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Saturday, 13 April 2013

Be the good

Today, I have been feeling pissed off at life. Angry with my STBXH, angry with myself. I have been hurting. I have had to acknowledge that being the better person comes with a hidden cost; knowing that (even when you are glad that it turns out you really are the person you hoped you would be) it's hard to accept this goodness may not be recognised, and you won't be thanked.

My ex and his partner relocated last week to be closer to Bean and Sprout. This is for the good in the long run. The boys have no long journeys looming in their future, separated from me and or their normal lives by miles, or hours or travel. It is in their best interests, and for them I am happy. In typical bear hunt fashion, my introduction to this brave new world has been a crisis. Their first full day with their dad at his new home was cut short abruptly - barely two hours in - when I was called to collect them, his partner so sick she was waiting on an ambulance to take her to A&E.

Sometimes you just don't question a situation, being the good you want to see in the world means you just deal and do the best you can. I went immediately to get the boys. I took my mum, an A&E nurse with me. The boys dad lives in the back end of nowhere, a very remote village deep in rural England. I arrived to see him standing on his front step, boys in coats, ready to hand them over, without me crossing the threshold of their house. I would have taken them too, were it not for the fact that no ambulance was in sight. And I could hear OW crying in the house, frightened, miles from her home, her friends, her family and in pain. Without hesitation I asked if my mum could take a look. A long pause later, STBXH checked inside. OW wanted her help, so could we come in.

There are moments in life that remind you what kind of person you are in your core. Not what you hope you are, but who really, deep down, when the shit hits the fan - you are. I could have left, listened to her crying and thought be damned. I could have gloated that the karma train was calling at their station. I am so glad that I am not that person, I am blessed that my mum isn't either. Together we looked after the children, and mum looked after OW. She is 27, but in pain and sick she looked younger. I didn't see a disgusting person, I saw a human being who needed compassion and care. In that instant I knew something deeply in my heart. Failure is always an event - never a person. The sum of OW is not the action of infidelity. She is not simply the agent of my unhappiness, she is a young woman living a life that her choices have led her to... on that day they led her to an isolated, scary place where ambulances don't come and you have to lean on the goodness of those you have wronged.

Eventually the ambulance arrived, and my mum handed her over with the care and professionalism I love and respect her for. OW left, shaking and tearful, and on her way out she mouthed 'I'm sorry' to me, smiled at my sons and tried so hard to be brave. I don't feel angry with her any more. I feel sad, really sad, for the situation. Sad that we are here and the only way forward is to forgive. I wish there was nothing to forgive, no hurdle to overcome. Forgiveness in principle is one thing, forgiveness in action is something else.

I suppose you can call today an emotional hangover. Sprout is running a fever of 102. He's tearful and clingy, I wonder if he caught a bug from their house. I am cross that STBXH took our tiny, vulnerable children over there when his partner was so ill. OW has a kidney infection, before the antibiotics and hospital run, she was so sick my mum was afraid she may even have meningitis. I am thankful that it wasn't anything as bad as all that.

However, despite the sea change in my heart towards the woman he has brought here, there has been no change in STBXH's heart in return. He is as ever, as cold towards me as can be. A spark of fury was lit tonight when, following a polite conversation about the boys, I enquired whether OW is feeling better? I received silence in return.

Evidently STBXH is not ready to allow kindness to thaw the stony ground of our separation. I can only presume that it suits him to hold onto the caricature of me he created that justified his terrible behaviour towards me and our sons. I guess I will simply have to wait, and continue to live with compassion, with kindness, with patience, until (or indeed if) he decides to accept that I am not, and never have been the monster he would like me to be. In the meantime, I will try to practice reaching a place of forgiveness that includes him as completely as I know it should be possible to achieve (and forgive myself for not being there yet!)

"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveresLove never fails."


  1. I have read this many times and am unsure whether or how to reply but something about your situation makes me feel very uneasy for you. You did the right thing helping OW and I really admire you for that. It is remarkable that you were in this place so soon after your separation and with everything still raw even if you feel better on a surface level. What I find even more impressive is that you can maintain this attitude throughout the everyday and the ordinary irritations of life. Please remember though that you are a person deserving of kindness, courtesy and respect. If you make it a policy to continually take and then rise above whatever STBXH throws at you then this could become a habit you take into other relationships and you will find that (probably not consciously) people will act as if you don’t have feelings or that your feelings don’t matter as much. I know it must seem impossible at the moment but the time will come when you will be wanting to dip your toe into ‘dating’ waters and you don’t want to be attracting the same sort of men as STBXH. I am speaking out of turn probably as I only ‘know’ you through this blog but in my experience a lot of men do take the way a woman is used to being treated as a benchmark for their behaviour even if subliminally. I know a couple of men who refer to their partners exes as ‘utter bastards’ but go on to repeat the same behaviours (maybe not as dramatically) but with a lack of care, kindness and respect never the less.

    1. thank you for your thoughtful and kind response. I understand what you mean, and it's something I struggle with myself - it's hard to know when you cross the line between being a person you can be proud of, and becoming a doormat for those who don't appreciate it.

      At the present time, to be honest I feel very tired and worn down by my dealings with the pair of them. It seems that there is precious little reward in rising above it, but when I reflect, I know that there is even less reward in being drawn into a drama I am doing my best to leave behind. I don't feel perpetually happy or relaxed about dealing with him, that's for sure!

      I hope that when the time comes for me to move on with my life, I'll meet someone who wants to treat me better. In my less confident moments, I wonder if I ever will... but regardless, I am still glad I am not with STBXH. Because I will never agree that 'better the devil you know' is best!