Not many of my Instagram followers will know that by the age of 29, I had been married…. and divorced. Now I’m in a totally different place in my life, it’s not something I choose to dwell on, but it’s also something I’m not ashamed to talk about.
I had not long turned 22 and in August 2008, I got married. We had been together for 3 years and even in these more modern times, it still seemed the done thing to do – at least to me. In hindsight, I was far too young – I was barely an adult, playing house and getting swept up in the moment. This is not to say, I went into the marriage lightly. Not once did I think it wouldn’t last and that if it didn’t, it would be OK because we could just get a divorce. It was never on the table for me.
In the early days, it was all very simple, we did everything married couples do – bought a house, did the food shopping every Wednesday evening, went on holidays, and fielded questions about when we were going to start a family. But amongst all of this, we started to drift apart.
I was growing up, developing my own ideas and opinions, becoming a woman and…. changing. Our lives took us on parallel paths, whilst we were still connected by our surnames, the thread was becoming thinner.
It was still a long time before the idea of us not being together entered my thoughts, it was only when people would ask “Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?” and when I thought about it honestly, I couldn’t picture myself still with my husband.
Even then, the thought of telling him I no longer wanted to be with him, that I was no longer the same woman who had walked down the aisle years before. And even worse than that? This woman didn’t feel the same about him. It crippled me. How could I hurt someone like that? How could I change someone’s life so much? Also, honestly…. I had to think about how MY life would change, we had a mortgage and debt and bills. Could I – would I – survive on my own? Being so young when we married meant most of my adult life had been spent with this person and in a partnership with two incomes. The reality of being on my own was daunting and scary. As shallow as it might sound, it was one of the reasons I decided to stay.
Eventually, during a petty argument he asked “Do you even love me anymore?” and before my brain engaged, my mouth mumbled “No.” And that was it, the catalyst to the end. Honestly, the second I said it, my mind was in overdrive “Shit, shit, shit…. why did I say that?”
We sat up all night, argued, cried, talked… but deep down we both knew it was the right decision for us. We never did anything together anymore, we were one of those couples who would go out for dinner and sit opposite each other looking at our phones. Conversation was non-existent and why should we stay together and potentially miss out on a totally different, happier life?
So we decided to go our separate ways, we sold our house and split the belongings. With no children, it all became relatively simple and for a while we were quite civil with each other, knowing we were doing the right thing helped us to accept and embrace the changes happening in our lives.
The moment being civil started to get tough was when I started the divorce proceedings. Having already sold the house and split assets, there was no need for lawyers and I actually downloaded the paperwork online to submit myself. You may or may not know, when you want to get divorce you have to select a reason – so it could be adultery, unreasonable behaviour, 5 year separation etc. To be able to get the process started, I had to select unreasonable behaviour.
Now this is the bit which annoyed me and caused the first bit of ill feeling. When you decided to get married, the only reason you have to give is that you love each other. But when you divorce? It’s not enough to say you have grown apart or fallen out of love…. Nope, you have to provide evidence as to why your spouse was so unreasonable, including dates, detail and explanations. It’s hard enough to have live this, let alone, write it, to lay out on paper all the faults of this person you once loved. And it’s even harder for that person to have to read it. As you can imagine, this didn’t go down well and if it had been the other way round, I’m sure my feelings would have been hurt.
It kind of went down hill from there with regards to what was left of our friendship. The divorce came through in 2015 and since then our contact has been minimal. We have been civil and caring to each other when we’ve needed to be, although I still hear a few whispers that he is saying less than favourable things about me. In the early days of the split, so many mutual “friends” tried to get involved, telling me all the “awful” things he has said about me and probing for me to slate him. I wouldn’t – if they were telling me what he had said, they were only going to go back to him with whatever information they extracted from me.
I wish him nothing but the best and hope he finds his happiness, if he hasn’t already. I have found mine and although tough at times, I’m grateful for the journey that’s got me here.