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How To Know When To Give Up

This is such a hard thing to decide. How do we know when we have fought enough? How do we decide when to give up and move on? How do we move on and not look back thinking we could have done more?

This is something I am coming to terms with. To fight for my marriage seems like something I should never give up on. To hold on to my best friend no matter what it takes seems like what I should do. There comes a point though when I have to move on for my own sanity. To constantly fight for something can start to kill you inside, mentally and emotionally, when you come to the realisation that you are fighting a losing battle.

I have come to accept that I know in my heart I did fight as hard as I could and I lost. I fought so hard that I came so very close to losing all dignity and self respect. Once I realised that I was reduced to begging for love I knew I had to leave. It's devastating to realise how low you can go when you are fighting. I don't mean between each other in this case, I mean trying desperately to cling on to something that wants to go.

My last fight was a letter I wrote. Over the last two years I had asked nicely, demanded and tried every way I could think of to initiate conversations and find out what was wrong. Why things had changed so dramatically. Why I had gone from being adored and cherished to having to ask for a kiss and beg for a hug. Why we never did anything together anymore when previously we were inseparable.

In the letter I outlined three things that I needed from him. To be shown affection, to be noticed and to come first in his life before his friends. After being married for over 32 years I didn't think that it was much to ask. I asked for honesty in telling me what he wants and I asked for communication.

Over a week later I finally got an answer. It had taken him that long to think about it. That should have been my first red flag. I really wasn't that important anymore. In his letter he said no, he didn't feel as if he could give me what I needed. Wow! I wasn't exactly asking for the moon! All I was asking for were things that I deserved, that as his wife and one time best friend, were my right. Actually they were only things that any friend deserves, never mind a wife! But he felt he couldn't give them to me or didn't want to.

So I left. It was supposed to be to give him space. A time on his own to think about what made him happy in life, a time to reflect. Sadly this too was all a lie which I found out a couple of weeks later. When I found out he had betrayed me.

In our last week together before I left to come back to France, he suggested that we write to each other every week and that when we met up again after a few months apart it should be a celebration and we should meet in Madrid or Seville or some other beautiful city. These were all his ideas. It baffles me now as to why he was making these suggestions as at the time he was, unbeknownst to me, already involved with this other woman. Was it to placate me or did he really think he could have it all? Keep me on the back burner for if things didn't work out with his screwing around and partying with drugs and alcohol. "Well I tried it but decided I didn't like it, so I'll go back to my wife now."

I've reflected on the reasons why he was so angry with me when I found out. I think it's because first of all I showed him up for what he was, a cheating alcoholic drug taking mid life crisis husband. Secondly I ruined his plans. He wanted to try it all out for a bit to see if it suited him, without me knowing. I do believe him when he said that he never wanted me to find out and that he never wanted to hurt me. But he hasn't exactly tried to make up for it since. A couple of sorries in a couple of emails does not mean anything. My mother used to say to me when I was a child that you have to show you are sorry not just say it. Never has this been more apt that now. In no way has he showed he was sorry for what he's done and for me that has been more damaging than anything else. To cheat and lie is terrible but to not try even in some tiny small way to make up for the hurt you have caused takes it to a whole new level.

Today is 26 weeks since I arrived back in France and 24 weeks since I found out. To say it's been the hardest months of my life is an understatement. I've sunk lower than I ever thought it was possible for a human being to sink. I've cried more tears than I thought I ever could and I've felt a pain so deep there is no bottom. I've felt so alone, unwanted, rejected and discarded.

But I have learned so much. Not just practical things like what is what under the bonnet of my car and how to pressure clean my patio, but how many real friends I have. I've appreciated my sister like never before and we are closer now than we have ever been. I've found out how important exercise is, something that I never took seriously before but now I go to a yoga class twice a week and make sure to walk in the forest at least twice too, as I've realised how important this is for my mental health as well as for my physical health. I've learned to be more compassionate of others because now I know what it feels like to hit rock bottom and have to drag myself though each day.

I have learned how important self care is. If I don't care for myself no one else will. So I eat healthily 90% of the time instead of 50% of the time like I did before. I make myself look nice with new clothes, makeup and making sure my hair looks good. Not in the desperate hope that he or someone else will notice but because I notice. When I look in the mirror I want to like what I see for myself. I buy myself flowers and plants to make my house look nice. I spend time socially with my friends and take the time to visit my family and spend quality time with them.

I am reconnecting with myself. I lost myself for a while. I'm still quite lost but slowly I am finding my way. After rejection and betrayal it's very hard to love oneself, but I do know now that it is vital. If I don't love myself, my love for others is limited, and I don't want to live the rest of my life not loving.

The Beatles said it all when they said "All you need is love, love is all you need". I am fortunate to have nice things. I have a nice car to drive and a nice house in a beautiful village in the south west of France. I work from home doing what I love and I travel whenever I want to. However one thing I have learned in the last six months is that it is all worthless if you don't have love. The love of my daughters, my sister, my friends and my neighbours literally kept me alive. Not my 'stuff' and the nice things I have. It was their love.

So is it time to give up? Yes. I admit defeat. I lost. It's over and finished and broken beyond repair. Because he didn't fight too. He didn't try and fix things. I've realised that I can't always fix things on my own, I need help. One person can't fix a broken relationship. It takes two. Maybe there is more I could have done. Maybe I failed too. But at least I tried my best. At least I went as far as I could before realising that I'd lost. At least I don't look back with regrets thinking I could have saved it.

Now I know I was enough. But he wasn't for me. I needed and deserved more. It's better for me to be alone than to live with someone I am always trying to impress, someone who does not put me first in his life, someone who does not value me. I value myself more than that. I am worth more. This, I have had to learn.

It's been quite a revelation to me to realise that it wasn't the initial betrayal and lies that broke us apart it was his lack of fighting for us that did the biggest damage. That he didn't even try and fix things and that I meant so little to him after all this time. Once I realised that I knew it was time to give up.

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