Changes. Well, more changes.

So, long time no blog.

Things change. How many times have I admitted that to myself this year?

It’s been an up-and-down few months.

I finally walked out of my marriage, a little tenderised but mostly unscathed. I can pretty much thank the Manbeast’s level head for much of it. The house sold for a decent price (the range we were hoping for) and we were able to split with a decent chunk of money each, even after paying back the Maternal Unit the amount she gave us for a deposit.

Sadly our promises of “staying friends” seems to have turned to “staying silent”. We haven’t spoken for a long while. For all of his insistence of joint ownership of the cats and visitation rights and such (this was our personal joke – we have no kids other than the fur babies), nothing has really happened in that respect. He hasn’t called to visit them at all. I get it. I was warned that it was most likely to happen and while it makes me a little bit sadder than usual, I get it. And I’ll take it on the chin. I’m not going to chase him down and insist he be part of my life like he made me promise when we were going through the throws of breaking up.

Things change.

What actually hurts most is the abject silence from a handful of our mutual friends and that of his parents. Where my mum (the Maternal Unit) had offered her ongoing support to the Manbeast, something I have absolutely no issue with, I haven’t had the same from his parents. That’s one stony, icy-cold silence. Guess I was a bitter disappointment there. First take their son away, then refuse to have babies, then break up with him.

The other friends… Well, maybe I wasn’t as close to them as I thought. They certainly haven’t reciprocated the “We are Switzerland!” stance that the Manbeast and I gave them when they were going through their own issues. There’s been no pokes through Facebook or emails or texts. Just silence.

And to be honest, that’s ok too. The Manbeast needs their support without my interference.

Deep breath.

Let it go.

Things change. Though I will admit it’s left me feeling very alone sometimes. I don’t go chasing people anymore for attention, particularly when it’s obvious that I am barely registering as a thought.

Moving back into the Maternal Unit’s house hasn’t been terribly fun. It’s been reassuring to know that I had somewhere to go but I’ve packed up a whole independent life and put as much of it as I could into one room. A very small room. Mum is a clutter-bug and has a LOT of stuff she’s been keeping for those “just in case” moments and, of course, things that are “useful”. Unfortunately it means that there’s not a whole lot of space to put other stuff, even before I moved in; an achievement when you think it’s a three bedroom house that has contained one lady and one or two cats for the better part of 10 years. She’s a neat hoarder, though. Very tidily squirreling things away. No piles of stuff or cluttered hallways but nature clearly hates a vacuum in that house.

Not all is doom and gloom though.

There’s a new bloke on the scene.

He makes me happy.

Ecstatic, actually. He gets it. He gets me. He loves me. He wants to be with me. Not just “in a relationship” but physically be in my presence a lot of the time.

The feeling is entirely mutual.

And I am learning what I was missing out on with the Manbeast. This is not a bad thing – how can you miss what you never experienced? It’s just nice to learn these new facets of a relationship. Having someone reach for your hand and actually hold it, leaning in for a kiss (and to hell with who is watching), reading a paper together over a hot chocolate and coffee, dating. Stuff that never really happened before.

The Manbeast and I were a couple but we did our own thing and worked independently of each other much of the time. Too much of the time.

Now, “Sharpy” (as I will call him for he wields very sharp knives on a regular basis) and I do stuff together for the purpose of doing stuff together; sharing and experiencing things together.

He likes to shop with me.

He watches “Say Yes to the Dress” marathons with me. VOLUNTARILY.

That’s true love right there, folks.

He’s not perfect but I don’t want him to be. His imperfections match mine and we can make each other better.

I have no idea where life is headed next, but I know for sure that I’m going to live it rather than just exist in it. My aunt died at the end of July this year. That will be another blog post for later when I don’t feel the crushing weight of her absence anymore, but her death has taught me not to waste any more time.

There and back again. Marriage to Un-Marriage.

How do you know when a relationship is over?

When you know you can live, quite happily, without the other person as part of your life. It’s a simple answer but the most telling one.

How do you deal with it? That’s the bit I’ve spent the last few years trying to work out.

Even before we got married, I knew things weren’t right. I’d known for a long, long time but I thought it was normal. It was shit that everyone felt one time or another, right? No one is perfect. There is no perfect marriage or partnership. But being terminally optimistic (or fatalistic) about such things, I thought being married would bring us closer together; make us happier.

It didn’t. Nothing changed. If anything, things gradually got worse.

For me, the beginning of the end was a brief conversation about whether I was attractive. I was told I “wasn’t… unattractive”.

I kept waiting for a punchline that never, ever came.

The problem was me, right? Of course, that’s what I thought. Who makes a comment like that? Even if they didn’t “mean” it, there’s still some truth to it. I was hurt beyond speaking – fuck, beyond breathing – as I realised that there was to be no laughing “Just kidding!” to follow.

Clearly the problem was me.

It started a spiral that was both downward and upward for me.

I started to take care of myself better – thinking that the problem was me. I lost 50kg – thinking that the problem was me. I started to dress better – thinking that the problem was me.

It was never him. I wasn’t prepared to shift the blame onto him. It had to be me. I had all this rage because I was the problem and didn’t know how to properly deal with it.

When we had a massive fight, it was me who was sent to counseling – and I went, thinking that the problem was me.

The end goal was to be a better, more lovable/likeable me.

So I changed physically and emotionally. I learned to breathe and let things go. To compromise – always compromise and convince myself that whatever I had to compromise on wasn’t important, totally putting aside the fact that my thoughts and feelings were important and valid too. Did it change anything at home? Nope.

And in the three years (from 2011) all that took, I came to the realisation that IT. WASN’T. ME.

I was reacting to the problem, not creating it.

(I realise belatedly this was the stuff my therapist had alluded to. Funny how hindsight is remarkably clear.)

The confidence that came with losing weight meant that I could walk down the street and look people in the eye and know that I was worth so much more than what I was given credit for. I had a brain. I had skill. Fuck, I was even pretty. I was perfectly fine as a human being.

I suddenly got tired of watching all of our friends working as units; well-oiled marriage machines that managed to keep their shit together and even love each other at the same time, and wondering why I didn’t have that. I watched my employers scream at each other (I work for three husband/wife teams) one second but be cuddling in the next second and actually addressing what was wrong and doing something to fix it but couldn’t even convince my own husband that putting empty toilet rolls in the bin was a Good Idea.

After the disastrous Christmas of 2014 when I needed support from the one who was supposed to be closest to me – who had chosen that period of two weeks to give me the cold shoulder because of a fight the week before – I knew I had to face the reality that things weren’t working. More importantly, I had to deal with the infinitely more guilty realisation that I didn’t want them to work anymore.

I wanted out.

(And before anyone rails the benefits of couples counseling and all that stuff at me, I have to tell you now that no counseling in the world will work when both parties aren’t committed to the process. And I was not and am not committed to that process. Deal with it.)

Cue a year of depression and hiding and eating… OMG, the eating.

I rediscovered my love of cake and chocolate and my affair with apathy was back in full swing.

Hello 20kgs. Nice to see you again. At least I’ll be slightly warmer this winter.

But anyway. The year wore on and time and time again I would finally decide that it was time to say something but I would chicken out. I knew I had to say something, and soon. My heart was flying off in a totally different direction at this stage.

Going to another wedding in January this year cemented it for me. It was painful, pretending to be happy while watching two friends who had been tip-toeing around each other for ages finally get married. The absolute adoration…

I was happy for them.

Sad for me. I was tired of being sad. I was tired of all lying and pretending that everything was fine and normal.

And the following week I spoke the words out loud, finally.

“I don’t want to be married anymore.”

And a new adventure begins.

Postscript: I still don’t blame him.

Truer words rarely spoken.
Truer words rarely spoken.