Recovery

I feel like yesterday was the first day in a long while that I have had a sense that things are going to be okay.

Thursday was a public holiday here in Australia, and I had a rostered day off on Friday. I was originally meant to be going out west with my 2 younger kids and boyfriend for a camping trip and to attend a festival plus a few other things, leaving on the Friday. However the previous weekend (easter weekend), the boyfriend and I had been to Canberra to attend another festival, staying in a motel there and going out to dinner and doing a few other things. Originally, I had not wanted to go to Canberra, realising that it was going to be expensive. But then the boyfriend said he would pay for accommodation, so I agreed, even though that does not sit comfortably with me. As it turns out, I offered to pay half anyway and the weekend trip cost me quite a bit of money.

And there was my budget for the trip with kids gone. So I texted him and apologised, that we couldn’t go, I had spent all my money for it. And also that I just can’t afford to keep taking weekends away that cost a lot of money. He has continued to text me all weekend to come for the day, just come overnight and he will pay for it, but I have said no. Because I know he will start hinting that it is costing him a lot of money and I will end up paying for it anyway. The kids did not want to go up just for a day – the travel is too far. I feel guilty about letting him down, but I can’t also keep living as though I have all the money in the world to spend. I had a little bit of money set aside that was going to be for a trip to Japan for me and the kids. It has gradually been whittled down so now there is not even enough to book flights for us, and now I need to save all that money up again.

Anyway, Thursday was spent not really feeling like doing much, but I had made my list of a few simple jobs to get done, and started working through those. Friday I spent the day pretty much reading all day, interspersed with a few jobs.

But I got a bit of stuff done. Mostly I worked on my bedroom, which has been overtaken by a pile of clutter comprising of laundry that needed sorting and things that I didn’t know what else to do with. Now my room is a fairly pleasant place to sit, and it’s where I am right now.

Friday night I took the kids to see Avengers: Endgame, yesterday we took a bushwalk and today will be a bike ride. I’ve done groceries, folded clothes, even baked a cake (!!) This morning I will mow the back lawn (did the front the other day) and fix my bike prior to the scheduled bike ride.

So I feel like I am on the path to recovery. I am still a bit fragile following the bit of a breakdown I had a few weeks back, but I’m getting better, I think. And I am sober. I had got up 26 days before I drank again, and now on day 5 today.

Things are looking up

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Prodigal

I am back.  Life continues on as before:  still with partner, still drinking.  I’m on day 1 again today.

A few weeks’ back I finally gave up trying. I just don’t have the energy for anything any more, and I really don’t know what to do with myself.  That said, I know I don’t want to spend the rest of my life with a hangover, so I guess that is one decision I can make.

Written off

Today has been a write-off for me.

Fortunately my youngest decided she was sick this morning and so I didn’t have to trek to and from school with her, because I’m not sure I would have had the emotional energy

I’m grieving. As I mentioned a couple of posts back, it’s different this time. I’ve experienced a shift in my little cosmos. In time gone by whenever I’ve thought about separating from my partner, it’s always accompanied with a sense of nervous, almost hysterical, energy.

This time, it’s just a leaden, almost stupefying, sadness. At one point today I just lay on my bed for a while, staring and thinking, and when I finally forced myself to get up and do a few household chores, an hour had passed.

I just feel exhausted. I guess because in the past couple of weeks I have invested so much mental and emotional energy into this thought process, and now I have reached my conclusion and I have nothing more to give.

The end.

Four seasons in one day

In the past 24 hours I’ve been through sadness, doubt, hope, and bitterness.

Even though I’m preparing myself mentally to take on the responsibility for choosing to separate, I’ve found myself wondering whether there was something I could have done, somewhere along the line, to make it work.

I can’t pinpoint a time when things went bad. I’m not sure I can even pinpoint a time when things were ever good. It’s seemed like a struggle for such a long time. I think we tried our best, given our personalities and lack of fit and connection.

But there’s a part of my brain that feels resentful towards him. That he hasn’t really wanted the parts of me that matter most – to me, anyway. For leaving me to struggle alone with my depression and alcoholism. For not paying me a compliment in I can’t even remember how many years. For not trying for more than a couple of days when I’ve asked.

And I’m scared. Mostly by financial worries, but also because the chances are very good that I will be alone for the rest of my life. I mean, a chubby, middle-aged woman with 3 kids and not much money is not the most attractive of prospects, right? And while “finding someone new” is very low on my list of priorities in my future life, there’s still that worry. That it will always be just me.

I’m worried about the impact this will have on the kids. I mean, I can imagine a workable arrangement for custody etc, but I am factoring in a cooperative ex-partner, and chances are good he will be an arsehole about some things, if not all.

Still. I’m becoming more at peace with the idea that separation is the right choice.

Over the past few days, with my partner away, I’ve read through ‘Too Good to Leave, Too Bad to Stay’ by Mira Kirschenbaum. Sadly, I first picked up this book before my second child was born, more than 12 years ago now. That’s how long I’ve been in a state of ambivalence about this relationship, or, as Ms Kirschenbaum puts it in the book, married to my ambivalence.

The very first diagnostic question indicated that I will be happier to leave. As did numbers 4, 9, 11, 12, 13, 21, 26, 27, 33, 34, 35 and 36. I would say that’s pretty comprehensive list.

My plan at the moment is to get prepared. I need a higher paying job to support me and my kids, is the main thing. That means a discussion at work about moving to full time work. I’m going to need a whole houseful of furniture. And I’m going to need a support network.

The funny thing about the latter is that a few years ago I wouldn’t have dreamed about reaching out to anyone, but in the past couple of weeks I’ve thought I would just put a call out on Facebook and ask for help/friends. I know there are people who will care enough about me to want to help.

This will take some planning, but it’s doable.

Gear change

Today I feel as though a cog that has been spinning aimlessly has finally found purchase, and something has clicked over in my head. Things are moving on; I’m not the same person I was yesterday.

The strange things is that I don’t have that hysterical sense of urgency that I have felt in the past when I’ve thought about separation. There’s no desperate feeling that this MUST END RIGHT NOW!!! Instead it’s just a calm acceptance that one chapter of my life is finishing, and that one day soon I will turn the page and the next part of the story will begin.

It seems so clear to me, now, why my partner and I have been unable to formulate any kind of joint plans or goals over the past several years. Imean, we’ve talked about how we should do x, y or z, but that is as far as we’ve ever made it. We’ve never, ever put any kind of concrete plans into action, and the fact that we’ve managed to have children and buy a house have come about by lucky accident. On the other hand, this morning I put the first part of my plan for my solo life into action and have already figured out the next 2 steps and how to go about them.

I’m excited about the plans I’m making for my kids and me.

Coming out

Earlier this year, I had mentioned to my friend that I was thinking of separating from my partner. I explained how 2015 was to be my year of decision, and I was going to spend this year to making a choice, once and for all.  She was sad for me, but said that she was not surprised, because she feels like I’ve been unhappy for so long.

Of course, I’ve wavered on those sentiments so many times since then. It’s funny the way the mind works, especially when you’re an escape artist like me. I think it’s probably “avoidant personality” or somesuch; I shy away from any kind of conflict. So when I’m faced with the conflict of a bad relationship, I want to run away. But then when I think about separating, at first this seems joyously right, but then I factor in the conflict of having to face my partner, having to cause pain to him and my kids, and the uncertainty of being alone, and my escape artist brain desperately retreats. And I figure if the only person currently suffering in all of this is me, then what right to I have to turn everyone’s lives upside down. Or everything seems so “normal” that I wonder what the fuss is all about. I’m just creating a drama in my head for the sake of wanting some kind of excitement in my life.

And I convince myself that it’s all in my head; that everything is fine. I just need to learn gratitude, be happy for the things I’ve got. And I am. I have a fortunate life; I know that. So then I feel guilty for feeling unhappy when, really, what the hell have I got to feel unhappy about??

I said to my therapist the other day that I just need to accept my relationship for what it is. And I finally do, only what it is is not enough for me.

It’s funny that the incident I talked about on here the other day, when he casually told me that he was going away sailing for 3 days seemed to crystallize everything for me. When I told him that it was news to me (which it was), he claimed he’d tlld me a couple of months ago. And you know, he probably did. But I happen to think that when you are leaving your partner to go away sailing for 3 days, meaning she will have to deal with things at home by herself for that period, it is just common courtesy to remind her of that fact. Or put it in the family calendar or something. Especially when, as I know, that sailing trips away require much coordination and discussion; there should be some point when you share some of that information with your spouse. And the fact that he didn’t tells me that I am not even remotely on his radar as a priority. I couldn’t get angry about this, though. I just thought to myself, “It will always be like this.”

The other aspect of this conversation that made things clear for me is the fact that I felt relief in the knowledge that I wouldn’t have to deal with him for 3 whole days. His presence casts a shadow over my mood, and it’s not his fault, but at the same time I can’t help it. It’s a combination of guilt, annoyance and resentment.

Having come to the realisation that the best choice for me is to leave, last night I confided this in another friend. She’s never met my partner, but I’ve known her for about 5 years. Naturally she was supportive and sympathetic. I’m thinking next I might ask my sister too. Of everyone who knows us both, she is probably best placed to give an outsider’s perspective, knowing us both quite well.

Another thing that I had sort of acknowledged, but I’ve finally, this evening, really accepted is that as much as I can list his flaws and behavours that have led me to this place, ultimately this choice is about me. I can point and blame as much as I want, and maybe with justification, but he’s not going to see it that way. I am taking responsibility for this choice.

So I’m coming out as an Unhappily Married person. And knowing things are not going to change, I need to prepare myself to move on.

And funnily enough, snippets of answers to my therapists other question, “What does that look like to you?” have been coming to me this afternoon. I see myself struggling financially, but maybe I’ll move somewhere cheaper. Maybe taking a “Home Handyperson” course at the community college, so I can learn to do those repairs for myself. I see myself growing in strength , instead of stagnating the way I am now. Of laughing and dancing with the kids.

I know it will be hard. But, I think, necessary.