The New Woman

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. 

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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?

LB. Xx

The Boy – End of Dates

For my friend at the school gates who was eagerly awaiting the next instalment in my dating saga; I have been ghosted.

Oh! The shame!

So it turns out that The Boy was exactly that, a childish boy. I’ve never been on the receiving end of a ghosting episode, I always thought it was for the very fabulous, busy millennial types who have grown up with this world of uber-efficient mate choosing. I mean, who cares about the feelings of one potential lover when there are another ten queueing up?

However, I didn’t expect to be cast into a black hole by a fully grown, 40-year-old, man.

For those of you who are unaware of the ghosting phenomenon, it is a very harsh and unspeakably rude way of being dumped. Basically, if you want to cut ties with someone you are dating, you simply stop all communication. Delete their number, WhatsApp conversations, facebook friendship etc. etc. Nothing. Nada. Zip.

No, ‘It’s not you, it’s me’. None of this, ‘I’m just not ready for a relationship’, or ‘I really like you, but…’. Not even a slow fizzle out, without ever having to explain. It’s brutal.

Ghosting – Urban Dictionary
The act of suddenly ceasing all communication with someone the subject is dating, but no longer wishes to date. This is done in hopes that the ghostee will just “get the hint” and leave the subject alone, as opposed to the subject simply telling them he/she is no longer interested. Ghosting is not specific to a certain gender and is closely related to the subject’s maturity and communication skills. Many attempt to justify ghosting as a way to cease dating the ghostee without hurting their feelings, but it in fact proves the subject is thinking more of themselves, as ghosting often creates more confusion for the ghostee than if the subject kindly stated how he/she feels.

Carmen: How was your second date with Kyle?
Beth: I thought it went well, but I’ve texted him a couple of times since then and he’s been ghosting me.
Carmen: What? I thought he was more mature than that.

So that was that! And then, to add insult to injury, when I shared my tale with the ExOH he said, “Awww”, (side head tilt) “I bet that was a knock to your confidence?”. Pffft! NO!!! It was far more indicative of his immaturity, lack of respect and, for me I suspect, a lucky escape…

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The Boy – Fourth Date

As Date 4 with The Boy approached I was feeling more and more nervous. Or maybe excited? I couldn't quite put my finger on what the feeling was.  I think it's because I'm pretty wide of my norm with this one. He's loud and confident and has no filter whatsoever, what's in his head comes out of his mouth. Don't get me wrong, it's refreshing, however it can be a little surprising sometimes, and takes a bit of getting used to.

In the days before the date I started to get the impression that he wasn't really that interested in me. He'd been chatting to girls on Plenty of Fish, or at least thats the assumption I made when I'd stalked him to see if he was online. Now, I'm a pretty simple girl. If I'm dating someone, I don't chat to other guys. I'd rather build a relationship with the person who I'm sharing a bed with. Is that just me? Anyway, We've already established that I'm pretty useless at this whole new world of online dating. I have no idea of what the rules are… I decided to put my concerns to the back of my mind, marked Over Thinking.

We (I) decided to meet close to me, at this point I wasn't sure how the night would end given the lack of communication during the week. If I was going to call time on our little fling, I have a lot more ways to escape closer to home. However, during the day we'd been messaging and the friendly, flirtatious, happy Boy that I was used to had reappeared, things were looking up! As I waited for him to arrive the nerves and anticipation of earlier had vanished and I was just really looking forward to seeing him. This time, I was early. Sure enough, as he walked into the bar, those same feelings reappeared. The walk, the attitude, the smile.

My rose-tinted love spectacles were firmly back on.

The date itself was easy, we went to a few bars, bumped into some of my friends and had a good laugh. It was nice to see him relaxed and happy. For the first time I could actually see what we would be like as a couple, and I quite liked what I saw. I want to be with someone who will look after me. Not in the sense of being the Little Woman, I'm far too independent for that, but in a protective, alpha male, mutually respectful way. Does that make any sense?? Anyway, I was pretty happy with date 4.

The next morning we went for breakfast and he dropped me off at home, everything was just as it should be. The Boy was back with me and I was feeling positive about a potential future for us.

That was Thursday morning. Today is Saturday. In the 48 hours in between The Boy has gone quiet on me again! I just don't get it and it's driving me slightly crazy!!

I think I'm at the point now where I either need to accept that he is just busy, and not a prolific communicator, or he's only interested in seeing me for the sex. We're both busy people and finding time to see each other can be tricky when we're juggling his rota and my days and nights with the children. Maybe it's just too much like hard work for him and he doesn't know how to tell me, maybe he's just hoping that the lack of communication will send the message for him?

I think the best thing for me to do is just stop thinking about it. If he wants to get in touch he will. Quite frankly I don't have the headspace to be screwing over a boy, or the time to sit around waiting to see if he likes me back.

And then I think, 'What would my Mum say?'. She'd tell me to forget about him, put my invisible crown back on and wait for someone who appreciates me, and isn't afraid to show it. I'm with Mum.

 

 

 

 

The Boy – Third Date

Dating – The Boy – 3rd Date – Tues 10th Jan

It’s date three! Hurrah!! Now, after a pretty intense first week, I have high hopes for The Boy. He ticks a lot of my boxes, and quite a few that I didn’t know I had.

I arrived at his flat, having had a pretty crummy afternoon. I had mentioned to him in passing that it hadn’t been the best day, and when I arrived I found he’d been out and got us a really lovely bottle of wine. The Boy likes really good wine, so this was a really good bottle of wine. I melted a little bit more.

We sat and chatted, and that’s when things changed. He’d had a pretty stressful time at work and vented his frustrations to me. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind that at all, I know what it’s like when you don’t have anyone to share your shit with, so I was happy to listen. But for the rest of the evening he was on edge, a bit grumpy and generally out of sorts. This was a massive difference to the crazy happy Boy I’d met the week earlier. Still, we went for dinner and had good time, conversation was easy, we had a giggle, but he was still distant. The next day, he was still on edge and I left early.

And I’ve not seen him since.

To be fair, we’ve both been under the weather, him more so than I. But his messages are fewer, and a bit distracted. To be perfectly honest, I’ve been driving myself slightly nuts over this one.

What did I do wrong?

Did I not do enough?

Maybe it’s not me?

Maybe he’s just ill?

Head:   “He’s probably just busy, stop over analysing”

Heart:   “I need feedback…”

Head, again:   “I don’t have time for this, I have waaaay more important things to do.” 

Heart :   “But I like him!” 

Head:   “Forget about it, he’s clearly not interested, don’t lose your shit.”

You know the drill.

We have arranged to see each other again, I’ve got no idea what to expect and I’m really, really nervous – in fact – my stomach is in knots.

I guess I’ll just have to wait and see…

The Boy – Second Date

Dating – The Boy – 2nd Date – 5th Jan/8th Jan

Does it count as a second date if it’s brunch the morning after a crazy passionate first night?

Surprisingly, the morning after the night before felt totally natural. The Boy is very easy to be around, and a total gentleman. After a lazy morning we decided to head out for brunch. The conversation continued to flow; we like a lot of the same things and have very similar values. He continued to surprise me with little things he would say, all adding to the ticks that were lining up in my head.

Tall
Funny
Gentle
Confident
Thoughtful
Ambitious
Intelligent
Slightly bonkers

Lot’s of ticks…

He dropped me off at home and we arranged our ‘official’ second date. Now I’m pretty well known for getting very over excited about positive things. Rose tinted love spectacles are firmly on at this point, but hey, who doesn’t like to get lost in a romantic idea??

Sunday evening, the date night, came around pretty quickly – the benefit of being a busy mama – and I got myself ready to go, and there they were, those butterflies. And questions…

What happens if he looks different to how I remember?
What if I imagined it all?
What if I’m not like he remembers and he pulls a face?

He came out to meet me and all the fears were dissipated, he was just as I remembered. Phew! We went for a drink, followed by dinner. Given that we had only met a few days ago, some pretty big questions were aired. Namely the ‘would you have any more children?’ clanger. This is a biggie for me. Having a baby is a massive deal for anyone, but for me, the two little darlings that I have came with crazy post natal depression; two years of having my head up my arse both times. Having another would take some serious consideration and stability, but I love babies, so it’s not totally out of the question. Despite this, the conversation felt OK. He sent me nice little text messages as the evening went on, made me smile and laugh and generally feel special. As the night went on he opened up a bit more. Behind the loud, in control, exhibitionist exterior I found a soft, adorable manboy. We were both totally ourselves and it felt amazing.

When I left, I couldn’t wait for the next time. All the heart eyes. 😍 😍 😍

 

 

The Boy – First Date

Dating – The Boy – First Date – 4th Jan

After my lovely time with Andy fizzled out, I had a bit more confidence in the whole dating game. He had been wonderful company, generous, loving and amazing in bed. We just weren’t compatible in the end, I think I was a bit too bonkers for him.

So, after a bit of a melancholy Christmas, I decided to give my nemesis, Plenty of Fish one last go.

And, after swiftly deleting lots of unsuitable suitors (learned that lesson before, time wasters need not apply), I was left with about four interesting, potentially eligible, guys. The one I was least interested in kept messaging me, but I was distant. He didn’t fit my ‘type’ at all, but he was interesting. He gave me his number after messaging a few times, but I ignored it. I kept him at arms length as I wasn’t really ready to date again, I made the excuse to myself that I just didn’t have time. I’m a mother, I have a new work project, I have a house to build, I need to lose 20lbs… I was pretty good at convincing myself.

I’d been chatting to a few other guys, but this one kept my attention. After the other conversations quickly got tired, he was still there, being funny and charming, and normal. He wasn’t risqué, or arrogant, or demanding. It was refreshing! By this time, I had become so bored of “How’s you??” and, “Hey babes, nice lips ;-)” from random guys, that I messaged The Boy and told him I was removing myself from POF as it was slowly driving my crazy, I didn’t have time and was generally disinterested. I gave him my number because, well,  there was just something about him. Logged myself off POF, and that was that.

Then what happened was quite unexpected. I was waiting for him to message me. You know that little frission of anticipation that you feel? I stalked my screen every ten seconds, and then,

Monday 2 Jan – 19:02 “Well good evening. 😊 Xx”

We chatted for hours about Disney, pizza, family, ambition, getting fit & fresh sheets. He was witty and intelligent, and knew the difference between there, their and they’re. We arranged a drink at my own First Dates bar.

As I got ready, I was excited! He’d admitted that he didn’t usually go on dates and was pretty nervous, setting me perfectly at ease. Being at least a stone overweight and pasty as hell wasn’t even getting me down. I threw on my best ‘cover all sins’ reasonable outfit and off I went. It was just a drink, nothing was going to happen, I was taking this one sloooowly.

As I approached the nerves kicked in. That awkward split second when you are looking around for someone you’ve never met before. ‘I’m the dude in the hat’ was all I had to go on. And then I spotted him. Tall, louche, casual, and sexy as hell. Our eyes met and he smiled the best cheeky smile, and that was it…

No awkward conversation, lots of gin and a few hours later and we realised that we were both really hungry. The kitchen had closed so we left to find somewhere that would feed us, we stepped outside giggling like children and then he grabbed me and kissed me, totally out of the blue. He was big and confident and Alpha. That was it, I was hooked. We found somewhere willing to feed us given the late hour, and spent the rest of the night laughing, talking and being silly. Perfect first date.

As the night drew to a close it became abundantly clear that neither of us wanted to leave, and I woke up the next day wrapped up in his arms. Damn. That was not supposed to happen…

The Day The Game Changed

Since our very amicable and relatively easy separation, RB and I have come to blows only once or twice. There have been heated words and many compromises, but great big dirty rows I can count on one hand. Compared to the last 18 months of our marriage, this is pretty incredible. And, I’d have to say I’m pretty proud of us for that. Give us each a gold flippin’ medal. If you could put a picture on our journey so far, it would look a bit like this…

milly-and-ella-163

However, last week things changed. Forgive me, this post is a bit wordy, but it kinda needs to be…

The Background

If you have been following me over on Instagram and Twitter you’ll know that I am in the process of doing up my first house as a singleton. I’ve done a few projects before, so this is not new to me. It is, however, very stressful. Managing a team of self employed tradesmen who appear and disappear at will, while trying to maintain a schedule of works so the girls and I can move in, can get a little tricky. They are all working on top of each other one day, then the next two of them don’t show up, so the other three can’t do what they’re supposed to as they need the absentees to have completed various tasks in the timeline. Fairly standard stuff when you are managing your own build. However, it saves ££££’s so it’s worth it.

Now, I have been quite used to relying on RB, as we have remained close since our split. This all seemed to change last week though. Here’s the rub. We have a family calendar planner so the girls will always know where they are meant to be on any given night. We share our parenting roles 50/50, three nights with him, three nights with me. Simple!

It’s organised, the structure of the week remains the same, everyone is happy. We occasionally make changes to accommodate each others separate lives, but generally we try to stick to it. Yay us.

The Row

On this particular week RB asked me if I would mind switching things up a bit as he had a function to attend (It was a funeral, nobody he knew personally, but someone close to his new GF and he wanted to support her). Fine, no problemo. I am a generous easy-going zen-like flexible co-parent. It’s all part of the ‘amicable separation’/’conscious uncoupling’ game, right?

Fast forward to the next day when I required a similar favour in return. Going back to the building site timeline, I had some jobs to do so that next tasks in the schedule of works could happen the following day. I was hoping to work into the night to get the task completed. So, I asked RB if he would mind returning the favour of the previous day. A perfectly reasonable request I thought?

He said no.

 

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I was a little annoyed, but then he said it was because he wanted to work late, to make up the hours that he had missed the day previous. He had a deadline to meet before the weekend. Cue mini argument and a bit of mudslinging both ways.

During the back and forth of whatsapp arguing, I suspected that he wasn’t intending to work late at all. Why else would he be so difficult? Especially after me helping him out without any issue at all the day before. This was not the usual run of things, one does a favour for the other, and that favour is returned at some other point. It’s just The Rules!

Then it hit me, maybe he was actually going to spend the evening with his new GF. Duh! He continued to maintain that he was working late and that I was a crazy super bitch for accusing him of not putting the children first. I felt bad. Maybe I was wrong and blowing the whole thing out of proportion, in a slightly crazed jealous ex style? Was I?? Did I make the whole thing up??

N.B. I’m not the crazy jealous ex type – at all. Could not give less of a shit. But, when it upsets the balance of how we are managing our lives as co-parents. That gets on my nerves. A large part of maintaining an amicable separation is having respect for one another, along with a fair dollop of give and take. I felt strongly that this was not being reciprocated, whatever the reason.

The truth is he was flatly refusing to help me out.

Whatever the actual truth of the matter isn’t important, really. What the whole drama DID mark was the start of a sea change in our relationship. So that was it. I knew that things had changed forever. Gone was my reliable, if not slightly harassed, baby daddy. He had been replaced by an ex-husband. There was now someone else in his life and our journey was about take a totally different direction.

 

 

Top Image Credit Mark Williamson – www.mrandmrsw.com