It is now nine years since I announced to my former husband that he could expect my petition for divorce any day. Ours had not been a happy marriage. The old adage of 'marry in haste and repent at leisure' certainly applied to me. I had known R (as I shall refer to him) for less than six months when I discovered that I was pregnant. Twenty six years ago having a child outside of marriage was still very much frowned upon so in May 1980 R and I tied the knot in the local register office with two friends for witnesses and no guests. I had not told my parents or family as I did not want a fuss but immediately afterwards I phoned my sister and told her and asked her to tell my parents for me.
Considering the circumstances they were very supportive but there was much I did not tell them about R which if they had known would have probably led to them trying to stop me from marrying him. Looking back now I still wonder how I stayed with him for so long or even what I found attractive in him. He was abusive emotionally and physically and pathologically jealous. He made me very unhappy and he made me afraid.
Every day he for seventeen years he frightened me and bullied me and made false accusations about me. He threatened to take my children from me if I ever tried to leave him and he said he would have me killed if I did and I believed him.
I attempted to leave him on a number of occasions over the years but he always lured me back, promising that he would change, that he loved me blah blah. It was only when I stopped being afraid of him that I found the determination to rid myself of him and then, lo and behold, he became afraid of me - but that's a tale for another day.
What I am trying to say is that my life was just about as bad as a person's could be and that for me getting divorced has been an almost entirely positive experience. I know how hard the breakdown of a relationship can be when you are going throughand everyone's experiences of divorce are different but there is life after divorce and it will get better.