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This follows on from my previous post, My Dark Years

Ex1 had been in Harrogate for a few months before I joined him although where I was beforehand I have no idea. I came to find him in a bedsit which I shared with his very smelly socks. I’m not sure I’d ever used a launderette before and was unfamiliar with the concept. We then moved into a flat rented on a weekly basis by the Conference Centre for which he worked (although he considered it a great let down not working in a theatre).

He said that he’d found a flat for us off a friend in a pub to buy that we could afford on his salary since I didn’t yet have a job. I foolishly trusted his ability to look at the market, see what was available and what was within our budget and make an appropriate decision. Apparently after we said we’d buy it the seller went into the pub crowing that he’d found a couple of suckers. He wasn’t wrong.

So we moved into a top floor flat of a converted terraced house, with entrance round the back and up two flights of breeze block stairs. We settled in. He built bookshelves and I unpacked the books. I eventually found a job that was at first temporary and then permanent working as an administrative assistant for a department of quantity surveyors for a company in the construction industry. I quite enjoyed it. My colleagues were good to work with other than a few exceptions. I was annoyed by the fact that the trainee quantity surveyors got paid more than me but that was it really.

We got married. On a budget of £1,500 set by my father. He’d paid £1000 for my sister to get married and raised it a little bit to reflect inflation. It therefore became about making choices that would suit the budget rather than what I wanted. My future mother-in-law helped me by “accidentally” walking past the only Laura Ashley bridal shop in London and buying the display dress at a discount. She couldn’t take it back but “if you don’t like it you don’t have to wear it”. She had very little money, saw me as a usurper and I hadn’t the strength to argue against her and thought accepting it might help. Luckily it was acceptable although it wouldn’t have been my choice.

I should have read other signs when ex1 bought himself an expensive wedding ring but mine came from Argos. I paid for the engagement ring as well, nice false diamonds in a Victorian ring bought at Camden market. For my hen night we sat at a round table in a Chinese restaurant discussing the possibilities of divorce. We had a buffet meal in the afternoon at a night club but had no evening do, no dance and ended up sitting in our local rather than going back to the night club and dancing. I seem to remember ex1 being somewhat drunk in the pub. We didn’t have a honeymoon due to lack of finance and were probably back at work on the Monday. The photos are in the attic and are staying there. I did have last second doubts but was totally incapable of thinking further.

Nothing changed after marriage.

We carried on as we had, although I was beginning to be aware of how much he was drinking and beginning to notice the cost. We had one good holiday in the south of France together before he got rid of his car, no doubt due to the cost although again I can’t really remember. That must also have been the first time I went on holiday without my parents, and probably the last for several years after. I did still go on summer holidays with my mother down to my grandmother in France as I could have more holiday than ex1.

I was feeling increasingly despondent as well as lonely and starting to despair about our relationship and in a bout of self-despair I had sex with someone else. Twice. I’m not proud of it and I quickly realised it wasn’t going to help. I introduced him to my then best friend and she moved in with him for a few years.

I felt I had to make my marriage work, no matter what, as I had so promised. While I wasn’t worried about a god getting angry with me I was worried about breaking a promise I thought was important. I was also conscious that getting divorced was admitting to failure and failure was not acceptable to me.