It was less than three years ago that I was getting into my wedding dress, walking down the beach and saying the vows I intended to keep forever.
It wasn’t long ago that I felt like the most loved woman on the planet because my best friend was by my side and promising to stand by me until the end of time. It wasn’t long ago but it feels like an eternity has passed since then.
It's been an interesting year trying to understand what happened. Trying to make sense of it all. Tomorrow marks one year since my husband walked out with little notice, for the last time in my life.
For those who watched the heavily edited show, The Single Wives, you may think you know my "story". But in reality, no one will ever know the full truth except for me and my former husband.
For me, it is far too hurtful to discuss outside of a therapist's office. Looking back on where I was one year ago though, may by-proxy provide a better insight into a marriage that seemingly starred "the golden couple" (as many of my girlfriends used to describe us).
One year ago tomorrow, I was blindsided. I had asked for a long time why my husband was distant, disappearing at night and not acting himself, I finally had my answer exactly 366 days ago. He was leaving me. He felt he'd never had his "single days" and he wanted to live life as a "single man".
I was horrified as time stood still and my head buzzed. There was no discussion, he had decided "a while ago" he was leaving. This conversation occurred for a full 10 minutes.
That night, I found out he already had another house. He had taken his children to see it, and he had been planning this for quite some time. He walked out less than 30 minutes later to the sounds of my wailing and begging him to stay.
For the 18 months prior to that day, I had been in therapy with my ex husband. Several weeks after our wedding, I discovered he was being unfaithful.
Whilst he had lunch with his family, I was at home reading messages to women he seemingly spent his nights exchanging texts and emails, when I was upstairs asleep next to the kids rooms. I discovered he was sending the same gifts to me, that he sent to other women (some married) when he was away for work
I uncovered a trail of deceit that still makes my mind spin. It appeared no one was off limits - co-workers, strangers, women from the gym, married women with babies...a few days before our wedding he was trying to reconnect with an old girlfriend and texting to meet up....seriously, everyone seemed to be on his radar.
The other world I uncovered, a literal web of men, women, and lies, stripped away any innocence I still had in adulthood.
Due to legal reasons, I'm unable to discuss much of the detail but finding out that the person you worshipped and adored was pretty much a stranger, was the lowest point of my life.
The next year and a half I spent in therapist's offices trying to understand why he behaved the way he did, where I went wrong and how I could help and support him. When he said it was nothing to do with me, I didn't believe him. I believed we could turn this awful history around though, and repair what was left of the trust between us.
Through it all I maintained the attitude of the good wife, so nobody outside of our home knew what was going on. To this day my girlfriends still comment they're amazed I kept it to myself for so long. But when you love someone, you want to believe it will all work itself out and I was committed to seeing that whatever he needed from me, would make sure our marriage survived.
The lies started to peek through again a few months before our separation. Lying about where he was going, who with and why I wasn't invited. I chose not to question it as when someone is in therapy, you're not supposed to question them. Apparently.
I chose not to see what I knew was the truth. I chose to bury my head in the sand for the sake of my sanity and the children.
I was stunned then to realize he had no interest in trying to repair the marriage…..a marriage that was founded on love (or was it guilt?). After spending so long fighting to keep our relationship in tact, he decided one day he just wanted out…as soon as possible.
Now 12 months on, I'm thankful. I'm thankful that I felt and experienced such a big love. The incredible times, the amazing moments and for the times I felt protected. I'm still in awe of myself that I stayed committed to someone who did not know what the word meant, and could have easily destroyed my trust in the world.
I'm thankful for the laughter we shared and for the memories we created in our short time as a couple. I like to believe that in those moments, he was happy too.
I now thank him for leaving when he did. Even though I’m still trying to understand why, it has made me a stronger person and helped me understand my boundaries were incredibly compromised throughout our entire marriage and it was probably never meant to last forever. It was a lesson.
A lesson that I know what it feels to love, that big love. I may never feel that again and that's OK too. I got to feel it once, and for many people, they'll never get that opportunity.
Divorce has made me more independent and helped me see the world in a new light, and for that, I thank him.
I thank him for the lessons I've learnt - that even amazing, loving marriages can fade into nothing and he taught me to be more careful with my heart in the future.
Since 366 days ago, I've created a television show about relationships. At that point I was very raw. I needed a new space, a new perspective. And living in a $20 million house with three women also f%^cked up, was like a blessing.
You see, when you go through a separation you find out who your true friends and family really are. It's an incredibly humbling experience. I thank god a couple of his family reached out to me soon after our split and the bullshit stories started. I expected that as his therapist had warned me it would occur. It makes people feel better to create tall tales to avoid shining a mirror on their own behaviour. Thankfully, several people stated they "knew what he is like" which made me feel comforted for some odd reason. But for their support, I'm eternally grateful.
With my very inner circle of friends, I essentially connected strongly with people who understood where my head was at.
On TV everyone watched my "relationship" blossom which in reality, was like history repeating itself. I yet again chose someone emotionally unavailable and have since found out I was not the only person in his life. I was played.
I chose not to watch the last episode of the show as I knew the truth by then, and watching a marvellous act on TV would have been a little much for me.
Is this another lesson for me? I think so....
Karma may have played her part or maybe, it was me looking past the obvious signs and believing that love will always pull through. Which now I know, it doesn't.
This week I'm eternally grateful for my friends who've remembered this milestone date and entertained me with wine, phone calls and texts. One close girlfriend who rang me today summed it up perfectly; "it's scary how we never truly do know someone". So very, very true.
So without hate or animosity, I look back at the last 12 months and I thank my ex husband. I thank him for the good times, for the hard times, for the laughter and the tears.
Thank you for helping to shape the strong person I am today and for being a big part of my life for a small snippet of time.
And today, I close that chapter of my life for good.
Here's to the next chapter of my life.