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Posts Tagged ‘Cheating’

I grew up down here. I used to know every square inch of the place, but my God, has it ever changed. Horse paddocks are shopping centres, backyards with enough room to get lost in are a rarity, and on the weekends I practically have to fight for a quiet spot on the beach. Twenty years ago this was a haven for single mums, hippies, and old drunks. Cheap rentals, beautiful beaches and a healthy amount of marijuana smoke in the air. Most people knew each other, and everyone knew my family.

After I left, every so often when I had to pass through I’d feel sick. Traffic lights, fast food, so. many. people., nothing suited here. I think it was the fastest growing region nationally for a few years running, and it shows. I guess everyone wants to live at beach, even if now that means working crazy hours to afford it.

Once Craig and I were done and dusted (the first, maybe second time) I thought I’d come down for a couple weeks over summer, see my old besties, have some space. I like to sit on the balcony in the evenings, even though it faces completely the wrong way for any kind of view. At that point in time I would have been having a cigarette (I barely smoke now – yay for me!) when I heard a voice, ‘Hey! Are you my new neighbour?’. It took me a few seconds to realise where it was coming from, and I could only see him if I kinda leaned over, and he was leaning right forward and waving sheepishly ‘Sorry, didn’t mean to scare you’.

‘Hi. No. Just here for a break.’

‘Need someone to show you around? There’s some good spots’

I laughed. ‘Nah. Thanks though. I grew up here. It’s changed a lot.’

‘You don’t look old enough to say that’

I remember biting my lip, squeezing my eyes shut as I called out ‘Wanna come up for a drink? This is weird.’

He shook my hand at the door, formal. Introduced himself. Let’s call him Matt. I’ve never had any luck with Matts. Older than what I’d thought, a couple of grey hairs in his stubble. I love stubble. Kind eyes.

He can string a sentence together, plays guitar, and has built homes in Cambodia. He tasted like beer and salt.

I would have been happy to leave it at that; that’s all I expected. But he insisted on taking me for breakfast, and showed up with flowers and chinese the same night. We talked. About most things, separation was a big theme.

Except he wasn’t totally separated.

His wife wasn’t there though, but when he started being cagey a couple weeks on, I knew something was off. It ended with him in tears, confessing that while they had spoken about separation, and his heart wasn’t in the marriage, they hadn’t *actually* separated yet.

I really liked him. And I believed him when he said he was sorry and that he didn’t expect to meet someone he connected with at that point. But I still stopped seeing him immediately, and quietly freaked out, imagining how I’d feel being in his wife’s position.

Fast forward a few months until my next visit, when I noticed his house was for sale.

There was a twinge of regret in my chest, but nothing more.

When I came to live here, I just wanted to keep quiet, stay way under the radar, rest. It had only been a few days when the RSPCA came to investigate, saying my dogs had been reported as having no shade, water and that they were underweight. The complete level of confusion from the lovely guy that came out was almost comical. But when it happened twice more, plus a noise complaint to the police (I’m very quiet – but this is a party street so there’s always music from somewhere) I started feeling a little sick.

A few weeks later I was coming back from the beach at night when I hear, ‘Whore!’

‘Excuse me?’

‘You heard me’, she stated, talking loudly over her barking dog. ‘I know who you are. You were a delinquent and now you’re a home wrecker!’

I tried to apologise and explain that I had no idea Matt wasn’t single but she wasn’t having it. The RSPCA had threatened to have her charged for making false reports, and the police said I should keep a harassment diary but mostly I just ignore her, and remember how much she’s hurting. Ok, I yelled back a few times.

I don’t mind so much – these days when she starts up I just kinda be like ‘Yeah, yeah, I’m a whore. Whatever.’ I’m sure she knows inside that I’m not responsible for her marriage. Apparently -according to another neighbour- they divorced about 6 months before I moved in, the house was for sale for a while but she ended up buying him out.

If I was her, I’d be pissed at me too.

I try to remember she doesn’t know anything about me or my life. And that making a mistake doesn’t define me.

x

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This is something I’ve wanted to write about for awhile. Of course I mean absolutely no offense and I know there are plenty of genuine family men out there who wouldn’t dream of straying. I’m sure there are also single men with morals and standards (call me)…I just haven’t met heaps of either lately.

*****

Being single can be hard. It was hard last year, being the new mum in a small school community, from the next (also small) town. Single mums are the furthest thing from a rarity here, and despite what that says about the socio-economic structure, I’m enjoying it. When I lived ‘up the hill’ it was a rarity. I was a rarity. I was naïve enough to think it wouldn’t matter, because it wouldn’t matter to me.

I shouldn’t feel like I have to defend myself but I do. So here’s the disclaimer. I know that fairly often, when I have guy problems, some of the problem is me. I am far from a man-hater. I’ve been in a really bad head-space and at times I’ve unwittingly made people suffer along with me. Here, here, and here. Bad decisions, not being clear on how ill-equipped I really truly was for a relationship because I enjoy the fun parts, letting a nice guy try to talk me around. Not fair. Not nice. Not who I am inside.

However, in these instances I really didn’t do a thing. If a man is attached, to me, he’s unavailable. That’s it. It’s not worth the drama, and causing someone else pain. Sure, he’ll probably do it anyway. Not with me he won’t.

Yeah, I had some problems with other people’s husbands.

And I’m feeling ashamed writing this.

I just, don’t understand, I guess. One incident, which I could write pages on, was (still is, amazingly) one of my closest friends’ husbands… I mean we were all friends, to the point of him talking about how his kids from his first marriage are so close in age to me, that it felt like I was ‘another one of the kids’.

After, I was just like ‘Why? How could you? She’s in the next room. She’s gorgeous and she trusts you.’

And when she asked me to tell her the truth, I did mostly and it just sucked so bad.

That was after it dragged out for about a week, honestly one of the worst weeks of my life, with the he said, she said, wanting to vomit at every school run.

It’s really hard to be social with other mums, without getting to know their husbands. And more than once when I’ve chatted about this (without using specifics about what happened with who), one of my gorgeous friends has been like ‘Yeah, you have to be so careful. It’s not fair. You’d be totally fine with my hubby though’ with such assurance, and my heart has broken for her when it’s turned out that he’s not worthy of her level of trust.

Do men think that because I’m single it doesn’t count or something?

I know socially I can be funny and bright and helpful. But I don’t flirt with my friends partners, I wouldn’t even sit next to them. Does smiling and saying hi to someone constitute an invitation to be groped next time I pass him alone on my way to the bathroom? Does him pouring me a wine give him the right to ask me about ‘a bit of quiet fun’ next time we’re alone in the school carpark?

And you know what, if a man is committed it shouldn’t matter what I do or don’t do.

I’d be lying if I said this didn’t contribute to my decision to cocoon up in my hometown for this year.

I’m complicated. For anyone who’s been reading here for a little while, it’s no secret how much I enjoy physical affection…but these experiences made me feel cheap and dirty and ashamed. I don’t enjoy being touched uninvited, by someone who shouldn’t even be thinking of me that way. And -I’m justifying again- I never dated locally. As far as anyone knew there, I was single and celibate and happy that way. I was discreet…I guess what I’m trying to say, for lack of eloquent wording, is that I don’t come across ‘easy’, I’m not ‘known for being open with myself’, quite the contrary.

Is infidelity not as big a deal to others as it is to me?

Can anyone shed any light at all on this for me?

x

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