The following Monday, August 11th, we agreed to get married, and started planning our wedding and honeymoon. I didn't think it was too soon, because we had known each other for so very long. On Saturday August 16th we went to choose an engagement ring, holding hands and smiling into each other's eyes in the jewellers. I told him I didn't need a diamond, but he bought me one anyway on that tranquil, sunlit day. He took me down to the River Deben in Woodbridge, Suffolk, where tiny fishing boats were sailing on the calm water. He knelt on one knee and said "Ariane Sherine, you've made me the happiest man in the world. Will you marry me?" I said yes immediately.
He asked if we could put it on Facebook and tell the world. I agreed, and posted all about my happiness. He put up a romantic Facebook post too, telling everyone the proposed date and venue of our wedding. Over 550 people 'liked' the posts, and over 150 left a sweet comment congratulating us. Our friends and families were so happy for us. We went to see his mother and she was thrilled. My own mother, not usually an effusive person, waxed lyrical about our romance and said the ring was beautiful.
But the problem with telling the world so quickly and publicly is that, when things go wrong, you have to untell people too. It is humiliating and embarrassing, even though most people are kind. On the scale of world problems, it is insignificant; on the scale of life events, it is huge and painful.
Three days after my fiance proposed, he broke up with me. I am devastated. I still love him and I know he didn't mean to hurt me. He just couldn't deal with the situation. It was too much, too soon. He doesn't want to get back with me, despite my trying to persuade him. He just wants to move on.
To make things worse, we are in a band together and have worked really, really hard on our album since the start of this year, with me living with him every other week. The album is now finished and we're both so proud of it and so thrilled by how it sounds. But we can't tour together as planned, as it hurts too much for me to be with him, so we have had to cancel our tour dates. I was going to write pieces to promote it, but all the pieces involve him and are too bittersweet. However, it is still painful as we now have to film a video together, build a website, send out press releases, etc, so we have to be in touch with each other. The emails are formal and brief with no kisses, and it hurts every time I receive one and every time I send one. I never thought our 17-year friendship would come to this. We both love the Pet Shop Boys, and a line from one of their songs keeps running through my head: "I wish I'd never met you, then I wouldn't have to let you go."
I have been trying not to cry in front of Lily. She throws her little arms around me and says "Don't worry Mummy, I'll kiss you better" and that just makes me cry harder. Little things have been difficult, like the internet throwing up adverts for wedding venues and wedding rings; having to cancel the venue and the ceremony just days after booking them; having to tell all my friends and family that we aren't getting married after all, that he doesn't love me, that the happiness I thought was real was an illusion. Having to tear up the congratulations cards from my mother and his mother, the former saying in sparkly writing "Soulmates: Today, Tomorrow, Always".
I was only 16 when I first met my best friend, and was full of dreams and idealism. I never thought that, aged 34, I would feel this empty and numb inside. I will get through this though, as I have got through everything else. Please don't worry about me. I would never do anything stupid. As much as anything, I have my daughter to think of. She is beautiful, and I am lucky. So I am still forcing myself to joke about on Twitter and Facebook, to post funny things, to be myself when it all seems to have fallen apart, in the hope that I can put things back together as quickly as possible.
Thank you for reading this, and for being my friend.