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Re-developing Trust in a Relationship by Maggie BolithoFool me once, shame on you.Fool me twice, shame on me.That old schoolyard taunt teaches children from an early age to be wary of people who disappoint them. Yet, if we are in a relationship long enough, simple human fallibility means we will wound those closest to us at some point. You always hurt the one you love. Allan Roberts.The struggle to rebuild trust in a relationship is the main theme of my novel Outback Promise. Rosalyn (Ros) knew little comfort or love until she moved to Australia and met Grady. From the day they met, her life, their shared lives, unfolded better than her wildest dreams. Then their only child, Cadel, was killed and Grady was left severely injured by a hit and run driver. Fate rattled the snow globe of their happy little lives. Both Ros and Grady were so strangled with grief they could not speak to each other. They built impenetrable walls around their heartbreak and developed separate lives while living under the same roof. After almost six years of that arid existence, Grady had an affair. Ros knew about his infidelity but failed to confront him. She had secrets of her own.Saving the marriage seems as distant as the moon when they take a sabbatical from work to see if they can redevelop trust and intimacy in their relationship. This three month camping trip is a lucky choice by Grady. It starts their journey with a tangible way of working together to common goals. They must reach certain destinations, organize campsites, and navigate the outback. But before they can rebuild spiritual trust in each other, Ros and Grady must first learn to trust themselves again. They have to learn to trust their own judgement, to accept the looming possibility that they may indeed be fooled again. They have to decide if their marriage is worth the risk and effort. There are still big mountains to climb.In her novel, The Husband’s Secret, Liane Moriarty says it takes courage and humility to mend a damaged relationship. Ros and Grady have to bravely admit how they have hurt each other. They must be humble enough to acknowledge their mistakes. Then, when one says sorry, the other must learn to accept the apology, Whole-heartedly. Forgiveness means letting go of the resentment, anger, and thoughts of revenge that come with hearing a confronting confession. Theory, as always, is much easier than practice. If Ros and Grady can remember that the benefits of forgiving are huge, it may help them move toward this goal. Lower stress levels and blood pressure are only two of the benefits from true forgiveness.Trust returns in small, discrete increments. Ros and Grady will need shared intangible goals and a daily effort to give the time and energy that recovering a damaged marriage takes. Once they have allowed the painful past to fade, they can move forward. They can stop waiting for fresh hurt and live in the now. The key to rebuilding trust is letting go, trusting themselves, and building a better future. The struggle toward this commitment is the central plot of Outback Promise.
By Maggie Bolitho
Publisher: AUS Impulse (HarperCollins Australia)
Release Date: November 1, 2015
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Length: 203 Pages (860KB)
About the book:
A few months ago, Ros discovered Grady's affair.
With their marriage fast disintegrating, they decide to take a three-month camping trip into the heart of Australia to try and mend deep wounds and rekindle the fire that once fused them close. This trip will decide the fate of their relationship: do they have enough strength and enough love left to accept what life has put them both through?
But trust and forgiveness don't come easily, and Ros and Grady have to navigate not only the wilderness of the Outback and the challenges of other travellers, but also the chasm of grief and bitterness they have sunk into over the last six years. Their only hope for survival lies in facing the secrets they have both tried to keep buried ...
EXCERPTThe trouble began six years ago, so I had to admit that Penelope wasn’t the cause of the rift in my marriage. She was simply another symptom, like joyless holidays and forgotten anniversaries.Grady and I never discussed what went on with the India-born, US and UK educated siren, because to have spoken about it out loud would have made it irrevocably real. I’d only met Penelope once, at an office function. I’d known of her long before that, ever since Grady first arrived home smelling of her citrus perfume. The distress of that discovery had paralysed me. Everything I learned about her, about them, from that day forward was locked away in a mental strongbox.As long as Grady and I pretended nothing had changed, there was still a fallback position – the lie that it had never happened. Besides, it blew over eventually and I assumed the worst was behind us.Then, after I’d done my best to forget the whole vile business, Grady joined me in the garden one Saturday morning. He leaned against the kwila carver chair in the shade beside the house. ‘I’ve got something important to talk about. Wanna go for a hike? Garigal?’My heart turned to water and poured into my stomach. I sat back on my heels and glanced up at my tall, solidly built husband, searching his blue eyes for a hint of what he wanted to discuss. He flashed a smile, all straight white teeth and winsome dimples, which revealed nothing. I stabbed a branch of ivy and dragged it out of the patch of mauve Brachyscome flowers. The moment my mother predicted years ago had finally arrived. She always said that I would fail as a parent and as a wife.‘Our kind aren’t cut out to fill a nest with babies or stand by some man while he gets up to no amount of stupidity,’ she’d repeated as long as I could remember.No point in avoiding the inevitable, I decided. I ducked my head and peeled off my gloves. ‘I’ll get changed.’Numbness settled over me as I walked beside him into the neutral territory of Garigal National Park. We’d been planning a hike there ever since we moved to theNorthern Beaches. Like a lot of plans based on good intentions rather than remote likelihood, we’d never made it. We hadn’t hiked anywhere since that last day with our son, Cadel.I wondered if Grady was planning many new experiences and what my life would be like without him.The pungent smell of eucalyptus trees hung in the morning air as we climbed a long, steep hill. Below us, thousands of acres of rolling green forest stretched down to the sea as if untouched by the passing centuries. We stopped for a break and I looked at the sandstone shelf at our feet, to an engraving that I’d been told we would find here. I tried to study the simple outline of a kangaroo, but I couldn’t concentrate because Grady’s shiny new hiking boots kept catching my eye. They were featherlight, waterproof, and cost more than three hundred Yankee dollars, bought in New York when he worked there only a few months before. New York City. Where he and Penelope spearheaded a major corporate merger.When I met her at the drinks night in Grady’s Sydney office, the gold tips in her dark hair danced under the boardroom lights. Her caramel skin glowed with youthful good health and she greeted me with perfunctory courtesy. For a moment, I thought I was mistaken. How could someone who was sleeping with my husband treat me with such disinterest?‘So Ros,’ Grady said, and sat on a rock ledge. His broad-brimmed hat shaded his face and his long muscular legs stretched out towards me. Scar lines etched his skin like an errant frost. ‘I’ve been thinking.’Shadows fluttered over us as dozens of sulphur-crested cockatoos tore through the sky, scolding and drowning every sound for miles. When the birds passed and we could hear again, Grady sat up, scratched his ankle, and coughed. ‘You know what we should do.’ His words sounded rehearsed.Unbidden, the rich, smoky caress of Penelope’s voice whispered in my ear, ‘How do you do.’ All very how’s-your-father friendly, like she wasn’t fucking my husband. Her high cheekbones and dark brown eyes loomed in front of me and I could smell, almost taste, her perfume. Now she was back and he was going to dump me. I tried to stay alert, but not too tense, in case I did something pathetic like collapse in a heap when he uttered the word divorce.‘We should take a sabbatical and head into the outback. Our own private walkabout. You know – do that trip I’ve always wanted to do.’His dream. Not mine. I quickly corrected myself. He’s inviting me, not Penelope. A chilly tremor of surprise ran over me. I laughed out loud.‘What’s so funny?’‘I dunno.’ I laughed again, relieved and a little bit resentful. ‘Where did this idea come from?’He removed his battered hat and wiped his forehead with the back of his hand.‘I’ve been thinking about it for the past couple of weeks as the days have been getting shorter. Let’s give winter a miss. It’s always warm and sunny in the red centre. You and me’ve had some nightmare years. Maybe if we get away from everything we’ll find that old black magic again.’‘Maybe we will.’ I nodded and the kink in my neck clicked free. ‘That’s a lot to unpack on short notice.’How long had I been marooned on my desert island? I stood and brushed the dust off my dark brown shorts, untied the blouse from around my waist and pulled it over my exposed shoulders. The sun was hotter than ever and I hoped it wouldn’t burn.Grady unfolded his tanned legs and sprang to his feet beside me. He tried to kiss me but I stepped away and started down the track to Bantry Bay and the old Explosives Magazine. It was my way of saying maybe, and a spiteful part of me gladdened at the hurt disappointment in his eyes. That’s the problem with being a victim – pain turns you into a tormentor.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Maggie Bolitho grew up in Victoria BC Canada, where she spent her childhood flying under the radar, constructing alternate universes, and wishing to be somewhere over the rainbow. Shortly after her 17th birthday she set out to see the world. Eventually, she moved on to Australia.
While living Down Under and exploring the outback, Maggie started writing fiction. Her adult short stories have been published in various anthologies in Australia, the US, and Canada. She has written for Quills Canadian Poetry magazine, her YA novel LOCKDOWN was published in 2014, and in 2015 she published OUTBACK PROMISE.