Breaking the silence: The truth about separation.

separationPIN IT

I was standing in the backyard of my mothers house when I told my husband I didn’t want to be married to him anymore. It was a couple of days after I had found about about the affair… and a few minutes after he admitted that he had told the girl he had been seeing that he didn’t love me. After he told me what he said was true, that he didn’t love me anymore. It was few minutes after my heart had been smashed into a thousand pieces. It wasn’t long after that that he began to beg, that he told me that he didn’t want our marriage to be over. That he didn’t want to leave. That he didn’t want this to change things. But it had, of course. Hearts don’t forget words like that.

It had changed everything.

I never thought I would be the kind of person to end my marriage. I never thought I would be the one to finally say, enough. I never thought I would be the one to stop giving of myself.

But I was.

For the days between that day and the day that he left the country, I didn’t sleep. I tossed and turned next to our nine month old baby while my husband slept in the room next door. I retraced the conversations in my head, trying to figure out how we had got to this point. I retraced the months beforehand. The tears and the anguish. The fights and the petty arguments. The hurt and the pain. The betrayal and the loss.

You don’t get infidelity when things are going well.

It’s been almost 12 months now and I must admit I still spend many nights thinking about what has happened. Retracing the stories of our lives in my mind. Wondering how we got from the lust and the butterflies and the love when this all began all those years ago… to here. I thought so much about where we had come from that I started to forget the build up of betrayal after betrayal, I started to forget about the lack of respect, the broken promises, the pain. A fallen marriage is more than just infidelity… a lot more.

I started to think I could go back. I started to think I should go back. To try again. It took one brief conversation to realise I couldn’t. Wouldn’t. To remind myself the only way to go now is forwards. Into the light.

Separation is hard. It’s a year of unknowns. A year of growth and hurt and bitter words. It’s a year of ups and downs and roundabouts.

When it begins, unexpectedly, it’s nothing short of frightening.

It’s as if you’ve just consciously walked into a dark room when all of a sudden the door locks behind you. And you begin panicking, because you’re terrified because the walls are closing in on you and it’s cold and it’s lonely and so you start looking for a key or a window or some kind of escape… but quickly you realise, there is no way out.

There is no escape.

And you sit on the floor like a child and you beat your fists and you cry and you feel like the tears are an endless river. They fall like they will never stop. But they do stop, because they always do. No one can cry forever.

And then you sit for a while longer, and you stare at the wall that you cannot see. And you wait.  And then after a while  you just start making the best of what you’ve got. There is wisdom in no escape. There is joy there too. And over the weeks and the months the room became a little lighter and the walls a little further a part, the air became a little less stale and the fear became a little less palpable.

It has nothing to do with becoming a better person or running from the pain or hiding it away or even fixing it. Grief like that doesn’t disappear and there is nothing broken to be fixed, just experience and pain to be lived through… It has nothing to do with any of that but instead everything to do with accepting what is happening right now, both inside and outside the seas of your mind. Accepting the shit and the hurt and the pain and the grief and at the same time not letting it overcome you until your naked and alone and frightened in the dungeon of your own mind begging for mercy. You don’t have to be the victim, you can choose another way. Some days that’s a choice that’s to hard to make and some days you just have to let yourself feel the victim for a moment or two before you are strong enough to let it go, but it does get easier. Every day it gets a tiny bit easier… A big part of this journey for me has been about not just accepting the pain of it all but understanding that even in pain there is great joy. And even when you hurt and you feel like shit and you have no idea where you are going to go from here, you can still laugh and love and play.

Because you are still ALIVE. Isn’t it great to be alive? 

And before you know it a year has almost passed… you are still in the room but the room has become more like a gazebo. The walls are open and the air is fresh. There is still no escape… because you know in front of you lies a sea of paperwork, of custody, of difficulty and there will be days when you want to run and hide, but there is no use in hiding because it will all still be there. But there is freedom here to. Freedom from the pain. Freedom from disappointment. Freedom from someone else’s bullshit. There is great responsibility here too. A responsibility to look at your own bullshit, to face your self in all your weakness and accept yourself for who you are today even with your doubts and your hurt and you insecurities. Even though you still wish things had played out differently. Even though you still have a little bit of anger and a little bit of hate and even a little bit of love. Accepting yourself with all your flaws and congratulating yourself for all your successes.

The year is ending and the air is fresh and clean.

Can you smell it? It’s bloody fabulous.

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  • November 22, 2013 - 3:48 pm

    Lila - You’ve started this difficult journey with such grace and dignity Sash, be so proud of yourself.
    The next bit, the looking at ourselves and working through our issues seems scary but it’s so amazing, the things I learnt about myself, well it seems like someone else was me for the entire decade of my first marriage and now I’m me, really me.
    You’re going to do an amazing job of everything.ReplyCancel

  • November 22, 2013 - 4:01 pm

    Kristy - Your writing is so powerful, because it’s so honest. Your story is so heartbreaking. You are strong, you’ve come so far in the last year. Congratulations for surviving. Baby steps.ReplyCancel

  • November 22, 2013 - 4:20 pm

    Michelle - I’m going to forward your post to my baby sister who is going through a very similar stage of her life at the moment. Her husband of 3 years sat her down and told her that he has been having an affair for2 years and that he is leaving her to start a new life with the other woman – they just welcomed a beautiful baby girl into the world.

    Yes she is heart broken, angry, confused and devastated but I am so proud of how far she has come, I don’t know if I could be so strong.

    Thank you for sharing this part of your life.

    xxReplyCancel

  • November 22, 2013 - 5:14 pm

    feli - When ever you are honest about your life like this, my heart always weeps a little for you not because of what happened but because of how strong you are for yourself and for Bo. I love how honest you are about your relationship and not many bloggers out there are.ReplyCancel

  • November 22, 2013 - 10:47 pm

    Laura June - I love the way in which you share this part of your life: not placing undue blame or focusing on all the ways you have been wronged. You focus on what is and how you feel and what you do about it, which is refreshing. I’ve gone through some similar things and have yet to openly share them because I’m not sure the best way to put it into words. When I do write it down I want it to come across much the way your posts do: when life gives you shit, cry, feel, do what you have to do, but ultimately keep living your life. Because you still deserve a life no matter what the Universe throws at you.ReplyCancel

  • November 23, 2013 - 6:09 am

    Kathy - Unfortunately. I know how you feel with a cheating husband and your world falls apart around you. Making an international connection for you would have had it’s benefits and downsides. The most difficult thing is with a young child involved and being a mother is so much more difficult than just ending a relationship with no children. The loss the grief of the life yu planned for your family is difficult that someone else has chosen to take those dreams away from you without giving you any consideration is difficult. I had to end my marriage as a result of his behaviour after many chances. I was angry and sad and shocked that he would cheat and come home and had the nerve to tell me he loved me. The loss of the life we were going to have together was hard but I could not be disrespected any more and with a 2 year old and a 4 year old kicked him out. He is causing significant stress to our lives even thiugh he moved on with one of his mistresses he was cheating on me with and he was with her for 3 years in the meantime he was cheating on her with someone else and was with that person for 3 years and now he is back with the first one again. All I can say is I’m glad it’s not me and this one won’t be the last. It has been 6 years now but I still can’t believe I gave him so m any chances and I know if I didn’t have kids I would have ended it the second I found out rather than give him a chance to improve. I think no matter what the situation when you are in love with someone and trust them to love and respect you and to find out they haven’t been it destroys all those memories and beliefs of what you really had. I admire respect your healing and mothering to Bo and you have come a long way in this past year and Bo is very is very lucky to have a nurturing and caring mother like you. Regards Kathy A, Brisbane, AustraliaReplyCancel

  • November 24, 2013 - 3:06 am

    Wanderlust - I clicked over to your blog from the Aussie blogs FB group and have read through your some your posts. I’m so sorry for what you’re going through. You write so beautifully and honestly about your experience. I love the hopefulness that is mixed in with the pain. I’m sure that will see you through this darkness and out the other side.

    You are so kind to offer free advertising (I took you up on your offer — thank you!). What a great idea. I hope many of them stay with you after the end of the year.

    Wishing you all the best.ReplyCancel

  • November 24, 2013 - 9:42 am

    Andrea - Yes. Thankful to be moving forward. Hell of a few years for you, for me.. For lots of people. It’s like the cosmos,conspired,to send out a big dose of crap at once. I’m glad to read of your gazebo, airy and breezy, because It sure sounds like you have had a hell of a time. As my blog friend cari says – onwards and upwards.ReplyCancel

  • November 24, 2013 - 11:38 am

    Chris - Thank you. I needed to read that right now. You express the emotions surrounding infidelity/separation in way I couldn’t hope to. Your dignity and courage is inspiring. All the best.ReplyCancel

  • November 24, 2013 - 2:15 pm

    Maxabella - Such heavy pain, so beautifully expressed. xReplyCancel

  • November 24, 2013 - 2:22 pm

    Julie - Like you, at 24 I made the decision I would rather be a single mother than live in a loveless relationship. I thought this would be healthier for Tamika and I was correct. At times I doubted myself, single parenting is a lonely ride. But now 21 years on, I am so proud of the choice I made. Like me, Bo will go to see a strong independent Mother who is not afraid to live life to the fullest even if it is on her own.ReplyCancel

  • December 7, 2013 - 7:28 pm

    Tahnee - Sash, this post is beautiful. And strong. I’ve only been reading recently and I don’t think I have commented yet, but I love the way you write – even when it’s about the hard, shitty stuff. Incredibly powerful. This one feels completely transparent and I felt that fresh, clean air blowing as I read to the end.. best wishes for the new year, I hope you and Bo feel that fresh air blowing all year long xReplyCancel

    • December 8, 2013 - 7:52 pm

      Sash - Thanks Tahnee. I try not to shy away from the shit, it’s part of what makes life so damn interesting. I’d hate to live in a magazine… I’d worry about getting crumbs on the carpet, I’ve got more interesting things to worry about. The fresh air is bloody beautiful. xx Hope to see you around here more often.ReplyCancel

  • December 17, 2013 - 6:01 am

    Inked in Colour: Coming full circle. - […] written a lot about things that are important to me this year. About single parenthood and about separation. I’ve written about feminism and the politics of infidelity, and consumerism, and parenting. […]ReplyCancel

  • July 21, 2014 - 5:03 am

    The thing about love is… » Inked in Colour - […] Breaking the silence: The truth about separation. […]ReplyCancel

  • November 12, 2014 - 10:30 pm

    BB - This hits so hard to home. I’ve been in a 3 year toxic relationship. At 8 months pregnant my husband tells me he loves me and the baby but he’s not sure he wants a future together. I was crushed. I find out from his mother he’s had a girlfriend the past six months and she’d known about it for 2 months before telling me. I felt so betrayed and disgusted. Especially after he admitted to a girlfriend and then is now denying it because he’s scared of divorce. Ashamed I had invested so much time and energy into helping him. Upset I had let myself get involved with someone so inconsiderate and selfish and toxic. Our relationship was far from perfect. He was never fully committed to it, and I realize this now upon reflection. I know this because he never made any compromises to his life for the sake of the relationship like I did. He abused alcohol and broke things and on occasion hurt me physically. I know I am better off in the long run getting out of it, but it’s hard with the baby on the way (roughly a month away!). It’s hard to let go of this idea of forever. Difficult to let go of the fantasy family life I was hoping for. He was never the person for me and is never going to become that person. The mistreatment was too much, but I still find myself hurt that he doesn’t contact me. Still find myself thinking about him constantly. I know it’s only been a month since I decided divorce was the option, and I still can’t legally file for another 7 days, but it’s a hard realization to come to terms with because I can’t help but feel as though I failed. I wasn’t good enough. If only I had done things differently… but I did everything I could. I just fell in love with a very damaged individual and allowed myself to be manipulated. I forgave things I never should have and got far too invested way too fast. It’s nice to know that there is light at the end of this all, that I will get through it. There are days when I struggle to get out of bed. I feel empty and lonely. Completely disinterested in life. I cry. I rant. I distract myself. I feel stuck and tormented. I’m sure the pregnancy hormones don’t exactly help with the grieving process, especially since I’m trying to stay calm for her sake. I worry that she will be a constant reminder of him. I worry that he’ll harm her the way he harms his parents and the way he harmed me. I worry that he’ll do something crazy when I finally file for divorce. I worry for my safety, my parents safety. It’s hard to move on when you’re burdened by the threat of violence and the unpredictability of someone with borderline/narcissistic personality disorder. You never quite know what they’re capable of and if they will seek revenge. I take comfort in knowing he is not a US citizen and that he lives in his country and that it would take a lot of commitment for him to come here and pursue something I think in his heart he doesn’t even care about. He just cares about how me leaving him makes him look like a failure. He doesn’t actually care about me or our relationship. I don’t think he ever did and that hurts because I invested my whole self into it. It’s hard to stay positive. I’m doing my best, but I know this will take time and eventually I’ll get there. I’ve learned so much already. I’m not the naive 23 year old I was when I met him. I’m a 26 year old soon to be single mommy and I’m going to take it one day at a time and do the best that I can to give my daughter everything she deserves.ReplyCancel

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