Hand on Heart.

I mentioned in my previous post briefly about the time that my ex husband spent in a psychiatric hospital following his affair.  I’ve avoided talking about that part of my life in depth for a while with anyone, and the effect that it still has on me 13 months later but I think that it would do me some good to get it off my chest.  So let’s go back to December 2015…

He came home for a week (he was away with the Army in the US for 7 months) and told me it was over.  The reason that he had come home was for his sister’s wedding and spent the entire duration of that event avoiding me.  Even his friends and family had noticed, as he was usually always touching me in some way like holding my hand or resting his hand on my lower back or leg.  This time, he couldn’t be further away from me both emotionally and physically.  We were in the hotel room after his sister’s wedding and I broke down after holding it together for so long.  I didn’t want to spoil his sister’s special day.  And then he told me it was over.  No real explanations, just excuses.

“I can’t deal with your self esteem issues anymore.”

“I never wanted the cats but you got them anyway.”

“You have no ambition.”

The next day, we went home and cancelled our upcoming honeymoon.  It was a late honeymoon because the Army always got in the way of our plans.  Then he left and went back to his parents’ house before heading back to the US for another 3 months.

I kept our separation close to my chest because I was sure that he was just having a 30 year old crisis or something.  Those that knew what had happened were sure that he must’ve found someone else for him to behave this erratically, but I just wouldn’t believe it.  I trusted in him with every fiber of my being, and I think that is why what came next totally traumatised me.

We spoke on and off for the next few months.  He told me that he needed space.  I gave him that.  On 9th December, we were talking on FaceTime.  He was starting to come round to the idea of trying to work things out and of course, I was elated.  He said that he needed to go to the bathroom and would come back in a minute, so I waited with just the screen lighting up my face in the darkness of our bedroom back home.  It was 2am my time, 8pm his time.  In the time that he was off screen, I received a message on Facebook from someone that I didn’t know.

“You should check out my profile. You might be interested to know what’s been going on for the past couple of months.”

Curiosity got the better of me and I checked her account, only to be greeted with a profile picture of this woman kissing my husband.  I felt sick.  He came back online and I confronted him.  The good thing about FaceTime is you can’t hide your facial expressions…and he went white as a sheet when I told him what I had just found out.  Suddenly, the threats of suicide from him began.  He threatened to take his own life there and then. Of course, he never would have done it.  It was all an act, but I believed him at the time.  It didn’t become clear that it was an act until much later on.  I stayed on the phone all night with him to make sure that he stayed alive, and he kept telling me how evil that other woman was and how she was a pill popping alcoholic.  I spoke to the Army Welfare Team first thing in the morning and he was put on the first flight home.  Once he was back, he was assessed by a military psychiatrist and then sent to a psychiatric hospital.

I made that journey to the hospital with him.  Little did I know, it would be my last.  I remember sitting in the back of the welfare car with my husband.  It was a dull, cold day and it was trying to snow.  Signs of Christmas were everywhere now.  He was shaking and kept saying “Don’t leave me”.  I held his hand tightly and I played with his wedding ring.  He must’ve put it back on as he wasn’t wearing it before.  It was hard to hold his hand because he had his right arm in a splint.  He told me that he had damaged his hand carrying some heavy boxes.  I later found out that he had actually damaged it by punching a wall because his girlfriend found out about me, his wife, so she left him.  Once we arrived at the hospital, we had to wait to be let inside.  The security was more than I expected although I’m not sure what I was expecting anyway!  This place was not going to let him come and go as he pleased, that was for sure.  I had to wait in the entrance area while some nursing staff took him into a back room to talk to him.  The entrance was also a communal area for other residents of the psychiatric hospital to socialise.  The people here were very unwell and it was perturbing to know that my husband was also unwell and would have to stay here for a while.  The welfare staff kept checking in on me and were trying to reassure me that it was going to be okay, and that they were sure that we would work things out.  Apparently, we just looked like one of those couples who could just get through anything.  When he emerged from the back room, I took his hand and we followed a nurse down to the military wing.  I helped him to settle into his room by unpacking his clothes and rearranging his personal belongings.  He just sat motionless on his new bed while I tried to enthuse him about his new surroundings.  Although I had noticed that every item of furniture in his room was round and soft.  No corners.  No curtains, just a blind that he had no control over.  No pull cords.  Then it dawned on me…this was a room for people who were serious about trying to kill themselves.

I kissed him goodbye and he flinched.  I touched his hand and promised to come and see him the following day after work.  His eyes were hollow and empty.  He watched me as I walked down the long white corridor.  I had seen him watch me but I didn’t need to because I could feel him watching me, to the point where it was unnerving.

The next day, I visited as promised.  I had managed to keep myself occupied all day at work, but I certainly wasn’t prepared for what came when I reached the hospital.  He was an absolute mess.  A wreck.  He had collapsed on the floor as I was sat in the waiting area to see him.  A couple of nurses rushed down the corridor to see to him and asked that I keep my distance until they managed to get him back on his feet and check for injuries.  He was fine, just a little spooked.  I went to see him in his room and he was curled up in the fetal position, staring as the floor.  He refused to look at me or respond to anything that I said.  So I just sat there with him in his room until visiting hours were over.

He was in and out of the hospital for the next 4 weeks.  They would release him and he would end up back inside again.  He went missing once when he was released, and that only ended up with him being readmitted.  He would call me late at night, threatening suicide again and again.  There was nothing in his room for him to use, not even his cables as they were taken away from him but he phoned me from the communal kitchen saying that he had turned the table upside down and that he was going to spear himself onto one of the legs.  I immediately hung up on him and called the hospital wing directly and a few nurses intervened.  Did I ever think he was really going to take his own life?  I’m not sure.  But it wasn’t something that I was willing to risk.  He would flood and bombard me with texts and pictures of us when we were happy, newly married and carefree.  He would proclaim that he was evil and that he doesn’t belong in this world.  Every time he threatened suicide, he would text “Nanight”.  One time when I visited and he had been doing better, he asked if we could go out and get some food.  Apparently other patients were allowed out with a family member.  I checked in with a nurse and she said it was fine, but I had to sign him out.  We ordered a curry which was something he had missed whilst he had been away in the States.  When I got out of my car to go and collect it, I had to lock him in my car.  Like a child.  For fear that he would escape and run away to carry out what he was in a psychiatric hospital for.  I can’t tell you how much that winded me, having to think of my own husband in that way.  When we got back to the hospital, we ate the food and enjoyed talking over our meal.  One of the nurses even brought a tealight candle out and lit it for us before putting it in the middle of the table.

“Now that’s a bit more romantic!” she laughed.

We smiled and thanked her.  What a sweet thought.  Only, she whispered in my ear before she left the room that I would need to bring the candle back to her as soon as we had finished our meal.  Suddenly it didn’t seem so romantic anymore.  Even the sharp tins that the hot, takeout food came in had to be disposed of in such a way that patients couldn’t get their hands on them.  I’m sure you can guess why.

We watched Planes, Trains and Automobiles on my iPad whilst we spooned on his single bed.  The mattress was like a bloody rock!  He would often be listening to Joshua Radin’s slow and sad accoutic tracks when I entered his room after a long day at work.  Looking back, I’m sure that this was purely for effect.  Sometimes when I visited, he would just lay in my arms while I stoked his hair and drew circles on his back with my forefinger.

And then one day shortly after he was released from hospital, he was back to himself and he dropped me quicker than a brick.  It would seem that all along, he was talking to her on the phone and planning his new life with her.  He used me.  Afterall, she was on the other side of the world so it’s not like she could come and visit.  He actually used and abused my good nature, and my desparation to be there for him and get our marriage back on track.  Seriously.  What a fucking bastard.  I was actually willing to give him a chance after everything that he had put me through.  And it seems that he was never prescribed any medication at all.  Even the military must’ve known that he was faking it.  What a massive kick in the balls that was.  He never belonged in that hospital all along.  Other people in the military wing were suffering from PTSD and were genuinely suffering from mental health issues, and there he was simply because he had made a massive fuck up.  I later decided that the reason why he took it that far was to deflect from what he had done wrong.  By falsifying suicide attempts and pretending to be mentally unwell, he made everyone forget about what he did so we all focussed on “Aaaww, poor guy” instead.  Very devious.

And still people ask me “Why did you stay?”.  Because at least I can say that I tried my damndest to be there for him and to make it work.  And even after the way I was treated by him once he left hospital and in the lead up to the start of our divorce, I can put my hand on my heart and say that I tried everything in my power to save our marriage.  And for that reason alone, all of this pain was worth it.

With love, Darling Soul x

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Online Dating Minefield.

Online dating is brutal.  But it seems to be the way everyone meets people these days.  You hear about the cutesy stories of couples who met on dating sites and then got married and live happily ever after.  I’m on a low income and I don’t have the money to go out socialising to meet guys in the traditional sense.  I also don’t have the money to spend on subscriptions for online dating sites, so I’m using a couple of free ones.  The problem with that is the free ones tend to attract the loonies and you have to sift through them.  Around Christmas time, one of the well known paid dating sites had a free trial going on, so I signed up and got talking to two guys who I went on dates with.  The second guy lasted one date, but I went on 4 dates with the first guy.  After the fourth date, I decided to call it quits.  He was lovely, but too nice for me.  He needs a nice girl who will heat his hot water bottle for him at night and curl up on his chest whilst he reads his book 20 minutes before bed.  I shit you not, that’s what he does every night.  And that’s absolutely fine, but it’s not for me.  I need someone with a bit of fire in his belly.  I want him to be passionate about life.  Lovely as that guy was, he didn’t have a passionate bone in his body.

So here I am, giving it another shot.  It’s been…about a week I think?  I’ve lost count of how many crazies I’ve had to sift through and I’m already getting bored with it.  I go through phases with online dating.  No money to go out and find someone, so I make an account.  A week later, I get fed up and disheartened so come offline for a while…then it all starts again!  I did get a laugh this week though.  I’d started messaging a guy who is an animal lover…great!  But is also a vegetarian.  And that’s fine.  My best friend is a vegetarian and her husband eats meat, so it’s possible that this could work.  Then he told me that when his meat loving friends come over for a takeaway, he makes them eat from paper plates using disposable cutlery because he will not have meat touching anything in his home.  And for that reason, he will not have a pet that eats meat either.  Well there goes that!  I have two cats who love meat.  Needless to say, I ended the conversation there.

For your entertainment, here’s some of the messages I’ve receieved over the past week…

Heya, thought you sounded really nice, also I loved cats myself, not had luck with pets tbh lol also you look great and I’d love to talk sometime

“Not had luck with pets”…erm, have you been killing them off or something?

Hi, would you be interested in something casual?

Erm.  Nope.

I really love your face and style.  Charmed.  I would like to learn more about you.  I love the expression of your face and the way your eyes are looking at the world.

…NEXT!!!

So another thing which normally becomes a stumbling block is my kinky side. i know its not ideal to bring up in a first message but from previous experience I’ve found its good to just be honest from the start. Im getting old now so shouldn’t be wasting much time. Hetroflexible is a term a lot of people are not familiar with or understand. Basically I’m straight and only date/kiss women but occasionally my kinky side makes me go with guys occasionally.  Could this be a bonus for you?

Each to their own and all, but…nope.

Hello how are you where about in (the town that I live in) are from you if you don’t mind me asking

Oh sure, I live on…hold on a second.  It’s a small town.  I’m not telling you that.

Dropping you a dime coz your looking fine 🙂

*It’s YOU’RE.

Hey you are gorgeous. Could I tempt you to shopping and cocktails sometime x

Not sure what to say about this one.  If you’re paying, then sure!  I need some new clothes.

And that’s just a selection!  I’m sure I’ll come offline again and hope that the crazies go away for a while.  Until next time!

With love, Darling Soul x

 

Lots of llamas.

On Friday, I attended the funeral of one of my mum’s dearest friends. They had been friends for over 40 years. She had been diagnosed with terminal cancer just before Christmas and it was hoped that chemotherapy would prolong her life. Her first chemo session was 31 days after her diagnosis. 4 days later, she died. She kept her cancer a secret from everyone except her daughters, so her death was a heavy shock to her friends and other family members. My mum and her other friends were only informed about her cancer just 4 days before she passed away, so mum didn’t really have time to process the fact that the cancer was terminal. I understand Sue’s reasons for keeping it close to her chest though. She was such a lovely lady and she just didn’t want to worry her loved ones.

Sue had been a part of my life, just as any good friends of my parents have. One of her daughters and I even share the same birthday, albeit a few years apart. Sue came to my wedding along with one of my mum’s other close friends. It only seemed right that I went to her funeral to pay my respects. Funeral guests were instructed by her daughters to bring a red rose and wear an item of red. It was their mum’s favourite colour. I wore a black and white skirt, black jumper, red shoes and red lipstick. When I arrived at the crematorium, it was pretty much at the same time as my parents although we had driven in from opposite ends of the country. I greeted my parents and we instantly noted those who were attending the funeral by spotting the individuals wearing items of red and carrying a single red rose each. It was actually quite nice seeing that. In a way, it brought everyone together.

After greeting old friends and making general chit chat, we all waited outside for the hearse to arrive. I was focusing elsewhere. My parents were engaged in conversation with friends of theirs. My mum suddenly said in my direction, with watery eyes and a gentle smile as the hearse began to slowly drive in “She’s my baby girl. Aren’t you?”.  She’d obviously been conversing with someone about me. It took me by surprise. The relationship my mum and I have can be strained at times, but only because we are so similar in character and because of that, we often clash. I nodded and smiled at my mum, then made a joke about being a big “baby girl” because I was the eldest of her two children. I wish I had just kept my mouth shut and accepted my mum’s sweet words as they were. The hearse drew closer and silence filled the air. The funeral car behind the hearse carrying Sue’s daughters and grandchildren stopped and the passengers got out of the vehicle. An ear piercing shriek from one of the girls broke the silence, followed by thick, heavy sobbing. No doubt at the realisation that her mum was gone. I tried to imagine what that must have felt like and I had to stop myself from crying.

The service was beautiful. No hymns that no one wants to sing anyway, just some of Sue’s favourite music and some kind words said by friends and family members.  About half way through the service, my mum broke down.  She was sat in between myself and my dad and we both reached our hands out towards hers, but she batted us away like pesky flies.  She wanted to be alone in her grief.  Selfishly for a moment, I felt a bit hurt but I gave myself a shake and remembered that everyone grieves differently.  At the end of the service, attendees slowly made their way outside and gently laid a single red rose on the coffin.  Some people whispered something as they put their rose to rest on the wood.  Others said nothing.  Some people kissed the coffin.  I just said “See you, Sue.”

We all moved onto another location in the village for the wake.  Sue had lived here before she became so poorly .  Everyone exchanged fond memories, and photos of Sue in her younger years were being passed around.  We joked about the big hairstyles and interesting fashions in the photos!  She never changed much.  My own mother was in a lot of those photos and facially, she hasn’t changed much either.  In fact, I even noted that she still wears one of the jumpers that she was wearing in the photos taken around the mid to late 80’s!

On my long drive home, I started to sob.  I had to pull myself together.  It was dark and that made it difficult to see the road through the tears.  I held myself together when I was around my mum, but the feelings just hit me when I was alone in my car.  I knew Sue of course, but not in a way to warrant these endless tears that just seemed to come pouring out of the corners of my eyes.  Sue’s daughters are not far off my own age and they have just lost their mum.  I think the tears were actually the reality of loss, that my own parents are not getting any younger.  Yet somehow I seem to need them more at the age of almost 30 than I ever did as a child.  I must speak to my dad on the phone at least 4 times a week.  He often calls me just for a chat when he’s out walking the dogs.  I call on my parents whenever something goes wrong, I need advice or I just want to talk.  I can’t imagine not having them around anymore.  I recall all of the times I said venomous, nasty things towards my parents as a hormone fuelled teenager who wasn’t getting her way.  It makes my heart hurt now, just thinking of it and I don’t even remember the things that were said.

I’ve probably spoken to my parents on the phone (we live 200 miles apart, which is something I am trying to change) 4 times since the funeral on Friday, and even I have noticed that we’re suddenly ending the phone calls with love yous and “lots of llamas”.  “Lots of llamas” is a family joke from when my sister did some charity work in Tanzania, Africa.  She and I were talking on Skype and she was showing off with her newly learnt Swahili words.  We were closing the Skype session and she said something in Swahili that sounded like “lots of llamas”…so I was like, what?  And it turns out, she was actually saying something like “love you lots, bye”!  So now whenever we say goodbye to each other, we say “lots of llamas!”

Life is short.  You just never know what is around that corner.  Grief is the price that we pay for love, but make sure the ones that you love know how you feel.

Lots of llamas, Darling Soul x

Loosening my grip.

Sometimes I feel like I won’t find love again.  Not because I don’t want to find it, but because I don’t think I am capable of loving another person again with the sheer intensity that I loved my ex husband.  I have loved people since, but it wasn’t the same.  The walls that I built after the news of my ex’s infidelity are high.  The bricks are tough and strong.  A brick or two may have come loose over these past 18 months nearly, but I just can’t seem to view any possible relationship without scrutinizing every little detail.

Why does he like me?  What does he want?  Why is he saying nice things?  What is he trying to achieve?  I question every little thing and my God, it’s beyond tiring.  For me and those involved.  It takes the fun away from the chase because I’m too busy over analysing the other person’s facial expressions and actions when I should be enjoying their company and what could become.  I question because when my ex husband left, I had several guys act like they wanted to console me when actually all that they wanted was sex.  If that doesn’t make you query everything that someone who supposedly likes you does, then I don’t know what will!  That was a really horrible and confusing time for me, and very unfair and gross that people who I once considered friends would try and take advantage of me in that way when I was especially vulnerable.

Now see, I love animals.  They cheer me up and their love is unconditional.  They ask for nothing in return.  They don’t have ulterior motives (apart from food perhaps!) and they love honestly.  They don’t hate or hurt.  They don’t lie or cheat.  They know when I am sad or upset and they use their own wonderful little ways to make me feel happy again.  Why can’t people be more like animals?  Sometimes I wonder if I would be better off on my own with my animals.  No one to disappoint or hurt me.  But I wasn’t made for this life.  I am energetic, bubbly and I talk far too much.  I wasn’t created to be left alone for long periods of time.  Dammit, being an empath sucks sometimes.

Guess where I’m going this weekend…to see my ex inlaws.  Lots of people are confused as to why I’m going to see them, but it’s not their fault that their son/brother is a dick.  I was very lucky to have a special relationship with my inlaws and right from day one, they treated me like I was part of the family.  Even now, they still do.  I realise that this is not a luxury that many have and I was indeed lucky during my relationship with him, and now it appears that my luck continues even after divorce.  His parents sent me some money for Christmas and asked me to come and visit, so this weekend will be the first time that I’ve seen them in nearly 14 months.  I’m excited to see them all but also nervous.  Their house holds many memories for me and knowing that his new beau has visited their home will probably make me feel slightly uneasy.  Actually to be honest, I have no idea how I will feel.  I do have a meditation class before I head off to see them though, so I hope that I will receive lots of love and light before my journey which will help me to deal with possible conflicting emotions during my visit.

Before I finish up, a very dear friend of mine sent me this little bit of wisdom yesterday.  I think we can all relate in some shape or form.

With love, Darling Soul x

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Elastic heart.

So last Saturday, I went on a date with another guy.  We had been texting back and forth for a number of weeks, then one night we were on the phone to each other for 4.5 hours!  I started to think, “Hey, I like this guy”.  I had a really nice evening with him, although conversation didn’t flow as easily as it did on the phone, I just put that down to him coming across as slightly shy.  After our date, we continued to text for a few days before I asked if he wanted to meet again.  He totally avoided the question!  So I decided not to text him and would wait for him to make contact again.  He texted me yesterday evening, asking how my day had been and how I was etc.  I replied but asked again if he wanted to meet up.  This was his reply:

“As for meeting up again, I had a really nice time meeting you, it was fun and a good giggle but for me I didn’t really feel there was any spark there romantically.  It felt more like a friendship thing for me so I would be up for meeting again as it was fun but more as friends rather than a date, still if you’d rather not I’d understand.  Just don’t want to mislead you in any way as I know you’ve had your fair share of being messed about by blokes.”

Firstly, I felt quite hurt.  Did I have a right to feel that way?  Probably not, but my thoughts are if you don’t think something is going to work out, then you don’t continue to text and converse with that person daily.  Secondly for me, unless the date is an awful experience then I think you should always meet a second time.  This Disney style “romantic spark” that he is looking for…it doesn’t exist, in my experience. 

Another issue is that after spending 5 years in an emotionally abusive relationship, I find that my go to thought process is “What did I do wrong?” and “What could I have done better?”. I try to snap myself out of that and since I’ve been loving myself better lately, I find that the thought process lasts only momentarily instead of hours or days on end like it used to. I may be coming across as a whiny little bitch with rejection issues, but this date and my date from the other week are my first experiences of dating full stop. I don’t really have anything to compare them to, so I’m still very much learning. On the plus side, this date didn’t really like cats and when I told him that the cats slept with me on the bed, he told me that it was gross and disgusting. Clearly, it wasn’t meant to work out! Other date is neutral toward cats and I have made many a comment about my two fur kids without him saying “Eewww”. Maybe he’s just being polite…?! For his sake, I hope not!

In my opinion, second guy has lost out here. I am a good woman with so much love to give. First guy is meeting me again tomorrow after work for a drink, and I’m actually looking forward to seeing him. I have thoroughly enjoyed his company so far, talking about anything and everything with no awkward silences or pauses. Let’s see where it goes.

With love, Darling Soul x