Living in the moment

It’s been a while since I last posted and there’s a reason for that. In the interim I have begun dating a new man. He’s someone I met through an activity/friendship group that I joined a while back but the first evening we spent in each other’s company there was a spark – we both felt it.

Despite the fact that we’ve both been round the block a few times (and he’s seven years older than me with grown children) there is no denying the chemistry between us and I guess things have moved along pretty fast.

I didn’t think I believed in ‘love at first sight’ and to be honest, I still think that’s a myth but I feel like we have learned enough about each other in a short space of time to know that we are both on the same page – that we share values, that neither of us are playing games and that we make each other feel incredible.

If I’m honest I wrote a few draft posts previous to this voicing my insecurities – the obvious ones that we all have in the first throes of a new relationship – does he feel the same way I do? Am I good enough? Are we truly compatible? Can a new love survive this messy stage of my life? But each time my doubts were superseded by a new affirmation.

It’s all too easy to let our fears and insecurities get the better of us though – I have spent time wondering how we can make a relationship work when I have primary care of my 4 and 7 year old and they are only very sporadically away with their father. I have wondered whether my ex will find out that I’m seeing someone new and try to throw a spanner in the works. I have worried over the possibility that my children will get involved with someone they might grow to love too only to be let down.

In the end I have to revert back to the title of this post – it’s time to just live in the moment – not worry about the future; enjoy those euphoric moments together when the rest of the world seems to disappear. Because I can’t control the future or the past – all I can do is keep my children safe and open my heart with all the vulnerability that implies.

If I didn’t do that, I wouldn’t really be living.

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Home truths…

Dear Next Door Neighbour,

If you are seriously planning on leaving your girlfriend, please do not do so on my behalf. You may think I am amenable to some kind of relationship with you, but I’m not. If I was a 15 year old girl with no experience of the men of the world then you would probably be in with a good chance of getting me into bed at this point, but believe you me I’ve seen it all, the good the bad and the ugly, and I know whereabouts on the spectrum you fall.

You tell me you know me, but the only things you know are things I’ve volunteered – you’ve never actually asked me about myself – what I enjoy doing, what my hopes and dreams are for the future, what makes me laugh.

Parenting? Unless you have ever had to take full and ongoing responsibility for your child’s well-being you cannot identify and it annoys me that you would suggest otherwise.

We met for the first time just six weeks ago.

I think you are addicted to secrets and lies. Take away that element and I suspect the desire would rapidly wain until the next opportunity showed up and the cycle began again.

I feel that you have detected the vulnerability in me – in my situation, and you want to move in for the kill. But listen, I’m not here for the taking – my children need their mum to be happy, mentally balanced and buoyant and I’ve got evidence – literally right on my doorstep – of the emotional fallout of a relationship with you. Anti-depressants? Panic attacks?

The things you’ve said to me about your girlfriend make my soul ache. Your casual attitude to sex leads me to some disturbing conclusions. The word ‘dysfunctional’ barely scrapes the surface.

Sexual frustration is a small price to pay to protect my heart and keep myself and my children safe.

So please accept my apologies if I’ve sent out mixed signals up to this point. It’s taken me this long to get a grip on what’s really going on here but let me make myself clear – I want no part of it.

Finally, thank you for the kindness and friendliness you have shown me but forgive me if I must question your underlying motives. I hope you can find some peace and happiness in your life one day – without the collateral damage.

 

Somebody stop me!

OK, so I told you all about what happened with my new next door neighbours: in a nutshell – he is flirtatious, she is paranoid.

I was good to go to cut them both loose and after hearing nothing from either of them for the best part of a week I thought it was done but then he turned up on my doorstep again and told me that I should speak to her and reassure her that everything is OK because it would be a shame for the kids to pick up on bad vibes and be excluded from the dog walks, etc.

She turned up while he was standing outside my door and he tried to call her over but she was slamming doors and appearing un-cooperative – kind of awkward. Then eventually she came to my door and began to chastise me and I lost it a bit and became quite emotional and told her that frankly, I was tempted to just stop talking to them both.

She stepped inside my house and closed the door and then we had a massive heart to heart about what was going on, what he’s like, his problems, abuse he suffered from his step father as a child. I told her that I believe in ‘the sisterhood’ – that all of my female friends (and quite a few new ones) had gathered round me since my break up and been wonderfully supportive and shared their own stories. (Some lovely men – blogging friends and friends’ husbands have been there too which is also amazing).

I told her that I have never been adulterous or slept with someone who is in a relationship with someone else and that it is not my intention to do so with him.

I assured her that I would let her know if he texted me or called me. And then, next time he texted me and I responded I screen-shotted the whole conversation and forwarded it to her.

But since then…

Well, this is the weird thing with mutual attraction and fantastical obsession – I have gone against my better instincts and gradually allowed him to pretty much pick up where he left off with the calls and texts. Still nothing overtly sexual but he has said things that don’t sit right with me – kind of half imagined non-promises about holidays with the kids and binning off ‘the dragon’.

He’s said more than once that he feels he has more in common with me than he does with her because she doesn’t have children (he’s got one 9 year old son who doesn’t live with him), and also because he’s gone through divorce and because he has a connection with the organisation I work for.

I don’t work on Fridays and he knows that so he came home early today and I actually invited him into my house for tea and a biccie because heaven knows I didn’t want a repeat of the last time – me in her house without her knowledge.

He brought his laptop in and commenced fiddling about with work emails whilst at the same time talking to me – telling me stuff about what’s wrong with the relationship with her; how unhappy he is and how he’s planning to break up with her by telling her he’s met someone else (not me!).

I asked him why they had broken up and got back together three times. He said the last time she was struggling with her mortgage so he moved back in to sleep in the spare room and help her pay the bills but then she’d discovered pictures of him, and I quote “having sex with other girls” on his phone.

Hearing him say that made me feel quite sick. But for some reason I let him hug me; I let him believe that something could potentially happen between us (it didn’t).

Why? Why did I do that? I genuinely like his girlfriend and I feel like I am colluding in a web of deceit with a guy who’s moral compass has no true North.

Yes, I’m sexually frustrated, yes I feel worried that there may be no hope for a woman of my age to attract a decent, attractive, real man who might actually want to be a part of my *real* world and muck in with the kids and at the same time get who I am as a person but is that enough of a reason to get myself caught up with someone who I could never trust?

Someone who I feel probably needs (a lot of) counselling; who seems to be, at heart, a nice guy, but maybe has some sort of – if not sex addiction then addiction to the idea of behaving like a sexual butterfly; who has found a way to make it sound *almost* plausible that there is a non-sexual reason why we should be together, but at the same time isn’t coming close to convincing me that he knows the real me – not one little bit.

I feel like I need to go on a date with someone else or something – a way of showing them both that my life goes on without their drama – that I don’t need him, that I don’t want him, that I am a self-sufficient, strong, single woman – someone who needs to put her children first and foremost and not become embroiled in some kind of soap opera.

I don’t want to morph into her – playing the role of the spurned lover, the one who is always wanting to check their partner’s phone but scared of what they might find; someone who detects the smell of another woman’s perfume in the car and just can’t accept the innocent explanation.

It’s a helluva situation and only more complicated by the fact that we are all going out together on a jolly ‘family’ type outing tomorrow to celebrate his son’s 10th birthday.

Sheesh. Somebody give me a good talking to please.

The girl next door

So, if you’ve been reading all about my emotional rollercoaster lately, you’ll know just how bad things have been. All sorts of other shit has happened with the husband in the past few weeks and I’ve ended up at my solicitors with her sending out a list of suggested contact dates for him up to Christmas. I don’t think he’s received it yet – he’s been messing around with dates again and even though I was prepared to let him have the children for the entire coming weekend (his birthday) he has turned that down because apparently he is ‘going away’ (with his girlfriend).

Long story short I’ve agreed that he can have them for a couple of hours after school on Friday but I’m pissed off that he continues to be able to pick and choose random week nights when he could be having them at weekends. And he has the gall to tell me that he refuses to provide me with ‘free childcare’.

At work my manager has spoken with me after I arrived in tears on a couple of occasions and he is going to find someone appropriate within our organisation for me to talk to in confidence.

So I’ve got all that going on – what would just add nicely to that mix, a little bit more salt in some raw emotional wounds? Why doesn’t destiny just throw in a potential love triangle with the new next door neighbours? Yes, because that won’t be incredibly frustrating and upsetting at all will it?

Except it is.

Guy next door is obviously a bit of a flirt. Nothing hugely overt but lots of little ‘chats’ outside the front door, has given me money to ‘buy the kids ice creams’ when we went to LEGOLAND; has given me a lift into town for a night out with one of my friends and then come back and brought us home afterwards. Essentially all completely innocent but at the same time over-stepping the mark because he’s told me that his girlfriend is massively paranoid and he’s also told me that he finds me attractive and given me huge hug on a couple of occasions.

They don’t have kids and he seems to only live with her part of the time as he has a house of his own elsewhere. He told me they’ve split up three times over the last three years and got back together again and she has described him as a bit of a ‘tart’.

I’m in a really vulnerable place right now because obviously I am a bit lonely and I’m at a point in my life where I have doubted whether a man would ever find me attractive again so it’s a messy mixture of feeling flattered, tempted, letting him make little innocent gestures to me, text (innocent messages) and phone (innocent conversations), but his girlfriend has caught wind of all this and even though I’ve assured her that there is nothing going on between us I haven’t just shut him down like maybe I should have.

He invited me round for a cup of tea and a biscuit this afternoon between getting home from work and doing the school pick up and I agreed. It was fine – we stood in the kitchen, had tea, chatted about kitchen gadgets, he showed me tickets to a music event that him and his girlfriend are going to soon. I told him about the trouble I’ve been having with the husband and the fact that I really appreciate them being nearby if he turns up and tries to invite himself into my home.

He suggested that I come round and have a cup of tea with his girlfriend when the kids are due home on Friday and that way I can receive them without even having to open my own door. I was happy with that.

We said our goodbyes and I went off to school thinking no more of it until later I got a text message from her saying “Not happy!”. I have replied to her apologising and explaining the innocent nature of things and that I hope things are OK between the two of them. That was nearly three hours ago and she hasn’t responded.

Maybe I’m over-reacting but that has made me feel quite tearful. Maybe it does seem like we are doing stuff together behind her back and it does seem like he is engineering times when he knows I’m around and she isn’t so who knows if there is any real intention there on his part – but the fact is that nothing has happened and I’m being treated like ‘the other woman’ when all I need right now is a friend.

I would back off completely and just blank the both of them but the thing is they have three little dogs and the kids adore them and we’ve been going on a few dog walks with them at the local park. We even went out all together with his 9 year old son from his former marriage at the weekend to this kind of trampoline activity zone place and had McDonalds and walked the dogs after. So this is awkward.

I’m mad at myself but I’m also mad at him for putting me in this position and mad at her for jumping to the worst conclusion and treating me like a naughty schoolgirl. Take a look at yourselves people, and leave me out of it. 😦