26 years, 312 months, 8736 days, all units of time gone. We had been together 26 years and almost 2 months when suddenly we weren’t, if this were a cartoon strip at this point there would be a spiked KABOOM!
I start 2016 as a single woman, I have not been single since I was 16 years old. I never got to be the rebellious teenager, or party too hard with my friends, I wonder what did I miss out on.
Starting to unravel two entangled lives is alot more work than you might at first think. Mortgages, car, animals, possessions, lol, that’s before you factor in the emotional nuclear fallout of being blind-sided by the one person in this world you were sure would never tell you they didn’t love you anymore.
She had decided that living and loving someone with a chronic illness was not what she had signed on for, nor wanted. Suddenly I had gone from being the main breadwinner, the workaholic, the adult almost, even though she was ten years older than I.
I became the one making sure the bills were paid and the details taken care of. She was everything I wanted and I treated her as if she were a precious diamond, making sure she had money, motorbikes, cars, anything she mentioned. It’s what I had watched my Dad do with my Mom. He bought her everything he thought she even might have a fleeting interest in, looking back now I wonder if she would have traded it all for more time with him, to watch a movie, take a walk, eat a meal together.
Please don’t think I am portraying myself as a martyr or that I am completely innocent and am a disabled person whose partner of 26 years just dumped and ran out on. I am as equally responsible as she is in all this. The more time that passes the more I see how how sad I was….., we were. How we were together but only on parallel paths, occasionally crossing the streams to create magical times, experiences, memories, but enevitably resuming our parallel paths of co-existence.
We had a rocky start, with my parents deciding she was a pedophile and taking advantage of their naive brainiac daughter. I was under parental house arrest until 18, when I left home. This was my Birthday present to myself, for us. I had chosen her and our future over my controlling parents and we were fugitives fighting the system, fighting everyone’s negative opinions and fighting to prove we were going to make it and beat the odds as well as living a closeted gay couple, confused yet?
When she decided we were no longer a couple, I had known something wasn’t right. The secrecy around her phone, the nights out with her ‘friends’, the wedding parties and events she attended alone, damn even PRIDE was her and her friends while I watched the parade pass without so much as an acknowledgement.
I let these things wash past me, I knew she worked hard every day, I didn’t want her to have to be stuck in the house looking at four walls because I was ill or because she felt trapped. The very least I could do was make sure she had the money she needed to go out, to go on the trips, collect her and make sure she was safe after a night of partying. Taxis are unpredictable, not always safe and expensive, here we can add several other explanations or rationale I applied to these events over an over.
Here we need to backup a little. A little relationship history might help make things clearer. We had been together a little over 7 years. My day revolved around work, home, repeat. At this stage the internet was only free at the weekend, which limited my use of it, and since I don’t watch tv, I would invariably end up passing out when I got home, while she made sure she got to watch all her recorded programs. We even joked the tv schedule was like her diary, something she’d have to check before she could commit to any social event……anything really.
I was bored, isolated and living the ‘successful gay couple dream’ but something was missing, as to what that was, what I had no idea. I enjoyed the internet and with the introduction of chat forums I was able to find myself cutting up with folks from all over the world. Enjoying like minded views, arguing the finer points of the latest geek theory.
We would both be in the living room, she would be glued to her tv shows and I would reach for my headphones and pop in to a chat forum to enjoy the banter.
Bluegreyeyes40, sent me an im and told me that my screen name was cute. Little did I know that would start an affair with a woman who lived on the other side of the world.
Suddenly I was that woman, the cheater. I was so against anyone who could ‘step out’ on their partner and suddenly I was that person. I was able to manipulate, lie, and travel back and forth to the States. I had no idea what I was doing but I was addicted, she was like a drug, like the air I needed to breathe. In my head I always knew I would never leave my relationship and that I was so sure she would come to her senses, turn away from her googlebox and see me. In my mind the affair I was having didn’t really count. I was delusional, I stood to lose everything but I couldn’t help myself, I was like a moth drawn to a flame.
The affair ended it had ran it’s course and I resolved that I would work harder on our relationship. By now we had been together 14 years, I started to believe my dalliance was something that just happened out of circumstance, right? Wrong…
I started to believe that everyone had blips and thus worked harder to make things better. I tried, I took emotional blows and I accepted them gladly this was my punishment for the affair, so ‘suck it up Buttercup’
Suddenly I saw her someone who someone who said things without thinking that often caused offence or required I offered an explanation to people, someone that I no longer looked at through rose coloured glasses and I needed to find more and more inventive reasons in my head as to why we were together. During this time we had made the mistake of working together and nothing kills a relationship like that. I was her Boss and while I was chewing her out for some mistake, she would shoot back something that was personal and had nothing to do with the work at hand. I was trying to make sure she was safeguarded from any errors or hassles, all I did was come across as controlling. Add to that the Bosses Father in law who decided that I would be his next play project. He needed to get this gay abomination out of a job. It resulted in both of us being made redundant, he gave us cheques that were severance and a bribe to f@@k off into the clear blue yonder and never bother him again.
She was distraught and I was defeated, impotent. She didn’t want to go the legal route and take that Bastard out by the roots, I wanted to fight, show that ignorant buffoon we were people, who worked hard and not just a gay couple that were an abomination in his eyes. She wanted to just move on, she was embarrassed and upset, I felt I had caused this and the very least I could do was show her I would support her choices.
She quickly found employment and I ended up with a couple of chronic illnesses that would remove my ability to work. Suddenly I am home all day, everyday. She going to work and I was wasn’t. I was consumed by guilt, and self pity. I had lost my ability to earn an honest living, I was weak, just a pathetic excuse of a human being. You can see where my self pity was spiralling. I wasn’t taking care of anything in the house, laundry, dishes, food. I was sick and angry, more frustrated than a mouse in a maze.
We both were trying to adapt and not be a burden, and we didn’t communicate any of this to each other. We didn’t talk about the weather, the news……. It seemed that our time was spent with her asking how I was and me telling her I was fine no matter how much pain I was enduring. I thought I was protecting her and she wasn’t sure just how ill I was.
Tick, tick, months passed they turned into years. Someone along the way we had stopped being physical. Not just sex, but those hugs, touching, reaching for each other. I decided since I was ill and had gained weight I was a burden, unattractive and she didn’t find me physically attractive any more, add to this the self pity and loathing and I had my own purgatory that must be pay back for my affair. Trouble is I never spoke to her about it, I’d been the one to have the affair so it was only fair that took this on the chin.
So much time wasted, resentment grew but my guilt was a buffer. This was my punishment for choices I alone had made and the very least I could do is endure it and not bitch and whine about it.
Again I feel I need to reiterate I am not a martyr, nor do I want your sympathy. I was as guilty of having choices that could have led us down a different path, and I didn’t. The next number of years were no different, we co-existed locked in each other worlds but apart, the chasm grew and neither of us acknowledged it, or perhaps we didn’t want to.
She is gifted musically and can sing like an angel. She got involved with a ‘gay only’ choir and that chasm I mentioned before suddenly became a celestial black hole. I felt pushed aside and as much as I resented this, decided that the sins of my past were dictating our future. Single invites when other couples were invited, never meeting her new friends, never having their numbers that would have been useful the one night no one could contact her and we were all convinced she was laying dead in a ditch from a car crash. The list could go on and on and the whole time I was able to blur the lines between reality and my guilt fuelled need to accept a situation that was making us both miserable. Again let me share at no point before or after any of these events did we think to talk to each other about how we felt. I don’t allow myself to wonder about the what ifs.
Instead I chose to draw in the sand. I now chose to look forward. I now only want to find somewhere to live, that’s close to my immediate family that I can afford. Sounds straightforward, right? I’ve skipped the part where the house needs to be ‘made ready’ to sell.
The part where everything that is ‘mine’ has to be sorted through, packed up and perhaps temporarily stored in a friends garage if I haven’t found anywhere to live and the house is sold. The fear that simply typing that causes throughout my mind feels insurmountable.
I have been making phonecalls, filling in paperwork, filing paperwork, seeking advice about what type of housing I could be entitled to. All while she stayed with her BFF, yet calling everyday so she could watch her recorded programs under the guise of spending time with the dogs. It offered me the opportunity to use the car for a couple of hours. Leaving the four walls was simply blissful, but then paranoia kicked in. What was she doing while I wasn’t there?
Who was coming into the house?
What was being taken out of the house?
As hard as I tried to quieten these voices in my head that were screaming at me, I just couldn’t. She was now a stranger to me and I couldn’t trust her ever again. The irony of this is not lost on me. Here I am the cheater who can’t trust someone who had the good sense to say ‘enough’
Do I think she cheated? I truly don’t know
Do I think she knows I did? I truly don’t know
However. What I do know with absolute certainty is that ‘settling’, or ‘making do’ is NEVER an acceptable choice or option. Staying quiet for the sake of the status quo, simply is too high a price to pay. Fighting for a relationship no matter what the odds is only acceptable if you are willing to talk about the hard things, ask the hard questions and ultimately be willing to be open to the idea that, it’s just not meant to be.
If you have endured this lengthy post until now, please know I share it so that perhaps someone might stop just long enough to ask themselves if they are happy.
If you’re not happy, simply accepting it, whether through guilt, misguiding loyalty or just because is too high a price to pay. Life is too short to be miserable, no matter how scary the truth might be.Regrets, what ifs, or mourning for children not born or a life path not chosen is a waste of effort and only perpetuates pain.
Dance to the tune in your head, watch movies wrapped up in a comforter together all day with your cellphones switched off, eat dessert for breakfast, know that a fleeting glance shared with each other that warms you from the inside out should be the reason that ‘settling’ is never a viable choice.
Just remember, please, having the courage to accept it’s over, is the last act of love you can share with each other.