Oh, the shame!

One of the worst things about being cheated on and left for the other woman is the shame. There is no denying that I feel shame in this situation. It’s like I have been marked by the black spot. It’s self shame. I consider myself to be a strong independent woman and I try not to let this feeling break to the surface to often, but I can completely understand how women lose years wondering; why me? Just when I think I have broken through and I will never feel shame or embarrassment about the situation again, something happens.

This week my friend, stay-at-home mum, happily married with two children, told me she was pregnant again. She will have three children under three. I was overjoyed for her. Later that day, after our playdate at the park, she sent me a message saying she hoped she hadn’t upset me but she didn’t want to keep it from me. I was really surprised by this. I was surprised because she thought I was so unhappy that she was scared to tell me. I reassured her that she can tell me anything and I am truly happy for her and not upset. But it made me become more aware of how people view me. I should  be happily married, and have another child by now. That was the plan. That is what all my friends are doing. They are planning new babies, bigger houses, promotions etc, and I am back at square one. It’s embarrassing that I couldn’t keep a husband, that he cheated on me for so long. I suppose people will expect me to feel like this all the time but I don’t. The truth is that most of the time I feel grateful that I had a lucky escape. Thank God I didn’t discover who he was when I was 60, after working my whole life to support him while working as a full time teacher trying to be a good mum.

However, you can’t get away from people bringing up the past. Didn’t you ever suspect? Did your family like him? Remember that time when he did this? So while you were doing this he was doing that? I can always count on my mum to bring him into the conversation. When I have good news and I’m really happy and not thinking about him at all she tactlessly brings him up; See, you’re better off without him. Thanks mum.

Or there is the other response of pity: Don’t worry, your time will come (my time for what exactly?) He’ll get his comeuppance (to be honest I don’t really care, I’m just concentrating on my life) One day you’ll meet a lovely man and you’ll be fine and he’ll be so jealous (I’m really not interested in jumping into another relationship, or making him jealous).

I really don’t want to sound ungrateful, I couldn’t have survived these past couple of years without the support of my friends and family, and I love them dearly. But I don’t want to be reminded of him all time. I just want my own life, I don’t want to look back or be reminded of the past all the time. I only have one life and I plan to make it a good one, without the shackles of shame holding me back.

Getting over the Cheating Gobshite: 5 mantras

Looks mean nothing if you have no soul.

By ‘looks’ I’m not just talking about the physical appearance of the ex and his slapper, although this is what started me using this mantra. I have to admit that when I discovered the affair I was left feeling inadequate. When I was faced with her size 6 tanned body and double D’s, I felt like crap. He’s obviously moved on and found someone better than me, I thought. It didn’t take long to remind myself that it really doesn’t matter what she looks like. If they’re the type of people who would have a three-year affair and destroy so many lives then I’d rather look like Quasimodo. Also, the fact that she has a face like a slapped arse and is just fake tan and tits helps me to remember that looks aren’t everything. Then there are the material things. He had moved into a bigger house, was driving a flash car and was turning up in new clothes. These things again would make me sad and angry (he pays £7 a week for his son and left me with £8000 of debt) that he had a better life now. But has he? It turns out they are a pair of benefit fraudsters who enjoy swindling the system while working on the side. The flash car turned out to be a mobility car from her disability living allowance. Apparently she has a heart condition and he is her carer. If having a heart condition allows you to smoke twenty a day, work as a mobile beautician and exercise regularly, then it sounds good to me. But again, I would rather have my integrity. So is she really prettier? Is he wealthier? It’s all a show. Remember what is truly valuable in your life.

They have to demonise you

One of the things I have found difficult to understand throughout this is how badly he treats me. He is the one who had the affair, told absolute whopper lies like ‘the baby has brought on PTSD and I need time to think’ (Yes, he was so low that he used both his army days and his own child as an excuse for treating us like dirt), but still, he treats me like the bad guy. I always found that this cut to the core as I tried hard to be a good wife and mother, and I loved him and showed him this often. He also knew me! He knew I was/am a good person. Suddenly, he was talking to me like I was some money-grabbing bitch who wanted to palm the baby off on him so I could go out, get drunk and sleep around! He still refuses to have our son overnight because of this. Eh? What planet is he on? One day in work I telling my woes to a colleague and she said this to me; “They have to demonise you. All they have had for three years is secrets and lies and now they have to make you the baddie in order to justify themselves. It helps them sleep at night.” It was suddenly crystal clear. I never let it get to me again. If he needs to blame me to help him sleep at night then that’s up to him. I know I’m a good person, and so does my son, and that’s all that matters to me.

Trust your gut

Better late than never. After living with a cheater for so long you will have come accustomed to setting aside that gut feeling and thinking ‘logically’. I allowed my ex to manipulate me and I had absolutely no idea he was doing it. If something feels like it’s not quite right, you can be damn sure that it’s not right! Trust yourself. One of the ways my ex manipulated me was to buy me presents of chocolate, and I don’t just mean a bar of chocolate, I’m talking about a whole tub of choc nibbs, huge limited addition Lindor boxes, giant bars of galaxy, the kind they only bring out at Christmas time. He was a personal trainer but he would never train with me or do anything energetic. All the time he was whipping his new woman into shape. This type of manipulation can be hard to spot, but there are the usual things like hiding the phone, or not telling you passwords, getting home slightly late etc. Trust yourself. Even though I failed to trust my gut before I do now. When he comments on me being a bad mother and not wanting my child (he doesn’t even have him once a week), I know that I’m not. When he says it’s my fault that he is not seeing his son, I know that it’s not. When he tells me I use my child as a weapon, I know that I don’t. I am confident in my qualities as a person, values and abilities as a good mother.

Happiness is the greatest revenge

My auntie said this to me when the ex had left but I didn’t know about the slapper. She could obviously sniff it a mile off, she’s been through the mill. There is a point when discovering this awful thing has happened to you that you feel you will never be happy again. That is not true. Things can be very difficult when coming to grips with being a single mum. There is no one there to take the bins out, or bring you a cup of tea when you’ve been sitting in one position for hours without moving when the baby is ill. There is no one to clean the sick while you nurse the sick baby. If you didn’t have time to do the dishes before a horrendous two-hour screaming bedtime, they will still be there no matter how tired you are. Many a night I washed dishes, clothes, tidied up and got everything ready for the next day, all through tears of tiredness and anger.  But you find a way; you find coping mechanisms. You settle into a routine. Then you start to appreciate the good things about your new life. You no longer have a grown gobshite to look after as well as a baby. Your spare time (if any), your thoughts, your feeling, are all your own. You start being thankful that he has gone. And this is when your happiness will come. When you get to be the person you want to be. Challenge yourself to new things. I chose to get fitter, eat better, bought a new bed, sleep better, read more, write more. And even though I know the healing process is ongoing, the happiness oozes from me now. I no longer have to pretend I’m happy. I just am! And he hates it.

Keep your side of the street clean

Never be tempted to stoop to the gobshite’s level. Stick to the facts, try not to endlessly text argue (this took work), and play it by the book. Karma is a bitch and hopefully one day you will get to watch it work. Be true to your values.

And finally…

Every day I wake up and thank God that the twat is no longer in my life 🙂

Moment of Truth

When Barry left in the November, saying that our child had brought on PTSD from his army days and he just needed time to ‘sort his head out,’ I never imagined what was really going on. It was only after a couple of months I became suspicious. He would never let me drop Hector off at his friend’s house, or pick him up. He had started having Hector overnight at his friend’s as I couldn’t bear Barry staying in my house anymore. It was just too uncomfortable. It wasn’t until February that I couldn’t ignore the obvious any more. One night when he had the baby I went to the address he gave me for his mate, but his car wasn’t there. I logged into his iPhone account (when you’ve been with someone for fourteen years you generally know their preferred username and password), and tracked his movements. I found the exact house he was in and, thanks to the internet, the owner’s name. This was a shock. It was a name I had seen in his phone. I decided enough was enough and the next day I went to the house to confront him. This is what happened:  

The huge black door stood at the top of some stone stairs and I stood there staring at it. I knew the truth that awaited me if I knocked, but I couldn’t turn back now, it had gone too far. I knocked on the door. A woman in a make-up covered dressing gown, about my age, answered the door. Her long, bleached-blonde hair falls down her back like rats tails. It could use a wash and a brush. She was tiny, maybe a little smaller than me in height and I’m only 5 foot 1, but she was tiny in frame. Despite the scraggy hair and the wrinkly face I felt inadequate in my size 14 body. She is obviously getting ready for a night out. That’s why he lied and said he was in work, like he did almost every single weekend… because he was taking this woman out.

“I’m Barry’s wife, Hector’s mum.” I said.

She answered, ‘Yes, yes, come in. I’ll get hm.”

Barry saunters down the stairs looking comfortable in his surroundings. Fourteen years we have been together, married three and a half, and have a one-year-old son. At least he had the decency to look surprised by my presence.

They stood next to each other.

“I think it’s time to be honest now, honey” she says in an annoying squeaky voice.

“I take it you two are together then?” I ask.

“Yes” he mumbles.

“How long?”

“A few months” he says.

“Pffft” she scoffs next to him.

He corrects himself: “Three years.”

“I’m sorry? – WHAT?”

As the words sink in my world falls apart. It’s like I can physically see the walls collapsing around me. It’s difficult to breathe, to speak. As if I knew what to say! Everything is becoming dark.

“You f**king c**t.” I manage and turn to walk out the door.

“Don’t leave now while you’re upset. Stay and talk about it.”

I listen to the squeaky voice and turn back to them.

“Have you got children?” I ask.

“Me? Yes, I’ve got three boys” she tells me proudly.

“Why did you have a baby with me?” I ask him.

“I told you this would come up!” She says to him an a ‘I told you so’ tone. “When I saw him that day last year in Tesco with you and the baby my world fell apart” she tells me.

I’m very confused by this woman now. She knew he was married and had a child but she acts like they are the couple and I’m the intruder.

“So you knew,” I say.

“I’m no skank!” she almost screeches, waving her hand in front of her face in half-moon shape.

“He told me he didn’t love you. I’ve been through all this with my fella.”

So she is a skank. Because a man betrayed her with another woman she thinks it’s ok to ruin another woman’s life in order to bag herself a man. It’s becoming clear that these two are probably perfect for each other.

I suddenly realise that I’m talking to this home-wrecker instead of my husband.

“Can we talk alone?” I ask him.

“Yes, go in the kitchen” she says.

As we walk into the kitchen we pass the living room where one of her boys, about ten years old, is lying on the couch within earshot of the whole conversation. So these are the type of people they are; they happily admit to their three-year affair and destroy an innocent person’s life, all in front of a child. What scum.

We sit down at the dining table and their little dog jumps up to his lap. “Get down Jess” he says, as he pushes the dog to the floor. This small gesture punches me in the gut as the reality of the situation hits me. This is his home. He lives here with this dog, with that other dog out there, and three boys who he is stepfather to. How did I not know? How could I be so stupid?

I know that I won’t get any answers from him; when he’s in the wrong he just shuts down and becomes a brick wall. He leans back in the chair and waits for me to speak. The questions that he does answer are enough pain to take in one day:

“Why didn’t you tell me?”

“Because I thought you’d stop me seeing the baby.”

Wonderful. He continued to string me along, telling me he loved me and that he just needed a bit of time to sort his head out, not because he didn’t want to hurt me, but because he suddenly thinks that I am also scum who would stop my child seeing his father.

“So you love her more than me?”

“Yes”

At this point the other scumbag waltzes into the kitchen. She has changed from her horrible, make-up covered, dressing gown into a pair of black leggings and an extremely tight aluminous pink top, making sure I get a good view of her tiny waist and massive fake tits. She has tied the messy hair back.

“I think I need to be part of this conversation now.” She states.

“Well, there is no conversation because he’s not saying anything so he’s all yours.” I reply.

“Come on now honey, you can’t be like that. You have to speak.” She is telling him as I’m leaving the room.

Leaving the house I have an idea and stop in the street. She is following me.

“Do you want my number?” I ask her.

“Yes” she says and sends Barry to find pen and paper. She has lit a fag.

“Do you want some?” she offers.

“No.” I say.

“I’ve tried to give up…” she starts waffling.

I realise that she now seems nervous. A car has pulled up beside us and a woman and a small mixed-race boy get out. The boy runs straight into the house without even saying hello to his mum, and then the woman scurries past with her head bent low as though the pavement needs her complete attention.

“I didn’t know,” she lies. “You can even ask my mum.”

I’m guessing her mum knows exactly what is happening here and doesn’t want to be dragged into it. I wonder what her mum thinks about her daughter? She must be so proud.

Barry returns with pen and paper. I start to tell her my number and I watch her hands shake violently as she writes it down. This is giving me more confidence. I walk determinately, head high, back to my car and drive off.

I immediately regret not kneeing him in the balls and kicking her in the fanny.

18 months on – Light at the end of the tunnel

Receiving a comment on my last post inspired me to write an update. I know not many people will read this but those who have read my few posts my find it helpful; there is light at the end of the tunnel, so to speak. It’s been almost 18 months since my last post and my life has changed dramatically since then. Since then I have experienced the worst time of my life and the most hopeful.

Anyone who read my posts and suspected another woman was involved: you were right. It’s the age-old shitty story of the husband having an affair and the wife refusing to listen to what her gut is screaming at her, “HE’S HAVING AN AFFAIR! FFS WOMAN, LISTEN TO ME!” But like thousands of woman before me, I didn’t listen. I didn’t confront this awful truth until it became so obvious that it was impossible to ignore. I went to the house where he was staying and confronted them. They immediately admitted they were together, and had been for three years! The horrific knowledge of this was a low point in my life. He had been having an affair from about six months after we got married, through a whole year of actively trying for our baby, through my pregnancy, and while I lay dying, with two-thirds of blood pouring out of me, during an emergency c-section, he had been thinking about (and shagging) someone else. This is why I stopped posting. I was completely crushed, devastated, humiliated and embarrassed. I couldn’t face anyone. I stayed off work for eight weeks.

Since then, life dealing with that scumbag has been difficult. There are so many things I’ve dealt with but I feel they deserve their own post. Things like; child maintenance, him letting us down last minute all the time, him refusing to have his son overnight because he cries, taking me to court because I wouldn’t agree to this, seeing him get looked at like a complete idiot in court and trying not to let him walk all over us and treat his son like he is some toy or possession.

However, since the absolute low of discovering who he really is, my life has changed and improved dramatically. The changes started as soon as I went back to work. I went back part-time. Three days a week was a big relief, that was the first thing I was thankful for. Through the hardship of not having him around for chunks at a time and having to do everything myself I have definitely become a stronger person. I don’t rely on anyone except myself.

This September I will not be returning to the classroom. As it turned out even three days was too difficult to manage as a single mother. I’m planning on re-training in another field. I can’t wait to learn something new and once again feel like life is full of opportunities. I’ve lost weight, I eat better, I sleep better, I exercise and I’m a good mum. I put us first.

I’m no longer trying to support two children.

When I think that I could still be with that low-life with dreams of a nice holiday every three years, working my arse off to support him and putting up with his shit I vomit a bit in my mouth. Instead, I intend to expand my mind, my life and my opportunities. I’m out to get what I can and experience new things.

The world is my oyster. The possibilities are endless. I’m excited about my unplanned future.

A hidden fury

Sometimes I’m so angry with Barry I think I could actually rip his head off. I feel myself getting hotter as my blood begins to boil in response to the horrible truth. As I think about my situation my thoughts degrade as I imagine the most horrible and hurtful things I could put in a text to send him. I’m usually very tired when this happens and more often than not it’s a Tuesday. I hate Tuesdays. I’ve usually had the baby a few nights running and I can feel the pressure of work bearing down on me because I haven’t had enough time to mark.

Maybe it’s healthy to get a bit angry now and then. But I’ve also heard that bad feeling generates more bad feeling.

I want ant to tell Barry what an absolute low-life scumbag he is. After all the years of supporting him through thick and thin, helping him through depression and getting a new successful life together after the army: waiting for months on end for him to come home from some distant land. Then, when I need his support, he leaves. I want to scream my head off at the injustice of it all! I want to rant and rave, smash plates, tear my hair out, sob my heart out.

But I don’t. I refrain from sending the abusive text messages and finish my chores before I can go to bed. Unlike him, I can’t just do whatever I want, whenever I want. I have responsibilities. So I clean the kitchen and hang the washing with a calm exterior. The raging fire burning underneath: a hidden fury.

A Low Point

I had high hopes for the new year that I would be positive and full of vigor and happiness about what the year ahead may bring. But, it hasn’t been like that at all. It’s been tough. Very tough. Communication with Barry has deteriorated and working full time with even less help is taking it’s toll. I am writing this with lead weights attached to my eyes but it’s the first opportunity I’ve had in a while. My first bit of ‘me’ time in ages.

New Year was a low point for me and I’ve been desperately trying to drag myself out of it since. It was depressing. Laying in bed with the baby next to me at 10.30 pm on New Year’s Eve; I couldn’t tear myself from the thought that my family is ruined. I hated the idea that we would not be bringing in the new year together. I found myself wallowing in self pity. No husband, working full time and a toddler to look after. I couldn’t sleep. I knew Barry was out with a load of friends I’d never met and I was sure he would have plenty of girls to share the moment with at midnight. Maybe one girl who is probably prettier, younger and slimmer than me. The thoughts swam around my head like tiny sharks eating away every crumb of positive thinking. Midnight came and went without a text from Barry to say happy new year. And this, for me, confirmed that he was simply having too much of a good time to bother. He told me the next day that he’d written the text out but then didn’t send it in case I thought he was a p***k.

Since then things between us have just got worse. After the Christmas holidays I told him I wanted an answer as to whether he wanted to work on the marriage or not. He gave the usual answer: I don’t know. I told him I’d had enough of waiting around to see if my husband actually wants me or not! So I went upstairs and emptied all his drawers and the wardrobe and threw them in a pile on the living room floor. I told him to have them packed away before the baby woke up. (This was when he was still staying over to look after the baby.) The next morning he made sure he had all his clothes and took them. Then things became even worse.

He had Hector last Saturday night and I stayed at my sisters house. The plan being that I could work the next day to try and catch up with my marking. The next morning I had a text from him to say that he was ill and couldn’t look after the baby by himself. So, I no longer can mark, I go home to help with the baby. Barry has a nice little sleep on the couch and then starts to get ready to leave after hector has his lunch. “Aren’t you staying with him? It’s your day” I ask. “No, it’s the afternoon now. I’ve got to wash my uniform,” he replies. I’m not very happy about this and quickly stand up to go in the kitchen shoving a toy out of the way. “Where are you going to wash it?” I ask. “None of your business” he says. This hurts. “And enough with the f**king attitude, in case you haven’t noticed I’ve been f**king ill.” This was hard to take. Barry very rarely swears at me, only occasionally in extreme circumstances, and this didn’t seem very extreme. Two things upset me about this:

1. Barry always puts his work first. It didn’t matter to him that I had missed a day of marking to help him, he left me with the baby to wash his uniform.

2. I was tired of being made to feel terrible in my own house. It occurred to me that I am letting him use the house to have the baby while I have find somewhere to stay. He was having it far too easy. He was still treating my house like it was his home, except he got to make me feel worthless and uncomfortable while he was there. I text him that night and told him I didn’t want him at the house any more. He didn’t put up much of a fight. So, tonight is the first night that he has taken the baby to stay at his friends. Hence the ‘me’ time.

I will admit that I am looking forward to a full night’s sleep. People started commenting on how tired I looked today. However, my mum and sister are not so happy about the situation (Hector staying in someone’s house we don’t know) but they are not being woken up all night and doing a full days work. It’s exhausting! And he is with his dad who will take good care of him. I just hope Barry realises that this is a permanent arrangement and he has something sorted for Saturday night too.

Hopefully a full nights sleep will set me on the road to positive thinking again. My new year resolutions are to look after myself and treat myself now and then to some clothes or a massage. And to spend lots of quality time with Hector. The year ahead is full of wonderful possibilities and adventures and I need to make sure I enjoy them. I have birthday parties and meals coming up, a spa day with my mum and sister, the possibility of a new job on the horizon and, the most exciting, my best friend has asked me to be her Maid of Honour and her daughter’s Godmother! I am really excited about this. I love wedding planning and I’ve already dragged her to one wedding fair.

The wedding will be in December, twelve months from now. Who knows what wonderful things will be happening in my life by then?

A Revelation

One of the benefits of Barry not having his own place to look after the baby has been that I have forced myself to go out a lot more. I have been a social butterfly this Christmas, spending lots of time with family and friends and consuming copious amounts of vodka. I’ve had fun. More fun than I would have had in the house with Barry being miserable. He has also been partying hard and has had a few hangovers.

It became clear this week that it is one rule for him and another for me. He had a night out and did not text until 12 the next day. This didn’t bother me. I told him to sleep it off and be round at 4.30pm so I could go to a party in Wigan. By 5pm he still wasn’t here so I called and called until he woke up. I knew he would be sleeping. He didn’t answer his phone though, he never answers his phone to me. He sent a text saying he was on his way. I had everything ready for him, including a tea for him and the baby to eat. So off I went for an overnight stay in Wigan.

By 9am the next morning I received a text asking what time I’d be home! This is how the conversation went:

Barry: What time are you heading home?

Me: Later

Barry: Are you going to be back before 12?

Me: I doubt it. Why?

Barry: Cos I’m going out now.

Me: So why do you need me? Where are you going?

Barry: I’m going climbing. Why is it taking you so long to come back?

Me: You’re taking the baby climbing?

Barry: Hardly.

Me: Barry, you went out on Friday night and did not text all night or until 12 the next day. Why do you expect me to be back to look after the baby when I’m hungover? Hardly fair is it?

Barry: I’m not expecting you back. I’m asking for a specific time seen as you’re always giving me specific times.

Me: OK, I’ll be back at 5.30

Barry: I’ll take the baby to your mum’s then and you can collect him at 5.30

Me: No, you won’t! Look after him yourself! He’s your son!

Unbelievable! He ended up taking the baby out and I asked for an apology when he got back.

 

It was at this point that I had a revelation. I have no idea where Barry goes when he leaves the house, I do not know any of his friends that he has made in the last couple of years because he has never introduced me, or invited them over. I don’t know anyone he works with. It suddenly hits me like a brick: he left me a long time ago. He has carved out a new life for himself that does not involve me at all. After thirteen years together I decide enough is enough. If he doesn’t want me, then why do I want him? Why have I given him the time to decide if he still wants me or not? He left seven weeks ago but all his clothes and things are still here. In my house. I tell him I want him to pack all his things and leave. I want him to find somewhere to live that is suitable for him to have the baby overnight. He says that he doesn’t want to pack his things. I ask ‘Haven’t you got anywhere to put it? Is that why?’ ‘No,’ he says, ‘this is my home. I don’t know if I want to leave yet.’ ‘I’m telling you to leave,’ I say. He refuses to take his things and leaves the house saying he’ll do it another day. I’m furious. Now I can’t get rid of him.

I would have packed all his things myself by now but I didn’t fancy bringing in the new year surrounded by bin bags.