‘I Cel­e­brated My Di­vorce With A Glass Of Cham­pagne’

Ceri Gau­tama was mar­ried at – and di­vorced by the time she was . She tells Look how she coped…

Look (UK) - - FEATURE -

‘Iwas cy­cling around Cen­tral Park in April this year when it hit me: if I hadn’t got di­vorced, I prob­a­bly wouldn’t have seen New York. I wouldn’t have bought my­self the trip as a 30th birth­day gift and spent the day drink­ing cock­tails in Man­hat­tan and pos­ing for pho­tos on the steps from Sex And The City. And I wouldn’t be se­cretly sav­ing up to go back­pack­ing for three months when I got back to London. In fact, I wouldn’t be liv­ing in London at all. I’d still be in a sleepy town in the Mid­lands. Get­ting di­vorced in my twen­ties was the best thing I’d ever done.

Of course, if you’d told me that three years ago, I wouldn’t have been so sure. Be­ing mar­ried for only two years didn’t make things any eas­ier when our re­la­tion­ship ended and it still took me over a year be­fore I started to think about di­vorce.

Nick* and I met when I was only 17. He was six years older than me and worked for my par­ents’ busi­ness. Within a few years, we were dat­ing. When I went to Cardiff Uni­ver­sity to study English, he’d come down to visit me and we’d talk about mov­ing in to­gether as soon as I grad­u­ated. Most of my friends were sin­gle, so I was used to be­ing one of the only ones in a cou­ple. In ret­ro­spect, I guess I didn’t have any ref­er­ence points for how re­la­tion­ships were sup­posed to work in your twen­ties. All I knew was that I loved Nick and wanted to be with him for ever. When he pro­posed over din­ner on his 30th birth­day, I cried in the mid­dle of the restau­rant. The fact that I was only 24 didn’t come into it.

On the day of our wed­ding, I was so happy. But as soon as the con­fetti cleared, cracks be­gan to show. I don’t know whether I’d just been so fo­cused on hav­ing a wed­ding that I’d for­got­ten to think about the enor­mity of be­ing mar­ried to one per­son for the rest of my life, or if we’d both hid­den our true selves un­til it was too late. Ei­ther way, we fought con­stantly. I wanted to move to London and travel. Nick wanted to stay in our town and start a fam­ily.

Af­ter two years of bick­er­ing and ar­gu­ing, I was strug­gling so much I’d been pre­scribed an­tide­pres­sants and Nick was spend­ing more and more time with his friends. Left alone in the house for what felt like the mil­lionth time, I de­cided I’d had enough. I packed a bag and moved back in with my par­ents. It was tough and I cried for weeks. Still, I knew I’d done the right thing.

As I see it, fil­ing for di­vorce when you’re 27 isn’t much dif­fer­ent to fil­ing for it when you’re 37. It’s al­ways go­ing to be sad. The only ad­van­tage was that be­cause we were so young we didn’t have any as­sets, so I could fill out the pa­per­work my­self. Nick had agreed that I could cite his “un­rea­son­able be­hav­iour” as the rea­son for the split, and while it cost a few hun­dred pounds, he paid for it. Iron­i­cally, things be­came eas­ier be­tween us once the di­vorce process got un­der­way.

As I posted the pa­pers, I made a de­ci­sion: I was go­ing to start say­ing yes to new jobs, to hol­i­days, to tak­ing risks. I’d left Nick be­cause I felt like I wasn’t get­ting to live the life I wanted – I no longer had any ex­cuses. I found a job in London and asked a friend if I could sleep on her sofa. A cou­ple of days af­ter I ar­rived, a brown en­ve­lope showed up. I took my­self off to take in the fact that my mar­riage was ir­re­vo­ca­bly over. Then I had a glass of cham­pagne.

My friends are all get­ting en­gaged at the moment and I’m ex­cited for them, but I’m not sure if it’s some­thing I need do again. For the first time in my life, I fi­nally know how to be happy on my own – and that’s much bet­ter than be­ing un­happy with some­body else.’

To­day, she loves liv­ing the life of a sin­gle girl at

Ceri’s wed­ding was the hap­pi­est day of her life

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