Monday, 1 December 2014

Slow down, you move too fast

I have a tendency to think ahead, to think of the what ifs, the hypothetical. To think about what could have been, what might be.

When I was first seperated, you can imagine the thoughts racing through my mind; how will I meet someone again, how will  I be able to trust someone again (with my heart, and with my children's hearts), how will I afford to keep a roof over our heads, what will Christmas look like, where is my home now - do I stay here or leave all get the idea!

But over the past  year I have gotten better at trying to conserve my energy and mental space for the things in front of me that are actually happening, of trying to be more in the moment.

But yesterday, it hit me out of the blue.

You see, I was adamant that I didn't want a relationship. Then I met a fabulous person, and was adamant I didn't want things to get serious with him. And then, after we'd been seeing each other a little while, it hit me that I Really Like This Guy. And so we continued for a couple of months, both being ok with really liking the other person, and being ok with How Serious This Was Getting.

We had both come out of relationships fairly recently, and talked about taking this at the right pace especially As There Were Children Involved.

The thoughts that used to pop up in the back of my mind like You Shouldn't Be In A Relationship This Soon After Seperation, and Move Slowly, became less and less, and I was getting very comfortable with how good this was. I stopped keeping the safe distance between the two of us, and gave myself over to the fact that maybe This Could Be The One.

The weekend before last, we went on a crazy road trip that involved us catching up with our respective families, and introducing each other to our families. My family only consists of my mum and my dad. My dad and he got on like a house on fire discussing their common interest, my mum didn't cope too well (but that's a whole other issue) and he seemed ok with that too.

So everything was going swimmingly, and we were on the same page about where this was going and how we were feeling about it.

And then it started. I started noticing my professions about my feelings weren't being reciprocated at the same rate. But I was ok with that, as we're different people and he is generally very demonstrative. And then in the last week, I noticed the little reminders about us taking it slow coming back up. This time it was in how he relayed to me what his family and friends thought of me. It appears that they generally agreed that I seemed like I could be The One...but he had to take it slow/take it easy/not rush things. They have all said this to him in all good intentions, as he has a history of being in relationships with women who have ultimately taken advantage of him.

And then yesterday, after spending a lovely afternoon together with him and my kids, his farewell greeting was "My sister said on the phone yesterday to take it slow".
Buzz kill. And so since then that's all I can think about. I know he's said this in all innocence, and that he believes that there is no rules for how this relationship should play out and that he wants this to be his best and last relationship. Those words would normally have made my heart melt, but now all I can think of, is this indeed a sign from the universe? That I wasn't pushing this relationship any harder than he was, but why is he now the only one starting to put some brakes on?

Since yesterday, I have felt a bit sick about this. And I never wanted to feel sick in a relationship ever again. I still believe we have a good thing, and he has told me today that he didn't mean anything by it, that he's still madly in love with me and wants this to be his best and last relationship, but I still feel a bit uneasy.

I can rationalise what he's saying. I know we're not over. But why the feeling? The sickness? Why have I today started to put up some barriers between us, which surely is the death knell of a relationship?

And then, just a little while ago it hit me. I've been reminded that I have really fallen for this guy, and I could really be badly hurt if this ends.


So it's at this point, I could choose to protect myself, to end this now in case I get really hurt in the future.
Or I could keep articulating to him how I feel allowing us to work through this together, and take a gamble that I could be hurt in the future. To choose this good thing now and continuing to honour that, and see where that takes us.

I'm picking the latter...

Monday, 10 November 2014

The bump in!

I live in a 'major regional city'. Which means you're often no more than 20 minutes from virtually anywhere you need to go to. That you can drive the kids to school and day care and be sitting at your work desk within 30 minutes. That you regularly bump into people you know when you're shopping at Coles.

Last year I was dreading bumping into the woman my ex basically left me for. I made certain decisions about places not to go to, people not to talk to,  in order to minimise this risk.

But in all this time, up until today, I've only bumped into her once. It was so fleeting I almost missed it, except for catching one of her children having a full meltdown in public.

Today I was in Coles, with a trolley holding too much shopping given my online grocery shop the day before, with my youngest sitting in the toddler seat, my middle child standing up in the front of the trolley like a captain at sea, and my eldest pushing the the whole shebang. It was a rare moment of calm and perfection.

And then, I turned, saw her amongst the apples and encouraged my children to say hi to her and her kids.

She walked up to me, and we chatted, all smiles. I have never known an adult mouth to hold as many teeth as hers. It was civil, superficial, and all about the kids. We discussed paper planes and the challenges of shopping with children.

And that's why you never leave the house looking shabby, for you never know who you'll bump into!

Monday, 27 October 2014

Always remember, everything happens for a reason

It’s been a little over a year. So to commemorate the milestone, I gathered some friends who had been supportive to me during that time for afternoon tea and drinks last Saturday.

A friend brought some farm fresh eggs and home made caramel slice. Another one gave me a plaque with the words "Remember, always remember, everything happens for a reason". All brought alcohol.

It was hot. Combined with some wine, deep seated tiredness, some alcoholic punch and general awkwardness at public speaking, I endeavoured to thank my guests and to reflect on some things I’ve learned. The key lesson being to appreciate the things around you so easily taken for granted.

 And I acknowledged to the group that I was particularly thankful for meeting the man I’m currently seeing who I referred to as ‘thoroughly lovely’.

Tonight, with only a hint of a storm to come, the lights flickered, and the power went out. With a rare window of child free time before M was coming to visit I had a pile of cleaning and ironing to do. But with the loss of power I gave myself over to what was happening. And instead I sat outside, drank some wine (after all, the fridge had lost power!), listen to the birds and paint my nails in the fading light. And now that the sun has well and truly set, I’m sitting here still outside, typing on my laptop listening to the wind rushing through the trees.

Damn. Correction. The lights have sprung back on inside.

But I think I’ll go inside, turn them all off, and keep the candles burning until M arrives.

Sunday, 5 October 2014


Last week I felt blergh.

I wasn't sad or angry or confused or hurt. But I was...

Flat, numb, unfocused.
Unable to concentrate on conversations and simple tasks at home and work.
Not as interested in seeing the lovely guy I'm dating.
Unable to laugh at things I would normally laugh at.
despite the lovely spring weather, smells and sights around me, I found it really hard to appreciate its beauty.

However my desire to consume chocolate was in no way diminished!

For those who are familiar with these feelings, may have an inkling of something that I finally conceded to by the end of the week. The black dog was back.

I had previously felt its back brush up against my leg, its rough tongue lick my hand (ok, taking the analogy too far?) but this was the longest bout of depression that I've had.

I consider myself lucky that I haven't so far been completely crippled, or resorted me to medication. Yet I find its haze exhausting and frustrating.

I was diagnosed with mild depression in the early days of the separation by the counsellor I was lucky enough to be seeing, but this was definitely worse. No, there were no 'hurtful' thoughts that entered my head towards myself or my children, thank God. But for people whose response is basically 'snap out of it/look around you at your lovely children/think that things could be worse/just cheer up', then I can now absolutely testify that those words are useless and insensitive. And luckily I didn't hear them from anyone.

I confessed my suspicion about the depression to the lovely guy, an understanding colleague who caught me unaware at work, and my ex. They are pointing to a hormone IUD I had inserted over a month ago, which has had no negative effect until now. But I don't know if it's that simple... I think there's a whole myriad of factors that contributed to this, and then I came across this article which confirmed some of my thoughts.

The stress of separation. The hormone IUD. A mother with mental illness. My own issues from my upbringing (note I am not a fan of blaming others and I believe in being accountable for yourself, but it does help paint a picture). The sudden reduction in exercising, after having been a regular visitor to the gym for several months. The huge intake of processed foods (well, chocolate). Chronic long term lack of sleep.

So on Friday morning with the kids at their dad's place, I took myself for a run (er, maybe more walking than running!). And when it came time to see the lovely guy for coffee that morning before work, I could at least smile and make chit chat. I'm not implying this is an easy fix, but the fact that I felt a little better as the endorphins started to course through my body, was a relief.

So I can start to feel myself swimming up from the depths and feel things a little clearly. And the lovely guy didn't get freaked out.

So what did I learn? Something I already knew, which is that depression sucks. That this is a journey I'm just starting on. That you just can't pull yourself out of it. But with a bit of time, awareness and patience, I can help make it more tolerable until it passes.

Friday, 19 September 2014

Now You're Just Someone That I Used To Know...

I like this song. Not all of these words are exactly pertinent, but these ones in particular are:
Told myself that you were right for me
But felt so lonely in your company
But that was love and it's an ache I still remember

You can get addicted to a certain kind of sadness
Like resignation to the end, always the end

Now you're just somebody that I used to know

It's been nearly a year since our separation, and yes it's been a roller coaster of emotions. But after having overall what has been a pretty good couple of months where I felt happier than I had in a long time, plus embarking on a whirlwind romance with a guy that is disconcertingly lovely and great with the kids; for the past week and a bit I have had this weird feeling towards my ex.

Like he is dead to me.

It's awful to admit to myself, awful to write, and it was awful for him to hear this morning.

I don't hate him. But I don't like him or even feel any degree of respect. Right now, I feel absolutely nothing towards him.

I see him when we exchange the kids, but I can barely bring myself to look at him, to engage with him in anyway. At the moment, it is like he is not even there.

He knew I'd been 'shitty' in the last week and a half, so I explained on the phone - clarified, that no, I wasn't shitty...I just felt indifference.
Maybe it's the tiredness from our baby who is currently waking up pretty much every hour or two at night.
Maybe it's the hormones from the Mirena IUD I've just had put in a couple of weeks ago.
Maybe the emotions, and the thinking, and the processing from the last year, combined with the local show I worked on at nights while working during the day, has finally caught up with me, and I'm just exhausted. Too exhausted to feel anything else.

Or maybe it's that this very lovely guy, who really listens, who looks into my eyes, who engages with my kids and basically is present in a way my ex wasn't for years, has highlighted how unhappy I had been during the end of our marriage.

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Happy birthday!

Tomorrow my youngest turns one.

A year ago, I was waiting to go into labour. A year ago, my husband and I were in the mad throes of finishing off our second round of renovations on our home. My in-laws had arrived to help out for several days. Our other two children were looking forward to meeting their sister.

A year ago I was absolutely exhausted after renovating, working full time, juggling two kids, not sleeping well and dealing with the anxiety caused by simulataenously knowing my marriage was in trouble but also certain that it wouldn't be about to end. When I arrived to hospital to be induced, I had no idea how I was going to get through labour. I felt absolutely exhausted, spent, shattered and labour hadn't started yet.

But he reassured me I could do this. That I'd done it before and I'd be fine. That I'd get the energy from somewhere, that it would be over and it would be worth it. He was quietly supportive, and during the day we laughed a couple of times, something we hadn't done for god knows how long.

He did the right things - passed me drinks and snacks, found me a trashy mag, made sure I ate, joked about bad baby names and tried to help me keep my gas intake under control. But I knew for certain then that the love was gone.

He was exhausted too; from work, from renovations, and something else I couldn't quite pinpoint at the time. He was going through the motions and I tell you there is no weirder feeling than giving birth in front of someone you know has become indifferent to you. Actually, it's not weird. It's fucked up and I don't wish it upon anyone. It is a terrible memory to have, and I work hard to make sure it doesn't define that day.

A month after I gave birth for the third and last time, he left.

There were many times since that day that I felt unfocussed, distraught, like I could climb the walls, that my world was falling apart. And at those times I kept reminding myself I'd somehow get through this, that somehow this would pass, that I would get the energy to keep moving forward for the sake of the children and myself.

I was lucky to have a couple of friends who would be a shoulder when I needed. Or pour me a drink.

Looking back now, I can also just begin to see that the pain was probably worth it too.

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

My First First Date in about Thirteen Years

So Friday night was the second round in what I jokingly refer to as an Interview for a Job I'm not sure I even want...otherwise known as the first date.

Like with Speed Dating, my expectations were low. (Let me be clear - my standards are not low, just my expectations to avoid disappointment!) My KPIs for my first first date in about 13 years were small - minimal awkward silences and that he not be a sociopath.

It went well. Exceedingly well for my first first date in about 13 years with a virtual stranger. The conversation flowed easily and honestly. I don't know if there were fireworks, but he's attractive, nice, interesting, a gentleman (which I find both charming and disarming) and I felt very comfortable with him. And it lasted 5 1/2 hours, which I guess is a pretty good effort!

I invited some friends around for brunch on Sunday morning, and they eagerly enquired how Friday night went - I think being married, plus being lovely people to boot, they enjoy listening to my single gal experiences and so were more excited about it than I was! But as I recounted how well it seemed to go, I realised that perversely a part of me was hoping to have some disastrous first dates so I wouldn't have to actually make a hard decision about a guy....

Anyway, tomorrow night we're having our second date, so we'll see if after last week we still have things to talk about!

Monday, 7 July 2014

Like a series of interviews for a job you don't even want

Ok, so for the record I am not ready for, or interested in having a relationship. Let alone have the time! However lately I've started thinking it might be nice to have someone else to catch a movie or dinner with. So...

last Thursday night I went speed dating with a fellow gal pal.

No pressure, no expectations. If there was noone there I was attracted to, I wouldn't be upset. After all - I don't want a relationship remember? No time remember? I purely regarded it as an interesting 'market research' opportunity - would there infact be anyone there I vaguely found interesting?

So after manically getting the children ready for the babysitter, and getting myself ready in about 3 1/2 minutes, I hopped into my girl friend's car. But as we got closer to the venue, I started feeling a little nervous and unprepared...the best way I can think of describing the feeling was like I was about to have a job interview for a job I didn't even want! Actually, about to have about a dozen interviews!

So we paid our $10 and nursed our first drink while cautiously scanning the room to check out the talent. We were given our score cards, and started thinking how I could make discrete notes (including scores out of 10) for each candidate, without shielding my work with my left arm as if back in primary school. But I digress...

so the ladies took their seats (my gal and I picking a comfy bench seat each) and awaited the talent.

Each date was 4 minutes long, and at first I was worried the time would pass too quickly. It turns out it's just enough time for anyone to sound interesting enough and to gauge if you want to see each other again.

After a whirl whind of potential candidates, it was a relief to find that it wasn't too hard talking to strangers for 4 minutes. There were no fireworks, but there was someone I thought I'd like to keep talking to, and we've since organised having a drink after work this Friday.

We'll see how it goes without someone ringing a bell to cut our time short!

Youth is waste on the Young

Over the past couple of weekends, I've had moments when I was completely happy being single ('single' doesn't have the painful connotations of 'separated') ...moments when I was child free and enjoying the moment and maybe getting a little closer to discovering me.

Now don't get me wrong...I love my children to bits. They are lovely, funny, clever, maddening, exhausting and they melt my heart...but it is nice to have some time to myself to be an adult, that doesn't involve being at work.

This weekend particularly, felt a little like I had managed to get the perfect blend of the freedom of 'youth' and the responsibility of being an adult. I had an incredibly rare run of three nights out in a row involving adult conversation and alcohol (including speed dating which we'll come to later), a walk into town on Saturday morning to pick up my car, flirting innocently with a cute bartender (well, trying to flirt anyway), drinking beers with friends without needing to worry about keeping an eye on my possums, and walking home in the cool fresh night air.

All these moments which make me feel happier, stronger, and help me stand in good stead for those moments like this morning when it's clear that I'm speaking to my ex from his girlfriend's bed.

Saturday, 21 June 2014

Where's the male 'us'?

Last night a fellow single gal pal came around for some drinks and a debrief about navigating this relatively new single's been about 8 months for me, and a little over a year for her.

I have not yet dipped my toe into what I have heard is a relatively small dating gene pool (given that we live in a 'regional centre', and from what I have heard from other single gal pals), while she has just started to wade in. We're not after a serious relationship, but we're at the point that we would like to meet someone that we could grab dinner with, see a movie or potentially engage in other nocturnal activities with...

I'm starting to hear some horror stories - you know the guys who send photos to prove how attractive they find them (if you get my drift) when they've barely exchanged names and numbers, the guys who are married but want to play the field and other charming behaviour...but I'm trying to make sure that those stories don't cloud by otherwise fledgling optimism.

And we figured last night - well here we are, two reasonably attractive, intelligent women, who like food, good conversation, a glass (or several) of wine and certain nocturnal activities - there must be the male version of us out there!

But not in the weird "I'm in love with myself" sense (pardon the low resolution):

Friday, 20 June 2014

A funny thing happened on the way to the chemist..

In a couple of weeks I'm getting a Mirena inserted - I figure even though the likelihood of having sex is incredibly low, the last thing I need (apart from a hole in the head and say to be attacked by a shark) is another kid!

So with prescription in hand, I go to the chemist after getting over my trepidation about having an IUD inserted in my lady parts (I'm not a prude, I just find that phrase quite funny at the moment). I've shaken off the stigma of IUDs being old metal contraptions from the 1970s and am feeling all cool and yay me doing something else for myself which I don't need to discuss with anyone else and how lucky women are in the first world to easily take control of their bodies and reproductive health blah blah blah...when the chemist hands over a rectangular box containing said IUD...which is almost as long as my arm! Eek!

So I'm in the chemist holding a massive box (*snigger) and have to immediately grapple not only the thought of how much of this device is going to be inserted inside my uterus and kept there for about 5 years; I also had to struggle carrying it discreetly in a virtually transparent plastic bag, down the main street and back up to work on my lunch break!

Note re *snigger. I'm just a big lover of double entendre.

Wednesday, 14 May 2014


Any Australian readers here will be aware of Offspring - the series on Channel 10 with the wonderful Asher Keddie playing Nina, a obstetrician who is funny, intelligent, a little insecure, with a fondness for decorative owls and a great wardrobe. The show is a little quirky and is peppered with fantasy interactions with her family and friends which are often humorous and a window to her soul.

When I was pregnant recently, I sometimes channeled how Nina dresses - my favourite outfit was a skinny leg pair of electric blue pants, a charcoal top, a long orange cardigan and tan knee high me, it looked better than it sounds!

So tonight was the first episode in the new series, and I've just finished watching it.  I'm proud I made it through with a touch of melancholy and no tears!

Nina returns to work after having several months off maternity leave. Her partner (and the father of their daughter) died before she was born.  The show perfectly captured the sadness and almost surreality of losing someone, especially at a time which is meant to be joyful, of returning to work after maternity leave - trying to jump back into normal life, of feeling that your lost special person is both everywhere and nowhere at once.

A particularly touching moment on imagining seeing Patrick at work "And there you are, my special person, out there in the real world."

But to balance out the sad moments, there were some comedic gems, my favourite being Billie (Nina's sister) encouraging her to masturbate.

"And Nina, don't fake orgasm to yourself."

Sunday, 30 March 2014


Time is a rubbery concept... it flies when we're having fun - on holidays, drinks with friends, amazing sex sessions and feels like an eternity at other times - team meetings lacking direction, awkward conversations, waiting for a stellar sex session to begin....

I started thinking about time two nights ago when I was sitting in the theatre watching A Midsummer Night's Dream with a friend. We were marvelling at the language of Shakespeare - here we were watching a play written about 400 years ago which was still making us laugh that night. Marvelling at how language can traverse vast quantities of time like it is nothing.

It also got me thinking about my own little timeline. 24 years ago we performed Dream, one of my favourite Shakespeare plays, at high school. I was the Assistant Director, which is what we tended to call the Stage Manager at school for some reason. 18 years ago my first professional stage management gig was a Shakespeare play with a leading state theatre company. 3 years ago my husband and I attended a friend's 50th birthday party in fancy dress in the exact same place where I was sitting that night, now as a separated woman. It was a year ago that my ex began to prepare for the musical he would direct that would lead to him meeting the woman he would fall in love with and leave me for. And just a little over six months ago I was in a delivery room giving birth to our third child.

Time is a slippery beast...looking back on it it can seem like a moment and an eternity all at once.

Colleagues ask me how it is being back at work and how the time off did it go?

In six months I became a mum of three, became separated, was diagnosed with depression and started my  journey away from ground zero. Because so much has happened, it feels longer than six months.

So I answer, "It's been a big six months, but it's good to be back at work". And I smile.  And that pretty much covers it.

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Is divorce still a dirty word?

I was quickly trawling through my FB feed today, when I came across this comment from one of the contributors of ivillage...

My son came home from school today and asked me to explain what divorce is. I fobbed him off. What should I say? Jo xx

For a minute I thought I had stumbled across an Agony Aunt column from the 1950s. Really? Fobbed him off? Is divorce such a hard thing to explain to a child in this day and age? Don't most people know people who aren't married, or who are separated/divorced? Don't most kids see TV shows with people who aren't married or who have remarried? (or is it just my boy who shares my love of Modern Family?!)

The world has changed a lot since I was a kid. My eldest is 7, and I've had to field questions about homosexuality, teach about stranger danger, explain what certain unsavoury words are (even if the explanation is simply not to repeat them again), discuss death, religion and politics. I found myself needing to explain separation and divorce to him even before it happened to me, and it was by far one of the easiest tricky questions to deal with.

Saturday, 8 March 2014

Survived the First Week!

I survived my first week back at work!

The first day was perfect - it was one of those days when everything worked really well in the morning - we even managed to leave the house looking like it hadn't just been raided by the Feds. I joked to my colleagues that it could only go down from here!

As I walked back into the office on Monday morning I genuinely felt glad to be back. Several people through the week commented on how well I was looking, and someone actually said I had a spring in my step!

I'm enjoying being back at work where I have a degree of autonomy and feel like I'm contributing towards something. Plus it works that I work with some really good people.

I met all the KPIs I had set myself for a relatively successful week:

  1. All leaving the house looking relatively respectable!
  2. Me getting dressed without agonising over what to wear thanks to a culled and organised wardrobe (but let's see how long that lasts!)
  3. No wondering what to make for dinner thanks to my  menu plan!
  4. Me being able to take lunch into work every day (thanks to above mentioned menu plan)
  5. No spontaneous crying or surprising emotions at work!

Yay me!

So all in all, my first week went well!

Bring on week no. 2.

Friday, 28 February 2014

Hi Ho, Hi Ho, it's back to work I go...

So after the weekend, I return to work after 6 months of maternity leave.

This is the third time I've done this, but in this case I'm not sure if the theory of 'third time lucky' or 'it gets easier each time' applies here.

Luckily, the baby has been pretty cruisy. By now I can pretty much breastfeed while doing housework and change a nappy while amusing one or two other children. But there's been a fair bit of other business going on in the last several months. . .like er, becoming separated. Most of you who have stumbled upon here know how time consuming and emotionally exhausting that is! In summary:

1. Be told my husband is leaving me. Not working on the marriage. That's it.
2. Go into shock.
3. Cry a lot.
4. Start going to the gym!
4. As I can't control my emotions and have no say in this separation, begin to try and control what I can - the other facets of my life. Go into overdrive doing a budget, organise government benefits, cancel cards, change beneficiaries, set up my own cards/bank accounts, change passwords, meet with the solicitor (you get the idea)
5. Decide I will not become a victim, but will use this heart wrenching experience as a journey for me.
6. Vow to myself (and to my husband) that I will be a better and stronger person a year from now.
4. Go through a whirl wind of emotions, which fluctuate and don't necessarily follow a logical order. Vacillate between wanting to stab a fork in his head, rail against the world and tell everyone who he left me for, to intellectually realising that the separation could be a whole lot worse and probably better it happen now and not even later in life.
5. Start to slowly pick up the pieces, start creating a new life, learn a lot about myself and others.

I regularly fall over - sometimes small slips, other times big slides into a dark cavern, but with time I'm slowly getting better at pulling myself back up, dusting myself off and continuing on.

So on Monday I make the transition from separated mum, to separated (paid) working mum. I've organised my wardrobe, implemented a fortnightly meal plan, transitioned my youngest two to day care and enlisted my eldest to do more chores in exchange for pocket money. I might just print me off some affirmations for the tough times at work and pack some tissues in my handbag.

Wish me luck!

Saturday, 15 February 2014

To the Victor belong the Spoils

Elaine: So I guess you’re not going to Todd’s party on Friday.George: Well I can’t now, Gwen’s going to be there.Kramer: Well she should be the one that shouldn’t go.Jerry: Well if a couple breaks up and have plans to go to a neutral                place, who withdraws? What’s the ettiquite? Kramer: Excellent question.Jerry: I think she should withdraw. She’s the breaker, he’s the                breakee. He needs to get on with his life.Elaine: I beg to differ.Jerry: Really.Elaine: He’s the *loser*. She’s the victor. To the victor belong                the spoils.Jerry: Well I don’t care, I don’t want to go anyway. I don’t want                to fight that traffic on Friday night.
(via The Lip Reader)
Elaine: So I guess you’re not going to Todd’s party on Friday.
George: Well I can’t now, Gwen’s going to be there.
Kramer: Well she should be the one that shouldn’t go.
Jerry: Well if a couple breaks up and have plans to go to a neutral place, who withdraws? What’s the ettiquite? 
Kramer: Excellent question.
Jerry: I think she should withdraw. She’s the breaker, he’s the breakee. He needs to get on with his life.
Elaine: I beg to differ.
Jerry: Really.
Elaine: He’s the *loser*. She’s the victor. To the victor belong the spoils.
Jerry: Well I don’t care, I don’t want to go anyway. I don’t want to fight that traffic on Friday night.

I was thinking about this - about winners and losers, about who gets what in the fall out of a separation or a new relationship. My ex and I have divided up the possessions in the house (and to be fair, I got to keep most of the furniture and appliances, being primary carer), which days he has the kids (and we have some flexibility there to suit both of us) and we've also worked out a draft property settlement that we just need to finalise with our solicitors.

However I'm now finalising the custody arrangements of the gym that I go to.

You see, she goes there as well, and she has been going there for longer than me. I've seen her there a couple of times, and the last time sent me into a downward spin that led me to have a bad week. Last week I pleaded to my ex that I can't have another week like that one, and that I can't afford to see her at the gym again.

So, through my ex as the intermediary, we easily negotiated when she and I would go to the gym during the week. Or, she specified the classes she goes to, and I agreed that suited me as that would be when I am back at work (which is in about 3 weeks - eek!). Knowing that I can go to the gym now without bumping into her or seeing her from a distance is such a relief.

However, the issue of weekend custody came up. I suggested I have Saturdays (which is generally the day I will not have the kids) and she have Sundays, but that is proving to be a sticking point. She wants to reserve the right to go Saturdays, after all as my ex says 'it's her gym'.

So it's not enough that she has managed to start up a relationship with my ex, but she can't give me Saturdays? Especially considering she is a SAHM and has more free time to go to the gym that I will have when I return back to the paid work force (disclaimer - please don't get me wrong here. I don't judge anyone for being a SAHM or a paid working mum. We all do what we need to/ can do. Except for her - I will judge her for anything!)

I know that I could bump into her at any point, such is the double ended sword of living in a big town/major regional centre - doing the shopping, popping down the street during my lunch break, when I go out for after work drinks - but I'm trying to put in place tools to help me manage this, or minimise this happening.

And to make matters worse, both my ex, and her ex are quite well known in town. Yesterday when catching up with a friend for coffee, I found out that some people in her ex's circle are already talking about the break up of our marriages, and that there are rumours circulating that my ex and her are seeing each other. (deep breath) I'm the kind of person that flies under the radar - I don't like the spot light at all.

So more reason for me to get my safe havens where I can.

Postscript - I've just been given Saturday mornings at the gym. Yay me!

Picture and extract from

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Too much of a (not so) good thing

"Do you think you're spending too much time with him?" asked my girl friend last Friday night at the pub.
"No..well, yes we see each other regularly, but that's really for the kids...". She looked at me hard.
"I just think you need to think about separating yourself from him a little more. Just discuss stuff you need to about the kids, and that's it."

I thought about the past week. Last Sunday had been his birthday, and he'd come over for lunch.  Monday after work he mowed the lawns and stayed for a quick dinner (at our eldest's insistence). Tuesday morning he dropped around some emergency supplies ( chicken soup ingredients) when our eldest was sick. Thursday he took the boys to his place. Friday morning he swung by to pick up the baby to take her to day care. Friday afternoon he came around to mind the kids so I could go to the pub (see above). Saturday morning he picked up the kids for a couple of hours. Sunday he minded the kids so I could go to an appointment. Then tonight (Monday) he minded the kids so I could go to the movies with some girl friends.

Er...yes I realise that doesn't look very good in print. Last week was pretty unusual. It was also a very bad week for me emotionally which I'm starting to come out of...oh, now I see what my girl friend was getting at....

"How often are you seeing him?" asked a friend/natural therapies practitioner who is helping me with some meditating at the moment.
"Oh, the plan is for him to have the kids for two nights and almost half a weekend each week. But other things come up during the week...I'm probably seeing him a couple of times a week".
"That needs to stop. It's natural for you to want to see him and talk to him, but it's continuing to make you vulnerable."

I know if someone were in my position, I would be tempted to give them the same advice I've been getting from several friends. Keep it about the kids. Don't ask about work, mutual friends, don't make the idle chit chat like you used to, or like you do with a friend.
But it's so hard. Like a habit. And because, deep down, I still care for him. Sort of. I think. I don't know. It might be just the pain and the ache of missing someone talking.

On Friday night, when I felt at my most vulnerable, I had put my heart on the line and made it clear that I still felt for him. He knows me too well, so knew it was coming, and understood. Of course, it changed nothing, I learned nothing - oh, except don't do that again!

Tonight while I was getting ready in my (previously, our) bedroom, he came upstairs after arriving to say hi and talk about a problem with the sprinkler system. I lost it. I became angry. You don't get to leave me, and then still come upstairs and behave as if it is an ordinary evening pre-seperation.

When I came downstairs he apologised. It was just a habit for him, it felt natural, he wants us to be friends. I know that, and it felt nice, but it also hurts too much as it reminded me of our previous life. Those little interactions - sitting on the bed talking while someone is getting ready, asking to get zipped up or getting a second opinion on an outfit - they are now for him to have with her.

I believe he genuinely want us to be good friends, and there is also the advantage that it may also help to assuage his guilt. A large part of me really wants us to be good friends too, but my head knows that right now I can't. He doesn't get to leave me, start seeing someone else, while continuing to be my friend in almost the same capacity as when we were living together. I can't allow him to pick and choose the parts of our relationship that he can keep, when he's decided that I'm not good enough to stick around for.

I hope we can be good friends again. But right now we need to interact with each other as the parents of our children, and that's it. I told him that, and while I saw him wince a little, he understands it's the best thing for me right now. I just hope I can keep remembering that...

Monday, 3 February 2014

Detour off the High Road

I admit that lately I've been giving myself some small pats on the back. Aren't I good that I haven't bad mouthed my ex? How I've been restrained and not posted anything inappropriate on Facebook. How I've managed to not let slip to the kids that daddy has a new 'special friend'.

But today I made a little slip. The vulgar tongue came out.

Why are some days easier than others? I know that's part of the journey, and the harder days make you appreciate the good days even more (insert sunset photo here to turn this sentence into a meme). While I sit here at the end of the day, watching the wonderful QI with Stephen Fry and having a glass or three of white wine, I realise there were a series of triggers today....
Seeing the back of her at the gym this morning.
Then wondering how I would react if I actually bumped into her at the gym.
Thinking about him being with her in bed at night while I'm in bed alone/nursing sick baby/being kicked in the back by one of my lovely sons who keeps crawling into bed at midnight.
Missing the smell of the back of his neck and the feel of his arms.

Now don't get me wrong on the last sentence. I don't miss him per se, but today I missed the comfort of someone dear. That wonderful combination of someone that you discuss dreams with, the ordinary trivialities of life with, of being comfortable passing wind in front of, but still have great (albeit very occasional) sex. Yeh, that last sentence won't be turned into a meme anytime soon...

So I was feeling a little flat today, as we all do from time to time for no real reason. He came around after work to mow the lawns. (side note - yes it is good that he mows the lawns. But it's also in his interest so our back yard doesn't turn into a jungle before we sell the house later in the year). And again, like yesterday, I found it hard to look him in the eye. I didn't even want him in the house, which funnily enough is probably one of the first times since our separation I felt this. But our eldest wanted him to stay for dinner, so he did and I pushed aside the pain and acted 'normal' - back by popular demand!

In snatched moments away from the kids, I made it clear how upset I was feeling today, and that she certainly has some balls still going to the gym knowing I also go there. Yes P, I know it's her gym, but isn't it enough that she has helped to split this family up and is now sleeping with you, but that she can't stop going to my gym? Has she no class? I also mentioned that I can't wait for the day he tells his parents how quickly he had taken up with her after he left me. I know they will be devastated even more about our separation when they hear this, and P knows that too. I don't want them to be upset again because I love them dearly, but perversely I want them to feel upset again towards their beloved son.

After he left I called him up and let more clangers fly. This is not the behaviour I want to display, but I gave myself a leave pass given my good behaviour. So I called him up. Swore like a sailor. Asked if he ever felt guilty about being in her bed when I was home with our kids. That he watched me labouring with our third child, knowing he was about to leave me. Also inserted lots of expletives beginning with the letters F and C.

So I accused. Ranted. Swore. I heard the pain and hurt in my voice. Repeated that I had lost trust in him and a lot of respect to. That I believed in karma and at some point he would get his. That yes, I know I will be a better person out of this, and yes I know the circumstances could be a lot worse, but this situation is fucked and painful and the cold hard facts do not reflect well on him at all. And true to form, he listened, bit his tongue and took it in.

I spat at him, that of the two of us, I was actually the braver one. I after all had raised that there were problems in our marriage about two months before I gave birth. He didn't want to work on it or talk about it, because as we know now, he had some fresh pussy to go to. (Yes, I said that-see how angry I was!) Where as he didn't raise that there were problems during our marriage, and instead waited until I inadvertently opened the door, so he could leave and go to her. What a bloody coward. It's at times like this I remind myself how noble he was for not leaving me while I was pregnant. That he stayed with me, even though he pulled away from me whenever I went to touch him. That he made even less eye contact with me. That while I was labouring, he could barely sit further enough away.

I spat at him that one of the good things to come out of this separation, is that he will have to actually man up and be a more involved dad. That he can't rely on me to play with the kids, oversee their homework, always be the one to bathe them and put them to bed and get them ready in the morning. That when he has them he will have to do this and more. That he can't sleep in while I get up early, morning after morning, despite my lack of sleep and that I too had a full time paid job to go to. That on his birthday, I almost passed out when I saw him playing cricket with our eldest outside, albeit for about 10 minutes.

I hate that feeling of hurt. That sound of hurt. I cringe now thinking about it, but golly it felt good at the time.

So tonight I took that detour off the high road. I'm sure tomorrow I'll get back en route. Pun not intended.

Sunday, 2 February 2014

Happy Birthday to you!

This morning I baked a chocolate and coconut slice, roasted a chook and veggies, made a salad, and helped the kids make a birthday card.

The card was clearly signed from the three children. We made it clear that our eldest had chosen the presents from Target. There was nothing from me, no name on a card. Oh, except for the lunch and a hollow 'happy birthday' as he arrived.

A good friend asked me last night why I would bother doing anything for his birthday. Which is a bloody fair question.

I had wrestled with it for a little while in the last couple of weeks, but I knew it was right that I do something. Mainly for the kids. I didn't want to do anything in public with him, but by it being on my ground I could feel reasonably ok about it.

It went well. As well as a birthday lunch for your recent ex can go. I tried my best with the chit chat, mindful that the kids were near and trying not to remember that while I'm nursing an unsettled baby whose currently vomiting at night and feverish, that he's spending his nights in someone else's bed. But I digress...

I can't work out what I feel about him. It often changes, and I'm accepting that it's going to continue for a while. Sometimes I think it comes close to extreme dislike (I think hate is a very harsh word reserved for cockroaches and mosquitos. Insert your own disparaging comment here), but I think is more like Nothing with a Tinge of Disdain. I could barely bring myself to make eye contact with him today. It normally really bugs me when people talk to you and don't make eye contact.

He was genuinely appreciative of the lunch. Our three year old insisted on getting out the candles and putting one on the cake along with a Happy Birthday sign. I sang Happy Birthday with somewhat reserved enthusiasm with the kids.

I was pleased with myself that I managed to bit my tongue a fair bit today. Until after he blew out his birthday candle and our eldest asked if he made a wish. Our son continued "did you wish for a wonderful family" - I'm still trying to work out what he meant by that - but under my breath I said to my ex "there's no need for you to make a wish because it already came true for you". Eek. But yeh, it did feel a little good too.

Friday, 31 January 2014

I'm so the ex-wife you want to have!

If I do say so myself. And in no particular order, here's why:

What I sometimes fantasised about doing
What I actually did
·    Posting on FB my (sarcastic) congratulations to my ex in meeting his soul mate (insert name here), for all our mutual friends to see.

·    Bit my tongue. Kept my anger/pain/upset/honest thoughts and feelings to a trusted small circle.

·    Cut up his clothing
·    Scratch his extensive collection of CDs and DVDs
·    Rip random pages out of his books

·    Ripped off some buttons from some good shirts and jackets.
·    Answering my eldest son’s question of “why did you and daddy separate”, with “ask your father, it was his idea”.
·    Calmly explained that we still cared for each other but not like we used to at the beginning of our relationship, and that we want to continue being good friends for the rest of our lives and not end up disliking each other.

·    Give her a piece of my mind when I saw her at the gym
·    Worked out even harder. Then proceeded to send nasty texts to my ex about her. Think the lines “I could easily snap her” and “typical, she’s the kind of person who wears make up and jewellery at the gym” were among some of the gems. (note, I really don’t judge you if you wear make up and jewellery to the gym. Unless you are her, and then I will judge her for pretty much anything!)

·      Answering questions from friends/colleagues/acquaintances about the separation with details such as “he didn’t want to work on our marriage” or “he met his soul mate”.
·    Was honest about how I was feeling, but didn’t go into gory detail, or say anything I would regret a little later on.

And now I've given myself a pat on the back, I should explain - it wasn't easy. It was bloody hard. Hard biting my tongue. Hard sometimes fighting back the tears. Hard to word my sentences so I would answer the questions, tastefully. Hard to know when to seek out company (which I find hard anyway) and when to be by myself.

And I'm glad I was able to. Sure I had my moments when I totally lost my shite, but I was either by myself, with a dear trusted friend, or with my ex. And now, a couple of months on I can hold my head up and be proud of how I handled myself.

Now don't get me wrong - I'm not going to judge anyone for how they process this kind of grief. But I   know I wanted to minimise the pain for the kids and myself. I started to realise that by continuing to hit out at my ex and hold onto the pain, I was only hurting myself. It wasn't going to change what happened, stop him seeing her or make me feel any better. It's been a tough couple of months, but on the whole I'm in a much better place than I was in the beginning and have learned so much about myself. Most importantly - how strong I actually am! We have no idea of what we are made of until we are tested, and this was my biggest test to date. And if I had held onto the pain, I wouldn't have gone on this journey.

But the other ex - her husband - is reacting like a lot of people would. He's hurting. From what I hear he's saying all sorts of hurtful and inappropriate things around town, to his friends and family, and worse, to their young kids. He hasn't called me in a while, but he did send me a text after midnight a couple of nights ago. And I can really feel the pain he is in. But I can also see he is not accepting the reality of the situation, and is actually making it worse by making things up to make him feel better, when all it's going to do is make it harder for him to get through this. But that's his journey.

So yes, I can give myself a pat on the back and tell myself "I'm so the ex-wife you want to have!", because on the whole I've helped this separation be a lot less painful and messy than it could have been. But more importantly I'm going to give myself a pat on the back and remind myself "I'm so going to be a better and stronger person, because that's what I deserve!"

And they are words I will need to keep reminding myself, as the new milestones come up. We survived Christmas and our anniversary, then this weekend comes his birthday. I will be going back to work soon, so I will be seeing him at work, plus there will be other work colleagues to deal with over time. There'll be more chances of seeing him down the street, and ultimately having her more present in my life and the children's life. But I'll just need to take those milestones one step at a time.