Monday, April 30, 2018

It’s like rain on your wedding day

A year ago today, I was in the limo with my wonderful, kind, funny fiancé on the way to our wedding ceremony - and I was crying.

It wasn’t because of emotion, but sadness. Three years previously, my first engagement to him had ended after three days, after he got cold feet. We tried to rekindle our relationship a few months later, but this time I was the one to end things, due to my anxiety.

After all this, I put on three stone in weight. It is really hard to stay a normal weight on my three anxiety meds; they all cause weight gain, and you never feel full when you’re on them.

I realised I missed being with my fiancé desperately when we were apart, and I tried hard to get back with him, explaining that I was now better at dealing with my anxiety. But he wasn’t interested.

Two years later, I lost all the weight due to a meal replacement sachet diet, and returned to my original weight. I gained confidence, and started dating.

Suddenly, my fiancé wanted to be with me again. We got back together and began planning our future, deciding on the thrilling idea of visiting America to get married. We would combine it with his 40th birthday and have a two-week honeymoon in Las Vegas and LA.

Despite having an American passport due to my American dad, as well as voting in US elections and filing US tax returns, I had never been to the States. And the fact that I would be going there to marry this thoughtful, talented, down-to-earth and witty man was wonderful on many levels.

And yet, there was something bothering me. I tried to suppress it, but I knew deep down that there was no way my fiancé would be marrying me if I were still three stone heavier. When I questioned him, he admitted that this was true.

I told myself that everyone was superficial about physical appearance. It was just the rule of nature. And yet, my fiancé and I had known each other for 20 years. I felt that what I was like should count for more than what I looked like - and that, if it didn’t, it wasn’t true love at all.

So on my wedding day, in that limo, I cried, and tried not to smudge my mascara, and said ‘We shouldn’t be getting married. You didn’t want me when I was fat, so our relationship is worthless.’

My fiancé said ‘I’m sorry. There’s nothing I can do about it now, but I am truly sorry. I really want to marry you.’

‘Yeah, NOW you do!’ I sobbed. ‘You wouldn’t if I were overweight again. I can’t forgive you for being so superficial - and I won’t be able to stop berating you for it, so we shouldn’t get married.’

And the stereo playlist in the limo, which had clearly just been compiled from a list of songs with ‘love’ in the title, started playing Roxette’s It Must Have Been Love (But It’s Over Now). If I'd believed in omens, which I don’t, it would have been a pretty strong one.

The limo stopped in front of the marriage bureau. It was make-or-break time. I had strong misgivings, but I loved this decent, patient, reliable man, this man I’d been best friends with for 20 years, who had put up with me when everyone else had fallen by the wayside. 

I thought he would be a great husband, and a great father to our children. And we’d travelled all the way across the Atlantic Ocean for this, the best day of our lives together.

So I went through with the marriage, and felt totally euphoric afterwards. The chapel was beautiful, the sky was an incredible blue, the sun was hot, and dozens of strangers congratulated us afterwards. We took a photo in the limo on the way back from the chapel; I look so happy.

But I shouldn’t have got married that day. Today, exactly a year later, I'm getting divorced: because I never forgave my husband. I piled on all the weight again in the months after marriage, and resented him because I knew he wished I would lose it. Whenever he praised me for losing weight, I exploded with rage; when he went behind my back and did a favour for a thin, attractive female friend I’d fallen out with, despite my asking him not to, I was incandescent with fury. 

I tried so hard to get past the issue: by having weekly therapy sessions, by journaling, by talking to friends. I tried to focus on the positives: he was a great stepdad to my little one, he left beautiful Post-It notes in my laptop every day, he helped me with everything I did.

But ultimately, a little voice in my head kept saying: he doesn't love you. If he didn't want you when you were overweight, despite your two decades of friendship, he doesn't truly want you. 

And, even though no little girl grows up wanting to get divorced, it's this truth that stops me from getting back with him. Perhaps it's a failing on my part; perhaps it's a failing on his. Whatever it is, it's incredibly sad. Because I was so angry at him so often, he refused to keep trying for a baby, and our marriage fell apart.

So today, I'm filing for divorce. Because a year ago, it rained down my cheeks on my wedding day, although the sun was shining outside. And I should never have got out of the limo.