Navigate our site
Well, obviously I don’t know the answer to this question because my marriage failed. However, there was an article on the BBC website over the weekend and I’m still allowed to be interested in the concept. My mother would have […]
I AM VERY CROSS. I read an article in The Telegraph on Thursday that really shocked me. Written by Cristina Odone, a mother of several teenage boys aged 17 & 19 years old. She was admitting to underhand behaviour to […]
The worst thing for a friend to say to me when I'm having a bit of a shit time is "I know you're having a bit of a shit time - how are you?" because it totally disarms me. It is usually because I have persuaded myself that I'm not having nearly as shit a time as lots of other people and even the slightest whiff of sympathy is an absolute disaster for me. A friend has just done that - "I'm fine" I told her with an increasingly wobbly voice (Fucked Up, Insecure, Neurotic and Emotional). "The kids are fine. My job is fine. I'm fine on my own, I just don't feel like going out tonight". She is understandably worried - not wanting to go out is a total first for me so it's either a sign that I am suicidally depressed or a sign that I am finally growing up and not feeling the need to run after (or away from) my life. Yes, of course I'm missing Builder Bloke and I'm having to come to terms with being single again, but there are upsides to not being with him. Most importantly, because of the complicated "wife swap" scenario we were in, it is good to have less stress between my ex husband and me. Conversations and arguments aren't swooping round and round in four different directions like Chinese Whispers and he has been sympathetic to the situation I have found myself in. So much so that when I had to go and collect my daughter's art book from his house the other evening his new wife - my children's stepmother invited me in! It was the first time that I'd stepped over the threshold of the house where my children spend every other weekend and I was very nervous about it. Then she asked me if I wanted a drink. After a slight pause in which I am quite sure she could see me thinking "shit, f*ck, yes, no, HELP!!" I said "yes, why not" and so I sat with her and my ex husband in their kitchen, drinking wine and talking. The situation was strange but surprisingly fine. In fact it was more than fine it was a good thing to do and a major step forward in developing our grown up working relationship on behalf of the six children we have between us. It is obvious that our common bond means that we both want the best for our children and will do all that we can to make sure that happens. We all know that the kids (especially the younger ones) would find it a lot easier if we had a better relationship and certainly down the line there will be events - significant birthdays, graduations, maybe even weddings that we will all need to be at. How much better it will be for all concerned if everyone can be in the same room together being civil. We both know how much stress it will alleviate for our children in the years to come. I am feeling very grown up and think we all deserve a gold star (presented to us by our children). Although tomorrow's post will probably be called "It's All About Me"...
Last week TV presenter Kirstie Allsopp controversially stated that always putting your man first was the key to a successful relationship. She said "if you do what your partner prefers, he is happy and the children have a great time too". Do you agree with that? I don't. This makes me angry - comments like this. I am all for accepting the wonderful world of gender differences, but frankly this sort of statement takes us right back to the last century. Surely most relationships are now based on mutual respect and equality? If not then on a compromise agreeable to both? Why should one partner expect or deserve to be happier than the other? Is it right that children learn that imbalance from an early age even if outwardly calm and happy? I did try that approach when I was married - tried to go and watch cricket matches and other sports with the children in tow but it made us all miserable, which admittedly was my fault because I didn't come from a sporting family and wasn't used to it. My parents spent every weekend doing stuff together. Of course, it is quite clear that I am not qualified to comment because I got it all wrong. One writer, in agreement with Kirstie states:- "I know of couples where the husband commutes to London during the week to work 10 hours per day in order to support the family and then at the weekend gets told by the wife: "No, you're not going to play golf, it's your turn to have the kids, I need some "me time". I am amazed the men stick around to be bossed about. I'm sure most of them are having affairs - in fact, I hope they are poor blighters. If you don't look after your man, someone else will". That really makes me feel sad because that is pretty much what happened to us. I was one of those awful women who when at home with three small children wanted her husband around at the weekends to do family stuff and to spend time together. He did work unbelievably hard and was used to playing lots of sport and needed an outlet. I get that. He did get to do his thing sometimes, but I simmered with resentment because I couldn't do my thing. It was just a bad time and we didn't manage to sort it out. Small children make everything go wrong for a minute and to be honest I thought I was working unbelievably hard as well - or at least it felt like that at the time. I hadn't realised that there are actually women out there encouraging men to have affairs the minute the going gets tough. Writers like the one above who justify breaking up a marriage at this precarious time, because it's all the woman's fault. What about the women who work full time as well? Where do the same sex partnerships stand on this issue? Is one assigned the job of resident doormat for their relationship to survive? Or is it actually supposed to be just what it says on the packet - a PARTNERSHIP. Where both strive to understand, sympathise, empathise and compromise their way through the messy thing we call life. Surely it's all about communication? We are equal partners here trying to find a way to make it work. Women who stay at home to look after the children are more inclined to feel they have to do what their man says, in my limited experience and very often this comes down to who is in financial power - but even then it's got to be a compromise that works both ways. It is very very difficult. I'm quite sure we weren't really designed to live together when bringing up kids. Quite frankly most friends I know would have been much happier living in a commune with women and many children all eating and playing together. The men could then have played sport to their hearts content and gone to the pub. We could all have shared babysitting duties and had a sex rota to meet your partner at least twice a week. It is not easy raising a family and trying to focus on your relationship at the same time. I know that from personal experience. But my advice is that you have to work at it and you have to be honest and talk about it and most importantly of all, make it very clear to "your man" and any of those women apparently waiting in the wings to pounce on "your man" that it would be very very stupid to do anything rash before your youngest child is five. You shouldn't give up, shouldn't wander off. If you married for love you should stick with it - because warped as it might be in the middle years of change and nappies, it will get better as the kids get older. Everybody gets their life back and it gets better. There we are then. That's my view. Biased as hell. What do you think?