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This morning, I woke up drenched in a cold sweat of misery. What if T had been right, what if we had been unsuitable? What if our relationship had just been a celeb-style whirlwind romance turned sour (-even though as far as I know, we never made it to the cover of Closer)?

What if he and The New Ms T ended up sailing into a sunset of happy ever afters, leaving the children and me ashore, peering forlornly from a Past Mistakes recycling bin?

This is almost certainly T’s conviction, and the thought stabs me with every breath, but rather annoyingly on top of everything else, it makes me doubt myself. Because the truth is we did spend a sizeable proportion of our two and a half years together making each other unhappy. I can see how we fell into some traps of expecting things from each other in return for our love, accumulating misunderstandings and failing to communicate effectively on difficult topics, such as how to cook pasta, or sexuality.

Ok, so in that case, why I am not doing the Merry Dance of Relief for being rid of such an inadequate partner? Well, … Because even though he did overcook pasta, T was not an inadequate partner. He surprised me by learning fast to overall become a good step-dad, dad, and even a good husband…

Indeed, eight months on, my conviction remains that if you take any couple, put them through a boil-wash of moving countries, moving-in together, having a baby, coping with an over-demanding job for one, being jobless for the other, you will get two sodden, shrunken people, covered in lint and resentment no matter how well-matched they were in the first place.

Tonight I watched the stars lying on a pile of gravel, feeling the immensity of the waste. Time is somehow healing, or at least blurring the edges of the pain, but my regret remains as sharp as the first day.

In the interest of ethnological accuracy, lying on piles of gravel is not yet another French peculiarity, from the same range as bumper car parking, or herb tea drinking: I was trying to spot shooting stars. Piles of gravel are great star-gazing facilities -in fact, they could practically sell them in Ikea, because a) They shade the moon, b) Lying on their side saves your neck (and yes, for those who are following, well done, my neck has been feeling rather delicate thanks to the crap mattress which has outlived my relationship with T – You may give yourselves a sparkly star sticker on my behalf).

Dubstar – Stars:


8 thoughts on “Stars

  1. “Time is somehow healing, or at least blurring the edges of the pain, but my regret remains as sharp as the first day.”

    I feel much the same way.

  2. I’m sorry to hear you’re not feeling better and better over time. I hope this is, at worst, just a short dip and doesn’t indicate less momentum in the trend of improvement over time. You seemed on the path to recovery not so long ago.

    A whirlwind romance and the stressful (but nevertheless exciting) follow-up of moving and a baby requires particular kinds of accommodation skills to survive the difficult journey. It would be unfair for you to blame yourself or T if this were a prime factor in the break-up; many other couples would struggle too.

    There’s heartbreak that still smarts and a sweet baby to care for, and so there will be no Merry Dance of Relief over the loss of this relationship. T may well have been inadequate, to use your words, but the loss of this relationship has had a significant impact on your life.

    You’re stronger than you think and will work through this. Your network of friends will help.

    • Dear Struggling Dad,
      Good to hear from you!
      I think you’re right and on the whole, I am miles better than I was eight month ago, but there are dips. Still, the problem with regret is that so far it has remained intact. I still don’t think there were any major reasons why we couldn’t have made it through…
      Oh well, I’m sure even this will eventually get better. And hope you are feeling better too?

  3. I happen to love lying down and staring at the stars myself, drinking in the vastness or pondering on our insignificance etc. As to the relationship, I don’t know enough to comment but I can’t but wish someone who thinks so well about her situation as you every happiness. You deserve it

    • Hey thank you Counting Ducks! You know what, it’s lovely to have there cheering on me from the pavement as I struggle on with my Getting-over-heartbreak marathon…

  4. Fabulous writing, Lady E. It takes a while to get past the “what-ifs” of a broken relationship. I am at about the 4.5 year mark and still on occasion have visits to the “Past Mistakes recycling bin.” I’m happy to say I no longer linger there. Keep writing.

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