The next morning, I sat on the sofa in my dressing gown. Empty. Lifeless. Comatose.
I watched the clock in my lounge room tick. For hours and hours. I just sat on the sofa and watched those clock hands move. How did this happen?! My brain worked in overdrive dissecting every aspect of our marriage. I mentally trawled through the past few years trying to detect the slightest hint of trouble.
But I actually struggled to find anything that could be remotely responsible for THIS to be unfolding!!
Our marriage was the Titanic. A stunningly beautiful vision. Impressive. Inspiring. UNSINKABLE.
And we’d just had our ice berg moment.
A massive tear in the hull of our marriage.
This was me assessing the damage. Is this fixable? Can we patch it up and keep going? Is water pouring in? Are we going under?
I looked through photos from our recent road trip in November 2012. That was only three months prior to this. Happy times. And I have the happy snaps to prove it. We took Rommy with us. It was my very first camping trip. I thought it went beautifully.
We’d also just bought a second house in November 2012 which we planned would be our family home one day. We had already arranged to rent it out in the meantime. Talk about entrepreneurial, successful DINKs!
My assessment? Life was sweet!
But, there was one small ‘negative’ that I could pinpoint. And it was all I could find to offer some kind of explanation for this nightmare….
We were trying to have a baby. And it wasn’t happening for us. Coming up to a year and a half.
And we were one week off starting IVF.
On the morning of that ‘Disaster Friday’, I got my period. And I’d told Mr Ex that. It was the ‘green light’ – so to speak – that I, once again, was not pregnant and we would therefore go full-steam ahead for IVF the following week. Injections and more tablets were all lined up. This is our time!
We had an amazing fertility doctor and her team were super supportive. Good to chat to. Easy going. Light-hearted. And that’s exactly what you want in a fertility team, considering they’re required to insert probes to suss out the thickness of your uterus lining, ask awkward questions about your sex life and examine your sperm under a microscope.
It wasn’t doom and gloom though.
We had been told that we had unusually excellent chances with IVF due to our young age and the tip-top condition of my insides. We would be good for their statistics.
So, that all seemed really positive. To me, at least.
I was actually excited!!
Mr Ex and I often chatted about baby names. I liked the name Amelia. He wanted Neave. He said he liked Irish names (remember that; it’ll be a useful piece of the puzzle down the track!). Mr Ex was a complete natural with children. Like, even better than me and I work with kids! That was one of the many things that drew me to Mr Ex, actually. I knew he’d be a brilliant dad.
So anyway, the only reasoning that I could find for ‘problems’ in our marriage was the fertility journey. Maybe it has affected Mr Ex harder than me? I wondered.
I then looked through my 2012 diary trying to determine dates and times when Mr Ex may have had an opportunity to be having an affair (when was he ‘working late’ or perhaps when he may have been acting strangely?). I couldn’t find much of a window for an affair though. We spent SO. MUCH. time together! Admittedly, yes, I acknowledged he had been a little stressed in the previous weeks, but he was in the running for a significant promotion at work – soon to be earning over $120,000/year at work – and a little bit of stress is only natural in the circumstances… right?
So, to me, it just didn’t make sense.
He has a high-income lawyer job. Two houses. Excellent IVF chances. Holidays. Church. Great couple friends also having babies. Life’s predictable and sensible and safe and, well, once that baby comes along, it’ll be 110% perfect!
(Yes, I’m hoping you are starting to see cracks, even though grieving Ess was completely oblivious!).
Again, how did this happen?!
This ship is unsinkable!! Everyone said so!! So, how is this even possible?
I always thought that when a relationship was in trouble, both people would realise. Surely both people could sense if there was an issue. Both would know that something was not right. But I never saw this coming. I AM HEAD OVER HEELS IN LOVE WITH HIM , I thought.
The ice berg was completely unforeseen.
Mum and Aly were at my house. There was nothing anyone could say to change the situation. They couldn’t give me any answers. They just listened to me ramble on and on whilst going around in circles trying to find answers. And they sat in comforting silence with me when I couldn’t speak.
At 2pm, Mr Ex made contact.
He texted me.
He said that he wasn’t coming home any time soon.
But I remembered that he was going sailing that weekend. He must be texting me just before he sets sail, I thought. OK, that’s not too bad. He just needs some thinking time. Sailing will clear away the cobwebs. The fresh sea air will do him a world of good.
“You’re better than this,” I texted, trying to encourage him. “Come back to me. Come back to reality. Come back to God. We will get through this and be stronger for it. I love you no matter what.”
No reply though.
“Are you sure he’s actually gone sailing?” Mum asked me.
Of course I am sure! This is a man with integrity and honesty. I know my husband. I mean, he obviously couldn’t live a lie long-term so that’s why he fessed up and told me the truth. He couldn’t live with the guilt so he came clean. That’s a good sign, right?
We had been a couple since I was 17 and he was 19. I had spent seven years defending him, backing him up, and standing by him. That instinct and reflex to defend your spouse is not easy to override.
But my ever-thinking mum rang the sailing club.
There were no boat races that weekend.
My body went into a cold sweat as the realisation sank in. He is not sailing. When he told me weeks ago about the race, it was all a lie. And he is still lying. He is not crossing the gulf. He has been plotting, scheming, LYING for weeks, maybe months!!!!!!
Was it all a big lie to spend the weekend with her?
Things had suddenly changed.
This is not a spur of the moment thing.
This was calculated.
And yes, just like the Titanic, that was that gut-wrenching, earth-shattering, heart-stopping moment where I realise that there aren’t enough lifeboats on-board.
Everyone knew that this incredible ocean liner – aka our marriage – was a beacon of perfection. Seemingly faultless, impeccable and magnificent. So, surely, it doesn’t require lifeboats for everyone on board. Because IT IS UNSINKABLE!! But, here we are. Icy water is pouring in. Rapidly.
Suddenly, the world’s most perfect ship has obvious fatal flaws. And there’s nothing anyone can do.
I had moments of disbelief: Who needs lifeboats if a ship is unsinkable?! There is absolutely, irrevocably and undoubtedly NO chance of this going under!
And, I had moments of reality: We’re taking on water and this ship will be on the bottom of the ocean in a matter of hours, unless there is some kind of miracle.