Mending our Fractured Relationship
- May 22, 2017
Mr Sunshine and I have been together for 13 years. We very nearly didn’t make 12.
I was one of those statistics when I met him in 2004. The one that says nearly half of marriages end in divorce. Carrying some pretty hefty baggage in the form of three daughters from my car crash of a marriage, I didn’t for one moment expect that a blind date that had taken soooo long to arrange (it was set up by a mutual and childhood friend of mine) would ever turn in to what has been the best and most rewarding relationship of my life.
It sounds almost like a contradiction, doesn’t it? The best relationship of my life, which almost ended just about a year ago. And the weird thing is, I can’t put my finger on exactly what it was that drove me to ‘end’ things.
As I’d been so fiercely independent since my marriage ended, I found it really difficult to let anybody try and take care of me. Another contradiction; I wanted to be looked after, but I just couldn’t seem to hand over the reins. My divorce had been the longest and most nauseating journey to hell and back, with regular stops at Twat Central and Fuckedoverville, so my guard was well and truly up. I constantly questioned myself about why he (or anybody) would want to be with me, and wasted precious time and energy worrying that it would all come to an abrupt end. Eventually and thankfully my mind calmed enough for me to start to enjoy my fledgling relationship, and very soon I was basking in the warm and fuzzy rays of the first flushes of love.
Our relationship blossomed. We were in love; we shared a mutual adoration of each other; we laughed; we had fun. Everything was perfect. Almost.
We’d been together for around three years when we discussed moving in together. It wasn’t so much a discussion looking back, more of a declaration: moving in together would be madness. I had my girls, he had his daughter. Apart from the lack of room to house us all comfortably, the previous years hadn’t been plain sailing where our girls were concerned. Never before had the saying “Blood is thicker than water” been more true. Squabbles between the children would divide us, sometimes for days at a time, and with me often engaging my gob before my brain I would say hurtful things to him that couldn’t be taken back. This would be a good time to point out that I am NEVER wrong. And I RARELY say sorry. After all, what’s the point in saying sorry for things you’ve said, if they’re true and you don’t regret saying them? At times like this, I choose my words very carefully: “I am sorry if what I said upset you”.
A couple of months after our declaration, I fell pregnant. I’d like to tell you it was a joyful time, but it wasn’t. Ugh. At that point I’d have rather scooped my eyeballs out with a teaspoon than go back to sleepless nights, shitty nappies and cracked nipples. Discussing my news with my sister, she very philosophically and sagely told me “Oh well Jane, you might as well get on with it. You have three already, one more won’t make much difference”. And get on with it I did.
At this juncture, most people would have rethought their living arrangements. I didn’t. To me, selfishly and stubbornly, it didn’t make a difference whether Dave agreed with my decision to have the baby, nor did it matter to me whether he wanted to move in or not. Our priority to this point had been for our children to remain in their respective schools and the decision had been taken not to move in together, so in my mind a new baby didn’t change that matter. Thankfully, he agreed.
So there we were, happily living in a ‘modern’ relationship. He lived in his house, 25 miles away from my house, where I lived with our son and my girls. And for the most part, it worked. We’d even done the unthinkable, and got engaged.
So what went wrong? Now would be the time to tell you that I wear my heart on my sleeve; I say what I think; when I love, I love with every fibre of my being. It just seems that I got a bit lost along the way. For months I was feeling constantly taken for granted and I began to tire of the twice weekly trips down the A1 to stay at his house, when I just wanted to stay at mine. We’d bicker and snap at each other for the most inconsequential of things, and I certainly knew that my place in the pecking order was well below the children, and more often than not I felt it was below his other mistresses, Madam Golf and Mademoiselle Football. The resentment built, and instead of using my default setting of ‘gob off’, I stayed silent. That is until one night last May when the mounting pressure built to such a crescendo that it exploded into a complete shit storm of negativity and bad feeling: I told him I didn’t love him anymore and that I wanted to break up.
The days that followed were what I can only describe as cadaverous. He gave me the space that I’d asked for and never once pressured me into talking further until I was ready to. This gave us both time to gather our thoughts as well as giving an insight as to what being apart would be like. Eventually when we sat down to talk, I told him all the things that were pissing me off, and basically performed a head to toe character assassination of him, slashing and dissecting my way through his flaws, whilst he struggled to maintain his grip on the last tenuous threads of his self-esteem. But not once did he sling any mud in my direction; he simply said the words that were a complete game changer for me: “You’ve broken my heart. You’ve turned my world upside down. You’ve laid all of this on to me. Are you not going to give me a chance to put things right?”
He’s the kindest, funniest, most generous and loving man I know, and if there were an award for Dad of the Year, he’d win hands down. Never once has he shirked his responsibilities to our son (apart from the day he was born, but that’s another story!) which is beautifully evident when you see them together. And for the past year, I truly feel like I’m in pole position; he goes over and above to put me first. I won’t lie, he gets on my tits like you wouldn’t believe at times, but then I might very well be just a tad difficult myself occasionally! I just thank God that he made me realise that we had something worth fighting for, something worth saving.
There are two things that I want him to know. The first one I tell him every single day. The second, I struggle with, but I have a vague suspicion he realises: I love you Mr Sunshine. And I’m sorry. I’m truly sorry.
My name is Jane. Loved up and no longer lost.