Wednesday, 28 August 2019

When dreams die twice - man behaving badly

I've come to France to spend 3 months with JC to see how we could reconstruct a life more long-term together.

He has disappointed me several times in the past but since I left France 19 months before recently returning, he has kept in very regular contact via Skype and little parcels, some containing personal items from his dead mother. There is an attachment and a connection. We have never stopped having a relationship, despite the distance.

He has explained through emails that he bitterly regrets letting me leave and that it was the most idiotic thing he has ever done in his life. He missed me and thought about me all the time. His head was constantly full of memories of things we had done together and the traces of those remain at his home.

"I want you to come back. If you came back things would be very different. We'd do more things together. When I lost you I lost the engine for my life," he said. "I'll never forget how I felt as you went up the escalator to board your plane at the airport. It suddenly hit me what I had lost," he said. "I regret hardly ever telling you I love you but I do, I really love you and I'm in love with you."

I explained that I missed him too and would love to come back but that I couldn't do that immediately due to needing to provide a safety-net for myself as well as meeting NZ superannuation requirements. (You have to destroy the life you have built up overseas and come back so you can apply for the super. Ridiculous).

Swirling around that was, as always, my enduring passion for France. Anyone who really knows me knows that is the place I belong. I never felt the culture of NZ matched me and while I lived in France for more than seven years I never once missed NZ. The French Republic seem to have been so impressed by my dedication to France I was granted naturalisation in double quick time after I applied.

One day this year he said that if I came back he wanted to marry me. He knew that was no longer necessary as I had already obtained my French citizenship. "But it's something important. It's symbolic of the way I feel about you and us. You are the woman I want to spend the rest of my life with." I was impressed. It was huge.

My birthday was approaching and he asked me what I wanted. "A ticket," I said. "A plane ticket?" "Yes," I beamed. His face tightened and he brushed it off saying, "I can do that any time. It's not a problem for me. No, what do you want in your parcel? he asked.

I was a bit disconcerted but the conversation moved on. A couple of months later, during a Skype session, I explained that I had been disappointed by his disinterest in having me spend time with him despite his previous declarations. He said that he had to now be honest and that in fact he had a girlfriend. That when he saw that I was building a house, he didn't see that I could consider leaving it for him and anyway, he was lonely. I was shocked that he had been dishonest for a year though I understood loneliness all too well. It was a lengthy 5-hour conversation and I was clearly very upset. I told him goodbye.

He panicked and later said he'd get rid of the girlfriend. "Do you love her?" "No," he said "and I never will. There's something in that relationship that is missing. It's you I want," he said. "The sex is OK with her but I have come to realise that even if our sex isn't perfect because of your post menopause difficulties it's enough for me. It doesn't matter when it's you I want." That meant a great deal to me.

He sent me money for a ticket and we discussed the medium and long-term future.
I was happy that he had made up his mind, that we would now start to do some planning together. I told him I didn't want any bad surprises like women hiding behind curtains. I was clear I don't share my man and I was coming to start a new life with him.

When I arrived at Paris Charles de Gaulle there was no evidence of any woman and none during my entire stay but although he was happy to see me he didn't seem to be behaving like a man who has just recovered his lost love. He had very little sexual interest in me and made no effort in that department at all. His own sexual performance was worse than ever, not at all romantic, and I became more and more concerned but didn't want to rock the boat. I simply told him there was no need for him to have any distance with me. I was his Kiwi still and he could trust me. He could take off his emotional waterproof. I had come with an open heart, I said, even though I was understandably anxious. But the anxiety grew because something wasn't right. He never said anything like, I love you. He never discussed our future.

Eventually after 2 months of trying to get closer to him, during a trip south at Carcassone which was supposed to be the high point of the trip for me, I finally dragged the truth out of him and it took three days to get it all out. He'd justify, omit facts, feed me bullshit, blame me for 'not changing' when in fact his decision had been made before I arrived.

He had told the other woman they were finished. That Kiwi was coming back. She got upset. She was so upset he realised he loved her so he changed his mind and didn't tell me before I took my plane. Huh??????

He watched me working hard in his garden for weeks to get things nice and he said nothing. He listened to me talking about plans for the future and ideas I had for us but he said nothing.  He went on holiday with me which was supposed to be romantic but he said and did nothing of the sort.

"I love two women, both different," he said. " I'm a normal man. Men are animals." I was really not impressed by that. I was beside myself at the magnitude of the betrayal. He had invited me under completely false pretenses.
"When were you going to tell me?"
"I don't know."
"Were you going to say something before I left to go back to NZ?"
"I don't know."

The other woman likes sex, has kept all her hormones and is younger than me by a few years but is less attractive and less intelligent, he says. Someone told me she has inherited a ton of money and is rich. Despite his not being able to perform like a man usually does, because of his prostate surgery, he prefers that other woman who is a civil servant with a cushy life of stability and financial comfort, who has not lost her dream, has not taken any risks to be with him and has not seen thim through bad times and surgery, not suffered his silliness and who hasn't stood by him and believed in him as I have. On the other hand we've had our relationship almost everyday for 8.5 years. She's used to being the third wheel, I refuse to be one.

He accepts he said those lovely things to me, including marriage and "I meant them at the time," he said. But.... he just changed his mind because a woman who is used to being dishonest herself by cheating on her husband with  JC 20 years ago, had a few tears, spread her legs to persuade him to keep her and eats a greater variety of foods than I do. Sheesh, can't compare with that can I?

"She knows how to use her female 'weapons' to keep me," he said to me in a disparaging way.
"Well, I could have done that too if I thought to devalue the rest of me and hadn't had the misfortune to get older. I'm not interested in 'playing' a man and manipulating him. I want him honestly," I replied. " After what you said to me this year I thought you felt that too," I said. " I came here loaded up with products to have a better sex life but you never gave me the chance."
"Yes, well, that wasn't good what I did," he said.
"Will you marry her?" " No."
"Will you tell her that you said you wanted to marry me?" No answer.
"Do you think you will want her for the rest of your life?" "I have no idea," he said.

He's actually now keen on having sex with me, more so now the secret is out but, of course, I have said no way, I'm not being used, thanks very much. What's the point in giving away my integrity and dignity to someone who doesn't choose me? In the meantime, before I leave France and him again, I have to put on a brave face in front of his daughter and grandson who are staying a MONTH with us and don't realise what has happened. They probably think I'm just here for a visit but they have met the other woman. JC has no spare beds so I have to sleep with him and go though the shock and betrayal and adjustments in situ. I feel like vomitting. People who know me are assuming I am having a great time and may well end up moving to France. Well, no.

During the 14 July celebrations in the village I was coldly snubbed by his best friends who live nearby. I was lonely and humiliated. JC had noticed but said nothing to me or them. None of his other friends have invited us to spend time together but they have all met his mistress recently. I have to wonder what JC has said about me, really. When I asked him he only said he'd said he loves 2 women. Huhhhh???????????????
I'm gobsmacked. For all his faults he never came across as this duplicitous. He usually treated me kindly and made big efforts to please me.

I had thought JC was the best person I have had a relationship with. He can be really awesome - a hard worker, generous at times, intelligent, organised, talented and good looking. He can also be very set in his ways, controlling and boring. We each have a mix of good and not so good but I believed him. If you don't believe your partner how can you have a relationship? "There's a stain on your soul now," I said to him.

Some of you have met him and you thought he was a good guy, if a little proud. He certainly can be and he has many great qualities which is why I love him, and he has done a lot for me over the years but, I have only just today learned from someone who has known him for 20 years, that when I had suggested he send me the ticket to come to spend time with him he had thought that very amusing, that 4 days after I had left France in 2017 he was in the arms of this other woman, that while I was at work when we lived together he was out with numerous other women. He tried to hit on her years ago, she said, but she told him no, she's married. "He's very clever and he has the money to get away with anything," she said. "He thinks he's some untouchable god." The magnitude of the lie I have been living is very hard to deal with.

Some of you have commented that in seeing us together it's obvious he loves me. I thought so too. This seems a pretty cowardly and twisted kind of love now.

Well, well! It's hard to describe what he has done to me. Devastation. Humiliation. Lies, betrayal, lack of communication, death again of my dream. He had offered me another chance at my dream to be with him in France I had thought, and I grabbed it, though not without talking to friends, my daughter and a counsellor first. There were two things in play here, my feelings for him, and my feelings for France which for much of my time in France, have unfortunately been interlaced. I was anxious about the trip before I left but my counsellor said " When you're 70 Frances, will you regret not going to find out, to try again?" " Yes, I would," I replied.


You might say I am well rid of him and you are right but all those years of shared experiences and leading me on to the extent of letting me come over over thinking I was starting a new life with him is pretty hard to take.  I suppose I'll get over him as I have with previous faithless men but it's hard losing all possibility that I can see for a life in France. I could live there legally and buy a house there but retirement would not be enough to live on, thanks to NZ's policies against anyone who spends any time living overseas. He knows all this, "I'd really like to see you succeed with your dream," he told me.

This time in France could have been marvellous and I believed it really would be, given the facts presented to me at the time but what has happened is not something I will forget for the rest of my life. I'm hurt by the magnitude of the dishonesty and betrayal. He's a happy chappy now it's out in the open. I just have to suck it up and suffer but I am obliging him to listen to me whenever I describe what I am going through, and my struggles. I have other commitments here such as a student of English that I'm preparing for a professional exam, friends and ex-colleagues who wanted to catch up with me and I couldn't ruin the arrangements for my housesitter by suddenly abandoning ship and flying home. But being in the place that was my home and that I thought would again be my home, with JC now - it's hard.

Maybe in his way he does love me and he wants to stay in contact. He knows I will be alone, missing France, mostly unemployed and unable to supply all the material needs a person has. He says if it was only about sex we would never have lasted this long. That's probably true but why bother with me so much when he has so many others who know 'their place'. Why play with me like a cat with a mouse? He's trying to be nice but it just doesn't cut it. He doesn't regret his decision, just that his behaviour has cost me so much and been truly apalling. He lied at a magnitude I never expected though I wasn't blind to possible risks in believing he wanted me. I am trying to process this disaster and move on, again.

Have I wasted so many years of my life on a scoundrel like this? This is not a lesson in life, I have nothing to learn from this. Men can be shit? Yeah I know that, women too. I had already left him and France. Couldn't the universe have just left it at that? Why the premeditated torture?


I have no direction for my life, am still alone and still desperately looking for work but strangely the dream which seemed to have died during my stay with him hasn't really. That little kernel of stubborness which has helped me survive in the past keeps making its presence felt.

I have no idea how to make my dream of spending my life in France a reality but then I didn't expect to ever get the chance to live and work in France the first time - hard as it proved to be - nor to have an expenses-paid trip to France in 2019 where the price was severe heartbreak, humiliation and embarassment. We just never know, do we? Some of us try to make good things happen, some won't try for fear of making a mistake. Me, I'm a crazy woman, running out of time to do meaningful things in life, but not ready to sit alone at home waiting for the grim reaper. I deserve better than this.

I know what I want and if I can't have France and a man who loves me and wants to KEEP me I want cool experiences, happiness, people to share life with but a bit less negative drama.  I would love to 'belong' somewhere, at last. Coming back to visit France just consolidates what we all know - that this is my country and the place I enjoy and appreciate in its amazing variety and closeness to so many other interesting countries. I don't want to live without it. Can I still find a way? Is that possible?

Photos go backwards in time from the last photo of us this year, at Versailles, to the first photo ever taken at his place, in early 2011.

If you want to know how this all started you can buy a copy of my book by clicking on the picture link on the top right hand side of this blog. My author name is Frances Lawson. Will I write a sequel? I am asked. Not unless there is a happy ending. 

***A note on aging sexuality:
Many women (not all, of course) have a disastrous time during and after menopause, I discovered during research on this in 2005, yet we are lead to believe it's a natural process and has temporary annoying symptoms. Mid-life and later women don't want to talk about it, especially with younger women, they said, because the experience and its consequences are so negative. Their men are often not supportive and can even denigrate them in public. JC never did this to me but he silently judged me on every performance yet did nothing I suggested to help me. I drew the short straw and ended up losing most of my normal function and interest but this didn't stop me wanting to please my man and risking medical consequences from the products I desperately tried to get back to 'normal'. A vicious cycle began with me being criticised for not making enough effort and this led me to lose trust, and made it harder to give 100% of what was left to me though I only ever said no to JC once in all our years together.

JC lost his ability to have a normal sex life too. This can happen as men age due to overweight, heart problems, diabetes, medications and, in JC's case, prostate cancer surgery. He's now 74 and for our last years living together was unable to have a normal erection or enter a woman without his painful self-medicating injections. I never once criticised him. This time around he seemed even further degraded to no erection at all and he still has to wear knickers, even in bed, with lightweight incontinence pads for controlling minor urinary leakage.  Currently he has found a new product, he tells me, to give better erections but the side effect is they are painful and last hours too long. But so long as the woman doesn't have any problems then that's OK with him. There are double standards here but the lack of willingness of some men to evolve from base animal instincts to appreciating the rest that a couple can share is destructive as we age. I don't know if it is possible to find an older man willing to accept less than ideal sex in an older woman.

2 comments:

Bay Blogger said...

You've been hinting that things haven't being going as well as expected, but I had no idea the depth of unhappiness and betrayal that you have endured over the past few months Frances. You are a brave, beautiful and intelligent women who deserves better. But good on you for giving the whole shebang another go! Well done for staying sane ... You will not forget the latest indignities and pain. I hope in time they fade enough for you to see that JC has significant issues that have deeply hurt you, but that he did love you very much, but perhaps can't tie himself to one woman. Frances, you have so very much to offer the world and can build a new life with a good and honest man. They do exist... I wish you all the best in finding peace and love - you deserve it. xxx

Unknown said...

I don’t know the question, but sex is definitely the answer. Hey, i am looking for an online sexual partner ;) Click on my boobs if you are interested (. )( .)

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