Sunday, 1 September 2013

The Wedding That Never Was.....My Story

As most of you will know, I am not married to Jon. There's nothing at all unusual about that I know - lots of couples I know aren't married, but have children together - some have been together 10 years or more and still aren't married. Its a personal choice.

But what some people may not know is that my story was very nearly very different.

I was very nearly married - but not to Jon!

Before I had met Jon, I was engaged to another person - we were together for about 4 years when we got engaged.

After the engagement, we started planning the wedding right away - I've always loved everything about weddings so I was like a kid in a candy shop!

My mum & dad very kindly offered to pay for it, and gave us a budget  - we decided on a theme (Winter Wonderland), a date (4th December), and we booked our venues - a local church for the ceremony and a very posh hotel for the reception.

The church we chose

We booked transport. We booked a singer. We booked a magician. We booked a photographer. We booked a videographer. We booked a violinist.

We ordered all of our wedding favours (White fairytale themed candles), We went for the menu tasting and decided on the food and wine.

Our wedding favours

We ordered the suits. We bought the bridesmaids dresses and accessories. I booked my make up and hair appointments.

I found THE dress. A stunning Ronald Joyce blush coloured princess gown.

I got my veil, my tiara - everything was all sorted and ready to go.

I even had my hen night - thrown by my mum in Liverpool, I had a pink limo, a posh meal out and a night out dancing with my friends....

 On my hen night

But from around 6 months before the date, I started to feel very panicky.

Part of me was swept up in all of the planning and excited for the big day - I wanted to wear the lovely dress and have the lovely party. I wanted to be the princess for the day.

But the closer it got, the more panicked I started to feel.

I found myself not really wanting to talk about it - whenever people asked me how the wedding plans were going, I just gave them the quickest answer possible and brushed it off.

Before I knew it, October had rolled around - everything was going full steam ahead for the wedding and I felt like I was on a fairground ride that was spinning out of control - I was screaming to get off, but nobody could hear me.

The thing is - there was something that I hadn't really discussed before.

I'd mentioned it once or twice to a close friend, I'd dropped hints about it to my sister, I'd recently started to talk at length about it to a few online friends because it felt safer that way...

The problem was - the person that I was supposed to be marrying wasn't always a very nice person.

I liked to pretend that my life was great, and everything was all fine and dandy.

And the person I was due to marry was a very popular person among my family and friends - he came across as so lovely and inoffensive, nobody would ever think anything bad of him.

But actually - he had a violent streak.

He had hit me, pushed me, tried to throttle me, thrown things at me, thrown me up against walls and screamed in my face, ragged fistfuls of my hair out....done all of these things on a few occasions. Quite a few.

Once he had even stood on my neck while I was on the floor after he'd thrown me there, and kept his foot there until I almost passed out.

But the thing was - these things would always happen very suddenly. And once they were over, they were never spoken of again. Usually there'd be an apology afterwards and a promise that he wouldn't do it again.

And it was much easier to say "ok" and let it go than risk the whole thing carrying on and the mood getting worse....

I always heard stories of domestic abuse and, if I'm honest, always thought the women must be pretty stupid to just allow it to happen.

You'd just walk away wouldn't you?!

But sadly it wasn't that simple.

I felt a bit stuck - in one way I felt stuck because I was living with him in a city where I only had a few work acquaintances, 250 miles away from my family, where the closest people to me where HIS family.

I also felt stuck because to admit what was happening to me would be too embarrassing.

I didn't want to be THAT girl. I didn't want to admit that I wasn't living a lovely little fairytale life...that in fact I was living a bit of a nightmare.

I wanted to just keep on ignoring it and pretending that everything was lovely.

And it was surprisingly easy most of the time - when he wasn't being violent, it was so easy to kid forget.

Often people talk about how violence starts over a period of time - but what I find even more embarrassing to admit about the whole situation is that it happened from pretty much the very start.

About 2 months into the relationship, we were at his house having a drink when he suddenly turned aggressive for no reason at all - we argued and he threw a flute of wine in my face - the glass didn't shatter but it hurt and the wine stung my eyes really badly. Before I'd even had chance to realise what was happening he'd grabbed me and thrown me out into the street with no shoes, no handbag, no phone and nowhere to go.

You'd think anybody with any sense would have jumped ship then. I wish I had.

I can't explain why I didn't - I think I was just so shocked. I'd never experienced anything like that before. So when he apologised and blamed the drink, I accepted it.

I thought "Well surely it won't happen again?"

But it did. Of course it did.

I didn't want to admit it was happening or how serious it was.

Throughout the years, I tried to discuss the issue with him but I always got the same answer - it was my fault because I made him angry. I was too difficult to deal with and I belittle him with my words so he has no choice but to retaliate with his fists/feet/whatever object he felt like throwing at me.

Things definitely got steadily worse as time went on - he started to be less careful about who was around.

One time he threw a wire dish rack at my head as my sister was outside our apartment door ringing the doorbell.

Another time he tried to throttle me and gave me a few kicks and punches in the bathroom, while my friend and her boyfriend were sleeping in the very next room.

All I remember is being more concerned about them hearing anything than about him hurting me. I don't really understand why.

A few times I tried to gently bring the subject up with his mother, because I wondered if she might be the best person to help him do something about his behaviour - it was very apparent from our conversations that she knew exactly what he was like, and it was pretty apparent from what she said to me that his father was the same way with her.

She made excuses for both of them, and seemed a bit embarrassed about it..and very much in denial that there was anything really wrong with it - preferring to state that they both just had "bad tempers".

Seeing her kitchen door kicked through from the inside and her admitting that his father had done it was what made it clear that they had very much the same issues and that she had probably put up with the same thing for her entire marriage....

But she made me feel like it was normal, and that I was being dramatic to consider it abusive.

I felt like a bit of an idiot, and still do, for going through the motions of planning the wedding and getting excited about silly little details while all of this was still going on....

The final straw came when it was his 30th birthday. We'd been for a meal with about 20 of his family members and my sister. When we got home, he picked a huge fight with me because he said I'd spent too much time talking to my sister - despite her being the only one there who didn't know anybody else - he screamed abuse and insults at me for a good hour, shoved me backwards into the wardrobe, punched me and spat on me.

After that, I had made my mind up that I was definitely not going through with that wedding - but I couldn't find the words to actually STOP it all.

And so I went silent. I refused to talk about the wedding and got grumpy whenever anybody brought it up.

Luckily for me, my Mum noticed this and outright asked me one day if I didn't want to go through with it - I admitted that I didn't want to. She sort of guessed that Martin might have anger issues as she said that my Uncle had seen him get a bit rough with me at a party once and had told her about it.

And so, the wedding was called off with about 4 weeks to spare.

Everybody lost a lot of money - my family members had booked plane tickets from Ireland etc, people had bought outfits - I felt like such an idiot for being such a huge inconvenience to everybody.

I still feel embarrassed about the cancellation. I still wonder what people think the reason was.

But I am so glad that wedding didn't go ahead.

Even when preparing to post this, I still felt nervous. I felt like I was the one who should be ashamed or embarrassed. I worried incase his family saw it and blamed me.

But why should I feel that way?

No matter what anybody says, no matter how much somebody claims that you are "provoking" them - there isn't any excuse for being violent towards another person.

And I shouldn't be the one that feels ashamed.



  1. You did the right thing by far! My best friend was in a violent relationship and didn't know how to get out - she too was engaged and thought it would 'change him' but it never. The final straw came when she had a baby and moved out - she now lives in Devon and the father hasn't been to see their son since they moved there in January, just shows doesn't it!

    You definitely wasn't the only one xx

  2. Oh my bats you brave brave person.
    This had me welling up for how you were treated. It is one of those things as someone who has never lived through that you'd think "oh you wouldn't stand for it," but then thinking about it - it can't be an easy situation to walk away from. :(

    Glad your mum realised something wasn't right with you just before your wedding, it's a shame his mum didn't tell you to get out of it whilst you still can't - especially if she's living that way herself.

    I'm happy you got out of that scary situation and found someone who hopefully treats you like a princess and your son like a prince :)

    Juyey xx

  3. What a tough thing to post but im so glad you did and think itll help a lot of people. SUCH important issues for both men and women. xx

  4. I'm so glad you've spoken up, I can see you really helping someone else to come out of it! I've watched my mum go through it, even seeing her be dragged across the floor and having her leg slammed in a door when I was 14, i've been through emotional abuse & had things thrown at me & threats by an ex father figure! I was too scared to even go home at times! Just look at how far you've come, you have a gorgeous little boy and a wonderful partner, plus this amazing blog, you're a strong girl :) x

  5. aaw, thats really horrible what he did to you, i think for me a person who doing things like that cant be callen-man, because he is not, ore like an animal.

  6. As someone you spoke to about it you know my view at the time and now. I actually think you did a very brave thing to just walk away and I am so proud you did because look at you now, life couldn't be more different (despite A ha).

    As for him, I hope he has sought help his his issues, there are no excuses as far as I am concerned.


    Lots of Love Beautyqueenuk!

  7. Wow Hayley that sounds awful, I think you're very brave and have nothing to be ashamed or embarrassed about. Thankfully I've never been in your situation but I'm sure a lot of women have and I think they'll appreciate you writing this very honest post, well done for getting yourself out of that scary situation and well done for writing about it :) xxx

    Handbags To Change Bags - Mummy & Lifestyle Blog

  8. Oh hayley, I am so sorry you had to experience this! I am so glad you spoke up and called the wedding off and you now have a beautiful little boy with Jon and are much much happier :) xx

  9. Well done for posting this! :) Glad you got out of it! X

  10. I'm so sorry that you had go go through that! Hats off to you for posting about it and for raising awareness! Very brave thing to do. I'm glad you've finally found happiness.x

  11. I'm so glad that you never did go through with the wedding because it sounds like we're in a living nightmare. I think you're so brave to put it out there, hopefully it will help someone else who is in a similar situation. Xxx

  12. Oh my goodness you are so brave to share this. I hope things are so much better for you now, I'm so glad you were able to make the right decision and get out.


  13. After spending ages wondering how to respond I decided to be brutally honest (please don't hate me).

    I hope the rat bag reads this, and realises that he made a BIG mistake. Men who treat women like punchbags or mess with their heads are nothing but nasty, insecure people.

    One of my ex's decided to try and get rough with me once but luckily I was already having doubts so that's exactly where it ended but I do have another friend who went through a couple of years of hell with her fella when he started getting jealous of her being so popular. I don't envy anyone in that sort of situation.

    As others have said before me, well done on sharing your story with the blogging world - if it helps just one or two people then it will have been worth the write.

    I'm so sorry you had to go through that.

    Lou xxx

    Confessions of a Secret Shopper

  14. Thank you for sharing your story, your very brave and you certainly did the right thing by not marrying him .
    If anything I hope at least one person out there will read this and end an abusive relationship.

  15. My gosh you've been through so much, so glad you managed to get out and you are super happy now!


  16. You should never be embarressed! You were the victim and you luckily managed to escape. You were brave to do what you did! I hope you telling your story gives at least one person the courage to escape.

  17. Really brave post Hayley. Glad you escaped and are happy now :) x

    Vicky x

  18. Oh my gosh, I am so sorry you had to suffer through this. You shouldn't be embarrassed at all. You probably are helping others in similar situations. Thank you for being so brave. You need to know that not all men are that way and that you deserve so much better than this. Love doesn't involve violence. Ever. I am happy you made the right choice and from that point forward your life will be better because of it. Thank you for being so candid and for sharing.


  19. Argh. This is awful, what an absolute **** who does he think he is??! You are soooo much better than him and I am SO happy for you that you are now happy with Jon and have your little Tyney Tot! Thanks for sharing though, I would think that this would help a lot of people. xx

    UK based Lifestyle & Parenting Blog

  20. Very brave of you to write about an abuse issue Hayley, especially when it is so personal to you. DO NOT feel ashamed or embarassed, you are most certainly not the one to blame. Some people have indepth issues which they cannot deal with so they resort to violence or self harm, etc. It sounds like such a horrific experience and I'm so glad you got out of it and away from that monster! I'm also so glad you were able to move on and find Jon, from his pictures with Tyne he looks like a lovely man and a doting dad. I wish you a lifetime of happiness with your beautiful family, Heaven knows you deserve it after all you've been through. Big hugs! xo

    Fiona @

  21. really brave of tou glad you esacaped such a horrible and nasty man wish you all the happiness in the world

  22. your very brave and you certainly did the right thing by not marrying him

  23. You are very brave to have posted this. Many women have been there, me included, but very few have the confidence to speak out. Congratulations on how far you have come!

  24. Oh Hayley, I'm crying reading this. What a brave post. Thank god your mum asked you outright and you had the confidence to end it all. No you shouldn't feel ashamed, not at all xx

  25. You did a brave thing and left him, I can't sympathise with physically violent relationships but I was in a mentally violent one, he never touched me but made me so quiet a shadow of what I was a confident girl, picking my clothes controlling the money the put downs, it took me 6 years to leave him and now have a great man by my side, people like you talking about your story is an inspiration to woman that are to afraid to do it

  26. this post is a testament to you and the courage it took to speak out back then and now, because of your courage your life is exactly how it is meant to be. i always think even when life is at its toughest it's all part of a bigger picture and everything happens for a reason.

    so pleased to have found your blog, and a fellow scouser too yay! :)

  27. Well done for speaking out and you definitely did the right thing. My Mum was abused by my father for as long as I can remember... he'd stamp on her, kick her, beat her, pull her hair, pull cupboard doors off amongst other things... my earliest memory is of my dad holding a knife to my mums throat... I think I was about 4 years old. Inevitably my mum turned to drink and turned her anger towards me. It was awful. In 2007 it came about that my dad had cheated on mum and She STILL didn't leave him. She began to drink even more. In Feb 2010 I found out I was pregnant, in April 2010 my mum passed away of drink related illnesses... MANY drink related illnesses. She was still married to this awful man. She never got to meet her grandchildren. My dad still sees me a hand full of times a year, I don't know why I still see him, I guess its because he's 'family'... DO NOT beat yourself up about this... you did the RIGHT THING but I know why you stayed with him for so long, I understand how he made you feel as my dad made my mum feel. Well done for speaking about it. I hope others see this act.

  28. Oh Hayley! There is no reason at all that YOU should feel embarrassed! I appreciate your honesty and applaud your bravery. It can't have been an easy decision, but you did absolutely the right thing. And look where you are now! Well done for getting through all that and becoming the lovely Mummy that you are!

    Kate x
    Just Pirouette and Carry On...

  29. What a very courageous and brave lady you are to post about such an awful experience,one of which sadely still is a taboo subject for many people.Glad you found someone who appreciates you and you were able to move on in your life

  30. What a brave young lady you are to write about such a hard time in your life,well done for speaking out on such a difficult yet saddely popular feature in many peoples lives.So pleased you have been able to move on in your life and are now with someone who appreciates you

  31. Domestic violence is, unfortunately, much higher than people assume. I work for Social Services and nearly every case I work with has domestic violence somewhere. More needs to be done to bring it out into the open and shame perpetrators (both male and female!) otherwise it becomes something that is accepted because it's behind close doors. A real shame. Well done for coming forward :)

  32. This is so awful :( But YOU are amazing xx

  33. Oh honey I am so sorry to hear what you went through but just glad that you got out of the situation. Look what it's brought you to, a beautiful little happy family. Huge hugs for you, you are very brave for sharing this x

  34. Hayley I had no idea. I am so glad you and John are happy with your 3 beautiful boys. I can't believe you went through this. You are strong and brave and deserve all the happiness in the world xxxx

  35. Well done for speaking out about your experience. My ex was more verbally and emotionally abusive than physically. I had no one I could confide in because I knew I wouldn't get any help from anyone. My daughter's dad used to say vile things to me even in front of other people, mainly his friends who were loyal to him. "If you do the dirty on me, I'll carve the word 'slag' on your forehead" is one example. I was always faithful to him, but in his paranoid mind I must be cheating on him. He would play mind games and blame me for the way he behaved. He knocked my confidence and I believed his behaviour was my fault. He once spat in my face in front of his dad and my then baby daughter because I had walked away from him after he had just referred to my mom by using a racist term. His spineless wimp of a dad did nothing to intervene either. I wish I had been strong enough to dump him, but he got in there first by leaving me for someone else. None of his behaviour was my fault. I see that now, but he brainwashed me all those years ago. He was manipulative, controlling and a bully. People like that don't change. I had no one to turn to. Our mutual friends (all males) didn't want to get involved even when they witnessed his bullying. I think some of them were scared of him. Others did nothing because they didn't want to ruin their friendship with him. That made me think even more that it was all my fault. Good riddance to him and those so-called friends. They're all in the past and they can stay there too, him and his friends.

  36. Oh gosh I was nearly in tears reading this, what an awful thing to go through and I'm so glad you got out whilst you still could - there's no knowing how far an abuser might end up going. I had some bad experiences with an ex, he never hit me but did other stuff and I'm forever thankful that I got away. Big hugs and well done for telling your story, I'm sure it will save many xx

  37. Oh wow. I am so sorry to hear Hayley! That was so shocking to read :( but I am so glad you were strong enough to leave. Well done to you xxx

  38. You are such a strong and beautiful woman, do you know that? And so brave to share this post. I have a post of a my DV background that I have re-written and tried to publish on so many times that I've yet to actually do it. But this gave me the idea that perhaps I should. Well done for walking that's the hardest part. xx

  39. well done for getting out of that relationship and for how brave you were to cancel your wedding, and for writing this very honest post which which will be a help and inspiration to any women who reads it who feels trapped in an abusive relationship I too have had abusive relationships and like you put up with far too much and wish i had left them sooner, but the main thing is we found the strength to do so and move on, so you should be very proud of yourself, well done. I'm glad you found your happy ending, I haven't found mine yet, but who knows what the future holds x

  40. You are so brave for talking about this. And so so brave for ending it. No matter what anyone spent, they were coming because they care about you and would never have wanted any harm to come to you. Many hugs from me.

  41. This just popped up on twitter and I'm so glad I clicked to read. Not as glad as I am to read you didn't go through with it and got your happy ever after. It's crazy what lengths you go to to normalise it and hide it. How can life with an abusive partner be so "normal" I like you hit a brick wall with his family and it does take something to simply click and give you the strength to wake up.
    I've had comments such as well why didn't you just leave... I felt glad in a way that they hadn't experienced anything like it but sad they felt it was that easy. Thank you for sharing such a powerful and positive story I don't feel able to on my blog out of respect for my son xxx

  42. Thank you so much for writing and sharing this. I am full of admiration for you x

  43. I think you are so brave, for so many reasons, for writing this and for leaving him are just the start, you are amazing! I also lived through domestic violence, I also thought I would never find myself in a relationship like that. I truly believe we can't judge others until we are in these situations. I also, like you, felt more embarrassed to think others would find out than to protect myself. Eventually I realised I could not live that way any longer and left, although he stalked me for a very long time, which is a big reason that I write under a pseudonym. I haven't been brave enough to tell my story on my blog, I am so proud of you for telling yours, I know it will help so many people!

  44. Lovely post <3 you made right decision and you were very brave . Well done and I wish you all the best honey :*


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