I have come to the conclusion, after much pondering, that I may well have had my second breakdown/burnout/whatever it’s name is now.

The weird thing is…I didn’t feel it, as such. I’ve felt crushing anxiety – that much is true. About a year ago I upped my low dose antidepressant because of all the bother that was starting the academy take over. So, yes, the anxiety was there.

What wasn’t there, was that deep dark numb pit that I fell in. The one that, last time, I hadn’t known was swallowing my whole path until I was in it head first. When I think back to that time – weirdly around this time of year too (!!!!) in 2017, I can’t remember a great deal. I remember that first moment. I remember days staring out the window at the field opposite accompanied by my cat and a hot drink. I remember that I didn’t shower much and I wore my depression hat – a glittery silver woolly hat – to hide my grief.

So no, that hasn’t happened. I’ve avoided the deep dark pit. Don’t get me wrong, a few times I’ve thought I’ve seen him far up ahead but I was wrong.

Anxiety- yes. Depression – no. However, there are signs that I’ve not been quite right recently.

First, Wildcard noticed. He notices everything. Second, I’ve put weight on and my nails are short. Third, I can’t get on top of my house. You’d think with not working for 6 months I would have mastered it. Despite feeling like I’ve tried nearly every day, I’ve failed. Completely. More recently, I’ve even stopped with my facials and putting make up on and I think that was why Wildcard was so suspicious when I went to the Christmas Market spruced up like a turkey. This last month I’ve stopped using the Fabulous App. I’ve stopped drawing and painting.

There is sufficient evidence there to say that despite feeling otherwise, I’ve had some sort of mental episode. Why haven’t I felt the depression? Well, it could be my tablets working. It could be that I am generally happier (that needs some pondering). It could be because of Wildcard. He’s the only new thing in my life.

I’m avoiding stuff though. I’m plodding along, doing whatever I actually do each day and avoiding a whole heap of crap in the corner. I know I need to deal with it. I know that if I don’t, eventually that pile of crap is going to devour me. I just can’t seem to start or sustain a start.

I was notified this week that I have been writing this blog for five years. Five years! My blog is nowhere near as successful as some, and particularly some of you who read my blog. I know in part that’s because I don’t always put myself out there and join in with other blogs. Something else I stopped doing and need to start. But my near 500 followers mean a lot to me, the ones that have been with me for a long time (Anna and Susie) and those who comment and give me advice (Kay and Writerswithoutwords). Thank you to all of you. 🥰🥰

It was a shock though to realise that I started this blog because my life had been through a major life changing event- the permanent separation from my husband. I wanted a new life, a new me, and this blog was going to document that. My Cinderella style transformation.

Yeah. That hasn’t happened.

Life has hit me with a few more catastrophic events to deal with.

And yet, I am a very different person than I was five years ago. My priorities have changed. My goals. I’m still lost but in a different way.

I’ve written before about not quite knowing how I want my life to be. Not being sure how or where to start.

I think I’ve realised that there is a really good reason I haven’t done much over the last six months.

I just wasn’t ready.

Six months rest and recuperation is nothing over the course of a whole life time. So my friend wisely said.

And so, whilst I didn’t feel it the same, I acknowledge the time nonetheless.

I was not ready. But now I am.

Jealousy and regret

It is a rainy day here in the UK. We’ve enjoyed weeks of sunshine and it appears to be over. I think I just heard thunder too.

I don’t feel great today. I’ve been letting things slide. I feel…yuk: tired, woozy head, little energy, little motivation. My head is racing with a million thoughts and possibilities. I’m not sleeping properly. I know I need to sort my diet, exercise, career, finances, house, love life…. I feel out of control. Not in a way that I am going to go and do something stupid. Just that there is no clear path, structure, plan. And I hate that.

We could, and probably should, talk about how I regularly make a plan and I never stick to it. I go back to this base point then try again.

This tells me two things:

  • At least I keep trying
  • I’ve not made the right plan yet

I feel like I am on the edge of finding the secret formula to a happy life but I need to find it in the swirling mess of possibilities in my head.

Last night I felt very low. Beaten.

My London friend has successfully traveled to her boyfriend’s (and Wildcard’s) country. I’m really happy and excited for her, and was glad I’ve been able to help, particularly when the airline staff tried to prevent her from boarding from sheer ignorance and arrogance.

Oh the symbolism!

Yesterday she messaged me to say she’d had an amazing first night with him and that he had proposed. I was so happy for her as I know that is what she wanted. But my goodness, it was like a punch in the stomach.

She’d had the experience I had hoped for and dreamed of. They discussed everything, and will get a ring in the next few months (he wants to save up for a special ring) and they plan to wed next year.

I wasn’t expecting a proposal on my visit but I wanted a conversation. I got neither.

I can’t describe in enough depth that heart heavy-soul sinking-accompanied by physical pangs of pain, that I felt. Jealousy is never a good emotion to have. This was more. It was complete and utter self loathing. I wasn’t as pretty as her. He doesn’t love me enough. I’m not good enough. Blah blah blah.

I know we are different people in different circumstances but it feels a little like I am in an alternative universe where I get the counter story to hers. I’ve explained our similarities- both divorced mothers of three, both work in education, been with our LDR approximately 2 years, LDR in the same country and similar ages. She has the promise for forever. What did I get?

Regular readers, you know this information dragged me down. I was exhausted – I had been at the zoo all day with my family and am feeling yuk at the moment. But this had hit me hard.

I went for a lie down and just willed myself to sleep, process and recover. But he called.

You know I couldn’t hide it. You know he demanded I told him. You know there is no point trying to lie about it. He always knows.

I told him repeatedly that I didn’t want to talk about it. He asked for a headline. I said ‘jealousy.’ I think regret is probably more accurate – so is the power of hindsight.

Of course, once he had that headline he wouldn’t settle until he had the full story. I explained. He asked “what is the problem?”

“He told her how much he loved her and missed her and then proposed.”

“Ahhh.” The moment of understanding dawned on him. “Well if you want a boyfriend who tells you he loves you and misses you, go find one. That isn’t me.”

Wow.

Notice his comment didn’t even mention the proposal?

He then proceeded to ask me a lot of questions – their age, length of their relationship, when they would marry etc. I don’t think the similarities were lost on him. But we then continued our conversation as normal and this morning’s call was normal too.

I’m calm now also. I want him to want me and love me. Forcing him to my way of thinking is not the way. Changing him to fulfil my needs is pointless. If he wants me, he will tell me. I don’t want to lose him so I will continue, as is, for now.

The focus is back on me, where it should have been for some time. The end of my current school career is days away and I no longer have the pull of needing a visit to Wildcard.

Time to sort myself out.

Day 1 – I am loved

My soon to be seventeen year old is fiercely independent. I am proud of her. I’m proud of her determination, her spirit. Her kindness. As a child, she was a timid, blonde haired, blue eyed fairy. As a young adult she is a fighter.

So to see tears well in her eyes tonight…was shocking. Tomorrow I travel. So tonight I asked her what she would like me to bring back. “Nothing,” she said, “just make sure you come back.”

She has been my support and my strength this last week. Nights of no sleep. Endless ruminating and calculating and searching. She told me to go, told me to put myself first. She was angry when my sister was unsupportive and actually phoned her to say her piece. Wisely, my sister didn’t answer.

But then, that shows love too, doesn’t it? My sister not wanting me to go. Actually being unhappy about it. Today, she messaged me early and we have spent most of the day together. There was no apology – her feelings are valid – but effort was made to build bridges.

Later, unexpectedly, she came again with my five year old niece who apparently was crying because she wanted to see me before I left.

My ex’s response was interesting but not unexpected. He flew off the handle, argued about the inconvenience. Later, calmer but not calm, he would tell me that he couldn’t understand how I could leave my children for two weeks or why I am not taking them on holiday instead. My daughter says he still loves me. I don’t know about that.

Money aside – one person’s tickets compared to four- I am going for myself.

My mum, in her own act of love, echoed by my best friend, told me to put myself first for once. Do what I wanted.

Whilst the pull of seeing Wildcard is the driving force, it isn’t the only one. I’m tired. Tired of worrying. Tired of anxiety. Tired of wondering how I will survive once my settlement money goes.

I say I, but it is we. Not just my children. I financially support both my sisters and my ex husband. I’ve paid both sisters’ rent this month. I’ve bought and cooked tea twice at my ex’s house this week as he has no money. Earlier in the week I paid for shopping. I paid for fuel in cars that I will never drive. Tonight, my youngest sister walked out my house with bags of food as she has none either. And it is more than that. I’ve listened and counselled and advised. And yes, to an extent, they have for me too. Whilst I will always help when I can, and worry that I may not be able to much longer, I am tired. Tired of worrying about everyone.

So, tomorrow, I have chosen myself when I go on the first part of my journey. I’m terrified but can’t wait for that feeling of pride in myself when it turns out ok. The freedom of travel alone.

And then, when I finally arrive in Wildcard’s country, I will have time with the man I love. I will have time with his family, who barely speak English and so can’t talk about things that may weihh me down. I will also have time to myself. No house to clean, no sisters to mother, no ex to support. I am going to rest and enjoy but I am also taking my laptop and plan to work too. I will help out round the house – if Wildcard’s mum will let me – and I am hoping we can do some cooking together. I will miss my children more than anything. That is my one regret. But, I hope to come back stronger and be the mother they love, not this shadow-self.

Wildcard is still very anxious about me coming. And that shows love too. His list of concerns, some valid and some just out there, must come from a place of love. I hate that he is worrying and I hope that it doesn’t marr our time together. But I need this trip for more reasons than him, although he remains the biggest one.

So now, I sleep. In 11 hours I will be at the airport. And my act of self love will begin.

Underwhelmed

You never thought that I would write that, eh?

My state of being seems to be constantly overwhelmed although I do an amazing job of ploughing through it 90% of the time.

So why the title? Allow me to explain.

Today is the three year anniversary of my dad’s death. It’s a weird one, because I actually count yesterday too. On the 6th June 2018 we made the decision to end my dad’s suffering and take him off the respirator which was prolonging his life. He was tired, bruised and had suffered for two weeks in attempt to pull through. He was staying alive for us. Fighting, but ultimately losing.

That day we said our goodbyes. And then my sisters and I stayed with him all night, watching him fall unconscious, singing to him, talking to him, loving him the best we could at his bedside. So although he died at 1am on 7th June, we lost him on the 6th.

My eyes are stinging as I write this, but there are no real tears. Maxed out antidepressants will do that to a girl. If you remember, a month ago when all the crap with work started I was reluctant to up my dose – defiantly not wanting work to be the thing that put me on max dose. Honestly, I’m still not sure I should have agreed – I’m not the walking zombie I was four years ago. But I have taken them and today I am coping.

The fact is, for the first few years, every significant date seemed like a massive hurdle, a tsunami of emotion. Today, I realise it doesn’t matter what day it is. I miss him every single day. I wish he was here every single day. So the date is irrelevant.

Except of course it isn’t. And I probably will cry at some point. But, I’m not the mess I was last year, or the year before.

And I’m convinced dad sent me a little gift last night. Late at night I received a message from a friend telling my that Wildcard’s borders are finally opening and that at present, the UK are on the list for entry.

You know I believe in the power of coincidences. And for me, at this time, being told that is a gift, a message….

Life changes. It has its ups and its downs. It ebbs and it flows. And you just have to ride the waves, keep your head above water and keep swimming.

Being honest though, the underwhelmed title is less about me and more about Wildcard.

Last night, whilst morosely but stoically remembering the pain of my dad’s passing, I was also filled with an excitement and happiness about the news. (As someone with anxiety and depression, I am a pro at feeling conflicting emotions at once.) I went on to Ryanair to see the flights and allowed myself to reach in to the now no so distant future to when I can fly to Wildcard.

So this morning, I was even more looking forward to speaking to Wildcard. I sat, drinking coffee and attempted to complete a painting I had started of me and my dad. Up until this week, I haven’t had the strength to finish it (thank you antidepressants).

So when he called and we had got the daily ‘good mornings’ and ‘how are yous’ and ‘did you sleep well?’, I waited for the moment…

‘So, do you have any news?’ At this point he is in the car driving to work. He is a little late, as always, and 19 months in, I know the exact moments of his drive to speak and when to wait whilst he manoeuvres out of a junction etc.

He hasn’t mentioned the borders. Maybe he doesn’t know yet?

So I tell him.

“Ah yes, around the 15th I think.”

So he did know. And that was that. No hasty discussion about when I was coming, not even excitement that it won’t be long until we are together.

I was stunned. There was a few moments of silence.

“What baby?” He glanced at me as he drove.

Maybe this isn’t the time. He’s driving, he is late for work. It is my Dad’s anniversary. His friend died yesterday. We are still on amber.

“Nothing, I’m ok.”

And so, today, that is what I will settle for. An underwhelming ‘ok’.

To my love,

I know I’ve been different these last few weeks. Probably months. We have both been through some tough times, haven’t we?

I can not tell you how many times I have wished to be alongside you through your dark days, supporting you. I hope you have felt that I have tried, despite being so far away.

And you, you have a way of talking sense, even though you don’t always fully understand my situation. You make me laugh, show great patience. I hope you know how much I appreciate that.

You have said from the beginning that this relationship would be hard. Long distance relationships are by nature. The time apart is hard, and all the heightened emotions that come with that. And then, for us, there are cultural differences which are not so much a problem for me and you but are for others – our governements included.

And then…covid. Covid has kept us apart for over a year now. So what was always going to be a challenging situation is now even more difficult. The building hope of a visit and the devastation of another cancelled trip. Not knowing when we can be together. Not knowing where this relationship is going – it is on pause, almost.

I wouldn’t change my time with you though. I would rather have this than anything or anyone else. Our time has created a love so deep, so powerful that we have survived life’s ups and downs and are thriving through Covid’s restrictions.

Ironically though, for me, a love like that comes with a fear of losing it. Our relationship is so precious to me and I am so grateful that I have found it that I am perpetually scared it will be taken away from me.

No doubt, some of this comes from how I feel about myself and my confidence. You are so wonderful, that I can’t help but think that you deserve more. Someone more beautiful, someone younger. I can’t understand what you see in me, perhaps. In turn, this fear and low self worth means that at times I act in a way which could jeopardise what we have. I doubt and question and test. I need constant reassurance that this is real, my love is returned equally. That you feel the same…you still want me.

Time should have proved that to me, I know that. But time has a sneaky way of adding to those fears too. After 18 months of daily contact, albeit online, it is not surprising that we have fallen into an easy life together. The honeymoon period over, perhaps. I crave the look of desire you once gave me, the times you told me I looked beautiful. Even the times you asked if I loved you, missed you…

It is a normal part of every relationship, I know that. What makes it harder for us – well, me – is that the distance means I don’t have the other parts. The cuddles and kisses. Holding hands. Sitting together, thighs touching. You stroking my hair or putting your hand on my back to guide me as we walk. The knowing smile and look in your eyes as we gazed at each other over dinner, a reminder of the love we had just made or the promise of what was happen next when we were alone. All things that I loved in that one week we were together.

The distance makes me need this more. My insecurity and fear makes me crave this more. The time apart and the difficulties we have individually faced make this essential for me.

I know you love me. I know it in your actions and how you tell me every day. I know you miss and want me in how many times you call and your perseverance in this relationship. And yet, at times, I crave more. I can’t have the physical so I need need words – out loud, spelled out. I know that’s not fair to expect from you. It is not like you don’t say it. And you shouldn’t have to say it more just to appease me.

As time has gone on, and disappointment and missed time together (covid, grrrr) has plagued our relationship, I’ve found that I am scared to dream of our future. I once pictured you here. I dreamed a life for us. Now, it seems too much to hope.

We have talked about it enough for me to know you are waiting until we are.physically together to talk everything through and make decisions. I respect you for that, don’t disagree with your plan. This is the rest of our lives and there is a lot to discuss. It is absolutely right that this should be in person after spending more physical time together.

But the anticipation is killing me. The not knowing, the questioning and guessing and wondering… all not-good for an insecure overthinker like me. And as time goes on, I fear that I will do something to make you not want me anymore. Or that someone better or easier will take you from me.

And to see others reunited…getting married…that is hard. I want so much for that to be us. To know that you want that, me, as much as I want you. To know the difficult beginning is just that, just the start of something wonderful.

I want a life with you. I want to give you a good life. Be there when you need me. I want the excitement of building a life together, you and me, making the best of this world. You inspire me to be better and I want the same for you.

I love you so much. I’m so grateful you are in my life. And I’m sorry for my fears and how they sometimes taint the good that we have.

Don’t give up on me baby.

Time for the truth.

I always believed that time flies when you’re having fun. I am not having fun. Lockdown is not fun, and yet time is flying.

I have one week left until half term and I’m exhausted. I’m really enjoying my new role and I like the new leadership at my school. Work is hard though. On the plus side, it’s keeping me busy and helping time to pass.

I’d had the mildest hope of travelling in February, 1-year after I had last saw him. I think I knew all along it wasn’t going to happen. When we discussed it some months ago – well let’s face it, when I accused him of not wanting me to go – he talked about the vaccines in both our countries and the hope that we would all be vaccinated in the UK by April. Easter is the perfect time: I have two weeks off,off therefore I can spend some time with Wildcard and with my children. There’s also enough time to quarantine and be tested ready to go back to work. So, after that discussion I booked flights for the beginning of the Easter holiday.

So you see, time flying wasn’t a bad thing. And then the new variant came. Lockdown 2 came, well, lockdown 2 for teachers. And I actually felt a bit of relief: some time to get myself together, focus on my job and myself. And, yeah, lockdown means I have more opportunities to talk with Wildcard each day. I was still hopeful. I accepted quickly that February was a no go. But April, April was the time. Flights booked, Vaccines promised and time.

Sure his country shut borders to the UK. There was still time though. Vaccination was going a-pace in the UK, plus we were in lockdown and the cases were starting to fall. There was still time.

On Thursday night, hope died. An email telling me my flights were cancelled. Worse, was when I opened the app to see that all flights to his country have been cancelled for the next 6 months.

I can’t describe the shock, the pain, the fear. I sobbed.

All hope was gone. In that moment, the future was gone. There’s no way he would wait all that time and surely he wouldn’t put his life on hold for another 6 months. Another 6-months of waiting. My heart broke. There’s nothing I can do about it.

Somehow I got through Friday in work. I actually think seeing the children and my colleagues helped a little; even the mask hid my swollen eyes a little.

The moment I saw him, when I got home from work and he called me, I cried again. I told him what had happened and he laughed because he was right, again. He laughed in disbelief that I would cry over it. Which made me cry even more because it felt like he didn’t care. I do him an injustice: he’s just more pragmatic, you’re coming summer” he said. His view is that it is life and there’s nothing we can do so there is no point getting upset.

Maybe he’s right – of course he is. But it doesn’t stop it from hurting. 6-months seems a long time now, a lot can happen and of course, in my mind, it’s all bad.

I know he loves me. He tells me he loves me, he shows me he loves me. If I dare to let myself believe it and experience it without fear then I know he loves me to my very soul.

But you want to know the truth? Finally, do you want to know entirely where all the fear comes from?

He wants a baby.

And you know what else? I want to give him one. I want a baby with him. I want us to have a baby together.

Here’s the thing: I love my children with all my heart and I wouldn’t change having them for anything. But I didn’t have them because I wanted a baby with their dad.

I want to have a baby with Wildcard.

In 2 months time, I turn 41. Time is running out – hell, it probably already has – but I still had hope. In a time where coronavirus didn’t exist I imagined 3 or 4 trips to his country in 2020. I pictured him meeting my children. And provided it all went well, I thought that maybe this year we would be married.

So whilst I recognised it would be difficult, there was a chance.

This, this is the root of my anxiety. The more time passes, the less likely that I can give him a baby. Whilst young, beautiful girls swarm around him, and family members try to set him up, I’m thousands of miles away, ageing.

Sometimes I guilt myself that I should do the right thing and let him go because it’s highly likely I can’t give him what he wants.

Just stop and think about that for a second.

Finally, I meet the man of my dreams. He is everything I want, I love everything about him. He makes me feel more alive than any other man has ever done and I want to share a wonderful life with him. And I want to give him a baby.

But despite that, despite all that love and attraction we both feel …I should let him go.

He is not stupid and his job has something to do with reproduction in animals – he must know, I tell myself, he must know and he still wants me. Maybe he is just hoping as I do.

Truly, I believe if our relationship ends it will because of this, if not directly then indirectly, because of my fear and my jealousy.

So there you have it: the truth.

Lose-lose

Earlier in the year, as I cried over yet another cancelled trip to see him (there were four in total), Wild Card told me to write off this year and not even consider coming as iw as just getting upset.

But it was really hard when, just as I went back to work in September, his borders opened. It became even harder when I started to see other couples on Facebook reuniting in his country. And getting engaged or married. Or just looking happy and smug and in love.

And then, then, Ryanair started flying there which means I could actually afford to go. £20 flight anyone?

Of course, there were a couple of sticking points to this plan.

  1. I am a teacher so can’t book time off. (Yes, I know, I get ‘all those holidays’)
  2. You need two weeks quarantine when you get back to the UK. See above.
  3. He told me not to come.

Number three was round about the time when Ryanair got up and running and I joked that I was on my way, even though I knew I couldn’t (see points 1 and 2).

He told me he missed me and wanted me there, but the thought of it really made him nervous. He talked of the quick decisions in his country that could leave me stranded there, the issues with travel and how he didn’t want me to get sick and end up locked away in a hospital, unable to see him.

Yes it hurt, and yes I thought he just didn’t want me to come (which he said he knew I would think) but I could see the logic in what he was saying. I could also see that it showed a lot of love and consideration for me too.

But, yes, it still kind of felt that he didn’t want me to come.

I told him that I understood and that I would only come when he felt it was safe for me to do so.

Of course, if nothing changed, I would only be able to go again in the summer holiday 2021 – 17 months after I was last with him.

The UK went into lockdown and I couldn’t have gone any sooner anyway.

As Christmas approached, I’ve played with the idea of going for the first weekend and asking for a day working at home at the end to complete the isolation. I never asked though.

And then, there was talk that maybe the Christmas holiday would be extended to allow for self isolation. I dared not hope. Good job too, because it isn’t going to happen.

The shiny star on the tree was when I read that our Government have now decided that from December the quarantine is reduced to five days if you pay for a private covid test and it comes back negative.

A few quick sums in my head and…I could actually go. Except..

Except he still hasn’t talked about it since. When I was a little upset in my pre-menstral state last week, he told me it wouldn’t be long. The vaccines are nearly there. Maybe February or April and I would be there.

I couldn’t help myself. This week I told him about the new changes. He asked if I would travel over Christmas and when I said maybe, he said ‘where?’. I said I didn’t know.

The news of the reduction in quarantine got a ‘good’ comment.

Tonight he asked me about my Christmas holidays again and I asked if he was planning to take some holidays himself. He didn’t know, and I asked him to save some for when I would visit.

‘When are you coming?’

I replied that I didn’t know and I was waiting for him to tell me it was OK, remember?

He said it was not up to him. I’m a grown woman and I can make my own decisions. He said it was my home too and I could come whenever I wanted. Apparently I keep talking like he doesn’t want me to come, so now he’s telling me to come when I want but it is up to me to do the research and take responsibility if it goes wrong. But I can come whenever I want, it’s my home too.

I tried to say that we should both decide but he was having none of it. And he said that he wasn’t angry.

I have looked at flights. I could go. But I would miss Christmas at home. Not sure my kids would be impressed even though they don’t see me for half of it.

If I go, and he really doesn’t think it is a good decision despite what he has said, I lose.

If I don’t go, and actually he has told me to come if I want because he wants me to come… but doesn’t want to be responsible for encouraging me if it goes wrong – I lose.

I can’t win. I think he probably still thinks it is a bad idea but he never backs down on anything he doesn’t agree with so the fact that he has makes me think he does what me to.

Would my kids understand? They would spend the whole of the following week and New Year with me. They spend most of the holidays with me usually, so it is not like I don’t see them. Lots of divorced families do it this way, not splitting it more intricately like we have done.

I would really miss them, but I would be back after a week. I haven’t seen Wild Card for 9 months. But I would hate to upset them.

But if I don’t go, and nothing changes, it will be April before I get another chance.

I just don’t know. Lose, lose, lose.

D day

Divorce discussion day. Decision day. Dreaded day. Call it what you want but I was sure that he was going to be a step closer to making a decision about a future with me following this discussion.

I’m scared.

Recently he was contacted by yet another ex girlfriend: this one is the one before me. I knew little about her until this point, only that she existed. Maybe because the other two have been in contact more, I know.more about them. He assured me they were just friends, that all his relationships have ended with conversation and not fighting. He is happy to be friends with these girls, but that is all. I’m not sure how much they realise that.

After some questioning, he told me that she had loved him – loved him a lot. When I asked about his feelings, he paused. He said that he had felt something for her when he was with her – visiting her in her city (about 3 hours from his) – but when they were apart he forgot about her and felt little. I asked why they had separated and he said there were problems that were hard to explain but that they had talked and agreed it was for the best to end the relationship.

So, maybe you can see why my nerves have been heightened.

I don’t know whether he considered marriage with her or not. I know he didn’t with the other two and he made that clear to them. With me, he is clearly thinking about it and deciding whether it is a possibility in the future. He asked when we met whether I would consider it as a possibility in the future, because that is what his culture dictates. He didn’t just want a casual relationship with me. If I had said no, I wouldn’t be with him now but it doesn’t mean that we will definitely get married either.

His culture does not have arranged marriages as such, or as we in this part of the world imagine. But they do consider the suitability of matches closely. He has been offered girls as prospects for marriage. “I have a daughter, would you like to meet her?” That type of thing.

Maybe that seems strange to us. But not too far in the past, that’s the way English couples would consider marriage – the suitability and benefits of two families aligning. My beloved Jane Austen and Charles Dickens novels say it all.

He is of a modern generation where he wants to marry for love but at the same time, I am aware that his culture dictates that he considers the suitability of a marriage more closely than we do.

Do we even consider that? From my experience, we fall in love and that naturally progresses to marriage. It’s what we all want, isn’t it? Do we ever sit and really discuss and consider our future? Our expectations and what we want? I’m not sure how many of us do. I’m not sure how many of us ask these questions of ourselves. Not when we are young, anyway. Its definitely something you do as you get older and after a failed marriage.

So when those feelings of falling in love fade, which they naturally do, we are left with the hard work part of making a marriage work. But if, fundamentally, those people are not a good match, then no amount of hard work is going to be successful. That’s what I believe. That’s what I have learned.

In today’s society, I don’t need a man. I have a good job, a home, a car. I could be single and society doesn’t expect me to remarry although they may ask the questions. So, in that case, marriages ending are more acceptable.

In his culture, I guess it is different. There is a strong emphasis on family, extended family and marriage. The family work together even when a child is married. There is mutual support. Divorce happens, but there are more rules and laws around it than here. It is not surprising then that he wanted to know more, understand more.

We had the conversation yesterday. It was difficult.

The summary is…he couldn’t understand if I was saying that my ex was not the right person for me, why did I stay with him so long and have three children? I explained that I was young, he was a good man and I didn’t want it to fail. I wanted to work on it. That there were periods of good times but they never lasted. But ultimately, it was never going to work because he wasn’t right for me. I admitted that it was mistake to stay for so long. I should have left much sooner. Hindsight is a wonderful thing.

I felt like he was disappointed with me because I didn’t leave after my first child when I knew things weren’t right but then because I stayed he was disappointed with me for leaving at all. I couldn’t win. I stayed for the right reasons and I left for the right reasons. I should never have got back with him, I know that. But I got my son from it so I will never regret it.

I told him I didn’t want him to think bad of me and he said he didn’t. I tried to reference my decisions into his own – he hadn’t married the other girls because they were not right for him. I tried to stay in my marriage for my children but he wasn’t right for me so it didn’t work. He couldn’t understand why I stayed, why I had three children and why i wasn’t happy if I said he was a good man.

I told him that I never felt for my ex like I feel for him. That I know what I want and need now. Life is too short to be unhappy and the longer we were together and tried, the more unhappy we were. I talked of the atmosphere and the arguing. I told him that he was a much better match for me, he understood and inspired me.

Sadly, I have no idea if he truly feels the same way. I guess he does, but I don’t know. Am I enough? With his experiences and expectations and cultural differences, he seems to be making a decision to whether I can be that person he is looking for. With his age and experience and culture, can he (and I) be sure that I am the one? He didn’t openly confirm either way which left me feeling anxious.

If I am not, then I will just be another ex girlfriend who loves and lost him.

Blue

As some of you have perhaps worked out, I’m not feeling too great at the moment.

My ‘pretend everything is ok’ generator has kicked in so I am still functioning each day. That’s a good thing I suppose.

But underneath that fake brightness is a swirling maelstrom of negativity, doubt, avoidance and confusion.

AVOIDANCE

I haven’t logged in to my work emails in two and a half weeks. Sure, there is no requirement to do so. The first week I consciously decided not to, to give myself a break. But as the days have slipped on, I’ve found I just don’t want to know. It’s just another thing to worry about – the academisation, my career….???!!!!.

I started the six weeks holiday with a plan to transform my house. Yeah, that lasted a week.

After a few months of lockdown frugality, my spending has increased somewhat. I need to get back in control before I start overspending. But I am avoiding doing it because …I just am. The situation is not helped by the following….

NEGATIVITY

My ex husband is well and truly pi#$ing me off. He has had some financial difficulties this past year, in part through bad luck and in part through his own actions. He has not given me any money towards the children in over a year. I pay for everything. I have also lent him money that I am not going to get back. His situation recently has become critical and he and his mother and now talking about how ‘he walked away from the marriage with nothing.’ First, this house was my childhood home. We bought it at a reduced cost from my parents. I have paid every mortgage payment since then. Second, he has contributed little to the household for the majority of out marriage – one of the many reason I divorced him. Third, I took on all our relationship debt when he left. He walked out of here with a clean slate. I reduced his child payments to help him afford a house. I helped him financially to get a house. I’ve paid for every birthday and Christmas present for our three children for years, whilst he has sat and enjoyed the gratitude from them as they did not know he had not contributed. Even if I had been able to give him a more substantial lump sum three years ago, that money would have long gone by now. He would still be in this mess because he is an idiot and I am not carrying him anymore.

DOUBT

Does Wildcard really love me? Is this as special as I think it is, or am I projecting my romantic sensibilities on an impossible situation? Do I want him so much because I can’t have him? Do I want him so much because of how attractive he is? Maybe he is just after a European wife. Maybe he thinks I’m stupid and naive and that I’ve fallen for his lies.

I’ve joined a Facebook group of other women waiting for borders to open. There is no denying, there is a pattern. Many of the women are older than their boyfriend. They’ve talked about the jealousy of their boyfriend’s friends because he has a European girlfriend…that has made me nervous.

But he calls me every day, multiple times. A ridiculous amount of times if you listen to my daughter, who believes it is actually more like one day-long video chat with a few breaks in. His actions very, very much suggest he loves me. He cares for me. He knows me. He inspires me. He makes me laugh. He shows pride in me. He shows jealous and anxiety when he thinks I am unhappy with him. He shows me he loves and misses me in all these ways every day. What more do I want?

CONFUSION

So, if he really does love me… what’s going to happen? There is no sign that the borders are going to open anytime soon. When will I see him? Will he wait? Should I be holding out at my age? Should I be looking closer to home? Would that make me happier? Could I cope with losing him? Would he pursue me or just move on quickly to one in a long line of women who want him?

So, yeah. I’m feeling blue.

Boyfriend advice.

I don’t care what job you have. As long as you have one and take pride in what you do.

I don’t care how much money you earn. Just be careful with how much you spend.

I don’t care about your qualifications. Pieces of paper do not truly show a person’s intelligence or wit. It’s shown in their ability to listen and communicate and their willingness to keep learning. It’s shown in their tolerance and respect of diversity.

I don’t care what car you have. They all have four wheels and an engine. Keep it clean and safe and take me places and I will be happy. Oh. And make sure you can afford it.

I don’t care if you find other women attractive. Other women are attractive and most are more attractive than me. I know that, so you don’t need to tell me that they are – I just need to feel like you want me, regardless of that and that you will always be faithful and loyal.

I don’t need you to tell me I’m beautiful every day. Tell me when you notice things – remember to mention, now and again, when you like my smile, or my hair or how I’ve dressed. Those little moments add up to a lot. If I’ve put effort in to look nice, you need to put effort in to tell me you’ve noticed.

I don’t need you to like my family and friends. Just respect that I do, and be polite and courteous to them. If I want us to spend time with them sometimes, do it to make me happy. Because it will.

I don’t care if you don’t wear designer clothes. Just be clean and dress up when the occasion requires it. I will always tell you when you look good.

I don’t need expensive gifts to feel loved. I can buy things myself. A small thing that shows a lot of thought is much, much more important to me. The thought really does count.

I don’t care if you don’t go to the gym regularly. If you enjoy going, go. If you need to work out to be healthy, great. I don’t care about ripped muscles, six packs etc. Just look after yourself and encourage me to do the same.

I don’t care about going to fancy restaurants, hotels etc etc. Those places mean much more when they are for special occasions. Just be with me, focus on me – look at me when we talk, not your phone or the TV. Hold my hand when we go for walks. Give me a kiss when you walk past me. Ask me how my day has been and care about the answer. Cook with me, clean with me. Watch films that we both like – ask me to watch something with you. Suggest places we can travel together – I just want to experience life with you, from the boring to the spectacular.

I don’t need you to spend every moment with me. I like that you have a life and interests outside of me. Just make sure you keep me involved by telling me all about them – I want to share your happiness. And let me know you miss me when I’m not around.

I don’t need to orgasm every time we have sex. I can feel pleasure without an orgasm. I do need foreplay though. Every time. Focus on that instead. Make me feel like you want sex because of me. That you want me. If you do that, I will probably orgasm most times anyway.

Tell me, show me, that you love me, every single day. Forgive me when I’ve done wrong and I’m sorry – you don’t need to punish me as I will do that myself. Every day, make me feel like I’m yours, that I belong with you, and I will be faithful and loyal and loving for the rest of our lives together.