When I was 23 I got married.
Everyone thought I was mad but back then I was, well, 23 - ie young and stupid and utterly convinced I knew what it took to be married. I even got my first job on the back of a feature I wrote about getting wed at such a young age.
Sadly, the job lasted a lot longer than the marriage.
Looking back, other than being young and being with the young man, the main reason it failed was my hugely idealistic view of love.
I still believed in the Disney ending and with parents that had been married 35 years and rarely argued, I thought, how bloody hard can it be? How wrong was I?!
Regardless of the fact that I do think he was the wrong man for me, I had no concept of what goes into a real relationship, as oppose to a Cinderella one.
Now I know, that forgiveness, compromise, a LOT of laughing it off and respect for the other person as an individual rather than a 'belonging' of yours is required to keep a relationship happy - even with a great guy, whom I now have.
I finally see the shades of grey behind every relationship, including my parents'. I don't think they did myself or my brothers any favours in never talking about what really goes on in a relationship but I guess, some things just have to be learned.
Today I found this blog post, which I wrote at the end of the year I separated from my husband of just six months.
We'd been together for over three years but suddenly thrust into the world of work and adult responsibilities we sunk, rather than swam.
I'm so glad of it now, even with the things that followed - single parent hood, some hardcore PND, a few very dodgy relationships, including one that made it almost impossible to trust anyone again.
It seems my young self made the right decision in the end, shame it cost her olds a lot of cash for a white wedding (I have promised them I'll do it on the cheap next time!).
It seems strange to be doing my first blog at the end of the year but the beginning of December has always made me look back over the months and sum up the achievements, the joy and sadness that I received or dealt out.
For me the end of my marriage signified a massive change in my life, especially as it only lasted six months.
I couldn’t help but wonder how so much love could disappear in such a short time. Just how did I get it so wrong?
How did I go from thinking that was the man I wanted to build my life with, to have children with, to grow old with, to thinking, actually, this isn’t enough. I want more, so quickly?
People thought I was selfish, that I didn’t try hard enough, that I should have given it more time. But I remember going out with the girls one night and having more fun in that one night than I’d had since I’d got married.
And no, I didn’t dissolve my marriage because there wasn’t enough fun. There were much more serious issues at stake, some of which we hadn’t even realised until we separated. Loneliness, boredom, a completely different attitude to life.
You would have thought that we would have realised this before, but we married straight out of uni - so much changed and we didn’t change with it.
The distance grew and then, I just didn’t want the closeness back. Not with him.
I was constantly told to try. Try harder. People offered solutions and suggestions to improve my marriage. What they hadn’t banked on was that I just didn’t want to do it anymore.
And as soon as I knew that, it was all over. And it took just one person to say it aloud and free me from the weight I'd been carrying around on my chest. All the guilt, disappointment and sadness.
And there is still a whole lot of that, even though I know I made the best decision of my life when I broke his heart and ended it. But I hurt too.
And yes there was someone else involved. But before all you tut-tutting judgemental perfect people decide I deserve to be hurt, that relationship wasn’t the reason my marriage failed, it was the catalyst for me getting out and spreading my wings and finding that I was better off on my own.
It made me realise that I didn’t have to settle, that that needn’t be my life for the next fifty years.
And although I caused a lot of people a lot of hurt at least I had the bollocks to do something some people are still wishing they could do after forty odd years.
In this day and age there is no need to settle. I make my own money, I take care of myself, I have fantastic friends, a lovely place to live, a great job and I don’t need to depend on any man so if he doesn’t make my heart sing why the hell would I stay with him?
Although the break-up of my marriage a dark time in my life it was the affect it had on everyone else that I hadn’t banked on.
In particular, my relationship with my mother.
For the first time in my life I felt like she wasn’t really on my side, that I’d let her down and she was thoroughly disappointed in me.
We’re constantly told that a parent’s love is unconditional but actually, it isn’t. They have their limits too and when you hear that, you realise that really, you can only live this life for you.
As long as you don’t purposely hurt people, but live a good life and treat people as you would be treated you just have to be true to yourself, even if those closest to you disagree. It’s not their life; they don’t have to breathe your air.