petite anglaise

January 10, 2006

intruder

Filed under: parting ways — bipolarinparis @ 11:03 am

I grab Mr Frog’s keys, and bundle my protesting Tadpole out of the front door.

“I want to do my jigsaw, mummy!” she cries, ignoring the finger I have hastily pressed to my lips. I pity anyone in my apartment block who was hoping to have a lie-in.

“Later, darling,” I say, to placate her. I realise that “later”, in my language, usually means “never”, as by the time “later” comes, she will have forgotten what she wanted anyway. Which often works in my favour.

We collect the pushchair from the former concierge’s quarters downstairs, now just a couple of dank, dusty rooms which play host to a collection of bicycles, crates and pushchairs, and set off across the road to “Daddy’s House”. We are on a mission: Mr Frog omitted to return the pushchair’s rain cover, and has gone away on business. As the skies are looking rather ominous, I have asked his permission to call in, in his absence, and retrieve it. Luckily, I have his spare set of keys.

Mr Frog’s building is only 200 m further up the road, but from a completely different era. Whereas my flat is in a stone building built in 1905, in the typical Parisian style (six floors, balconies on the first and fifth), Mr Frog’s is a circa 1970 tower block, albeit a rather swanky one. There are long echoing marble corridors, plants in the entrance hall and a live-in gardienne, whose curtain twitches every time she hears an unfamiliar voice outside her door. We take the lift up to Mr Frog’s floor, and outside the door I fumble for the right key.

The door swings open, and Tadpole surges into the flat, immediately at ease in her home from home, whereas I hesitate, cautiously, on the threshold. It feels a little odd to be here. An intrusion, despite the fact that I have permission to enter. Mr Frog’s new home symbolises, to me, all the changes I have wrought in our lives since last spring. It is filled with furniture which he bought without me. He has it looking really nice, but, somehow, it always has a melancholy feel.

I spy the pushchair cover immediately, but do not pick it up, yet. Instead, I follow Tadpole into the bedroom. The shutters are half closed; the room in semi-darkness. There isn’t much to see: the futon bed is made, with familiar bedding; Tadpole’s new Dora the Explorer pyjamas are laid neatly out in her travel cot, in a corner; her toys spill out of the wooden crate he has bought for their storage.

Moving into the kitchen, this time without any pretext, I smile ruefully at the packets of chocolate biscuits and sweets piled on the work surfaces. Mr Frog is clearly up to his old, pre-petite tricks. I bet he hasn’t cooked a proper meal since he moved in, back in July. I wonder, if I looked in his cupboard, whether I wouldn’t find some of those packet noodles he used to live on before we met.

I draw the line at opening the cupboards, however.

The living room is sombre, the blinds also drawn here, partially obscuring his stunning view of the rooftops of Paris through the huge French doors. The place has a tidy, not very lived-in look. I don’t suppose he spends many evenings at home when Tadpole isn’t staying. He has bought a bookcase since I last visited, and a single token book, the new Brett Easton Ellis, sits on a shelf, in pristine condition. Again, I smile a knowing half-smile. I don’t believe I saw Mr Frog read a book from start to finish in the eight years we were together. I see my immense bookcase in my mind’s eye, with its paperbacks stacked three layers deep.

Feeling that I have outstayed my welcome, I pick up the plastic cover and call Tadpole’s name. We leave, but the voyeuristic feeling I had in his apartment stays with me all day.

This is Mr Frog’s new life. This is the new home he has built for himself out of the ashes of our relationship. His life will go on now, without me, regardless of me.

And it’s none of my business.

64 Comments

  1. Have to admit it leaves a rather voyeur feeling on the readers too, at least me…

    Comment by Miss Pink — January 10, 2006 @ 12:24 pm

  2. And do I detect just the tiniest hint of…hmm, it’s not regret. Guilt?

    Comment by suziboo — January 10, 2006 @ 12:50 pm

  3. Wistfulness?

    Comment by Zinnia Cyclamen — January 10, 2006 @ 1:20 pm

  4. I remember a vague nostalgia upon seeing the new apartment of the (also Parisian) ex-boyfried after having left him years ago. After all we had spent 10 years together and he was a very nice chap. Maybe a vague nostalgia, but the charm of the past is that it is the past, what? Maybe nostalgia of one’s French life’s dreams and the recollection of the best Parisian days one had had together. It does take one a bit to recover and return to one’s German quite different actuality, I found.

    Comment by Angie — January 10, 2006 @ 1:35 pm

  5. The dichotomy of wanting to see that someone has changed and moved on but also being comforted by the fact that although your efforts to ‘mould’ them failed someone else hasn’t succeeded either or that it wasn’t ‘just you’.

    Comment by greavsie — January 10, 2006 @ 1:38 pm

  6. remind me to the time when I said ‘later’, my aunt asked me to visit and i said,’next time when i have time’ — which also means ‘later.’ Till now I haven’t visited yet, hehe.

    reading this entry makes me think that Mr. Frog still has u in his mind :)

    Comment by anonymuis — January 10, 2006 @ 1:56 pm

  7. I know what you mean. My husband of 5 years (who I was with another five years before that) got a cat after he moved out and I flipped. We had talked before about never getting a cat again- and this cat is just a symbol of the life he’s creating without me.

    Comment by Clio — January 10, 2006 @ 2:52 pm

  8. You show restraint and willpower, but I’m a self-confessed snoop. Especially in my ex-husbands new pad sans moi.

    Comment by Lauren — January 10, 2006 @ 2:58 pm

  9. Yep, I’m d’accord with Lauren on this one. I think I’d have looked in the cupboards. And probably under the bed. I might have had a quick listen to the answerphone messages too. But then I’m a freak, that’s my excuse. Good on you…unless of course you DID look in the cupboards but aren’t admitting it on here… ;)

    Comment by redlady — January 10, 2006 @ 3:56 pm

  10. I hear two things or projections: (1) a hint you think your ex’s life is not as good without you. (2) he hasn’t got over your loss, hence the place’s perceived melancholy. If the latter is the case, and it’s not just a projection, I hope it passes quickly. The melancholy is not something one would want a little girl to experience or internalise. Which she might. Lets hope he gets a new partner and your little girl only sees happy family life from him.

    Comment by Dr Analyst — January 10, 2006 @ 4:37 pm

  11. Bachelor pads always have a melancholy feel to them, I find. It takes a woman’s touch to make a place homely.

    Comment by Mancunian lass — January 10, 2006 @ 5:04 pm

  12. After leaving my husband, and our home (no choice, life was just too desperate) I visited him – and my old home – on several occasions. I realised that this house, which I had referred to as “home”, was nothing more than a false existence, which I’d constructed on the basis of what everyone else expected of me – not what I wanted myself. I was happy to leave everything in my ex’s name and didn’t fight for 1 piece of furniture. My life has changed so much, and for the better. I felt an instant lift as soon as I walked out the door. He’s taken a little longer to come round, but he’s got there – now that he’s moved house as well!

    Comment by seworb — January 10, 2006 @ 5:52 pm

  13. “Later darling”.
    Time’s arrow passes vey quickly, but contantly brings new challenges. Both you and Mr Frog are adapting to your new lives and circumstances. Its not surprising that you (both?) sometimes take a look backwards, over the shoulder as it were.
    Tadpole seems very bright and a quick learner. I wonder how long before she takes an interest in computers….e-mails…. blog-sites… herself on screen…… herself as an infant singing nursery rhymes? Likewise with lover’s children? It will be intersting to see the future collision between adult’s and children’s perceptions of the same events!

    Comment by fella — January 10, 2006 @ 6:15 pm

  14. I must say, you showed admirable restraint. I probably would have snooped…extensively. I’m so bad. In other news, I’ve voted (or nominated, I guess) for you in the bloggies. Bonne chance!

    Comment by buzzgirl — January 10, 2006 @ 7:05 pm

  15. A) I find it incredibly creepy how many posters say they would have snooped more. Jeez, how intrusive can one be? I can’t imagine going crawling through an ex’s closets and cabinets and still being able to look myself in the mirror… and woe be unto the ex that I caught looking under MY bed!

    B) On to more important things – It occurs to me that the oddest part of such visits to an ex might simply be the realization of just how much (or how little) of an influence one was on the person in question. Finding that the ex had gone right back to pre-relationship habits suggests that our efforts to “change” them really didn’t do anything other than nag them into accomodating co-existence by behaving in an unnatual (to them) way. Maybe the disturbing thing is the sheer sense of, “Your main effect on my life was to warp me into doing things I normally wouldn’t do, but now you’re gone and see? Your effects have been washed away.” A bit of a startling glimpse into our own ultimate insignificance, there…

    Comment by Trever T — January 10, 2006 @ 7:58 pm

  16. My big relationships were all long distance and involved a clean break at the end, so I haven’t been able to find out how they’ve got on “after me”, despite me being extremely curious!

    I guess having had a child together, you two are always going to keep track of what the other one is up to. I’m not sure whether this is a good or bad thing.

    I hope Mr Frog is well – signs that his flat is not “lived in” probably means he’s keeping himself busy.

    Comment by anxious — January 10, 2006 @ 8:36 pm

  17. I still think you could write meaty novels. I *knew* you had a stuffed bookshelf. Your capacity to use words to be detached and present at the same time, with events more or less in real time, is astonishing.

    I agree with Trevor T even though his analysis makes me uncomfortable! Is a relationship simply a graffito in which you engrave on the other person “I was here. See what I wrought!”? And if you don’t see the effect or it gets painted over, you weren’t really there?

    Comment by Alethea — January 10, 2006 @ 11:58 pm

  18. Hmmm…I felt the same way when visiting my ex-boyfriend’s flat several weeks ago. I moved out in February 2005. In fact, I moved 5 city blocks down the street from him. He and I remain friends and I occasionally go to visit him for dinner and such, but I always have an eerie feeling when I step inside and see that touches of me have been erased. I’ve moved on and so has he, but it is still bitersweet.

    Comment by H. (aka. NC_State_gal) — January 11, 2006 @ 7:59 am

  19. The good thing is that he is moving on, you wouldn’t want him to be dwelling in the past would you. You were very good not looking in his cupboards some people would have taken that oppertunity to have a good look. Well done you.

    Comment by Growing Up — January 11, 2006 @ 2:07 pm

  20. I felt so very sad (si triste) reading this entry.
    I just broke up with my Frenchman after a tumultous, bizarre and sometimes emotionally harrowing two years.
    A long-distance relationship in which the “distance” part of it became increasingly painful and exhausting for both of us, I think….among other things.
    I don’t know whether or not he has “moved on”, so to speak, but that is an inevitable fate for both parties, no?
    Quite frankly, I don’t want to know.
    Too soon, too painful, too raw.
    In this case, I believe the separation and distance will allow me to heal and get through the loss and the ensuing grief without too many occasional or constant reminders of our past together.
    The tendency to “compare notes” as to how the other person is getting on without the other is always present when there is physical proximity.
    In your case, petite, you and Mr. Frog have a child together. This is your shared universe…forever.
    A kind of eternal bond between you.
    I admire your courage and determination to put things in their proper perspective and build a new life for you and Tadpole.
    I wish I were as strong and courageous in mind and heart.
    I could learn a thing or two from you.

    Comment by Giliane — January 11, 2006 @ 5:11 pm

  21. You should have looked in the cupboards and the bathroom cabimet, drawer by the side of the bed, that little cupboard just inside the front door, taken photgraphs made notes, you may not get another chance.
    Obviously you’re not as curious as the rest of us .. um … me.

    Comment by Mike Da Hat — January 11, 2006 @ 6:15 pm

  22. Personally, I had a nagging desire to see how my ex lived for a while, but I never had the desire to actually go find out. When our paths crossed on a couple of random occasions, waves of memories flooded over me and time seemed to stop. In any case, she deliberately avoided me, so it didn’t happen often.

    Your post reads a little bit like that feeling of unrealised desire; that you want to do things but there is a separate over-riding force that actually removes your ability to do something in spite of your desire to do it. Interesting as always.

    -Fruey

    Comment by fruey (Let's Have It) — January 11, 2006 @ 6:28 pm

  23. Trever T makes an interesting point. I sometimes find myself thinking of ex-loves and wondering if I had any influence on them at all, as most of my relationships have affected me a great deal.

    Comment by quinn — January 11, 2006 @ 7:55 pm

  24. And what if Tadpole, in true child style, tells him that you were in the kitchen, in the bedroom, going through the house.

    If she is a true girl she will invent some bits as well just to get his attention…

    You better be prepared.

    Comment by Laura — January 11, 2006 @ 10:05 pm

  25. I think you’re a wonderful writer.

    And I’m proud of you for not snooping. You shouldn’t. He trusted you.

    Please don’t forget that he’s your daughter’s beloved father. Don’t let him drop out of her life.

    Comment by Sedulia — January 11, 2006 @ 11:07 pm

  26. I just noticed you’re reading “Eats, Shoots, & Leaves.” I must say, I loved that book, grammar bitch that I am. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

    Comment by buzzgirl — January 12, 2006 @ 8:08 pm

  27. it’s tough, stumbling upon the life that someone you used to care about has made for themselves. It’s natural to feel something, whatever that ‘something’ is…

    here’s some lyrics that I always think about when I see the ex…

    Well I’m sorry `bout the weather
    And I’m sorry that the drive was much too far
    Seems like everything is business
    And we’re sorry all the time

    When we’re home (All alone)
    What is home? (On your own)
    Home is home (All Alone)
    Where we love the weather

    Are you sorry that you love me?
    Am I sorry I love you too?
    Seems it doesn’t make a difference
    That we’re sorry all the time

    When we’re home (All alone)
    What is home? (On your own)
    Home is home (All Alone)
    Where we love the weather

    All alone (What is home?)
    On my own (What is home?)
    All alone (Home is home)
    And I love the weather

    Comment by Chris — January 12, 2006 @ 11:32 pm

  28. My New Year’s resolution was to give positive reinforcement to things/people I love and enjoy; so..just had to say I love your blog! I don’t always get the time to read every post but I’m trying to catch up. I felt like I was with you in Mr Frog’s new apartment, gently treading on another man’s turf, marvelous! I can only dream of being an expat in Paris..unless..oh well. Merci!

    Comment by ken-g — January 13, 2006 @ 4:25 am

  29. I prefer Bob Dylan. Maybe this might be closer to what Mr. Frog is feeling, but has trouble admitting.

    “Simple Twist of Fate”

    They sat together in the park
    As the evening sky grew dark,
    She looked at him and he felt a spark tingle to his bones.
    ‘Twas then he felt alone and wished that he’d gone straight
    And watched out for a simple twist of fate.

    They walked along by the old canal
    A little confused, I remember well
    And stopped into a strange hotel with a neon burnin’ bright.
    He felt the heat of the night hit him like a freight train
    Moving with a simple twist of fate.

    A saxophone someplace far off played
    As she was walkin’ by the arcade.
    As the light bust through a beat-up shade where he was wakin’ up,
    She dropped a coin into the cup of a blind man at the gate
    And forgot about a simple twist of fate.

    He woke up, the room was bare
    He didn’t see her anywhere.
    He told himself he didn’t care, pushed the window open wide,
    Felt an emptiness inside to which he just could not relate
    Brought on by a simple twist of fate.

    He hears the ticking of the clocks
    And walks along with a parrot that talks,
    Hunts her down by the waterfront docks where the sailers all come in.
    Maybe she’ll pick him out again, how long must he wait
    Once more for a simple twist of fate.

    People tell me it’s a sin
    To know and feel too much within.
    I still believe she was my twin, but I lost the ring.
    She was born in spring, but I was born too late
    Blame it on a simple twist of fate.

    Comment by Dave of the Lake — January 13, 2006 @ 7:28 am

  30. AAARRggghhh! The one thing that sprang out at me was – how did you stay that long with a man – who DOES NOT READ???!! That is astinoshing given your fluid and beautiful way with words – WOW! what a lucky escape Tadpole has had. MY OH os an even more avid reader than I and I, myself, amd in the middle of three books right now.
    Bonne chance with the wordsmith of Rennes ;-)

    Comment by Morbihan Princess — January 13, 2006 @ 9:20 am

  31. Whhoops – must put down book before typing replies – that shoud of course read ‘Atonishing’…

    Comment by Morbihan Princess — January 13, 2006 @ 9:21 am

  32. Well, if I would have been in your place, I probably woud have gone mental. The last time I moved in with my boyfriend, first time I was left on my own I checked everything. Now I feel awful, as I am married to the very same man and I know that there was nothing to find, but if i was in similar situation like you I would probably be a checking freak again! Though good for you, because after effect is much worse. You have got a better life than him anyway!

    Comment by Carra — January 13, 2006 @ 12:22 pm

  33. Yep, ol’ Bob Dylan also had a way with words.

    Comment by Parkin Pig — January 13, 2006 @ 12:41 pm

  34. Anything we’ve “failed” at feels melancholy.

    The few times I’ve had to go into my ex’s residence and seen the evidence of just how different we really are, (and for me, too, the dearth of reading material in his home as opposed to the abundance of it in mine is just one of the many things) it didn’t make me sad, it just reinforced that being apart is the far better choice.

    But snooping? Nope. Just don’t care what’s there…

    Comment by Dawn — January 13, 2006 @ 3:54 pm

  35. Hi there,

    I was curious, does Mr Frog read your website?

    I’ve been quietly following your blog for a while, intrigued by your Parisian life. I’m a Kiwi expat making a new life in Belgium with a new man, so I’m always interested in how others do in a country that isn’t their own.

    Actually, there’s a poem you might quite like, it begins:

    ‘I think, if you have lived through a war
    or have made your home in a country
    not your own, or if you’ve learned
    to love one man,
    then your life is a story.’

    and so yours seems to be.

    Comment by Di — January 13, 2006 @ 5:02 pm

  36. I can’t believe you snoop and tell! SHAME!!

    Comment by nardac — January 13, 2006 @ 6:35 pm

  37. Parkin wrote:

    “Yep, ol’ Bob Dylan” also had a way with words.”

    He still does. He’s not dead yet. If you have’t seen the piece by Martin Scorsese, “No Direction Home” about Dylan, you should really get a copy.

    Comment by Dave of the Lake — January 13, 2006 @ 7:26 pm

  38. The nostalgia or guilt is rather strange. After all, with rather scant regard for your significant other’s feelings and your own child’s need for a regular mommy-daddy team, you followed your own selfish desires (and called it love). And, I have to laugh, you expect sympathies from your readers for cheating on Mr. Frog and breaking up Tadpole’s family because your hormones were out of whack. This is good!!

    Comment by Sam — January 13, 2006 @ 9:05 pm

  39. Oh, here we go again. Apparently, a mother doesn’t have the right to walk out on the father of her child, whatever might be wrong in their relationship. A relationship, which incidentally, you nothing about, “Sam” because I respected Mr Frog’s privacy on that score, at least.

    But judge away. And the hormones one is good. I almost fell of my stool laughing.

    Comment by petite — January 13, 2006 @ 9:21 pm

  40. sorry, sam, but that comment was *way* out of line. if you had been reading petite’s blog through all of the turmoil she referred to from last winter through now, you’d know that NONE of what has happened between her and mr. frog was due to “scant regard,” “selfish desires,” or [snort!] “hormones out of whack.”

    keep on keeping on, petite.

    Comment by franko — January 13, 2006 @ 9:35 pm

  41. Petite, most people still think in their little minds that woman can’t cheat or divorce her man even though they don’t know what’s been going on behind closed doors! You have not my symphaty, I just love the fact that you can stand up and say the truth no matter what people think! Well done!

    Comment by Carra — January 13, 2006 @ 9:39 pm

  42. I do greatly admire Petite’s candor and fluid writing which is an enjoyable read; no question about that. All the more so because I’m myself an Anglophile. Not knowing the ‘private’ side of Mr Frog’s story, one can only comment on what’s here. Whether it’s the father cheating on the mother or the mother on the father, it is equally in poor taste: the issue is gender neutral. I am sorry, but no amount of rationalization makes deliberate deception a good choice.

    Comment by Sam — January 13, 2006 @ 10:07 pm

  43. Petite, this post speaks highly of you … and of M. Frog,albeit he does seems to not read much.
    You did not fit perfectly together and splitted, but still trust each other.
    Obviously each of you also still cares for the other, to a certain extent. And there is all the better for Tadpole.
    IMHO you just applied the proper balance between respect for the other privacy and normal desire to make sure he was allright. I would have done the same.

    PS : thank you for the long moments I already enjoyed reading tactfull posts.

    Comment by Mustardman — January 13, 2006 @ 10:29 pm

  44. Sam, whoever you are, get off your high horse. You don’t know all the facts (and you seem to have paid “scant regard” to those that were given)so who are you to judge?

    Petite, I’m waiting for the next instalment… Great blog and writing.

    Comment by Jude — January 14, 2006 @ 12:56 am

  45. This ‘cheating’ accusation is just plain ridiculous. I saw Lover twice before I ended things with Mr Frog. Once, in a bar, the first time we actually met, and then once a week later. A week of agonising, physically ill with worry at the decision I was contemplating.

    Which was to leave Mr Frog, no matter what happened with Lover, because although I had been unhappy for a long time, I had not had the guts to actually leave. Or I’d talked about it, and not been taken seriously.

    You make it sound like I spent months sneaking behind his back. Not so.

    Comment by petite — January 14, 2006 @ 10:19 am

  46. Well, some of your blog readers (or a reader) owes you an apology. I think you did the right thing (if you wasn’t happy) and I congratulate for your decision, even though you made it quite a while ago. Sometimes, you can create just as happy family by divorcing you childs father and finding a better man, who can make you happy. I wish you all the best of luck.
    P.S. would like to invite you for a coffee once I’m in Paris!

    Comment by Carra — January 14, 2006 @ 11:34 am

  47. just same as me…..my later also mean ‘never’. lol

    Comment by kevin — January 14, 2006 @ 2:13 pm

  48. As I read a little bit more, I would like to correct my previous comment as instead of divorce I should use break-up which is really the same thing just without lawyers (is that correct spelling as I think my Lithuanian side is trying to detroy me), but as before I amgree to myself that whaterver you do as long as it seems right that is right. And no judgemental comments will change it. I think I became your blog’s maniac. (is that sad?) I read as much as my eyes could read, I left my glasses somewhere.

    Comment by Carra — January 14, 2006 @ 3:03 pm

  49. Hey Sam,

    Why don’t you tell us about events in your life so we can judge you accordingly…………by your own standards of course…………

    Comment by Dave of the Lake — January 14, 2006 @ 5:36 pm

  50. we only here one side of the story….

    it would be interesting to see what Mr Frog has to say….

    Comment by goat — January 14, 2006 @ 6:39 pm

  51. goat wrote:

    “we only here one side of the story….

    it would be interesting to see what Mr Frog has to say….”

    Let him start his own blog then.

    Comment by Dave of the Lake — January 14, 2006 @ 7:23 pm

  52. I just think, that if Pettite can be so honest about herself all the time in this blog, why should we make a conclusion that it wasn’t the way she said it was? She could tell us anything if she wanted to, but as far as I read she has been 100% honest about herself and I respect her for that! Judging others is easy. Why the judges in this blog don’t judge themselves first and then judge all the others!

    Comment by Carra — January 14, 2006 @ 8:26 pm

  53. Hey petite:)

    Ive just come across your site while fuelling my own irrational love of france, and just had to praise you for it. Its pretty respectable to be bilingual, but being bilingual AND this eleoquent really is something:)

    Your words made me giggle, and also gave me a good insight and taught me some important lessons about life in Paris:) I’m a little nervous, because I’m only 18, and this summer Ill be moving to Paris to live with my boyfriend(my very own Mr Frog) (note:my French is only at A level standard. Infact not even A level standard unless i pass my june exams before i leave)

    So anyway thank you, and keep writing:) I’ll certainly keep reading. And i hope all goes well with you and Lover. Sounds like you deserve it:)

    -Maxi.

    P.s-Tadpole sounds adorable!

    Comment by Maxi — January 14, 2006 @ 11:34 pm

  54. It sounds to me that the relationship was pretty much over, and petite just needed a little confidence to end it completely. The way I read her posts last summer was that she agonized whether she should end the relationship with Mr. Frog!

    I don’t think petite deserves to be judged so harshly. Goodness. I bet most of us have been in the exact same place as petite once or twice…maybe more …in our lives. She deserves happiness!

    I can definitely relate to what petite went through. I was in a relationship that was not good for me. Someone else helped me to see that I didn’t have to live the rest of my life in such misery. Life is too damn short to spend it with someone who isn’t simpatico with you. You often don’t really know that until you live with that person over time.

    I am a very happy person with a wonderful life now. I am very grateful for my rendezvous with someone else who showed me that it was time to get out of the relationship I was in. It was good for me, and for my ex. He is happier now, too.

    I am married now to the person I had the rendezvous with…which was a day at a park. Have stayed married for many years because we are simpatico.

    As for Tadpole…she is better off with a happy mother than one who feels trapped and is miserable.
    From the photos of Tadpole, I would say she is doing just fine.

    Comment by Elle — January 15, 2006 @ 3:25 am

  55. I’m all for people taking control of their lives. Judging others on having read one blog post is pretty out of whack.

    If you’re in a bad situation, improve it. Especially if that situation is mutually damaging or risks becoming that. The best for everyone is quite often not to stick at something just because that’s somehow expected. Separation is often a release, not a punishment to the one who has been left alone (and is Mr Frog alone? I doubt it).

    -Fruey

    Comment by fruey (Let's Have It) — January 15, 2006 @ 11:15 am

  56. The lady (and her ‘friends’)doth protesteth too much. The theory that “if it feels good, do it” is pretty appealing as long as we are the one doing it. The minute it’s the other person doing it, the theory sounds very selfish and cynical. A matter of perspective. When one person ends a relationship unilaterally, that person always justifies it on the most wholesome, self-less, grounds when usually they have simply temporarily shifted their affections to another. It is only human to so justify. In the long run most, if not all, children do suffer: I know because I have long been a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) for kids in divorce or similar proceedings. Sorry Elle, but ‘happy’ pictures do not always tell the whole story of a child’s heartbreak, agony, or fears.

    Comment by Sam — January 16, 2006 @ 1:15 am

  57. Well Sam, I understand better now why you take the view that you do. Inevitably, everyone’s take on my situation will be coloured by their own experiences. And you have seen some sad fallout from relationships which have failed, so I don’t blame you for being sceptical.

    Comment by petite — January 16, 2006 @ 11:27 am

  58. So, Sam, you are saying that Petite is not able to know for herself that her relationship is over, that she doesn’t have the right to fall out of love and move on and live her life, just because she is a mother. Being a ‘CASA’, perhaps you will have noticed how many children have been damaged already by the time court proceedings come into play, by the fact that their parents have stayed in an unhappy relationship for too long, thereby forcing the child to witness anger, frustration and misery in the lives of both the parents. I think, if you have a good read of Petite’s blog, you will realise that she is perfectly well-equipped to make her own decisions and always takes the well-being of her daughter into serious consideration. Also, I don’t think Petite ‘shifted’ her affections, it seems that her relationship with Mr Frog was already over, and I don’t think there is anything temporary about her relationship with Lover.

    Comment by redlady — January 16, 2006 @ 11:42 am

  59. I love it when someone other than me gets told off for giving a negative opinion. Judgemental or otherwise…

    Comment by cheria — January 16, 2006 @ 12:19 pm

  60. Sam, I grew up in a broken family, since I remember myself, I can tell that Sunday wasn’t the day I wanted to wake up in the morning. My parents were screaming and shouting and I used to cry to stop them. My mother didn’t divorce my father to keep the family together, until she realised I was suffering that way more. The life became more pleasant once they separated, there where no shouts and screams on Sundays and I loved my parnets all the same. This is my personal experience, and the point is that holding on to the realationship that doesn’t work doesn’t do any good to the child at all. Believe me I know.

    Comment by Carra — January 16, 2006 @ 12:44 pm

  61. One of your biggest fans, me, is feeling more and more like a voyeur. Whenever the post refers even indirectly to the break up, the comments come flooding in. Then someone, usually American, bless ’em, points the finger and it turns into a Jerry Springer Show type slapabout with your participation and with your experience as the reality focus.
    I couldn’t cope but maybe it makes you stronger.

    Comment by Parkin Pig — January 16, 2006 @ 3:05 pm

  62. Just my opinion, but I’d have thought a Court Appointed Special Advocate would be a little less judgemental, especially concerning a case where the sum total of knowledge comes from the personal blog of one party. Sam, are you as helpful and open-minded with all the cases you handle? FWIW, I’ve been on both sides of this particular coin, and if you were to tell me my kids are worse off now than if I’d stayed with my ex-wife, I’d beg to differ.

    Comment by Jim in Rennes — January 16, 2006 @ 4:34 pm

  63. I seem to remember reading about long, lonely nights stuck at home with a young child while the father was, presumably, at work?

    Sam should show more compassion and less prissy pontificating, those comments were downright offensive

    Comment by Julia — January 16, 2006 @ 5:00 pm

  64. Petite, I appreciate your very mature comments. It’s the hallmark of us English-speaking people that we can disagree fundamentally without being disagreeable and you just proved that.

    Comment by Sam — January 16, 2006 @ 10:41 pm


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