I Thought We Would be Together Forever

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The “civilized” breakdown of a marriage

Names have been changed to protect identities

Sarah was beyond excited. She was going off to the Caribbean to get married and she was immersed in hotel bookings, how to transport a wedding dress on an aircraft, would the cake look like the picture and will she mess up the vows she had so carefully written.

In the middle of all of this, her mother took her to one side and quietly said “Darling, make sure you always have your own money”

Sarah did not have to ask her mother why she had said that. She knew she was trying to protect her in case she and her future husband ever broke up.

Nevertheless, she was horrified, and a little annoyed, that her mother would be such a voice of doom so close to the happiest day of her life.

She dismissed it. She was not worried. She loved Callum and Callum loved her. She had waited her whole life for this. After a load of frogs, she had found her prince.

Plus, she earned more than he did, it was not as if she would be financially dependent on him anyway.

They got married.

Sarah and Callum enjoyed a wonderful marriage. After some difficulty, they eventually had a much-wanted child. Sarah’s employer allowed her to work part-time. Callum was now doing well in his own right.

They were not well-off by any means. Like most couples, they had to watch where the money went each month. 

To the outside world, they lived a fairly comfortable life.

After years of denial, one day Sarah took an honest look at her life. She came to the painful conclusion that her marriage was a sham. She had been faking happiness for a long time. Her sadness had not appeared overnight.

She could not pinpoint when things started to go wrong. The destruction of her relationship had been slow and quiet.

“Divorce is not an option”. She said over and over again. "We are a family".

One afternoon as Sarah was preparing food for a family gathering, Callum announced he would not be attending.

Her gut told her what was coming but she took a breath and asked: “Why not?”

“I thought I could do it, but I can’t face another family get together knowing how I feel”

“I don’t understand”. Sarah said, but she understood only too well.

He was saying what she had avoided.

Callum proceeded to tell her that he loved her, but was not in love with her. He wanted to move out but could not afford to pay for two homes. He had taken advice and it seemed selling the house would be the best option.

She thought to herself “The house! Not our house or even our home” 

Sarah wanted to ask if there was someone else, but she could not cope with a yes.

Then at that moment, as she stood there, transfixed, her hands covered in flour. She heard a little voice in her head.

“Darling, make sure you always have your own money”