At the risk of sounding like a complete idiot: I was talking to a friend the other day. Smart cookie, she is. But not academic. Never had a high powered job. Married to a man who ‘knows his own mind’, ‘calls a spade a spade’ etc. Though he is not my type, they have just celebrated 25 years together and she certainly seems happy. Anyway, we were chatting a while back, and the subject of the referendum came up. My friend said something which at the time I ignored. Along the lines of ‘Well, if (husband) were here he could explain it all very well’. Now obviously there is nothing wrong with that. But as the weeks have passed I find myself returning to that comment and sentiment again and again. Not about her, but about me. One of the many reasons I felt so utterly bereft when BH walked out on us, I realise, is that I DIDN’T KNOW WHAT TO THINK. About anything. I deferred to him about just about everything. It’s been over three years now. I no longer cry all the time. I have managed what I thought I never could: to get divorced and sell our home, buy and move to somewhere else. Got all the admin and paperwork and finances done, more or less. I am slowly getting up off the floor. And it is dawning on me that, for example, I don’t share X politics. I thought I did. I was always appalled to hear about women who are coerced into voting as their husbands tell them. I was not coerced. But I assumed that my genius husband knew best about everything. Now I wonder if in fact he was a complete idiot. I had to phone HM Revenue today to ask about something. I feel so ignorant. X used to deal with all the finances, and had accountants to do everything. I used to just sign where I was told to. It all went over my head. I asked the friendly guy on the phone about the fact that I had made a contribution to my pension (new, small, awarded as part of the divorce – I’d never had or thought about pensions before). I had followed the rules and contributed almost as much as my earned income for the last tax year and my question was could it be right that I deduct it from my income, thus leaving me with almost zero? He said ‘yes, that’s fine. That just shows that you are managing your finances’. I burst into tears. I am beginning to think that I didn’t just give my heart away in that marriage, but also my brain.
It's amazing to think how our attitudes can change with time... I'm sure you have always been every bit as smart as your ex Eliza. It's immensely satisfying to tackle things you previously avoided or deferred to your partner and the managing your finances part is particularly apt..
My new skills (things ex always did) include putting together IKEA (admittedly with the help of my handy son) and navigating.
Gosh, Eliza, this so resonates with me! I got my absolute in September last year after a long, hard divorce and am now living very happily alone in a beautiful, mortgage free, country cottage. I found myself in tears a few weeks ago talking to my son about my bedroom because I had no idea how to decorate it! I am so lucky. I have sufficient money, I have choice - but over the years I let my ex make the decisions about everything. Holidays, cars, food - you name it. Well, I am going to paint my bedroom pale pink. I will have bookcases along one wall and will have an up cycled dressing table in the corner. Ex would hate it. Good! It's MY room now and I've just realised I can do exactly what I want.
I sometimes wonder if it was not just my brain that I 'lost sight of' - but my personality and individuality.... I thought we were merging - symbiotic - better as two - but the individuality that my ex claimed to like was subsumed - at a cost to me - I let it be.
But having the confidence to regrow it and trust in it? - those around me think I am fine - but no - inside I am full of uncertainties - and inside I feel a failure becuase I have been rejected. I wish I new the magic bullet for getting over that one!
Logically - if we have been 'rejected' by someone we had put on a pedestal - but whose feet were in fact made of clay - we should feel ok.....but the inner voice believes the negative about me, more than about him.