Chapter Two: Prelude – How it all started and then turned ugly.

I’ve written this bit so you can get a handle on where my head was at when I committed the acts in the AVO. I think a bit of background is important.

My ex wife Lea and I met at a sporting event. We shared common interests, mainly taking drugs and fucking.

She was blonde, tall, great-looking-with giant pert breasts. To say that the first three years of our relationship were a drug-fuelled sexual frenzy might be an over statement. Except it’s not, it’s entirely accurate.

To say that the first three years of our relationship were a drug-fuelled sexual frenzy might be an over statement. Except it’s not, it’s entirely accurate.

Somehow we thought that the ability to take truckloads of MDMA and fuck all night would translate beautifully into the skill set needed to have and raise children.

To my surprise, it didn’t.

We had to change to have babies. We got a mortgage, I worked more. We slept less.

Somewhere along the way the magic left us. Around Year 7 of our marriage she stopped wanting to have sex with me.

We went to counselling, it seemed to work.

Somewhere near our tenth anniversary we found ourselves hanging around on the weekends with a bloke I’ve known for over a decade.

Our children were best friends.

He wasn’t a mate so much as an acquaintance. We’d found a great way to mix mild alcohol consumption with child friendly activity of lawn bowls. We bowled together most weekends for a few months.  

I had to go to work one Sunday afternoon, leaving the two of them together.

On the way home with our children, Lea got a flat tyre whilst popping by his house. She rang me to advise that she was staying the night.

I suggested that he change the tyre. She said it was way too hot to do such a task.

I suggested that they have a cooling ale and wait until the sun was setting and the heat was out of the day, and then get him to change the tyre.

She flatly refused.

Our mutual acquaintance was a tradesman who worked outdoors in the blazing sun five or more days a week lifting heavy things. He could change a tyre on a hot day in the Sahara desert.

Either way he only lived 2 kms from our house; she could have walked home.

I couldn’t help but think that he was providing a full service overnight with a quick tyre change in the morning.

Some weeks later, our 10th wedding anniversary arrived. Being the naïve, romantic fool that I am, I booked a fancy lunch.

We caught a seaplane from Rose Bay to Whale Beach and had lunch at Noah’s restaurant. There was great weather, food, wine and service. We’d barely finished our entrees when she declared that she never wanted to sleep with me again. After the flat tyre incident that came as no surprise.

I was more pissed off at the fact that I’d just spent $1300 on a fancy lunch than I was at her sex ban. I could have taken her to the Golden Arches or KFC to hear that from her. With the remaining $1250 I would have saved I could have enhanced my Adult DVD collection with enough material to get me through the immediate crisis.

That afternoon I dropped her off at our mutual friend’s house.

At least she no longer needed the excuse of a flat tyre to stay there.

I asked her if she still loved me. She said yes. It may be impossible to fathom just how stupid I feel as I type this but part of me actually believed her- a really big part of me. We all need some “strange” right? I figured that was all it was. FYI “strange” means strange sexual partner or a new casual sexual partner, often a one time thing

On the 4th of March 2015 at 7.30pm whilst I was watching the credits roll on The Project, she told me our marriage was over.

I spat my wine back into my glass.

My world had ended, my family was blown apart and there was spittle in my Sauvignon Blanc.

We can all deny the obvious to try and hold onto what we cherish.

Clearly-and it was only clear in hindsight-I had been deluding myself into thinking my marriage and, more importantly, my family, were still intact.

I was also in denial because I didn’t want to face what was going to happen with a separation and divorce. I had no idea what lay ahead.

At this point the penny has dropped, people take to their corners, friends choose sides, many sinister and selfish plans are made. People can become unreasonable. This is when she might take out an AVO on you.

FYI Break ups are, statistically speaking, when women are most likely to suffer violence from their partners.

When we first broke up we slept in the same bed for a month. Then I moved into the poorly named Sunroom.

It faced south and, as legend has it, the room sits atop a frozen lake (I made that legend up). It was friggin’ cold in there.

In winter, I coated the glass windows with Polyester padding to try and insulate the room.

It was so small I put a single bed in there and could only get onto it by climbing over the bed head. There was no room for me to walk down the side of the bed, seriously. At one point, Lea said that she felt a bit guilty because although she had ended our marriage, she was still sleeping on our king sized bed in the master bedroom which also adjoins the sunroom.

I think that’s the closest that I’ll ever get to a display of humanity from her.

She never moved from the master bedroom. I continued to freeze my ass off.

I started diarising the time Lea was in the house. Over the next 207 days she was absent 41 per cent of the nights. My three kids were reacting badly to it all.

To this day they have separation anxiety.

From November 2015 to May 2017 we “nested”, sharing the house half a week each. Things got frosty and not just because our Sunroom sat atop some kind of “inverse–Hell” but more because I stopped taking her shit. Lea used to scream at me for the way I hung out washing, vacuumed and any other piss ant thing she could think of.

My psychologist said that when she left me my self confidence was at an all time low. What man could feel good when, aged 50 he still couldn’t pack school lunches properly. The LCM bars were, admittedly, a tragedy.

Standing idly by while your wife fucks your son’s soccer coach isn’t good for your self esteem. What do you do? Violence, yelling, acts of revenge?  As you are about to find out they are more trouble than they’re worth.

And I didn’t want to move out as it would hurt my kids. They’d largely lost their mother. I wanted to be their rock.

As far as rocks go I must have been some loose sedimentary type.

I was falling apart. It was a hugely stressful time. I didn’t really know how to father my children on my own. My entire life’s plan had fallen apart.

I actually enjoyed the “frostiness” that overcame my relationship with Lea. Lea is the sort of person who’d find some fault in anything you did. I started biting back. I honestly think that she suffers from some form of narcissism.

She didn’t do any laundry for our children or wouldn’t pick up after our two dogs who use the area under our clothes line as a latrine. I did all that.

But she couldn’t believe that anyone would dare to question her lack of housework- even after she’d just finished screaming at the person for placing the wrong protein bar in a child’s lunch box.

That sort of thing happened a lot.

The Self Medication phase

For the first 9 months after the separation I drank about 1 ¾ bottles of wine and took Xanax (real Xanax, not that crap they sell on The Dark Web these days) every night.

I did all of this after the kids were asleep.  I had a lot of time, often drunk, to ruminate on what she’d done.

I got up with my kids every day and watched their faces drop when I told them their mother wasn’t home. At the time, I didn’t have the parenting skills to cope with that properly.

One of my children is the brains of the outfit. She was able to process most of what was going on where’s the other two were having more emotional responses. I’ll never forget one morning when she came out into the lounge room and said “where’s mum?”. I replied “ she’s not here mate, she stayed out last night”. Her shoulders dropped in defeat. She’d clearly given up. I don’t know what she was thinking, but it seemed to me that that morning was the last straw.

She developed a serious sense of abandonment from that moment on. She still has it.

Sometime after several weeks of struggling to cope with my marriage falling apart so suddenly and the frustration and pain of being left in the house in the house with my traumatised kids and the complete lack of lack of help with the day to day house work along with the unending criticism I bit back.

I’m not ashamed of anything I did. I feel, in the circumstances, it was all pretty tame.

If your wife leaves you for your son’s soccer coach there’s going to be a bit of argy bargy. If you’re left alone in the house with three small children who are falling apart emotionally and you’ve got what seems like endless hours to ponder it because your ex is out on the town you can get pretty frustrated.

I did. I smashed a lamp (I had purchased that lamp). I broke a vibrator (I had purchased for our 10th wedding anniversary),  I put dog faeces in her favourite pillow case. I drew a Hitler moustache on her photo. I ran into the soccer coach when I took my children to the pub for dinner and afterwards went home and drew what could be argued was a penis on another photo with his name in it although I was so drunk by then it’s almost impossible to tell what it is. I have included a photo of that alleged “penis” here…

I also bagged some dog faeces and placed it under the passenger seat of her car one morning to remind her that leaving the back yard full of shit for me to clean up every week just wasn’t on.

I smashed a statue of hers-I think that was the one thing I broke that I didn’t own or hadn’t purchased.

Either way, by AVO standards, I was clearly way out of control.   

The trivial nature of some of the complaints are relevant to the story because regardless of how serious or trivial the actions that got you an AVO are it can be used very effectively to stop you being a part of your children’s lives. Sometimes, certainly not always, when  you have to fill or pad out an AVO with trivial matters it’s because there is no real issue.