It’s taken a good while for me to write about this, The New Woman is now 9 months established, so I’ll be writing in retrospect. I think, with hindsight, that that’s a good thing as it’s been a very emotionally stressful time – for everyone. Much better to write with a clearer head, it’ll hopefully keep me out of trouble…
So let’s take it back. My first and last mention of the new GF was way back in The Day The Game Changed.
That was my first experience, post marriage breakdown, of how it felt when someone else was prioritised over me. After being together for well over 10 years, and despite being separated a year earlier, RB and I have maintained a close relationship since our split so I was used to still being the Significant Other. Yes, I know it’s weird. So, to suddenly find myself ousted from my position took a bit of getting used to. I had become settled in our new way of life and still relied on RB to be at the end of the phone or to ask a favour of. The introduction of his new SO changed all of that, seemingly overnight.
Don’t get me wrong, I was (and still am) really happy for him. What I wasn’t expecting were my, totally unexpected, feelings of abandonment. I left him after all.
After that week it became clear that Miss A was going to be sticking around. Now, RB hadn’t had a string of short-term flings or one night stands. Miss A was the first date he’s been on since our split, so neither of us had experience of what it might feel like having a new woman in the mix, or what kind of emotions that would stir up. I’m not generally a jealous person and I was, and remain, genuinely happy for him. However, when it came to the kids, I was fiercely jealous. This new dynamic has undoubtedly been the hardest thing I have ever had to deal with in my life – accepting that, for half the week at least, another woman would be taking part responsibility of my children.
I remember the first time it hit me. It was like a gut-wrenching feeling of sadness. RB had been telling me about how great Miss A is and how they had discussed plans for a possible future together, and how she might slot into our little nuclear family. I think he’d been worried about how to approach the subject. He was very careful to explain her feelings of what her potential relationship would be with the girls and he uttered the immortal words,
“She doesn’t want to tread on your toes in any way, you’ll always be their mother, she’s just going to be like their best friend”
I felt sick. That’s MY job. I’m their best friend. I’m their mother. In fact, I feel my emotions rising as I write this as the memory of that moment comes flooding back. The innate need for me to provide all the love and care that my children need was RAW.
I was a bear and these are MY cubs.
The following few hours are bit hazy, I vaguely remember having a big row and leaving his house in an angry emotional whirlwind. It was a bit like being in a crazy jealous rage. How dare he! How dare he assume that MY children would like her? How dare he believe that MY children would let someone take Mummy’s place? How could he possibly assume I would let that happen??? They would never ‘cheat’ on Mummy. They love ME, there’s no room for anyone else.
Obviously, all these thoughts were borne from a totally unexpected psychological trauma – I had been emotionally punched in the solar plexus by someone who I had never met – of course I thought those thoughts. I’m not proud, but I do apologise for them.
Generally, I always try to see both sides of the story, and make assumptions based on the full picture but there I was totally blind. I had no mental memory to fall back on, nothing similar has ever happened to me.
What I should of taken from the conversation was the part about Miss A not wishing to tread on my toes in any way, a totally positive and mature olive branch.
Now, I have to point out that these feelings were in no way a reflection on Miss A’s behaviour. Thankfully she has the grace and maturity to understand the potential distress that her involvement in the children’s lives might have on me. Throughout the whole situation she has been kind, respectful and always thinks about how her actions might affect the status quo.
9 months in and we’re all still finding our feet in this new arrangement, and I still struggle not to want to put my arms around the girls and say, ‘NO, they’re mine, you can’t have them!’. But, as we all adjust to the new relationships that are forming, I’m learning that welcoming a sweet, gentle and caring woman into our lives is a positive step for our girls.
Causing friction will only drive a huge ugly wedge into the heart of what RB and I have worked so hard to maintain – a stable, open and honest environment for our children to grow up in. There’s no place for jealousy in there.
RB and Miss A have recently moved in together and I couldn’t be happier for them. The girls love her and she loves them. What more could a mother want?