Six o’clock on a Saturday evening and I’ve run out of things to do. My house is clean, the laundry done, my planning and preparation for next week’s teaching is complete. So I’m sat here home alone, my grown up children all out living their lives.
Before marriage and children, I had an active social life. I knew a large group of people and on any night of the week there were numerous pubs or music venues I could go to and someone I knew would be there, we could have a drink and a chat or sit in companionable silence and listen to whatever band happened to be playing.
As we grew older these friends got married, had children and moved away. My siblings all moved back home and I was left here with three young children and a husband who’s life revolved around his hobbies of motorbikes and drinking. His drinking took place in the evenings after work meaning he was rarely home Monday to Friday. His weekends were spent riding or working on his motorbikes, a hobby that did not involve me.
For twenty three years my life has revolved around my children, looking after them, ferrying them to activities, matches and competitions. For most of that time I also worked outside the home so didn’t get to form the school gate friendships that most other mothers take for granted. My husband wasn’t interested in socialising with any of the people I met through school or church, and as most of women I knew socialised with husbands or partners in tow I rarely got asked to join any events and when I did my husband refused to go. As I worked coffee mornings were also difficult.
My opportunities to make friends were further limited by my husband’s point blank refusal to either come home of an evening, or stay in so that I could go out. His view was that a wife was there to run his house and look after the children and my needs should have been fulfilled by that. His family was just for show really, he could tell people that he was married and had three kids thus proving his virility and ability to provide, building a picture in his head and to outsiders of a wonderful husband and father when he was far from either.
While he never physically stopped me from going out, he made it very difficult. When I made arrangements to meet friends I would let him know my plans and ask that he be home to care for the children, he would frequently “forget” despite regular reminders and notes in his diary, or something would come up and he wouldn’t be able to get away. Time and time again I would either fail to turn up at restaurants, theatres, gigs or would have to text my friends to tell them that I wouldn’t be there. I cannot blame them when they then started to plan things without me, tickets were bought, tables booked and I wasn’t invited and slowly contact diminished and the people I needed most in my life drifted away.
The people who could have allowed me to see that my life, my relationship was not normal were no longer there. I was alone, and isolated and began to withdraw, becoming depressed and agoraphobic. I left my job as I couldn’t find the confidence, the drive within me to keep going.
I don’t know if the isolation was a deliberate ploy on my husband’s behalf or if I just wasn’t strong enough. We had plenty of discussions with regard to my needs for a social life but nothing ever changed, he didn’t want to socialise with me and he wasn’t prepared to change his life so that I could socialise without him.
Now I am free to do what I want, but I spend every weekend home alone. I don’t know how to change this. I’ve tried to make friends, invited people I’ve met through work , yoga and Reiki to coffee, lunch etc. but everyone is always so busy, they always seem to have plans, people to see, things to do.
I do venture out on my own during the day, I will bring a book and sit in a café by the river and read or watch the world go by, I often walk miles by myself. It is the evenings that I would most like some company, someone to talk to but venturing out on my own at night is too scary a prospect. I am not ready for another romantic relationship so dating is out, I’ve tried Meetup without success. Sadly, I am coming to the conclusion that it is me, that there is something about me that doesn’t appeal to the people I meet, I wish I knew what it was and I could perhaps change it.
In the meantime I sit and wish the weekends away, no Sunday evening blues here, I look forward to Mondays when I am back to work teaching children. Their curiosity, liveliness, pure joy in the moment lights up my life.