I've had a few messages from people wanting to know about the progress of my fanfic, Tethered Redemption. It has been on hold while I deal with some stuff. I've also had people asking me if I'm ok, so hopefully this post answers your questions. I wasn't going to do this, but sometimes it's just easier on the soul to get things out. I have always found it easier to write about my problems then talk about them. So be warned, it's a long read.
It's only (nearly) 4 months in to 2014 and it amazes me just how quick things can change. One day your life is just happily plodding along. You're happy, healthy, have your loved one by your side trading witty remarks and jelly beans. The next, you have a ton of news dumped on you that you weren't ready for, didn't see coming and/or never thought it was possible to happen. So far, 2014 sucks and I am about done with it for good.
10 years might seem like a drop in the bucket to some people for a relationship. Whereas to others it might seem like forever. For me, it was the longest relationship I've had since settling down in my late teens/early twenties to concentrate on work and bills and being an adult.
In 14 years I've been in love twice. In both of those cases I gave with all my heart. The first ended after only 3 years when he slept around with prostitutes. That break up killed me, not so much the end of it, but the cheating and lying. It didn't help though to have it plonked on me in the middle of dinner one night while we're chatting and laughing and he just turns to me and says he doesn't love me any more and we should break up. No warning. Just straight out of the blue. Can you imagine how horrible something like that is? I didn't see his unhappiness and he never once mentioned how unhappy he was. But on closer inspection in the days after it was glaringly obvious how broken our relationship was. I never saw it as I was – how they say – blinded by love. But I realised something coming out that relationship. I'm not perfect. I never claimed to be. Our breakup was just as much my fault as it was his. In the end he told my sister (as I refused to talk to him) that he found me too confrontational, and he was actually afraid to tell me it was over a year earlier when he wanted to. Afraid. Like, for his physical well-being.. afraid. This news stunned me. I'm not a violent person, though do have a tendency to fly off the handle verbally when really angry. Unfortunately, I take after my father in the temper department, and that wasn't fun at all growing up. Unknowingly, I'd brought that side of me into the relationship. It scared the hell out of me. I vowed to never let that happen again. I also vowed to never let things go unspoken in a relationship again. If you're unhappy, say it. Angry? Say it. We'll have it out, sort it out, work it out and then move on. I wanted everything out in the open. I'm not a mind reader. An open and honest foundation is what I wanted my next relationship to be built on.
And it was, for many years. He and I built a relationship together. We had both been hurt before and agreed and compromised on what we wanted and how we would deal with the bad times when they occurred. It felt like my first, real, adult relationship. We fought, we dealt. He got angry, we dealt. I got angry, we dealt. It kept us honest and strong. For years it was as if we were the ideal couple. Looked up to by our friends and family. We weren't just 'lovers', we were the best of friends. I was so deliriously happy, and for all I knew/could see.. so was he.
Then in 2008, the year I call my 'terror-year', we moved to Australia. 3 major things happened in 2008 for me, all in the space of 8 months. First, I had surgery for gallstones. If anyone has had gallstones, you'll understand my pain and anxiety at having to go through 7 months of pure painful hell before that surgery. I guess though, having the surgery was a good thing. It meant my ordeal was over. The second, was my mum dying from breast cancer. She passed away in June and it devastated the family. 5 months later I was on a plane and crossing the Tasman Ocean. I had to get out and away from the sadness. Being in a new country (as I'm originally from New Zealand if you didn't now), I was hoping to start a new chapter in our lives. We both did. Little did I know that moving here would be the crux to our impending doom.
You think as the years go by, you start to have an appreciation for how your spouse acts. You can understand them without them having to speak. You know them, inside and out. And they know you. So how was it, once again, I didn't see the end coming? And for over a year? After all our promises to keep things open, even his proposal and promise of a wedding back in NZ, he keeps his misgivings to himself and drops the ball on me surprisingly one day. It was my ex all over again. This all happened last year. We had it out and decided that we'd try and work on things. We'd give it a year, move to a new town (for reasons to do with his work) and start a fresh. Kalgoorlie was suffocating me. Or rather, us. I started to resent this town with my very being. I hated the dust, the heat, the people. We thought leaving and starting somewhere new would be good for us. We both promised to try and work on our relationship, as we thought we owed it to ourselves after so many years.
Now, I'm not trying to make myself come off as the good guy here. The reasons why we started to deteriorate, I take my share of responsibility for. I probably played a slightly larger role in our demise this time around, and I promised to do better and try harder and change the rut I'd gotten myself into. And I did. For that whole year, I tried. I worked hard to change, and I did (as much as I could). The last thing was work. I'd left my previous job for various reasons among which was to become a housewife, something that he was happy about in the beginning. But trying to find work again in Kal was tough. If you didn't have a trade, you were out of luck. I went to many interviews, but just couldn't land anything. I worked my butt off trying to sort things out between us. But you know... it's hard to try and fix something when the other party has no interest.
A couple of days before my birthday in Feb this year, we decided it was over. I pointed out that he didn't want to save our relationship, as I never saw him try once to help fix anything. After a while he relented and told me he'd 'checked-out' of the relationship a year before when we decided to work on it, but didn't have the heart to tell me straight he wanted out. So instead of laying everything out, he let me think for an entire year I had a chance and led me on. He knew back then as he was hugging me and kissing me and telling me he loved me, that he actually didn't. He knew after a year that he wouldn't change his mind, but didn't want to hurt me.
How on earth was this NOT supposed to hurt me? He let me tear my hair out for a year trying to find ways to bring the spark back to our relationship, when all along he wasn't interested. Not only was he not interested, he'd already put his feelers out for another woman. Or two, it now seems. When I asked him why he'd strung me along for so long, he just gave me the same answer. I don't know. I'm sorry. I don't know. I was livid. I could very well have easily hated the man, but I just couldn't. I still can't. We talked, rather calmly I might add which is something I am amazed at. I cried. He cried. I was expecting myself to blow my top after hearing what he'd done, but I was eerily calm. I think I even laughed, smiled and comforted him at some point. Here he was, tearing my heart out and I was telling HIM it was going to be OK. What the hell is wrong with me? I begun to think to myself, did I also check out of this relationship a year ago? Why am I not howling and damning and cursing him? Why am I not begging this time for another chance? And it hit me... for that entire year I tried to work things out, even though he said it to (even if he didn't wholeheartedly mean it), I never once told him I loved him. I never once told him, “I love you too” when he said it first. I would always just smile and nod. When he told me back then that he'd wanted to spend the night with another girl (which he couldn't bring himself to actually do in the end), did that admission unconsciously register with me? Did my brain keep itself emotionally distant from him for the inevitable end that was coming? I couldn't help but think it was so.
In an ideal world, I would have packed what I could carry and hop on the next flight back to New Zealand where I would lick my wounds. In an ideal world. You see, he and I had the opportunity in Australia that we just couldn't have in New Zealand with the jobs we had and amount of money we earned. But here, we could. Two years after moving here, we bought out very first house. It was under both of our names. We had a mortgage, but would never have to pay rent again!! Now with our breakup... what was to become of the house? We're not actually married, rather in a de facto relationship, so the laws afforded to us are slightly different. After much discussion, we decided to sell. If I thought buying a house was arduous, selling is even worse. At the same time, I had no job to speak of. I was expecting to be kicked out on my rear. He was still moving to another town because of his job, and since both of our passports are expired, I was pretty much stranded in Australia. But instead, he said to me that we will both move to the new town, (Geraldton. On the coast!! Beach baby!), and he will still be there financially for me until I can get a job. I was very appreciative of this, but also in two minds. I felt, or still feel, like a hanger-on. I had my family in one ear saying come back to New Zealand, and him in the other ear saying come to Geraldton as a friend and flatmate. I couldn't go back to NZ without renewing my passport, and he was leaving in a couple weeks, so I decided to move to Geraldton with him.
All the while I kept thinking to myself, what are you doing girl! You know full well that the two of you are over! Are you clinging to him hoping that that will change? Are you willing to put yourself through the hurt of seeing him start a relationship with someone else right under your nose? But I had no other choice. I had nowhere to go. Until my house sells and we split the difference, and my passport is renewed, I am stuck here with him and his new roaming libido. And I won't lie, it kills me to see him move on so quickly as if the last 10 years of our lives together meant nothing.
But do I want him back? Honestly... no. It's not love that keeps me here, it's comfortability. And maybe that is even worse. As of today however, I am not nearly as angry or saddened. I still feel those sometimes though. I still have a cry every now and then when extra things just get piled on top of my already steaming pile of forcibly suppressed emotions. After 33 years of being raised in an environment where showing weakness and tears was looked down on, you kind of get used to bottling everything up and just letting it quietly fester. Maybe this is or was part of the problem. I know what I need to do. I need time to work on me. In the last 3 years I lost precisely who I was. After I quit my job, I became a shut in. I stopped socialising. I stopped caring about the world outside my front door. That reflected back on my relationship, and had a large hand in ruining it. I need to find who I was before I become a 'we'. I've been through a bad break up before, and when I thought it would destroy me, I eventually got over it and I have to keep telling myself that I will this time too.
He and I are actually quite comfortable as friends. We still joke around, still call each other idiots and poke fun at each other. We still do things for each other like cook, laundry, shop. It's hard to see him going down a different path then me now, but I know that once I find a path of my own I can start to work on me.
So what can I do to make me feel better? Find work. Play with my cats. Get out, meet and talk to other human beings. Get creative again. Now things have settled for time being, Tethered Redemption will come back into production. I promise.
After 14 years it's hard to find out who you are as a single person when you're so used to having another half. The first few months of 2014 have been the worst, I just hope as the year goes on things get better. I may be in low spirits right now, but it can't, and won't last forever.
All in all... on some level... I think I'm OK.