So this truly has been a year of firsts. I write this on the first anniversary of the night that I left a verbally abusive, destructive relationship and honestly I feel nothing. No regret and no hate just a weird, distant feeling that it was another life, another me.
In fact I feel quite the reverse, that last year with my ex seems like a life sentence and this year, one of the happiest. Even though a quick scan of social media tells me it looks like he has someone else, I’m not upset, it’s like I’m looking at a stranger, not the man I was planning to marry. Pictures of him show him with a slightly younger, carbon copy of his sister (in fact I first thought it was his sister) who had a more-than sisterly obsession with her younger brother. When we first met she was also online dating on the same site as him and delighted in telling me, many times, how ‘funny’ it was that her brother kept coming up as her perfect match….
I know, I sound like I’m bitter but I’m not. I just feel sorry for her, whoever she is knowing that the pattern will repeat over and over again as it did with me, his ex wife and those that came before and will come after her. I just hope for her sake she is a shoe size 39 as fortunately for her, all my shoes are still for sale on his eBay account. I hope she enjoys having her life controlled by him, even to the point where he will cook all of her meals and control the portions she eats as he did with me. Didn’t I mention that before? Oh and the regular, monthly weigh ins so he could check that I was the same weight I was as when we first met and that I still fitted into a size 6. I sometimes look at my engagement ring locked away in my safe and feel sick at what it symbolizes. Thankfully my friends now tell me they were planning to stage my rescue if I was ever stupid enough to actually go down the aisle.
So a year ago, I was sitting in my car with all my things squeezed into it, parked outside my own flat crying inconsolably, afraid to go inside and resume my single life, wondering what I’d done wrong to actually lose a fiancé.
Wow I’d really failed this time.
I never thought I’d feel happy again. But, it shows what true friends are for. I am lucky. Friends called me every day to ensure I was kept busy and I didn’t have time to wallow. Soon after my break up on the eve of my birthday, a couple of my closest friends called me up, brandishing a bottle or two wanting to come round and celebrate with me, thinking I’d be alone and lonely. It was a gesture I’ll never forget. They were quite disappointed to find I was actually out on a date but it was the thought that counted. I’ve also learnt that how being with the wrong person is so damaging and being with the right person is a revelation. I often wonder too about the other dates I’d been on, were they lucky too did they ever meet anyone? And more importantly what if Mr W had not sent me that email? Where would I be today if I hadn’t got on that plane to Portugal?
So talking of firsts Mr W and I have just returned from our first official holiday together. Admittedly it starts with another few firsts – our first argument. I’ve been lied to so many times by boys that it really shouldn’t be a surprise but, when Mr W lied to me, it was somehow so much harder to swallow. I didn’t expect it from him of all people.
It starts when I text him on Sunday night a week or so before we are due to go away and it takes him 4 hours to reply. 4 whole hours. I am immediately suspicious since his normal return rate is about 30 seconds. A few over-cheery messages follow. I am even more suspicious. He says he has been out for dinner. I instinctively know that he is out with his ex-wife, it’s so obvious.
I know, I hear your alarm bells ringing, mine were too. Eventually he admits she is there to sort out her things in their old flat. He tells me I need trust him but as I read his text I am so angry I’m shaking. So I wait drink a glass of wine, then another, then I ring. I tell him I will not be lied to and I will not be with someone I can’t trust. I tell him that unless he cuts of all contact with her by the next time we speak I will walk away. I don’t want her to be a part of my life too. Over the years I’ve seen how she has done her very best to hurt and control him and make him feel guilty, in more malicious ways than even my ex could dream up! She’s even infiltrated my blog now – I cannot believe it.
I might be over-reacting but like many, I have been burnt badly before by a guy I loved and dated on and off for 7 years. He kept his long term ex on the side for our ‘off’ times, and was also generally playing the field and all the fields around, as I subsequently found out, so now I refuse to let that happen again, I just move on.
I haven’t spoken to my ex since the day I left, apart from one text, let alone see him. What is the point of going there? The ex is an ex for a reason. You have to cut them off, there is no other way to move on. Is it acceptable to continue to speak to them regularly, when you are with someone else? A month, a year, 2 even 3 years after? Is it OK to keep a photograph of them next to your bed (as happened to my sister with a guy she went out with for 5 years. Every single night she turned the photo of his ex girlfriend sitting on the bedside table to the wall and every morning it was back facing her). You have to ask yourself if they are still in touch, why are they? Have they really left? Mentally and physically?
We stumble over our feelings, my damaged trust and our first row. I rarely get angry with anyone and it’s genuinely really hard for me to get cross with him for long particularly when he smolders at me on Skype and makes me laugh.
I even surprised myself how upset I got. I don’t often wear my heart of my sleeve but this time I realize that, in fact, I must really like him to feel so strongly about this. Despite the slightly rocky start we truly have a fantastic first holiday and I apparently achieve another first in our relationship – official girlfriend status.
To Be Continued