I’ve found myself thinking about past relationships, though not necessarily wondering how things would have turned out had we not parted company.
In my teens, I went out with a variety of guys, including a Hells Angel, an ex junkie and a guy covered in tattoos.
I’ve also mentioned that my first marriage was basically 2 individuals getting together for all the wrong reasons. There was no-one else involved when we parted, and after the initial sense of hurt and failure, I chalked it up to experience and one of life’s common mistakes.
My second major relationship lasted longer, and taking on a ready-made family didn’t really worry me. There was a lot going on that I chose to ignore, but for the majority of our time together, it was OK.
The biggest issue was his drinking, and later wasting money, deceit and his kids’ care.
I cared about the boys as if they were my own, but it is difficult when there is interference from ex in-laws and grannies, and how he pandered to the whims of his ex wife.
One year I’d made plans for all of us to spend Christmas and Boxing Day with my family. He finished work early Christmas Eve and had gone down the pub with his mates. When he got home, he was completely sloshed, so I had to drive. He threw up in the middle of the road at a set of traffic lights (thank god it wasn’t in the car) and again in the bushes outside my parents’ house. Then on Christmas morning I was informed that we had to go back after dinner to drop the kids off so that she could see them on Christmas Day.
I was angry as my Mum had prepared for the extra 4 mouths to feed over 2 days, and I had hoped to see the rest of my family on Boxing Day when we all got together for a buffet at Other Brother’s house.
Some weeks later, I took his Ex out for a drink and laid all my cards on the table.
I told her that she could come and visit the boys any time she wished, she could even just turn up, as it didn’t bother me. She could have them stay over whenever it suited her, BUT, if I had made plans that included them, I was not going to change them for her or anybody else.
We never became bosom friends, but we weren’t enemies, and at the end of the day, it was the boys that came first, not petty adult squabbles.
I also got round future Christmas issues by inviting her and the boyfriend to Christmas Dinner, then she would take them back with her in the afternoon, thus freeing me up to have a glass of wine as I wouldn’t have to drive. Partner would drink until the bottles were all empty, and after the episode of him nearly killing us whilst under the influence, I never let him drive me anywhere ever again, even when he was sober.
Things came to a head when he pushed me too far saying who I could and couldn’t have visit when he was away on one of his ‘men’s weekends’. This would occur once a month or so, leaving me at home with the boys and foster kids of the time.
A former neighbour had come to me for support and advice as his bride of less than a week had dumped him and gone back to a previous boyfriend. I invited him to stay for dinner, and we were still chatting into the small hours.
I didn’t realise that Partner disliked this guy immensely, and during the row that followed, I went to pieces.
It was a long process to get myself ‘well’, but a year later I moved out and came home.
I’d learned a lot about me and my expectations of life, changing my attitude and outlook on a lot of things. I have no regrets either, as I know I had tried everything possible to make the relationship work, but when you don’t like the guy you’re living with and he’s only using you for personal gain and a glorified babysitter, well, there’s no point hanging around is there. It later came to light that he was seeing someone else anyway.
I didn’t meet Hubby until a couple of months later.
We’ve been together 27 years now and are still learning little things about each other after all this time. I can’t imagine my life without him in it, and he often says that he could walk away from everything, as long as he had me. I’m a lucky girl to have someone love me that much.
But relationships are funny things, and some are fragile too.
It takes two to make or break, and the only people who really know what’s going on are the individuals concerned. I’ve accepted some of the responsibility for failure, though it doesn’t all stop at my door. Mutual friends found themselves in the middle and some felt their own relationships were under threat.
To me, trust, respect and communication with each other are vital.
Hubby and I discuss things all the time, and I know when something is on his mind.
I also know that he will tell me eventually, once he has got it straight in his head.
Practical things and maintenance are left to him and money matters to me, but that doesn’t mean I hold the purse strings. We have our own bank accounts and a joint account for running the boat and household bills. Anything large or considered a luxury is agreed upon before purchase, and we would never dream of doing something behind the other’s back.