To Russia, for Love?

>> Tuesday, 25 March 2008

I first met Husband around 13 years ago. I had recently come out of a 7 year on-again / off-again relationship with a guy I met at uni who really was no good for me (and, to be honest, nor was I for him), but who kept me on my toes and turned me into the stubborn madam I am today. (And, of course, he had a great bod. Don't they always?).

Anyway, the ending of this relationship with - let's call him Sporty Boy - really took it out of me. I wept, railed, stopped eating, and generally moaned incessantly about my lot. For about, oh, 3 whole days, actually. And then, to my shock and suprise, I started to feel better. (Which was pretty unexpected considering we had just moved in together before he unceremoniously dumped me from a great height). Frankly, the absence of worry and tension about the relationship was so liberating that rather than simply repeating my past mistake (i.e. wait until he saw the error of his ways and then take him back at the first opportunity), I started to enjoy myself - on my own.

Now, I won't bore you with the stories of my sowing of wild oats, or with how that was very much overdue at 27. Or with the tale of how, some months later, when Sporty Boy contacted me by e-mail to say he had made a big mistake and that his new squeeze didn't understand him like I did, I mailed him back to say; hope you're happy, you made your bed, now lie on it sweet-cheeks (God, that felt good). But suffice it to say that when one of my Best Friends offered to set me up on a blind date with a guy working with her then boyfriend, my first reaction was to say- no. The absolute last thing I needed at that time was to bother with such manufactured relationships - I was having a perfectly good time dodging commitment all on my own, thankyou very much.

But she persisted. And that is how, one rainy Sunday evening, I ended up on a blind date with a tall, skinny Dutch guy in a pub just off Leicester Square, drinking far too much red wine, eating much too large a chinese meal, and making my drunken way home - alone - on the train. (Then, not wanting the fun to end, I ended up falling asleep, missing my stop, and having to pay a fortune in taxi fare when I finally woke up in a deserted station at 2.00am on a Monday morning. That was a hangover to remember...)

Tall skinny Dutch guy (let's call him TSDG for the moment) was actually quite good looking, I realised the next morning when I tried to remember through the haze of shiraz and cigarette smoke (for yes, children, at that time we were allowed to smoke in public - not that I did, of course. Filthy habit...). So when he called to suggest another date, I said yes.

Oh, alright then. I called him. (You can take the girl out of the convent...)

Not quite knowing how to say no to such a forthright young lady, TSDG said yes. Hurrah! And after a whirlwind courtship, 6 years later we were married, dear reader, and TSDG became Husband.

Hang on.


What took us so long? You may well ask. 'Another' came between us. This seductress already had her claws into TSDG before I even met him; in fact, in a way, she is why we are together at all. He was in London only on his way to her; this mysterious Eastern temptress had in fact been in his thoughts and dreams for almost as long as he could remember.

Now, to be fair to my beloved, he was straight with me from the start. I knew from the time I met him that his London sojourn would not be for long. And frankly, I was OK with that. No strings, no commitment - in my post-Sporty Boy state, all I wanted was a bit of fling, actually. However, the fling got out of hand. We fell for each other. But she - she was always there, waiting in the wings to whisk him away, just when it was getting interesting.

You see, Husband was in London only to train for a paltry 4 months before heading off to her open arms for however long it took. This 'she' was, in fact, Russia.

I didn't try to compete. Didn't want to, actually. But somehow, once he had gone, we stayed in touch. He flew over to see me. I sorted out a visa and went to see him. And before we knew it, most of our disposable income was being spent on plane fares and telephone calls. Long distance relationships definitely have their down-sides, but at the time it was mostly one big adventure. Meeting at romantic cities across Europe for the weekend. Taking the night-train from Moscow to St Petersburg. The joy when he surprised me by turning up out of the blue.

And before we knew it, 4 years had passed, the economy in Russia had crashed (1998), shortly after that he decided to come to London, and we moved in together. The rest is history.

But she has always been there, hanging around, sending messages, reaching out, trying to suck him back in. And now that he is once again a free agent job-wise, she's knocking on our door again. (Note the 'our' this time. It has already been made clear that she won't get Husband without me and the Boys.)

I've visited her a few times over the years, and honestly, I don't mind her. She's 'alright', in her own way. Beautiful, I must admit. But cold. Changeable. Not to be trusted. And populated by people I'm never quite sure of. However, if this credit crunch continues to bite, it may be that our path lies in her direction, so I'd better start making friends with her. Learning her language, maybe (though not just yet).

Not that we're going, you understand. We're not. But just in case....

(And let's be honest, can you imagine the blog fodder? Outstanding...)


Expatmum 26 March 2008 at 01:51  

Just remember that you won him. He chose you. Don't feel inferior or threatened- adopt a slightly smug and very happy look and she'll probably stop whatever it is she's doing! :-)

Amy 26 March 2008 at 02:05  

Oooo. The drama! Scandalous! The fodder, indeed!

Sweet Irene 26 March 2008 at 02:07  

How nice to be introduced to this very important person in your life like this and the country that keeps calling him. You do definitely know you have a true love there in him.

As for Russia, you could see it as a great adventure, as long as it is not permanent. If you know that some day you will emerge again. It would indeed make for good blog fodder and you would probably end up writing a book about it.

Going or not going, "show me in how many ways you love me..."

Frog in the Field 26 March 2008 at 07:56  

Dearest Potski Mumski, a few things:
How come I've checked your postings every day and there's only been Raagh! and yet today you had another seven hundred posts?? You're hiding things from me, have we had a row?
Russia? Don't be ridiculous, Cardiff, now THAT'S the place to look at. (I hear it's rather nice if you're not easily confused with a leprachaun).
Darling Husband regularly used to go through the 'we are emigrating to Australia' mood. I finally bought him a ticket and sent him off to view farms and have a good mooch, came back and never mentioned it again...really!
Do you like wodka?

Mom de Plume 26 March 2008 at 10:58  

Nothing like moving to a new country for a bit of adventure... and Russia is definitely one of the more mysterious locations! The blogging fodder would be awesome.

Seems we are upping sticks too, leaving Africa behind for one last time and heading north to Bonny England.

Here's to new adventures!

Iota 26 March 2008 at 13:28  

Oooh, you're going to be an expat...

I love Frog's new name for you. Or Potski Mumarova - how about that?

Jonny's Mommy 26 March 2008 at 13:30  

Leave for Russia?

Well, it would make interesting blog fodder indeed.

I really enjoyed the story about how you met your husband.

Sharing him with someone(where) else though..I don't know about that.

I share my husband with wrestling and the state of Illinois and all their many sports teams. *sigh* Non-winning sports teams I might add.

Potty Mummy 26 March 2008 at 14:00  

Hi EPM, I know that. And I tried the smug look - but I think I just looked like I needed the bathroom...

Amy, we take what we can get, right? (or at least, I do!)

Hi Irene, no it definitely would not be permanent (I've already established that in our preliminary negotiations...). And yes, who knows? It would surely stimulate writing of some kind or other. Once I got over the cold and the culture shock, that is.

Hi Frog, no, I promise I'm not ignoring you. Obviously there was some kind of quality filter on Blogspot that decided the posts weren't worth reading before now. And whilst I'm sure Cardiff is lovely, not sure that Husband's command of Welsh is quite as good as his Russian. Finally, do I like Vodka? Was Bismark a herring? (Madelaine Kahn in Blazing Saddles, in case you don't get the reference...)

Hi MdP, that's news indeed. The weather here is awful right now though, so don't forget your thermals!

Hi Iota, who knows, I may be, but not yet. I like the Potski - but how about Mumarovic for the second half?

Thanks, J's Mommy. Luckily wrestling doesn't feature in his list of preferred sports - though if we moved to Illinois, who knows?

aims 26 March 2008 at 15:17  

Hmm - methinks you are thinking about interesting!

Hmmm - blogging from Russia....wowza!!

Carolyn 26 March 2008 at 16:16  

Mmmmmmmm St. Petersburg. Me loves me some good St. Petersburg. Can't wait to see where this goes...

Potty Mummy 26 March 2008 at 16:53  

Hi Aims, reluctantly, yes I am. I'm trying to change my mindset from; no never, not in a million years, to: well, why not - for 3?

But it's not easy. Anyway, we're not at that stage yet. If the economy hasn't picked up by the end of the year though - and jobs in the financial sector continue to be cut, who knows?

Hi Carolyn, yes St Petersburg is lovely, but actually I prefer Moscow - based on my limited experience of only a few visits to both. Moscow has the same energy as New York (or, in my humble opinion London), whereas SP looks pretty but is not so exciting. But they're both in Russia, which is not exactly run of the mill, I agree!

Grit 26 March 2008 at 22:03  

what a great story! and what an exciting future to envisage ... much better to plan for life like this than when the ketchup might need restocking.

Potty Mummy 26 March 2008 at 22:29  

GBS, hi, and thankyou. I hope this isn't your last visit, but best of luck if it is. We'll all miss you.

Hi Grit, yes, very true, and am trying to look at it that way. Then again, stocking up on ketchup is a whole new experience if you can't read cyrillic and want to check for additives and e-numbers. (Jesus. Have just read that back and am thinking maybe I should change my blog name to 'control freak mummy'...)

Motheratlarge 26 March 2008 at 22:32  

Ooh, I love finding out more about your life before marriage and the boys. Beautifully written post, if I might be so bold. I'm so glad not to be alone in that post-break-up crying/starvation thing. Now I look back and thank my lucky stars I escaped my earlier boyfriends. Ps - I fell for and married someone tall and skinny too, in the end.

The Rotten Correspondent 27 March 2008 at 02:49  

Love it! That's a really great story, and I envy you the possibility of Russia. I was there once and it was fascinating.

Re your comment on my blog - I read every day. Honest. My commenting has just gotten a little off kilter lately. And for some reason you weren't on my blogroll, but that's been corrected. Not sure how I managed that, but you and aims and I'm sure others were MIA and shouldn't have been!

Happy belated 100th post!

Pig in the Kitchen 27 March 2008 at 08:36  

oh no, the blog fodder would indeed be knee deep, but really??? with a serial killer for a president? (ok, so sue me, it's just a personal opinion!), and so, so, so very cold and bleak. Don't let me put you off tho!!!

Potty Mummy 27 March 2008 at 20:02  

Hi MaL, thankyou for the compliment, and yes, at one time breaking up with unsuitable boyfriends was a great form of weight control. (And tall and skinny is it, don't you agree?)

Thanks RC, and Russia is exciting - or at least, I'm trying to think of it that way. (And I wasn't trying to make a pointed comment on your blog, honest. If you commented on every blog you read you wouldn't get any sleep, I imagine...)

Pig, you're not saying anything I'm not thinking! It still may not come to it, but if it does, I will just have to bite the bullet and get on with it...

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