Sparkles & Stretchmarks: A UK Parenting & Pregnancy Blog: A Near Miss...My Imperfect Love Story

Monday, 24 August 2015

A Near Miss...My Imperfect Love Story

The night before I went in to hospital to have Noah, Jon & I decided to go out for the evening - just the two of us -  to celebrate in anticipation of our new arrival.

I was feeling a bit nervous about the operation the next day, and I thought it'd be great to just take my mind off it all for a few hours so we got into the car and headed to nearby Exeter to have a nice romantic dinner at Carluccios.

We were driving through the city, almost at our destination, when we reached a particularly busy part of the road near some traffic lights.

The traffic lights turned red just as we reached them, so we stopped.

We were chatting about something or other while we waited for the lights to change... and as we chatted I noticed a man from the corner of my eye who was walking in our direction.

It was only 8.30 pm but already very dark out and he was wearing dark coloured clothes so he was difficult to spot, but I could make out his silhouette.

 I noticed that he looked a bit unsteady on his feet.

The closer he got to us, I realised he was stumbling quite a bit...he was heading toward the traffic lights, trying to make his way across the busy road...I noticed that our lights were changing to amber just as he reached them, and then they were green....

Jon had started to accelerate away, he hadn't noticed the man at the lights as he was on my side of the car...

The man wasn't stopping, he didn't seem to have noticed that the cars were all starting to move forward and I could see he was going to carry straight on walking out in front of us...

I shouted out to Jon to stop, and he slammed on the brakes just as the man stepped in front of the car...we jerked to a sudden stop just in time.

The man got a bit of a fright and slammed his hands onto the bonnet of our car as he realised we had almost hit him...he took a breathe and he held up his hands in a gesture of apology and continued to stumble his way around the car...he carried on across the road and that was that.

Jon was muttering about how we'd almost hit the "idiot" and why hadn't he seen the lights were on green, etc....

Meanwhile, I was silent.

I was feeling pretty shell shocked.

Not because we'd almost his this stranger...but because actually he wasn't a stranger at all.

When he'd put his hands on the car with that sudden force, I'd looked straight into his face ... right into his eyes ...and I suddenly realised that I knew him.

I knew him very well.

That was the man I almost married.

My abusive ex fiance...who I had been with for 7 years until I saw sense last minute and called off the wedding.

I told Jon who it was and we both turned to catch the last glimpses of him as he stumbled his way out of sight.

Jon couldn't believe it was him....saying he looked too thin, that my ex was always dressed smartly and this man looked disheveled and unkempt.

It was true - my ex fiance fancied himself as a bit of an entrepreneurial businessman, and was always wearing smart suits or a shirt and tie at least - this man was wearing a hoodie about 4 sizes too big for him, which looked very old and dirty. His jeans were dirty, his skin looked wrinkled, he had a lot of facial hair, his eyes looked red and sunken...

He looked like a homeless person.

He looked like a drug addict.

And there I was...with my new partner, about to give birth to our second child...

At that moment in time it seems our lives couldn't have been at further opposite ends of the scale.

Jon & I carried on to the restaurant and continued our evening, but I couldn't quite shake that moment from my mind...

I couldn't stop thinking about how strange life can be...

If I hadn't called things off, would I still be in that relationship? Where would my life be now?

Would he still have ended up in the same place in life he seems to be now?

From what I saw of him that night, it certainly seemed that his life had taken a turn for the worse - he looked like someone who was struggling with things, someone in a bad situation - I don't know if he was homeless but he certainly looked it and he certainly looked like someone who was under the influence of more than just alcohol - he had aged so much that it seems to me that might be a regular thing for him now. More so than it was before.

Part of me almost feels guilt that he seems to have ended up in a bad place in life.

But who knows what might have been if I hadn't chosen to call things off...maybe I'd be in a pretty dark place myself...I certainly can't imagine anything good coming from the situation I was in back then.

When Jon & I first got together I faced quite a lot of criticism from quite a lot of people -  you see, we didn't have the traditional boy-meets-girl straightforward start to our relationship that most people have.

It was more complicated than that. It was more gritty than that.

We met at work - I was his supervisor. We spent a lot of time together and we became friends.

Work friendship turned into the kind of friendship were you confide in each other.

I told him about life at home with my fiance - we talked about it for months - he tried to pursuade me to cancel the wedding, like many of my other work friends did as they were the only people who knew what was going on at home - but I didn't listen to him or to any of the others.

In my mind - my work and home life were two separate things, and I was two different people. At work I was the happy go lucky me who enjoyed life ... the me who had fun and relaxed and was herself...the me who watched the clock every day and dreaded home time rolling around...the me who walked the long route home every evening as slowly as I could to avoid getting there any sooner than necessary...

At home I was the me who counted the hours until it was morning and time to go back to work again...the me who watched every word she said incase it triggered yet another attack of rage...

After a few months, my friendship with Jon became more than friendship...and it happened before I had left my fiance.

And those around us were very vocal about not agreeing with it all.

It wasn't a fairytale story by any stretch of the imagination - it was difficult and hard and far from perfect, tears were shed, feelings were hurt.

People are instantly closed to such things without ever stopping to consider the circumstances that people can find themselves in and the fear they can feel at the hands of someone else...

People are very quick to judge, and so many times I've felt guilty because the way our relationship began wasn't societys ideal.

But seeing that blast from my past that night gave me some much needed closure.

The twists and turns our lives take are surprising, and I can't help but wonder if it's all just accidental or if there is an element of fate involved.

Of all the people to (almost literally!) run in to that night, seeing him was very strange...and seeing what had become of him was even stranger.

I wish him no harm...I hope his life can become a good one...

But it made me realise, once and for all, that I had a very near escape - wherever his life has headed I am thankful not to have gone there with him.

My life is exactly where it's supposed to be.


  1. What a very strange encounter, especially the day before your due to have your 2nd child. It sounds like you had a lucky escape and are now in a happy and loving relationship with Jon.

  2. How strange to have seen him again like the way you did. I think it's obvious that you are exactly where you should be. Jon seems like such a nice guy and you all seem absolutely wonderful together as a family xx

  3. Things happen for a reason & meeting Jon is meant to be, Hayley!

  4. Good grief Hayley this gave me goosebumps! The universe is a strange place indeed. So glad you are in your happy place with Jon and your lovely children x

  5. I remember reading about your almost wedding when you wrote about it before, and what an awful/difficult situation to be in. How strange to run into your ex-fiance like that, something like that is always so bizarre and surreal. You and Jon seem so happy together - obviously people always want to give their opinions on your relationship (as if it really it anything to do with them) but it seems like things definitely worked out well for you in the end.

  6. Wow, what a powerful story Hayley. I think fairytales don't have to be your typical innocent, 1930s dating style story (if you know what I mean). I still think you have a fairytale, because you ended up together and happy x

  7. Wow how bizarre! That will be something you'll never forget, seeing him like that. Everything happens for a reason, and as you say - your life is how it's meant to be right now x

  8. This is very much like what happened to my friend. She was in an abusive relationship and a couple of years ago we saw the man she'd been with and he'd gone from being super smart to looking like a homeless guy. I think that no matter what happens in life you end up where you're supposed to - I believe our lives are mapped out for us before we're even born, so even if you had married him the chances are you wouldn't be with him now. It's clear to everyone just how much you and Jon are meant to be together :) X

  9. How ironic to see your ex the night before heading to the hospital. This is very well written, I was sucked in from the first line x

  10. That is really odd! It is an insight into how different things could have been for you. I've seen my ex a couple of times (he was rather controlling...I was only allowed to wear skirts and high boots) and both times I've seen him with a different girl, wearing skirt and boots funnily enough. Glad a dodged that!

  11. I really enjoyed reading your story. So weird that you saw your ex the night before having your second child. I'm convinced things like that happen for a reason. It was not meant to be and you deffo made the right choice.

  12. Oh wow must have been so strange to meet him like that but I am glad you called it off and are happy where you are now and looks like you have a lovely family

  13. Such a gripping story! So so strange to see an ex before that! But I am a firm believer in everything happening for a reason so must have been fate!

    Love Sian | The Tattooed Princess ♥

  14. Oh Hayley, what a strange night and I can only imagine how you must have felt the second you reconised him. It's funny how we always feel slightly guilty too isn't it? You've no need too, me and my husband also raised a few eyebrows when we got together six years ago, and here we are now about to celebrate our fourth wedding anniversary and parents to two gorgeous children x

  15. wow what a story and what an encounter, everything sure does happen for a reason

  16. I guess every situation has different paths and we can wonder what if about most things. I do believe things happen for a reason however and this experience was to show you that you're better off without your ex and that you deserve happiness :) xx

  17. You had a luckily escape lovely, look where you are now. That's amazing. Yet we still often wonder about these people in our past but that is where they will stay. What a weird encounter though! x


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