Sunday, 10 July 2022

Notes on the collapse of a marriage

The long hiatus in updating this blog has largely been due to the collapse of my marriage.

Things first hit the rocks in October of last year when my wife told me she wasn’t happy. To be fair I wasn’t happy either, I’d long ago ceased to be important to her beyond my role as provider. Leaving aside our kids who will always be the most important thing in the world to both of us, it had become increasingly clear over several years there was a long list of people and things simply more important to her than I was. That’s not to say I played no part in the situation, I put my head down and ignored what was going on; I thought if I just worked harder it would be enough, but it wasn’t.


My estranged wife has always liked to get involved in things; when I first met her she was a leader with a Brownie unit where she lived, and that set a pattern for our future. There were always people or groups who needed her help, favours, volunteering, errands to run, jobs to be done, and she liked to be at the centre of it all. After we married and had kids it skewed in that direction, from Mother and Baby groups, to being a school visitor, to various roles on the PTA, to doing the admin for the drama club, to becoming a chaperone for our daughter’s theatre group, to organising festivals and catering at our son’s rugby club there was always someone or something. On top of these commitments, and in many cases because of them, a rolling cast of perpetually needy and entitled shithouses seemed to latch on to our marriage, the more dysfunctional the more interesting she seemed to find them.


Outsiders might have wondered how she managed it all, given we both work full time, were raising young kids, and spent much of the last decade renovating and extending the family home? The more observant might just have noticed the quiet, unsung role I was playing in the background, but of course most people didn’t notice. So I slowly faded into the supporting role of bit part player in my own life; I worked my job, I ferried the kids to their activities, I fixed things when they broke, I did a shitload of DIY, I cleaned up after the pets and I stepped in to keep the plates spinning when one or another needy cunt was having a ‘hard time’ or needed something doing. I let this happen. 


At the same time the intimacy was fading from our marriage, it was left to me to initiate anything, and even then it was hit and miss as to whether she would reciprocate. That’s the problem with supporting bit part players; they’re just not very exciting, even if they’re needed to keep the production running. I’ll admit I became resentful, given the effort I was putting in to provide for my family, and the responsibility of managing chronic kidney disease and its consequences, I was pissed off to be prioritised below people who in some cases were little more than lazy, irresponsible cunts who brought nothing positive to our door and expected someone else to pick up after them.


The pandemic and lockdowns perhaps represented the start of the fracture. Home schooling the kids brought certain pressures, but we were both able to work from home, our finances were unaffected and our extended families were largely spared the worst of Covid. But for my wife the loss of the whirlwind of activities was hard, she had been used to flitting from one thing to another, scooting from place to place, poking her fingers into different pies. That suddenly stopped. For me, the opposite was true, I no longer had to get up early for the long commute to work, and if she didn’t have her many commitments I didn’t have to cover them. I didn’t get off completely free, I was furloughed for a spell and spent the time replacing the decking in the back garden with a sandstone patio. But I didn’t mind, as it kept me busy and saved thousands of pounds in labour costs.


As restrictions lifted I noticed that she was starting to take on more responsibilities at work, she was going in earlier, coming home later, popping in at weekends when the office was supposedly closed. The warning signs were there and I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t detected something. Changes in how she dressed, more makeup, more perfume, wearing her hair down, the nights out with colleagues, she was clearly making an effort for someone, but it wasn’t me.


I suppose in the back of my mind I was relying on what we had to hold us together. We were financially secure, double income, living in a nice house in a nice village with kids who enjoyed a comfortable lifestyle. She always wanted something, and she was used to getting what she wanted. She chose the house, she got the extension she wanted, the garden renovations, the hot tub, the lockdown puppy etc… even if it always seemed that whatever she got wasn’t good enough, just wasn’t enough, it was somehow my fault.   


So in October my world seemed to collapse. I persuaded her to give marriage counselling a try and it seemed to work for a while. The affection and intimacy returned for a few months, we spent quality time with each other, even if there were times when the needy cunts would come crawling out of their holes demanding attention. But with hindsight it was too little too late, she wanted more excitement in her life, and whoever she was involved with at work was giving her that (something that’s much easier when you don’t have to pick up the hard yards). 


In January she told me she didn’t love me any more, I asked her if there was someone else and she simply changed the subject. I moved into the spare room and in March she asked me to move out (which I agreed to on condition that she and the kids could stay until we find a buyer). Around the same time I realised she’d been taking the pill again, given I had a vasectomy five years ago, it wasn’t to prevent me impregnating her. There were other signs of his presence elsewhere, but they’re not particularly relevant. 


So far I’ve gone along with most of her demands as I'm wary of the fallout for my kids if it all kicks off, I’ve agreed to a divorce, I’ve agreed a maintenance package for the kids, a contribution from my pension (this annoys me a little as I was paying in before we even met), a 60/40 split of the house in her favour and an access arrangement. I’ve also agreed to rent for a year so she can buy a new place first so the kids have some stability. But I’ve also made one decision that may have repercussions in the years to come… I've decided not to acknowledge her affair. 


Firstly, I don’t want to traumatise my kids any further, especially my daughter as our relationship is already troubled. Secondly, my wife is taking a huge risk having an affair at work (would it be exciting if it wasn't?); her employers, and a number of other staff, belong to a fundamentalist Christian sect who would look upon such behaviour with horror (I’m assuming the boyfriend is not part of their religious ‘community’, if he is he’d be shunned for his behaviour). More importantly her job gives her control over confidential financial information about other members of staff, suppliers and customers, I’m not sure a secret sexual relationship is in line with legal, professional and ethical standards expected in her role, it’s not something my employers would be happy about. If she loses her job it will be very bad for the kids, but if she loses her job before we’re legally divorced it will be very bad for me too.


However, because I haven’t flagged the affair, she seems to think she’s got away with it, and as she’s always been inclined to, she’s  pushing her luck with my sense of duty. Having asked me to leave so she can sneak her new boyfriend around for sex in the marital bed when the kids aren’t there, she’s still inclined to play the victim card. When I visited recently she complained about having to pack for her house move by herself, and also having to lift heavy boxes down from the loft (one of my old jobs). I stayed my tongue, but what I really wanted to ask is why the lazy cunt boyfriend wasn’t willing to lift the boxes down when he came round to fuck her? 


There is a real danger here, she is high maintenance, and if he’s settled into a friend with benefits level of commitment I’m worried she might expect me to pull his weight outside of the bedroom. Maybe it’s just that old habits die hard, and maybe the new boyfriend is ready to man up for the stream of shithouses when they come looking for someone to do the hard yards for them, but I’m not sure? At the moment he’s fucking another man’s wife with no strings attached, leaving aside the workplace risk, there’s a world of difference between that and manning up for someone who brings a whole baggage train with them. Does he realise the fuck tonne of work she expects from her partner? Does he care? We shall see. 


What simply isn’t going to happen is me playing the simp. I’ll always be there for my kids, but before the end of August I should have received my share of the house sale, and by the end of the year the divorce will be completed and all her leverage over me will be gone. What I know is that she has gone to the top of her budget to buy her new place, which is a come down from what she is giving up, and even with my maintenance money (which is more generous than legally required) her free spending days look to be over. My Mum speculates she’ll need to move the boyfriend in at some point to maintain the standards she expects, but I think it’s easier said than done. Will he really want to stick around once the novelty wears off and she hooks him up to the baggage train? Besides, how do they normalise the relationship? It’s a relatively small workplace, and people tend to notice things (what exactly were they doing on those Saturday's when nobody else was in the building, was it covered by Health & Safety policies?); will people really buy it if they conveniently fall in love the week after her divorce is finalised?


It’s clear from the level of strops I’m currently suffering, that not all is well as it could be in the garden of 'lurve'. I suspect the deterioration in my relationship with our daughter is the root of it. The relationship has been up and down for several years, she believes her brother is my favourite, which simply isn’t true, but her behaviour can be challenging. I feel part of it is copied from how her mother has treated me in recent years, but whilst that isn’t clever, it’s a whole different level of unacceptable coming from a daughter. We’ve had spells where things have improved, things lifted at the end of last year following the counselling sessions, but then fell again when her mum dumped me. A big part of it seemingly stems from my wife’s clumsy attempts to deflect blame; she couldn’t reveal her affair, so she told our daughter ‘she didn’t get to this point on her own’, which our daughter read as an indictment of me. Consequently, our daughter doesn’t want to spend time with me, and I’ve reluctantly agreed to give her space, which in turn seems to be frustrating ‘fuck buddy’ hookups for her mum.     


As for me, it’s been six months since we could be considered ‘a couple’ and I’m slowly rebuilding, I look at it as six months into an eighteen month project. I’m renting a flat not too far away, it’s not where I want to be, but it’s not forever. My relationship with my son is as strong as ever,  and I’ll do everything I can to get my daughter back to the same space. In the new year I intend to buy a bigger place in the next borough over. It will be close enough to see my kids regularly, but just far enough away to make it awkward for her to drop a shift on me when her assorted shithouses start acting up.  If I wanted to be a real dick I’d have moved back up north to be with my family, but I want to be there for my kids.


I’m looking forward to a new start. I’ve realised that it’s not possible to spend your life with someone you don’t trust, who sees you only as a beast of burden. I’m not currently looking for a new relationship, it seems best to deal with the consequences of this relationship ending before jumping into bed with someone else. In time I hope to meet someone I can be happy with, someone with a bit more dignity, who doesn't want to live life like a cheap daytime soap. If I don't I'll still be content with what I do have. I’m disappointed at the loss of the lifestyle I worked incredibly hard to deliver, but I don't miss my ex, and my share of the house should set me up solidly for the next stage of my life.


Financially things will be a bit tighter, but I’m lucky in that I’m pretty low maintenance, I never spent a lot on myself anyway. I actually live well inside my means, so being back in control of my own finances hasn’t been too bad, even when paying child maintenance. Suddenly I have long term options I never thought I would. By March/April of next year I should be in a place I own, and with a mortgage I should be able to claw back a couple of hundred quid a month I’m currently spending on rent, which I can use for something more productive  

  

Health wise things are okay, back in May the Nephrologist was happy with my eGFR and most other readings. She did add Bisoprol Fumarate to my morning medication to try and push down my blood pressure a little bit, and she did encourage me to lose a bit more weight as I came in at 106kg which was a kg heavier than last time they weighed me. Since then I’ve dropped down to 104kg, which is as low as I’ve been in over fifteen years. I’m still aiming for 100kg, and I think I might manage it by the end of the year as I’ve been mixing up lots of walking with regular resistance training and occasional jogging. The long walks have worked wonders for my mental health, and as I cut loose all the needy, entitled, shithouses who dragged on my marriage, so I cut loose all the resentment I felt towards the situation they put me in.


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