTF lady??? I know what is happening here. He is doing his usual – love bombing her, rescuing a woman who has never really known love and kindness, and she has NEVER had someone give her their full attention – this is flattery at its finest. He has met with her five times since the 8th of July, and Thursdays are now their designated “date nights.” He was to drive down there last week, but she got cold feet at the last minute. They apparently have not yet had sex – as she has been (rightly!) cautious. But, tomorrow is the night, folks! Hold onto your horses, lol. She has admitted to him that she has only had one sexual experience since her husband died – and that it was a disaster, she got all nervous and dry mouthed. Again, WTF? Roger is a highly sexual man. So, let’s just see how this pans out. Probably really well, he doesn’t have to beat much, and he is seriously good in bed! She won’t know what hit her ūüėČ

My point is this. I am still living here, on the advice of my lawyer (and I did look at rental properties, and felt incredibly depressed about the worn and sad nature of what I could afford – actually I couldn’t even afford those!) I like my home. I am warm, safe, and myself here. And I have let him go. Or am certainly in the process of doing so. I can see that he never really fully did the work required on himself, to heal the needy little boy. We had agreed to have some single time if we were done – to not try to Band-Aid over the hurts with another body. He could not do it. He is getting all the highs of a long-distance relationship, all the ego stroking, all the warm fuzzies. I can see him messaging her via Messenger – it is all day long, and half into the night. We get on well, and I am strong. I got some anti-anxiety meds from my doc, and they have helped me deal with this. I have a few weeks to gather myself before I start back at work fulltime. I am out running and walking every day – doing a lot in the bush, and feeling better about my body. I have planned to do a four day walk in the South Island next month, and that is good motivation to get fit again. I haven’t eaten more than about five bites in a fortnight, but feel strong, and I think my appetite is slowly returning. Tonight, I have my first mindfulness and guided meditation meeting, the group meets fortnightly (thank you BE and CK!) I KNOW that I need to move on, away from this man. But fuck, my mind is a LONG way ahead of my heart here. I am ashamed (but not really, I knew what I was doing) to admit that we have had sex five times – after promising each other that we ABSOLUTELY wouldn’t! I even promised K – the OW – that I wouldn’t. I fucking lied, but I meant it at the time – an insight into the mind of a cheater? ¬†The sex was unbelievably amazing, I came and came and came – wetly and profusely. Probably hysterical bonding, but I am BACKKKKK baby! OMG am I back? My libido is through the roof – yep, definitely hysterical bonding, but I am so glad that my sexuality is not dead, no way, I have ordered new toys, and am going to enjoy myself – by myself.

I guess my fucked up point here is that I know that I have made mistakes – I tried to push him away for him, and should have concentrated on my own healing, I have had sex with a man who is not good for me, and I had sex with him again, And again. And again, And it won’t happen again! I tried to point out, gently, without begging (gah, I am NOT that fucking desperate) that I had healed, finally, had my moment of clarity, and he was now willing to throw away what has been a truly wonderful partnership – we are so compatible in so many ways. We both love music, travel, adventure, the arts, the outdoors, SEX, oh my God, GREAT FUCKING LOUD IN YOUR FACE SEX, we are both a bit quirky, have an ‘off’ sense of humour. We have a lifetime of love and yes, truly terrible heartache. We had three children and four miscarriages together, wonderful home births, with beautiful babymoons, worked side-by-side, in love, enjoying each other. We LOVE the smell of each other. He says he hasn’t noticed her fragrance, or her natural scent – that is off for me, this man loves to deeply inhale me. So, he prefers the high of a new fling, with a lovely-but-boring suburban mum, whose scintillating online dating profile ¬†– yeah, I looked her up – used her star sign as her username (groan), and outlines that she likes the simple things; to go for coffee and maybe a movie (in her mum jeans ¬†– she has not yet dressed up for any of their dates, including a dinner out at a nice restaurant, where I ironed his shirt, cut his hair, bought him my favourite fragrance and tucked condoms into his pocket – I didn’t have to, but this is who I am, and who “we” have been.) ‘We’ have since found out that she is scared of flying, has admitted she is worried about sex, told him she will need a few wines on board before she can contemplate it, and is honestly fairly plain looking (not that that matters a jot.) He has “known” her for six weeks now. So, if it is that easy to be cast aside, I am not going to (nor am I able to!) compete – I don’t play that game. But, all my knowledge and self-esteem aside, this hurts like a MOTHERFUCKER! Why, oh why, did I do all that work on myself, to FINALLY decide that I could recommit to him? FAAAAARRRRRRKKKKKK!

The thing is now, I have had my solicitor draw up a separation agreement. I got the first draft yesterday, and although I have been mostly positive and accepting, I did plunge a little low when I got it. I am painting my bedroom, and ensuite, and keeping as chipper as possible. But, as I pointed out kindly to Rog last night, we are separating, and it is incredibly, incredibly painful. But, he has the support and loved-upness of his new “thing” making him feel amazing, and I am alone. No family, and very little in the way of support. I do have two friends who I can verbally vomit on, and they are wonderful, but one lives in Sydney, the other is closer, and I went to hers the other night for cups of herbal tea. My previous lifetime BFF, J, whom I have mentioned before on this blog, knows – including that I had got to the place of acceptance and felt good about moving forward together with a previous cheater – and has not said one, single comforting word to me. Instead, she sent Roger a supportive message, basically high-fiving him for finding new love. He was truly disgusted at her disloyalty, and has not replied. I know I have to keep walking – away – from this. But, it will take my emotions a while to catch up fully again.

Oh – and this – apparently I wasn’t allowed to tell anyone about K – I asked why? Why are you ashamed? He said he didn’t want to look like he was cheating again. Oh, um, then don’t cheat. I told our kids, kindly, and my eldest daughter is pretty flabbergasted. Can’t believe his lack of introspection. If you are in a relationship you are ashamed of, you shouldn’t be in it. My mother’s first rule of dating.

I know this tale is pathetic. I know my telling doesn’t really make a whole lot of sense – why did I buy back in – too late? But, this is my Greek tragedy of a life, playing out in HD somewhere near me – at least I think I am me? Who fucking knows anymore?

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16 May 2009

A day like any other, right?

The popular press was focused on people like Eva Longoria. Do we even remember her? Swine ‘flu¬†was front and centre of many people’s worries. Rachel Alexandra¬†¬†won the Preakness, the first filly in 85 years to do so. British retailers were up in arms about¬†Manic Street Preacher’s¬†latest album cover art. Here in Aotearoa New Zealand, the pressing governmental issues of the day … ohh Gawd, hey, it was a Saturday – was one of our long-term MPs,¬†addressing a dental health conference!¬†Hahahaha! Not doing much for the cause of us being a vibrant, and global nation ;-).

Yes, it has actually been EIGHT years since my life imploded. The OW, Leanne, a woman I once considered a friend, someone I had known since middle school years, sent me a text, at 8.57pm, whilst I was attending a 40th birthday party that she was also supposed to be attending. The text outlined that she had been sleeping with my most beloved partner, Roger. There was little in the way of detail, I didn’t keep the text, and cannot recall the exact wording.

I went back to the party, and carried on with the evening. Smiling, dancing, completely numb inside. Then drove the half-drunk Roger home in the wee, small hours. When we were about ten minutes from home, I leaned over with my phone, and showed him the text. He was completely bereft. Head in hands, he eventually looked up, as I drove into the darkness, and said, “I will pack a bag when we get home, and get out of your life. I am incredibly sorry, so, so sorry.” I think I actually floated away somewhere far, far, away. I don’t know if I have ever come back entirely.

Time.

Time does blur things, fading the edges of memory. But it has never eradicated the pain I still feel, not the “two to five years” later when I was supposed to feel a lot better, get my life back.

It is eight years. Eight pain-filled and unnecessary years.¬†There isn’t a lot to add. I just wanted to mark the day somehow, as it passes by in every other sense.

The first ‘online’ person I ‘met’ – a woman who is different to me in so many ways, a US-Southern Baptist, 50+ year old, home-schooling SAHM, who voted for Trump – we couldn’t be politically, ideologically, etc, further apart – is still someone I ‘chat’ with regularly. Who knew? Six and a half years after her D-day, she is filing for divorce. He didn’t do the work, he is an passive aggressive, narcissistic arsehole, and she is (reluctantly) divorcing him. Finally. She has been through the mill. She messaged me today, to reiterate that cheating is a “life sentence” – her words.

I am currently seeing a lot of emotional exhaustion in the blogging community. People who are now three plus years out from D-day. The hope is fading. The magic pill of time is not making things any better for most.

I know that feeling well. I think there is a LOT of detritus bandied about – by counsellors, churches, people hawking self-help books, the general public – about being able to build a ‘new,’ ‘better’ version of marriage/partnership. That infidelity is actually an OPPORTUNITY! Lucky you!

The truth is, it sucks. And it will always suck. For the rest of your life, it will suck in some way, together, or apart.

And that, my sweets, is my take-home lesson from eight years of the pain of ‘surviving’ infidelity, together, or apart, it makes no difference.

‘Happy’ antiversary to me!


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My daughter. My hero.

Today I found out that my youngest daughter, just 18, about to head off to uni in a couple of weeks has done something that I am immensely proud of. This all happened, very quietly (ie, no social media BS, no crying to Mummy, etc) in the past week.

It isn’t a hard thing. It isn’t a heroic thing. It is a human thing.

Or at least I think it is.

She has had this friend, since primary school, who has become more and more entitled, more and more selfish, as the years have slid by. She deliberately distanced herself from her a few years ago, did not ‘break up with her’ as a friend, just ensured she wasn’t in her closest circle. But this last year at school, she was back in the inner circle. And last weekend, my daughter, D, caught this manky ‘friend’ kissing (etc) another of their friend’s boyfriends. D told her in no uncertain terms that it was not on. The ‘friend’ expressed no remorse, and was a completely entitled, “oh well, if they were so happy, why did he do that with me,” frame of mind. D told her she was done. Then she rang the friend, and told her what her boyfriend did. She found it hard to do, nobody wants to be the messenger. But the friend, who was very upset, didn’t take too long to pull herself together and broke up with the cheating little shit. She said, “well, better I know now, and I am off to beauty school in a nearby city, so I have a clean slate to work with now. Thank you D for letting me know what was going on behind my back, you’re an fantastic friend. That must have been hard to tell me.”

tumblr_m7ixzuaqbb1rwbl7wo1_500_large

The thing is – is it really that fucking hard to be a decent human being? To not fuck your friends’ loves? To tell them the truth when you discover something bad going on in their lives? D says that this group of friends has now rallied around her, praising her for her actions, and loyalty to the ‘nice’ girl, but they all said they would have been too scared to call the cheating maggot out. (She can make life a bit unbearable if you disagree with her about anything, don’t get me started on why she was even a friend of my daughter’s!) Or that they would have told the betrayed girl. I was gobsmacked. WTF? What is friendship? I just never associated with these kinds of Mean Girls. I didn’t understand what made them so happy, so superior, so inse-fucking-cure.

This incident comes just a few weeks after D sat her friend group on their arses when she spoke up loudly when one of them – another very ‘nice’ girl, but very sheltered, very conservative family, etc – retorted to a comment that one of them made about someone they knew ¬†having recently having something very painful and sad happen to them. The ‘nice girl’ said, “oh well, you never know, maybe she did some bad things, and this is what she got.” (Hey, this is high school here, they are kids trying to negotiate a pretty fucked up world right now, cough, Trump and all his fucking cronies!) D immediately replied to that, “WTF? So, something awful happens to a really nice person, and you immediately think to victim shame them? That is exactly like saying ‘that girl deserved to be raped, after all, that dress WAS very short.’ This is a sad and bad thing, and bad things happen to good people. Karma is not real. I wish it was, but life just deals some shit hands sometimes.” The girls all looked at D like she had just said something they had NEVER thought of! Then they discussed their views on this, that they were just repeating discourses that they heard over and over, to soothe their own worries about ‘bad stuff happening’ – if I behave, it won’t happen to me. I was already quietly thinking, “hey, I raised a critical thinker, a decent human, go me!”

She had told me that she was just trying to eek out the last few weeks of being in the same small town as the ENTITLED ONE, without rocking the boat, but that this was the final blow to their friendship – she can’t be around people who have a black hole where their character should sit.

So, just putting it out there, I think, despite being a little concerned at times about some of her choices, that my youngest is a good human. I can add a third to the collection of good humans I raised. Phew!


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Our words still swirl around

CAUTION: SWEARY, RANTY, VENTY POST AHEAD!

At this time of the year, it is inevitable that those of us who are still pretty unsettled about their lives battle those swirling thoughts. I am (dripping with sarcasm) SO surprised that I fit into this demographic.

So, in order to try to put them down for a bit, and get on with my transcription work for both my own thesis, and my supervisor’s research, I thought I might try to dump some stuff here, this darling little receptacle for such annoyances.

I am constantly told that I am doing everything wrong. Constantly. And the thing that really pisses me off about it is that although I am a pretty strong person, a lifetime-feminist, latterly-scholar, and know my own mind, it gets to me. Being told you are doing life wrong is shit. The worst offender is Roger. He always tells me, not in an overtly unkind way, that I am continuing to make poor choices. Yep. He actually says that. Because he’s such a great decision maker, right?

You see, that’s the fucking point. He has been, historically. He makes good decisions, a lot. And me, not so much, quite often. So, yeah, self doubt occurs. And it pisses me off, because I am so aware of the power shit going on here. I know that unconsciously, he is using all he has always known, all our past, to try to convince me that I am wrong. That my brain is wrong. To listen to my heart. We had words the other night. Over our eldest daughter and something she was messaging me about. It was a mechanical issue with her car, and she was about to drive up here for the Christmas/New Year break. She did not message her father, who admittedly has more mechanical knowledge than I do. However, I did my best (I am a farmer, and a practical kind of person) to guide her, to advise her, and he let loose on me afterwards, telling me how wrong I was/am. I tried to point out to him that there was a parenting style difference here, I was trying to guide her, and provide her with information to make her own decisions, and he was trying to dictate what she should do. Maybe, in this case, he might have been right, it was an urgent problem. But hey, at least try to see what I was doing, and note that although we may be ‘mere females,’ we can problem solve, and at least let us try! He thinks I am ‘using’ gender as a trope. But he has never lived a female life. He doesn’t understand that we need to show our independence, that our learned shit from societal attitudes needs to be mindfully overcome. And yeah, in doing so, sometimes, horror of horrors, we make mistakes! He. Just. Shut. Me Down.

Then, he made me feel terrible for not agreeing to go to his sister’s for Christmas. One of his sisters who has never given a crap about me, with his parents, who have also never given a crap about me, and play nice, for the kids. I talked to the kids, didn’t make any big deal about it, just said that I was pleased they were being able to reconnect with their cousins and family – we used to be very close – or so I thought! But, that I wasn’t a part of that family anymore. I did not go into the facts, for example, that they tried to sue us, engaging one of the top barristers in our country. Or that they tried to get us to pay for their children’s private educations (whilst we could only afford to send our own kids to the local, very average state school, when their state options were of a very high standard, ugh.) Or any of the other degrading and vindictive things that they did out of spite and jealousy, back when we were really happy. I am no longer prepared to push my own feelings down to make other people comfortable. But I was ‘wrong’ there, too. I was being petty. And not helping myself heal, and … well, you get the picture. Besides, WE ARE NOT A COUPLE ANYMORE!!! I don’t have to compromise my life for his feelings anymore.

But the problem is, I don’t feel any better living this way. I feel sad, and quite bloody lost. Quite a fucking lot. So, his words – and those of so many others around me -telling me I am doing everything wrong do sting. I see images of happy people and wonder why I can’t get there? Should I have just sucked it all up and carried on with the remorseful man? I feel I tried that, but felt resentful and weak, at the end of the day. I could manage for periods, but then would drop into the depths of despair, that I had let this arsehole treat me like shit, infect me with lifelong diseases, and he was getting a ‘better’ version of me than ever, in some respects. It pissed me off.

Maybe I should just re-title this post, Life Pisses Me Off!

And all this thinking just ties me in knots. I can’t seem to put it all down and get on with life. It sends me down rabbit holes like this one:

wedding

Was I wrong, all along? Should I have agreed to marry him, to show public love? I thought it was a private thing, something special, and sacred for us to cherish and protect. But was I wrong? Did he need to put it in writing, to have a big party, to see people see us being quite intimate? I didn’t need that, and he SAID he didn’t either. But Leanne bought a fucking wedding dress for God’s sake! I mean, WTF??? He says that shocked him, that he told her he didn’t love her, and that even if he did, he wasn’t going to marry her. But what the fuck do I know? Nothing. I only hear what he tells me, so who knows what the truth in life really is?

And yeah, maybe I need to get off Facebook, too. I thought I was able to dismiss the bullshit, etc. However, this one got to me this week. There is a couple we know, the wife of whom had a long and deep affair with a client of her own business mentoring company a few years ago now. She left her husband and two young sons, and he left his wife and four young children (including a baby) and they galloped off, so-in-love, into the sunset. Only to have his parents reject her entirely when he tried to introduce her to them. She ran back to hubby and two very confused and hurt little boys that she had said she didn’t want anything to do with. Yeah, he took her back. They then built a huge new house, he bought her a flash new car, they have overseas holidays constantly. They are “super happy and in love.” And my former BFF tells me that she tried to talk to the wife – a good friend of hers – and suggested some counselling to help them both (but mostly the husband, who BFF and her husband were supporting for the two months she was gone) to come to terms with WTF had happened, and to learn to grow their love and be kind to each other. Wife answered, “we don’t need that, we are really in love.” Oh God. Face palm. They are currently holidaying in the States (again, they were also there earlier in the year) for three months, and posting “loved up” photos. With their friends commenting about ‘young love at its best’ – they’re late 40s and early 50s now – and how loved up they are, and how proud everyone is of them. Instead of feeling pleased for them, I just feel absolutely sick. I mean, how high does this guy have to jump now??? This marriage itself came out of a cheating episode (which EVERYONE has conveniently forgotten, as marriage somehow legitimises their selfish crap!) He had a long-term (seven years living together) partner, and she ‘stole’ him off her – yeah, some prize, I know. And she is a selfish bitch (was going to use the word I prefer, which starts with ‘c’ – but know my American friends would be super offended! I have developed an even filthier mouth since cheating marred my life!) Always has been, a real gold digger/social climber, with no real empathy – hell, she was happy to walk away from her two little boys, because they were an inconvenience to her happiness!

And, if I can’t be happy (at least sometimes) in this ‘new life,’ the one I am trying, labouring, to build, then WTF is all this struggle for? Maybe I should just try to ‘settle’ with a remorseful cheater, who promises it was a breakdown, and he has learned so much, feels so awful, and would never make me feel less again. Yeah, right. Because I feel less every fucking day, either way.

I look at that image above, and it looks like us. It looks like how I danced with him under the fairy-lit trees in our garden, hand-made fire blazing, barefoot and blissed out, in a summery dress, to the band who stayed all night, until milking time the next morning – when I went and milked alone for him, so he could get some sleep – on the night of his 40th birthday. It looks like how I always felt when I looked at him, when he would look across a crowded room, and everyone would just blur into the background, it was just me and him, and he might wink, or not. But, we would be instantly melded together, and he would later tell me I was beautiful and that I made him so happy. What a total crock of shit! Why did I believe his lying, whore-flavoured lips?! Argh!

There, there is some of it. The honest thoughts. The thoughts I struggle to push away every minute of every day, in order to try to live authentically with myself. And, honestly? The way that Roger is so adept at twisting the story to suit his purposes, to make me feel like an uncompromising bitch! I know he doesn’t mean to, that he is trying to get the best outcome for all of us, but he is good at this, he has been doing it to/for/with me for 29 years.

And yeah, there are huge doubts. All. The. Time. I just don’t think I can be truly at peace, or joyful-even-a-little, since he cheated and made me sick. The struggle is exhausting, and disabling. I just want a whole new fucking brain!

 

 


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“So, what is your thesis on?”

Well, hmmm.

Yes, this semester has seen me embark on my Masters thesis. I went to a workshop the other day to help prepare for a possible tilt at my uni’s heats of the Masters version of 3MT (3 Minute Thesis – a competition that has traditionally been run for PhD candidates.) I can’t compete, because I am taking D (youngest daughter) and Frenchie (exchange student living with us) to Wellington for a long weekend, and the heats are one of the days I am away. To say I am relieved is a bit of an understatement! I am not good at public speaking, and as you all know, I am also not good at keeping things brief! But, I thought I would go along to learn a bit more about it, and push my boundaries. I will need to hone these skills as I progress through my thesis, and beyond. First question as I sat beside a Masters candidate (in German) was, “so, what faculty and department are you from?” And second question was, “so, what is your thesis topic?” Hmmm. I don’t have a title. And I barely have a long synopsis. So, I stuttered through a brief outline, and the reply, “how is THAT Geography?”

PMSL.

It is a common reaction. I am a human geographer, and even fellow grad students, from the same faculty don’t get it. But I will try to outline it here.

pray the gay

I am interested in what happens when we label people. And people don’t fit in those boxes. Or do for a while, then outgrow them. Or someone tries to “re-pot” them in another box that is uncomfortable, and is a bad fit.

That kind of thing.

So, my original proposal was to do with what happens when plural, or fluid sexualities unfold in a previously imagined “hetero” monogamous long-term relationship? Kind of a bit autobiographical (my parents) as in, a look at betrayal, and hegemonic ideas about what marriage and monogamy look like in Western contexts. I wanted to see what happens when we look further down the line from some of the literature on “falling in love and committing to one person of the opposite sex.” And the spatial and material arrangements of that. As in, does it mean automatic separation, or can the space be (re)configured somehow? What about when there IS separation, and children are perhaps involved, and the experience of both them and either one or the other, or both parents confronting “matter out of place” in a sense – in that maybe some familiar objects are relocated, maybe in mum’s new house, and it feels disconcerting (or whatever?) This seemed like a way of unpacking what society says about romantic relationships, and challenging it in a bounded framework of sexuality. I then thought, geographically, about space and place, and thought, “yay, I can use some of my existing online networks, to drum up interest in participation.”

Go me!

But last Friday, I had a meeting – only my second, I am only in my third week of this – with my senior supervisor (I have two, and love them both!) She has pointed me in a slightly different direction. She now has me reading the literature and unpacking spaces of home, love, intimacy and kinship. And here’s the kicker. She wants me to ground it (as after all, it is a one year project, not a PhD) in a specific geographical context, eg, my local region.

At first, I was a little taken aback. Oh no! How will I recruit participants? This is a little personally exposing, a bit “close to home” – good ol’ geography! But, I am open to it, I get what she is suggesting, and I agree. Start at the beginning. Start at how we conceptualise love. Then watch it implode, lol.

So, in order to try to make sense of how to approach this, I am reading like a madwoman, and I thought a brief post here might help me start to play with the working title, and start to arrange some order of approach. At the moment, it is all swirling around in there in a big tornado of thought, with no sequence. I am not a particularly orderly person, so it’s like herding cats. And I know my working title is nowhere near what I want it to be, and it needs to be far snappier, but I will record it here to put a peg in the ground. A marker of the origins of this thesis. I do it very nervously, as it is so far from what I need it to be yet, and I am struggling with the idea of a “fixed” sexual identity versus a fluid one – and how to incorporate that properly in the title without contradicting myself with, “okay, so one of these people has a static sexual identity, but that is not the case for everyone….”

sigh

Queering long-term ‘heterosexual’ romantic relationships: querying the effects of a romantic partner’s fluid sexualities on constructions of monogamous love in (insert geographical region(s) here.)

Aaaargh, I HATE it!

(Press publish, ewwwwwwwwww)


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Mind movies

movies-eternal-sunshine-of-the-spotless-mind

Anyone else have mind movies every day, and then the overactive dreaming every night? For six years? Constantly?

I have been counselled about this countless times. The standard advice (once people finally get that I can’t stop them by “just letting it go”, or trying not to think about it….) is to let them run their course and eventually you will be desensitised. But that hasn’t happened for me. I have tried mindfully pushing them away, then sitting with them, letting them play out hopefully to peter out. I have tried hypnotherapy to devalue them. But I had a teary moment again today as I drove home. I saw (and when I say saw, I mean I literally SEE these scenes, very vivid and 3D) how delirously happy I was, back as a young 20-something, talking with him about cheating, how I understood that temptation comes to many of us, throughout life, but that how connected people communicate and work on their connection to bond them to their partner. My movie today wasn’t originally about Leanne – they most often are. This one was about the stag party prostitute he lied to me for over twenty years about. The one I knew he visited, the one I was told (and believed) that he had been pressured into a drunken hand-job with by “the boys” and had felt disgusted about later. The one I never knew he didn’t have the cash to pay, and a friend pressured him into the room and paid (more married men at a brothel doing things that I thought they were better than) and he had to surreptitiously find to pay back at the wedding the week later. I talked to him about it at the time. I was actually okay with it. We were young, he was curious, VERY drunk, and I asked him to tell me the whole truth. He told me when he returned home from that night how awful he felt about what he’d done – the hand job – and until after his affair, I totally believed that story.

So, today’s movie production was of him sweating, drunk, and pumping away on a prostitute in a brothel, with a bunch of young guys, the majority of who should have “known better,” “got that out of their systems before now,” etc…. One in particular disappoints me more than the rest (other than Roger) as I adore him and his family. Dumbass. Him, not me. But I feel like one too. As I told Roger when he finally told me the truth about two years ago (that I genuinely believe he kind of almost forgot about as it was so long ago – in the first year of us living together) I don’t care if he came in her hand, her mouth, or her vagina, or her….. It is all sex. I care that he lied to me about it, and created an atmosphere that seems to have allowed omissions and lies. He swears he never used a prostitute before or after that time, and that it really did disgust him.

But he doesn’t understand fully the repercussions of that lie AFTER he cheated twenty something years later! The first crime was forgivable (to me at least) especially if he told me the truth, but it is material to the second one. He does NOT seem to get that, in fact, it is the one time he has ever got angry with me during our post-affair years, when I have tried to get him to understand that it affects me monstrously because the two events are linked. The first lie set up the rest decades later.

But, I digress. My question is this. Has anyone else struggled with this debilitating problem? If so, what worked to soothe the pain, and reduce the occurrences? Even after separation? After letting the perpetrator go from your life? How do I get some sleep without this? How do I ever re-paper my mind with more pleasant images? Your thoughts, please.


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Pleasers

It’s been a long fortnight in the Land of the Torn.

Our exchange student’s parents arrived from her home country – against the conditions of the exchange program. They are very nice, one has no English, and the other, a little. Neither of us have any Spanish. So, they took their daughter out of school for a few days and did a quick tour of the South Island. The rest of the time, they have been with us. This is not something I really signed up for when agreeing to host a student. Once upon a time, in a land far, far away, before the Wicked Witch of the….North (in this case) and the horrid Wizard of Torn fucked up my life (pffft, this is my fairytale, and I will tell it my way) I would have embraced it. I am (was?) a very hospitable person, I like (d?) people, I like (d?) to cook for them and show them around. This time it has been somewhat of a chore. Don’t get me wrong, I have had my game face on, but the smile has not quite made it to my eyes.

They are off tonight to have dinner with another lovely South American (immigrant) family, whose daughter N has befriended at school. We have great discussions around the dinner table, with N translating. But it will be nice not to have to wear that mask tonight. I have cooked beautiful dinners, and I can relax tonight with something simpler. Then early the next morning they will take our car (we lent our old banger to them to get about in) and N to her camp a few hours away, and join in the activities planned before the parents return for Saturday night. On Sunday I will drive them to the airport and we will be back to the four of us. N leaves us on the 7th of July, so we are counting down. It has been mostly good, but there have been some moments with a pretty lovely, but pretty entitled, Daddy’s girl living with us. She has tried it on with Roger a bit, batting her eyelashes at him, touching him and generally trying to cajole him to get what she wants. This has made him deeply uncomfortable at times, and he is great with her, they get on well, but he has asked her on several occasions not to do that. Affairs aside (and I don’t give a rat’s arse about it, he is his own man) she is 17. Not cool.

So, we have been playing happy families for the visitors, which is fine, as we do get on well, but I have noted that I have become a bit snarky. Just subtle, but not all that nice, nonetheless. I need to rein it in. I have been working on that. Roger has taken the opportunity to try to fix us and make plans for a future together – “whatever it takes, you’re the only one I ever want, the only person who gets me, I will continue to do whatever it takes for you, forever” – that kind of stuff. He is very nice, very kind, very mindful. But I can’t do this.

So, I sat and thought about it a bit this morning while I was typing out answers to a reading exercise. I have always done what pleases everyone else. My happiness was tied to servitude.

What the actual fuck???

That was not who I saw myself as. I think it was a manifestation of taking a while to find my niche in life. I dropped out of university THREE times, I had a very fulfilling, but very long hours and low waged job for the pre-kid years. So, I threw myself into helping others to get my self esteem fix. And never truly saw it that way until I was shat on so badly by my love and my “friend” (gag).

So, when Roger starts down the road of, “I really, really love and adore you, you are beautiful, clever, witty, sexy…….” I think, “poor guy, he fucked up, but he’s really sorry, you owe it to the poor guy to try again…..”

Then I wake up the next morning and feel ill. Utterly devastated to be conscious of the fact that I will never be able to be with him (or probably anyone, I’m okay with that) because ultimately, I WAS NEVER THE KIND OF GIRL WHO COULD EVER LIVE WITH A MAN WHO TREATED ME LIKE SHIT. NEVER.

I always knew this. But I guess I hoped and wished that I could change. That I COULD LEARN how to be. That somehow his kindness, deep remorse and love would be enough. But it can’t be. It is just the way I was wired, dammit. I am staunch about this kind of thing. It’s weird. I give a lot of rope, but once someone hangs themselves, too late, mate. It’s not an easy life being so damn pious! I’ve tried to change. I’ve tried to accept this shit sandwich, choking it down, washing it down, hoping it won’t stick in my craw (craw, what even the fuck is a craw?) But, I have a craw, and stuck it bloody well is! And it does me no good whatsoever being so high and mighty.