So it’s Facebook official.
The awkward looking – bad angle photo of my husband sat waiting for a concert to begin with the women he was messaging when we were seeing if we could salvage our joke of a marriage.
A joke that took seven years to get to the punch line.
The man who came into my life on the cusp of Christmas 2008 determined to save me from myself.
Who desperately wanted to deliver me from the evils of sex and booze and adventure and fun.
Someone so disapproving of my wicked ways and hell-bent on transforming me into the God-fearing Sally Ally girls he lusted after from his past.
Landing back in the country after our honeymoon June 2009 – a text message from one of his lovers post first marriage rattled me.
I couldn’t shake the uneasy feeling that I’d made a terrible mistake.
Alarm bells rang when he didn’t financially settle with wife No.1 before he got the ring on my finger.
I had to silence my intuition and numb it with the stockpile of booze left over from our Sunday afternoon garden wedding.
Seven kids – his four sons and my three daughters meant we had our fair share of dramas, throw in an ex-wife and ex-husband and being told to fuck up/fuck off (we never got to the bottom of the precise term used) in the middle of 3:30am starts during our first lower order share milking position – it was the beginning of the end.
I gave him space and days often stretched into weeks on end where I was invisible to him and not worthy of conversation let alone love and affection.
He tolerated years in a loveless, sexless, sleeping-in-separate-rooms marriage previously, now the possibility of history repeating was real.
Desperate for love and affection I committed the unforgivable.
Passion and pleasure in clandestine liaisons temporarily satisfied my aching needs as he obliviously did life behind his walls.
And still, we played our parts in the dramatic performance that was our marriage.
Deceiving everyone with the masks we wore.
Acting out our parts –
Playing our roles –
In the show of a lifetime.
We lost count how many times we broke up, took the rings from our fingers all the while keeping up the normality charade for family and friends.
My journal entry Sunday 24th August 2014 reads…
“I can’t shake this deep sense of hopelessness – trapped in a life far from my hopes and dreams. The girls are getting older – they will soon be gone then it will be just us and sometimes that scares me. We don’t have a strong relationship built on respect and trust and unconditional love. We thought each other was going to fill some space in our smashed hearts and now we both feel ripped off and betrayed. I am sick of living in a fun-less, adventure-less, sex-less life. I want intimacy, honesty and support and not be taken for granted. I want teamwork, give and take, companionship and space. I am so over stuffing myself with food for comfort because I feel so terrible. I don’t even know what my passions are anymore and I don’t even have any hopes and dreams because I can’t bear any more disappointment”…”How can he not see that the very things that killed his first marriage haven’t changed – it’s like a kick in the guts – like I’m not worth the effort to him. Even when I share my frustrations nothing changes – sometimes I long for some secret relationship, some excitement, to feel pursued and desired and wanted. I feel like I have totally lost my way.”
And as they say – be careful what you wish for!
The following year found me living in two worlds. One world becoming fitter, healthier, happier and daring to dream again.
The other ignored, tolerated – turning a blind eye to the blatantly obvious.
Agreeing on separating but never quite figuring out how to follow through when our business and life was so entwined.
You kid yourself that during an affair you are protecting the other person from pain and the thought of divorce is more devastating than the cheating but the truth is the fall-out from the dishonesty and betrayal explodes into all aspects of your life and parents and siblings and children and friends and church pastors scramble for rocks to stone you.
Amy Begel a family therapist says ”
“An affair almost always grows in the soil of the relationship itself. There is usually something significantly out-of-balance between the couple that they have been unable or unwilling to resolve, or even acknowledge. And typically, the couple’s dance involves a large dose of conflict-avoidance. These couples often specialise in the ‘Sweeping Under the Rug” duet, though this process may be unconscious.”
I was forever calling him an Emu – just burying his head in the sand – but then I was the Rhinoceros (so I learnt from Nicky and Sila Lee during one of our many marriage enrichment attempts) I would launch an attack without thinking.
So I guess that selfie that made me pause and reflect came at the perfect time.
The cusp of another Christmas – the end of a dramatic year – the opportunity to pause and make sense of all the chaos then refocus on a new year and new beginnings.
Now put your fucking rocks down now you sinless hypocrites!
Mai i toku ngakau,