They Don’t Understand

I am beginning to think that one of my greatest failures was to tread water after the separation. Perhaps I should have made decisions more quickly to allow the healing process to begin earlier. I’ve thought about that over and over again and I keep coming up with the same conclusion. I wasn’t able to.

Whether the midlife episode includes a separation or the desire to buy a fast car or drop out of the ratrace for a while is in a lot of ways immaterial. For me it was characterised by confusion, by a total lack of self esteem [and I’ll tackle that one in another post] and an inability to actually put things into context.

I was not able to actually move forward until I had a number of counselling sessions and I was finally able to put some of my childhood beliefs into context. And that was the true revelation.

I had grown up thinking that I had shouldered responsibilities that were thrust upon me from an early age when what I had actually done was run away from them and hidden in my bedroom through much of my teenage years. As a consequence I grew up unable to open myself up to truly intimate contact or to true deep and abiding friendship.

Am I going to apologise for treading water? No. I couldn’t do anything else until I had sorted through all the other baggage and the problem was I didn’t even know what the baggage was at the time. So for those who criticise that indecisiveness consider what you may also do in the same situation because you may one day also walk in my shoes.

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They Don’t Understand

I am beginning to think that one of my greatest failures was to tread water after the separation. Perhaps I should have made decisions more quickly to allow the healing process to begin earlier. I’ve thought about that over and over again and I keep coming up with the same conclusion. I wasn’t able to.

Whether the midlife episode includes a separation or the desire to buy a fast car or drop out of the ratrace for a while is in a lot of ways immaterial. For me it was characterised by confusion, by a total lack of self esteem [and I’ll tackle that one in another post] and an inability to actually put things into context.

I was not able to actually move forward until I had a number of counselling sessions and I was finally able to put some of my childhood beliefs into context. And that was the true revelation.

I had grown up thinking that I had shouldered responsibilities that were thrust upon me from an early age when what I had actually done was run away from them and hidden in my bedroom through much of my teenage years. As a consequence I grew up unable to open myself up to truly intimate contact or to true deep and abiding friendship.

Am I going to apologise for treading water? No. I couldn’t do anything else until I had sorted through all the other baggage and the problem was I didn’t even know what the baggage was at the time. So for those who criticise that indecisiveness consider what you may also do in the same situation because you may one day also walk in my shoes.

They Don’t Understand

I am beginning to think that one of my greatest failures was to tread water after the separation. Perhaps I should have made decisions more quickly to allow the healing process to begin earlier. I’ve thought about that over and over again and I keep coming up with the same conclusion. I wasn’t able to.

Whether the midlife episode includes a separation or the desire to buy a fast car or drop out of the ratrace for a while is in a lot of ways immaterial. For me it was characterised by confusion, by a total lack of self esteem [and I’ll tackle that one in another post] and an inability to actually put things into context.

I was not able to actually move forward until I had a number of counselling sessions and I was finally able to put some of my childhood beliefs into context. And that was the true revelation.

I had grown up thinking that I had shouldered responsibilities that were thrust upon me from an early age when what I had actually done was run away from them and hidden in my bedroom through much of my teenage years. As a consequence I grew up unable to open myself up to truly intimate contact or to true deep and abiding friendship.

Am I going to apologise for treading water? No. I couldn’t do anything else until I had sorted through all the other baggage and the problem was I didn’t even know what the baggage was at the time. So for those who criticise that indecisiveness consider what you may also do in the same situation because you may one day also walk in my shoes.

Great Expectations


It’s been a big week. My daughter has been with us full time and it couldn’t have been better. But there was also the criticisms of once good friends and the truth from ex family members. And as usual those things did get me thinking.

I like the metaphor of life being like a river with it’s ebbs and flows, it’s twists and turns, the rapids of white water and the sluggardness of the backwaters. Midlife for me was being caught in the backwater and it is a difficult thing to explain how that feels. You can have all the desire in the world to move forward but that is impossible until certain revelations come, until some of that baggage we have been carrying is ejected and left on the bank, so that we can go forward with a lighter load.

It is interesting that some people believe that I should have been able to just get back out into the current and keep going. Those who actually recognise a midlife episode will know that for many that is not possible. The pondering, the questioning and the ultimate truth come in their own time and at their own pace. Force it and the current might bring you down as soon as you get to that next bend in the river.

In the past week I have learnt that E and my mate and his wife had great expectations about the way I should have behaved. I failed their expectations, but I have wondered if they actually had any right to place those upon me. Does anybody really have the right to expect people to behave in a manner that fits with their beliefs? In these instances I have been told that it was not what I did, but the fact that I did not act to a retrospective timetable that they believe I should have been governed by. But none of them were in the river with me, they were all paddling their own course. None, not a single one of my friends, actually took the time to stop by and ask how I was getting on, whether I needed help, or even just take the time to stroll along the bank with me. So in not taking that time what criteria do they judge me by? None have heard my story.

So here is my advice. If you place expectations on other people and they fail to live up to them, understand that they were yours in the first place. If you make presumptions about people and they don’t conform to those presumptions do not judge them too harshly. Recognise that people can be in dark places and are able to hide the fact that they are wandering lost to everyone, even those who think they know them best. Understand that people change, that change can be a positive thing even when it springs from what appears to be very negative situations. But also understand that change occurs at its own pace, you have no right to impose your timetable on anyone else. And finally, if you know that a friend is struggling, offer a hand, it is sometimes enough that your friend knows you are there for them even if they don’t immediately take up the offer.

Great Expectations


It’s been a big week. My daughter has been with us full time and it couldn’t have been better. But there was also the criticisms of once good friends and the truth from ex family members. And as usual those things did get me thinking.

I like the metaphor of life being like a river with it’s ebbs and flows, it’s twists and turns, the rapids of white water and the sluggardness of the backwaters. Midlife for me was being caught in the backwater and it is a difficult thing to explain how that feels. You can have all the desire in the world to move forward but that is impossible until certain revelations come, until some of that baggage we have been carrying is ejected and left on the bank, so that we can go forward with a lighter load.

It is interesting that some people believe that I should have been able to just get back out into the current and keep going. Those who actually recognise a midlife episode will know that for many that is not possible. The pondering, the questioning and the ultimate truth come in their own time and at their own pace. Force it and the current might bring you down as soon as you get to that next bend in the river.

In the past week I have learnt that E and my mate and his wife had great expectations about the way I should have behaved. I failed their expectations, but I have wondered if they actually had any right to place those upon me. Does anybody really have the right to expect people to behave in a manner that fits with their beliefs? In these instances I have been told that it was not what I did, but the fact that I did not act to a retrospective timetable that they believe I should have been governed by. But none of them were in the river with me, they were all paddling their own course. None, not a single one of my friends, actually took the time to stop by and ask how I was getting on, whether I needed help, or even just take the time to stroll along the bank with me. So in not taking that time what criteria do they judge me by? None have heard my story.

So here is my advice. If you place expectations on other people and they fail to live up to them, understand that they were yours in the first place. If you make presumptions about people and they don’t conform to those presumptions do not judge them too harshly. Recognise that people can be in dark places and are able to hide the fact that they are wandering lost to everyone, even those who think they know them best. Understand that people change, that change can be a positive thing even when it springs from what appears to be very negative situations. But also understand that change occurs at its own pace, you have no right to impose your timetable on anyone else. And finally, if you know that a friend is struggling, offer a hand, it is sometimes enough that your friend knows you are there for them even if they don’t immediately take up the offer.

Great Expectations


It’s been a big week. My daughter has been with us full time and it couldn’t have been better. But there was also the criticisms of once good friends and the truth from ex family members. And as usual those things did get me thinking.

I like the metaphor of life being like a river with it’s ebbs and flows, it’s twists and turns, the rapids of white water and the sluggardness of the backwaters. Midlife for me was being caught in the backwater and it is a difficult thing to explain how that feels. You can have all the desire in the world to move forward but that is impossible until certain revelations come, until some of that baggage we have been carrying is ejected and left on the bank, so that we can go forward with a lighter load.

It is interesting that some people believe that I should have been able to just get back out into the current and keep going. Those who actually recognise a midlife episode will know that for many that is not possible. The pondering, the questioning and the ultimate truth come in their own time and at their own pace. Force it and the current might bring you down as soon as you get to that next bend in the river.

In the past week I have learnt that E and my mate and his wife had great expectations about the way I should have behaved. I failed their expectations, but I have wondered if they actually had any right to place those upon me. Does anybody really have the right to expect people to behave in a manner that fits with their beliefs? In these instances I have been told that it was not what I did, but the fact that I did not act to a retrospective timetable that they believe I should have been governed by. But none of them were in the river with me, they were all paddling their own course. None, not a single one of my friends, actually took the time to stop by and ask how I was getting on, whether I needed help, or even just take the time to stroll along the bank with me. So in not taking that time what criteria do they judge me by? None have heard my story.

So here is my advice. If you place expectations on other people and they fail to live up to them, understand that they were yours in the first place. If you make presumptions about people and they don’t conform to those presumptions do not judge them too harshly. Recognise that people can be in dark places and are able to hide the fact that they are wandering lost to everyone, even those who think they know them best. Understand that people change, that change can be a positive thing even when it springs from what appears to be very negative situations. But also understand that change occurs at its own pace, you have no right to impose your timetable on anyone else. And finally, if you know that a friend is struggling, offer a hand, it is sometimes enough that your friend knows you are there for them even if they don’t immediately take up the offer.

E’s comment

A comment on the last post said I was wrong about L bad mouthing me and I responded that I had never said she had. On re-reading what I wrote I can now see how that conclusion may have been drawn. Let me say again that L told me that she would never bad mouth me and I believe her, and maybe E was right in his comment that my actions were what condemned me more than anything. Or from what he has said more likely it seems my inactions.

I make no excuses for my apparent gutlessness. I think one of the major lessons I have learnt is that relationships fail because of a lack of communication. Purely and simply. Molehills become mountains when people don’t talk. Possibly my biggest mistake when I did confess my wrongs was that I then continued in a vein where the communication between us was still stilted and uncomfortable. But old habits do sometimes die hard and when you spend a life time bottling things up it is really difficult to all of a sudden expect to be an open book.

It has taken me the best part of the two years of separation to learn that lesson, way too late to save any previous relationships. And let me say now that there is a lot more to the story than I will ever reveal to anyone. Deep seated things that go way back to childhood that came to be put into perspective through counselling.

I titled this blog “Midlife – A Journey” because that is what it has been. Here I have tried to be honest where I haven’t been honest in the past. For someone guilty of infidelity I expect to be judged about my degree of honesty. I have tried very hard in every instance to make sure that people know this is my perspective, my reality, and it may not correspond with what other people believe is true.

Writing has been cathartic for me and maybe somewhere along the way what I have written will help other people. Everyone is capable of making mistakes that they regret. If I may offer a word of advice to people who do judge those mistakes, please think about how you would feel in the same place. Don’t sit back and think that one day the same thing won’t happen to you. E said that I held myself up as someone who portrayed himself as perfect but I don’t think that is true. I did however have a set of standards and a morality that turned out to be capable of being breached. That is my true failing and it can happen to anyone.

E’s comment

A comment on the last post said I was wrong about L bad mouthing me and I responded that I had never said she had. On re-reading what I wrote I can now see how that conclusion may have been drawn. Let me say again that L told me that she would never bad mouth me and I believe her, and maybe E was right in his comment that my actions were what condemned me more than anything. Or from what he has said more likely it seems my inactions.

I make no excuses for my apparent gutlessness. I think one of the major lessons I have learnt is that relationships fail because of a lack of communication. Purely and simply. Molehills become mountains when people don’t talk. Possibly my biggest mistake when I did confess my wrongs was that I then continued in a vein where the communication between us was still stilted and uncomfortable. But old habits do sometimes die hard and when you spend a life time bottling things up it is really difficult to all of a sudden expect to be an open book.

It has taken me the best part of the two years of separation to learn that lesson, way too late to save any previous relationships. And let me say now that there is a lot more to the story than I will ever reveal to anyone. Deep seated things that go way back to childhood that came to be put into perspective through counselling.

I titled this blog “Midlife – A Journey” because that is what it has been. Here I have tried to be honest where I haven’t been honest in the past. For someone guilty of infidelity I expect to be judged about my degree of honesty. I have tried very hard in every instance to make sure that people know this is my perspective, my reality, and it may not correspond with what other people believe is true.

Writing has been cathartic for me and maybe somewhere along the way what I have written will help other people. Everyone is capable of making mistakes that they regret. If I may offer a word of advice to people who do judge those mistakes, please think about how you would feel in the same place. Don’t sit back and think that one day the same thing won’t happen to you. E said that I held myself up as someone who portrayed himself as perfect but I don’t think that is true. I did however have a set of standards and a morality that turned out to be capable of being breached. That is my true failing and it can happen to anyone.

What others think.

It is no secret that I have made mistakes. Last night after I had told my lady about the events of the day she broke down and made up her mind to leave. It was all too hard. We were judged, despised and condemned by people who knew only one side of the story. And sometimes it is really difficult to see when things may begin to improve. It’s often one step forward, two back.

And in any story whilst both sides have elements of truth the ultimate reality lies somewhere in between. In my desire not to hurt anyone anymore than I already had I let other people either tell my story, or let them listen only to the one side that showed me in the worst possible light. And in some ways that did suit me when you harbour guilt or lose your self respect it is easy to believe the worst. I have done my best to accept all blame and not make negative comments about my ex to anyone. Yesterday made me believe that perhaps I hadn’t been afforded the same courtesy.

It was a message from her daughter that convinced my lady not to walk away. “You know Mum” she said, “I am sure everyone is hated by someone, but at the end of the day if you come home to a really nice guy it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks.”

That made us both feel much better.

I have begun a private blog taking the lead from some of you and I’ll send out email invitations to those of you who wish to view it. I will definitely keep this one going but there are times when I need to be a bit more circumspect with what I say. If you haven’t received an invitation but would like one please drop me an email.

What others think.

It is no secret that I have made mistakes. Last night after I had told my lady about the events of the day she broke down and made up her mind to leave. It was all too hard. We were judged, despised and condemned by people who knew only one side of the story. And sometimes it is really difficult to see when things may begin to improve. It’s often one step forward, two back.

And in any story whilst both sides have elements of truth the ultimate reality lies somewhere in between. In my desire not to hurt anyone anymore than I already had I let other people either tell my story, or let them listen only to the one side that showed me in the worst possible light. And in some ways that did suit me when you harbour guilt or lose your self respect it is easy to believe the worst. I have done my best to accept all blame and not make negative comments about my ex to anyone. Yesterday made me believe that perhaps I hadn’t been afforded the same courtesy.

It was a message from her daughter that convinced my lady not to walk away. “You know Mum” she said, “I am sure everyone is hated by someone, but at the end of the day if you come home to a really nice guy it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks.”

That made us both feel much better.

I have begun a private blog taking the lead from some of you and I’ll send out email invitations to those of you who wish to view it. I will definitely keep this one going but there are times when I need to be a bit more circumspect with what I say. If you haven’t received an invitation but would like one please drop me an email.

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