Unable to take it in, I started crying hysterically and pleaded with him to stay, but there was no changing Charlie’s mind – he wanted a divorce. The rug had been ripped from under me and I watched him walk out of the door for good.
We first met in August 2013, after being set up by friends who thought we’d hit it off. I was 30 and had spent the last few years serial dating but with no serious relationships to show for it, and it was no secret that I was terrified of never finding someone – so I welcomed the matchmaking.
Within nine months, we’d moved in together. Things were happening fast, but it felt right – he was everything I’d been looking for. Then in August 2014, on holiday in Santorini, Charlie proposed.
We’d only been together for 12 months, but I knew that he was The One. A year later, we had a big white wedding at the Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park with over 150 guests, then flew off for a beautiful honeymoon in Sri Lanka.
At the end of summer 2016, Charlie and I decided to try for a baby. I’d always wanted to be a mum and after two months I was ecstatic to find out I was pregnant.
But on the morning of the day we were going to tell my parents the news, I felt like Charlie was acting distantly. When I pushed him to tell me what was wrong, I couldn’t have dreamed that he’d ask for a divorce. Yet two hours later, he was gone and my world fell apart.
Left alone in our home, I immediately phoned my closest girlfriends. They were by my side within the hour and tried their best to tell me that although it felt awful right now, it obviously wasn’t meant to be and life would get better.
- The majority of divorces of opposite-sex couples in 2017 were petitioned by the wife.
- It is estimated that up to four in 100 people in the UK may develop PTSD at some stage in life.
But it didn’t feel like it and I spent the next few weeks reeling between utter devastation, anger and confusion. I couldn’t take the bins out without bursting into tears, and I was signed off work from my job as a teacher. Even just eating and drinking became a chore, as I was so heartbroken. It felt impossible to be happy when my life had been turned upside down.
In December, I made the agonising decision to terminate my pregnancy. I knew I couldn’t bring a baby into the world under those circumstances – especially as I didn’t know if I was ever going to be able to piece myself back together again.
Soon afterwards, my doctor diagnosed me with borderline PTSD because I’d been left so traumatised by our break-up, and suggested I got professional mental health support. Through talking with friends and family I found some strength, and with trauma counselling I was able to function again and go back to work.
Sitting on my sofa nine months after my diagnosis, it struck me that I needed to use my pain and experience to help others. While I’d known since I was a teen that heartbreak can knock you for six, I’d never considered how much of an overwhelming physical and emotional impact it could have on a person, until it happened to me.
I wanted people going through the same thing to know they weren’t alone and be able to help them get through it. Since then I’ve retrained as a relationship and dating coach and am now able to advise others, whether that’s about how to write the perfect dating profile or how to express your feelings when it all feels too much.
I’ve recently given up teaching to start a relationship advice website called The Blue Ticks, which offers all sorts of support as well as a chat forum for people to share their love stories, whether they’ve had their heart broken or not.
Despite the break-up, Charlie and I are still in contact and our divorce is coming through in the next few weeks. Now I’m finally feeling strong enough to start dating again and can’t wait to see who and what the future brings.
While I wouldn’t wish what I’ve gone through on my worst enemy, I know first hand that no matter how bad your heartbreak, as my friends tried to tell me, life really does go on.
- Name has been changed
- ONS and Mind
- Visit Theblueticks.com
- Follow Laura on Instagram @Theblueticksuk
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