The darkest hour is just before dawn.

Nobody looks good in their darkest hours. But it is those hours that make us who we are.

Disclaimer: This is one of the darkest times and therefore the hardest posts for me to get out of my head. I have made peace with so much of my past, but I am unhappy with my behaviour around this time. It also heralds the start of my complete emotional collapse and subsequent recovery. Needless to say I am not surprised it has taken me three weeks of procrastination to face these words.
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The darkest of times were approaching, but Christmas was over and I had M home again.

I had collected him from the marina, and we had reunited physically as soon as the opportunity arose. We celebrated a joyful post-christmas with the boys and saw the new year in together. The next time I saw him, a week later, something was different. The warmth was gone, he was stiff and frosty. No matter, I thought, he must just be tired from work. My plans for a move were coming together, my work transfer was imminent and when I was home I was packing. Life was busy, but from my side life was good.

I was to work three days in Devon and stay with M for the two nights in the middle for the first 3 weeks in my new post, before I moved down with the boys.

The first week was lovely. The second week I woke up on the first night to M panting another woman’s name. It was disconcerting, and it played on my mind as the darkest hours slipped away and dawn arrived. I asked him about her over breakfast. He raged, accused me of snooping in his tablet and phone. I hadn’t, I wouldn’t, why would I have? I hadn’t fully trusted him, but I had alway thought that was because of everything I had been through with P. How could I trust anyone I was that intimate with?

After work he had calmed enough to have a decent conversation.

He told me how my accusation had made him feel, how hurt he was and how someone had snooped his phone before when he was less than trustworthy. It had made him angry to think I didn’t trust him “after all we have been through together”. I was sorry that I had made him feel like that, genuinely. My question had hurt him, come close to harming us. We went to bed, I curled up in his arms. Safe, content. Mostly….

It was a night when I could not sleep. Something wasn’t quite right…

So I got out of bed, slipped out of the room with his tablet and guessed his password. My heart in my mouth I went through it. His messaging apps had contact with women talking about intimate moments they had shared, since we had become a monogamous (at his suggestion) couple. His deleted files held pictures, more messages from women I knew, had talked with recently…

I hated myself straight away, knew that it was wrong.

I put the tablet down, went back to his arms and pondered while sleep eluded me. I now understand that we set our own bar in life, but at this point I was so beyond broken. M was my safe space and I adored him. I had broken his trust by going through his tablet, I could forgive him for his lack of honesty. My intuition had been right all along but now that I knew the truth I could let it go, we could carry on as we had been. I slept fitfully that night, the shame of what I had done will never leave me.

After a few hours of disturbed sleep I woke with M, we went about our daily business.

I returned home that night, collected my boys and put them to bed. That evening M didn’t answer the phone. The next evening he called me, asking if I had been through his tablet. Of course I lied, he hung up on me. I called him back, got a tirade of abuse all of which I had earned. He hung up on me again. A short text stating he didn’t want to talk to me. He would decide when he was ready to talk to me.

I could literally hear my heart shattering in the deafening silence that followed.

What followed was me trying to pick up the pieces of my broken heart, but in the jumble of shards were piece of Ms deceit and Ps abuse. I had protected myself from the true extent of the abuse with the safety blanket of M and now I was alone to deal with all of the bad things that had happened, which were all my fault. After me breaking M’s trust and rifling through his private space the next thing that was my fault was my inadequacy as a wife. If I had been better at that he wouldn’t have abused the children, he wouldn’t have needed to rape me…

At the darkest moment my phone pinged.

It was my former manager, now training as a counsellor. A random message asking how I had been enjoying the start of 2017 so far. She was the first person I spoke to about my realisation. Very briefly I recounted how P had taken what he wanted from me while our infant slept on my chest. Two minutes later I had the rape crisis website on the thread. She wasn’t an expert in trauma (or anything at that point) but she was certain that if I called the help line I would be able to get some support. Three days later I called. I remember the gentle voice at the other end of the line even now, I spoke carefully. I didn’t think any of this was Ps fault, I knew that if I had been a better wife it wouldn’t have happened. As I was about to move counties I was given the contact details for my soon to be local support service. I emailed and waited, with instructions that I could call the national team back at any time.

M and I were soon talking again. He was to help me move, and though it was bitter-sweet I will be forever grateful for his support.

Over the months that followed I was able to turn the love that I felt for M into friendship rather than romantic attachment and I am genuinely pleased to have him as a friend and confidante. He soon got a new girlfriend, and he still hasn’t told me that it is the lady whose name he said in the middle of the night. Then again, I haven’t told him about all that I found. The months that followed were interesting, exciting and beyond scary… but those are stories for other posts. For now I am just pleased to get through this one.

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I’m not afraid of storms for I am learning to sail my ship

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I was looking at the world through a new pair of eyes.

Having spent much of the last two years under the watchful gaze of Sir it was strange to see the whole kinky world opening up before me in a new way. He had helped me to see the person that I was in a positive light, a way that I was unable to during my marriage. I had begun to accept that my kinks and fantasies were safe to explore, as long as I didn’t cause any harm or upset to others. I had also had enough time to get up to mischief that I had identified risks, and as a parting gift from Sir he had given me a whole range of safety guidelines so that I was in a better position to get home safely after meeting new people.

With my restrictions lifted I was free to do as I pleased.

When sir had disappeared, due to his accident, I was unsure whether I was being tested or had been dropped like a hot potato. It was a distressing and confusing time. Coupled with the total collapse of my marriage I had no idea whether I was coming or going, and went into a spiral of self-destruction and didn’t pay much heed to my safety or who I was meeting. This time I knew that he wanted me safe and that he would be back in contact at some point. If he didn’t care even a little bit he wouldn’t have left guidelines or asked if I would like him to be in touch again; funny how it took him leaving for me to realise that he thought of me as more than just a plaything.

That realisation gave me confidence that I had been struggling with.

My confidence had been battered over the years that I was married, and over the time since I had moved my P out his behaviour had been causing a dripping tap effect. He had systematically isolated me during our marriage, except for permitted friends and family, and after I moved him out he spread all sorts of lies and nonsense to those people. I was left with no friends, bar the ones I had been making through kink, and my family put distance between us. They would say they were there for me but, it wasn’t until I discovered what stories had been made up about me that I was able to start rebuilding those family bonds. After I had approached the health visiting team and then social services over concerns for my children I had been put on the waiting list for talking therapy, to help me build up my self worth once more.

Just before sir left I had been given a date to meet a lady called Rachel.

The woman who greeted me in the waiting room was kind and accepting, but more than that…. she had an air of dominance about her; I’m not sure if it was her dress, posture or mannerisms but I felt really at ease with her.Whether she was a fellow kinkster or not, during my 18 sessions with her I felt safe to talk to her about all levels of my life, without fear of repercussions. In that little room I cried and laughed, talked and clammed up. She encouraged me to think about my life as a bowl of spaghetti, and her job was to help me straighten out the strands. All she would do is ask me questions, and I would spew the contents of my brain out. It was with her I named the relationship I had with P as abusive. I had always thought of myself as a bright woman, and didn’t understand how I could have been so stupid, so blind!

I started to learn that I was a good mum, and that I could manage life in general.

My time in that room with the incredible Rachel gave me a way of translating the strength I had found with sir in my kink life into a vanilla resilience I had never known as an adult. I learnt about my past, discovered things that made me tick at the time and planned next steps for weekly goals and longer term plans. At times I was scared of the changes I made, but for the most part I was excited to continue growing as a woman and learning to sail my own ship in my own way.

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