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Sunday, 7 October 2012

Hope, Faith and Guilt

Thank you to everyone who has enquired after me. I realise I've not posted recently and I would love to say it's because I have been out enjoying life with my boys, and the world of twuntdom has disappeared. Sadly it's about 50/50 enjoying life with Sprout and Bean, and the other half being stressed and anxious about the future.

It's not been possible to maintain a wholly positive outlook - I think I hit the metaphorical wall about a month ago. All the efforts to keep things normal and positive became too much, and I had to give myself a break. In fact, my solicitor instructed me to take a break before I 'cracked up', because I had to squarely face head on the reality that my family is over - and no amount of stitching it back together by always being 'nice' is going to make it ok.

She made a strong case for me taking some proper time out, seeing my GP and assessing where I am really at. With a 12 week old baby, she was worried that I've pushed myself to the cusp of PND, while suffering from anxiety as well as stress due to the relentless pestering from STBXH. His ongoing campaign to make me accept the situation with OW and speed up the divorce (on his terms of course) now feels like bullying, with pushy, nasty emails arriving as well as the constant drip drip drip of requests at handovers. I've been unable to sleep, experiencing waves of hopeless feelings, suffering nightmares and bursting into tears. Not what I want to be doing when my two gorgeous little boys are here to be enjoyed. So, to cut a long story short, she instructed his firm that I would be suspending contact for one month in order to take time out. I do feel tremendously more relaxed two weeks in, but am taking advice and have been referred for some counselling as well. I need to be well to be a good mummy first. The rest of the drama has to take a back seat to my health, no matter who that upsets really.

So far my boys haven't been upset at all, which surprised me. I expected some tears and tantrums from Sprout, but if he's noticed, he isn't too worried yet. After fretting about it all and chewing my mum's ear off about my worries, she reminded me gently that (especially where we are living) many, many children do not see their military fathers for months at a time - no-one starts saying they have been irrevocably damaged by this, or that they will stop loving the absent parent. Even without letters, skype or telephones, somehow children survive. Of course she is right, so I have unwound another notch knowing that is the case.

I did waste some precious energy worrying that people would think I was being unreasonable, unfair or malicious by asking for some time out. Then I realised that the only person who is likely to think that, is STBXH. Largely because he cannot see that the way he treats me has consequences, and therefore he is responsible, not me, for pushing things to this point. As I am resigned to the fact that he will never accept responsibility for this situation, I need to let go of worrying about his opinion of me. I ran into an old friend recently at toddler group in our small town. I've not seen her for a decade or more, but she had (as is the way with small towns) heard of my 'situation'! And she blithely informed me that "Choco, the facts speak for themselves. You don't need to be a genius to see that he has treated you and the boys appallingly". 

It's true, he has. But somehow it has taken me a full 10 months for the enormity of it all to sink in. Now I need to take the next three weeks before the week in, week out cycle of handing over the children and dealing with him face to face picks up again, to put some effort into building a solid foundation back up. Thank you for holding my hand again while I try x


  1. Only just checked into your blog Choco, I am really sad to see stbxh is still continuing his deplorable behaviour :( Your strength and dignity is amazing and I am pleased you are taking a well deserved break. We're thinking of you as always.."when it rains look for rainbows, when its dark look for stars"

    all our love to sprout and bean

    N, L and J x

  2. Please Choco, resign yourself to this: no matter how reasonable and understanding you are to Ex he will never do you the courtesy of responding in kind. He will take what he wants (the‘good bits’) and will be unable/unwilling to care that you too have a life and that as primary carer your basic needs should be a priority. That he is a short-sighted fool he has already proved and this will always be a feature of coping with him. You have an excellent solicitor and I am so glad you have taken the time out. You are the ‘Queen of Reasonable’ but being reasonable does not mean giving in to all his demands. My daughter never lived with her Father as he left when I was pregnant. He sees her (and has always seen her) fortnightly, & until she was 2 predominantly in my house. She is now 5 and they get on great. He has never had her overnight (his choice) and he disappears for 6 weeks in the summer every year.So far she is not bothered and doesn’t even question it as her life is just too busy and full of lovely things and happy people.
    What I am trying to say is that for your children it is you that matters most. Their life with you is what will form them. Of course it is beneficial if Ex has a positive relationship with his kids but that is up to him and earned over the long haul with patience and perseverance- qualities he has hitherto lacked. He thinks at the moment that a weekly trip to the Fun Factory is that box ticked. He wants it ‘sorted’ in his head so he can get on with his life and not think about the issue again hence why he is badgering you now while you are tired & vulnerable. Your health & mental well being have to be a priority. In my experience the novelty of being a ‘good dad’ will wear off or there will be other more exciting calls on his time and you will experience the frustration of finding that you have put yourself out to meet his demands only to find that he lets it all slide. Take as long as you like to reach your conclusions and make sure you are comfortable with what you decide.

  3. Oh choco I'm sorry to hear that your still having problems with Ex. And I think taking a month out is very wise. And yes, your friend is absolutely correct. Big hugs and hope things go well for you.

  4. Hey Choco
    I'm guessing I'm in the minority of your readers by being a man.
    A father of one adorable angel who also echos your question 'how can any man walk away from his children?'.
    In the last two evenings I've devoured everything you've written here and I think for the first time in my life felt a sense of pride for someone I've never met.
    For me your honesty is your most inspiring quality
    I've been captivated with your seemingly effortless ability to articulate your emotions and grasp the wider context of the situation you're in (which happens to be for me your second most inspiring quality).
    If I wasn't a pacifist I'd offer to go and do something to the AH (or STBXH) that would have been perceived as chivalry once upon a time, but I'm fairly certain that you would be able to give any number of reasons why that would be wrong... and I'm sure you would be right.
    Having said all that I am looking forward to the end of this blog for the very reason that maybe a few of your followers are. I think we've all got our fingers crossed for you Choco.

  5. thank you, from the heart. I am so grateful for the kind words that carry me. I'm back, and better - I will update tonight x