The story

My head is a mess, full of conflicting thoughts. I don’t know what to do anymore, I don’t know if I should listen to my heart or my head. I have always believed that ‘love conquers all’ but I’m just not sure this time.

Jon was married, he and his wife separated a while before I met him. In actual fact, they separated two days before myself and Martin split up. We always believed that it was fate. It was fate playing its part. We were convinced that we were meant to have a little time to heal after our failed relationships before we met each other. We believed that it was written in the stars, Jon and I, we were meant to be. We always truly believed that.

We moved quickly, after my initial reluctance and my initial worries. Once I had decided that we would give things a go, we moved quickly. He asked me to marry him on my 32nd birthday, days before the 1st anniversary of Martin’s death. I said yes, and I meant yes, I meant it. I felt a love that I didn’t ever realise was possible. I had no idea that love could be that incredible, that real. I had no idea love and being in a loving relationship could make you feel so very happy. All of my hurt from the past took a backseat and it felt amazing.

We moved into our house together and I fell pregnant. It was perfect. We had a little girl and our family was complete. We were a happy family of five and it was perfect. Our very loud, very untidy house was an incredibly happy home. And I think everybody could see it, not just us.

Before our daughter was born I believed that Jon had got divorced. That that part of his life was over, done and dusted. He was free to become my husband one day.

I told him every single day that I loved him. I couldn’t stand the thought of him ever doubting it. It was my idea to finally go and get married. It was me who suggested it and Jon who said yes. We booked the wedding venues, we were going to have a Christmas wedding, because if there is one thing our little family love, it’s Christmas. It would be perfect. We had a year to prepare. 

And now comes the painful bits.

I don’t do stress very well, but unfortunately, I do do stress. We needed to give notice for our wedding and I wanted to hurry up and get it done. Time ticked on and in August we booked an appointment. But when the time came, we couldn’t find any record of Jon’s divorce to prove to the registrar that he was. We had to cancel the appointment. Cue huge stress. Where was it all? I searched, I turned the house upside down, not entirely sure what it was that I was searching for. I got stressed. I panicked. I got frustrated. I got really really upset. I couldn’t shake the fear of not being able to get married. And as I worried I also worried that I was stalling getting things ready for the big day, so I tried to carry on.

He would get a replacement Decree Absolute. He’d get another copy and it would be fine. But that clock was ticking and I couldn’t see any progress. I felt like I was nagging him, I felt like I was being over powering and obsessive. I thought I was being awful. And then I felt paranoid, he didn’t seem to be doing enough to sort things, maybe he didn’t want to marry me after all? That’s how I felt. I was pretty scared. I felt pretty sad. 

And then we were at the end of October and I woke on a Monday morning in tears. I woke him, I asked him if he thought he had got further than the Decree Nisi stage. He looked stressed, he looked ill. He wasn’t sure, he didn’t know for sure. More panic, more stress, more emails to the divorce court. Pleading for somebody to help, but getting automated responses. I rang them. I actually cried to a man on the other end of the phone. He was lovely, I told him I was desperate. He searched their records for me, finally somebody was helping. His search found nothing. No record of divorce. Nothing at all regarding Jon. I thought I was going to be sick. What on earth was happening? 

And then I admitted defeat. Jon hadn’t completed the divorce procedure. He hadn’t realised what he was supposed to do, he was still married. I felt so sad, but no anger. I wasn’t angry at all, just sad. I thought he was an idiot, but he was my idiot. I thought he’d tried to do it all on his own and had been too proud to ask for help, but that was Jon for you. I didn’t care, it wasn’t intentional, I loved him, it didn’t matter. I was going to cancel our big day. But then my sister asked ‘why cancel it?’ Why not have your day, what difference does the legal bit make? Do that bit when you can, but still have your day. Still show everybody that you love each other and want to spend the rest of your lives together. And I sat there and thought, yes, it would be perfect, it would be different, and we love different. That was what we would do. 

He wasn’t with me, when I told him the big plan, I could see, he just wasn’t with me. I felt like I was drowning watching him. I tried to persuade him, tried to show my excitement about our different wedding. I tried to reassure him that it didn’t matter, he hadn’t messed up. None of it mattered. I tried all of that Monday evening to make him feel better, because I could see, Jon wasn’t with me.

I still couldn’t understand how there was no record at all of Jon at the divorce court. It was niggling away at me. I told him to go through old bank statements online, find a payment from two years previous. Find it and we would have proof, something to go on, a paper trail. He sat and did just that. He scrolled through bank statements and I waited. I asked a couple of times ‘do you think there is a payment to find Jon?’ I said it with a fast beating heart, quietly, it was my encouragement for him to be honest. Eventually he put his phone down and said the words ‘you deserve to know the truth’. That moment, that moment right there, my heart broke. My perfect, happy world, it crashed down around me.

There was no divorce, the man I was supposed to be marrying in just over a months time was still married to somebody else. He had known this when I paid the registrar in September. He knew this as I sent out invitations to the people who mattered to me. He knew this as I had chosen the perfect wedding ring. He knew this when my friends had taken me out for my hen night. He had known and he had chosen not to tell me. The legal bits hadn’t mattered only hours before, but the lies, they mattered, they mattered a great deal. So many untruths. It felt like the cruelest act in the world. It hurt like I can not put into words. And I was angry, so angry with him. I made him leave. I didn’t listen to his excuses. As far as I was concerned, there was no excuse good enough. There never would be.

I didn’t know how to tell people that the wedding wasn’t happening. I felt so embarrassed and so ashamed. It was one of the hardest things I had ever had to do. I wrote a status on Facebook, I wanted one message to reach as many people as it could, so that I didn’t have to keep retelling the story. I didn’t disclose what had happened. I saved Jon from that embarrassment, I just let myself have that. I didn’t want to humiliate him even though I was angry. I didn’t want to air our dirty laundry in public, but I did want people to know the wedding was cancelled and that we were over. It was so painful.

He retaliated that evening. He retaliated in a way that I’m not sure I can ever forget. He wrote a status that was cruel. It was so cruel. He deflected any blame from himself and he hurt me. He hurt me again. He was not the man I had loved. Because that man, he would never have been so cruel to me.

He had tried to get his divorce sorted, he had been told by solicitors that it would be sorted in time. But there is a huge backlog in the courts, it can’t be hurried. It can’t be sorted in time. There was something sent here from the original petition - he hadn’t let me search the house for something that didn’t exist. There was something. The man I spoke to on the phone was wrong, there were details of Jon to find on the system. Somebody else found the details, there’s an email to prove so.  I wish I had known all of this sooner. I didn’t give him the chance to explain. I didn’t hear the excuses. I wish he had put up a fight, I wish he had fought for me and fought for us. I wish that he had given me no choice but to hear the excuses, to have had no choice but to look at the proof. Instead he retaliated with anger. Anger at not being listened to, to being asked to leave. He felt sorry for himself. And he chose to hurt me again.

I wish he had known that honesty is always the answer. We’ve been there before, I really thought that he had learned from the last mess of lies. I only ever asked him to be honest. We could have fixed this mess if he had been honest. I wish he truly understood what breaking somebody’s trust would do. I wish he had known that we were worth so much more than lies.

And now we are here. Here in a place I can’t really describe to you. Civil. Remorseful. And sad.

He stayed on the sofa last night. I felt safe. I slept, for the first time in what feels like an age. And I didn’t go to bed feeling desperately sad. But then this morning as he got ready to leave the house for work, all of the sadness came back. Hitting me hard, catching my breath and stinging my eyes. I didn’t want him to go and not come back. I watched my daughter eat her breakfast, whilst looking at him and smiling. I watched and it hurt.

What a mess. What a huge avoidable mess this is.

I don’t know what to do anymore. I don’t know how to begin writing the next chapter, because I can’t quite decide which characters will feature in it. It is as though my pen is hovering above the page but I just can’t make it write again.

My head is full of conflicting thoughts today. 


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