Saturday, 19 October 2013

839 Days Later (not that I'm keeping count)

Long time no write and boy what a journey I have been on. I haven't reflected on what I've previously written this time, but here I am at 2:20am on a Saturday night, sober as a judge writing yet another entry into this blog.

Oh, the lessons I've learnt over time. About July of this year my life (finally) started taking positive turns. I was done with learning lessons and was ready to get serious about life. Within two months I had a new job, new car, new home, new man (and new pots and pans and knives.... but that's another story).

The reader's digest of what I've been up to since I last wrote... In April last year, I fell in love with a married man, had an affair and subsequently his marriage broke up and we were in a relationship for about 9 months. He ended up leaving me to go back to his wife, which wasn't such a bad thing for me as it only took me a month or two to reflect, forgive myself and move on (with the help of a very dear friend from the past who took me into her home and was the best friend I could ask for). He was an old school friend - there was a familiarity there with him and although I swore never to be with anyone who was divorced or who had kids (I wanted to be the first everything), we made a go of it for a short time. What I learnt was that I definitely wanted kids - I just wanted some of my own and with someone who hadn't had four kids to two women and to someone who wasn't already (currently) married. Say what you will, nothing can hurt me more than the words of my sister asking what I would have done to someone doing what I had to her and my niece. It took a while, and it was tough, but I did forgive myself for doing what I did.

Almost a year to the day after I started seeing the married guy, I started dating a guy call Ryan who on paper was everything that I was wanting in a partner. That ended after two months of very rocky dating when he decided that he couldn't see a future. I personally hadn't invested either way, so needless to say the next night had a one night stand and moved quickly on.

Finally and presently. In June I started talking to a lovely guy, whom I'm currently in a relationship with. I'm experiencing my third semi-serious relationship since I left my relationship in London (not counting flings and rebound affairs). If there's something that I've learnt - it is that every relationship needs the freshest start you can give it. The cleaner the slate, the easier it is to accept someone for who they are and love them anyway.

The one thing that I will say with reference to this entire blog is this: I am so glad that I left. The man that I left said to me at one stage that I would regret leaving him, that I would see that the grass isn't always greener and that I would see what a great guy he was. Well I'll tell you this - I have not once regretted my decision and despite learning a lot more lessons and making some mistakes, I am truly thankful for the strength that I have developed over time. The knowledge that I am my best self, that no one can break me, that I have to be true to myself first and foremost and that ultimately I can be happy in a relationship. I have been taught the power of unconditional love, the power of taking risks and experimenting and the power of generosity. Things that I didn't have within the relationship that I left. Things that I appreciate every day and things that I am learning to be better at myself.

I love the random comments that I receive on here every now and then and thank you for taking the time to read what I've written. The whole process of writing what I went through helped me discover myself and I hope that it's helped anyone else that has read it.

I remember it as clearly as if it were yesterday, googling the things I did, discovering the book and desperately finding it to download and read ASAP. The revelations that followed were absolutely life changing and I haven't looked back, except to forgive myself and others who wronged me over time. You can't carry hatred in your heart for too long or it will turn you into a toxic, hateful person. It took me a long time to forgive myself and others and now I look back with fondness at the good times, forgetting most of the bad times but knowing enough that they happened so that I don't ever wonder "what if...".

If you have read this blog and become a follower and have your own journey, I'd love to hear it.

Friday, 24 February 2012

235 Days Later

I'll be honest, I thought about writing a round up for this blog over the New Year period. The reason? I'd hit another obstacle in my path to recovering my prior self. But then I made a realisation - that I was no longer emotionally tied to this situation that I found my way out of.

I will also admit that on writing this particular post, I haven't read through the entirety of my previous posts - the reason again was quite simply that I started, and couldn't continue, knowing how far I'd come on my path. I didn't feel like reliving the experiences would give me any positive benefit.

So, in answer to a comment that was posted on this blog asking where I was now and what I was doing, here is the answer:

I returned to London, I went on the planned trip to Paris that my partner and I had booked. It was awkward and uncomfortable for most of the time because from the moment that I got off the plane in London, I really deep down had known what was going to happen. I had probably known it for a long time, but the strength that I'd built up whilst in Australia and the friends and family that I'd seen whilst I was there had really given me the boost in my diminished confidence to make the decision.

In a nutshell, here is what happened:

I returned to London, went to Paris. On the Monday after our weekend away,  onthe 4th July, I crumbled again, back to where I was on that Friday afternoon, sitting in the pub with my client only a month prior. I conciously made the decision to leave the relationship.

When my partner arrived home from work that evening, he asked if everything was OK and I said the words, "No, we have to talk". I then told him that I wanted to leave him. There were tears, the question why was asked a number of times, I was reassured that he would make the changes. But it was too late and the damage had already been done.

I was clear for the first time in a long time that I had made the right decision and a weight had been lifted off my shoulders - the ambivalence was gone and I was free. Of course that wasn't the end of it. I needed all of my funds to get back to Australia, so couldn't move out. He had funds, but didn't want to go somewhere else. We agreed to live together (broken up) for the next six weeks until I left for Australia again. We calmly discussed things like telling family and close friends, splitting up possessions (there weren't many jointly owned items) and making the announcement on Facebook (a pretty big decision these days).

The next six weeks were mostly good, a lot of talking through issues occurred. Although I picked up that a lot of the conversations were beginning to get repetitive and I continually felt like I was saying the same things with no further acceptance of the facts or my feelings. This was much easier to take knowing that I was leaving the relationship for the right reasons. Those six weeks meant that I left the UK with a clear, calm outlook on the relationship. I'd lived it for so long, seen it go wrong and then within the book that I read, found a name for the reasons it went so wrong.

It wasn't all roses, in those six weeks, there were two bad nights and one really bad night. On the first bad night, my ex had been out, had a few drinks with mates and had come home a little disgruntled in general. We talked, he seemed reasonable, and all was right in the world again.

On the very bad night he came home in a very verbally abusive mood and told me things like he was a great guy, that I was making a mistake, that I would soon see that the grass is not actually greener. I told him to stop and think about what he was saying a number of times before packing up my pillow and a blanket and going to sleep in the lounge room. He came down a few hours later and apologised and asked me to come back to the bed. I did, but only because I was sick at the time and the couch and loungeroom was hot and uncomfortable.

After this night I distanced myself from him. I did ask him afterwards if he meant anything that he had said and he said that he'd meant some of it. This conversation made me see that I had most definitely made the right decision, as did most of his responses and actions in those weeks.

Since I've returned to Australia, I've achieved a Certificate IV in Small Business Management and gained a government grant to start my own business, which I've now done. I've moved to a new city, to be near my sister and her family. My little niece arrived on Boxing Day and I am so happy that I made the decision to be here for that and to support my family as much as I can.

I have dated. I've had some doozies of dates actually. I've had a rebound relationship - that's a whole other post. I developed another ridiculous crush on someone who I'm now friends with, and that I respect and admire as a person.

The most important thing that I want to emphasise here though is that it hasn't all been smooth running. I've taken on a lot of new things in quick succession and have nearly failed at some, I've become better at identifying the downward spirals in my mood, usually around a key event in the breakup process, and how I need to deal with it.

I have had contact with my ex on a semi-regular basis, however just recently he deleted me as a Facebook friend. This was upsetting, but not because my ex deleted me, but because I really thought that we had the being friendly (if not actually friends) with the ex thing sussed. And because he told me that it was because we weren't really speaking, when we had been - but also when he has loads of other people on Facebook that he doesn't speak to.

My point is that each time I hit another obstacle, I review how far I've come and how much I've achieved. Yes I've made mistakes in this process, but I have learnt from them and moved forward each time. I've had the valuable support of those friends and family that supported me in the lead up to, making and reviewing of my decision to leave.

And I have to say that leaving was the best decision that I have ever made. I have found the me that I can be, the me that I will be in a future relationship. I look in the mirror now and see the good things as well as the things that I'd like to change, but the good things are the things that I'm proud of and look at most! I am not so self-conscious in the company of others and I have built a great friendship base here in my new home town and have a very active social life full of fun, laughs and genuine friendships.

I will always love my ex for the part that he played in my life. He was a big part of my 20s and we did have some good times - some great times and some absolutely life-altering times. I choose to look back fondly on these times with the knowledge that we weren't right for each other. I have learnt so much from this relationship and I have regained much strength since I left it.

The most important lesson that I've learnt though is that it's not over. The process of recovery and finding that happiness in the world that will mean that I'm able to open myself up to another relationship is an on-going one. And even when I am ready to meet someone new, I am more reassured with each day that passes that I won't lose myself within a relationship ever again.

I'm not sure if I'll continue blogging. I have written since the breakup, however I haven't blogged. I'm not sure why not, but I did always want to keep blogging through the break up process and recovery. Sometimes words don't come that easily to me and at other times, like today, they flow with ease.

I do want to thank those friends and family that have supported me throughout this entire process and to those that have read this blog. Not many of my friends and family have the address for this blog, but it's been an important part of the process too. 

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

London bound

Tonight I leave Australia to travel back to London. Everyone has been asking if I'm looking forward to it. The answer is quite simply, yes and no. I am looking forward to getting on with life, but I have caught up with so many good friends and of course, my family since I've been here.

I am confident that I've found the awesome person that disappeared somewhere else over the last year or more. I am happy, energised and looking forward to winding up all of my work commitments in the UK in order to come back to Australia at the end of the year.

As for my relationship - I feel that my partner and I had a break through moment whilst talking on the phone this morning. For the first time, he actually agreed with me that he had issues (hence the way that he's treated me). I've told him that I'm not going to stand for it anymore and that he's going to have to straighten up his act if he wants a future with me. He blamed his mum for the issues, which is probably a likely source of his problems. However he needs to take responsibility too.

We are booked in to see a relationship counsellor next week and I'm hoping to be able to blog about that too. I've found out recently that some of our friends have seen a counsellor (and they are still together), which is nice to know. Everyone usually hides their relationship problems so that no one knows what goes on, but since I've been away, it appears that everyone has problems, some more serious than others, some people more easily able to work them through with their partners. I do hope that when I get back to London that I will see that I have a future with my partner, but if it turns out that the problems between us are too far gone, then I hope that we happily move on to better relationships by realising how we have gone wrong with this one.

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Conclusion

Wow, I've just been hit by a brick. Or at least that's how it feels. The conclusion of the book, which I've had to pause reading because I was crying too much wasn't a happy ending :(
 
I don't know what I was looking for, but it wasn't confirmation that I should leave my relationship. But I answered the questions honestly, I even blogged them so that I couldn't be in denial about the answers. And what it all pointed to was that my relationship is too bad to stay in.
 
The author says that I'm going to be quite emotional about it all - which is an understatement. But she said that it's natural to feel loads of different emotions when you find the clarity that you should leave. She says that it doesn't mean that I shouldn't go.
 
I'm devastated. I don't know what I was looking for, but it wasn't to leave my relationship. Not really. I was looking for a sign that we weren't that bad and that we could make it through this and come out the other end smiling. The conclusion of the book has really thrown me and it isn't as if the author is saying, just go to therapy and you'll be fine. She's saying under no circumstances should you reconsider the outcome, it is what it is and you have answered these questions in a way that means I'd be happier to leave.
 
I'm stunned. I'm in denial. But I'm not confused. I'm feeling very guilty and sad. But the author is right, there is clarity there.
 
For weeks and possibly months I've know that this was coming. I've known the outcome that was right. But I was in denial. I wouldn't have travelled halfway around the globe if I had thought that there was a chance that we could make it.
 
I haven't told my partner any of this. I have to wait until we are face to face to have this conversation. One person that reads this blog knows who I am. So she knows everything that I've written and has been a confident the entire past month. That is when the real crux of this situation kicked off. When I met Mr A, who although didn't do anything directly to make me think, but triggered some kind of catalyst reaction, through which I have now come out the other end of.
 
I'm sure that I will still try to give it a go when I get back in some form or other. It's hard to remove yourself from a dream that was otherwise one of a happily ever after with the man that I've loved for the better part of my adult life.
 
As I finish the last week of my holiday here in Australia, I will be thinking more and more about this blog, and will write again I'm sure. It has been a secret get away from my thoughts, a place to collect all of my imagined and real thoughts and experiences.

Diagnostic Question # 36


Question
If all the problems in your relationship were magically solved today, would you still feel ambivalent about whether to stay or leave?

My answer
This is the tricky bit. The book has been designed so that if you answer in the negative, and the author recommends that you leave - that you shouldn't read any further. What I wanted to achieve was a list of things that my partner and I can work through together to try and make the relationship better.

However, the trick comes in this question, because I think that even if everything were immediately better - I would still feel ambivalent about this relationship. Why? Because I think that there is too much water under the bridge. I think that I lost myself, and both of us let me do this. I think that having to answer the uncountable questions about marriage, when we'd be doing it, or why not has worn me down. I think that it's great that my partner now sees himself getting married, but perhaps I'm too jaded with historical bullshit, delay tactics and whatever else to believe him. I think that overall I would be happier by myself than with anyone else.

Why am I going to stay (for now)? I have committed to relationship counselling. I will probably blog about it if I can here. I feel an immense amount of guilt because there were a number of stages in my relationship where I could have made it better, or helped to anyway. I feel like I owe the last six and a half years at least a few months to try to reconcile everything that has gone wrong.

Am I doing what's right by me? Maybe I am, perhaps by following this path, I will realise that I was right to doubt our relationship. Perhaps I'll find a way to absolve my guilt about this situation that started with a relationship silently sinking, an unexpected crush that lead me down the path of doubt, anger, hurt, sadness and guilt. But maybe I will also see that this whole thing was an imagination on my part, some way to escape a scary relationship, one that was going to be forever and binding. I won't know until I start the course of counselling.

Quick take
If you don't know whether you want to stay even if nothing were wrong, then you don't want to stay.

My prognosis
This whole book has pointed me to leaving. It's not so much what my partner has done wrong or right, but how I perceive him to have treated me over time. How our relationship got so bad. I'm committed to counselling and spending at least two months on this path. Then I'll reassess and make my decision. In the meantime, I'm going to work towards being a better person to myself first and foremost.

Am I denying the inevitable? Certainly am. Why? Because I feel an obligation to this relationship. I feel like I owe it to my partner and myself to bring back the true person that I am. If he likes it, then great. If he doesn't, then it'll be goodbye from me.

Diagnostic Question # 35

Question
Do you currently share goals and dreams for your life together?


My answer
We have both said that we want to move back to Australia, start a family, buy a house and try to keep travelling every year to somewhere new.

Quick take
Sharing a passion makes it easier to share a life.

My prognosis
Although the author says that answering no to this question doesn't mean anything in particular, I think the bare bones of it is that it's a yes for me here. That is only considering if my partner genuinely wants the same things. I worry sometimes that his lack of commitment might mean that he doesn't want these things, but this whole exercise has shown me that we have a lot of issues to sort out if we are going to make it to this point anyway.

Diagnostic Question # 34

Question
Does your relationship support your having fun together?

My answer
Yes, we could, can and will always be able to have fun together. I've just stopped enjoying more things because I feel so resentful towards my partner for wanting to do them. Is it just homesickness? I guess we'll see when I get back to London with a fresh look on everything.

Quick take
Fun is the glue of love.

My prognosis
For now the answer to this question shows that this is an area that if other things were fixed in, we would be able to stay together knowing that we could have fun now and in years to come.