When I tell people I’m getting married this year they are full of excitement for me. They tell me how amazing the run up is, how fast it all goes by on the day and they give me advice from their own experiences. They never even consider this isn’t my first marriage. I can’t blame them. At 27 years old you’d hardly imagine I would already have a failed marriage under my belt. The sad truth is, I knew I wasn’t happy before I even got married first time round, but something stopped me from being honest with my friends and my family. I was ashamed to admit I had made a mistake and I was terrified of being on my own.
I think it’s safe to say my life hasn’t gone the way I planned it to. Sure, back when I was a teenager I imagined that by my mid twenties I would be married with a couple of children, and I managed it, but what I didn’t plan was for the children to have different dads or for my marriage to have lasted less than a year.
I was in my third year of a university degree when I unexpectedly fell pregnant with my eldest son Cameron. I was on my placement year and I had been in a pretty shaky relationship which had ended over Christmas, resulting in me going a little wild over the festive season. When the new year started, I came away with a little more than a sore head when I discovered I was carrying a baby inside me.
Some people suggested I didn’t go ahead with the pregnancy. I was definitely not in the ideal situation to bring up a baby – single and still at uni, but I couldn’t comprehend not having the baby and so, just over a week before I went back for my fourth and final year, I gave birth to my beautiful baby boy and my life changed forever.
It was tough being a single mum, but I think I took it in my stride, and I had my own amazing mum to help me, as well as my nan who had Cameron whilst I was at lectures and I was incredibly proud to graduate along with the rest of my class the following November.
As university drew to a close and I moved into my own little place with Cameron I felt very lonely and tried my luck with internet dating. This is where I met my now ex husband. We had a mutual friend and only lived a few roads away from each other, we decided it was fate and quickly rushed into a full blown relationship.
Within 4 months we had decided to have a baby together. Looking back it was a very silly decision, but I had always wanted children close in age and it all seemed natural at the time.
A few months into the pregnancy I began to regret how fast I had gone into things and truth be told, if I hadn’t of been pregnant I wouldn’t have stayed. Terrified of being a single parent again, now with not just one but two children in tow, I pushed on with things and, when the proposal came at 6 months pregnant I immediately said yes. We set the date for Valentine’s Day 2014 and I happily started planning. I have always loved weddings, and my degree in event management meant I could put my skills to practise. I pushed my true feelings deeper and deeper until I fooled even myself that we were happy.
Our daughter Carly was born in November that year and for awhile I managed to kid myself that things had changed now we had our little family. Photos from my relationship, when I look back now, clearly show our true feelings, and I can’t believe that nobody guessed things weren’t as good as they appeared, but then I am skilled at hiding my true emotions, having battled with depression for many years.
A few months before the wedding, somebody did cotton on to the fact that I wasn’t truly happy – my dad, who I have had a troubled relationship with in the past. On a drunken summers afternoon at the beach, around 6 months prior to the wedding, he took me to one side and asked me to tell him truthfully if I was happy if getting married would be the right thing to do.
At the time I hated him for even asking the question, how dare he suggest I wasn’t happy? And what could I do at that point anyway? The wedding was so close and almost everything had been paid for in advance. So I lied. I threw away my get out card and I carried on stubbornly.
The arguments behind closed doors weren’t big and dramatic, but they were there. There was a tension between us and I would often get angry at him for no real reason. I resented him for my unhappiness, even though it wasn’t really his fault – he couldn’t make me happy because we weren’t right together, but I stuck at it, saying we needed to make it work ‘for the kids’, I never thought I would be one of those people.
The wedding came round and on what should have been the happiest day of my life, I felt a niggle at the back of my mind, I was making a mistake, this wasn’t the right thing to be doing. I hadn’t told anyone how I felt, I didn’t want to risk anyone putting a stop to it as I still truly thought I had to go through with it, I had to make the marriage work.
On our wedding day it poured with rain, not just a bit, there was a storm so strong that the hotel next door’s windows were blown in and many beach huts by the seafront were destroyed. Guests joked that it was good luck for rain on the wedding day but all I could think was how fitting it was. When the groom fell off the cake when we cut it and neither of us even bothered picking it back up again, looking back the irony of this is bittersweet. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t all doom and gloom, I won’t try and lie and say I hated every minute of it, I didn’t. I had worked hard planning the day and mostly it was amazing. We both had a good time and friends and family enjoyed it too.
After the wedding we had a mini moon to Disneyland Paris before a proper honeymoon just the two of us a few months later to Ibiza. It was at this point that I realised being married hadn’t changed anything, we still weren’t right together. Our honeymoon wasn’t how I imagined it, how I had planned it, it felt wrong as we were barely inimate by that point. The plush hot tub balcony at the hotel couldn’t save things. I spent one night alone whilst he went to watch the boxing at a pub…
The arguments increased, the resentment threatened to take over. I hated being at home all day and him being at work and then the gym. I had been looking for a job for months when I finally got my lucky break and started work that summer in my dream role as wedding coordinator at a local hotel.
Working full time whilst juggling kids and a marriage with problems was tough but I loved my job and I was finally happy in myself. I think this made it clearer how unhappy our relationship had become. We came close to ending things a few times over the following few months, things were not good between us and neither of us liked the situation we were in.
We went abroad for the wedding of a couple we were friends with in October and for me it was the make or break of our marriage. I wanted to spend the week away from work and the kids to re-evaluate things and to really work on building our relationship back up. I wanted to try one last time to see if we could fall back in love with each other. He had other ideas though and spent the entire week getting drunk from morning until night… It was over.
Looking back I can see he had been very stressed in the lead up to the holiday and all he wanted to do was relax and take advantage of the child free time, but when we needed so desperately to make a shot at it, it just came at a bad time. Back in the UK, I knew it was over but I still wasn’t confident to end it myself so when he did it, all I felt was relief and then total guilt and shame for having a marriage that lasted less than a year.
Luckily things were fairly straight forward and we kept costs and stress down by not involving lawyers. The paperwork took a little while and in this time I started a relationship with Ed, who had started working at the hotel.
Some would say I rushed into things too fast and I should have learnt from my mistake, and I would totally see their point, but things were different with him from the start. Whereas before I was panicking about being a single mum and nobody wanting me, this time I felt more sure of myself and confident that the right person would want to be with me no matter what. I had learnt a lot over the course of my, albeit short, marriage and I knew that this was right. Everything just clicked and he was a huge support throughout proceedings and in the year that followed when I was fired unexpectedly and with no warning or real reason from the company we both worked for.
He accompanied me to my brother’s wedding where I was maid of honour that May and I secretly hoped that one day we would get married and be as happy as my brother and his wife were on their special day.
That summer he set out a treasure hunt for me and it led me to our favourite restaurant where he got down on one knee and asked me to be his wife. I didn’t hesitate. This September we get married on the beautiful island of Santorini and I could not be happier.
I’m a strong believer that everything happens for a reason and I know deep down that despite a failed marriage not being something I wanted to happen, it ultimately led me to where I am now and the man I was meant to spend the rest of my life with. Not only are me and the kids happier, my ex husband is also happier. He is in a new relationship and they had a baby just a week after we had Benjamin.