Thursday, 31 October 2013

Like Organising a Funeral

The morning after I heard the words "I can't do this anymore",  I had coffee with a new friend who had been separated for several years.

While we talked, I cried in the back yard of the cafe. Processing my emotions, wondering how I would be able to trust someone else again with my heart, if I could ever love someone more than I loved P, being angry for not being given a chance to make this relationship work. While I was going on an emotional roller coast, I was also starting to what I jokingly refer to as "project managing our separation". I had no control over the decision to end the relationship, so I would try and control what I could - the logistics.

When I got home I contacted an acquaintance who is a solicitor specialising in family law to make our first appointment, and started looking into the quagmire which is family benefits and child support.

Earlier that year while P prepared for an eulogy he had the honour of delivering, I had wondered how stressful it must be to organise a funeral for a loved one who had suddenly died. At a time when you are experiencing great grief, you need to think about who to invite, selecting songs, and what kind of finger food will be served afterwards.

Being told that your relationships is a 'do not resuscitate' is a little like that. You're reeling, crying, thinking it doesn't feel real, while you have to deal with paperwork and new processes. I just haven't worked out what the funeral march song will be.

A new way forward

There are many upsetting things about separation and a lot of new territory to discover while feeling quite fragile.

Two days ago while my ex (who I will refer to as P) and I were in the bathroom getting ready for the day ahead, I asked him what was in store for the day. We used to always do this, and then at the end of the day we would debrief on the victories, frustrations and trivialities of the day. These casual conversations would soon no longer be - we would have to call up the other person to find out how their day was going.

In a moment of hurt as I realised this, I quipped "well you'll have to find someone else to discuss your day with. I won't be here to ask you anymore". The minute I said this, I regretted it.
P replied, a little hurt "I would like to think that I can still talk about this with you, as you can discuss your day with me. But if you don't want to…"

Probably a year ago, I would have let this ride. But now I turned to him and apologised, explaining that I was just a little hurt and trying to hurt him. P understood. There will be so many things, little and big, that I wouldn't want to discuss with anyone else because we have so much history and understanding between us. But at what point does it become too much - at some point will I then have to wonder about calling him up too much?

Tonight, like most nights, he is working late. Up until two weeks ago, I would have had no hesitation calling him just to see how he was going and when he thought he would be home. But now, while we are still under the same roof at least for a couple more nights, I have no claim over him anymore. He doesn't need to consider me in his plans anymore, and while I understand this, it also hurts a little too.

P and I were friends before we were a couple. And now we will need to find a new way forward, forging a new relationship where we are just friends again.

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Ground Zero

"I can't do this anymore".

These are the words my husband of 10 years said to me. Two weeks ago today, my world as I knew it fell apart.

You know that almost cliche move you see in films when the woman in despair slides down the wall to the ground? That's how I felt. The floor slid out from under me and my stomach plummeted. I felt sick, my head swam. I couldn't believe it, yet I knew this was coming for a couple of months.

A couple of months ago, when I was still pregnant I sat down with my husband late one night and started the conversation. That I knew that something wasn't right with our relationship. That I wanted to talk about it and work on it. But when I looked in my husband's eyes, I could see that as far as he was concerned, it was over. There was no working on it. But we agreed to talk about it after the baby was born to prevent me from becoming more stressed while I was pregnant.  I was a mess that night, and for a couple of days after then. But I tried telling myself that we would still be ok, even though I could tell in his eyes, his voice, his hellos and goodbyes that we were done.

The next day at work when I sobbed briefly at my workstation, a colleague asked if I was ok.
"I think we're splitting up".

Two weeks ago my world fell apart. In two weeks I have been on a roller coaster - at my highs I am organised, project managing our separation and focusing on the positives that will come from this separation. At my lows I cry, get angry at what I sense is a betrayal and doubt how I will manage juggling three kids under 7 by myself while working full time.

I know my husband doesn't want to hurt me. That he hasn't been unfaithful. He has simply fallen out of love with me. We are not soul mates. And while I came to this realisation myself several months before, I would not have had the guts to admit this out loud. But he has.

So now I am thrown into a situation I understand, but still hurts and shocks me. So with a broken heart, I have these options:

  1. Become a victim, and make this separation even harder
  2. Learn from why we are breaking up, and grow from this.
I'm choosing number 2. And this blog is an attempt to document my journey. How will I look a year from now, A Year from Ground Zero?