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My ex-husband is getting married again and I couldn't be happier ... we worked hard at our break-up

By Shappi Khorsandi

I'm going to be honest with you, love. You've become the divorce bore. You need to move on." My dear, late manager, Addison Cresswell, was honest with me some years ago when I moaned about not being booked on comedy panel shows anymore.

I will admit that, for five years, I talked of little else and was a furious ball of bitterness and rage.

My divorce was happening just as, career-wise, the world was my oyster. I picked that pretty oyster up and hurled it back into the sea.

It is fair to say I was not 'zen' about my marriage break-up. As I saw it, I had failed my two-year-old by ripping his world in half.

You're meant to 'work at it', religious folk and cliche-lovers tell us. After all, love isn't all about sunsets and stargazing; sometimes it's about taking the bins out.

I was brainwashed by fairytales and salt-of-the-earth soap opera characters to believe that everyone has a 'One' and he, or she, will love you forever, no matter what massive snags you hit.

I'd like to see Cinderella and Prince Charming a few years down the line with a couple of kids. Perhaps she would have grown to resent the class gap between them, got an Open University degree and now works as a government statistician.

Perhaps he feels threatened by her new-found financial independence and starts gas-lighting her, crushing her self-esteem without being aware he is doing so. Perhaps.

How many 'work on it' by trying to have flings to break the monotony and disappointment? Then deal with guilt and low self-worth?

This pressure to 'make it work' no matter what makes it all the more painful when 'I dos' become 'I'll buy you outs'.

Sometimes, it just doesn't work.

And no one ever meant for you to get hurt.

I went kicking and screaming through my divorce.

My ex and I made the War of the Roses look like a lively episode of Gardeners' Question Time.

I didn't 'throw myself into work' I lobbed myself instead into chaotic relationships with men who, like my ex-husband, had floppy hair and played the guitar.

You know the bit in King Kong where he rampages through the city, picking up blonde women then tossing them over his shoulder when he sees they are not Fay Wray? That was me, but with emotionally unavailable indie band boys.

You can't see heartache. There is no intravenous drip, no medicine, no oxygen mask to draw attention to it. Yet, a broken heart can be the most debilitating condition when it comes to getting on with your life and your work.

I didn't just wear my heart on my sleeve: I held it by its scruff and dragged it weeping and wailing wherever I went. Not a good look.

I became a shouty mum. There was unbearable stress with lawyers, courts and a hideous form of torture called Form E. Form E is a bureaucratic horror meant to disclose every aspect of your finances and spending. It's designed to make warring couples go: "Oh, sod this, I don't hate you that much. Just move back in, we'll carry on as we were. I don't even care if you're sleeping with my dad - just as long as I don't have to work out how much I spent on loo paper in the last six years."

After a bout of my shouting, my three-year-old looked at me through tears one day and said: "You're not angry with me. You're angry with something else, but only I am here." A moment which will enthusiastically beat me up for the rest of my life.

Eight years on, I regard my short marriage as a successful one. How can I not? The little boy we made is now a happy, gentle lad of 10 who flits breezily between our home and his father's.

My ex-husband lives down the road with his brand new fiancee. She and I are going on a girls' night out next week to celebrate their engagement.

My ex and I stuck at our break-up through thick and thin and have, along with his missus-to-be, built an oddly-shaped, but rock-solid family unit. Enough time has passed for me to admit that it's great to see the old goat so happy.

Belfast Telegraph


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