The auspices for my relationship were not the best. I had just come out of a heartbreaking relationship breakdown where my live-in boyfriend has cheated on me. Worse than that, he had moved his lover into our flat whilst I was away for a few days visiting my parents. I had thought we were a few months away from getting married so it was quite a shock. So I had to move back in with my parents which was shocking for them and myself as I was 29 years of age. I slept on a sofa bed in their lounge and thought my world had ended. My mother told me that I was obviously rubbish at relationships so should leave them alone in the future. She also pointed out how great it was that I did not have any children so I could have a clean break. Neither of these comments helped one bit.
My gentle dad was very cross with my ex-boyfriend. In fact, my mum made him promise not to hit him. He hired a van and we made the trip to Exeter to collect my personal belongings. He told me that if I even thought of going back to my ex, my parents would have nothing further to do with me. He wouldn’t have meant it. It was his way of protecting me. We went to Devon and back in one day that October.
I knew I would have to find work and somewhere to live. I actually managed to find two part-time jobs very quickly starting in the January of 1999. One of these jobs would be the place I met my now husband. Funnily enough he had applied for the job I got and thought he would get it having volunteered with the charity for some time. Apparently when I arrived on my first day, he thought I was an aloof feminist cow. We had to work together. I don’t remember him from those first days much but then my heart was still in pieces.
We connected when the county court bailiffs held a public relations event. As advice workers we went along and I got a bit squiffy. Apparently at one point, I demanded the bailiffs go off and find more wine. Three of us then went to a pub I knew where we played pool and I tried to walk in a straight line to the loo. My now husband had to leave as he was a quiz master at another pub. We taxied there and he was sneaking me and my other male colleague the answers.
I remember him looking back at me from the front of that taxi, grabbing my hand and telling me I should value myself more and that I had to stop thinking I was thinking I was fat and ugly just because of what had happened with my ex. Those not be the precise words but it made me realise he was kind and cared.
After that we would go out at least once a week in a group for drinks after work. I liked how my husband really cared about the clients he was helping. I think I made him laugh and also look at things in different ways on occasion. I don’t remember the precise timescale but we were clearly having a connection. One night I was late from an event somewhere and sent a message that he did not have to wait for me. He sent a message back that he would wait.
I had a party at my new flat which Dad had helped me get by paying the deposit. I invited friends from my past and also colleagues from work. I think I was conned into this party as I don’t remember saying I would have one. My now husband and the male colleague said I did so I felt obliged to have a party. It was a good night. My now husband brought his girlfriend and her best mate and boyfriend. I was getting drunk but nobody really noticed. Apparently I had captured my husband’s attention as I had a short skirt on so as I was in a first floor flat he saw my legs descend the stairs first. Sadly the evening ended abruptly when I stood up and fell forwards cracking my head on the stone mantlepiece. My kind guests put me to bed, told me my ex was not worth it and even tidied up perfectly before leaving.
Then one night my husband and the male colleague came back to my new flat. We played Abba and I seem to remember drank coffee rather than booze. My husband was on the floor by my chair with his hand on my knee. The male colleague asked if I was aware of this and I said I was. Shortly afterwards, my husband persuaded the colleague to leave. I guess I can leave the rest of that night to your imagination. The next morning I was keen for my husband to leave as I had someone coming to fit my new washer.
I am not proud to confess that my husband still had a girlfriend at this time. He was saying he was definitely about to dump her. He did eventually after she turned up at a pub where we were doing a quiz together. I went home and told his teenage daughter I would be available to talk to her dad after he had decided who he really wanted. He phoned that night. I remember being at work and him asking “what about us?” and me replying “what about us?”. At that point it became clear we had become and us. I loved that us and trusted it for 10 years and was living with my husband until February this year.