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Guest Blog: The Discerning Divorced and Childless Friendship Club

*****Guest Blog*****

The Discerning Divorced and Childless Friendship Club

My divorce was a tsunami of grief and insurmountable changes. I had to either swim or sink into an abyss of darkness. I wouldn’t wish the pain I experienced on my worst enemy. Nearly three years on, of course I still have dark days, but they are getting fewer and fewer and I have chosen to concentrate on moving on in a positive and optimistic manner instead of remaining bitter about the past.

I set up the private Discerning Divorced and Childless Friendship Club to expand my social circle with likeminded people in similar circumstances as me, divorced and childless; a Group to have fun and to laugh again.

sunflower

Please join me and the 17 brave men and women who are already part of this brand new private Meetup Group.

Being brave enough to put yourself out there, meet new people and make new friends is extremely difficult, I know because setting up this Group is totally outside my comfort zone. Please join me on Saturday 7th April at 6.45pm for a small knit dinner for four people at the fabulous One Michelin Star Hakkasan Mayfair taking positive steps to meet new people and change something about our lives. You can find all details of the dinner meetup, including menu, by clicking the link below and joining the Group.

I have kept the Group events to a maximum of 4 because I want everyone to be comfortable and I want to foster a real opportunity for friendships instead of anyone being lost in a large groups.

Dinner at Hakkasan Mayfair (One Michelin star) A La Carte Menu, 6.45pm – 9pm

Saturday, Apr 7, 2018, 6:45 PM

2 Discerners Attending

Check out this Meetup →

Please read more about the Discerning Divorced and Childless Friendship Club below.

**There are no strangers here; only friends you haven’t yet met – William Butler Yeats**

Are you divorced/widowed/single, currently childless (not by choice) or childfree (by choice or separated from your children or for whatever reason), aged around 30 to 60, discerning and seeking new, platonic, long lasting friends and companions, to enjoy the best of London and the world?

Perhaps your children have flown the nest or for whatever reason you feel an affinity to this Group, please feel free to join. This is an inclusive and non-judgemental Group.

Do you need an injection of fun, laughter, adventure and happiness in your life after the end of a marriage, relationship or bereavement?

Do you enjoy eating in fine restaurants (in an affordable manner), travelling in affordable 5 star luxury or hosting/attending sumptuous dinner parties full of fun, laughter, music and dancing?

Are you interested in learning savvy new ways to make your reduced post-divorce income stretch a little bit more?

If so, this might be the Group for you.

Why I Started this Group

Nearly three years after the unexpected end of my long marriage, as I continue to rebuild my life in a positive manner, most books and articles tell us to seek comfort and joy in our children.

But what about people like me who are childless (not by choice) or childfree, and find ourselves in our 40s, divorced, widowed or single, and completely alone, in a coupled-up/family focused world, having been part of a close twosome that was supposed to last forever?

How do we fill our evenings and weekends when friends are married, with families and doing their own thing?

What do we do when the social invitations have dried up because they tend to revolve around friends’ children, who deem it fit to only invite those with children?

What do we do when good friends are scattered around the world or we’ve simply lost contact or drifted away?

How do we make new friends in our 30s, 40s or 50s when the traditional ways of making lasting friendships in school, university and new jobs, are a distance past?

How do we make new friends when we cannot meet new people at the school gate, children’s sleepovers, children’s parties, PTA meetings, school fairs, school trips, school fundraising events and all the new avenues open to parents?

How do we embrace our changed circumstances and still make a fulfilling, happy life for ourselves, full of genuine, platonic friendships and fun, without embarking on new and perhaps unsuitable romantic relationships?

Even if we choose to have new romantic relationships or even go on to have children, how do we avoid the mistakes of the past, by ensuring we still maintain genuine, close platonic, fun friendships, outside of our new twosome or family life?

My Aims for this Group

This Group is about moving on from the pain and hurt of divorce or loss, and concentrating our energies in a positive, constructive and optimistic manner.

It is about bringing together likeminded people who have a taste for the finer things in life, but we accept that for some of us, our financial circumstances have been vastly reduced by divorce. However, we have learnt to be savvy and clever with money – let’s explore cheaper ways of dining in the finest Michelin restaurants, 5 star luxury travel, sumptuous dinner parties and continuing to enjoy all the finest things in life, in an affordable manner.

It is about accepting that being single and childless might not be the life plan but it is the life we currently have, taking control and embracing a positive Plan B.

This Group is about saying a big fat NO to spending countless weekends completely alone – let’s start with monthly activities and take these new friendships, offline, into the real world.

It is about finding genuine friends to go out to dinner to that new Michelin restaurant on a Saturday night, hosting or attending dinner parties, exploring that trendy new cocktail bar, going to theatre, cinema, opera, West End musical, without feeling like a Billy no mates.

Let’s find a travel buddy to go on exotic holidays, without being the odd one out in a world full of couples and families.

Rules

We’ve all had enough traumas in our lives and do not want a Group with a long list of rules. However, if these prove necessary, they will be added.

For now, please be respectful, supportive, non-judgmental and considerate of everyone. If you RSVP for an event, please attend or cancel as soon as possible to enable someone else to attend. Please take personal responsibility for your own safety.

 

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This Divorced and Childless Woman’s Mother’s Day

Life is a funny old one.

What do you do on Mother’s Day when you are divorced/single and childless, and the whole world seem hell bent on celebrating their children?

This year, like I do most years, I decided to concentrate on the positive fact that I am lucky enough to have a wonderful mother who is still alive. I think of my friends who have lost their mums and I reach out to them to show some love. The day would usually pass without much drama or sadness. It is what it is.

This Mother’s Day, I had gone to bed late on Saturday night or should I say Sunday morning (2.48am bad, bad, bad, bad girl!) and around 9am on Sunday morning, in that dreamy/wakey/confused state, my door bell rang. I sleepily went to the video intercom and I could see a lady.

“I’ve got flowers.” With my eyes half closed, I couldn’t really make out the figure on the video screen.

“Flowers?” I answered sleepily as if she had just declared that she was dropping an alien from outer space on my doorstep.

“I’ve got flowers for xxxx xxxx.” My local florist said, saying my full name.

My scrabbled brain tried to decipher what on earth she was on about. My brain worked overtime trying to figure out who on earth could be sending me flowers. Various names flashed through my head and just as quickly, I discarded them. Could it have been the man I went on the date on Friday who I did not intend to see again? But he didn’t know my full name. And why on earth would he be sending me flowers? Stalker alert. Who on earth could it be from? I knew no one. I had no one. There was no one. This is odd.

“Could you please leave it on the porch?” I informed the florist whose van I could see on my video screen.

I sleepily went downstairs to the porch with the gait of a special agent about to solve the crime of the century. I would have to be extremely careful with this package. It clearly wasn’t some sort of assassination attempt as I recognised both the florist and her van. Then again it could be.

And there it was.

The most beautiful bunch of flowers I have received in longer than I can remember.

Flowers 2018

I reached for the card attached to the side. It read:

Happy Mother’s Day to our second mum.

Thank you for always being there for us.

We love you.

X Y and Z.

The flowers were from my nephews (aged 16 and 18) and my niece (aged 13)

Flower card 2018

These precious, most adorable, super awesome, generous, kind, sweetest kids have spent money they don’t have to send their auntie, a most gorgeous hand tied, bunch of flowers, timed to be hand delivered on Mother’s Day, with the increased premium.

The overwhelming gratitude and love I feel for these kids, and to my sister for raising such generous, kind, thoughtful kids, is more than I can express on this post.

I am very blessed indeed.

If you are single/divorced/widowed and childless/childfree/separated from your kids or whatever your circumstances may be, if you are interested in widening your social circle, meeting likeminded people for fun, laughter, friendship and to get your mojo back, you may consider joining this brand new Meetup Group called The Discerning Divorced and Childless Friendship Club.

You can join the ladies already confirmed for the Group’s first meetup this Saturday, a reasonably priced gorgeous three course dinner and cocktail, at the fabulous one Michelin Star restaurant Hakkasan Mayfair.

Coming soon: guest blog from the Founder of the The Discerning Divorced and Childless Friendship Club

 

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Day 427: Get Thee Behind Me Divorce Grief

Tomorrow is my brother’s birthday.

Tomorrow is also exactly one year since my husband left our former marital home to pursue his affair with Mylien, a married Vietnamese mother of two, whose husband was living in Italy and who my husband met on an online dating website for singles.

Even before I found out about his four months affair, Mylien had allegedly broken up with him four times, because she didn’t like him remaining married, whilst married herself.

After I found out, she allegedly told him that if he left me, she would leave her husband. When I asked why she doesn’t leave her husband first, my ex said because they have two children.

Our marriage was easily dispensable to my ex because we didn’t have children. He conveniently forgot to tell her about his sperm issues and erectile dysfunction which resulted in 8 painful IVF, 2 miscarriages, my undergoing countless gruelling experimental treatment in our unsuccessful quest to have children.

My 11 year marriage and 14.5 years relationship ended with an email sent by my husband from a business trip in Singapore, informing me he wasn’t coming home.

Mylien remains (happily?) married to her husband.

I call my ex, my husband because a year after he left our former home and nearly a year after he rushed to file for divorce, one working day after his lawyer (same divorce law firm as his mistress Mylien’s sister Quyen) sent me an email, on our 11th wedding anniversary, informing me he wanted a divorce, celebrating with an expensive meal with Mylien the day after he filed for divorce, having secretly moved to a place 5 minutes from her home in Weybridge, as he sought to forge ahead with a new life where unbeknown to her husband, my ex was holidaying with his mistress and her children, as my life descended into chaos, untold grief and darkness, we remain married.

I do not know when the court case to settle our finances will end. The second court hearing, the FDR, which was meant to happen this April has been postponed as my ex failed to return a court mandated document. The hearing might be rescheduled for June, July or whenever the court has availabilities.

If this case doesn’t settle during that second hearing, it might drag on until a final trial at the end of the year or even early next year, when my husband and I cease to have any control over the settlement of our financial affairs and will surrender all power to a judge to settle our affairs as he deems fit. Given that the same judge would also decide whether we can appeal against his decision, it is an extremely foolish place to be and only 10% of divorcing spouses are stupid enough to go to a final trial. I am resigned that I might be one of those 10% through no fault of mine.

I have tried to settle amicably outside of court in mediation which my ex ended. I also made a settlement offer which he rejected and refused to make a counter offer.

I am resigned that the nightmare and uncertainties I continue to live in, ends when it ends.

A year after my husband left our former home, I wish I was writing a reflective post that celebrates the countless personal achievements that I have had in the past one year of being on my own and to celebrate the person that I am becoming.

Perhaps I could write about how having been driven around by men in the last 22 years, a year ago when my husband left, I had only driven 2 or 3 very short times in the previous three years and couldn’t even confidently drive 5 minutes to the supermarket.

And yet last week, and the week before that, I was this woman driving on the motorway.

No, as much as I would like to pat myself on the back, reflect on my year and say well done, I have had a tough few days and I have other things on my mind.

I am overwhelmed by grief and sadness that have resurfaced from nowhere. I had been doing so well lately…

It’s been a few days where my emotions have been all over the place. Where every little thing makes me cry. Where I wonder whether my life would ever be as carefree as it used to be, happy, smiley, secure, certain, where I felt like I had someone in my life who would stay with me forever, for better for worse, in sickness and in health, through tears and laughters, where there seemed to be a purpose, a life plan, security.

As I write this, with uncontrollable tears, I’m forcing myself to look at the bigger picture.

Yes, divorce sucks lemon and I’m not going to make lemonade as I really shouldn’t be having sugar. However, there is no situation in life that stays the same. This period of uncertainty will someday pass. The feeling that I am adrift, no one to call my own, alone, will pass.

I tell myself to make a list.

Lists make everything seem clearer. I like to have a plan. It’s good to have a plan. I have to make my lists of ways to change things that I have control over, improve things, tick off my list and keep going.

I miss my old life. 

OK, I’ve said it but I also know that my old life is a fiction. There is nothing to miss when it didn’t exist.

That old life was all a lie.

That smiling face, the conman’s smile, the infectious laughter, the daily I love yous, the daily phone calls, the hand holdings, they were all lies.

You don’t miss something that never really existed.

You don’t miss something that never was.

You don’t miss an illusion.

I shouldn’t miss my old life because there is nothing to miss. 

And therefore, I tell myself that life is what you make of it. There is no old life to think of, there is just the now.

And the now, is what I make of it.

I will scribble in my notebook, make plans and make things happen. 

I will ride this current wave of grief and sadness, and it will surely pass.

It has all gone wrong on the diet front. I had a few bad days some weeks ago, following some divorce upset and  I have struggled ever since to recover.

I am going to take a couple of weeks off Cambridge, recharge and I will get back to it in the middle of May and finally give myself the big kick up the arse I need to make sure nothing else ever comes between me and this diet.

I will not stop until I reach goal.

In the meantime, get thee behind me sucky divorce grief.

 

5

100% on the Cambridge Diet for 100 Days – Shame the Rest of my Life Have Imploded…

The heading is a giveaway. Today is Day 100. This diet has probably saved my life.

Things have gone drastically wrong in my life and with my mental health. The continued betrayals, insensitivities, constant provocations and lack of sleep reached a tipping point over the long weekend and flipped a switch. It’s all been downright scary but I have been under extraordinary stress since 24th February. There is only so much the human body can take and I’ve reached the end of my endurance.

I spent most of the long weekend crying my eyes out. I’m emotionally and physically exhausted.

I expect that there will be life after divorce but I will need to be alive and with my physical and mental health intact to have any sort of quality of life, so I need to concentrate on sorting myself out.

Lots of thing have happened in the last few days. The constant stream of unending betrayals and insensitivities have become completely unbearable and much more than I can cope with.

I’ve accepted that I needed help to cope with it all. That admission is hopefully the first step.

I’ve been told by someone who knows best that continuing to record my days on this blog will help me with the healing process. I don’t know how it will help but I will do whatever it takes to get my health back on track.

In the meantime, I’ve been put on some medication to help things along.

I don’t believe in filling my body with chemicals but I must do whatever helps me cope better with this impossible time. Here is hoping that these happy little pills and sleeping pills will do the trick from tonight…If they don’t work, they’ll be reviewed on Thursday.

Joy o Joy.

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Day 80 – I Will Survive. But Will I? Really?

I am incredibly sad today.

I am overwhelmed by life. I am a little OCD and I am scared by little changes, let alone the impossibly massive changes happening in my life. I try to limit the panic attacks.

This is my worst nightmare.

I am overwhelmed by all I have to do to survive this impossible period of my life. I am overwhelmed by the impossibly complicated systems, TV, computers, even window blinds, in every part of my home which my husband has left me to begin to untangle alone while he skips along happily forging ahead with his new life and his wonderful fresh start.

Where the fuck do I start?

I’m told that things will get better with time but right now, it all seems bleak and dark. The rainbow is hidden by thick dark clouds.

Will the sun ever shine again?

dark-clouds-wallpapers

Searching for various things today, all I seem to find are countless romantic cards from someone who always wrote about loving me forever. Instead, every single day, I make new despicable, wicked and ill-advised discoveries that continue to provoke and treat me with utter contempt.

I am the cheated on wife. I am the wronged one. I am the one who discovered his affair, dating website profiles and countless chats with numerous women online. He was the one who for 10 weeks continued secretly seeing his mistress who is married with two kids whilst pretending to save our marriage.

He is the one that cheated. He is the one that left. He is the despicable monster that ended 14 years relationship by email drafted by him and his Vietnamese mistress. And yet, he has chosen to treat me like utter shite???

He was the one that agreed with his married mistress that after 14 years, our marriage was easily disposable because we haven’t got children; never mind the 8 IVF treatments I endured and his sperm issues that caused the childlessness. She asked him countless times to leave me. If he left me, she pledged to leave her husband.

Why doesn’t she leave her husband first? I asked. Because they have two children. Two utterly morally bankrupt and despicable monsters.

Tomorrow is my dearest aunt’s funeral. She was extremely close to my mum who is utterly devastated. It all happened so suddenly. I will always be extremely saddened by the fact that as my aunt laid in a coma for a week, desperately fighting for her life, my mother instead of focussing on her darling sister and reflecting on their lives together, spent the week burdened with my doomed marital woes.

Monday May 11th is my birthday. I am very big on birthdays. This will be the saddest birthday of my entire life.

But I’ve got to have hope. I’ve got to stay positive. I’ve got to stay strong. There will be other birthdays. For one thing, next birthday, I will be slim and fit.

5

Swimming in the Sea

The beauty of this blog is that it is anonymous. I can let it all out here.

In the week of the anniversary of the death of my father-in-law, who I absolutely adored, I said goodbye to my mother-in-law (MIL) following a few days stay at ours wishing her good health and telling her to stay fit and be happy. If she thought my kisses, hand-holding and earnest good wishes were a bit OTT weird, she didn’t let on. I did so with all sincerity because there is a strong possibility that I shall not see her ever again. No, my MIL isn’t dying but her role in my life might be coming to an end.

When you have been with someone for 14 years, married for nearly 11 years, if you are childless, it means that when the marriage ends, there is absolutely nothing to tie you with your in-laws. No children to arrange to see the MIL, aunties, uncles, cousins or enforced family events that would mean a continuation of some sort of relationship, unless of course the parties choose to do so, which will be very unlikely in my case.

The crisis that rocked my life a couple of weeks ago and resulted in the blog entry about buying myself flowers, has reared its ugly head again. Sadly, there is a good possibility that my marriage might be heading for divorce.

The irony that I started this weight loss journey to give myself the best chance of having a healthy pregnancy with my husband isn’t lost on me. The irony that I might have spent (wasted?) the best years of my life with a man when it isn’t the forever thing I always assumed it would be, isn’t lost on me. I am devastated but that’s OK, shit happens.

I have been broody since a very young age and not having children has never been the future I saw for myself. The irony that with significant sperm factor issues, I chose to have 8 ICSI cycles (IVF when there are sperm quality issues), because I had never wanted any other man to be the biological father of my children, now seems to me to be nothing but an utterly ridiculous notion.

For our last ICSI cycle last April, we had chosen a sperm donor, having accepted the fact that even with extensive treatment by one of the best private doctors in the world, my husband’s sperm had not improved sufficiently to help our IVF success rate given that age was not on side. On my part, I produced 12 eggs which is impressive given that at the time, I was nearly 41. When it came to crunch time, whether we gave us (for there was an “us” then), the best chance of having a baby with the sperm of this very fertile twenty something year old man who already had proven pregnancies, or use my husband’s sperm with its countless issues, in an emotional and tearful decision that moved even the male embryologist patiently waiting for our most difficult choice, we hugged each other as we chose to go with my husband’s sperm.

What a naïve sense of the world I must have had.

Whatever happens in my marriage, I refuse to be bitter about the past and I’ll be just fine.

I will be just fine because I used to be that high achieving girl that managed to get more A grades than anyone else I’ve ever met; that girl that achieved a first class honours degree, best results in her year, plus all academic prizes going, and did the same for my post graduate studies, all in extremely difficult and unhappy circumstances. I am that girl that ended up working in one of the best companies in the world with people including my live-in partner at the time and even a university career adviser telling me to aim lower. In the words of my ex the day before my job interview: “You will never get in. They don’t take people like you.”

That girl that can do absolutely anything she sets her mind to do, is still in there somewhere and I just have to channel her, get her out to hold my hands and face whatever the future holds with bravery, positivity and some dignity.

Whatever happens to my marriage, it will not affect my determination to lose weight for myself or in fact, to try for a baby when (if?) I feel that I am good and ready to do so, even if it means doing it on my own. And if I choose to abandon the baby making quest and move on with my life with those dreams dashed forever, I will deal with that and I will be just fine. OK, that was never the life plan, but shit happens.

In all of this, I celebrate the fact that the “me” of only a few short weeks ago would have been drowning in greasy Chinese takeaway right now or out at an impromptu party I’d been invited to, eating far too much, drinking more than I normally would to drown my sorrows. Instead, I’ve had a comforting, tasty and healthy omelette, and a Cambridge chocolate mint mousse for dessert. Go me.

2015-03-14 21.06.08

2015-03-14 21.09.28

Nothing will derail this weight loss journey. To quote myself from my first blog entry once again:

This blog is not about making excuses for my weight gains. Coulda, shoulda, woulda. Shit happens. Shit happened. Deal with shit or drown with shit but don’t gain weight. Let that be the one thing I get to have some control in my life.

If my marriage isn’t salvageable and ends in divorce, I will of course be totally devastated but my life will go on. I will move on, be happy and stay positive. Someday, I might even get back on that horse and try again with the romance thing. I am extremely lucky and thankful that with all my imperfections, men have always found me attractive, even at my heaviest. In fact, I haven’t really been single since I was around 20 and went from one long term relationship to another relationship and then marriage. Perhaps being single for a little while might do me some good.

The fattest photo which I will one day proudly use as my “Before Photo” is one of me looking uncomfortably hot, miserable and extremely fat on a beach. I showed my Cambridge consultant that horrendous photo and told her my weight had stopped me going into the sea. I described my excitement and joy and showed her another photo of me when I tentatively ventured into the sea at the end of last year; slimmer than that extremely fat photo of me. She had replied that she would love to see me swim in the sea one day.

One day, when I am a healthy weight, slim, fit and gorgeous, I can tick off that bucket list. You know, that one that involves a man that loves and adores me, and is loved and adored in return, lovingly carrying me into the sea, as we giggle and happily laugh together.

Today, I promise myself that one day, I shall swim in the sea.

lovers beach