I love reading blogs that are honest and truthful. The ones where you can connect with the writer and their words. It’s great to read the fun stories and look at the pretty pictures but sometimes, the most compelling posts are about real life. Real issues. In a world where there are so many filters and carefully crafted social media accounts we forget that sometimes behind closed doors is the real stuff, the everyday stuff, the kind of stuff that most of us edit out.
And actually sometimes, its the ‘real life’ stuff that’s behind why people do what they do. And that’s how it is for me. When faced with the toughest situation I had ever experienced I felt lost and needed desperately a focus, something to direct my energy towards to stop me crashing past rock bottom. So this blog was born and my Instagram transformed.
I always thought it could only be a matter of time until I shared this post. It’s sat in my drafts for a long time because I didn’t feel ready to share it. I’m still not sure I do. But in a way I feel I have to because I can only really write openly about some of what I want to by giving some background to where I am and how I got here. That said, bearing your soul to the world is a very daunting prospect. I have no clue if its the right thing to do or not but this story is part of me, it’s about a big part of my life, the biggest in fact. It’s about my marriage, my absolute world and the fact that it came crashing down very abruptly with no warning.
A year ago my life was very different to how it was now. I was happily married, we had a great home that we had reached the end of renovating and were finally starting to enjoy. We had just been on holiday to Greece back where we went on honeymoon and we had finally started taking the steps to creating our own little family of a human or two to join Louis our fur baby after years of infertility something we were both excited about.
We had almost completed the monitored cycle for IVF with one of the best clinics in the country, the tests were back and our odds were good, extremely good. I was nervous as it was something I had put off but with some encouragement we’d started that journey.
Nothing had seemed too out of the ordinary in the months running up to ‘D day’. My husband, as he often did, put up little posts of our life together on social media, there was the playful banter everyone knew us for, evenings in, day trips out. just normal everday life.
The only thing that had changed was that my husband had been through some changes at work which I know had stressed him out. I know that he felt the pressure of his new more senior position and I noticed he had become a little quieter and more distant, he looked tired and run down but nothing major. I also noticed how he seemed to be acting younger, a little out of character at times – I even joked about ‘mid life crisis.’
But then came the few days I will never forget, that will forever be etched in to my heart. The days when my happy bubble burst. It started with a message that flashed up on a phone screen. The type no women ever wants to see. Inappropriate. Seedy. Shocking. Mostly because I would never believed in a million years that my husband was capable let alone interested in anything like that. What followed next is a daze but it contained the reassurances that it was nothing more than silly flirting to ‘feel something’ that he had been down, depressed, felt odd and that it was just a ‘wobble’ along with the commitment to move on. But three days later, the day last in August, at 11:30pm my husband decided to leave. Nothing packed, no plan, very few words, no real explanation just confusion.
In a matter of days we had gone from the couple that so many of our friends envied, on the verge of our ‘next adventure’ as my husband put it, to utter devastation and I had no real clue as to why.
It was a couple of weeks later that it all unfolded. I was contacted, out of the blue, on Facebook by a man I didn’t know who told me the news I had dreaded hearing. My husband was having an affair. There was another woman. Something he had denied to just about everybody with such conviction.
But, there’s no great love story there, it wasn’t a case of star crossed lovers finding each other and an overpowering love so strong it couldn’t be ignored. No, they had only known each other a matter of weeks. She was his employee, hired as an assistant, she knew he was married. She’s nothing special, she just happened to be there. Cheap, tacky, she’s what you’d expect of the stereotypical seedy work affair.
If leaving, in the way that he did, at the time that he did wasn’t already enough, what happened over the next few months, what he and this girl put me through almost finished me. This is the part I really can’t talk about but, suffice to say, it made a horrible situation and a painful experience 100 times worse.
If you were to ask any of our friends and family if my husband was capable of doing what he has, most if not all, would have laughed. He used to talk badly of infidelity. The wives and girlfriends of his friends used to say they always felt ok if their other halves were going out and my husband would be there because they thought he was trustworthy. I would be very rich if I had a £1 for every ‘we know this type of thing happens but we never thought it would happen to you two’ and that makes it all the more hard to deal with or understand.
I feel like I should tell you a little bit about my husband, the man I married. He was good looking, fun, socialable, loved his football, his snowboarding and surfing. He was a little bit quirky (I remember one of the first times I went to his flat he opened the door in fluffy slippers that his girl mates had bought him for his birthday). He was a bit OCD something me and his friends would often gently tease him about (he used to lay his clothes out perfectly on the floor each evening, like a crime scene outline). He was wholesome and, in a way, naïve. He had grown up in a beautiful part of west Wales and wasn’t all that used to ‘down south’ he didn’t know his way around London and would call me to ask which tube he should get on. I loved that about him. He was mad about David Beckham, he loved Ricky Gervais (he sat me through his DVDs on our first dates). He was crap at staying out late (was asleep on the tables by 11pm) and his ever-changing and evolving style was a source of amazement (and amusement) to every one who knew him. One day it was country gentleman with bowties and flat caps, the next it was festival rocker with leather wrist-bands and ‘ACDC’ T shirts. And he was sweet, a bit of a ‘show pony’, a little arrogant perhaps but everyone liked him.
He chased me for weeks after we first met. We spent many happy times in and around Henley where he lived and I worked. We loved Dance music and clubbing, he introduced me to Olives, I introduced him to festivals (I took him to his first festival). We had holidays and adventures, we did everything together like most couples do. We bought our first home together and ‘grew-up’ together. I saw he had a real talent with people and encouraged him to make more of that, he found a new job and he worked his way up. He became more confident in himself. He watched my career grow, he admired the first sports car I proudly bought (and stole it all the time). We had our little rituals, Sunday night Match of the day, shopping trips and coffee stops, people watching and day trips. We got married, we watched friends get married. We made plans. We had such a serendipitous start to our relationship a story that people loved to hear. It really was like the fairytale, like it was ‘meant to be’ and I believed it was. I felt lucky, really blessed.
We had almost 12 years without any hitch. The only thing that cast a shadow over us was infertility. For seven years, from the day we got married, for some reason it just didn’t happen for us. The earlier years didn’t really have an impact, we were having too much fun anyway so it didn’t really matter, it would happen when it happened. But it didn’t and as friends had their babies and time moved on, it did become harder to deal with. But, we had each other, it didn’t consume us and eventually with some words of encouragement we had decided to finally get the help we had avoided for so long and go through with IVF. We planned the happy ending, we agreed names, we were convinced we would have twins.
The absolute last thing I thought would happen was what did. And six months on I still don’t understand, I’ve had no real explanation and hardly any contact. He literally left his life behind one day. There wasn’t one conversation about being unhappy, quite the opposite. We rarely argued. No signs of a problem. Nothing.
As for the other woman, well she’s just a girl, I don’t need to waste too many words on her on here. She has her own quest for stardom, a stint on a dating show a twitter feed full of narcissism and irony (she hates men that cheat and berates girls that do). My husband used to once laugh at girls like her.
It takes a pretty broken person with low self worth to go after a married man. Maybe she believes she has her knight in shining armour, her own fairytale? She doesn’t have her knight. She can’t share the happy stories of how they met, their story is built on lies and deceit and is painted with shame. There’s probably so much of our lives that she doesn’t know about. Maybe she had the ‘my wife doesn’t understand me speech’ or ‘we’ve been unhappy for some time’ speech. Maybe, deep down, she knows that it was all lies.
She probably doesn’t know that the day before she was cosied up in a hotel in Leeds with my husband we had been sat together in that IVF clinic, that he held my hand while the final bloods were taken (12 vials to be precise) that the nurse joked with him that he must make sure I eat straight afterwards otherwise I would faint. She probably ignored the pictures of our life together on social media that showed zero sign of any problems or unhappiness but quite the contrary. She will believe what she wants to believe, what she has to believe to make what she’s done ok. She probably doesn’t realise the true impact of her actions or how much suffering she has caused. But what she must know is that she carries the judgment of most of the women in the world. She must know what the female species think of women like her.
I wonder if she has friends or family that she can imagine expereincing what I have? I wonder how she would feel if someone did what she did to say her sister, mum, cousin or best friend? I wonder if she worries just how long it will take before my husband does the exact same to her? Maybe as her circle of friends start to get married, she will look on at them exchanging vows, caught up in the magic, yet I wonder if she realises how worthless those words are to the person stood next to her.
Yet, she doesn’t have my husband, not the one I married. The one I described above. He doesn’t exist anymore. She has a man in mid life crisis, running from his inner demons. Demons he knows he has, that I know he has but that he’s too scared to face. Like attracts like, broken attracts broken.
So that’s my story so far. who knows where it will go next. Behind those little Insta squares of prettiness sits a shattered heart. Broken by the one person who shouldn’t have broken it. I didn’t imagine I would ever be here, separated after such a fairytale. I didn’t imagine my hopes and dreams of our much wanted family would lie in tatters. As time moves on and seasons change, there is always something that reminds me of happier times and I relive what’s happened again and again. 12 years destroyed so quickly, for a sham. It hurts to know that you gave your all that time, that you did everything for the benefit of ‘us’ and yet in return I wasn’t given so much as a backward glance.
So, for now it’s just me and Louis. Getting through, day by day. Waiting to see what gets thrown at us in this seemingly never-ending nightmare. I have my friends and family who have shown me love and compassion that has overwhelmed me. I’ve experienced shocked faces and utter disbelief over and over as I’ve told the story to those who still cannot fathom what my husband has become. I still get stunned by shock and disbelief myself even now, yet I have found strength in my self that I didn’t know I had. I have ploughed as much energy as I can muster into projects such as this. I’ve picked myself up and found the energy to keep going. I’ve tried to focus my attention back on me and on making the most of my beautiful home, that I worked so hard to create. It stood untouched for weeks, no flowers, no music. Cold and frozen in time. Abandoned, just like me. Now it feels brighter, the energy has changed and with it mine has too.
Grief is incredibly hard. I know it will take time to heal from what I have been through. There’s no magic pill. Sometimes, in the first few moments of waking, I’m spared the reality of what’s happened. But it’s only ever a split second or so until I remember. And sometimes I feel angry that I can’t get over this fast enough, I don’t want to put my family or friends through any more of their own hurt by watching me struggle.
Sometimes I don’t feel entitled to grief, I don’t have a body, there’s been no funeral? So how do you grieve someone that’s still alive? I was given the most valuable words that have helped me so much with this – grieving someone is one thing, loss is loss regardless. But add to that the betrayal and hurt that I experienced and its a whole different ball game. A double whammy if you like.
Talking about whats happened helps. Especially with people who understand any of what I have been through. My story, so much of it that I can’t share yet, is unique in a way and yet it’s so common. Society seems to be a little dismiss of relationships breaking down, its just ‘one of those things’ but my relationship didn’t breakdown. It was abandoned in a flash and there’s chapters in this story that I just cannot yet share.
I didn’t want this post to be about bitterness, I have maintained a dignified silence since day one. Not one bad word uttered in public. I have no need to embellish or exaggerate what’s happened, on the contrary, I’ve left out so much of what has and not for my benefit. I realise that sharing such personal stories opens us up to all sorts of reactions. But now this post is out there I hope I can write more about some of the specifics I have struggled with, tackling one issue at a time. I have learnt A LOT and I know that it can help others like it would have helped me. So for me its worth it.
I will sign off with this, my favourite quote, which hangs in my kitchen. The quote I remind myself of every day…
“Every experience, no matter how bad it seems, holds within it a blessing of some kind. The goal is to find it”