This was me in 2009. 27, married, great job, homeowner – but happy????? ( weirdly the two fringes in my life are ten years apart too!)
Well I certainly look it in all my pictures from that time; but I was a very good actress I think.
I don’t know whether it was immaturity, or thinking I couldn’t do any better or that was just what married life was like. I married quick and young– engaged after 12 weeks and married at 23 after 18 months today. It feel ridiculous to write this down and admit it; but on my wedding day I knew I was doing the wrong thing. Weirdly en route to the church my Dad questioned whether it was what I really wanted and offered to fly me away! Looking back, I’m not sure what made me go ahead.
It’s difficult to put into words what was wrong; but the simple fact it I knew something was very wrong for the majority of that relationship. Being with someone that puts you down frequently is soul destroying, and makes you lose self confidence day by day. Being told I was fat- I wasn’t, insinuations that I wasn’t a ‘good wife’ if I didn’t do exactly as he wanted or agree with his opinions- but I always tried to be kind and honest.
Madness looking back! I always wanted a family- and he told me he did too; but ‘just not yet’ was used for years. Until he wanted something- a bigger car; ‘oh we can get this car and then start a family’ , a ‘lads holiday’ always because- well it could be the last before we had a family!!! Well there were lots of lads holidays, and lots of cars, but I can’t really remember fulfilling many of my wants during those years.
I’m not sure why I put up with that sort of ‘relationship’ for so many years (nearly 7) – why I put up with the flirty behaviour, the lies, the verbal abuse, the criticism and the isolation.
What I do know is when the relationship ended- the feeling I had was surprising! It was a feeling of relief, I instantly felt like me again, happier and more free. I struggled in the months following the break up; felt like a failure, after all the way I was brought up you were married for life. I questioned my decision, I often felt alone, I felt depressed. I developed a (possibly unhealthy) gym habit, strangely mixed with drinking a little too much – and I needed antidepressants for a while. I really felt they helped- and would never regret taking them, or feel ashamed to admit that.
I learnt a lot about myself in those two ‘single years’ – I became confident and ambitious, I stuck up for myself more, and decided I wouldn’t stand for any crap!
I started internet dating; decided on a ridiculously rigid set of credentials that I was looking for in a man. My friends found it amusing that I set these silly standards, and thought I should be more relaxed. But it worked- one dull nightshift was brightened by a message from my, now husband!!!
So for the 10 year challenge! A lot has changed in 10 years for me– I’ve certainly grown up, been through a load of ups and downs. A marriage breakup- moved house and jobs several times, dealt with a diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis, been through the struggle of infertility.
On the positive side I’ve met my husband, had a baby girl and found a completely different, new and happy life for me, for us, our family.
Don’t get me wrong; life is not a fairytale, we have our ups and downs, parenting is challenging, Work is stressful and every successful relationship takes a lot of hard work. If you follow me on insta, you’ll know I have a no bullshit approach to life, and how I share it on social media.
I’m far from perfect; I’m still often screwy from my previous experiences, sometimes build my walls up, get defensive and cold to protect myself. Often I need to give myself a bloody good talking too….. often my other half gives me a bloody good talking to also!
So my ten year challenge; this is me.
Certainly more wrinkles, I’ve also recently found my first grey hairs, my body isn’t as tight and toned as it was, I look my age- but frankly I don’t really care about any of that. Looks are not what really matters…..
I am a Mum- what I count as one of my greatest achievements; especially after going through fertility treatment. I am truly happy, content and honest in my relationship.
My lovely husband can be a total pain in the ass; is impatient, unsociable and gets terribly ‘hangry’ – but the good bits make the bad bits worth it. I still get ‘that look’, get told I’m sexy when my undies aren’t matching and I haven’t shaved my legs for weeks (and I believe him), get told I’m a fab mum and I truly feel loved.
I’m especially grateful that like me, his wish was to have a family, and a simple family life- something that was dangled in front of me like a metaphorical carrot for so many years.
So not much of a ‘challenge’ for me……. much happier with the 2019 me; bring on the next ten years!