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.

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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 🙂

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?

Works Night Out

Thursday night was our work night out and I’ve been looking forward to this for weeks. I’m not really sure why. I mentioned last time that I had a complete new outfit and I was definitely looking forward to getting all glammed up. I think more than anything I wanted my husband, Barry, to see me and … be jealous? remember why he liked me? I’m not sure.

The day before Barry had arrived in the morning to take Hector to nursery. “I’ll see you tonight” I said as I left for work. “I won’t be here tonight, I’m here tomorrow” he replied. “Oh, OK” I say as I drive off, absolutely stunned. Barry always stays with the baby on a Wednesday night  and then has him on a Thursday. He had decided that he wouldn’t do that this week just because I was going out. I drove to work with the rage building up inside me. How dare he? I text him “I didn’t realize you were only allowed to spend one night a week with your son!” I was fuming. He had only had him one night the week before as well. He text saying he had made plans. I told him he was seeing Hector less and less and he insisted that he wasn’t. I was angry all day.

Thursday arrived and I went and had my hair done before coming home to Hector and Barry for tea. While he was looking after the baby I did all make-up etc. I didn’t want to put my dress on before Hector was asleep, which is usually about seven, because I had a feeling I might be needed. The baby was exhausted so Barry took him up with his bed-time bottle, and then Hector started screaming. “Hand him over.” I said. As soon as I had him he took his bottle and immediately fell asleep. I quickly went to put my dress on and found Barry having a little lie down on my bed, which I found rather annoying.

When I appeared in my outfit I could see him eyeing me and he asked

“New dress?”

“Yes”

“Nice” he mumbled.

The girls arrived to pick me up and I left the house in a swirl of smiles and perfume. “Have a good night” I hear him say as I close the door.  I told him I’d see him later, knowing I had no intention of returning home. I’d asked my mum to leave a nightie in her spare room for me.

The night consisted of cocktails, tequila, sambuca, a dance-off and a tiny bit of flirting. It was fun, and good to feel attractive again. However, I ended up having to tell more people about Barry leaving because they were asking how he was, if we were planning more babies etc. One friend who has been on maternity said “Oh I hate him! He can’t just do that! He has a family, he has to stay and work through it.” But the sad truth is is that he can do just that. There are no locks, no bars on the windows keeping him here. He’s a man, and can do as he pleases. What I still find shocking is how often it happens. My hairdresser was telling me how her husband left her with her three week old daughter! He came down the stairs with a packed bag: “I’m off to look after number one.”

“This is number one here” she says, referring to her babe-in-arms.

He repeats “I’m off to look after number one” and leaves.

Her pregnant friend’s husband was raging – “How dare he do that to you! That’s disgusting!” A couple of months after his own baby is born he leaves and goes to live in Magaluf! He sees his child each winter.

The thing is, I’m really worried that Hector is growing up and changing every day and Barry is missing it all. He is beginning to know his son less and less. When I settled the baby on Thursday I handed Barry the bottle and he put in on the dresser as he left. I asked him why he was leaving it there and he said in case the bay wakes up in the next half hour for the rest. “He won’t” I said, thinking, you should know that. On Sunday afternoon he picked him up to go out for a couple of hours and Hector screamed because he was leaving me. This is also a new development. Maybe he senses that daddy doesn’t know what he likes any more. I know that Barry loves us and he’s going through some kind of mental crisis but he is missing out on so much.

Last night Hector fell asleep in my arms and I sat watching his beautiful, angelic face. I felt a rush of overwhelming love, maybe even more so now that we are on our own. It’s me and Hector versus the world. An unstoppable force. I would never want to miss one precious moment with him. How can Barry give this up? What a silly, silly man.

Putting up the deccies

So last week I had to face the fact that, husband or not, I would have to put the decorations up and get into the Christmas spirit for the baby, Hector. I needed them out the loft and there is no way a short arse like me can get up there so I had to ask the neanderthal. When he next came round he took them down for me. The tree is really big and fiddly so I asked him if he could help me put it up because I couldn’t do it on my own. “Why can’t you do it on your own?” he says. D**k head!

Since he left I have to say that my family have really been amazing. I have always appreciated them but in this hour of need they have rallied around me and given me lots of support. I really feel for those single mums out there that have no family to rely on, or they live far away from them, because I honestly don’t know how I would manage without mine.

So at the weekend I went to see Father Christmas with my mum, brother and sister and nieces. (I had always thought that Hector’s first meeting with Santa would be one that both his parents were present at.) After the grotto it had been decided, by my mum and sister, that my sister and niece would come and help me put the tree up. My other brother also ended up coming to look after Hector while we worked because they are bezzies. I didn’t want all my nieces there as my house is tiny.

Letting them in was risky because I was worried that they would think I wasn’t coping. The house was a complete tip. There were toys, tissues, envelopes, odd socks and other random items littered all over the living and dining room floor; the kitchen was strewn with potatoes and Tescos carrier bags; in the bathroom the contents of the standing cabinet were scattered, mainly all my make up and a box of panty-liners, opened, and thrown everywhere. All this in addition to the usual clutter and crap that I never have the time, or the space, to sort out.

My seven year old niece looked the place up and down and asked:

“Is this why you didn’t want anyone else to come?”

“Yes” I admit, hanging my head in shame.

“I’ll do the living room.” she says.

I love my niece. She is a wise one, and she completely understands that my house will never be as clean and tidy as hers. My sister walks in and immediately takes action, clearing things away like a refreshing tornado. I really do think I’m coping very well but with working full-time some things take a back seat and running around cleaning up after the baby in the morning is one of them. I have found that Hector and I can get ready in a very civilized manner if I am not restricting him in his explorations. I would much rather he was happy throwing my panty-liners around than standing at his gate screaming to get in while I do my hair and make-up. What’s the point in that?

In no time at all we had the tree up, deccies and all. My sister and niece then went home to put theirs up and my brother stayed with me to have a drink and watch ‘I’m a celebrity’. Overall a very productive weekend.

One of my aunties said to me recently “You don’t need anyone when you have your family around you. You’ll mourn for a week.” Although I think it will take longer than a week to come to terms with the fact that my husband has abandoned me, I am starting to see what she meant. I can feel myself becoming stronger every day. I am completely exhausted, but strong. I have managed a lot in this short time as a single mother, including an inspection at work and applying for a new job. I am proud of myself. So, in order to celebrate, I have bought my self a fabulous frock, new shoes, bag and perfume for the Christmas do with work. Who knows – I may even try a little flirting! Now, how do you do that again? …..

Becoming a single mum

It has been three weeks since my husband left. My son turned one just over a month ago and my husband walked out shortly after. I was shocked.

I couldn’t understand how a man I had laughed with, cried with and grown up with could suddenly leave me stranded with a child. And think it was ok! The day after he left the baby developed a chest infection. Hello two weeks of no sleep. So, as a working mother (a secondary school teacher) I was having no sleep, then getting up and getting us both ready for work/nursery, doing a full day in work, cooking tea, doing the bedtime routine, then working some more and preparing everything for the next day before getting to bed myself. Get up at 6.30 (5.30 on a bad day) and do it all again.

In my time of need I turned to the internet to see if there were other mothers in my situation and I was shocked by the sheer volume of posts from new mums who had been left by their husbands. I really think there is something imprinted in men’s DNA that tells them: once you have fathered a healthy child it’s time to move on. Obviously there are men who deal with this better than others, but for those if us who are married to cavemen it comes as a complete shock. Husbands who have shared everything with us, had completely modern attitudes to marriage and relationships, suddenly can’t cope. There is no way of identifying these duds before the event. We have been together for thirteen years and I never suspected he would abandon me with child.

When I spoke to a male colleague in work about us struggling he asked me, “How old is the baby?” When I told him he said “Yes, men get itchy feet about that time. They’re scared of what the rest of their life will be like.”

I recently asked my husband if he had put himself in my shoes and considered how I was coping, to which he replied “No, you seem alright. The baby is happy.” At this moment he was very lucky I did not have a sharp object handy to impale him with! I never knew until now I had married such a selfish toad! “Of course the baby is happy because I would never put my needs before his like you are doing now!”

And so, it’s laugh or cry. Count your blessings or wallow in despair. I choose the former of the two. Yesterday I fed, washed and played with the baby as well as washed the dishes, hoovered and polished, put a wash in and showered and washed my hair, all before 9 am. In the words of Katy Perry “I went from zero to my own hero”.

Mums are superheroes.