I had to reach out and tell you that your book has opened my eyes and my heart more than any other in recent years. I’ve finished it in one sitting today and I’ve laughed and cried throughout.
The reason I bought it was because my boyfriend has just ended our relationship after 18 months. I feel like I’ve been torn in two. I have two amazing children from my previous marriage, he treated them as his own though he has no children himself, we made plans to move in together, we’re very much in love, it was a really positive, happy relationship, then he said out of the blue he wasn’t ready and had needed to work on himself. He’d been distant and always on his phone for a while. I could see it coming really.
So, I picked up your book to help me. I’ve never really had my heart broken before. My father died suddenly seven years ago, but this was a different kind of hurt, similar in that grief comes in waves like mourning, but more vicious, more yearning.
However, the book affected me in an unexpected way, for a different reason.
I’m ashamed to say now that I could only feel my own disgusting high at “winning” this man at the time
Three years ago my marriage broke down because I had an affair. The man I was in the affair with did all of the things your husband X did – convinced his wife she was controlling, paranoid etc. I remember him even referring to her as a “psycho stalker” because she wanted to run an errand alongside him. They went to counselling as our affair got more serious and as I knew her, (shamefully we are all parents at the same school) I could see her disintegration before my eyes. I’m ashamed to say now that I could only feel my own disgusting high at “winning” this man at the time. I treated my own husband terribly : lying to him (but I never tried to convince him it was somehow his fault-do you think men and women behave different in affairs?), looking at him in the “icy, dead” way you describe. When I told him I didn’t want to be married to him anymore he crumpled in the kitchen floor crying. Rather than being disgusted at myself, which I absolutely should have been, I was just angry with him for being weak so I wouldn’t have to even think about my being responsible. I behaved like a heroin addict. I couldn’t see past myself and my need for this man (who later cheated on me too, which I half expected to be honest). I’d broken my husbands heart. All he’d ever done to me was have a mild text flirtation with a colleague, which quickly was knocked on the head when I’d found them years ago. My ex husband didn’t sleep for months, thought about suicide (even though he’s the best dad I’ve ever known, he still felt that desperate), and had to have anti depressants and counselling.
I’ve never really, REALLY thought about what we did to our spouses until I read your book. How it felt from the other side. I feel guilt at the way we conducted ourselves, but not really that it ever happened. Disgustingly I’d always looked back on it selfishly as an inevitable need for us both to get out of unhappy marriages. That we broke two people never sunk in…because I didn’t want to face it.
But now, I want to tell that woman that she was 100% right with every instinct she had about us, that I find what we did abhorrent, and I think she is an amazing woman. I won’t of course-she won’t want to hear from me just so I can make myself feel better. I’ve told my husband already that he did absolutely nothing wrong and I behaved in ways I’m ashamed of. That what happened to us is all my fault. He’s since found a wonderful woman and is very happy and we are on really good terms, mostly thanks to his astonishing ability to put the children first and his core as a thoroughly decent man.
I think what I’ve been dealt with recently was maybe karma, or maybe that’s still on the way…who knows.
I found your book jarring and the shake up I needed to re-evaluate where I’ve gone wrong and handle myself going forward with dignity and kindness for whoever I’m with. And never, ever, fucking do that to another woman nor man ever again. I’m thoroughly ashamed. I think what I’ve been dealt with recently was maybe karma, or maybe that’s still on the way..who knows.
But I wanted to congratulate you on writing such a raw, funny, open book. For the survivors and the ones who went wrong, or even are thinking about doing the wrong thing, I think this book is worth everyone’s time. I wish I had read it years ago….
Plus, you’re a fellow Brummie which endears me to you straightaway. Sometimes I think our simple/industrious/straight down the line/no bullshit sensibilities make it harder for us to navigate the wide world of that terrifying field – feelings.
But you’ve shown me that there is nothing shameful in doing that.
Thank you Rosie, and well done on such a great book.