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Lessons Learned from an Affair – Part 3. If you feel they’re being groomed, YOU possibly are.

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Each year, in a packed classroom, I speak with a group of gifted and talented primary school students  about some of the essential things they need to know about being gifted and talented.

One of those things is personal responsibility.   My gifted and talented wife, Dianne, is a great believer in personal responsibility.    She explains that if you put yourself into a dangerous situation, and something happens to you, then YOU are a key part of the problem. You are not THE problem, but a PART of the problem.   She explains as an example, if you are drunk at 3am in the rough part of town, YOU increase your chances of being mugged exponentially. YOU contribute to the likelihood of the problem occurring.

As I explain to the gifted and talented students, if a plumber accesses a sewer, what is he going to get covered in?   He’s doing nothing wrong, but it’s going to stick anyway.

Young women often wear skimpy clothes to nightclubs and bars.   Some say they should be able to wear anything they like without being harassed. I agree.   However, what they are forgetting is their logic only works if they are dealing with people who are balanced and follow society’s rules of conduct.   What if they encounter those in society who often seek to take advantage of a situation, for example, a narcissist, a manipulator, a paedophile, or a muslim who sees you as ‘uncovered cat’s meat’?   If you access the sewer…..

And the sewer can appear in the most unlikely places.  Here’s a couple of examples…

Former Geelong Hospital heart specialist Associate Professor Alexander (Sandy) Black,  “a substantial contributor to the community for many years”, has pleaded guilty to charges of knowingly possessing child pornography.   Amongst his stash, 39 movies contained acts of child penetration, and,  the material included images of child sadism/bestiality.

61 year old Sydney army cadet officer, Christopher Williams, was charged with using a carriage service to procure a person under 16 for sex.   Previously, he had been sentenced to 3 months gaol (suspended) after being convicted on fraud and forgery charges.   He was also disbarred as a lawyer and has worked as an Air Force cadet officer, at the volunteer coast guard association, Scouts, St John’s Ambulance and the Masonic library. According to a NSW police statement of facts, he exchanged about 2800 phone text and Facebook messages with a 13 year old girl, including this…  “If you want to do something to yourself, do something that will make you feel goodyu can always masturbate, that will make you feel terrific and keep negative thoughts away.”

My then-wife, her sister, and our families used to holiday together at a caravan park in Tocumwal, NSW. Our young daughters were of the age where we allowed them to go to a small lake to feed the ducks. What I didn’t know at first was that among the nearby campers at the lake was a man who wore a small pair of speedos who had an equally small dog. Now I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t begin talking to a group of 4 young girls whilst wearing nothing but speedos, oh, and having a tiny dog under my arm.   Of course, the girls were attracted to the dog, patting it and making a fuss.    When the girls came back to our van, they told us, their parents, about the ducks, the lake, the dog, and the man.    For me, alarm bells rang loudly. Not long before that holiday, I had read a news article by parents of an abused child. It included the ways paedophiles groom children, befriending them, giving them something nice to come back to, creating an air of trust, and grooming the parents into trusting them.   So, when my wife, her sister and her sister’s husband wanted to meet the man, I said, “NO”.

Off they went, and later came back happily telling me that the man was “alright” and I shouldn’t be concerned about our children playing with him and his dog.  In fact, they suggested I should meet him!   It seemed as if everything I’d read in the how-to-spot-a-paeophile article was unfolding before my eyes!   These people had given this man their trust after one brief meeting.  My paternal instinct was in overdrive and I could not believe that these adults would allow, and encourage, their children – and my children – to be in that environment.  Nobody else in the whole caravan park wore ONLY speedos, except at the river-beach. (Even I wore speedos at the beach.)

Who knows if I was right to suspect that man? To me, warning bells were ringing and I spoke with my children about not going to that area again. Meanwhile, my then-wife was encouraging them to go and feed the ducks!

The lesson from Part 2 of this series of articles was, Trust Your Gut. In this case I did. However, this led to my then-wife and I arguing incessantly. My children’s welfare was on the line, and despite what she said, I put my children above her concern of over-reacting.   We’ll never know if I was right or wrong, and I’m glad about that.

So fast forward 10 years… what do you do when your friend buys your 15 year old daughter a $400 ipod for her birthday, and an easter egg bigger than any you’ve ever bought yourself!   I’m thinking she, we, are being groomed for something. What?  I didn’t know.  I was confused, and my then-wife told me she was surprised and hadn’t expected a gift at all for our daughter.

Well, that’s not totally the truth. What she told Alan Workman in a ‘secret’ email to him regarding his giving of the gift, she says, “I knew you would still do it, and yes  she is thrilled with it.  I think the easter egg shocked me more than anything”.   Hmmm, it seems that the only thing my wife didn’t know about was the super-sized easter egg, but she knew far more than I did. I wonder why she told me something different to what she told Alan Workman.

One of the lessons from that experience was how hard I found it to say ‘these gifts are excessive and unacceptable’.  My then-wife said it was simply our friend, Alan Workman, being generous.   Alan Workman made a habit of buying people gifts. Large gifts.   I used to say to my then-wife, ‘It’s as if he buys people off.   It’s just like grooming.    The gifts make it difficult for people to say anything’.

In time, I knew my gut feeling about something being wrong, was right. How?  Because I found that the day after providing the gifts, Alan Workman emailed my wife to say, “I  have been thinking of your inner thighs and back.  Love the touch of your fingers on my stomach yesterday.  loved my hands around you (briefly) could do with more of that xxxx
So I had better find out what work I have to do today.  thinking of you in front of that fire, with champers and oil to poor over your back and thighs. Yumxxxxxxxx
Alan xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxmwaaxxxxxxxxxxxxxx”

Both Alan Workman’s wife and I didn’t know our spouses were having an affair. Grooming is a method of making people relax, or stay quiet, so they feel comfortable or obligated in an otherwise uncomfortable situation. It does not have to relate to paedophilia.   With Alan Workman’s ‘generosity’, I certainly felt uncomfortable about speaking out.

Although, I had already felt total unease when, during his birthday speech a couple of months earlier, Alan Workman, in reference to my daughters had said ‘I love those girls’…. I squirmed rather than spoke out.
And there was the time my daughter was invited by Alan Workman to stay at his home by the beach… I said NO to that, but my then-wife allowed her to visit with a friend.
Alan Workman once  bought my ex-wife’s parents a 4.5 litre bottle of Johnnie Walker scotch… Interestingly, I heard they also weren’t enamoured with Alan Workman, but decided, ‘It’s not our place to say anything’.   I wonder why they thought that?

And so on…..

Trust your gut. The lessons? If you feel they are being groomed, YOU possibly are, so speak up about what your rules and boundaries are.

Next in part 4:   More on grooming, aka ‘Wrestling’.

Lessons Learned from an Affair – Part 2. Trust your gut feeling, or, I’m a mate and I’m here to betray you.

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My ex-wife, Sheena, and I used to visit Alan Workman and his second, or was it third wife, every few months. Let’s see… first wife was Lynne.   Lynne was a school friend of Sheena’s and later worked in the same building as Alan & I.   Alan & Lynne married in 1984, one week prior to Sheena and I. Alan was about 32 and Lynne ten years younger.  I always thought their age gap was too big. I’ve since heard of the relationship age rule of thumb – halve your age then add 7. Anything less is too young.   And this rings true to me regarding Alan & Lynne.   They separated about 18 months later.  Interestingly, Lynne hated Alan so much that she has not even told her now-adult children that she has previously been married.

Next partner that I know of is Joan. Alan and Joan were together about 7 years.   I recall Alan boasting to Sheena and I that he walked out because ‘Joan and her kids were always arguing’.   That’s interesting, as we’ll see later .   Alan continued, ‘I sued her for $35,000 I loaned her’.   Another bitter split.   But, Joan and Alan were defacto, not married, although they were together longer than both his marriages combined.

And then there was Rosemary. They were separated less than a year after being married. Rosemary wrote to her friends…

Greetings

An Update.

To those who came and celebrated our marriage, gave gifts and smiled with such pleasure, you were probably surprised when I informed you of our separation in April this year.

We will divorce in April next year.

He loves someone else and always has….she also came to the wedding.

Guess I should have been more careful with invitations it seems!

 

Rosemary was furious with the betrayal by Alan and the betrayal by Sheena, someone who was a close friend. Rosemary’s elderly mother was very succinct. “Alan. You’re a rat”.   Imagine an elderly woman, who doesn’t swear, furious at this betrayal of her daughter. In this context, “You’re a rat” is scathing.   Rosemary used to say to Sheena and I, “You are the only couple we have as friends. All our other friends are single and mine. You are the only friends Alan has”.   Typically we’d go out to dinner, visit their home, or see a movie.    

Inevitably, I would not have a good time.   I had recently overcome depression and was on my way to discover peace of mind.   My attitudes and values had changed.    Alan was  still “good ol’ Al”. Just like the old days. Smiling while insulting someone. Saying things that others wouldn’t get away with.   That’s why his nickname was “Mad Dog” – always doing the shocking and unexpected.    I certainly did not like the way Alan would insult Rosemary’s young daughter (let’s call her Etta, then aged about 10 yo), calling her a ‘wilderbeast’ and other variants meaning fat pig.   I used to speak with Etta about her karate practice or school and try to re-direct the conversation. To my eternal regret, I did not stand up or speak up against what Alan did. You know, the ‘only joking’ scenario.   So how did Etta go after her mother’s divorce from Alan? Rosemary explains….

 

The fall out for me has been my kids, especially Etta who is just feral. I hardly ever have contact with her and if I ever mention Alan’s name she nearly goes berserk.

 

Wow.   Aside from his insulting of Etta, Sheena and I saw how Alan manipulated Rosemary. During our drive home, we’d discuss how Alan had constantly insulted Rosemary, and how she would do anything that Alan asked of her. She even told me stories about how Alan had bought her some wrestling gear so they could engage in his aggressive fetish with women.

My gut told me to leave this friendship with Alan. Yet, I didn’t. Soon enough Rosemary would be on the phone saying that Alan wanted us to go out again.

If we visited their house, somehow, Rosemary and I would end up in conversation in front of the tv while Alan and Sheena would be quietly chatting on the other side of the room.   On the way home, I’d say, “Alan seems to have the hots for you”.   Sheena would dismiss my argument as me paranoid. My gut feeling was strong.  As I trusted Sheena, I did nothing more. 

Alan wanted us all to go to France on a cycling tour. That was too much for me. My gut told me it was his way of getting  closer to Sheena. Alan would send Sheena letters and brochures. My response – “No chance France”.

One day we were leaving their home, and they walked out together holding hands!   I asked Sheena what that was about. She replied, they were just messing about. “It was nothing”.  Still, I trusted Sheena and did nothing more about it.

Alan often invited my daughters to stay at his home by the beach. My gut feeling was so strong that something was wrong, I would not let them.   But Sheena took one of my daughters and a friend and let them stay there.  But still I was too timid to break off our friendship with Alan.   Later, I heard that my daughter’s friend saw an “NQR moment” –  Nothing exactly wrong, just Not Quite Right! Alan and Sheena just a little too close, and a quiet whispering between them.

When Sheena and I were on the rocks, we had an agreement not to tell anyone of our troubles. We’d sort out the details of our imminent separation and then make an announcement. Along the way, Sheena suggested that I should have some to talk to. Someone independent. She suggested Alan Workman.  I said, “NO”.

And then Sheena suggested we have one last holiday together before we split.   I agreed.  But then she told me it was all arranged. Alan and Rosemary were holidaying at Rutherglen and attending a Chrismas in July at a winery. I said, “NO”.  Sheena said they had already paid for us. I repeatedly said, “NO”. Sheena persisted.  ‘They’ve already paid, we have to go’. I relented.

In the week leading to our holiday, Sheena and I had gotten on well. We’d been intimate, and I wondered if there was a chance of re-building our relationship. My gut feeling was warning me, but my logic was that nobody knew of our troubles, so we could work on it in confidence.  

But here’s what their email tells me was going on behind the scenes…   (the “RL” they refer to is me)

6 weeks before our Rutherglen holiday, when I was told that Alan had already paid for our room, he wrote this to Sheena. “What are you doing for the long weekend?  Want to visit?”   “Have you spoken to RL re Rutherglen?  We need to finalise shortly.”

Sheena’s reply. Would love to visit on long weekend but dont know about RL.  I am working all day Monday.  I was going to ask you guys up for a visit to see the dog for Etta, but that excuse has gone now.  I will speak to RL about Rutherglen and let you know.  May have to wait until then to see you.

Alan replies.  Speak to RL about Rutherglen and we can sort it out.

On another email he writes, Re Rutherglen, I will leave as planned.  Will leave it  up to RL to change anything.  No news is good news. 

To which Sheena replies, He seems fine with Rutherglen at the moment, changes like the wind. Hopefully we can all have an enjoyable time together for the last time.  : ))))

Alan sounds happy. I will ring later re Rutherglen.  Seems as though off we go xxxxx

Remember, I had been told that the trip had been arranged AND paid for. I was supposedly in debt.   But Sheena was happy too. Her email  to Alan continues  …… drive 15 minutes down the freeway and come and see me. : )))))   I could buy you coffee and we could  discuss Rutherglen, and I could give you a big hug.  Now isn’t that the best offer you have had today!!!!

And she finishes her email with, Thinking of you. mwaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa   xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxRutherglen only 10 sleepsxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

During this time, Rosemary’s sister, Cathy, was dying of cancer.   I met her at Alan’s small birthday party. She looked gorgeous in a blue dress with a stylish wig.   However she looked quite frightened when Mad Dog Alan stood behind her and threatened to remove her wig. Once again, I didn’t speak up, and I felt ashamed.

When Alan was giving his birthday speech, he was giving thanks to the people in attendance. There was about a dozen of us. My family made up 4 of them. And when Alan spoke about my daughters saying, “I love these girls”, I shivered in horror.  And although I refused permission to have them stay at “Alan’s home by the beach”, in hindsight that wasn’t enough, especially when Sheena would take them herself.

But although Cathy was dying Alan’s primary thought was not about supporting his upset wife, Rosemary, or her dying sister, Cathy, it was simply about getting Sheena to Rutherglen. Referring to his wife he writes, Battler on way home from work.  Nothing further re Cathy.  That is about it.  However, it all changes very quickly and without much notice. Prob the reason I have gone off wine for the time being.  hate to settle down to a glass and then get a call and off to hospital.  rutherglen will be the exception but I will dirve and wish to keep sober so that I can look aftter you xxxxx

 

Now I wonder what he means by keeping sober to look after my wife?   Maybe Alan’s next email gives some clues…

Rutherglen will be fun.  I see it was -7dg there yesterday morning (brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr)

Ice cubes and toes.  Imagine a hot day and me running an ice cube over your stomach xxxxxxx

Gym tonight to work on,my back muscles xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx yum xxxxxxxxxxxx

Love the thought of you hovering over me xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

mwaaxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx ice xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx you

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

 

So, despite our intimate week leading up to our departure, we got to Rutherglen and , once we arrived at Rutherglen she was as cold as the ice was outside.   At one stage, Alan and Sheena went for a walk without Rosemary or I.  I wonder what was on their mind?   Alan’s email may give a clue.   You have driven me mad with the pic of the SP thong!!!  You have the cutest butt.  I hope it can withstand my exploration activities I have planned for it xxxx

And later….

Nice pic you sent me from Rutherglen.  Much prefer raspberry sp.  Oh yes!!!!

mwaaxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx lots xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

 

And later…yes, she did change her underwear to the raspberry color Alan had requested.

Rasb G completely made my day 🙂 God what a wonderful butt you have!!!!!!!  Am looking forward with much glee and anticipation to exploring it in some detail 🙂  God yes!!!!!

 

To which Sheena replied…

Sorry about the distractions.   I don’t want the hospital to have a fatal floor (sic-  flaw) in their computer system because i sent you a picture of my butt and you missed that one important factor of the program.  I could not live with myself.  :  ))))  Will keep distracting you if I can xxxxxxxxxxxxxx

And it continued, and continued……

 

My gut feeling during these times was not paranoia. Nor was it jealousy.  People who operate on those levels create problems rather than remove them.   However,  if you smell smoke……   And the evidence proved there was a roaring fire!

Next in the series, part 3…the similarity between paedophiles and Alan Workman.

Lessons Learned from an Affair – Part 1. Delete those photos of my butt!

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“Delete those photos” she demanded.   “But they’re mine. You gave them to me”, I replied.

These were the photos she had sent to my phone. Taken herself , her butt decorated by a rainbow assortment of G-strings, a couple bare skin, and, I’d only had them on my phone for a few months.    Surely this brief time wasn’t long enough. You see,  for twenty years I had endured a modern man’s lingerie nightmare.    Day after day I got to see my wife wearing daggy undies with the days of the week emblazoned upon them.   Undies her mother had given her years earlier.   Well-made undies unfortunately. They seemed to last forever!   And suddenly, to have her text photos of her butt to me? Wow, that was something I NEVER expected. EVER!

But now we were getting ready to separate and so she demanded that her butt-revealing underwear had to be removed from my phone.

 

We all have our own experiences, and if you look at your thumbprint it can be confirmed that we are unique individuals. Yet, if we all hold our thumbs up and compare them, we see that although we are unique, we also, actually, are VERY similar.

When I talk with people about overcoming depression and how to discover peace of mind, I find that many of these people want to know the stories…. how hard it’s been to endure a divorce, an  Intervention Order (IVO), a betrayal by a friend. They want to know how I came to have depression. What helped?   What hindered?  This public interest is what motivates me to write these articles.   In his book, Stumbling on Happiness, Harvard University’s  Professor Dan Gilbert says, “The best way to predict how you will feel  is to use someone else’s experience”.

 

One of the great benefits people receive when they overcome depression is that they can acknowledge their  mistakes. Let me clarify…. Although I can explain ‘reasons’ for having done things a certain way in the distant past, I no longer ‘have to’ rationalise or justify.

I believe what I write in these articles to be true.   Even if those characters involved in these stories want to argue about technicalities, it is easy to prove that what I write is substantially true. Why?  I have their own words in my files , yes, that they have written,  telling the story! Of course, much of it is my opinion.

I know that the people involved in this series of articles may have a different interpretation of events. During heated discussions, they have said, like our former Prime Minister Julia Gillard in her role in the illegal AWU Slush Fund, ‘I have done nothing wrong’.  The rebuttal to that defence is “If you did nothing wrong, what was it that you did right?”

 

In this series of articles, I will share with you some of my experiences so that you may learn from them. What did I do wrong? What did I get right?     You may not have a direct replica of my experiences, but yours may be similar enough, just like our similar thumbprints.

 

My thumb pushed the delete button, and the photos were gone from my phone.   She was relieved, I was sad.    And then I found the photos had reappeared on somebody else’s phone!   The phone of a mate. A mate whose wedding my wife and I attended just a few months earlier.    A mate who was a former boss of mine. A mate who I had shared a house with 25 years ago.   A mate named Alan Workman.

…and the lesson here?   If your wife suddenly changes her underwear selection and habits, something or someone, is on her mind.