Saturday, 28 March 2009

Left Outside Alone - A Marriage in Crisis

Nearly thirty years ago, I met the man I thought was my saviour. The calm eye in the centre of a storm that surrounded me. I was trying to run a home and deal with my father's despair at the departure of my mother. I was 18 years old and desperately unhappy.

Suddenly, he came into my life and just took over. I had someone for whom I didn't have to cook or clean. An older man who could see that I might have something to offer and wanted to be with me. So gentle and relaxing to be around.

Initially, he was very unsure as to whether we had a future because I was nearly a decade younger than him and he felt the difference in maturity levels was quite marked at that stage. However, after three years of courting, he suggested that we buy a place together and I thought we would spend the rest of our lives living happily ever after.

A quarter of a century later, in 2004/2005, I can remember crying rivers of tears over this song. I don't know quite what happened. When the selfish implacability of his nature came to the fore and I became like a pebble flinging itself against the shore to try to make him notice me. And the unstoppable tide of nothingness dragging me back into the waves.

I had no way of knowing just how much worse things could possibly become. How isolated I could be made to feel. How I could watch another person's inexplicable actions threaten to irretrievably destroy my relationship with my children. How I would have to compromise my own principles in order to at least stay in the game for their affections.

It's no good people saying that my kids will see it all for what it is in the end... when they are older. Why should I lose the quality time with them now because of their father's inability to parent in a way that fits in with normally accepted standards? Perhaps, at the end of the day, it is me who is wrong? By wanting to be treated with respect in my own home, by expecting to be able to do the things that I want to do without always satisfying my children's demands first, maybe I am harking back to a generation of parenting that has moved on.

Part of me wanted so much for Ruf to insist, 'Enough of this crap. You deserve better. I want you to be happy so come and live with me.' He made the offer once as he listened patiently to my ever increasingly despairing whinging with a sort of gobsmacked disbelief. Hearing the words, with their possibility of salvation, I knew that I couldn't do what achieving that release would entail. I am eternally grateful that he did not forcibly try to make me act because then I would have to choose between him and my children. Of course, he knows that, which is why he did not push the issue.

I guess at the end of the day I have to accept that the knight in shining armour just isn't coming. He can't rescue me from all the 'if's and 'buts' and let me emerge squeaky clean without hurting anyone. With no collateral damage.

The only person who can save me is me.

I have asked for a divorce.

All my life I've been waiting
For you to bring a fairytale my way
Been living in a fantasy without meaning
It's not okay, I don't feel safe
I don't feel safe...

Left broken empty in despair
Want to breathe, can't find air
Thought you were sent from up above
But you and me never had love
So much more I have to say
Help me find a way

And I wonder if you know
How it really feels
To be left outside alone
When it's cold out here
Well maybe you should know
Just how it feels
To be left outside alone
To be left outside alone...