Tom and I had a huge argument a few days ago, it ended with him telling me to think about us and what I want. I wrote it all down in a letter for him because I knew if I tried to talk to him about it, he wouldn’t listen or worse, he would tell me I’m talking shit. I avoided mentioning anything about abuse in the letter in the hope that it might fix us because despite everything I now know, I still love him and I’ll still do whatever I can to save our relationship.
‘Tom, I did what you asked, I spent the day thinking about us. I have a stress headache from thinking so much. I have to write this down, so many thoughts going around and around, if I tried to say them I’d get jumbled or I fear you wouldn’t listen. I can’t keep having these thoughts with no outlet so this is my ‘I have nothing to lose’ letter, sad but true. I expect this will be quite disjointed, I’m going to write as I think.
It’s going to be an uphill struggle to get us back to any kind of state we were in before it all went so wrong. It seems that every day there’s something else to add to the pile of shit that is our life. Every single day I think back to how things used to be, I crave to have that back again. We were good together, you were everything I ever dreamed of and wanted in a man, I couldn’t bear to be away from you, I missed you every minute of every day, I thought about you constantly and wanted to spend forever doing everything I could to make you happy and then we moved in together and you were not the man I thought you were. I can see now that I put you on a pedestal and had a bit of a fantasy going on but such was my love for you. Every single tiny thing that has caused me pain since then has stayed with me, grown and turned into resentment and anger towards you and I cannot let it go. I’ve tried, sometimes I succeed for days or weeks at a time but inevitably it comes back every time. My memory of you from before is of a man that was gentle, kind, affectionate, loving, easily aroused, so sexy, caring, tender, giving of his heart, love and feelings, such great fun, easy-going, easy to talk to, accepting of all. I could go on and on. Now, you’re the complete opposite an awful lot of the time. I understand that you are under a considerable amount of stress, I always try to keep that in mind but surely the old you is still in there somewhere? Sometimes I lay in bed next to you at night, staring at your back, willing you to turn over and cuddle me like you used to and I fast forward five, ten, twenty, thirty years and I think, Surely this is a blip? Surely it will get better and we’ll fall in love again and be okay, be more than okay? Surely we have it in us to do that or the stresses of current life will fade and it’ll all click back into place? But it’s taking so long and in the process, we’re killing each other, slowly and painfully.
I made the biggest error on the day we met. I was not true to myself. I was painfully shy for the first couple of months of our relationship and I didn’t have the courage to tell you about the real me. I think you’ve always known the real me, however. Actually, it’s only in the last couple of years that we’ve been bad, that I’ve realised who I am, what I need and how I am letting myself down by not honouring it, so to speak. I fooled myself and possibly you, into believing that I was something I’m not. What I really am is a woman that craves love. I always went along with what you said about it being soppy shit, I even believed it for a while but not anymore. I want the whole love thing in my life; kisses, cuddles, romantic nights away, just the two of us and because we are more than a million miles away from any of that, every day I find it hard to act like a normal rational human being and I can’t stand the person I’ve become any more than you can. The thing is, I don’t actually know if you are that type of man, I don’t think so. Whereas you used to say only nice things to me, once we were comfortable together you could never say anything nice without backing it up with an insult. I know it was a shield as you were feeling vulnerable but it was the worst thing you could do to me. I am everything that you’ve ever accused me of and more. Sensitive and unable to take a joke, at least not from the man that I want to adore me and make me feel loved 100% of the time, as I try to do with you.
Your sister wrote to me last week with her reading from the fortune teller, the woman picked up that she never expresses love in a ‘real’ way, that she always makes jokes and that is exactly what you’ve done. I told her that if she feels it she should say it and show it otherwise she will push the other person away. I didn’t tell her I speak from experience but I do. Your comments have slowly but surely pushed me away.
This is not all about bashing you. I know I play a huge part in this. Our relationship three years ago was about weekends relaxing, having fun, enjoying each other any way we could, sex, sleep, eating out. It was bliss, and then we moved in together and the reality is that what we had before wasn’t real. Reality is work, housework, children, money and taking each other for granted. I realise that I really dislike reality and would turn back the clock right now if I could and live in my fantasy land. There’s just no fun at all in our real world. I don’t know where you’ve gone and I don’t know where I’ve gone. All I see in my world is housework and looking after kids. It goes without saying that I love all the kids with every ounce of me but it’s twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, all year round with literally no let up and it’s draining. I simply don’t have anything left in me for you, for me, for anything else.
I feel desperately unhappy most of the time, not because of the kids but because nothing is fun anymore. Your life seems to be work, eat, drink, sleep, pub. I hate asking you to look after the kids so I can have a break because I know how hard you work and think you deserve a break too but then I feel resentful towards you because you’re getting to relax and unwind and I’m not. Even in the evenings when the kids are in bed, I’m not relaxed because I’m anticipating Annie crying over the monitor. Every night I go to bed and wish for her to sleep because let’s face it, if she actually slept through like she should be doing I would most probably not feel the way I do quite so much. She’s two, is still breastfeeding and has never slept through the night and I’m exhausted. It just seems like a huge mountain of problems that get bigger every day and for every bit we succeed in climbing, another layer gets built up and we still are nowhere near getting anywhere near the top.
I do sometimes picture myself not living here with you. Those days I look on estate agent websites at houses in the area and imagine living there. It always seems so much better than what I have now, a big part of it is that the houses I’m looking at are in perfect condition, they don’t need loads of decorating, they don’t need anything done to the garden and they always have a bedroom for Annie. The other part of it is that I imagine that every now and then I’d get days or weekends to myself as Annie would go to you, the girls to their Dad, Josh to work and I could do whatever I wanted, without anyone calling out ‘Mum’ from another room or upstairs or by my ankles. You can be sat right next to any of the kids and they’ll still yell through the house for me, this isn’t your fault, it’s what kids do but what it means is that I’m on call constantly and I do resent that you’re not. (Now I’m debating whether to send this because I know you are stressed and pressured at the moment and I do not want to add to it at all but I need you to know why I am so unhappy so much of the time.)
All of that makes me realise that if our home had a space for Annie to sleep instead of sharing our room and I had some time to myself then maybe I would be happy here after all. My fantasy home is always a little lonely after a while because there’s no-one there living with me other than kids. I’ve already vowed to myself that if you and I don’t work, that’s it for me. I know I won’t love that way again and I do not want to get hurt. Above all else, I will not put the kids through sharing their lives with anyone else.
So where do we go? We seem to be incapable of even speaking to each other without turning it into a childish row or screaming and shouting taking place. The kids are witness to this and it breaks my heart. They should be growing up in a house full of love, kindness and laughter but they’re not at all. I would love to be able to talk openly with you but I never feel that I can. You say I can but then you butt in, don’t let me say what I have to say or you get angry and shout at me. I really hate being shouted at. It makes me feel as threatened as much as if you were holding your fist to my face. If you can just speak to me things would be easier. I know you often get angry because of my comments which frustrate you. I accept that, I’m trying not to do it. Not very well. I feel panicky and stressed when we start any discussions, my mouth and brain don’t connect and I just start being a childish wreck. I am sorry.
If a fairy Godmother came to me tonight and gave me her magic wand I wouldn’t wish for enough money to move away from you, I would wish for you and me to be perfect, for our home to be perfect in every way, for Annie to be in her own room and sleeping through, for me to have the courage to actually leave her once in a while and not worry about her. For you to be happy. I don’t think I know how to make you happy anymore though. What does make you happy? I want to know.
I want us to be a team. At the moment we live completely separate lives. I don’t know how it was for you and any of your exes but for me and the girls’ dad, we did almost everything together. He still did his own thing and I did mine, we went out separately but we also spent a lot of time together. We don’t seem to do anything as a couple. I go on the laptop, you watch telly. You go out. I take the kids out. (I’m not being unfair, I do take them out more than you, and more than us). Some days we even eat separately. None of it is right, not for me anyway. I suppose my fantasy is more like my sisters’ relationships than I’ve ever admitted to before. At least they’re in love, are affectionate and nice to each other and are showing the kids what a loving couple is all about. Surely we can take on a little bit of that but still retain our individuality that we both like to have?
I wish you didn’t have such anxieties about Annie. So many times I have wanted to drop her to Sasha’s for the afternoon and you and I go and do something, just us, together, but I don’t even suggest it now. I did once recently and you knocked it right back, that really hurt me. Do you even want to spend time alone with me? To eat out, to go to the cinema, to have a drink together, to have a night away together? Anything that is just about us and no-one else? If so, is it possible for us to do something about it soon?
I know I’ve rambled, this is just a fraction of what goes on in my head all the time but I have to get a bit more off my chest, old ground. I know, I don’t need to be told, that we’ve had the money discussion time and time again and I agreed it was fine. I just need to say this. It doesn’t matter if you give me £1 per month or £10,000 per month because the money is separate I hold massive resentment towards you. This is one of the biggest problems in our relationship for me. It’s not that I want want want, it’s that I have always been hugely independent and now I have to rely on you and ask you when I need money. You still don’t want me to get a job and leave Annie in childcare yet you won’t treat me as an equal as I’m not earning. Not only that but before we moved in together I could afford to eat out, get my hair cut every eight weeks at £60 a time, I used to take the kids away for little holidays, even if it was only camping. I used to buy myself new clothes every week or two, the odd thing here or there. I always had enough money for everything. Now I never ever have enough. I never eat out unless you’re with us, I have my hair cut maybe twice a year at £20 a time. I rarely buy myself anything to wear anymore. There just is no money for me. I know you provide well, you pay all the bills and the mortgage and give me money for food as well as paying for food yourself but there’s never any money for anything I need. Every month I watch you find the money for whatever you want, even if it is only a few pints a few times a week but it all adds up. Every month, every penny I get goes on food, kids, petrol, school stuff, extra stuff the kids need, at the moment trying to entertain them for six weeks which doesn’t come cheap and every month I promise myself a haircut or a new top or something but I never have enough money for it. I feel such resentment that my life doesn’t appear to be as easy as yours, financially. To be honest, I don’t really know why I’m telling you this, I know it will cause more trouble. I’m not even asking you to give me more money each month, I really just want you to understand why money is such a big deal for me, why I have such resentment towards you over it. Yes, you pay every bill (I do have my own that I pay too) but you also find £250+ every month to have your time to yourself. I cannot do that with what I have and that is where the resentment comes in.
I have no money for me, I have no time for me. I don’t have my bed to myself (I mean because of sharing it with Annie, not you), I don’t have you to myself ever, I have no independence at all and I just feel really shit about it all much of the time. If I feel shit, I’m going to project shit and most of it gets aimed in your direction because after all, I am dependent on you now. I’m not being a total baby about this, I am trying to be proactive and makes changes. So, that’s the money shit. Please please take it in the way it was intended – for you to understand where I’m coming from and not about wanting more. I just want your understanding. I do not want another row over money.
I’m going to stop now, I have three years worth of shit in my head as I expect you do. I can’t possibly get it out in one night but I have covered a big chunk of it and I hope you can see where I’m coming from a little.
As for our future, I still don’t know what the answer is. We haven’t got on for so long, we haven’t got on at all for the last two months, I haven’t even wanted to get on with you during that time and that worries me but when I have a day away from you I miss you like mad and wish even more that we worked. I wish I knew what to do to make it work. As long as you know that despite everything, I always love you.’
Tom never responded or even acknowledged my letter.