NGL right now guys, I’m RAGING.
I posted the “ex” and “upgrade” photo on my Instagram and girl from the Youth Group I used to lead with my 1st husband gave me a telling off for it.
At the time, I was immediately ashamed. I apologised for my post and deleted it. I’m FURIOUS about how it all went down but I still won’t repost that picture because to be fair, “Old Ethel” had a point. I was having a tongue-in-cheek go at my 1st husband as a knee jerk reaction to his wedding. I was hurting and I needed to something cathartic to release all the pain I was in. It was a bad choice in bad taste (more cheeky than anything – not spiteful at all) and I accept that.
BUT HOW YOU SPOKE HARSLY and with SO MUCH JUDGEMENT INTO MY LIFE, “Ethel” honey, I DO NOT ACCEPT AT ALL.
I see where you’re coming from, “Ethel”. I think that’s the VITAL DIFFERENCE between you and I, little miss know-it-all. I can see and understand where you are making your decisions to TELL ME RIGHT OFF from, I get it.
What YOU don’t get is WHY I posted what I posted so I’m going to FINALLY set the record straight. After 13 long years of quietly suffering so that I didn’t “embarrass Jon”.
Buckle up, because some hot tea is going to be spilled and you know what Jon? I DON’T CARE ABOUT PROTECTING YOUR STUPID CHURCH IDENTITY of “Goodness” and “Holiness” anymore, when it is actually pretty flipping ALARMING what you get up to and should have been addressed long ago.
Here’s the tea, guys.
Nice and hot.
Jon and I met online in 2000.
We met in person a year later.
We got married a year after that.
We both believe wholeheartedly in God so we were both of the mind that our mission was to build up the Church. At the time, Jon was working for a Telecommunications Company and was earning LOADS of money. He drove a brand new BMW. He had all the mod cons. Jon promised me the world before I married him and made it all sound like a fairy tale so I was drawn in and fell for his charms.
When Jon’s Dad – the Church Pastor – and someone I greatly admire and to this very day highly respect – asked someone to step up and be the Church’s Youth Leader, Jon took the position. He didn’t ASK ME about it, he felt “called” to do it so he just did. I followed along like a little quiet lamb and dutifully I took on the Children’s Leader position and supported Jon in a co-leader of the Youth. While Jon took on the “Leader” position and created the games, had the fun and grew in popularity amongst the Liverpool Youth, I was the one who shopped for all the things we needed, who put together all the theme rooms, prizes, monitored the growing membership, did the paperwork and did ALL THE CLEANING after a wild night of youth running rampant through the building with the rest of the Youth team. Jon never cleaned ANYTHING. He just did the announcing, the fun teasing, played the games and made the mess. Then he would blaze out of an evening taking Youth home in the bus that a company donated to the Youth Club and the devastation was left…to me. I’m so thankful for team of hard-working youth supporters who did all the HARD WORK with me while Jon did all the FUN STUFF. ONLY THE FUN STUFF, to be honest.
Have you ever tried to clean a 4-tier chocolate fountain? It is a bastard, let me tell you. Or had to vacuum up millions of confetti that was blasted throughout a huge Church hall? It takes HOURS and after an already long day at work – it’s not fun.
Jon was enjoying Youth Leading SO MUCH he quit his job. Suddenly, we went from a very comfortable income to having hardly anything. Again, Jon didn’t ask me about it. HE ASKED ME TO GET A JOB. The financial burden was suddenly very much on MY shoulders as Jon enjoyed his growing popularity and “his” Youth Group.
So. I’d work 8 hours in a job in the city, then come back into Prescot on the train and go straight to Church – NOT HOME – straight to Church to join in with setting up rooms, preparing games, checking all prizes were ready and ticking off Jon’s inevitable list of ‘things for Janet to do’. This was 5-6 nights out of 7 every single week!!! While I was at work ALL DAY, Jon was in the Church office RESTING and ‘preparing’ for Youth that evening. When 7pm came, Jon was WELL RESTED and READY to lead games for 3 hours (!!!) while I was pretty much dead on my feet. I still did everything I was asked to do. I found honour in being Jon’s wife, a Church “pastor’s wife” and helping create a safe, fun place for disadvantaged youth within Liverpool.
THIS WENT ON FOR 7 YEARS.
The first few years of marriage (as it was) with gruelling unstoppable work were fine. Hard work, but ultimately worth it to see so many lives changed for the better. It was a personal honour and blessing in MY life to work with children and families in a rough urban landscape of Prescot, Liverpool UK. I loved all the children so much and to see the Church’s Children’s program flourish and grow because of all the hard work by the Children’s team – we saw the Children’s program grow from just Natasha – one tiny, sweet little girl – to about 35 regularly attending little ones. I loved them so much and working with them was the greatest pleasure of my life.
The next few years where were it started to go downhill.
I got tired. I was FED UP. I desperately needed a BREAK.
Jon said I didn’t need one.
In times when I felt I was falling completely apart from burn out, Jon would “give in” and take me to Blackpool or Wales (or once, Venice!) for 3 days where he mostly ignored me and was on his phone planning Youth activities and I sat miserably by a grey beach and missed home. We have sunny beaches here in Perth and white sand. Our beaches don’t have garbage blowing up and down the shore. It was really hard for me to be there. It wasn’t a holiday. It was 3 days of feeling alone and neglected by my husband.
Great “holiday” Jon. Thanks.
Along with working TWO full-time jobs, I was also being neglected physically by Jon. We NEVER had sex in our entire marriage. It hurt me so deeply. I felt so ashamed and unwanted. I wish I could go back in time to 2009, get a medical examination to CONFIRM my Virginity status and I could post THAT on my social media, “Ethel”. Maybe THAT would have made you think twice about “correcting me” in MY life, huh?
Maybe you’re just a self righteous bitch who just doesn’t care for anything you say to me as long as it uplifts and defends Jon.
I think that I’ve hit the nail on the head with that one.
To be constantly pushed away by my husband in the bedroom broke places in me I didn’t know existed. It made me question my worth, my looks, my entire being. I would see mothers out pushing strollers with babies in them and my heart would break because I knew I would never have one. As the Children’s leader in Church it was one of the most painful positions to be in. It would be like working at a McDonalds if you had an eating disorder. It plunges you into a warfare that you are not equipped to deal with and in this, I was completely alone. Jon’s parents were the Pastors of our Church so I couldn’t go to them for advice. What was I going to do? Go to a married woman in our Church and ask “Is your husband having sex with you? Yes? oh. Um. Great. Carry on”.
I was alone in this.
Alone and so very ashamed. Something had to be wrong with me.
I was too ugly to have sex with, that’s what it is. Surely. It was all my fault. I was lucky that Jon married me at all. That’s how I felt.
In my loss of confidence, I started to do desperate things like snoop on Jon’s phone whenever he went to the bathroom.
And what I saw there would change everything.
Jon had HUNDREDS of texts to young, pre-teen girls THAT WERE HIGHLY INAPPROPRIATE.
Jon had the power and held these girls – youth of both sexes to be fair – in the palm of his hand. The youth – it had grown to be about 60-90 youth I think by then – all looked up to Jonathan and all followed his very word. 13 years on and when I look back, it had all the signs of a cult. A harem that Jon was moulding to his will. A harem of young 11-12 year old girls who are just babies at that age and are easily led, easily manipulated.
At the time, I questioned Jon about the texts I saw “Um…what are you doing???“
He shushed me. “I’m just leading them. I’m just helping them”
BY CALLING THEM “MY SWEETHEART”? “MY DARLING”? “MY LITTLE MISS”???
Because something seemed very wrong about that to me.
I can look back at it TODAY and see that JON WAS ACTUALLY (emotionally) CHEATING ON ME by sending hundreds of loving, romantic texts to YOUNG GIRLS.
It was emotional cheating and I don’t think anything insidious was going on, but still…
Those texts written in that way – seeing them broke my heart over and over again. I was so under Jon’s spell I didn’t do anything to stop it. I didn’t want him to think I was trying to derail his amazing Youth work.
But since the day I questioned Jon, his phone passcode was changed and I never got to read or ‘snoop’ again. That’s a FACT.
Write THAT down, “Ethel”.
More years rolled by – our marriage fell apart – huge blocks falling off our ‘pristine castle’ until there was nothing but rubble left. I stayed there, trying to piece it back together on my own while Jon merrily skipped off, arm-in-arm with young girls who were now 14, 15 and up to 17 years old. They all absolutely ADORED my husband.
Maybe Jon wasn’t preying on them, he was just super excited to work with them?
But why change the passcode on his phone and computer?
Maybe my jealousy was clouding a clear view of things?
But why did Jon stop caring when I was sick and had to stay home in favour of going to the movies with the Youth?
There was this HUGE IMBALANCE when Jon’s attention and preference was always for the youth rather than our marriage – and I was in the middle of it, trying hard to understand and be dutiful, holy and kind but finding Jon was getting further and further away from me and more and more into “helping” young girls. I was trying not to complain but as the years rolled by and I got less and less of Jon’s attention – to the point where I FELT GENUINELY ABANDONED IN HOSPITAL MANY TIMES by my own husband (less and less visits and he was on his phone the whole time when he DID come to visit) – then yeah, I started to lose it.
Instead of being a gentle, sweet, QUIET little lamb of a wife…I started to show my teeth.
I WAS PISSED OFF and SO HURT. I was sooo burnt out, incredibly over-tired and HAD HAD ENOUGH of Jon’s bollocks and boy, did I let him know about it.
I have quite the mouth on me and it takes me a very long time to get angry but once I am – WATCH OUT because I will burn your house down to show you the extent of my anger.
So Jon was probably right when he complained about “having the shit kicked out of him” (direct quote) by me when he was “just trying to build the Youth group”.
BUT WHAT ABOUT OUR MARRIAGE, JON?
What about me???
I literally moved COUNTRIES to be with you. I took a job to support you. I have no friends that are not in our Church so I feel isolated from everything I knew and loved and I have no one to reach out to because they are all your biggest fans.
I NEED YOU, Jon!
I’ve needed you this whole time and when you repeatedly chose the youth over me time and time again when I NEEDED you – something in our marrige was broken that was never going to be fixed again.
Jon didn’t spend time with me any more. Unless I was working alongside him at Church, he wouldn’t acknowledge me. Jon was ALWAYS on his phone and it was growing more and more as a very strange relationship between him and ALL the young girls in our youth group. He was even pitting some of them against each other. I didn’t realise it at the time because I was hurting so badly and focused on my own struggles, but I’ve asked some girls since who are now in their 20’s and are married with beautiful children and they’ve confirmed my worst fears about what Jon was doing the entire time he’s been married to me. He had his “favourites”, he flirted inappropriately with them and the ones that didn’t fall into his ‘mould’ were cast aside.
In the 7th year of our marriage, Jon and I were basically room mates. There was NOTHING romantic between us, we didn’t spend time together, we were both constantly working, I was BURNT OUT and my mental health was badly suffering.
That’s when I re-connected with an ex-boyfriend online.
I had loved this boy for 20 years of my life so when he messaged me, the butterflies, the feelings…the thrill and excitement from all those years ago came rushing back. When Matt complimented me on my looks, I had hungered for that for so long that it affected me a lot more than it would have it I had been in a steady, loving marriage.
I started cheating on Jon. (Emotionally).
At the time, I blamed MYSELF 100% for it. I felt Jon was completely innocent in our marriage and that I ALONE was the ‘bad’ one. I beat myself up for it. I starved myself to punish myself and I lost weight quickly from it. I struggled every single day with cheating on Jon and after a few months, I couldn’t bear it any more…
SO I TOLD JONATHAN EVERYTHING.
DO YOU HEAR ME, ETHEL??? HUH??? JON KNEW ALL ABOUT IT.
I asked for Jon’s help.
HE REFUSED TO HELP ME.
Write THAT down, Missy.
You had a go at me saying how “honourable” and “holy” Jon was. You said “Jon would NEVER do anything to hurt you, Janet – so you need to take that post down”
BUT HE DID. REPEATEDLY. FOR 7 FUCKING YEARS!!!
He CHEATED ON ME FIRST, Ethel. Secretly. For years.
Before I flew 30,000 miles to see Matthew, I TOLD JON ABOUT IT. I begged Jon to seek marriage counselling with me. I begged Jon to just LOOK at me. NOTICE ME, JON!!!
But guess who paid for my flights, Miss sticky beak? GUESS WHO???
Because HE controlled all OUR money, you know.
Oh? You didn’t know?
Well he did. There’s another FACT for you, honey.
I had to ASK to spend a single pound so when I wanted tickets to Darwin to see Matthew, I HAD TO ASK JON TO PAY FOR THEM.
AND HE DID.
BECAUSE HE HAD LONG STOPPED CARING ABOUT ME and this probably gave him free reign to text and maybe even VISIT (I hear his van was constantly outside YOUR house, “Ethel” after I left the UK so you two were becoming close friends and you are not someone who can talk to me with an open frame of mind) young girls and in person, I can imagine their urge to please Jon and get his approval was even harder to resist. Just saying.
I came back to the UK after finally losing my Virginity and my whole life had changed.
I HAD CHANGED.
I was no longer a stupid little lamb, I was a LION.
I wasn’t going to work full time AND THEN work at Church only to have to ASK Jon for money I had earnt myself.
I wasn’t going to allow him to text young girls ANY MORE.
I wasn’t going to stay married to someone who ignored me, put me down, judged me and made me feel unwanted, ugly and unworthy ANY MORE.
But the people-pleaser in me was still alive and strong.
The part of me that believes in true love, in rainbows, in flowers, goodness, kindness, magic, friendships, family and of course MARRIAGE was the part that took over and I messaged Jon’s Mother and TOLD HER EVERYTHING.
Well…EVERYTHING I HAD DONE WRONG, “Jules”. Get THAT. I protected Jon even at that stage, his power over me was still pretty strong.
I laid myself bare, taking ALL the responsiblity for the marriage falling apart.
24 hours later and the whole Church knew of MY ADULTERY.
I remember talking to Jon about it with tears streaming down my face “Everyone hates me, Jon” He just nodded. “Can I at least tell a few of my closest friends the whole story?” Jon panicked. He begged me not to tell HIS faults to anyone. The zero sex, the years of being neglected and used. The romantic texts. So I accepted feeling cast out. Unwanted. Unwelcome. Ugly. Alone. But for you, Jon – I endured all the shame. All the hurt. All the accusations. ALL the pain. ALL ON MY OWN. Jon was there for every instance and LET ME ENDURE THAT. Constantly. On my own. Never saying a word to help or support me.
That’s the guy you’re defending, “Ethel”. WRITE THAT DOWN.
And I flew home to Australia a few months later with my head laid low. My hopes shattered. My reputation in tatters.
Jon was seen as blameless and free to continue on with his “Youthwork”.
That’s the TRUTH, “Ethel”.
There’s the tea, honey.
SO DONT YOU DARE FUCKING MESSAGE ME EVER AGAIN and DEFEND JON when all I did was post a cheeky “This is the ex and this is the upgrade” photo on my Instagram.
AT LEAST I’M NOT INAPPROPRIATELY TEXTING YOUNG GIRLS.
I’M NOT BREAKING MY SPOUSE’S HEART and BLAMING THEM for it.
Jon got the house, the car, the furniture ALL our assets.
I got a pink suitcase.
I left with NOTHING.
Jon got EVERYTHING.
So I’m setting the record straight once and for all.
You, “Ethel” – can take your stupid “message of correction” as a “protective response” to my cheeky post AND SHOVE IT UP YOUR HUGE SELF-RIGHTEOUS ASS.
I hope you choke on it, to be honest.
And that’s me done for tonight. I’m off to bed.