Tearing at the Fabric

Of the space-time continuum


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Reflection. A really fun hobby of mine.

Having your heart broken makes you a different person.

I am concurrently a sadderbutmoremindfullyjoyful person than I was before my “one true love” cheated on, then later cheated again and abandoned me. I make sure I appreciate, absorb, enjoy and reflect.

I arrived home late from work last night. My brother had the house warm, and he and his two kids were making sushi bowls for dinner. One was coating chicken with panko, the other was setting the table. They don’t usually hang out at night with me, mostly cooking and playing in the barn, where they all sleep.

I went and jumped in the shower, and arrived back to bowls of fresh veggies and delicious sauces, and C on the phone to the kids’ mum. They were coordinating flights for the kids home to her next week. It’s chaos here. Cancelled flights, etc. You can’t put unaccompanied minors’ flight details on the airline’s app. They don’t know what flight they are booked on, the booking reference has disappeared!

And I was proud of him. He has struggled mightily with being dumped by her. It made him a bit crazy. He got a bit stalkerish, struggling to accept she wasn’t taking him back. Oh boy, do I know that utter agony. That truly unbearable heartbreak.

So, he moved up here. More friends and family for support. Has a better job than ever, but the terrible compromise was losing daily or even weekly physical contact with his 12 and 9 year old kids. He’s an amazing, involved Dad.

It was ugly for a long time. They struggled to communicate well. He still loved her. She moved on fast. Tindering up a storm, new partner within a couple of months of kicking him to the curb. Painful for him. And she is a strong personality, knows how to push his buttons. Manipulative during that period, especially. It was breaking him.

Anyway. Their divorce was final last month. You have to be separated two years here before you can divorce. He seems to have made good progress lately, more even, less emotional outbursts. But still has a few (healthy) tears occasionally.

Last night, they talked on speaker as we ate. It was good for the kids to hear, because the eldest especially had started to fear his parents speaking, thinking it always escalated.

It did for a while.

But. Much as I was really proud of him, admiring his progess, my heart was silently squeezed.

Hard.

You see, I can’t talk to my love. The man I gave myself to. No way could I do what they were doing.

A. He doesn’t want to know me. I never really existed. Those thirty years meant absolutely nothing.

B. I can’t handle it. It makes me really tense and upset. I am not, nor will I ever be, “over it.” Yeah. I still love him.

Don’t worry. I know my “him” is a mirage. He doesn’t really exist. This person that fucks Trinket is not my love.

It sucks. I feel less than. Hopeless. Lame. Weak.

I wish I was a different person. Someone who didn’t feel so deeply. Someone without a broken heart 💔

Bro, C, just popped over to collect some laundry. I said not to pay the small amount of board (just enough to help me with my power bill) he had been paying me recently, when the kids are here for the holidays. Keep that money to do fun things with them. Put gas in your car. Do some roadies. Go to the movies. Eat out. Go to a theme park. Etc. His expenses don’t change while they are with him. Child support has nearly crippled him. But he is finally in a good space, got his budget sorted. He and I both have given up drinking for a bit. My reason was health. To help drop a few kilos, and to try to shake the cold I have had for about seven weeks. His was health, budget, and mental health. I’ve been sober 20 days, him about two weeks. He’s talking about making it permanent. We’ll see how he goes. He was putting a LOT of beer bottles in my recycling. We’ll see.

Anyway, when I said, let’s not have you pay me when the kids are here, he sat down, head is his hands and had a few tears. Came and hugged me. “Oh sis! You are too fucking much! Thank you. Thank you so much. Shit. You’ve been a bloody life saver.”

Nah. It’s what friends and family do. We support each other. He’s good to me too.

And I sit here, reflecting. On this terrible heartache. On this post apocalyptic world we both have found ourselves in.

Nothing is ever quite comfortable again. We keep running.

As my wonderful friend, Crazy Kat writes, her life is also changed post infidelity. There is less “settled.” Because when you’ve had your world shattered by infidelity, whether your relationship survives, or not, the betrayed spouse is never comfortable ever again. I related to her post about running. Running away. I feel that. I still have periods of wanting to run away, too. Some of that manifests as running to the beach. I travel around this country more. I plan overseas holidays (now that we can) more. Much of this is a restless dis-ease. I love my home, but I am never “settled” anymore. My heart and mind are constantly racing. I meditate to try to mitigate some of that stress. I practice grounding and mindfulness techniques daily.

Infidelity is far more traumatic than I ever imagined! Who knew???

I knew I was changed, even while I worked my arse off to heal us. I talked about this with Rog, at the time. He didn’t seem to understand. He was quietly furious with ME. Because it was my reaction that was the problem. Not his actions that caused it. He never understood my trauma. He thought I was deliberately dwelling on it. Nothing could be further from the truth! I desperately sought ways to escape the thoughts. The pain. His words, his apologies, just didn’t FEEL genuine. His actions were not quite matching his charm…

So, I ran and ran and ran.

Quite literally, that first year.

I would rise early, and run on the treadmill, for about an hour, every morning. Pair that with the infidelity diet, and you can see why I was so skinny. So drawn. So beaten down.

You can’t outrun the pain.

I knew that.

But the alternatives sucked. Flight, fright, or freeze. I was determined not to freeze. Not to be stuck. Not to stay if it was not better. And the fright part, that was going to turn into bitterness to me. That was not going to happen on my watch!

All that is a lot of words to say, infidelity is far more painful and permanent than anyone who has never been cheated on by someone they truly love can ever imagine.


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Why won’t s/he just get over it?!

Chump Lady addresses the narrative from the cheater. Why won’t my betrayed spouse just get over it?

Until the person you trust with your life shatters your heart and your world, you haven’t a clue.

About the PTSD. The dealing with the health fallout. About losing yourself. About the traumatic, nightly nightmares. About the loss of your world as you know it. About the battle with self harm and suicidal ideation. Home. Job. Friends. Peace. Joy. Security. Safety.

Your ability to trust anyone ever again.

Gone.

The reality is, the cheater thinks they made a booboo.

And now everything is okay again.

Right?

“I had no idea my wife cared so much about our lousy marriage! It means nothing to me and I thought I could just fuck strange and brag to her about it and she’d go back to cooking for me, raising our kids, and washing my shit stained underwear. But she isn’t functioning correctly now! I don’t want to have to get another wife appliance, how do I fix this one?”

That’s not how it works, dude.

Your spouse is now affected by your choices, your actions, your sharing of STIs, forever.

Forever.

Yes. Forever.

We do so much work on ourselves. We heal a bit.

But the effects are permanent.

I was told last week by one of our mutual friends – who nonetheless does see Roger for who he is. Does understand that he is a cheater and a liar – that she is so impressed by what I am building. How far I have come. Her: you have a better life now, Paula. You’ve shaped your own destiny. You have surrounded yourself with empowering, supportive, interesting, fun, educated friends. The (name of small hometown) detritus. You’ve shed that. All those small town entitled bores, you don’t have to deal with them anymore! Yay! Roger’s friends are still in the same mindset. He still operates the same way he always did. You, on the other hand, have completely reinvented yourself, keeping the parts of you that are unique and admirable, and shedding all the crap that came with being “someone’s wife. Someone’s small town mother.”

Yeah. I think I mostly have.

But it doesn’t mean I am healed.

Or am “over it.”

Because you never really recover fully. You just learn to live around the pain and reconfigure your life to cope.


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Self esteem

It’s been a big weekend. I had the girls (daughters) take me out for dinner on Friday night.

Saturday morning, I started shifting furniture out of my middle spare room, in preparation for building supplies, supposed to be delivered next week. The ensuite is taking some room from that massive space.

Shifting cattle, setting up breaks and feeding out silage to make it an easy shift Sunday…

I got away to the beach, with the dogs, around 1pm. I had booked them into a new boarding kennel, near BG’s place, for the night, as we had his best mate’s wife, Nina’s, 50th birthday to attend, on their family dairy farm, about 45 minutes’ drive from his house.

Nina is a truly gorgeous person. Is Matt’s second wife, of well over 20 years. Matt’s first wife, the mother of his eldest three children, 30, 28, 26, was cheating on him with his farm staff, and he didn’t know. He found out when the police arrived to whisk him away as the staff member was coming for him, with a gun! That is BIG here, we don’t have a gun culture.

Anyway, it’s a complicated situation. Nina and him also have two teenaged kids together. Nina was apparently completely amazing. The kids all spoke at the party about how beautiful she is, a true third parent, equal to their biological parents in every way. Someone who makes their lives easier, and better. Nina is a fairly quiet but fun, arts focused person, truly fabulous.

On meeting her, nearly two years ago, I immediately could see how very special she is. Matt’s ex, Jenny, was at the party! That is how healing Nina has been for this family. According to BG, Jenny and Matt don’t really speak. Nina smoothes everything.

During the party, I spoke to Jenny about her relationship with the family, and it was seriously interesting. She has never re-partnered. At least not long term. She has enormous regrets about her life choices. But carries on, has a good relationship with her children’s remaining grandmother and especially their aunt, her ex-SIL.

I’m kinda fascinated by the forgiveness. But also understand. Both the family’s determination not to isolate her, as the mother of their beloved grandkids, niece and nephews. And Matt’s lack of connection/concentration on Jenny whenever I have seen her at family get togethers.

During the night, after beautiful speeches, including Matt’s half drunken, lovingly funny, beautiful acknowledgement that Nina is the best woman he has ever met, how damn lucky he is.

Matt started chatting with Jenny. I watched BG tense. I could see he was a bit concerned. That is not normal. They don’t talk.

It was fine. He told her what had attracted him to her, originally. She was flattered, but said “interesting, Matt, because I NEVER felt good enough.”

That was kind of fascinating for me. As I said to BG, there will never be an invite to Trinket, or Roger, to my birthday parties. I will never attend theirs. What they did to me was horrific, and I don’t have young kids my family need to protect. Besides, I don’t have a warm, embracing Irish Catholic whanau. BG understood. Said, “there will be births, deaths and marriages though. You can’t be rid of them forever, can you?” I said, “no. I know. But I’ve been aware of that since he cheated. We are forever linked because of our kids.”

Nina and her team did a truly fabulous job of their place. A marquee erected between the house, and her MIL’s accommodation, encompassing a garden, that they dressed in candles, lanterns, lights, fabric and furniture reflecting a Moroccan theme! So beautiful.

Matt’s son, Hunter, is a DJ, and he had the dancefloor full all night long. My body is SERIOUSLY sore all over from dancing!

I got to bed at 6.30am…having to rise at 8.30am to get BG home in time to open the club at 10am. He lasted until after 5am, I stayed go ensure Nina saw the sunrise. She never had stayed up all night to watch the sunrise. It was a MUST!

Big night.

Big, big night!

I have been so fully embraced by this fabulous, fun, naughty, intelligent, music loving friend group. It’s kind of blown me away, to be honest. They always seek me out, kiss and hug. Ask about me, my kids, my work, etc. This is new territory for me.

I bought the gift, and chose the card. I get the impression that BG, being “the single guy friend,” hasn’t really been great at gifting in the past. He’s a very generous person. But possibly never got the gift giving knack.

So, I bought her a kitschy piece of art. I had seen her style, she is an artist herself, and I saw her taste in her home. Full of art. Etc. But it was SCARY! I wasn’t sure I got it right. This is a style you can get really miss on! And art is SO personal.

I wasn’t there when she opened it. BG gave it to her, having no idea what I bought, lol. I think he was a bit worried when he saw it, lol. But Nina grabbed it, held it to her chest, and said, “oh, Jonesy, this is amazing, I LOVE it so much!” One of her friends kept grabbing it during the night, and raving about how she wanted it.

Phew! Success!

Not that it matters, these are just some of the best people I have ever known.

BG was super attentive all night long, and I ensured I met and chatted with all the people I know, and some new ones. He kept coming to check on me, bundling me into his arms, dancing, kissing… In the wee, small hours, Nina made her way over to me, as I was chatting to one of her best lifetime friends, Errol, a guy who was really interesting, and interested in me. In fact, BG got a tad … jealous … and said later, “Errol was a bit handsy, wasn’t he?” He’s never shown any sign of jealousy before. Errol did tend to hug, put his arm around me a bit. It didn’t feel creepy. Just friendly. I am not super comfortable with men’s touch as a rule. A rape hangover.

Nina is not a gusher. Tends to be lovely, practical.

She said to Errol, “oh, Errol you’ve met Paula! She is so amazing. Such a bloody fabulous woman. The best.”

I was really taken aback. Flattered. My ego well and truly stroked.

I just go along with these fantastic people, being truly me, and they have gathered me in. I can’t really believe it. I just feel like I belong. There are not really any “difficult” wives I have to play nice with, like I did with some in Roger’s and my friend group.

I think I can see some mild “karma” at play here. I got the nice new friends, was able to discard the disloyal, and Switzerland friends. Yay me!

My life is so changed. The grief is still intense. I still believe I loved and gave and gave, to a man I felt truly bonded and madly in love with.

My new life is good. And I do love it, feel grateful, and do genuinely care very much for BG.

But, as my darling blogging and real life friend, CR, and I have discussed before. Highly passionate relationships may not be very healthy. I am finding it hard to love this new way of loving. There is less feeling of deep bonding and connection. BG doesn’t know me. The whole of me. How can he? He wasn’t there when I birthed my babies. He didn’t see me work so hard, such long hours, farming. He doesn’t know what all my hopes and dreams were, and are.

The damage is permanent. Immense. It casts a long shadow over all the hard work you do on recovery. All the truly fabulous. All the good. This is where I employ all I can from Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. To pack as much good, as much genuine, heartfelt appreciation for the good in my life, around the rotting pile of crap that Roger dumped in my life.

And walked away, hoping I would rot with it.