With all the security that my life had been built upon completely vanished, I stepped out into a new world. I had to find somewhere to live independent of the church. Virtually for all of my life the church had determined where I lived; now I had a free choice. My only consideration was to be as close to the children as possible. I also had to be practical in terms of budgeting. My coping strategy was always mentally prepare for the worst case scenario then anything different would be a bonus. I may be without a motor vehicle so walking distance from the children but also a safe location from Sandra was essential.
With the help of my parents I found a suitable house and car. I don’t know how I would have coped without parental support. I would never have got through those days and they have continued to be there for me. They are without a doubt, a couple of the very few people I’ve encountered who actually live by the Christian values they promote.
Another new beginning was meeting a very special woman who has helped me immensely. Little by little I started sharing my story and she never ran away. There were times when I tried to push her away from me. I felt unworthy of her affection. Deep down I knew that all women weren’t like Sandra but my wounds ran deep. I wasn’t sure whether I could let someone get so close to me. I’d read that victims often move from one bad relationship to another. I was afraid of re-entering a similar situation. I struggled to understand how a woman could love me so unconditionally. I still struggle on occasion. There have been lots of down days for me, but she has always been there to pick me up. I struggle because I know this is not her mess but part of my baggage. We share the same sense of humour; we have some similar interests but to some outsiders may have seemed poles apart having come from completely different environments. We are able to talk about anything and there are no recriminations. Having a relationship like this sounds completely normal but to me it was an alien concept. This lady is very special, she seems to understand me so well and recognises when I’m regressing in the past. I thought I could never trust or love another woman again but she is helping me to live again and enjoy a healthy relationship. Thank you darling I would be lost without you.
I was also enjoying my work. I had been offered a contract within the organisation and was working in a long shift rota which also meant that I was able to gain additional hours on my days off. Things seemed moving forward at long last.