We were crazy in love for 7 years, and then we weren't.

A man and woman walking towards the Eiffel Tower at dusk
Our honeymoon lasted seven years. art by@MidJourney

It began in a nightclub in London where Matt spotted Vikki at the bar and being the extrovert that he is began chatting her up. She told him she had a boyfriend but it didn’t stop him from giving her his number and a note to look him up should she ever happen to be in Paris. Six months later, that is exactly what she did. She came for a weekend and stayed a week.

"What a result! I wasn’t going to let this opportunity to be with this incredible woman pass me by."

Matt was a successful musician in Paris, and his career allowed him to travel back and forth to see Vikki, who would also come to visit him. They couldn’t get enough of each other but neither could move. A year later, Vikki was up for a promotion at work, she requested a recloation to the Paris office and they granted it. Life couldn’t have been better for this young couple. They went from stolen moments to full on together, they made good money and life was one continuous party. Their honeymoon period lasted a good seven years. They bought a stunning apartment overlooking a park, and Matt got to walk home from work to his beautiful Vikki. Pure romance. Not for a second had he considered marriage. He had grown up in a volatile, unstable home, and it had put him off the idea of marriage. A good mate jokingly told him he should ‘put a ring on it’, and it got him thinking that she was forever and he didnt want her to miss out on her dream wedding. He proposed just before a concert in Berlin, and they spent the weekend celebrating. It was all so easy, even getting pregnant and giving birth. They got to raise their first child in beautiful Paris.

"We were on a high and then it all changed. Crashed."


What was the catalyst?

They decided to move to the countryside to be closer to family, her parents had retired and moved from the UK to a town outside Paris. Vikki was pregnant again and they knew their apartment wasn’t going to be large enough and at the time in made sense.

They looked for their ‘dream home’ and found something enormous for the value of their apartment. It seemed like a great idea at the time, but they didn’t consider the enormity of the move. Matt was performing nights and had to drive back and forth to Paris. There were no night trains and it was exhausting. He hated the countryside, it was dull, and the people were boring and he loathed driving back and forth. Meanwhile, Vikki had lost her job and he was supporting the family alone. In no time their savings were depleted and the pressure was mounting. His stress levels went through the roof and he admits he isn't the easiest of people at the best of times. To make things worse, they stopped getting along and she started to dislike him. Matt felt overwhelmed and under-appreciated. He became resentful and he needed acknowledgment for everything he was doing.

"It was though she stopped caring, never asking me how the show was or drive safe."

Therapy was never discussed and it was a cost they couldn’t afford. Instead, they continued to live together for a few more years, sleeping in separate bedrooms. Matthew was desperate not to give up being a dad and the very thought of not seeing them would cause knots in his stomach and he would become nauseous. Eventually, it got too much and Vikki asked him to leave. At this point he suggested therapy, but it was far too late. Devastated and broken, he moved to a small rental in Paris. The only upside was giving up the countryside and night drives home.

Matt confesses that he was so hurt and angry that he couldn’t help but send angry late night messages to Vikki for close to two years. I raise my eyebrows. She dealt with his behaviour by blocking him on numerous occasions, for her own sanity. She still allowed all him access to see the kids, but he would have to collect them, take them out for the day and return them home not being allowed to come near the front door.

“I am not proud of this, but I was struggling and this is how I dealt with it.”

They say that home is where the heart is, and his heart was with his children. Not being with them caused Matt physical pain, gut-wrenching agony and he would find himself bent over sobbing whenever he thought about them.

It took a long time, but eventually he started to get out and enjoy Paris. He realised things weren’t so bad, the pros started to outweigh the cons. Matt began to forgive Vikki. He knows she is a good person and he regretted not acting on the moments when the magic appeared for a moment or two.

"We never got divorced, it’s been 10 years and we just never got around to it. It’s too expensive."

????

He had buried his head in the sand, ignored the lawyer's letters and somehow, Vikki let it slide. He isn’t sure why, but she knew he wasn’t coping. Maybe she was being compassionate? He continues to pay the bills and support her and the children and she works which takes some of the pressure off of Matt. They could sell the house to help him buy something bigger but he doesn’t want the children to experience any more change or pain. His absolute love of them is apparent.

Over time his relationship with Vikki has evolved. He started to forgive her by recalling the good things about her and today they lunch together as a family, from afar you would think they are married. Forgive Vikki? Yes, he had felt irrelevant, he had needed her support, her appreciation of his long work hours, and he missed her asking 'How'd it go?' It’s not easy, and they don’t know anything about each other's personal life- an unspoken rule. He isn't invited to her family events, and avoids all school events. He feels unwlecome and looked down upon in the community. Vikki updates him on academic progress and any issues, and they have learnt to parent together while living separate lives.

What advice would you give yourself if you could go back in time?

"Funnily enough, I was given this advice but I didn’t pay attention. At the time I was in a downward spiral of pain and anger and when she didn’t respond it was like adding fuel to my fire. I became more enraged even though she was an angel throughout."


Never ever send angry text messages. Ever.

Is there anything else you would like to share?

"I didn’t change, the circumstances did. I should have moved out and dated my wife again, got to be alone with her. She would have got help from family with the kids and we would have had time to work on us. If you have the opportunity, take some space and do everything you can to repair your relationship. TALK."

"You can't hug someone in a hurricane, you might poke each other's eyes out by mistake."

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