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Sunday, 8 March 2015

What it Really Feels Like to Have a Failed Marriage at 25....

I thought long and hard about writing this post. Who even reads the blog anymore? Would people be judging me, judging my choices, actions... Then I realised it didn't matter. I don't care. I am writing this blog, as always, for myself. It is better than attending counselling sessions as even in those I fail to be totally honest with myself. This blog has helped me through some really tough times in the past. Writing about my low times not only helps me to get past them, it also gives me something to look back to in the future to see just how far I've come.

When I first came back to writing in this blog again I felt ashamed and a bit of a fraud. I'd last written about how amazing my wedding day had been, following on from posts about my excitement for the big day, countdowns, bridal fittings, cake tastings etc. The truth is, I wasn't happy. Sure, I was excited. I was living out every little girl's dream. Getting married, having the fairy tale wedding we all dream of, and at the age of 24, I was ahead of my life plan. I spent so long building up this perfect ending to my story that everyone, even my closest friends and family, believed I was happy. The only person who saw through it all was my dad. And when he asked me, one summer day around 6 months before the wedding, whether I was truly happy, I lied. I knew it was a lie, but my pride prevented me from giving up this awful secret I had been keeping.

Tim and I met on a dating website back in 2011. Cameron had just turned one, I had just graduated from University and I was a single mother, jobless. I had friends who were single mothers as well telling me I would never find a man again, that no man wanted to take on the baggage involved with single mums, and that even if I found someone who wanted me, I would never find anyone good enough for me and my son. This negative frame of mind is what had forced me to look for a man when in truth it wasn't even a good time to be looking. I'm not going to try and pretend things were awful from the start. The hardest thing for people to understand is that it was never awful, even at the end. It just wasn't right. I wasn't truly in love and I wasn't truly happy. Tim was, and still is, a lovely person. He is kind and works hard to provide for his daughter. When we met I did feel something and so we started dating, and four months in, we made the somewhat silly decision to start trying for a baby.

I realised almost straight away that we had rushed into things. I wasn't sure I was ready to have another baby, and Tim and I still had things to learn about each other. However, we had managed to fall pregnant almost instantly, so as I grew used to doing, I pushed the doubts from my mind and tried to enjoy the pregnancy. I didn't realise how depressed I had been during this time until I watched back the documentary we had been filming for BBC3. Watching myself on screen and seeing the commentary spelling it out to me, I realised I had been barely there throughout. I had just been going through the motions. I wasn't happy.

When my brother and cousin both proposed on the same day to their respective girlfriends, I felt awful. I was happy for them both but I was also jealous. Shouldn't it be me, the eldest in the family, who was engaged first? My hormones took over and I ended up a sobbing mess. I believe this is what pushed Tim to propose when I was five months pregnant. I said yes. Of course I did. Remember, I was convinced that this was my happy ending. My prince charming saving me from a life of being a single mum. My knight in shining armour coming to my rescue. And I played up to this. It helped me to build up my perfect life over social media. I would get my happy ever after.

I don't mean to sound mean. And it wasn't like I was using Tim. I truly believed it was the right thing to do, after all, I was carrying his child. What did it matter if I wasn't 100% happy? I was somewhat happy, and Tim was happy. I threw myself into planning the perfect wedding. I was in my element. After all, this is what I dreamed of doing when I was able to go back to work. I had everything sorted a year earlier than I needed to, but I kept working at it, I felt such a desire to make everything perfect. We had some help from both sets of parents, and our wedding ended up costing around £5,000. And don't get me wrong, the wedding itself was almost perfect. Everyone had an amazing time. Due to careful budgeting, a lot of DIY and some special deals with suppliers, I ended up getting all I ever dreamed of for my big day. Except true happiness.

Looking back at photos, I can see it in my eyes and it makes me sad I didn't have the guts to stop it, to tell someone, anyone that it wasn't right, to not go through with something I knew wouldn't work out. As I have said, I had reservations from a long time before, but it was when my dad asked me that question in the summer before the wedding that I really started questioning what I was doing. I would lie in bed at night and think over and over about what I could do, if I could possibly stop everything now. I tried, and managed, to eventually convince myself that everything would be ok. Yes, maybe I wasn't 100% happy now, but things might improve in time. Tim loved me, he provided a stable home for our family and he cared about us all. And I did care about him. We argued but we did have good times as well. I pushed it to the back of my mind and again threw myself into all things wedding.

I had a hen party in the autumn and everyone was so excited for the wedding. I knew I couldn't back out now. My weight dropped, not just from my pre wedding diet but from the stress. I was still struggling with my emotions right up until the morning of the wedding. I joked about an ex boyfriend turning up at the church and trying to stop the wedding, but deep down I was wishing something would happen to put a stop to it, as I didn't have the guts to do it myself. I put a huge smile on my face and decided it was too late to do anything about it now. I was getting married so I would do it in style.

Looking back, there were so many bad omens on that day. The weather was awful. It didn't just rain, there was a storm which wrecked beach huts and blew the window of the neighbouring hotel in. The wedding car nearly didn't make it through the floodwater to get to the church and when we did arrive my mum hadn't made it to the church on time. Cutting the cake, the groom fell off, and nobody even picked him back up again. Tim and I didn't spend any time together the evening of the wedding, he was too busy getting filthy drunk and I was more interested in partying it up with my bridesmaids. During the speeches, Tim spent the whole time messing around with Carly and didn't even hear when people said things directly about him. One of the best men left straight after the food, and about 2/3 of the evening guests didn't even bother turning up. I got ketchup from my bacon roll all over the middle of my wedding dress, making it look like I'd been stabbed, and our last dance was to slap my bitch up.... Tim had to be carried to our honeymoon suite and then proceeded to throw up all over the bathroom and pass out. To be honest, I wouldn't have expected our wedding night to have ended any differently...

The next few months went by fairly quickly and I tried to enjoy my newly married life. I changed my name on everything but my passport in record time and booked our honeymoon to Ibiza in May to give us something to look forward to. We also took the children to Disneyland Paris for a couple of days a week after the wedding. These trips just proved how wrong me and Tim were for each other though.

In Disney, Tim took Carly back to the hotel room rather than stay and enjoy the rides when it started raining, and the only bit he seemed to take an active part in was in the evenings when we went to the all inclusive buffet. Back home, I started noticing all the negative things about him, and I became the nagging wife I never wanted to be. Because I wasn't happy, little things would be blown up and the arguments became more and more often.

In Ibiza, we should have been on top of the world, it being our honeymoon after all, but things just didn't go to plan. I ended up sacrificing nearly everything I had wanted to do and I was left in our hotel room whilst Tim went to watch a boxing match at a local bar one night. I drank to get over the fact that my honeymoon was nothing like I expected it to be, and so most of the holiday went by in a blur. I missed the children terribly and just didn't enjoy myself. Of course, the world of Facebook would never know any of this, to the people back home it looked like the perfect honeymoon complete with our own private rooftop garden and hot tub, amazing views and delicious food. Ah, the ability to show what you want people to see on the internet.

Back home again things went from bad to worse. I never liked the flat we lived in. I never saw it as mine either as Tim owned it. I was trying desperately to get a job and when I finally did in July, things just became clearer to me. I thought it was largely down to being stuck at home all day with the two children that I was so unhappy at home, but with the kids in nursery and working full time in a job I loved, I realised that it was my unhappy relationship which was pulling me down. I had started on antidepressants but my job gave me the boost I needed to come off them. It was with this clarity that I realised I really couldn't stay married, but I was still too scared to end things.

Tim and I had massive talks and twice tried to make a go at things, for the sake of the children being in a stable environment. I saw our friends' wedding in Cyprus as the make or break for us, as we were going without the children for a week. It would give us time alone to be able to work on things. The whole thing was a disaster though and all it ended up doing was showing me how bad things had become. Tim spent the whole trip drunk. He would wake up and pour himself a vodka. I told him I wanted to spend some quality time together but all he was interested in doing was getting drunk, partying and being one of the boys. He saw it as a break from his responsibilities, but I saw it as our last shot, and he blew it.

We barely spoke the whole holiday and, although I did enjoy aspects of the break, and found the wedding to be amazing, I was also dealing with the sinking realisation that my marriage was effectively over, only eight months after we tied the knot.

Back in England I had no idea what to do. I went on a night out with my work friend Sarah, and a guy from our office, Ed. They knew from me talking at work about what was going on, and both of them said I needed to end things if I was that unhappy but I still couldn't bring myself to do it. Four days later, the choice was taken out of my hands. Tim said he knew things weren't working, and he ended it. I put up no fight this time, I knew it was not right.

Things moved fairly quickly after that. Tim had said he wanted me to stay in the flat whilst I found somewhere else to live but I couldn't do it so I moved over to my mum's, originally with Cameron as there wasn't room for both of the children, but after a couple of weeks I needed to have Carly with me too so we all camped out over my mum's. It was a struggle and incredibly cramped.

I looked into things and we started proceedings. I found a house to move into and by December, we were not only separated but in the process of an annulment. I had started a relationship with Ed. This time I was truly happy, and it really does make a huge difference. Things have remained amicable between Tim and I. I didn't try and get anything from him, although he does pay child support for Carly.

Our annulment came through on Friday 27th February and our marriage was officially over, only just over a year after our wedding. People have been shocked, largely down to the fact that everything seemed perfect over Facebook. The truth is, you don't show the unhappy times to the world, only the happy snapshots. The hardest thing I found was people cutting me out due to our split.

I know that ending our marriage was the right thing to do. We are both so much happier now, as are the kids, as they aren't in an environment with arguments and tension. I try to not regret anything, hence the tattoo on my foot, but I do feel ashamed to have gone along with a relationship and a marriage that I knew wasn't right. I was a coward and I feel people are judging me for my actions. I try not to let it bother me but it still does. The hardest thing to come to terms with is that in the future when I get engaged and get married again, that there will be that thought in the back of everyone's minds. How long will this one last?

The truth is, having been through a failed marriage, I now know that I would never get into something for the wrong reasons again. I won't settle for anything less than 100% happiness and when I marry again it will be forever.

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