Ours was a bit of a whirlwind romance. I'd had a few dates since splitting up with Lee but nothing that changed my opinion that all men were just out for themselves. And then, I went to my friend's 25th birthday party and met Ewan, one of her colleagues.
I noticed him looking over at me almost as soon as I arrived and he wasn't unattractive - tall and broad.....looked like a rugby player! I tried to ignore him but everytime I glanced over, he was looking and smiling. Something drew me to him so after a few drinks I went over to him and we hit it off straight away. He had a kind face with lovely brown eyes and a boyish smile and he just seemed different to anyone else I had met. This was no Jack-the-lad but a really warm man who seemed genuinely interested in everything I had to say. He wasn't setting out to impress but I could still tell he liked me.
We arranged to meet the next day and then saw each other all the time over the next week - it was just so easy being with him. By the Friday, he told me he loved me but even though I was having the time of my life and loving all the attention and affection, I stayed cool. I refused to let myself be swept off my feet, even though it would have been the easiest thing in the world. By the following Friday, he asked me to marry him and because I knew I wouldn't find another man like him; no one who would love me so sincerely; no one who wanted to make me happy like he did; no one who kissed me so tenderly but with real passion and desire. Because of all of that, I said yes and it seemed like the most natural thing in the world to do. By then he was pretty much my best friend (after just two weeks!) and it didn't matter that I wasn't allowing myself to fall in love with him - I knew I wanted to be his wife and I vowed to be a good one, to never let him regret marrying me even though I couldn't say the words "I love you".
We had a huge wedding just six months later - big church, big dress, big cake - the works. It was a great day and his speech was so beautiful and full of love. I couldn't quite believe I was with a man who was so happy to have found me.
For the first few years, he was very attentive and so proud of me. All my friends loved him to bits and thought I was the luckiest woman in the world. And I did my part too. We bought an old run-down house and together we renovated it and brought it back to its former glory. And then we spent all our time entertaining - inviting others to share our happy life.
After two years, we thought the time was right for children and I got pregnant straight away but at four months I had a miscarriage. I felt such a failure and I guess that's when things changed a bit. He was still attentive but he was keen to get on with the business of starting a family and he couldn't understand why I was scared to get pregnant again, especially as the doctor had reassured us that it wasn't likely to happen again.
The next two years were difficult but eventually I caved in and Sasha arrived followed almost immediately by Kyle the following year. Things were different then. We were both completely besotted with our children and everything we did revolved around them. His affection for me diminished noticeably as he lavished it on both of them. I compensated by giving them all my time too. We settled into a comfortable family routine together - what some people may call a rut - and the years went by.
He did well at work getting regular promotions but it meant he stayed at the office longer. And then we hit a really rough patch when he started drinking too much because of the stress. I kind of lost him then, I think, even though we got through it. His love for the children made him realise the error of his ways and he got back on track but I felt responsible for that wobble. Maybe I should have been more supportive, looked after him more. He told me often during that period that he was tired of trying to break down my walls and though I told him not to be stupid, I knew full well what he meant.
We've got by since then. Living together, looking out for each other - to the outside world it looks good and actually, I suppose it is. Can any marriage hope for more after nearly twenty years?
The thing is, although we are still together, he is, in a sense, only on the sidelines of my life. We share a bed and eat meals together and talk about stuff but what I've realised recently is that he is excluded from my innermost thoughts. Even so, although I know don't need him in my life, I don't want to be without him. In fact, I can barely remember life without him.
Is that love?
2 days ago