So this is kind of a hard post to write. So hard, I’ve put it off for about 6 months.
If you don’t like separation, split or blended families or just general sad stuff stop reading here. Also if you’re triggered by mental health issues.
If you follow my social media you may notice that I have stopped posting blog images, or even using the blog name. This was for a few reasons, one of those being the time that I needed to process what was happening around me. Essentially my world fell apart, not in bits, but all at once.
In the summer around July, I started suffering badly with my mental health. I’ve spoken about my mental health on here before. It wasn’t just depression at this point, but I was also struggling with my gender identity which is something I’ve never even considered before. I thought all of the feelings I had were normal until someone told me that they weren’t. Going home became a problem for me, things with Trish and I were causing me such great anxiety and without getting into the ins and outs of our relationship, I was just massively unhappy. Something I had tried speaking about a lot but was quickly shut down. So I found some friends to stay with a couple of nights a week and stayed away from home. Away from the kids. I was still going home in the mornings to do the school run and make sure the kids all got to where they needed to be. My mental health was declining and I was terrified of losing the kids so I tried so hard to go home. The more I went home, the less I wanted to be there. I started having panic attacks and decided it was easier if I stayed away. I spoke to Trish about living apart for a while but she didn’t want to do that. Eventually she asked what I wanted and I decided it was probably best that I left. I didn’t Walt to leave my babies but our relationship was hurting me so badly mentally that I could not be there, nor could I function as an effective parent to my children. Things with Trish were strained and I was struggling to communicate how I felt, what I needed to help me. I became very suicidal, and local mental health services were absolutely useless, providing me medication which did nothing and discharging me to a crisis team who would only come if I was actively trying to kill myself. All of the decisions I made were fuelled by poor mental health, manic and depression episodes. And instead of being given the help and support I needed I was just palmed off from services because I was too articulate. I could tell them what I felt and what I was being triggered by, they couldn’t help me. So I left officially in the middle of September for good. I moved in with some friends and stayed on their sofa. I started looking for work straight away.
At the end of October I got my own very small bedsit. I had found a job and I was working on myself. I had fallen into a sort of polyamorous relationship with the friends I was staying with and it was not healthy for any of us. As soon as I moved into my own place that very intense relationship ended and I was eventually able to just focus on improving myself.
Now Im not going to sit here and write about how hard done by I have been because despite the failings of the NHS mental health services, Trish has helped me infinitely. And although there is no way we will ever be together again, she has supported me despite all of the stuff I put her through when I was sick. We seem to get on better now that we are apart and are working together to make sure the kids have what they need. We both have new partners and things are processing nicely there. I don’t know how I feel when she will want the children to meet this new girlfriend, but I am very new to my relationship too, we’ve been together since January. Things are going really well. I really like her.
Now the downside is with the money I am earning I cannot afford a flat the size required to have the kids over night. I have no financial support other than that of my salary so moving forward is going to be hard but its a fight worth having. Everything I do will be for them and to make our lives better I will pull the hours at work. The money will be worth it in the end! I am paying off debt that I took on when I left Trish which actually amasses my outgoings for living so once thats paid off I can start looking at a bigger place and things. My shifts are never the same every week so thats making it hard for me to have the kids for any significant amount of time. As well as that I’m balancing a new relationship with maintaining the one I have with my children.
Introducing a new partner to my children
This is something Trish and I have spoken about a lot. We initially agreed that 6 months into a relationship would be a good point to introduce the children to someone new. They were introduced to the friends I was staying with quite early on, before a relationship formed and when that ended they were quite sad about it. So we gauged 6months to be safe.
Now I’ve been with my girlfriend (it feels weird saying girlfriend when I’ve had a wife for so long), for 3 months. Its hard to see her without feeling guilty on days that I am off of work because that is time I should be spending with the kids. I feel really conflicted about it. For me, I am happy that this relationship has longevity. I can see us being together a while and we’ve spoken about the future and stuff. We can speak about being together in a year and it not feel like the end of the world. She is super supportive about the kids and includes them in our future plans.
Tomorrow my girlfriend goes on holiday for 3 weeks. When she comes back we are going to have a sit down together with Trish. We will do this a few times and then as long as Trish is Ok with it we will start slowly introducing the children to her.
Now this doesn’t mean I’m replacing their mum. It doesn’t mean she is replacing me. And they need to know that.
I think the adult feelings around this are quite hard to navigate. I am worried that this girl she has been seeing for only a few weeks will end up in the house with my children. I am worried they will get attached and then their hearts broken again. I worry that she is going to rush into something just because she doesn’t want to be alone and it isn’t going to be the best option for my children.
I also feel helpless. Being the “other mother”, I have no legal rights to the children. So even if she decided to sever all ties, regardless of if we were married or not, she holds all of the cards. This scares me so much.
She may think that I’ve been a shitty parent for the last few months, but I am trying to build a SOLID and STABLE future for myself and my children. Not just scrape together what I have and give them that because they deserve better. I want them here with me. I mean I’d love them here with me all of the time. Im not absent, I talk to them all the time. I call her EVERY DAY to make sure they’re ok. I am doing everything I can do to be their parent, and somehow I am made to feel that it isn’t enough because she thinks I can do more.
Im going to leave this post here and want to break down some of the points in another post in a week or so. I’ve needed to get this off of my chest and its taken a while.