Category Archives: Relationships

You might enjoy this.

This is a wonderful monologue by the fabulous actress Lesley Manville.  In it she voices a lot of emotions most women whose husbands have walked on a long-standing marriage might recognise.  She does them with pain, humour and hope.

Enjoy – and if you can donate, please do.

Watch short monologues from some of the UK’s biggest acting stars & help raise money for performers hit by COVID-19

Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day is almost over here in Canada and I find myself, this evening sitting here, reflecting on the lessons my mother taught me.

I look back on my childhood and think of the magical moments we shared;  of Mum waking me at dawn on May Day to wash my face in the dew; of her standing behind me as we waved my brother off to work in the shipyards, the windows rattling in the wind, the rain pouring down; of her driving me down to the baker’s on Dumbarton Road to get rolls for breakfast; of standing on her toes as she danced me around the kitchen floor; of standing by the window on a Scottish island and gazing out at the full moon; of watching the deer gathering on the hills at dusk.

My mother taught me about the magic in life.

She also taught me about the hard, cold realities.

Mum was widowed at sixty-three, and lived twenty-two years more on her own before she died. Neither of us realised it at the time, but in those twenty-two years, she taught me how to survive the years after my husband abandoned me.

You get on with things. Yes, you cry and rage and grieve, but you get up and get on with things.  You carve out a life for yourself that is yours.

Yours.

Mum, you were and are the strongest woman I ever met.  You lived through World War Two, bringing up a child, my brother, never knowing if Dad would make it home alive.  And you did it.  You thrived. You were the heart and soul of our family.  Dad might have provided the home and support and money in our lives, but you gave us the support and love.  It was you who made sure our clothes were warm when we ventured out on those cold frosty mornings to school.  It was you who provided those ‘picnic’ lunches that i loved so much.

It was you who, after Dad died, walked that beach, sobbing your heart out, but found that inner strength to survive.

It was you who, at seventy-six – yes, seventy six! – years of age applied for your first job in more than fifty years – and got it, driving a jag around London. (And got two proposals of marriage in the process – which you turned down.)

Oh Mum, you were amazing.  You didn’t think you were… but you were.  You are – and always will be –  the heroine, and inspiration,  of my life.

I love – and miss you – Mum.  Every day of my life.

Five Years On…

In less than an hour, it will be exactly five years since that morning when my ex came downstairs, while I was making breakfast, and told me our almost 40 year marriage was over. So what would I tell my then 5-year-ago- self about how her life would be 5 years on?

I’d give her a warning that the first 2 years will be hell.  Year 1 she will be in such a daze, that 5 years on she’ll be able to remember very little about it.  Year 2, when everyone assumes the worst is over, she’ll still be in the middle of ugly legal proceedings, and the reality will set in that, yes, this is how it is going to be for the rest of her life, so she’d better get on with it.

I’d warn her that the man she devoted almost 40 years to will treat her worse than s–t – until he gets what he wants, and then, in e-mails,  will start referring to himself by the ‘pet’ name they used when they were still married as if nothing of any real consequence has happened.  (Until she tells him not to.)

I’d warn her that her family will never be the same.  Her relationship with her kids will change – some for the better, some for the worse – but the family unit she had nurtured and treasured all those years will be irrevocably changed.

I’d warn her that she is going to have some of the worst – and some of the best – days of her life.  That although she had lost someone very important in her life, the way would now be free for other wonderful people to show up, people she would never have had the chance to meet if she had still been married.  New friends – as well as the old – who will bring colour, and depth and joy, and experiences to her life.

She’ll visit places she has dreamed about for years – decades even – that she would never have got to visit if she’d still been married.  She’ll witness sunsets and sunrises, share a bottle of wine in a piazza in Italy with a friend, climb a sacred hill with another, sing along with an inspired musician under a starry November sky, stand atop Masada in Israel alone, climb to a magical Scottish lochan with her daughter and four-month-old grandson.

I’d warn her she will make mistakes along the way.  When someone walks out on a marriage, especially when they have another person waiting in the wings, it’s not a spur of the moment decision.  Their exit is carefully planned, so they enter divorce proceedings at a huge advantage – clear headed and determined – while she will be reeling from her broken heart.  It’ll be like running the most important race of her life against an elite athlete while she is hampered by a broken leg.  But… friends, family, and (hopefully – finally ) a good lawyer will help her redress that balance and get her to that finish line one way or another.

I’d warn her that friends and family will finally come clean about what they really thought of her ex.  They’ll be saying these things in the hope it will make her feel better, but in actual fact it will have the opposite effect and she will feel stupid, blind and foolish.  It they could see those things so clearly, why didn’t she?  And the truth will be that, yes, she did see those things too, but she filed them at the back of her subconscious out of love.  Love for her ex and her kids.

And love is never something to be ashamed of.

And then, slowly, gradually, she will start learning to love herself.  She will amaze herself by the things she does, even in the midst of that pain and grief.  She will amaze herself with her courage, whether it’s travelling alone, fighting back in the divorce, going to work for the first time in 40 years, getting up and talking in front of groups of people, setting  up her own business, getting that story published… just putting one foot in front of the other day after day after day after day, until one day she will finally look back and see just how far she’s come.  It might not have been the path she’d hoped to travel, but it will still be a good solid path.  A journey to be proud of.

It has been said that you don’t ‘move on’ after great grief or trauma, you move forward.  And so it will be for her. She will carry it with her, but she will move forward.  At first the burden will be so heavy and painful that she will sink to her knees and sob into the carpet alone at 2 o’clock in the morning.  But then, one morning – 5 years later – she will wake up to a beautiful spring morning, with the birds chirping lustily outside her window, and embrace the knowledge that it’s good to be alive. She’ll have plans for the day – things and people to look forward to.

She will be okay.

You will be okay.

 

How’s it going?

This Saturday, April 25th, 2020, it will be exactly 5 years since that horrendous Saturday morning, April 25th 2015, when my husband came downstairs as I was making his breakfast and announced our marriage was over.

Five years.

Five years.

I thought I was over it.

And then, this weekend something happened which brought me (temporarily) back to my knees.

I had hoped a good night’s sleep would help me put things in perspective, but it didn’t.  So when I got up this morning, I wrote about it in my Morning Pages, hoping that would exorcise it…  but all I did was stain the pages with tears. Continue reading

Coping With Isolation

I’m very lucky where I live. We’re not yet restricted with how many times we can go out in a day, and I live beside a river path, so nature is close at hand.  Almost closer at hand now.  With the pre-Covid constant hum of traffic erased, the birds seem to be singing more sweetly, the river bubbling more peacefully, and some people, including myself, are able to take the time to slow down and listen to nature.

It’s the same walk I took every day for a year after my husband left me five years ago.  Did I notice nature then? I can’t remember but I doubt it.  Every day was a painful blur. I’d walk that river path with my hood pulled over my face and sunglasses covering my eyes so people couldn’t see the tears falling from them. Continue reading

Isolation

Photo by Dương Nhân from Pexels

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

Photo by Mareefe from Pexels

(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.