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.

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