Tearing at the Fabric

Of the space-time continuum


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No contact

I recall the long journey that ultimately culminated in me going no contact with my alcoholic, narcissistic brother.

I had absorbed decades of abuse from him.

All in the name of family loyalty. To honour my dead mother.

Once I decided, for sure, to go no contact, it got better.

I didn’t have to endure being called names, being put down, being used as a bank. Trying to be supportive to try to help him. I just said, no more. I can be civil if we need to be in the same place. But nothing more.

Tough love. I guess.

He has since had moments of begging to be in my life, always followed by verbal abuse when I don’t respond. Or in the one case where I did, to try to explain it was best for both of us, some very nasty, really immature name calling, trying to shame me into further contact. He’s used family members, friends, his partner…all to try to engage me. Guilt me into contact.

I have stayed stoic this time. It’s been years now. He was around a bit last year, as we dealt with our father’s ill health. We were civil. Until he wasn’t. Micromanaging me (the lead carer for the father.)

I have him blocked everywhere now. Opened communication via phone/text for that period. It was closed again when he abused me for leaving Dad at home one night for a couple of hours, him much recovered, curled up by the fire, with soup, toast and plenty of Wifi and TV access.

I blocked him again.

No contact is the most peaceful way of dealing with toxic people.

I read Don’t Lose Hope’s insightful post about trauma responses.

And whilst I didn’t fit the fawn response entirely (because I did ALL of them, fight, flight and freeze included) I did include a lot of fawning. A lot of puck me dancing. A lot of, look how fkn marvellous I am, Pick Me!!! It’s pathetic. I felt pathetic.

Last week, I looked back over my communications with Rog, during that period we lived together, while he was eating my cooking, wearing the clothes I bought and laundered for him, having sex with me, all while he was eating cake by doing the same with Trinket.

I was sweating reading the messages. Totally embarrassing. I knew I was being desperate and pathetic. But I was fawning all over him, hoping he’d wake up and see me! Ugh. I feel dirty even recalling it.

Shudder.

So not who I imagined I was! But I was desperate. Desperate to wait this whore out. Desperate not to lose “my man” whom I really, truly still loved completely, and all we had worked so hard together to achieve.

Desperate not to have “failed.”

My stomach is literally churning now, gutted at my needy grossness. The words I read – I can-but-can’t remember being that sad, sad, pathetic person. Your love leaving you for fresh meat does terrible things to your self esteem. To your values. It deconstructed my picture of who I am.

I am often asked if we are friends now. Now that our lives are divided. I’m told regularly that we were the couple that appeared to be such great mates. As well as very into each other.

Sadly, no.

No, we are not friends.

Neither will we ever be.

I have had to learn the hard way, friends don’t treat you like he did me. I was just collateral damage to his wants, needs, desires. He had to fuck me over to get to the wonderful Trinket. I have zero worth to him.

So why would I accept that in any friendship?

I don’t anymore.

I don’t accept it from the Switzerland friends. My abusive brother. Nor Roger, the man I still love, but know he doesn’t value me in any way whatsoever.

I got pushed too far.


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Active relaxer

My kids told me recently that I’m an “active relaxer.”

Meaning I am always “doing” something. As we chat. As we play games. As we watch a movie.

Et cetera.

I am home from work with a nasty cold. But loving being alone.

Have all this storm chaos to clean up, so got out there and piled up sticks and branches, to burn later. Mowed some lawns. Re-baited rat bait stations. Did laundry. Washed floors. I have come inside, out of breath. Absolutely wiped out.

I have noted this about myself, too.

Before I knew Roger was a cheater, I thought it was SAHM guilt. I was a farmer, and a mother. But didn’t have a 9-5 paid job, so always wanted to be seen to be contributing.

After I found out, it ramped up.

I can’t sit still.

I’ve been struggling with some home repairs, and there are power tools everywhere.

But today, I’m tired. And I am trying to give myself permission to rest.

Fucking trauma. It’s such a nightmare.


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Foodgasm

Last night, BG came back from our weekend to my place.

And I whipped over to my baby girl’s city to do a grocery shop for her flat. One flattie is Covid positive, so they are isolating. I grabbed some schnitzel for a quick dinner for us.

It was hard.

I cook quite well, I’ve been told. Usually modern, fresh, smart food. But this was an old school comfort food option. Home to my chickens’ free-range egg eggwash and my special blend of herbs for the panko crumb. Creamy mashed spuds and steamed veg. Just like “grandma” used to make.

BG was enraptured when I served it up

Moaning with pleasure. “Holy shit, this is the best schnitzel I’ve ever eaten, babe! Damn near orgasmic!”

I smiled at him, but felt weird.

This was Roger’s easy, comfort food favourite, too.

And this was the first time I have cooked it since he left me.

Such a weird feeling. Kind like a mix up of feelings of deja vu and like I’m cheating.

Ick.


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Neverending triggers

BG is taking me to a mini conference on the opposite coast to where he lives next weekend.

It’s a town that Rog and I visited quite a few times after Leanne. I’d book an Airbnb, and we’d catch a gig, eat well, have a drink or two. Roger isn’t much of a beach boy, but he loved that town. It’s rugged, arty, and has sonw gorgeous walking options. I’ll drag BG on a walk or two. I’m concentrating on my health. Eating clean, keeping moving…my pandemic body needs an overhaul!

Norm and I seriously looked at buying property there. Looking back now, I realise that this would have been while he was internet dating!!! He wanted to take me out there, and start over. He did it about a South Island city we both loved, too. I think – in hindsight – he was testing me. Does she still want me? Still love me? Still want to be wherever I am? I was keen, it’s a gorgeous location, with great West Coast, black sand surf beaches. I wanted to get away from that farm, where he cheated, so badly.

So yeah, I’m triggered. I loved being there on our mini breaks. With my darling bear, my love. My heart felt healed out there with him. How freaking hilarious. He was chatting online with dozens of other women at that time. It’s such a terrible violation.

Even booking an Airbnb is in itself a trigger. Ridiculously, I helped the technophobe he used to be, to book one for him and Trinket, in the town I now live in! I know. I’m a super chump. Give me a damn medal! I was in shock, and SURE he would wake up, and “get it,” if I played along. Crazy shit really.

Not to mention the Airbnb he set up where he moved to – and ran with that cunt. What a lovely couple, guests no doubt said 🤢🤮🤢🤮 not knowing they were just dirty, rotten cheaters.

Ah well. Suck it up. It’s a great spot. That I have visited since. Going to gigs with my eldest daughter and friends. Going to the beach with my youngest daughter and friends. This time is more triggering, because I’ve never been there with BG.

You never get over feeling like you are cheating, in a new relationship. Even after doing the work of healing and learning about your bond, and attempting to break it, when you trauma bonded with the “love of your life.” (Yeah, right… )

Trying to appreciate that he loves taking me places, to enjoy each other.

He’s seriously considering resigning in April (with three months notice.) And moving to me. I wasn’t realising that he was feeling so disappointed that national conference was cancelled (Covid restrictions here on gathering sizes.) As he was planning on networking and sounding out peers about setting up a consultancy business.

Shit is about to get very real. I have said I am ready to live with him. And also admitted that distance has some benefits. Of perpetuating longing. Of giving petsonal space and encouraging independence. I know he’s keen to be with me, but also his fear. That it won’t last. That he’s never successfully lived with a partner longer than two years.

Life sure is a weirdo, right?


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Difficult

My youngest daughter went to Roger and Trinket’s this weekend.

Or, as she put it, went to see her sister.

She told me it’s difficult.

And that pains me. It shouldn’t be difficult to spend time with a parent. But it so often is. I know that 

She saw me shrink. She saw him knock me unconscious. She held me at night in her bed. She witnessed my insomnia, my fitful nightmares. She saw me deal with my cancer surgery and treatment, on my own, just weeks after he buggered off to Trinket.

No wonder it’s difficult.

I have some guilt that I couldn’t protect her from this clusterfuck.


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Gut feelings

I should have known. I felt something was off. I just didn’t know what it was.

I was talking to my friend a couple of nights ago, about asking Rog to come to relationship counselling with me.

I knew something wasn’t right. Twenty something years together, and we’d always clicked.

But not then. He’d got critical. I was working too hard. I wasn’t happy with the unilateral decisions he had made. But I tried to communicate. I tried to get us help. I had ZERO suspicions or worries about him cheating. Just thought we needed help getting to talk properly again.

He held me tightly and promised me nothing was wrong. No counselling required.

I went to three marriage counselling sessions. ON MY OWN. 🤦‍♀️🤦‍♀️🤦‍♀️

After Leanne told me about their year and a half long affair, he admitted he refused to go because he was scared the counsellor would work out he was cheating.

What a damn fool I’ve been.


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She won?

Losing your life partner to another woman, on the surface, seems like a lucky escape.

If your partner, your soulmate, the “love of your life,” chooses another woman, well, he’s the trash who took himself out, right?

I mean, I was told I was beautiful, the sexiest woman he’d ever known, a great cook, a loving and deserving, loyal partner, the only woman for him.

And yeah, he kept cheating. Secrets and lies. Decades of them.

So why do you feel like the world’s stupidest woman, biggest loser? Why are you so damn heartbroken?

Because I am.

Still.

Incredibly and achingly broken hearted.

Yes, I’m doing okay. A lot better mostly…but I still hurt. Still dive off the cliff on the regular.

The root of my pain never leaves me. Losing my reality to the lies. The terror of a future of more STIs, more cancer, but mostly the horrific vulnerability. The fear. The mistrust. Will I be played again? That I trusted, then fought my own instincts to learn to trust again, then was thrown under the bus for yet another woman. So how can I trust a complete stranger? Someone I haven’t known my whole life?

That is how Roger treats the love of his life. The only woman for him.

Dr Craig Eric Morris, a relationship researcher, co-writing about infidelity, and the effects of being the abandoned betrayed, explains the grief, and how that contributes to huge personal growth in the betrayed, as opposed to the betrayer/cheater, who just bed other women to self soothe, and never really has to have a good long hard look at themselves and their abusive, selfish actions.

both men and women report intense feelings and among both sexes, the “rejected” suffered significantly higher levels of post-relationship grief compared to “breakup initiators.”

Oh. Yeah. That grief. “Significantly higher levels.” It still absolutely sears. The pain is next level. Roger will NEVER get it. I know.

Yep.

Still.

And that is why I know it will never be over or gone. I just keep weaving it as neatly as possible to my life’s tapestry, the flaw that I can mostly deal with, but know it’s there. Always.

I do also try to remind myself what Trinket won. I know she will feel loved, cherished, delighted in her prize.

But she won a man away from someone who loved him extremely deeply, so much so that she spent eight years wrestling with her instincts that he was once a cheater, always a cheater. I saw some of the red flags, but desperately tried to justify them. (He kept in touch with Leanne, refusing to change his number, he told me it was to manage her crazy. Fucking her again two years later, was a great tactic in that regard, right? Oh, but I was the only woman for him, so that’s okay then.)

So, Becky With the good Hair – I mean, Trinket (with the frizzy hair, whoops!) …

Morris and his colleagues conclude the woman who loses her mate will go through a period of personal growth. Her post-relationship grief and betrayal will ultimately give way to knowledge that will help her detect low-value mates. (Unfortunately, they do not offer statistics on what actually happens in the aftermath of mate poaching.) Conversely, the researchers say, the ‘other woman’ is stuck in a relationship with a partner who has a demonstrated history of deception.

Morris CE, Reiber C, Roman E. Quantitative Sex Differences in Response to the Dissolution of a Romantic Relationship. Evolutionary Behavioral Sciences. 2016.
Morris CE, Beaussart ML, Reiber C, Krajewski LS. Intrasexual Mate Competition and Breakups: Who Really Wins? The Oxford Handbook of Women and Competition. 2016.

Doesn’t really help me deal with my pain. Because I know Trinket doesn’t get it. She hasn’t had the revelation, that he “loves” the one he’s with. That neither she, nor I, are special or beloved. Just tools to make him not feel alone or worthless.

He has never once been alone. Had to reflect on his actions. Who he is. Had to live with what he did to the most loyal person he EVER had in his life. There is no remorse. No idea of how close he pushed me to the edge. My epic battle to just survive his abuse and discard.

I know I will never get a heartfelt apology from either of them, because they did nothing wrong.

Right?

If only. If only she (or he) felt remorse for actively and willingly stabbing me repeatedly in the heart.


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Never gets old

It’s weird how my story still freaks people out.

BG and I were exercising the dogs (and ourselves) along the harbour on Saturday, and we went past a couple with a wee Jack Russell. About 50 metres past them, BG said to me, “did you know who that was? Was the *Browns (not their real name) from (my hometown.)”

I didn’t recognise them as they were both wearing bucket hats and sunglasses.

On Sunday afternoon, we walked back from the wharf, and I got a loud, “hey, Paula! Hi!” From the deck of a local bar.

Nicky Brown reached over the fence and gave me a warm hug.

“I thought it was you, we saw you yesterday, but your hair is a different colour and you weren’t wearing your usual cool and outrageous clothing.” To the side, she said, “and the man threw me. Your husband was tall, bald, very thin. But I knew it was your voice. So I stalked you on social media and asked some friends if you’d moved over here/were having an affair, lol. And then heard how awful what happened to you was! Shit, I had no idea. I’m so sorry.”

I served on the kindergarten committee with this warm woman. Our kids grew up together, played on the same sports teams, etc. We caught up with what the families were up to, and she came back to, “wow, I still can’t quite believe he did that to you, you seemed really great together, one of those lucky couples. Until I heard what he did ten years or so ago, with that skank. Did you know about this latest one? I’m so, so sorry. They never bloody change these cheating arseholes, eh? So stink. Thought you’d got through it all intact. Still can’t believe it! Hope he knows what he lost, that creep. You were always such a gem.”

Cute, Nicky. What a lovely thing to say, she was always a lovely girl. And yeah. I know Nicky. Me neither doll. I still can’t believe it and it’s two and a half years since I’ve Met Someone Else.

Then she said, ‘and during my stalk, my sister-in-law said you have recently met a new man, and who he is.

He’s bloody awesome. Good work, you, you look happy.”

Man, it still throws me. I still feel vaguely guilty that the man I’m walking arm in arm with isn’t Rog. My loyalty still makes me feel weird about it all…

Life partner…ah, well, no. Just until he got sick of me, and traded me in 😭

Never gets old. Still hurts like fuck.

But nice acquaintances, I’ll take. Counting my blessings ❤👍


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Cocktails, gigs, intuition

Up here in the big smoke, catching up with girlfriends at a gig last night.

And for the second weekend in a row, a different, intuitive friend said, “what’s up with you, Paula? You look incredible. Is there a man? Your eyes have got their sparkle back.”

Fuck.

What?

Am I that pathetic? That transparent? Some guy pays me a moment’s attention, and my hair shines, my skin glows, and my eyes sparkle? Jesus. That sucks.

So, I admitted to both of these intuitive friends – who know each other well, but said this to me separately (I smell a rat?) – that there is a man who has taken me out a few times, but it’s nothing, very early days. And both times, I then teared up. Quite badly, ick.

Both women hugged me, saying, but that’s so great, Paula, you deserve it, and why wouldn’t someone want you, you’re hot as fuck, empathetic, loving, independent, smart as hell, what’s wrong?

And I admitted it feels scary, really, really scary, and I don’t want to catch feelings.

And. That it feels like I am cheating on Rog, going out with someone else. No matter how appallingly he behaved, I love that man. And yes, I know he wasn’t ever worth it, and that he never loved, cherished, protected me.

Which is horrendously stupid.

Ugh.

Anyway, the bar we ended up at last night was fantastic. And the bands they had playing were both amazing! Love keeping it live and local. Danced my arse off. Yass kween!

Why does it hurt so much?

I better get home and let my dogs out for a run. They are home alone for the first time.


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If you have to hide

Remember when I have posted previously about my mother’s advice regarding secrets? That if you are in a relationship you have to hide, you shouldn’t be in it? And how, when Roger first started with Trinky, that he told her I couldn’t know about her?

WTAF???

I was thinking about that. About how there is no way any person over 50 could possibly think that was okay.

I used to try to give Trinket the benefit of the doubt. Naive. Not unkind.

But, the reality is, she knew. From the start. That he was deceptive. Deceiving his long term love. I was not to know about her. Holy shit!

If someone tells you that, um, yeah. They are a lying liar, who lies. No two ways about it!

So. When she came across as so empathetic to me, just a silly wee thing, who really had no idea, she was also lying. Of course, we are all pissed at Roger-or-whoever-the-married-cheater-is. And oh, let’s not be too harsh on the AP. That makes a lot of sense. The AP never promised the betrayed spouse a damn thing. The cheater, on the other hand…well. Rog promised me everything. Including that he would never hurt me. Again. That he would wait for me, willing me to trust him again. For as long as it took.

I have written evidence! He wrote those very words. Over and over.

Never meaning a word of them.

Hmmm. Creating at least three online dating profiles, probably not really committed to the healing process, do you think??? Probably not really the love of his life that he couldn’t do life without? In reality, just a pawn in his chess game of life. Holding a place for his queen. I was swapped out. Just like that. For another playing piece. I sometimes wonder if he’s even noticed I have changed, now I look like Trinket. Smaller, older, plainer, whoops, is that my partner? Oh right, doesn’t matter, still sucks my dick, feeds me, does my banking, warms that side of the bed, what was her name again?

Ah, yeah, names.

Roger always has nicknames for everyone. Including pets. I thought it endearing. But now I realise how convenient it is if everyone is Snooks, bear, monkey, hunk, darling, dingus, love….etc. Easy peasy! Interchangeable chess pieces! Ta-dah! Cheater playbook tips. Bloody handy!

Trinket was never a naive, trusting silly. She knew exactly what he was. A partnered man, hiding his internet dating from the woman who had loved him for three decades. And, part of that realisation hit me when I saw her start to block me on messaging apps. I don’t care that she does. I don’t want to interact with her cheating self. But it does make me laugh. Like I am the bad guy. I think I have been quite kind if we have ever interacted. But, me, the betrayed spouse, the incumbent wife appliance whom he traded out of, I have been somehow branded as someone who must be kept away from her perfect little love bubble.

Pretty weird. Generally betrayed wives trying to rebuild relationships with their cheating husbands tend to have to block the OW. Not the other way around. I think it speaks volumes. An admittance on her part of her guilt in fucking off with my partner. Leanne kept harassing us for over two years after DDay. I begged Roger to block her number, to change his, etc.

Nope.

Shit no. Too handy to keep her hanging. Just in case Paula does actually leave me. Then I won’t have to sleep alone. He proved that by sleeping with her again when I did ask him to move into the cottage for a bit. He drove to her, the very next day, and fucked her again. Over two years after DDay. That woman whom he hated for hurting me (um, actually Rog, YOU hurt me, she is a cunt, yes, but I always knew she was who she is) was not so terrible after all. Good enough to put your dick in again. Unprotected sex again. With the woman who gave us chlamydia and HPV. All because sleeping alone is…well…lonely. Lol!

Poor widdle Roger. He can’t be single, alone. Not ever. I often think how terrifying it must have felt for him when Nic, the couples therapist who actually started to make Roger aware of his shit, told him that should we not make it, that he MUST stay single for a year or two. To just learn to be Roger. To adult alone. Not to feed his bottomless vessel with female attention. To me, that actually sounds kinda great. Freeing, empowering, independent. To Roger, it must have sounded so, so scary. Doing life without a PA. Literally! Trinket has actually worked in admin, as a PA, her entire life. Ha! Go figure! There was no way Roger was going to just head off on his own. The 12000 text messages to other women in 8 months, that I retrospectively found on his phone records after he dumped me for Trinket, show how hard he was working to ensure he never had to be alone. He never once considered living anywhere else but near Trinket. He had never previously considered living in that region. Was a bit sneery about it. Smugly talking about how his sister moved there due to snobbery. It’s considered a bit of an old money area. Prior to Trinket, we had been looking at other regions. Never once did we consider Trinketville.

We worked extremely hard. Long hours. Cash poor. And I was dying for him to come to the realisation that the farm he bought was just not worth the pain it had caused. I looked forward to moving onto, pardon the pun, greener pastures. He promised me, when he bought it – long before I knew of any cheating – that it was a five year plan. Eleven years later, he dumped me, and the farm. And the easier life we worked so hard to achieve, no longer seven days a week, in fact, he is ostensibly retired, is now ALL for Trinket’s benefit.

She stole what I worked for. Anticipated. They live in a temperate climate, surrounded by vineyards, art, foodie heaven. She doesn’t have to wait until 8 or 9 at night for him to come home from the farm, sweaty and dog tired, to snuggle him. To feed him. Their time together is not dictated by them having to rise at 5am to milk cows, or draft lambs. He isn’t unable to accompany her on a family holiday because he is tied to the farm. I waited and waited and supported him, worked those dog tired decades anticipating these years. When we could enjoy the fruits of our damn long hard working years. But no, plot twist. Everything I worked for is now Trinket’s. FFS. Gifted to her.

It really does suck. He really is so happy to not have to work so hard. He won’t ever come home grumpy and short with her because of a 15 hour work day, where he lost a cow, or picked up his tenth dead lamb of the spring, feeling like utter shit. She has reaped what I sowed.

That man saw the agony I was in, watching him date another woman, knowing I love him. There is no way he could have ever loved me to do that to me. These people don’t give a flying fuck. It’s all about them. Fucking selfish.

That they get to be loved up, delirious with each other (even though, in Roger’s sad sausage words to me this July were, “this was not what I wanted, Snooks”) while I work fucking hard to not fucking top myself, to survive this agony, to try to find a way to flourish and thrive through this utterly defeating heartbreak. Poor thing that he is. To HAVE TO start anew in a lovely area, with a woman with no boundaries, who just wants to suck his dick and “make her man happy.” Poor bugger. Such a hard life.

That he chose.