Story sent in via email – Bec
I am sitting here 3 years on. 3 years on from what was going to be the hardest 3 years of my life to date.
I was standing at my beautiful 3-metre kitchen island bench, fresh from a shower – towel wrapped around me, shower cap on and my husband sitting across from me. He had been acting strange, distant and disconnected for a few weeks before this… still I honestly was not ready to hear what came out of his mouth at that moment.
I don’t love you anymore Bec
I’m not in love with you
I’m not happy
… I’m not happy?? What does that even mean… How can you not be happy? You have 2 beautiful children, a loving wife, a happy home, 2 new cars parked out the front and a trip to Hawaii booked. What had I worked so hard for, for the past 5 years? And I had worked hard. Really hard.
To go even further back than this fateful night to give you some context into my relationship. I had met my husband Pete on a touch footy ground one cold evening. I even remember what he was wearing – tracksuit pants a jumper and beanie.. nothing special but it was special to me. I had this instant connection to him – I don’t know what it was, I had never felt like that before and to date haven’t felt it again (be it older and wiser.. not chasing lust maybe).
He proceeded to say hi, in a real confident and jovial way – he then proceeded to kick his footy around as his girlfriend warmed up with us before our game of touch football. Yes, he had a girlfriend, and I had a boyfriend who I honestly loved very much. Dan was his name and we had been together for 3 years, lived in a beautiful apartment in Bellevue Hill and had a lovely life (why was not I happy? I had it all…)? Dan and I met at work and he was a great guy, had a solid career, solid family and was safe and trusting. He loved me. I always believed in us, I believed we would be together forever. That is… until I saw Pete that night. The doubt slowly crept in over the next 2 years.
I was at a stage in my life where I was confident, especially when it came to boys. I was usually able to get what I wanted (who I wanted), without sounding up myself. I knew my limits … but when I had eyed someone that I liked, I had to have them. No matter the consequence. I proceeded to strike up a friendship with Pete, we spoke here and there at footy games and he ended up joining our touch team which lead to some pretty fun times on the field together – the chemistry was strong. Im surprised no one else felt it. Or did they?
It was my birthday, we went out. Dan was there, my friends were there and Pete arrived a little later with a mate. Pete had had a few to drink which lowered his inhibitions as he was a pretty solid boyfriend to his then girlfriend. We flirted, we chatted but nothing untoward. It was later that night at Paddo Inn, he ordered a vodka & coke (yuck) and me a drink for my birthday .. we sat there drinking together with everyone raging around us where I asked him… was there something between us that he felt? I pushed the response out of him and he answered yes. BUT. But he had a girlfriend and I had a boyfriend.
Pete was strong against my advances for a long time, a few months. I kept going in a subtle but effective way until one night I wound up in his car overlooking the ocean, we were talking… he then turned to me, reached out with his hands, cupped my face and we kissed. We were actually kissing – the thoughts stopped in my head, the world stopped – I was where I was meant to be. I was meant to be with him, he was magnetic to me. It was something I had never felt before and like I said, haven’t since.
Following this, in a nutshell were secret meet up’s at night time, during the day – at the beach, at his house, in each of our cars down by the ocean usually with a beer in hand. We had a secret relationship for a year together, whilst having our partners. It was never talked about too much – it was a physical attraction however as it progressed, so did the talking… talking about our lives and in turn I started to get some pretty strong feelings. It came to a head where Pete once said to me he couldn’t ask his girlfriend to marry him because of this, as he had been unfaithful. I felt the same, the tought of marrying Dan made me feel nervous and not right. We had, in not so many words decided to end our relationships and try and see how we went as a couple. I was meant to end mine first, however he rang me one day and said he had had a fight with Danielle and he ended it there and then and could I meet him at the pub. He was upset and down, although it was hard to get much more out of him. Him and Danielle lived together so there were things that needed to be worked out. This took time and eventually she moved out. I had ruined their relationship – I had caused her so much pain, I knew how addictive Pete could be and she was very much in love with him. I guess karma got me 7 years later hey.
Later, I ended things with Dan. He was completely blindsided. He asked where we should go and have breakfast one sunny Sunday morning – I responded with the fact that we needed to talk.
I wasn’t happy
I wasn’t in love with him anymore
(Why didn’t I see the signs)…
Dan didn’t take it well. He wanted to marry me then, prove his love to me. we had been together 5 years by this stage and I was 27. I left him. I moved out. At 27 I had to find myself a roommate for the first time – the first of many backward steps.
Pete and I started our relationship very quietly for a long time out of respect for our ex’s. I don’t know how but Dan and I are still friends, we are friends on social media and can happily converse if we ever run into each other. I don’t know how he ever forgave me. he never mentioned Pete and either did I. He is happy now, married with a beautiful boy – I couldn’t be happier for him.
Danielle – I don’t know if she ever moved on from Pete. I don’t know if I did her a favour or not. Maybe those two were meant for each other.. my mind goes there sometimes, do I regret ever meeting him, I 1 million % do not regret meeting him. If I didn’t meet him and love him, I would never have got these two beautiful souls we created.
I digress, I’m sorry. I do think the context into our relationship is important as it is something I bash myself over all the time.
He cheated on Danielle, why wouldn’t he cheat on me
Once a cheat, always a cheat
However, I was the one who pushed him, I pushed us. I wanted us more than he did. It was me… am I the bad person? I guess I am. I was dumb and made a dumb mistake. BUT I don’t regret it.
Ok… back to my kitchen bench.
I’m not happy Bec
I not in love with you anymore
Total sadness and emptiness in his eyes. That was the one thing I remember, him not being able to look at me. I asked him – Why? How? What did I do? What did I not do?
My face felt hot, my tummy sick and my eyes wet. I was desperate to understand however I now know it would take me another 7 months to fully understand. Looking back on it, he wasn’t the man I married I didn’t know this person. I begged him and pleaded with him to talk to me and tell me why. His go to explanation was that we were on two different pages… again – when did this happen? 2 kids, house, cars, holidays booked blah blah.
Maybe it was us having children, maybe he wasn’t ready.. MAYBE IT WAS ME. IT MUST BE ME. I DID THIS.
I later learn that this feeling that was dumped on me was probably the hardest part of the last 3 years, that he LET me believe I was the problem.
That night he told me, he would be best to sleep on the couch. Right, so you don’t love me anymore and now we don’t share a bed. WOW. Not to mention we had a 6 month old baby girl and a three year old boy asleep in the next room. A baby girl I might add that I was still breastfeeding and to be able to breastfeed successfully the mum must EAT. Eat my mum told through my tears and her anger. I remember crying myself to sleep that night, knowing I would be woken an hour later because.. you know, duty calls – you don’t stop being a mum and my daughter would need me to be fed. You can stop being a dad though for the night. You can go and sleep soundly on the couch without even hearing your children need YOU. I forced a cookie – well half a cookie down my throat, to have some fuel to be able to make milk for Mabel. All I can remember is the dryness of the cookie – it was like eating flour. It was horrible but I did it for her. I wasn’t able to switch off being a mum, to feel my pain in peace – had to MAN UP. And MAN UP I did.
I cried most of that night inbetween feeding Mabel. It was like she knew something wasn’t right with mummy as she was awake much more than usual. I fed her, there wasn’t much milk, I rang my mum and dad again sobbing, it was 2am.. she was starving – how could I feed her with no milk. Pete still blissfully asleep on the lounge – switched off. Somehow I fed her throughout the night and we survived the night.
That morning Pete crept into our (my) bed. He held me while I cried. We kissed. He ended up on top of me, inside me – kissing me. what was happening? Neither of us knew… later I would understand his confusion at this point, but not for a long time.
Some time after this we slept, until the kids landed in our bed that morning. Our little family, the 4 of us in our bed, in our house, in our life.
That day we spent the day at home. He didn’t leave but I knew he wanted to, he was itching to leave me. we laid on the lounge, I cried on and off most of the day. He watched TV, helped with the kids and held me when I needed it. I cried quietly most of the time. It was like watching my family slowly die that day and die it did. It was torture.
He went off to play touch football that night. Lucky him – switch off. I bathed the children through my pain. I fed the children through my pain and I made dinner for us through my pain. He was playing touch with his friends…
At this point, my mum and dad had had 24 hours to process this information and my mum got ANGRY. She had had a few wines, as we all would as mothers when our children were hurting. On one of the many conference calls that day, she told me “FUCK HIM. IS HE GOING TO LEAVE”?
“I don’t know, I replied, I think he is yes”.
“THIS IS A MARRIAGE, HE CANT JUST UP AND LEAVE WHEN HE FEELS LIKE IT, FUCK HIM. YOU NEED TO ASK HIM TONIGHT – ARE YOU PREPARED TO STAY AND WORK ON THIS MARRIAGE ? IF HE SAYS NO, HE NEEDS TO LEAVE TONIGHT”.
This was one of the hardest things I have ever done, I had to confront him. Ask him if he wanted to leave now… and if he did I had to hold it together and tell him to leave, I had prepared myself that he wanted to go NOW.
He said he wanted to work on it. BUT he had felt like this for a while and what if he still felt like this in a few months? I said if you try and you still feel the same in a few months, I would understand much better. He then carried on cutting carrots for dinner. A dinner I could not eat.
I felt a little relief when he said that he would work on things, it was enough relief for me to hang my hat on for the night and feed my daughter and get some sleep, things will feel even better in the morning I told myself. The other voice in my head was louder – saying that this was the beginning of the end, I felt in in my gut.
My gut is always right. But I didn’t want to listen to that voice.
The next few days are a blur to me, thankfully I didn’t have to work, I just couldn’t face putting on a face of make up, getting dressed and making small talk with people, let alone achieve anything. Instead I was able to put on my sweats and hang out with my kids. Off he went to work…
He loved work, he was really kicking goals in his new job. It was a big job, a job this size he hadn’t ever seen before although he seemed to be carrying himself well, too well? Had he gotten a little too big for his boots being the boss and everyones friend? I don’t know, I don’t know if he tells me everything anyway. There was always a seed of doubt.
I spoke to a friend of mine, she is always honest, brutally honest… she told me that her mum once said to me, a man never leaves you unless he has someone else to go to. Did he have someone else to go to? Surely not? Surely marriage and kids and commitment would get in the way of such stupidity…
Once a cheat always a cheat Rebecca. But, but, but I cheated – doesn’t mean I would dream of it now, with our babies futures at stake.
Nope – he wouldn’t cheat on me. never. I truly believed that. Therefore I’m the problem, I caused this. My outing for that day would be me going to Coles and getting some rescue remedy – surely that will calm me down, I’m such a bad wife – on the wrong page to my husband. I’m causing this unrest and I should fix myself.
The days carried on and blurred into one for me, however some things I do remember is him staying at work some nights because it was a bit of a commute home (50 minutes)… my dad completely disagreed with this,
“a husband comes home to his kids”
I found myself coming up with excuses for him..
“after 10 hour shifts surely it’s not suss that he stay at work to back up for his morning shift”? he would ring me and the kids from his bed after work to check in and then I assumed have dinner and go to sleep…
He wouldn’t cheat on me.
And if I’m honest it never really crossed my mind, then. Maybe it should have.
When he came home, he wasn’t really home with us. I remember feeling so far away from him. Where was he? Why wasn’t he being the man I love? What do I need to do to bring that out of him. I remember nothing really worked. One day for example, he went camping with a mate and came home the next afternoon. The kids and I had been cooped up at home so we went out the front (in the cold) and watched him unpack the ute. I just wanted to be close to him. So we sat and watched. He didn’t say much, don’t think he really cared if we were there or not. He took an esky inside and we sat out the front waiting for him to come back, to show us he wanted to be around us.. I was strong and said I would stay out front and wait for him to come back.. after 20 minutes and the kids cold I called it and we went in. he was on the lounge, watching the footy with a beer in hand. Switched off.
Why would he want to not be around me?
Why would he not want to be around the kids?
Oh that’s right, he doesn’t love me anymore, I don’t make him happy… There is that freight train that crashes into me again and the tears start flowing. It was honestly like watching my life slowly die. But I was holding on so so tight. Didn’t want to let go.
Was this really happening to me, to my kids? I wasn’t the fuck up kid, I always landed on my feet …
‘whatever you do, don’t get pregnant to him’ I was once told… very very early on. And what do you know, was she right? Obviously she was right and I have fucked up totally by marrying him as I’m now hurting more than one person could hurt. Why didn’t he love me anymore, what had I done wrong? I guess it did come down to me always *in his eyes kybosh his extravagant ideas… he wanted to buy land in bulladhealah once, he drove us all out there to some random paddock and said he wanted to put two containers on it and sell it as an air bnb.. I was about 30 weeks pregnant and little did we know in 10 weeks we would have a new baby and he wouldn’t have a job… yet he wanted this land.. why? He had been without work earlier in our relationship and I had to be the sensible one. He made stupid quick decisions and didn’t think about the consequence, he never thought about the consequence. I wish he did.
So in his eyes I see now, I wasn’t exciting enough, there wasn’t enough drama… we were in the head down bum up stage of life, small kids, careers taking off, saving for mortgages, to feed our kids, family holiday once a year.. well that’s where my head was at and I was ok with that. He wasn’t. I see now, he needs drama, he needs to be thrilled and leaving me was the latest thrill for him. I wish I saw all of this then. Oh to be able to go back in time and tell myself all the things I have learned!
One thing I do remember is the desperation I felt. Desperation for him to love me. to stay. To give me a sign after those words and him still being in the house that he would stay. Although when he walked in to the house, he kissed me on the head. ON THE HEAD.
‘It’s ok bec – at least he still kisses you’.
‘it could be worse’