Monday, 9 July 2018

Fractious Families - An Update

So. The month of July birthdays was hit and miss rather than truly horrendous but I got through it. My brother did eventually reply to my text about littlest nephew's birthday present, and I got a belated invite to his birthday party at a soft play centre. I went, of course, but naively didn't realise there would be so many newborns there so was in the toilets crying within the first half hour. However, I did manage to spend some time with my niece and both nephews which was lovely. Sister-in-law and her parents, obviously, just completely ignored me. My brother treated me as he usually does. No change there then.

We had also had conversations about meeting up to discuss all of this over the weekend of 7th/8th July, I was free all weekend so offered to be as flexible as they needed me to be to be able to meet up and talk. My brother said he was working late shifts so it would be up to my sister-in-law as she had the kids, so I pluck up the courage to text my sister-in-law the same question and the reply? Ask your brother as he's working. Great. So I texted my brother back and he said we'd talk about it at littlest nephew's birthday party. That obviously didn't happen due to the ensuing chaos of twenty 3 and 4 year olds in a soft play centre so we said we'd talk about it the next day at my birthday lunch. I then went out that evening and had a wonderful wonderful time with friends, so that was something.

The following day was my birthday, and we met up for lunch. It was horrendous. Again, sister-in-law just ignored me completely. My brother didn't really speak to me either. I was sat by myself at the end of the table, in the corner away from everyone else. The boys were great, came over with a present bag and helped me unwrap everything! There was no birthday card from my brother. There was a card from the kids but it was a generic one not an 'Auntie' one. I wasn't really included in conversations. By the end of the meal I was on the verge of tears and eventually plucked up the courage to ask my brother if I was seeing them next weekend to which I got the reply - I'll text you later. And that was it, I lost it. My sunglasses went on and I cried. We were supposed to be going to the park afterwards with the kids to play but my sister-in-law decided it was too hot for the kids so they were just going to go home. I left distraught.

Eventually, it was agreed that I will get to theirs for 9am on Saturday 7th July, so I did. My niece was asleep and the two boys were sat in front of a Disney film - and we talked. My brother played an absolute blinder. He really did. Calm and impartial. He started by explaining, in very calm and measured tones, their views on that Saturday which had started everything off. I let him talk. I did not interrupt. I was already crying at this point so, as calmly as I could, I explained that that Saturday had not been 'just' a beer festival. There had been other factors at play that weekend which I was not about to disclose to them now. I said that I knew that it would make it very difficult for them to believe me but that was that. I would tell them at some point but I couldn't tell them now. I also said that I found it very difficult to be around people that don't like me, that it takes a lot of mental strength for me to do that and sometimes I need to protect myself from that and look after myself.

Sister-in-law then said that she didn't dislike me but her back was up because of, in her mind, how I was treating her children. She then continued with the story of me seeing other people's kids and not playing with her kids. I said that it was because, up until all of this had kicked off, I was genuinely convinced that they didn't actually want me around. That they didn't want me to see the children and that I didn't feel welcome in their house. My brother interjected to ask why I felt like that and we spoke about the different relationships between siblings and each other and between siblings and parents (my parents are far more inclusive in the kids' lives, as are her parents, as they've needed them for babysitting etc. since they were all born) and that how I was often left out of the loop when things were happening - even if it was by accident. So how could I text and ask about how the kids had enjoyed certain things if I didn't know that they were happening?

I explained about my sister-in-law blocking me on FB (which she denied. I actually got my phone out to show them both and she had to back track, claiming she hadn't done anything and it must have just happened) and not accepting my follow requests on Twitter or Instagram. My brother questioned her about this and she got very defensive. He also brought up the fact that when he is working she always spends time with her family and friends and never with our family. He said that that was a habit she had to break, again she didn't look happy.

We went round in circles a bit on family history, what the relationship was that they wanted me to have with the kids and the fact that I thought they didn't want me around them. We acknowledged that there had been assumptions on both sides and lots of crossed wires and miscommunication - but at the end of the day we all want the same result so we have to move forward. The whole conversation took an hour. No one raised their voice. Everyone was honest, everyone pre-empted hurtful things with a warning.

I know my sister-in-law and I will never be good friends, but at least I know now that they WANT me in their life. I have been given an opening here and I am NOT letting it go. After I left she took all the kids to the park as my brother got ready to go to work and I texted her the next day to ask how the kids had got on. It took her a while to reply but I got one :) oldest nephew has his sports day on Friday, I will be sending him messages to wish him luck beforehand and I'll try and phone at the weekend to see how he got on. If they want me in the kids' lives there is no stopping me now. I don't care that she is still blocking me on FB, they want me to be in the lives of those kids so I damn well will be!!!!!!!

Friday, 22 June 2018

Fractious Families - Part Two

So. Three weeks had passed since the conversation with my sister-in-law, and one week since the follow up with my brother, that I describe here. I had a free weekend. As I always do, I texted my brother to see if he was around. He was working nights, so I reiterated that I was free if anything changed to which his reply was 'it's not me you have to speak to'. Consequently, the following conversation took place between me and my sister-in-law:

(again I've changed names to titles, but that's all I've changed)

Hey. Hope you're well? My brother has told me he's working nights this weekend. I'm free all weekend if you wanted to do something x

Yes he is working this weekend. If I'm honest im still very upset & angry with you at the moment, you seemed to of swept what has been said to you by me under the carpet and acting as if all is ok & it really isn't. You seem to feel as though my last message doesn't need to be responded to & that you have said you have nothing further to say on the subject. I understand some things in your life at the moment are difficult and I'm truly sorry about that but the last two messages you have sent me make me feel that you're acting as if the previous few messages never happened.

I'm very sorry you feel like that. As I said to my brother, I am absolutely not sweeping it under the carpet and nor do I feel as if I am acting as if the previous messages never happened. I am very aware that all is not ok, I really am. For you to feel like that was never my intention. Honestly. But it is true, at this precise moment in time I have nothing further to say on the matter. I'm very sorry but it's true. That's not to say I won't be able to address these issues in the future, as I have said I am not sweeping it under the carpet and I know things are not ok. But right now, at this moment, I have nothing further to add xx

Well then that's a very sad situation to be in regarding this. Maybe I expect too much from an auntie but until you're able to see what I'm getting at and realise what's upsetting me I don't want to hear it. I don't want to have to spell it out to you because if you can't see it then what's the point.

I am struggling with my mental health at the moment and juggling far too many balls in the air than is probably wise. I absolutely do want to resolve this but want to chose my words carefully, I do not want to say the wrong thing or be misconstrued. I have therefore taken the decision, rightly or wrongly, to say nothing further at this point. That does not mean that I have nothing more to say, just that I don't want to say it right now. I want to wait until I am in a better place, until my head is clearer and I can respond in a way that is not clouded by my current circumstances xx

At this point I didn't know what else I needed to do to get her to understand me - I WAS NOT sweeping this under the carpet, I ABSOLUTELY DID want to sort it out - just not RIGHT NOW. I had enough on my plate and couldn't think straight. To the point where I put a very very drunk post on my FB (which I deleted the next morning) about the pressure I was under with everything going on - aimed squarely at her to get the message that I wasn't avoiding this for superfluous reasons or just because I didn't want to. But she just kept going at me............

I am sorry that you are struggling but the longer this is left the worse the situation might get. I won't be able to play happy families with you when/if we see you as I feel until this is sorted I am unable to talk to you because you clearly can't see my side of things. I'm really am sorry to hear that as mental health is nothing to be taken lightly so if time is what you need then take it, BUT......the longer this drags on without being dealt then the more of a problem it will become

That was late on a Friday night so I didn't reply to that. I spoke to my mum that weekend, I hadn't wanted to get her involved as I thought it was unfair to put her in the middle of it. As it turned out however, they had spoken to her before the first message was sent to me to tell her that they were thinking of talking to me about this. My mum was brilliant. She said as much as she does agree with them to a point she also knows us all well enough to know that we've been butting heads for a while now and it was bound to come to a head at some point. She knows we both do things differently and can't find middle ground. She knows they have the trump card, will not bend on how they do things and so I'm going to have to take the fall. I could not stop crying during the phone call to her, at one point I was crying so much I started hyperventilating. I just needed my sister-in-law to leave me alone whilst I was feeling like this but know that I was not ignoring things, I just needed time and was genuinely not fobbing her off. Mum suggested I try and call her so she could hear how I was feeling and know I was genuine. So I did. I called that Saturday afternoon and, obviously, she didn't pick up so I left a voicemail. Sobbing into the phone about how much I wanted to fix this but I just couldn't right now. I never got a response. And so it continued:

Hey. Hope you picked up my voicemail over the weekend? I am not avoiding this. I really am not. I want to sort it out. I just need to be in a better place to do so. I absolutely understand where you're coming from. I do, really I do. Please could the two of us meet up to talk? Are you around at all over the weekend of 23rd/24th June? Work will have eased off by then and hopefully have calmed down and I should be able to think straight. I am free all of that weekend and would much rather please that we sorted this out face to face rather than over text. So, if you're around, please just name a time and place and I promise I will be there x

Sorry no phone call or message on my phone but kids have been playing with it. I have nothing further to say to you until your in a better place so for now I think it's best if I keep my mouth shut because I will only end up saying the wrong thing. Oh and just so you know these messages aren't just from me they are from your brother aswell!!

I know. But I still think it would be beneficial, if you don't mind, for just the two of us to sit down and talk. I really think I'll be in a better place by 23/24 June which is why I suggested that weekend. I'm free all of that weekend, please let's go out somewhere and talk. Just name a time and place and I promise I'll be there x

You keep saying that you need time and now all of a sudden in 2 weeks your going to be ok?? As I said before I've nothing further to say to you until your in a better place so sort yourself out and we will take things from there! I don't want to meet you on my own as this isn't just my views it's very much your brother's aswell.

Again, I was at a loss as to what to do. I wanted to sort it sooner and knew that they wanted to sort it so that's why I suggested that weekend, but she rebuffed me. Clearly if I wanted to meet up that weekend I was fobbing her off with the mental health things I'd told her. So, again, I spoke to my mum. Who suggested I take the time if she was offering it to me. Thank her for giving me that time and promise to meet up once term has finished in the summer and (aside from a potential house move) I would be freer. So, this was my reply:

Ok. Thank you very much for giving me the time that I need. With a very difficult time at work as well as trying to sort out the sale of my flat and the purchase of my new place this is a very stressful time. Maybe I was rushing things suggesting that weekend in June, I just wanted to sort this out. It might be better to wait, if you don't mind, until the end of term when I can take time off work and sort myself out so that I have the space to get my head together to be able to think clearly when things have calmed down. Thank you again for letting me have that time. I'm so sorry everything has gone wrong between us, it really is the last thing I wanted to happen. This is too important not to fix. If you'll let me, I'll get back to you after the end of term as I should feel a lot better by then. Hopefully you can then give me a time and a place to suit you both and I promise I'll be there. Thank you x

I have had nothing since. I think she has finally got the message, I'll text her again at the end of term. But she has since blocked me on Facebook (I know, mature....) and she has never ever, over the past few years, accepted my follow requests on Instagram and Twitter - she has locked accounts on both services. But, no matter what happens, I know what the outcome will be. I will be the one in the wrong (which I know I am, to a degree) for not being able to rise above everything for the sake of the children. They will not accept that their behaviour didn't help. I am absolutely willing to admit that I should have been able to rise above everything and put the children first but, you know what, I didn't/couldn't. There have been times I've had to put myself first, knowing that I didn't have the mental strength to get through an afternoon or a day with them. Their treatment of me will not come into the equation at all. They're also massively contradicting themselves when they say they're putting the kids first and then treating me the way they have done, but they won't see that - they're putting the kids first.

I know I could have put myself out more, forced myself more, I really do know that. I just find it galling that the price to pay for that is that they are going to get away with the most horrible behaviour towards me knowing it'll be my fault for not just getting over it rather than their fault for treating me like that in the first place. They probably won't even think that they're treating me badly, according to them I've just not been doing what I should have been doing as an Aunt. But there you go. Such is life. Such is the way they live their life. I remember a year or so ago posting a picture on FB that had come up on my Timehop of my oldest nephew when he was a baby and I posted it with various heart emojis. My brother commented on the photo - "was that the last time you saw him?". I deleted the comment. I have stopped posting similar things on FB.

If only it were as simple as this:

But they want me to have a relationship with the kids so I can't cut contact with them, everything just has to be on their terms. My sister-in-law is an only child and so, if I don't have children, once all parents are gone I will be the only blood relative they have left. Part of me wants to absolutely applaud her for it. But the other part of me wants to hit her with a fucking brick.

It is my birthday in a couple of weeks, the week after that the littlest nephew has his birthday and then two weeks after that it will be my niece's first birthday. I have resigned myself to the fact that all three will be shit. I texted my brother last Sunday to ask him what he'd like me to get littlest nephew for his birthday (we are never allowed to just go out and get something, we always have to ask them what we're allowed to get them) and he still hasn't replied. There will no doubt be a party for my niece's birthday that I will not be invited to. If I do anything for my birthday they will not want to come. I just need to resign myself to the fact that this year will be shit all round for July birthdays and just hope it won't be the same next year......

Thursday, 21 June 2018

Fractious Families - Part One

I have one sibling, a brother who is 18 months younger than me. I love him dearly but oh holy hell are we different. I've always found it very strange as we could be no one else's children, we're both so very similar to our parents, but it's like we've got the exact opposite halves of them - we could not be more different as people.

Therefore, he was never going to marry someone that I got on famously with. The woman he has married is amazing for him, they clearly love each other dearly and are a great couple. She's a wonderful mother to their three children. But she has never liked me. For reasons I have no idea about. It's not malicious, it's just that if we'd met in any other walk of life we wouldn't be friends. We'd get on fine I'm sure, but would not be friends. It's that simple. She never says hello to me, never asks how I am and knows very little about my life. I don't like going to their place for this reason, I don't feel welcome. However, they have three children and I try and see them when I can. The trouble is, it's not as often as they want it to be. I refuse to drop everything, cancel and rearrange things, just because they've decided they want the family over at what is usually fairly short notice. My parents do, which doesn't really help my case, but there you go.

I have tried various strategies in the past but all to no avail. I plan months in advance, they go day to day and generally have little idea on a Monday about what they're doing that weekend. A middle ground has never been found. I have been less and less willing to put myself out for them. If you keep banging your head against a brick wall it eventually hurts so much that you're going to stop doing it. But, of course, they hold the trump card - the children. This all came to a head the weekend in May when hubby and I were due to see each other after a month of no communication at all. That same day it had been arranged, with only a few days' notice, to go and see the house my parents are buying and moving to. I didn't want to move what hubby and I had arranged to do (go to a beer festival) to spend the day feeling uncomfortable around them and looking round a house I wasn't going to live in.

So. The following text conversation ensued. Obviously, I have changed people's names to their title to anonymise them - we don't really talk like that! But that is the only change I have made to the messages that were sent between us.

After speaking with your brother today and hearing about your decision to go to a beer festival yesterday, I feel I need to say something to you because to be honest I think it's about time.

I know I don't talk to you much about this but this is down to not wanting to upset you. I feel that it's always the same reason for you that you find it to hard to be with the children because of your own personal situation but when I see on Facebook you spending time with other people's children, it makes me question what is it that you find so hard about spending time with ours.

I understand that it's difficult for you to be around children, I don't understand it but I get it. But to see that you're able to spend time with other people's children, putting photos over social media of doing so but not doing the same sort of activities shown in those photos with our children, I find this really very upsetting on the children's part.

I feel really sad for our children that they don't have the relationship with you that they should have as there one and only auntie. I know there are times when we are busy but when you have a chance to see the children & you turn it down to spend time drinking with your ex it makes me wonder about priorities.

I know it was pre-planned but I personally found it a strange choice seeing as there probably wasn't any booking and it's a yearly thing. Not spending quality time with them you must understand why I don't feel comfortable with you having the children on your own. I feel you don't know them enough & this really upsets me.

Just because something has now been said to you please don't change what you are doing in the future because you will only be doing it because you've been told this to not necessarily because you want to. My aim is not to upset you/make you feel bad/cause an issue/etc, it's really not, but it is to unload what I have been feeling and hopefully you may eventually realise what the end result of some of your decisions are.

Firstly, can I thank you - genuinely - for being honest with me. It means more than you will ever know.

Yesterday had been in my diary for months and I didn't feel like I could change my plans at the last minute and let people down. That's just how I work my diary. I get invited to an awful lot of things so my rule, for a long time, has been that whatever I am asked to go to first is what I stick with. I try and be fair like that and so, unless there are exceptional circumstances, that's what I do and have always done. It's why I've not replied to two invites from friends for this Saturday as I don't know yet if we're going to Brands Hatch with dad, that was the first thing I was asked to for this weekend so that comes first.

I must admit I'm a bit confused about the social media comment, the only photos I can think of recently on Facebook were in February. Unless I'm missing something?? If I am I'm sorry. I made two trips in February, one was to see one of my best friends who has a young son and then I went to see my goddaughter for her second birthday. For both of these occasions it was only the second time I'd met the child in question and I am very very close friends with both mothers. I can't think of anything else on Facebook but apologies if I have missed something.

There are two things about those situations. Firstly, please don't believe everything you see on FB, it is not a reflection of real life. Yes, I may meet up with friends who happen to have children and smile in photos but that doesn't mean I'm not dying inside whilst outwardly smiling. It doesn't mean I'm enjoying it and you won't see pictures of me crying all the way home afterwards. I booked both of those trips as I was borderline suicidal and decided I needed things to look forward to.

The second thing is that I don't have the relationship with you that I have with the mothers of those children. I don't mean that as anything other than a factual statement, really I don't. I am very fond of you, I couldn't see my brother with anyone else and I'm thrilled he's with you. But he and I are incredibly different people and so he was never going to marry someone that I got on famously with and was really close friends with. Please do not take that as a slight on you as that is absolutely not how I mean it - you and I are just very different people. Therefore I am far more relaxed around my friends children than I am around yours. Which I know sounds insane but it's true. You and my brother are so different to me I'm paranoid about doing something wrong and one of you will tell me off. I know that sounds pathetic but it's true. I know I should get over it as they're my nephews and niece but it's hard. I do feel like I don't know them well enough and I hate that but it's because I'm scared and intimidated by you and my brother. If I do something wrong with a friend's child they'll just tell me off, if I do something wrong with a child I love as much as your three I would never forgive myself.

I would never ever ask to be with them alone for that reason, honestly I really wouldn't, but if my brother is working at a weekend and I'm free (like last weekend) it would be lovely to see them even if he isn't around. I may have this completely wrong but it seems as if him or my parents need to be around for me to see them. Maybe you and I could try and spend some time together? That would be nice.

I'm not going to change how I manage my diary, but I will continue to make sure you're the first people I check in with when I have a free weekend. I am genuinely touched by your honesty and I hope you can take what I have said in the same way. I would love it if we were closer but I know that's never going to happen so for you to feel you are able to be honest with me like this means a lot, thank you xx

Me making this point is nothing to do with the relationships you have with me & your brother, our children are the only thing I'm concerned about with this. I think times when you haven't paid for something, things can be changed/cancelled, I'm sure if your friends are true friends & you turned around to them & said that you were actually going to give it a miss to spend time with your niece & nephews, especially if one of those friends is your ex, they would be more than understanding.

Saying that you are more relaxed around others children & not ours is very sad! They are your blood, it doesn't matter if you get things wrong, we all do no one is perfect but to say your worried about being told off is very pathetic (I'm just repeating your own words) if you've hated it so much why haven't you changed it??

The way in which I do things when your brother isn't around is no different to the way it's always been, I always spend one on one time with my parents coz it's the only time I get to & majority of the time the kids have play dates with friends.

This has been an ongoing issue for 7 years now & if things haven't changed in that time I'm not sure they ever will to be honest, which is a very sad situation for our children to be in.

It's nice you've said to try to build a relationship with me but it's my children that are my priority at the moment. I'd like to start with them as they're more important and then see where that goes.

Now, my issues with what she says are as follows:
1. You are incredibly naive if you think the relationship I have with you doesn't affect the relationship I have with your children
2. Don't contradict yourself, you say you don't want me to change how I manage my diary and then you tell me you do want me to change how I do things
3. I can count on one hand the number of times I've actually felt like their Aunt
4. No, I didn't tell you, but that day was more than 'just' a beer festival - it was myself and my husband having a very frank discussion about our marriage. Knowing we both hated the limbo we were in and so deciding whether to say goodbye or give things another go. I was not about to rearrange it as I wanted to see him and have that talk with him

At that point I decided I wasn't going to win. I was in my most stressful time at work, where I was generally working 13/14 hour days without a break (time which doesn't include the hour and a half one way commute) usually without lunch and sometimes without breakfast either - I didn't have the energy to deal with it. Of course, they knew none of this as they know so little about what my job entails. But if there's one thing I've learnt over the years, it's don't start a fight when you don't have a hope in hell of winning it. And so I thought that was that for now, we'll pick it up later and talk about it when things have calmed down. Bearing in mind my current mental state with everything going on (work, house move, hubby) I just didn't have the strength to deal with this sensitive situation in the manner in which it deserved. I was likely to say something in haste I would regret later. So I decided to leave it there. I had more to say but was not about to do it in the state I was in.

But oh no, there's a little epilogue to this. Two weeks later I have the following text conversation with my brother:

Have you text my wife back about your conversation the other week?

I replied to the first message, I didn't reply to the subsequent message

Do you plan to?


So you're just going to sweep it all up under the carpet then?

Not at all. I just have nothing further to add at this time.

I had two initial thoughts about this. Firstly, you could just ask your wife?! Secondly, I know the relationship they have and there is no way he hasn't read the text conversation between us already so he's asking me a question he already knows the answer to. Talk about making drama for the sake of it.... At this time I had said, 'at this time'. Doesn't mean I'm done with the conversation, just means I can't add to it right this very second. I even thought that might be the end of it but I was wrong.

To Be Continued.

Friday, 25 May 2018

*Happy Dance*

We met up the weekend after our month of no communication was up. He said the same things. Knew he had to prove himself to me, said he wanted to love me and no one but me and explore the future together. Made all sorts of sexual promises. We did a lot of snogging. Which, to be fair, is a massive thing in itself. In the last few years of being together the most we did was hug and kiss on the lips so even snogging seems like a move in the right direction ❤

And then I had a massive fall out with my sister-in-law about how much I see their kids (long story, for another blog post maybe - but I did tweet about it at the time if you're interested), I had the worst day I had ever had at work for a long time (I still love my job, don't get me wrong, but it was a day that was beyond frustrating). He spoke to me afterwards. He came over two days later. I got laid.

Image result for happy dance gif

Monday, 21 May 2018

Words I Never Thought I'd Hear

**written one week ago**

It's been quite an eventful few weeks..........

We'll start with the holiday (that I came back from over a month ago but hey ho.....). Which, actually, was lovely. The weather wasn't great for the first couple of days but we settled in really well as it was somewhere we had been before, wandered into town a couple of times and it felt like we'd been there a week rather than a couple of days. And then the sun came out. It really was glorious.

One evening we had a discussion about things. He admitted that the break up was entirely his fault, it was all down to him and that everything I'd accused him of he was guilty of. Wow. I did not see that coming. I never ever thought he would take responsibility for our break up. Clearly his head was no longer in the sand...... And, regardless of anything else, I've got to give him credit for doing that. In the next few days I was in a much better mood. I hadn't realised just how draining it was to be arguing with him in my head day after day after day (read about that here). With his admission that just disappeared. I felt like I was at peace.

So, we came home from the holiday and met up the next weekend for a day out at our local non-league football ground. He told me he hated living by himself, that he knew he'd made a huge mistake and that he feels like he's had to grow up living by himself. Now, why the HELL couldn't he have said these things a year ago?! It would appear he had to find his independence to realise what I'd been saying all along was true and to do the growing up I so desperately needed him to do.

I couldn't believe how much he'd changed. He even said he wanted to have sex, said he didn't want anyone else. That he'd been up for sex whilst we'd been on holiday but I had made it clear that it was off the table. And, to be fair, I had. I was crystal clear with him that it was a holiday as friends.

When we got back from our holiday we took our wedding rings off, he found that incredibly difficult. I also told him that after his admission on holiday it felt like a weight had been lifted from my shoulders. I said with our rings off I needed him to go and get some experience and be free. He said he didn't want that. He just wants me. Seriously, where was this a year ago?! Having said all of that he also knows that he has a very VERY long history of saying the right thing but NO actions following the words. He knows this too.

I NEVER thought I would be here. Am I really considering getting back together with him?! Even if, and it is still an 'if', we get back together (never ever thought I'd say that!) I'd want to take it slowly. I need proof that he's changed. To be honest, I don't think he realised quite how much he hurt me and now he does. Coming back into the fold of my family wouldn't be easy either, that will take guts. My mother in particular holds strong feels towards him after the events of last year. But that's another story entirely.

The lease on the place he rents is up in November, I have just sold (I accepted an offer whilst on holiday, I don't seem to do things by halves!) my place and had an offer accepted on a two bed place that I really like - and I would not have him move in for a while. This is all ifs and buts. Absolutely ALL ifs and buts. I want to live in that place by myself for a while please, so whatever happens he's signing another year's lease on the place he is renting. That much I know, I need to see the proof of actions following the words before I go anywhere near letting him into my heart again. But it's progress. And I was the happiest I'd been in months.

Whilst we were out for that particular weekend at the football, he also made a suggestion. He said that we were still in touch so much and saw each other so frequently it didn't really feel like we'd properly broken up. He suggested a month with no contact at all. So that started on Monday 16th April and so is obviously due to end this weekend. The longest period of time we'd gone without seeing or speaking to each other in ten years. It was quite nice at first, but after the first two weeks I did miss him dreadfully. I spoke to friends about what he had said and they were all as shocked as I was.

I want to believe that he's changed. I want to believe what he's saying but oh my god does he have form. And he does know this. But I am considering it. I can see that he realises now, and could only have realised after he moved out, the growing up that I needed him to do. There is still a massive question over whether he has his sex drive back, but there's only one way to find out if that's true (!). How many times have I been here before tho?! I just keep going round in circles. Despite everything that's been before I can see why this time could finally be different. And I could get everything I ever wanted. Or it'll hurt far more the second time round, and fuck me did it hurt enough the first time.

But then I went out with a really good friend for dinner. She made me realise two things. Firstly, that I would always regret it if I didn't give it another go, I'd always be wondering 'what if' and just stuck in this godawful limbo with him. And two, that if he did screw this up again then actually it would be easier this time - there would be no going back, I would absolutely hate his guts, I'd never want to see him again and I'd be filing for divorce.

So there we go. Now what?!

Friday, 9 March 2018

The Dreams In Which I'm Dying Are The Best I've Ever Had

This is miserable. My life is just miserable. This is not living, this is existing. I hate it.

The blackness is over powering. What is the point of this life??? I don't want to be with anyone else but I cannot be with him. The tears will not stop. The pain is all consuming. I do not want to feel like this but it will not go away. When does it get better? When does life become worth living again? I cannot describe the pain, I cannot live with it. There is an obvious solution but work prevents me. Is it sad that work is the only thing stopping me??? My dad is ill, so for my mum it would be one less thing to worry about if I was not here. I love my brother, and my nephews and niece mean the world to me, but I am not as involved in their lives as I would love to be due to the relationship I have with my brother. They're young enough, they'll forget me if I disappear. I do not wish to exaggerate but work would fall apart without me. No one else knows how to do my job and without me the future of around 200 young women would be at stake. To say more would give away what I do and therefore potentially who I am when I can be anonymous here. But, humbly, it is not an exaggeration. There will come a time this year when the cycle of my profession is less pressured and others could feasibly pick it up, but not yet. That time will come in July. It is seriously tempting to plan to free myself of this pain then if I still have it at that point. It is unbearable. I cannot describe the pain, I just know that I cannot live with it. Work is the only thing keeping me going and in July I have a window. By then it would have been nine months living with the pain and if it has not eased I will need an escape.

I had the two weekends away with friends that I described in my previous post. There were lovely in their own way, I'm not entirely sure I was the best company for the ladies I visited but they were a tonic. However I came home to emptiness both times. To the crashing realisation that, whilst a weekend away is lovely, it is nothing more than a sticking plaster. It doesn't fix the chasm of emptiness and blackness that envelopes me.

Everything makes me cry. Every song I hear, people I see, memories I have. Makes me remember what I lost, where I am. I miss him desperately. I hate being by myself in my flat, all the memories there, too many ghosts. I bought it a couple of months before we got together so whilst it is mine and I did live there myself for quite a long time it is inextricably linked to him. The flat is still for sale and I am desperate to sell it to be able to move on and have somewhere that is mine, a clean slate. But it seems to be easier said than done in the current market conditions sadly. 

I keep arguing with him in my head. I am certain that he genuinely does think he did everything he could but in reality he made a decision - and despite saying he'd do anything for me he chose to do nothing even though he knew that would result in losing me. How do you think that makes me feel?! It's a terrible feeling and these are the discussions going round and round and round in my head. Despite all this, in just over two weeks' time we go on holiday together. Even with all my anger I can absolutely forgive him as I know it is just how he is made, it's not something he's done on purpose or was malicious about. I cannot forget how he made (and still makes) me feel however so there is no going back. But nevertheless we have ten days abroad at the end of this month. I have told everyone I am going away by myself. They won't understand and I don't have the energy to explain. They keep calling me brave, I feel like a fraud. But I am absolutely categorically not repeating what happened at New Year. I just hope the arguments in my head don't spill out of my mouth. I don't want to hurt him. I still care for him deeply and hurting him is an equally horrible feeling that I don't want to have on top of everything else. Let's hope it's just some time in the sun with a good friend, a good book and a good rest.

Wednesday, 24 January 2018

Black Clouds and Going Backwards

I'm not ready to do this, any of this, but I have to. I'd still like children and I'm 38, I'm now actually nearer to 39 than 38, and so I have to throw myself into it if I'm going to have half a chance of that. I need to find someone, get to know them and somehow then start trying to have children in such a short space of time. I am not over him, I absolutely am not, but I have to force myself. I have to do this or I will start resenting him - I don't want the fact that I stayed with him for so long and tried (then failed) for so long to be the reason I don't have children of my own. So what else can I do?!

I took my rings off the weekend he moved out. He doesn't know this, he still wears his and whenever I have seen him since I have put my rings back on again. I was in no way ready to take them off, but who is going to talk to me/chat me up if I have a wedding ring on?! Not that anyone has yet, but you get the point.

Christmas was bearable. Christmas Day itself I spent volunteering at a local church that was putting on a Christmas lunch for the elderly who would otherwise have been alone. It was great fun and I really enjoyed it. Boxing Day was then our family Christmas Day and, aside from a couple of flash points, was a pretty good day. I was bossed around by the three year old nephew, had cuddles with my six month old niece and attempted to keep up with the boisterous six year old nephew.

New Year's, however, was horrendous. Absolutely horrendous. I had the bright idea of going away with a friend, I thought it would be great to have some girl time and go explore somewhere I'd not been before. Get away from everyone and everything local and take my mind off things. It couldn't have backfired more.

The friend and I got on well enough, we explored a very lovely place but there were awkward silences. There were decisions to be made and some things we couldn't agree on. We didn't fall out or anything please don't get me wrong, but it wasn't the free and easy time I would have had if I'd gone away with him. Where the telepathy is there, where he knows me so well his suggestions of things to do I will pretty much always agree with and vice versa. I hated it. I counted the hours until I could go back home. Once I was home I cried, I'd held it in for so long. Proper, heaving sobs. The same again the next night.

I was doing so well and in one foul swoop I had gone so massively backwards I just didn't want to go on. I knew I didn't want to go back to him, that decision is absolutely final and I am not reversing it under any circumstances, but I was suddenly massively missing the life I had and hating the life I have now. Despite a foray onto the app based dating scene nothing has materialised. I am alone. And I hate it. I miss him desperately but I don't want him back. He opted for the easy life over me, it is that simple. There was one thing that needed fixing and, for whatever reason, he couldn't/wouldn't/didn't want to fix it. Despite knowing what the cost of that was. And so he lost me. I am not going back to someone who professes to love me yet clearly thinks so little of me.

But there is an undeniable bond between us. We still get on so well, still know each other so well. We text regularly, speak on the phone once or twice a week and meet up about once a fortnight ish. We're even talking about going away together over Easter somewhere warm. I'm not sure how healthy that is I admit but I'm damned if I'm repeating the New Year break and how that made me feel. I'd like a holiday, I feel so drained I think I NEED a holiday. Emotional exhaustion from the past few months as well as a stinking cold that hung around for over 8 weeks have really taken it out of me. And so what if I decide to go away with him? I've made it very clear it would be as friends, and I know I'll have a good time. I have no issues going by myself but that can throw up complications I'm not emotionally strong enough at the moment to deal with. But I know going away with him will be relaxed and easy, there won't be awkward decisions to make and it'll all just flow. If that makes sense? It might not happen, we may not find anywhere we want to go or it all might be too expensive. But the idea is out there.

There is no denying however that, at the moment, I am under a very black cloud indeed and it just won't shift. I'd got myself into such a good place before Christmas and it feels like all my hard work has come categorically undone. I'm back to crying more, I'm back to drinking far far far too much. I am at least eating fairly well but I'm not doing any exercise, I don't want to see anyone or go out. Not that I've had any invitations. He's been taken out with friends on numerous occasions. I know it's slightly different, altho he has far fewer friends then me they are (understandably) mainly male and so even tho they have kids they are, to a certain extent, freer and able to go out more often. Pretty much all of my friends aren't local anymore and they have kids, houses to run, jobs. I know it's a cliché but that's how life goes I guess. Whether we like it or not that seems to be how things work. But, a couple of wonderful wonderful ladies aside, no one is even checking in on me by text. Asking how I am. If I wanted to do anything.

Those select few who are in touch I love more than I think I did before, they have truly picked me up when I've been on the ground and I don't think they even know it. These are the people that keep me going when I wonder what the point of it all is. When I wonder if there is any point still being on this earth. My job has also been a saviour. I am very lucky that, despite a very long commute, I do absolutely love what I do so I at least have a reason to get out of bed five days a week. It's the weekends that have killed me. When once the thought of two whole days of doing nothing would be bliss it's turned into a nightmare. The hours just stretch ahead of me with nothing to fill them. There is the TV of course, I have books to read, but I'm not particularly interested in either. I've considered going out somewhere for the day or going out for a long walk but the weather at this time of year (particularly atrocious at the moment for some reason) has put paid to any of those ideas.

So on Monday I decided I couldn't spend another weekend like that. I have booked two weekends away, both to see ladies that I mention above, so I have something to look forward to. So that I know there are at least a couple of weekends when the darkness and loneliness don't just stretch ahead of me like a never ending road. I'm not entirely sure that this is the start of the cloud lifting but it's something. I hate feeling like this and I don't know how to shift it. But that's one step at least I guess.