“For years there had been lead in my belly: the worry of a poorly child, the stress of a sleepless newborn, the sadness of falling out of love with my husband. I felt like I’d emerged from a cocoon. A rush of peace and possibility washed over me and there was a sudden excitement at the prospect of simply being me – a person who is happy to live her life, rather than endure it.”
It’s the strangest feeling to read words that echo your own thoughts … a bit like the walking-over-my-grave shudder I have when my hairdresser touches the hair at the nape of my neck.
Alice Judge-Talbot wrote them recently in an article called “How I realised my happy-ever-after marriage wasn’t so happy at all”.
Her circumstances were different to mine, but the lead in the belly felt the same.
I decided – about 10 years ago – that life was something to be managed rather than embraced. Looking back, I can see that much of my bleakness stemmed from feeling trapped in an unhappy marriage.
I’d made a committment to our relationship, so it was my duty to stay.
I hung onto the hope that we’d be drawn together again one day by the joy of grandchildren.
I didn’t feel brave enough to leave or strong enough to fix our problems.
Instead, I wrapped myself in a cocoon of disappointment and tried to find the energy each day to be a good mum.
I didn’t see that my martyrdom wasn’t doing anyone any good.
My husband was abjectly miserable living with a woman who’d become a shell of the person he’d married.
Boom Crash Opera wrote a song called “Best Thing”. DD played it in the car on our way to Newcastle the other weekend. It features the words: ” This is the best thing that has ever happened to me. These are the colours that I’ve always wanted to see.”
My husband leaving might not be the best thing that has happened to my family – ideally my kids would live under the same roof as their parents – but my new life continues to be a revelation to me.
I was just 23 when I met my ex, insecure and a little too desperate to be loved. We were very different people, but we made each other laugh. Even in the marriage counsellor’s office, we were laughing together. We still do.
And we created the most glorious babies.
Many of my friends and family remain angry with my ex, but I’m not. He was just brave enough to do what I could not. Sure, he didn’t go about it the right way, but I’m sure he wishes that could be undone.
Almost nine months after he left … spooky timing … my relationship with DD was born. I remember freaking out – I was fearful of getting trapped again if things didn’t work out.
DD told me it would be easy to get out. I’d just have to tell him it wasn’t working. He’d be sad, but he’d understand. I didn’t entirely believe him – the terror of hurting people’s feelings runs strong in this one.
But I put aside my fears, took a breath and plunged in. There have been a few rocky moments along the way and the occasional “why am I doing this?” thought. But our relationship seems to be heading in a pretty special direction.
It’s an amazing feeling to find love again later in life. That older and wiser thing is true, not to mention it being so long since the last time that you’ve forgotten what those flutters felt like.
Those flutters are awesome.
And my world is full of colours that I’ve always wanted to see … plus a few I didn’t even know existed.
I hope my ex’s world is too and I’m sorry he didn’t see those colours with me.
Song of the day: Boom Crash Opera “The Best Thing”