Tag Archives: divorce

Why do you have to go and make things so complicated?

As a lawyer I am very familiar with the ‘clean break’ theory that is trotted out when discussing divorce but obviously when one had children, providing all is well with both parties, then this is just not possible, financially or personally.

So where does that leave the grown ups? In general, and as far as can be expected, my relationship with my ex husband regarding Lucia is pretty much based on reading from the same hymn sheet. However since she lives with me and he moved an hour and half away there are some decisions that I make for Lu that aren’t going to go in his favor but realistically someone will inevitably lose in situations like this on occasion.

I have no interest whatsoever in my husbands life, beyond his relationship with Lucia. Of course his health is important to me as he needs to be able to look after Lu but we aren’t friends, it isn’t how he wants the relationship to work despite my suggestions and that is fine – kind of. Being honest, I still find it odd that he can walk out on me after 14 years and feel ok about throwing all that history and shared experiences away, but each to their own.

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A few weeks after my ex husband left

But (isn’t there always a but?) recently my ex husband’s girlfriend of 4 years broke up with him. This was further complicated by the fact that he lived with her and her two young children. This of course had a knock on effect on Lulu which of course had a knock on effect on me. When did life get so complicated? That my ex husband’s break up should effect me in any way is ridiculous but of course Lulu was very upset as her dad was moving out of the house she stayed in with him, his home. Also the fact that she wasn’t going to see her dad’s girlfriend’s children anymore all added to making her feel very unsettled and I was left picking up the pieces. Through gritted teeth mind, muttering “for fucks sake hasn’t this six year old had enough disruption?” grrrrr. Next came Lucia’s expectation that now her father was single he would be moving back in with us. She was utterly heartbroken when I explained that wasn’t going to be happening as that wasn’t what her father wanted. Lucia’s distress and the tears she cried while I cuddled her broke my own heart all over again. It truly feels so bloody unfair.

 

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I’m leaving on a jet plane

Long distance relationships are hard. That is what everyone keeps telling me and I know that they are right. When I first went to uni (in Liverpool) my boyfriend lived in Amsterdam, that was a long way away and despite flights to and fro it came to an end after a few months – his idea, not mine, I was heart broken. Now that I am a fully formed 42 year old I imagined that a long distance relationship would be easier, I am more realistic about what to expect and I know that we can’t have everything we want. My partner of 3 years has taken a job in Switzerland for at least the next 3 months, possibly longer. He leaves on a Sunday night and returns late on a Thursday night so he has 3 nights in the UK. We don’t live together, in fact we live a 45 minute drive apart, but we had a nice routine of spending Saturday night to Wednesday morning together but now we are down to one night a week. And that is usually with a clutch of children, his and mine. I know that he is trying to fit a week’s worth of parenting and love with his children into a short space of time and if he suggested that he didn’t see his children so he could see me instead I would actually love and respect him less but things seem very fractured at the moment. Trying to squash everything in to a quarter of the time that we used to have. He has aways travelled for work but never for this long. He has recently taken the leap from his job of 15 years to starting his own company and this is his first contract. I really couldn’t be prouder but I know that from now on everything will be very different. Thank God for Whats App. I am hoping to visit him soon for a weekend but having consulted my diary my next free whole weekend without Lulu is in June!

On the plus side I can go to bed at 8.30pm when I feel unwell and not feel like the worst inattentive girlfriend ever, yep, thats about it for the plus side I’m afraid. We have booked a holiday for the family in August, our annual jaunt to Suffolk, and a weekend away with 30 members of his family for his 50th Birthday in July, which are things to look forward to and time together. However it still takes some getting used to and damn it I miss being cuddled regularly. In an odd way its like being single again but without spending all my energy on first dates. In fact it feels a little like when my husband left me, everything has changed and I am sleeping alone again. I’m trying not to be too sad about it, it isn’t forever, but I quite like seeing my partner regularly and I miss him. I also understand that his work will take him abroad and he enjoys the travel, so realistically it isn’t a matter of making it through these 3 months, his next contract could literally be anywhere in the world so I am trying to see this as the new norm. If only things were cheaper in Duty Free (bloody Brexit – I need my Clarins Handcream!!!), it may have sweetened such a bitter pill.

 

Who do you think you are? Running round leaving scars

Tuesday 19th September  would have been my 12 year wedding anniversary, and would also have meant that my husband and I would have been a couple for 18 years. That is a long time but as fate would have it my husband left me 3 years ago instead. On our daughter’s 2nd birthday. That was a  hard party to get through. It hurt. I loved him very much. But he just didn’t love me back (as Andie so succinctly put it in Pretty in Pink).

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Truth be told, this year  I didn’t remember. It was only because I needed to check the date for work purposes that it struck me. I remembered it last year, and all the other years. If things were different my husband and I would have met after work for drinks, champagne probably, pink – always my favorite, and dinner. We would have reminisced about the wedding, talked about our gorgeous daughter and I would look at him, thinking how lucky I was that this wonderful man chose me, that there was no one else in the whole world I would rather spend time with, that when I see him I still get butterflies in my tummy.

But none of that happened. We divorced last year. Lucia recently found a box of my framed wedding photos that I had taken down as soon as my husband left and she has put them up in her room. I can’t tell her not to, we are her parents and she likes to look at the photos, of my long white dress and daddy looking so handsome. She loves a wedding. But when I look at them now they don’t make me sad anymore, it is like looking at another lifetime. Different people. Lu likes to play dress up in my wedding dress and I tell her it was the most amazing day of my life, which is was, apart from the day she arrived of course.

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She asks me lots of questions about the ‘big’ day, about the church and the party after, about her daddy and I dancing together and it makes her smile with so much happiness. When she is older (than the 5 years old now she is now) I’ll tell her that when daddy and I went off to the Mandarin Oriental in Knightsbridge where we had a suite in one of the turrets for our wedding night,that most of the the guests  went off to Orange at Fire in Vauxhall as they had all been put on the guest list, wandering around with our table centre piece flowers. I love that story. It really reflected us and our friends, Dan ran Fabric and most of our friends worked in the club industry. It was a wonderful day, a day of love and happiness, champagne and laughter.

But that was then and this is now. My heart remains a little bruised but it is healing nicely.

I can’t get no sleep.

When I hit my teens insomnia kicked in big time, accompanied by headaches – oh the headaches. Migraines and pounding temples and banging crown, you name the type of headache and I had it. I went for loads of tests, CAT scans, blood tests, but nothing. They determined that I was suffering from high levels of anxiety and needed to learn how to relax. I’ve been trying very hard with the whole relaxation thing for the last 25 years but I still haven’t got it right yet. Pressure and responsibility just seem to increase with age, damnation. Insomnia is still my constant companion, as is a rather unattractive gum guard mouth brace looking contraption that I have to wear each night as I grind my teeth so much I have split  4 of them down the middle, yuk. I am also terrified of the dentist but go every six months to face my fears, which are usually made manifest – another filling you say? another crown? I hold the dental nurse’s hand and cry all the way through, my poor long suffering dentist of 30 years repeats, ‘stop sliding down in the chair, its not that bad’, but of course it is.

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So far for my insomnia I have tried relaxation tapes, meditation, hypnotherapy, over the counter treatments, herbal teas, homeopathy, acupuncture and as a last resort, when I just couldn’t function any more, I got sleeping tablets from the Dr. But I always felt like I had been drugged when I woke up the next morning, because, you know, of course I had been. It took ages to come round and the foggy headedness stayed all morning and left me headachey. Not the best solution but sometimes you just have to shut your body down for its own good.

If I do manage to sleep I can be prone to suffer from nightmares, and when they arrive they stay for a good few weeks. I had been ticking along very nicely without them for a few months, thinking I was doing rather well then one night recently BOOM, and it’s been the same every night since, that’s about two months of being trapped every night in the most frightening scenarios my mind can come up with, but hey, at least I’m asleep! Though, when you have a nightmare you never wake up feeling refreshed you wake up feeling like you have just lived through one of the worst ordeals of your life. The most recent lot arrived the day my solicitor told me that my Consent Order was being considered by the family court as part of my divorce process, I was thrilled, relieved that the whole horrid emotionally trying mess was nearly completed. I dd not expect trouble on the dream front. But the mind is a mystery and I’m just going to have to accept that at the moment my mind has the urge to manifest whatever emotions I am not aware of through my nightmares. I have no idea what the extreme violence in my dreams is about or what the ‘wet your pants’ kind of terror I experience is meant to mean.

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That I was a fool to believe that I could control all aspects of my life? An idiot to be unprepared for it being completely turned upside down and inside out by another entity, in this case my soon to be ex and his leaving me and our baby? That I should have been more watchful? That I’m not as indestructible as i want to be? I always try and glean a lesson from the shitty things when they happen but I’m at a loss as to the meanings of the dreams. They make me wake up feeling like a useless and fearful person which is exactly the thing I am most frightened of being. Is that what my dreams are about? My fears. Probably, but for now I shall have to sit with them, be kind to myself and remember ‘I am who I want me to be’, not what my very undermining psyche is trying to make me be. The internal battle continues but I shall listen to my positive affirming voice and not my cruel bullying voice. I am okay, I am enough, I am me.

You Are Enough

Lulus father left just after her second birthday, I had never factored in being a single parent. I won’t lie, the last two years as a single parent have been challenging, ok being entirely honest, they have been damn hard. Suddenly I found myself responsible for everything, getting Lu to nursery and home when I work full time in London, Lu wasn’t sleeping through the night ( she rarely does now), she was still in nappies, still teething, the only family I have is my mum who lives in Greenwich, south London which is as far away from me on the tube map as you can get. And I was sad. The man that I loved had left me for no apparent reason, well nothing he was prepared to verbalise to me. Not only had he gone, but he had moved far away.

My mum was a single parent, my grandmother was a single parent to seven children to all intents and purposes (my grandad was alcoholic) and I really really tried my best in all my decisions to ensure that my baby would have two parents who stayed together. My dad abandoned me entirely when I was 18 months and the irony that my husband left when Lu was two was not lost on me.

I was brought up by my mum and my grandmother, both of whom were strong, tenacious and brave, though they had entirley different personalities. My mum is quiet while my grandma was loud, verging on bolshy. I’m more like my grandma than I am my mum. And while my grandma has pass on her influence on me is ingrained.

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So when I became a single parent I never worried about my ability to bring up a well rounded happy child, I worried about how I could fit in all the practicalities that had previously been shared between two. My mum stepped in (though she drives me insane, ‘why don’t you..’ ‘if I were you…’ arrrggghhh) to help with nursery pick ups, she did the laundry, she read lulu bedtime stories, she cuddled me when I cried and it all felt too much. But the thing that helped the most was that she had complete and utter faith in me, every time that I had a wobble she would say to me over and over again ‘You are enough’ ‘You are enough’ ‘You are enough’ and now I know that I am, indeed, enough, that I can cope well with the grown up stuff, getting a mortgage, arranging my own divorce, and that I am a good mum to Lulu.

So to my mum and grandma (wherever they sent you!), though Mothers Day has been and gone, and I think that you mither too much mum, I wanted to say thank you, for making me me and I wanted to tell you that I am not frightened anymore. I know that Lulu and I will be okay.

So to anyone having a hard time let me tell you this, You are enough, You are enough, You are enough, You really are enough…..xxxxxxx