Throughout everything that’s happened with E, one thing that has helped is the fact that I am, by nature, an optimist. I have always tried to find a way out of any negative situation (and I was in a fair few financial ones over the years with E), however, I must admit, after the last couple of years, I’m finding it increasingly challenging to remain positive. It’s felt a bit like a relentless onslaught of personal and psychological blows and, at the moment, I’m feeling slightly punch drunk to be honest.
Among the best advice given to me when E left, and the advice that’s helped me most when my inner optimist has wearily retired to the side-lines for a nap (and some counselling), was to ‘keep swimming’ (Winston Churchill’s version of this sentiment was apparently to ‘keep buggering on’ – but that would have made an unfortunate title for this blog post). It’s now been 21 months since E left, and whilst I am perfectly happy (actually, the more I know, the more I’m bordering on the ecstatic), to be E-less, the advice to keep swimming has never been more appropriate.
I don’t know if E has emailed again about selling the house (Reader, I blocked him), but he clearly has no intention of calling me, or speaking to me like a grown up about it, so I can only assume that his next move is to contact a solicitor, who will then send me a suitably threatening letter to which I’ll have to respond.
I know what to expect/what to do if he does this. But I hate it. I can’t quite believe that it’s come to this. Two years ago we were celebrating the beginning of a new ‘debt free’ life, we were planning a family trip to Singapore, we were looking forward to Christmas, I thought we were finally getting somewhere financially and that I could finally relax and look forward next few years. Now, despite my best efforts, I’m in a situation where my Ex not only refuses to speak to me (as if he thinks what’s happened is my fault), but is treating me with so much contempt that he’s trying to force me out of the home I share with our children, with no plan, no assurances and no suggestion at all regarding where we’ll live, what we’ll do for money, or what will happen financially in the future. He wants money to clear his (doubtless enormous) debts, and that’s it. That’s all he is interested in.
Even though I now know that he has no feelings for me (to be fair, I don’t have that many left for him, and those that I do have are far from positive), but I still can’t quite get my head round how deeply unpleasant he has been.
The optimist in me knows that I’m still lucky – I have a home to live in, E has (so far) kept paying the money he promised to pay into my accounts (although, I still usually have to ask him where it is, and it’s usually late, so I have to spend a nerve wracking day or so watching my accounts to make sure he’s paid anything), I have four amazing children, I have an amazing support network of family and friends. I am lucky – things could be so much worse, and I know that – but it can still be hard.
It’s hard to be steadily going into more and more debt because I can’t afford to run the house I’m in or afford the extra financial support that Oldest Daughter needs at University (whilst E refuses to respond to requests for help). It’s hard having a 16 year old at home who is struggling with her mental health as a direct result of what’s happened with her Dad. It’s hard to be the sole emotional support and carer for four kids – kids who need not just reassurance and love but clean clothes and food. It’s hard feeling your stomach plunge every time the post arrives because there might be a nasty letter there. It’s hard not knowing where you’re going to live or how you’re going to live this time next year. The hardest thing of all though, is knowing that this is because E has chosen to put me in this position. That the person I thought I could trust with my life, is the person who seems intent on making it as difficult as possible.
The contrast between what E ‘should’ be like and what he is actually like was made painfully clear at my Uncle’s funeral last week. My Uncle was one of the kindest, gentlest and loveliest men I have ever known. He was diagnosed with a brain tumour just after I found out about E’s affairs and he then spent the time he had left trying to make sure that my Aunt, my cousins, and his granddaughters were looked after and secure and did everything he could provide for them when he was gone. When I look at what he spent those precious months doing, and compare them to what E was doing at the same time, the contrast is heart-breaking. At his funeral my cousin made a beautiful speech about the role his Dad had played in his life and the lessons he had learned from him. The love and respect he (and everyone else there) had for his Dad shone throughout the whole day. I looked at my Dad and realised how incredibly lucky I was to have him. Then I looked at my children and wondered what they would say about their Dad, and what he had taught them, at his funeral and I was devastated for them.
I’m not sure how my Uncle would have responded to the latest news re E pressuring me to sell the house, but I’m pretty sure he would have been shocked and appalled. Like my Dad, he put his kids and his family first in everything he did, it would have been utterly incomprehensible to him that someone could behave like E has behaved. I think that’s probably what I struggle with most too – I just don’t understand it, and try as it might, my inner optimist is occasionally defeated by the fact she can’t find a positive way to spin it. I don’t think I will ever be able to reconcile the man E turned out to be with the man I thought E was, so whilst I learn to accept it (and await E’s next step re selling the house), I guess I’ll just have to keep swimming.