Category Archives: Relationships

Isolation

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Wow!  Hasn’t the world changed fast? Everything that was familiar about our lives has been turned upside down in a matter of days.  Around the world, fear of the unknown is at the highest it’s ever been for generations.

For those of you in the early stages of a divorce, worried about finances etc, probably living alone for the first time in years or even decades, the compulsory social isolation is a double whammy. The very time we most need a hug, none are available.  We are now physically cut off from friends, family and grandchildren. Continue reading

Love in the time of Coronavirus – Part Two

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(contd from Love in the time of Coronvirus – Part One) 

I had already told the Matchmaker he could call me, so I didn’t feel I could call back and tell her I’d changed my mind.  And the ‘rules’ of the contract were that he and I would arrange to meet for a 45 minute coffee and that would be that.  I was supposed to call the Matchmaker afterwards to say if I wanted to pursue another meeting with this man or move on to the next match.

He called the next morning. We settled on a time to meet and he left it to me to choose the place.  Having already checked him out on social media and seen where he worked, I chose a coffee shop in the mall close to his work and texted him with the details.  All was set.

I was still very sceptical, and, if I’m honest, a bit nervous. But it was only 45 minutes, and it was a public place. So we met.  He was waiting for me, and although I got my wallet out to pay for my tea – I don’t drink coffee – he insisted on paying.

It was a bit awkward at first – I don’t see how it can’t be in such situations – but we started talking.  In my ‘other’ life, I do a bit of writing, so I’m always conscious of my characters’ body language as a way to interpret how they are reacting deep down, rather than on the surface. And ours was reserved. We were leaning back in our seats.

And then he told me something about his relationship with his kids and grandkids that really impressed me.  This was definitely someone for whom family comes first.

A little while later, after chatting some more, I realised we were both leaning forward in our seats. And then he asked if I would like to go out for dinner at the weekend.

By that point, we’d been talking for almost double our allotted 45 minutes.  We’d skirted a bit around politics, neither of us exactly coming out with where we stood on things, but I still had the sense we were at opposite ends of the spectrum… and that, in my head, had been a dealbreaker for me.  But he was a nice guy, and the relationship he had with his kids and grandkids… well that spoke volumes about his character.

So, still a little sceptical, I said yes to dinner, and when I got home, called the Matchmaker and thanked her for making the introduction.

I still was not sure if there was anything in this…but I wanted to find out more, not just about him, but myself.  Is having a man in my life – at this stage of my life, after all I’ve been through – something I want?

(to be continued)

 

Love in the time of the Corona virus – Part One

Photo by Rakicevic Nenad from Pexels

It’s been a long hard journey to get to where I am now.  The first two years after my ex left me were sheer hell.  Since then, with the support of friends and family, and a lot of hard work on my part, my life has become one that is richer and fuller than I could have imagined even three years ago.  My heart and my mind are finally at peace. What more could I possibly want?

A man?

I don’t need a man in my life – I have proved that – but do I want one? Continue reading

Sleepless Night of the Soul

I rarely have of those nights any more. You know the ones I mean… where no matter what you do, sleep refuses to come and your mind tumbles wildly through the night hours. Not like in the early days after my husband left me, where night after night, week after week, sleep was elusive and, when it came, filled with painful dreams. But I experienced one tonight.  And now, here I am, at 5am, sitting at my desk with a cup of tea, staring out onto a dark bleak snowy landscape waiting for the dawn to break and banish the night.

It makes sense why it all came to a head tonight.  It was Valentine’s Day on Friday and all that online gushing about how wonderful other people’s spouses or partners are can kind of get to you after a while.  And then on Saturday I hosted an annual winter party that for fifteen years my ex and I hosted together, so perhaps it was only natural that he’s been on my mind a lot.

When I couldn’t sleep tonight, I picked up my iPad and started scrolling through my Facebook page.  I came across a quote that made me  immediately think about her.

Yes her.

You know who I mean. Continue reading

The Cruellest Month

T.S Eliot’s poem claims that ‘April is the cruellest month’, but when it comes to marital break-ups, that title belongs to January.  In fact, Family Lawyers refer to January as ‘Divorce Month’ as it’s the busiest month of the year for divorce filings.

Why?  Because many spouses hold off for Xmas to be over before they drop the bombshell.  And although my husband didn’t leave me until – ironically enough – April, I can now look back and say with certainty that December 27th, 2014 was the day he checked out of our marriage both mentally and emotionally.

With the divorce rate now being 40% in Canada, it’s possible you have found yourself in this situation over what is supposed to be the happiest season of the year.

They say only fools give or accept advice, so what I’m going to offer here is an observation from someone who is almost 5 years down the path in which you might have suddenly found yourself.

Bear with me.

I went out for a New Year’s walk along the river path this afternoon, and what I saw was a perfect metaphor for where you might have unwillingly found yourself.  Along with several other spectators, I stood on a bridge and watched as some chunks of ice  floated along the river, before smashing into an ice jam.  There they lay, stuck, for some time, until one or two broke free and slid under an ice bridge.

We watched.  Would they reappear… or would they be trapped under the ice until spring came along to release them?

But no… first one, then another emerged from the ice and continued on their journey.

It still wasn’t smooth sailing.  There were more ice jams, more ice bridges to navigate. Sometimes they got caught once more… but they finally broke free and continued down the river.

And that’s what the journey through divorce feels like.  Especially in the early stages.  You get battered from place to place until there are times when you feel like you are drowning.  But then you re-emerge and continue down your path.  It’s still not going to be plain sailing, and there’ll be another ice jam.  Once again you may get stuck… but once again you WILL break free.

As I headed towards the second bridge which would bring me back across the river, I found it closed off to the public. Structural problems, apparently! So I had to make a detour to a smaller bridge about 100 yards away.  This one was decorated in roses, the flowers of summer.  And as I made my way across it, I spied 2 pieces of ice floating quite happily down the river.  But what they didn’t know, was they were approaching some small rapids.  They were in for a bumpy time.

And that made me think about this post-divorce  journey. In the beginning, it’s rough, so rough that you feel like you’re drowning in the pain and anger and loss and grief.  But, over time, it starts to ease. You go through a smooth patch… and then it gets rocky again.  Smooth for longer this time… then you hit some rapids… but then it eases and you float along.

And so it goes.

If you’re on this painful journey, trust me, you’ve got it, girl.  You can do it.

This year, you will discover that you are stronger than you ever believed possible.

The Ghosts of Christmases Past

There are times when I find it hard to believe this will be my fifth Christmas since my husband left me.

Christmas is a special time for every family. As an immigrant family, far from home, parents, siblings and cousins, we created our own traditions over more than thirty years  – everything from the number of trees we put up, to their decorations, to food and presents.

It’s a common belief that the ‘first’ of anything after a divorce (or death) is the hardest, but I’m not sure that’s true.  That first year I remained in total shock as the ‘firsts’ rolled around.  My daughter gave birth to her first child – a wee boy –  two days before that ‘first’ Christmas, so mixed in with all that grief, there was a huge amount of joy.

For me the ‘seconds’ were the hardest, because that’s when it became real.  This was what it was going to be like for the rest of my life.  Also, by two years in, my friends and family felt I should be ‘over’ it so it wasn’t something anyone except friends who had been through similar experiences really understood..

Navigating these past few years, as Christmas has taken on a whole new shape, has been tricky.  While life generally bumps along, it’s at times like this, when society suggests that families should be at their happiest and closest, when those family fractures feel deeper than ever.

But while many of those Christmases over my 37 years of married life have blurred into one, I’ve had a couple of experiences over the past few years that have made these Christmases amongst the most special of my life.

The first came about in November 2015, about 8 months after my husband left me.  I’d gone back to Scotland and was visiting an old friend.  She’s known me (and my ex) forever, and tears were streaming down my face as I told her what had happened. A little while later, she handed me a small parcel.  When I opened it, I discovered it was a handmade cross stitch Merry Christmas Banner. “I want you to have something new, something special this Christmas,” she said.  “Something that has nothing to do with him or your past.”  She’d started making it for me not long after she found out the news of my separation. The work- and thought – that went into each stitch, made me feel so loved and protected.

The second…? Last year my daughter invited me to stay over at her place on Christmas Eve so that I could be there on Christmas morning to see my grandson’s reaction to his presents under the tree.  It was an experience I will never forget and one I would never have had if I’d still been married.  Forget the pile of presents,  his eyes went as wide as saucers when he saw that Santa had ‘drinked the drink’ he had left out for him the night before.

Drinked the drink.

A beautiful innocent phrase born out of pain and one that I will treasure for the rest of my life.

Second Wives

Did you notice the curtains across the picture of the woman on the left?  When I saw them –   in real life – I assumed they had been placed there to protect a valuable picture from the sun.

But I was wrong.

The woman in the picture was the first wife of the man in the picture on the right. After she died, and he remarried, he insisted his first wife’s painting remain on the wall. Turns out his second wife wasn’t at all happy about that, and had a curtain rail placed above the first wife’s painting so she could draw the curtains across her predecessor’s image when her husband was out.

Which got me thinking…

I imagine being the second wife of a man whose wife died is quite different to being the second wife of a man who left his first wife for you. It must be very heady stuff to have a man abandon his marriage and family because he is so in love with you.

But, if a man has done it once, does the second wife ever – in a secret, vulnerable moment – experience a feeling of insecurity that if he’s done it once, he might do it again?

I like to think so… but I don’t know.

What do you think?