Let it go

Let it go, can’t hold it back anymore.

Separation is a funny thing. It’s akin to grieving, emotions hit you in waves. Christmas was hard, as it is for many single parents. Despite that, I whooped January’s ass. I stopped drinking, did a vegan reset programme, got myself all the health supplements I could possibly think of and jumped on the CBD oil bandwagon.

I read more. Listened to funny podcasts. Gave myself more completely to a fledgling relationship and allowed it to blossom. There were the odd healthy tears I shed at night, still allowing myself to mourn. But I finally felt in touch with myself. I felt strong, positive. I was glowing.

The February half term loomed. Not only would I be spending most of it without the kids, but I was going to have to visit my ex in the country I used to live to collect them. I’d found out recently he had a new partner.

Despite being in a blissfully happy relationship myself (and I really mean it, he’s amazing) I was livid. In some ways I still feel some odd obligation to my ex, and like he should to me.

I felt strangely guilty for meeting someone new, knowing he wasn’t seeing anyone. Yet when he did meet her, I was equally perplexed. Partly because she seemed so similar to me. We even share a lot of the same friends from my time there.

When we parted ways after signing the separation papers, on our final evening together he criticised me for not taking care of myself. That I didn’t wax my legs often enough (I shit you not). He didn’t see the flip side of this. That I was investing so much time into our toddler and baby that I had little time for myself.

When I saw on her facebook profile (I couldn’t resist) references to her being a feminist, who wrote a dissertation on black female rights, I couldn’t help but feel a little sick. When my ex was secretly seeing someone behind my back, she actually dumped him for sleeping with a black prostitute on a rugby tour. I only mention her skin colour as he purposefully chose to sleep with her to know “what it was like to sleep with a black woman”. Not just a pig, but a racist one at that.

My stomach turned at that story then and it still turns now. He claims it’s not true, yet he’s also told me many other lies – and unfortunately it sounds disturbingly like something he’d do. He did before we were married, so why not now?

I look at their relationship and I pity her. He’s great at romancing and love bombing. He’s fantastic at manipulation. But he’s a controlling husband and a lazy father. If she truly is a feminist who believes in women’s rights she’s going to have an interesting time as he begins to reveal his true self and sniggers at her “silly ideas”.

I guess I’m also offended that despite dumping me for numerous things, he’s got together with a woman who has all the traits he said he disliked about me.

Why? Why does this bother me? I once said I felt no anger. In that moment, that was the truth. But it’s bubbling over now. I’m letting it. It needs to come out.

I promised myself I’d never write this type of blog post. But heck, it feels good.

I feel fortunate that I have met a beautiful kind and giving soul who has helped highlight the toxic rotten creature I was once married to. It will be a real celebration when the divorce papers come in early next year.

It’s so hard to coparent with a man I have no respect or trust for. I have to remind myself of how happy he makes the kids and how important that relationship is to them. I need to learn to focus on what is immediately in front of my nose. My unconventional little family which pretty much has a fourth member at this stage.

And we’re loving it, we’re loving him. I may not have the family I dreamed of, but the one I have is perfect because it’s full of love, the way all families should be. And that love is only growing as we all share more experiences and special moments together.

If it weren’t for the mistakes I’ve made in the past, I might not have recognised when I’d hit jackpot. Where I’m unfortunate for having a shitty ex, I do have an exceptional boyfriend. I guess it’s better that way round.

I’m choosing to be positive. I’m far away from the car crash that will be my ex husband’s love life. If he learns to be a better partner, good for him. If he doesn’t, more fool her. The most important thing, is I’m a long way away from it all.

The difficult thing about divorce (with kids) is that you can never use the term “free”. As long as we share custody and he has financial responsibilities to me, I can never feel free. As someone who likes to actively remove toxicity from my life, this is a hard pill to swallow.

I plan to learn coping mechanisms. I plan to focus on the now. On the future. On the beauty immediately around me. Nurture it. Let it grow. Let it blossom. Let it envelope me in so much wonder, that the ugliness pales into insignificance. I’ll be in such a strong place that I’ll only be able to pity him.

Today I already feel a little better. Tomorrow will be better still. One hour, one day at a time.

“Why aren’t you angry?”

“Why aren’t you angry?”

My therapist asked, with a bewildered expression on her face.

“It’s been a while now and I still haven’t seen you get angry?”

I’d been seeing a Therapist, Liane*  weekly since the day I asked my husband for a divorce. We were several months into seeing one another when she blurted the question out.

It hadn’t really crossed my mind. But it was true, I didn’t and I don’t feel anger about my failed marriage. Or the man I chose to pick as a life partner.

Don’t get me wrong. I do get angry. I feel wrath. Get under my skin and I will rise up like a tidal wave, wreaking havoc as I smash down into the perpetrator, with toxic words piercing his exterior like poisonous arrows. Yet my feelings regarding the separation and my ex weren’t instinctive or primal.

They were the result of years and months of gradually being worn down. I was being emotionally abused by my ex, a narcissist. He couldn’t see his own behaviour. He was completely mystified when I chose to leave him.

“But the children are happy. I am happy. The only problem is you. Why would you leave this?”

It’s sad because he genuinely believed the above. My happiness wasn’t of significance to him. We had a regular healthy income, two beautiful children, a vast social network and enjoyed regular trips away – what more could I want?

I was often accused of believing “the grass is greener”.

I was also woken at night by my husband having “relations” with me, apparently this was acceptable as I was his wife. He barked at me whenever I pulled my phone out (which as a freelancer was a necessity). He made me breastfeed in a room alone to avoid offending his family. I was never allowed the opportunity to time alone, he’d barrage me with endless phone calls reminding me of my failings that day. In every activity I conducted in front of him, I was belittled to the stage that I started to believe I was the person he saw.

So no, I wasn’t angry. I was full of adrenaline and fear. I was emotionally exhausted and drawing on what little reserves I had. I knew I had a long journey ahead rediscovering myself. Building myself up again. I would need to find the back bone he had worn down if I was going to get what I and my children deserved.

I knew I also needed to address what had led me to being here. How and why did I allow someone like him into my life? That’s an ongoing journey.

I needed to find peace. Peace in my surroundings, but most importantly, peace internally. Anger has no place there. It’s a healthy emotion. I’m a strong believer in sitting with your emotions. But anger is not one I have to sit with.

There are plenty of other demons I have to confront. But anger has no place here.

I twisted my hair round my fingers and awkwardly shuffled in my seat. Not entirely sure how I was meant to feel.

“I guess I just haven’t. Should I?” I meakly replied to Liane.

I was yet to realise I didn’t need anyone else’s validation in how to feel, but I was heading down the right path..