The first year we were separated was so hard. It really was. As much as I wanted to completely cut ties with him I couldn’t. We had built a whole life together and now we needed to pull it all apart. Pets, Houses, Cars, Loans … Life.
His emotions were so up and down over the first 12 months. Some times we could be civil, sometimes he was psychotic, sometimes he acted as if I was still his. It changed weekly, and it took its toll on me. I couldn’t sleep, I stopped eating properly, I stopped functioning. Yet still somehow I felt amazing. Drained but amazing. I was doing life all on my own. Well that’s what I first thought but by the end of the first year it all had changed.
Small Town Syndrome
We had both grown up together in the same small town, I call it small but its not really there is 90,000 plus people here. However, when you experience a break up like we did, a messy break up, all of a sudden 90,000 feels more like 90. I couldn’t get away from him. Every time I did something, he knew, there was always someone to report back to him. He had friends that would drive past my house to check whose cars were in the driveway. He had friends that would ring him if I was at a nightclub or bar. He had friends that would tell him I was out to dinner and with who. He had friends that would tell him I was at the supermarket, the post office, at work. He had his own little network of spy’s. Every time I was some where that he thought I was meeting up with another guy he would appear. This included my house. So if there was a car in my driveway and he didn’t know it, I would hear a knock at the door and there he would be checking to see who it was at my place. It was my life now but still he thought he had every right to know what I was doing.
*** when I say he was psychotic I really mean it. I was once having a conversation with a married man (home wreaking isn’t my thing) at our local footy club. Half way through our chat about something pretty trivial … I can’t even remember what. This poor guy was picked up and thrown onto a table. I felt hideous, this poor guy had been attacked by my ex just for speaking to me. Psychotic.
Eventually I did meet someone new, and I had to keep it a secret just to protect myself but to also protect him. How ridiculous. I was single. I wasn’t doing the wrong thing. The soon to be ex husband had already had a girlfriend aka the love of his life. Yet I still had to hide my life.
This was my first taste of dating as an adult. It was so much easier in high school. You liked someone you dated until you didn’t like them anymore. Simple. Today is a whole new level … what is wrong with people. Dating these days is a lot of I really like you, enjoy hanging out with you, want to hang out with you more regularly …. but lets not put a label on it, or actually admit we care about each other, or even that it would be nice to date. Yep that makes perfect sense.
Anyway the sparky was a friend of a friend, he was really a great guy, but he was one of these current day late 20s males that struggle with commitment. I had zero experience with this (I can now report I am an expert in the field of men who can’t commit) I didn’t understand at all what I was and wasn’t meant to do. Was I meant to be interested or pretend not to care? Was I meant to admit that I couldn’t be bothered wasting my time on another failed relationship, or was that too honest? Am I meant to act dumb about the things I now wanted from life?? The advice I was getting was equally as hard to understand. Be interested but not too interested, you don’t want to make the first move???? What!
So needless to say The relationship with the Sparky never really went anywhere, (mostly because I didn’t have a guide-book on how to date without showing you care, are interested, or actually like the person). But this didn’t stop the soon to be ex husband interfering … again. He had some how found out about the sparky and made it his life’s mission to then make life as horrible as possible for me. Firstly he started by telling me I had taken a step down from him (like I could get any lower), that I was sad and lonely, that I was just jumping on the first guy to show me attention. When this line of attacks wasn’t really working, he started getting abusive. It wouldn’t be uncommon for me to get 100 plus messages a day, ranging from abusive to apologies back to abusive. The amount of times I just completely turned my phone off I couldn’t even count. It was never-ending, again peoples advice in these situations was never really helpful. Just ignore him … yep did that he turned up at my house. Just tell him what he needs to hear … yep did that, he took this as an opening to talk about getting back together. Just tell him you’ve moved on … did you forget about the poor man who was thrown into a table for speaking to me. Why don’t you just move away … excellent advice, I will leave all my family, my friends, my home because this grown arse man cant handle life.
Looking back what I should have done was go to the police, he was abusive, stalking, attacking people and just generally making my life a living hell. However, I didn’t think this was enough, I didn’t think this was serious enough for the police to deal with. I didn’t realise that this was a form of abuse. I just learned to live around it. And live around it I did, I avoided going to things I knew he would be at, I stopped posting anything on social media, I withdrew from our joint friendship group, I just did stuff that meant staying away from him. So I was pretty much back to living that married life, He got to decide what I did and didn’t do. And I was letting him.
My bubble of happiness and pride that I was in when I very first left had burst. He had broken me. This time he really had. I was too exhausted to continue life like this. I needed something, I needed a change, I needed a reset button. I needed time alone. I needed to go for a walk, so that’s what I did, 900km across France and Spain. Alone.