Heartbreak is something that we’ve all been through. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger… or so they say. I’ve been through heartbreak, years of singledom to rival Bridget Jones, mistake-relationships, desperately-seeking-marriage-relationships and after many years of falling and breaking I found myself at the age of 33 divorced and on my own again.
This was a good thing. A very good thing. This marriage was a mistake. I don’t just say that as I am bitter and twisted, but because it is true.
I married a man for all of the right reasons: for stability, for a home, to have children, to grow old together. In fact… make that all the wrong reasons. I wanted the picture perfect house, husband and children… but what I now know (with the famous hindsight) is that no matter how good you are at imagining things, if you choose badly the dream soon becomes a night mare.
And it did.
He seemed too good to be true. He was. He tapped into my weakness, my insecurities and manipulated them… offering me my hopes and desires. He used my trust and belief in people against me. He took what he wanted and lied his way into my life, into my heart and into my trust.
He was a liar. A cheat; a thief; an alcoholic. But I didn’t see any of this. Seriously… I lived with an alcoholic and didn’t even know he was drinking. Crazy. If you saw that on Corrie you’d say ‘Yeah right… as if!’ But trust me… it happened.
The day that the dream slipped will forever remain in my memory. It hurt, it was beyond painful. But I didn’t cry for him. It has taken four years to write this. I didn’t cry for him. I cried for a marriage, a promise, a life. I cried for the babies that we hadn’t had and the family that would never be.
Our house was a home waiting for a baby. The nursery was planned in my head from the moment we stepped foot into the show home. I was 30, I’d been in and out of failed relationships. I’d thrown my heart into the ring several times over and had it ripped apart. I had loved and lost. Loved and lost some more. I just wanted the dream. As Carrie Bradshaw would say, I was waiting for the shoe to drop.
The shoe didn’t drop… so I made it fit. This Ugly sister managed to squeeze into the glass slipper and no matter what that shoe was staying on my foot! (Well until I fell and sprained my ankle the night before the wedding… I should have listened to the universe!)
But like any Fairytale, there is always a bad guy and unfortunately I married him.
So, there I was. 33 divorced, childless and alone. It seemed that all of my friends were married, settled down and had been having children for years. I was Aunty and Godmother to several of my friends’ children. I loved spending time with them, but that gnaw in my stomach was always there.
Yes I was doing well in my career, but this was never a Career V Motherhood choice. I never chose to not have a baby, I just never found myself in the right relationship with the right person at the right time. I wanted a baby. I’d wanted a baby for years but I wanted to do things the right way round. Why? I don’t know. But there was that instilled sense of tradition and what was right and so engagement, marriage and baby was the order that things had to be done.
How many times did I lie in bed and mentally count out… so if I met someone now… we’d need to be engaged by blah and married by blah so that I can have a baby by blah… I have driven myself mad. It was like a triathlon. I had completed the first two events in a designated time and was ready and primed for the final event… a baby. And then it was all taken away from me. I was no longer a competitor. I was out of the race. I would need to retrain; to start again. It seemed too much. I was 33. By the time I met someone… dated… got engaged… blah blah blah arrrghhhh. I needed a new plan.
So I stopped thinking. Stopped planning (well almost) and decided to live in the moment. It has been said that you only really meet the right person when you are truly happy with yourself, again to quote the Carrie Bible (SATC) “The greatest relationship of all is the one you have with yourself, and if you can find someone to love the you that you love… well that’s just fabulous!” So this was my new plan.
I bought my house. Went to Magaluf. I booked a holiday to Hong Kong on my own to visit a friend. I applied for and got a fabulous new job. I went out with friends. As I emerged from my chrysalis, I realised the mental abuse that I had been living with. The confidence that I had lost. I had replaced myself with a desire for a family, but without my true self this was never going to work.
And then I met Dan.
We didn’t expect it to go anywhere… we both used each other a bit at first. For once in my life I didn’t shout to the world that I’d met ‘the one’. It was my secret, my fun and I didn’t expect anything from it. But I was happy. The happiest I had been in a long time. And it worked.
Things happen for a reason? Right time and place? Or just good luck? Whatever reason it worked and here we are now with our 6 month old baby.
This relationship fixed my broken pieces. But there were three of us in the relationship. There was another person to contend with. Another person to fall in love with.
He had a four year old son. A deal breaker for some people, but not me. This didn’t affect me really as I wasn’t expecting it to go anywhere. I wasn’t bothered that he had a son, but I was bothered about meeting him as it was a big step. People say taking on someone else’s kid can be tough. That you need to be a special kind of person, I say bollocks to that. If you love the person then surely that’s a part of who you love… isn’t it?
The first time I met Connor he melted my heart. I played Pirates with him and built a Den (how cool am I?) That night I got inexplicably drunk at his Aunty’s Boxing Day party. I was wasted and I cried. In bed that night I sobbed on my new boyfriend’s chest. My grief poured out for the baby that I’d never had. I sobbed and told him how much I wanted a baby. We had only been dating for two months… I’d only just met his family and son and I was sobbing… mortifying!
As I fell in love with Dan, I fell in love with Connor. I’m not sure when things changed but at some point there was a shift. A shift from him being my boyfriend’s son, to being a part of me too. I remember the day that he said my name for the first time. We were in the park and he shouted me to point out a squirrel. The first time he told me he loved me. This little man was now five and he said he loved me. He trusted me enough to give me his love. That’s not something that children give away for free. Hugs and kisses go round to everyone. But love is special. I’d loved him for a long time but I’d been too scared to say. I felt like it wasn’t my place.
I did everything for our little family unit. In that first year we went on holiday camping in Wales. Five days together as a family of three. When he went home I felt destroyed. I wanted him with us. I knew I would never be his Mum, but I wanted him to be mine. And now he is.
He is mine and Dan’s son, Emilie’s big brother and I couldn’t imagine my life without him. I think of him before myself, I want to protect him, care for him and above all I have so much fun with him. He makes me laugh. He chats to me, he makes secret plans with me and he has mended my broken heart. Falling in love with Connor filled that gap in my heart, that desire to mother, to nurture to love. (His Dad’s not bad either). Now that we have Emilie our family is complete. Although declaring at first that if the baby was a girl we could give her to another family, from the moment he clapped eyes on her he worshipped her. When I was pregnant he cared for and looked after me. He talked to the baby, cupping his hands and talking through my belly button asking If she wanted to get bunk beds. We miss him when he is not here, but when he is we are complete. He is now eight and is growing into a handsome, caring young man. He still sits on my knee, holds my hand and tells me he loves me and I hope he never stops.
So this is how a four year old boy mended my broken heart and luckily for me, his Dad came as part of the package.