It’s Saturday night and I can’t help but think that this time last week was Stu’s last night in the house. Was it profound or significant? No. I have been waiting for today and tomorrow – in previous relationships I have counted the first few weeks for milestones – the penultimate night in the house, as a couple, anniversary of when they moved out etc….. this doesn’t feel like this. Perhaps because we’re more grown up. Perhaps because it was a marriage rather than ‘just a relationship’. I don’t know. But I do feel that I need to mark it somehow.
This time last week Stu and I were politely avoiding each other. We were both under the same, very small roof, we even watched tv together once the kids were in bed, I don’t remember watching anything of note; I do remember going to bed thinking this is the last time I’ll wish him goodnight.
And then he was gone…. the week alternately dragged and whizzed by, the boys and I followed the same routine, everything felt a lot calmer and I cannot tell you the freedom I felt… not to go and do silly, irresponsible things but just the freedom to think my own thoughts without being criticised for them. Bliss.
The week wasn’t without challenges, on the first day of single parenthood, Jago was ill and I had to decide whether to drop him with a friend or keep him in the car on the school run or to try to have a friend take Dylan to school. He ended up being off school for 3 days and it was fine, we muddled through.
This week the children told me they hated me more than they ever have done before. I’m going to take a wild stab in the dark and say this *could* have something to do with Stu telling Dylan that he had to move out because Mummy didn’t love him anymore and didn’t want him to live here. Thanks Stu, I know you’re hurting but what the actual fuck? Even so, we have muddled through. I have remained consistent and (I hope) reasonable. Every time Dylan has announced that he wants to live with Daddy I have said that once Daddy has a house of his own, I am happy to talk about it and that I know it’s a lot of change and I’ll help him through it until it all seems normal.
The biggest change for this week though was Stu. We have been in touch throughout the week, not overly so but we still have a company together so have needed to communicate (email) about that, plus dropping the boys off on Weds. Today he came to collect the boys at 10:30 and the first thing I noticed was that he could look at me. I know this seems a bit of a nonentity but on Weds, when I dropped the kids to him, he couldn’t look me in the eye. Today he could and in doing so, I noticed how much better he looked. Not just because he’s had the support of friends and my brother but because right now, until he sorts out somewhere else to live, he is staying with his Mum and he is loved and cared for and it took me a little while to realise it but I hadn’t loved him for a long time. I won’t go into the reasons why, I’ll save that for another post and I didn’t even realise that this was the case. Even when Stu was at his worst I still supported him, gave him practical advice, treated him with friendship and respect but none of those things are love.
I’m not going to defend either of our actions here, Stu and his depression, social anxiety and general, all round controlling nature, made it incredibly hard to love him and I guess, being such a practical person who’s not great at the whole love thing at the best of times, I just couldn’t buy into it in the end and confused practical support as love when clearly, it isn’t.
This whole week, all I have felt is relief. Relief that the house is mine and I can move freely in it without fear of being criticised, monitored, commented on and just an all-round unpleasant atmosphere. Relief that everyone now knows about our separation and that there is no more pretending. Relief that the kids seem to be going with the flow of moving between our two houses and knowing that they are loved and treasured by the both of us. Most of all, I feel relief that Stu is on a better path. One where he is supported, loved and hopefully, this will help him build a better, happier life.