Be careful what you wish for, you might find a new life waiting
I felt I had no conversation other than the children. I had been a stay-at-home mum for seven years. My youngest son had just started school and a part-time teaching post came up in a local private school. My husband told me I was unemployable as I was so long out of teaching. Red rag to a bull! I didn’t tell him I was applying but I did, and got the job. The pay wasn’t much but the change in my self-esteem was reward enough. I loved that little job.
The school was small with only one form per year. I wasn’t being stretched but I had another topic of conversation, not that my husbands high flying friends were interested in how I was developing a whole school science curriculum. I still felt I was boring, as many times I was left on the periphery of social gatherings whilst my husband was the centre of attention.
Almost coincidentally with starting my job, I was diagnosed with relapsing-remitting MS and warned I might lose mental faculty as well as physical faculty. (thus far I’ve lost neither) At this point I decided I was going to do everything I could to stay in remission and enrolled in an Open University Psychology degree course. I was bitten by the bug. I loved psychology. It gave me so many insights into human behaviour, including my husband’s, but that’s another story. I knew now I was not boring or bored. Despite working, running a home, supporting the boys in all their sporting endeavours, I managed to get a good honours degree. I was offered the chance of a PhD at a prestigious University. That meant giving up my job.
My husband said he would support me to do it part-time as long as it didn’t interfere with family life. What he meant was as long as I was there to cook and clean and run the boys around so he could carry on living his life as he chose – committee meetings, golf club, trips to London to see business associates. At the end of the first year, I was offered a university scholarship and stipend. My fees were paid, I was doing bits of teaching and getting a small salary which actually more than replaced my teaching salary.
My research was exciting. I was making big breakthroughs in children’s literacy development in relation to their brain development. I was certainly not boring nor bored any more. However, during this time my husband became national president of his professional association and I was expected to drop everything and join him at regional dinners. I did so as often as I could but I felt my work was just as important as his and if I’d got an important deadline I didn’t always go. I think he thought this was carte blanche to find another escort to take. One thing led to another and within a couple of years of me completing my PhD and being offered a full-time university lectureship, we divorced. His male ego couldn’t take me being more qualified – letters arriving for Dr and Mr didn’t go down too well – and having a good earning potential with the potential to become independent.
Now 20 years on, I’ve never been less bored and people often tell me how interesting my life has been. Even at nearly 70 I am still planning new ventures. I’m just about to retire from academia to become a full-time divorce coach. Over the years I’ve gained more qualifications in various coaching modalities and specialisms. I love supporting other women going through divorce to find their mojo, grow their wings ready to fly solo.
Be careful what you wish for, you might just end up completely reinventing yourself and your life. Don’t be bored be brave.