I’ve written about P here, but, really, she’s sort of irrelevant. E would have done what he did with another student if she hadn’t been there. But what about E? What do I think about E?
The answer might seem obvious and rather sweary, but actually, it’s a tricky one.
I visited a solicitor not long after E left and during the initial questions I was asked E’s name. They then asked if he was ‘known by any other names’. I paused for a moment, thinking of my Mum’s words, of what Youngest Son now called him, and of how various friends had described him, but I restrained myself and answered ‘none’.
The thing is, he deserves all sorts of names none of them very pleasant (and all of them mentioned by my Mum *that* night). But, I spent 25 years of my life with him. I wouldn’t have spent that long with someone who I didn’t think was a decent person. Obviously he wasn’t the person I thought he was, but for all those years he was the person I trusted with my deepest, and most personal, secrets. With the exception of my Mum, Dad and sister, he knows more about me than anyone else in the world. I’m still struggling to reconcile the person I thought I knew with the person I’ve now realised he is. I still care about the person I knew. I would still help that person out if he had a problem. I have no intention of ever being in a relationship with him again. I even don’t like him anymore. But he was once my best friend.
In a way I guess I’m grieving. I’m grieving for the person I loved and the person I thought I knew. I’ve lost that person forever. So, mixed in with all the anger at what he did to me is a terrible, very raw, sadness. It’s a sadness that gets slightly easier to live with as time goes on, but, a bit like grief, I think it’s something that will never go away, it will just become bearable. I’ve moved on with my life, but for a long time he formed such a huge part of my life that he’ll never entirely be out of it.
If I try to move past the negative feelings caused by his betrayal, if I try to be kind, at best I think he’s an idiot. If I’m less kind (and more honest), I think he’s monstrously vain and that he has a colossal ego. I would love to think he’ll regret what he’s done to me, but I don’t think he has the self-awareness for that. I really do think he’ll live to regret what he’s done to his relationship with his kids though. In the 15 months since he left, he’s already missed so many moments and lost so much precious time with them. I can’t imagine that in ten, or twenty, years’ time when they’re all adults with families of their own that he’ll think ‘yeah, I totally did the right thing in choosing not to be part of their youth’.
I don’t think that his relationship with P will be any different from any of his other relationships, even if they’re together for many years. It’s only a matter of time before she’s pregnant, or the novelty just wears off and he’s no longer the centre of her world – at which point he will get bored and seek attention elsewhere (I just can’t picture a scenario when he’ll be a faithful partner, not until he’s so old and unattractive that he just can’t pull anymore or he needs looking after – at which point, if she’s still with him, that’s P’s problem). There’s also always the possibility (hopefully, for her sake, the more likely scenario) that she realises she’s with a dud and seeks love with someone her own age and some real money, not a big credit card limit and a massive debt. The thing that I can’t get my head round is the fact that they’ll both always be aware that their partner has had at least one an affair and is therefore comfortable with infidelity and lies. The whole of their relationship will always be under that shadow. Having lived under such an oppressive cloud for nine years, I can’t imagine anything worse in a relationship.
The thing is, whilst I didn’t want our relationship to end, now that he’s gone, I’m beginning to feel like I can breathe again. I spent too many years trying to make myself ‘good enough’ and being haunted by the shadows of E’s affairs, both real and suspected (which then turned out to be real – if you see what I mean). I don’t have that burden anymore and I feel very free as a result. I might meet someone else one day, I might not, but whatever my future holds it won’t involve wasting my life on someone who doesn’t deserve my love. I have amazing friends and family. I am mum to the four most incredible kids in the world. I might never have a penny to spend on ‘stuff’, but I have no debts. I am surrounded by love. My life is both full and fulfilling and I treasure it.
Sadly, for E, I suspect that he will end up a very lonely man. So whilst at the moment I feel anger, resentment and contempt towards him, ultimately I just feel sadness for him. In walking out of the life he shared with the kids and I he’s thrown away something very precious and he’ll never ever get it back. Whilst I know this is probably what he deserves, I sort of feel sorry for him.