Category Archives: irish

My ex-husband

Never So Deeply Entrenched

I wrote this on Monday about last weekend and I feel the need to post it now:

This weekend – starting from Thursday, really – has been about rediscovering myself. I cried a lot on Thursday night. I was so exhausted I couldn’t help it. It was just so damn long since we’ve had the time to be us that I had forgotten what it felt like. I looked back over the past few months – the weekends that I have spent seething and physically unable to speak to him because the sheer awfulness of the situation means I physically can’t breathe. The days that I spend constantly looking at my phone to see if he’s messaged me. The black hole that happens when he finishes work and I know that he can’t talk to me any more because she will be in the way. The nights lately that I have spent cutting myself because I don’t understand what’s going on or who I am or why I feel so bad.

And I realised that I have stopped looking forward. It has been so difficult just to live from one end of the day to the other that I do not have the energy left to remember why I am doing it. When he was lying there in my arms I thought about how much different life will be when he is free from this. That I will be able to spend my weekends with him, not wishing that he could be free to text me. That when he holds me in his arms I don’t have to cling to him because I don’t know when the next time will be. I don’t have to cry when he leaves because I hate knowing what he’s going home to. And in the distant future, I can imagine not having to leave at all. When I say goodbye to him it will be until later, not until next week. I won’t have to think about the nights I spend without him because there won’t be nights that I spend without him.

I’m reminding myself about this now because it took less than a week to get so mired down in all the crap that we’re involved in that I lost sight of it again already. I am lying awake feeling like I shouldn’t want this future that makes us so happy because of the pain it will cause him to achieve it. I have spent all week selfishly pushing and pushing him because I cannot bear to live without him and only this afternoon has the enormity of his task really hit me. I should be more patient. I should accept that he’ll do it in his own time. I shouldn’t constantly expect him to have done something – anything – to sort stuff out because he is the one dealing with it, not me.

Except then I remember that it is not just my future I am selfish for. It is his. If I needed reminder that he needs to go through with this then I just have to remember how I felt watching him with Her when I met Her for the first time last year. Once I’d had a few days to process I wrote this email to Cefyn:

When you first said you were married, it was a shock, but lots of things made sense. Of course you’d be married, you’re such a wonderful, sweet guy that any woman would be lucky to have you. It took me a while to get my head around the bits of you that aren’t what I thought and I eventually realised that you haven’t changed, because you were completely you all along, and you’ve rarely told outright lies to protect your position, just omitted information when you’ve reminisced about stuff etc. That’s why I didn’t flip when you told me. In my head I knew that you being married doesn’t change anything between us.

That was step one. The next bombardment of questions was why you’d kept it a secret and why you hadn’t walked away if you were so unhappy. Combined with the way you talk about Her sometimes and the fact you’ve been together so long, and I really didn’t understand why you didn’t just work it out with her. I didn’t believe that I could really be so much better than Her that you’d pick me. I was afraid to hope that you’d pick me over her, because you’ve got so much history and it’d be so difficult to split that I expected you to realise that I wasn’t worth the effort. I thought I was going to be stuck in limbo forever while you kept me on the side to supplement your marriage. And if you’d said that’s how it’s going to be, I would have stuck it out while it lasted and it would have been good but it wouldn’t have been forever…

Meeting Her was a difficult experience. I think those were the longest 16 hours of my life for a very long time. She is nice enough, but the little jabs at the end of every other sentence grated on me. What was worse was seeing you – like there was a bit of you missing. There was a little bit of deadness about you and it terrified and upset me more than I thought possible. Still I didn’t understand why you didn’t just leave her or ask her not to pick on you like that. I don’t like you being a doormat. It doesn’t suit you. It’s taken me these last few days to realise that you genuinely don’t notice much of it, and that doesn’t reassure me much but I’m glad to know you take it better than I did.

Now I’m starting to see where I fit. This is probably going to come out all narcissistic or something, but I’m not perfect, just trying to make sense of stuff. I didn’t see that Irish stifled my ambition until my workmates started to ask me and I got embarrassed to talk about him. I thought there might be more to sex but I didn’t look for it until I started having graphic dreams about Little Man and ultimately embarked on my journey of awakening with you. I didn’t know that Irish and I didn’t really talk or have things to do together until I spent week after week being late for everything because we talk so flipping much. When I spoke about you very early on in our fling I said “I’m kinda gutted I didn’t meet you first,” and someone stopped me and said “that’s not what it’s about.” And back then, it wasn’t, but I realise now how much I meant those words. I was genuinely surprised that I had never realised before how much we have in common, how much you embody all the things I always wanted from a guy and had convinced myself that I couldn’t have.

I see now that you weren’t happy with Her and you weren’t looking for someone to take you away from her, just someone to help you live with her. I realise that even though it has taken you much longer than me to reach breaking point, your reasons are the same as mine – I left Irish not for you, but because you made me realise that I could never live with him knowing all the things that I’m missing. You’re starting to find the strength inside you to say that enough is enough and you’re finding it because I’ve already proved it possible. It just took time for you to get that far… I have faith that you’ll leave Her because you’ve changed – what wasn’t possible before is possible now. Whilever you hold onto the life that you have now, that spark that I see whenever I’m with you, you cannot live with how things are any more. You’ll need to remind me of that when I can’t bear to see you in pain and want you to forget about me so that things will be easier. And you need to remember that when you feel comfortable with how things are – it’s only temporary. I could cope with Irish when I was embroiled in it and then I fell apart whenever I went away and had to come back…

So you see, this is going to work. Because absolutely nothing has changed since I wrote that email. If anything, it is even more apparent that Cefyn and I cannot live without each other. The reality is even harder than we had both expected. But the prize has not changed. It is still just as incredible and just as rewarding as it always was. It’s just a little bit harder to see because there’s so much pain and so much stuff in the way before we get there.

The title of this post is only half finished. It should read “never so deeply entrenched that I cannot find a way to fix my eyes on the prize.” And I will. I’m going to hold it to my heart like my life depends on it.

A Wedding Blog

This morning I read this post by Amanda Palmer about her decision to marry Neil Gaiman. It’s long, but if you get the chance, I highly recommend you read the whole thing, no matter what you think of marriage and weddings. She is wonderfully honest about her antagonism towards marriage and how and why she ended up getting married.

I’ve always believed in marriage. Ever since I was a little girl, it has been something I’ve dreamt about, thought about, planned in my quieter moments, yearned for in my more desperate ones. My experience of marriage has been quite different from my expectations but actually, my faith in marriage has only been set back by my experience, not destroyed completely. It’s taken me some time to process why I still believe in marriage. And here it is:

Marriage is about hope. (Many other things besides, but this is the one I’m going to focus on for this post.)

I love weddings. I watch a lot of weddings on TV and I read about weddings and I’ve been wondering for a while why that is, because it’s not that I want to get married again any time soon. It’s about hope. Weddings, no matter who the people are, are a snapshot of hope. They’re about two people making a crazy decision to commit their lives to each other. It’s about the whirlwind of emotions that go with looking at someone and knowing, just knowing that you want to wake up with them every day for as long as you live.

You don’t think about what’s going to happen next. You don’t think about the fact that it’ll be hard. You don’t wonder what you’ll do if you ever meet someone else that makes a fire burn in your chest so hot that you find it difficult to go home at night without them. You don’t think that one day it’ll end. You don’t think that one day you’ll be crying your eyes out and physically aching because you cannot keep the vows you’ve made and live with yourself. You certainly don’t think that one day you’ll be lying next to someone else in bed realising that you’ve broken those vows that you made to fuck one person, and one person only, and that your entire life has been changed by the one single act you’ve just committed.

You don’t think about anything except that one moment, when there is just you and the person you’re about to marry. You see long summers of lazy fucking and snuggling up together under thick blankets in cold winters. You see buying a house together and having children with your partner’s eyes. You think about the life that you’re building together and the dazzling future ahead of you.

I don’t regret getting married. When I said “I do,” I meant it. I meant it from the bottom of my heart. There was never any hesitation. I often cry when I think about how I felt then, and I wonder how I lost it. But I think that if I went back and had my time again, I wouldn’t change a thing. About the decision to get married, at least. What came after… that I will always wish hadn’t happened, even if we will both ultimately be happier because of it.