I was lying in bed the other night and it occurred to me that this is my fifth Christmas as a single woman. I have mixed feelings and thoughts about it, so here I am, virtually sharing my innermost feelings with you, strangers on the internet!

 

Now I’ve umm’ed and aah’ed about talking about this but it’s important I share my story I think. So, I became single sort of through choice five years ago, insofar as I was in an abusive relationship at the time and I thought that if I asked him to leave, and he finally killed me, it would be better than the darkness I was living in. Dramatic stuff right? It was. I can talk quite candidly about it now,  but it’s only something I’ve alluded to here. I never want(ed) to be the person that anyone would feel sorry for, and now, nearly five years on, there really is no need for pity. But back then, I wish I’d had the courage, or energy, to tell someone what was going on, but I was so exhausted, and so alone, I just couldn’t.

 

And then one day, I had this realisation that there really was nothing else he could do to me that was worse than what he’d already done, so I took the risk and asked him to leave just after Christmas. This 6ft 4” man, who had bullied me for years, given me a black eye and a broken thumb as a Christmas present … well, he cried like a baby. I was sat perched tentatively on a corner of our bed, as far away from him as I possibly could be, and said I’d had enough and I wanted him to leave. He sobbed his heart out, and then quietly left the room. He moved into the spare room that night and although it took another few weeks for him to finally move out, we were finally over. Something had clicked inside me and I managed to somehow find some scrap of strength to end it.

 

It was the best thing I ever did. I can’t begin to imagine where I’d be if I had stayed, but there’s no point dwelling on it. He’s now paying the price for what he did and I’ve found, and continue to find, a way to move on with my life. Some days are easier than others, but I’d say overall, I’m doing well.

 

I’m telling you this because it gives massive context to being alone at Christmas for me. Because as much as I get a little lonely sometimes, and I’d love nothing more than to cuddle up on the sofa with the man I love, I don’t live a life walking on eggshells anymore. I don’t drink alcohol to get through the day (rarely touch the stuff now), I don’t hide in my bedroom, or stay out of the house for as long as I can. I have my freedom back, and if that means never being in love again, then so be it.

 

Christmas is an incredibly emotional time for me for lots of reasons. I’m lonely, but I’m free. I miss Mum, but am spending Christmas day with the rest of my family. It’s my first Christmas without my eldest son being there, but I love that he’s in love and spending the day with his girlfriend’s family. I’m still overweight, but a year ago I was 3½ stones heavier. I never have spare cash, but I can pay my bills and look after my children. So you know, it’s all OK really.

 

I’ve felt a little blue all week, but that really is just a blip – I’m not worried, it’ll pass. I choose to live a positive life because I’ve wasted way too many years being unhappy. That will never ever happen again. And I guess that’s one of the reasons I’ve not had a boyfriend since. Other than the obvious trust issues I understandably have, how can I risk losing the life I’ve re-built for the boys and I? It would take someone very special to make me give up what I have. 

 

So you see, I’m single at Christmas, but it’s not so bad. I could sleep starfish-shaped on the bed if I wanted, but still keep the slither of bed I was allowed to have. I have complete and absolute control of the TV now – and can watch utter bilge. My TV planner consists of every baking show, every murder documentary, every episode of First Dates … a pretty eclectic mix, granted, but I can watch what I want without judgement. There are no arguments, well, only a few when I tell Dexter to tidy his room for the eleventy billioneth time. And, as cheesy as it is, there is now only love and laughter in my house and that’s how it’s going to stay. 

 

I wish each and every one of you a wonderful Christmas and thank you from the bottom of my heart for being a member of my little community and a reader of my blog. This blog has been a life-saver over the years, literally sometimes. To know I have a space to share my thoughts and dreams is wonderfully liberating and a great form of therapy! I’m sorry if this post has made you sad, I hope it hasn’t, but the next time you see me poncing around on a cruise ship or dicking about in a spin class, remember this post, because my past is a big part of who I am now. This is me, metaphorical warts and all, but I’m grateful and thankful I’m here. 

 

kate sutton

 

 

*  If you’re in an abusive relationship and need to leave, please please contact REFUGE – they will give you advice and give refuge to you and your children. They will keep you safe. I donate to them every year and would ask, if you can, to please donate if you can.

www.refuge.org.uk

 

(Visited 681 time, 1 visit today)

Published by Kate Sutton

Writer, Mother, Dater.

Join the Conversation

16 Comments

  1. Thank you for an honest posting, Kate. Christmas is a difficult time for many and for many reasons. I followed your musings as you were on a weight loss journey. I’ve lost 2 1/2 stone in a year and yes, I’m still overweight. I’m seventy, married for 43 years. I won’t say always happily but we are good friends and, as my husband has Parkinson’s, I am a Carer. We shall be spending Christmas with my daughter-in-law’s family in the USA and are looking forward to fun with our grandchildren. I have spent the morning packing carefully. Have a lovely Christmas! Some of the nicest have been when there were just the two of us – St Paul’s Cathedral for midnight mass, ginger wine on our return, late breakfast and a meal cooked by me with no pressure to be perfect.

    1. Hi Jan. Congrats on your weight loss! That’s really amazing stuff! I’m sorry to hear about your husband, I would imagine having to alter the balance of your relationship insofar as you now being his carer, can’t be easy. Have a wonderful Christmas with your family. I love spending Christmases abroad but can’t afford it anymore, so will have to make do with going ten minutes down the road to my brother! Hope to chat again soon Jan – Merry Christmas x

  2. Kate- 2nd comment in a week ..You Are a SHINING STAR & I can connect with you once again! (not physical abuse,but mental control & total unhappiness for years- then I left & forfeited my teen in the process 🙁 )
    Keep doing what’s happy & healthy & life will sort itself out !!
    Heartfelt wishes x

    1. Awww Tracey, I’m honoured! Thanks so much for your kind words, and I’m so sorry to hear you’ve been through hard times also. God, I can’t imagine the pain of leaving a child but I know how complicated situations like this get. Here’s to an amazing 2017! x

  3. A very brave and honest post. You are one of the strongest women I know and I am so pleased you have been able to share your story. I think it will mean a lot to many in similar situations.
    Much love to you at Christmas and always
    Sx

    1. Thanks my love. This was a tentative step into really talking about it, and is only the tip of the iceberg really, but it felt good to share just a part of what’s happened. Much love to you and yours too xx

  4. Such a powerful post Kate, thank you so much for writing it. I have worked with Women’s Aid and Refuge and wrote my uni dissertation about domestic abuse in the 80s, it’s so important to tell our stories, we have no idea who they might reach or which doors they might unlock. You are fab and I’m proud to call you friend xxx

    1. Thanks Chris. I didn’t want to go into too much detail, so have only really touched on the subject, but I know first-hand how scary it is for women to admit what has gone on behind closed doors so hope it has started some conversations. You’re such a lovely person Chris, thank you for being so sweet x

  5. There is a light at the end of the tunnel having lived a life very similar to yours I decided to be single and then when I least expected it I met a wonderful man and almost twenty years later we have a most wonderful life and I wouldn’t change it, but sometimes the past does haunt me

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.

CommentLuv badge

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.