I am an ex pat woman from Ireland living in a rural part of Australia. I came to this country aged 30 brimming with confidence, looking for adventure, and passion. Now aged 40….WOW if you could see the difference in my passport photo, I have transformed from Vanessa Paradis into serial killer Aileen Wuornos (played by Charlize Theron in Monster).
So what has transpired over the last 10 years - marriage, two kids, adultery, the other woman, divorce, setting up on my own as a single mum, son being diagnosed with autism, and just when things were looking up, redundancy from my stable job of five years. So that leaves me here today trying to catch my breath, figuring things out, and desperately fighting the image of that sour middle aged woman that I see reflected everyday in my local Woolies window.
Boxing Day 9.30pm 2012, my husband of eight years sat me down and said he was leaving. He couldn’t do “it” anymore, “it” meant being a committed and responsible father looking out for his wife and kids. He swore there was no other woman involved. He gave me an hour to digest the news and then calmly packed an overnight bag and left. I spent the night in shock dancing to Flo Rida on my ipod and smoking a whole packet of Benson and Hedges Fine, while the kids slept soundly unaware their life was to dramatically change. Anyhow cut to three weeks later, their father moved in with his new woman (his work partner) and her two children.
On my wish list, I wish that other woman could stand in my two year old son’s shoes as he is howling from his soul watching his father walk out the door not knowing when he would see him again. I wish she could step into my daughter’s seven year old's shoes trying to figure out why her dad wants to live somewhere else with two other children she has never met before. I wish she could step into my shoes watching all my dreams of the future shatter in one instant.
Anyhow two years down the track, what I have learnt.
I will always be their Mum and I am irreplaceable. No other woman can take my place.
Do not speak badly of their Dad. He is their one and only father and they love him and they deserve to have him in their lives. See beyond your own resentment. You will have happier and settled children as a result.
When the children come back from spending time at the other woman’s house, do not ask them leading questions. Ask them if they have had a nice time and leave it at that. Yes I know you will have spent those hours worrying that your kids will have a better more fun time and you will want to question them on every little thing that has happened. This puts too much pressure on the kids…leave it at that, they are home safe and happy.
Don’t be a martyr. Enjoy your time off. Instead of torturing yourself with wondering what your children are doing now with this other woman and your husband, go for a walk, watch a movie, catch up with a friend.
We have only one life and so do your kids. They deserve two loving parents, no divorce is ideal, scars will be left, but that is life.
The other woman will forever be in second place to your children.
It has taken me two long years to learn this and no it is not an easy road - you have only to look at my passport photo to see this….