‘I was an adult, so peo­ple weren’t as sym­pa­thetic’

Woman's Own - - BEHIND THE HEADLINES -

Karen Fig­gitt, 37, is a caterer from Wey­mouth, Dorset.

Mum and Dad had been to­gether for 27 years be­fore they got di­vorced, and the news hit me hard.

Grow­ing up, I had a lovely child­hood. I felt se­cure and adored. My par­ents used to take us on ex­cit­ing car­a­van hol­i­days, with Dad driv­ing and Mum pack­ing pic­nics.

Be­cause I was an adult when they di­vorced, peo­ple weren’t as sym­pa­thetic to me and my feel­ings as they are to younger chil­dren. I didn’t have to de­cide who to live with but sud­denly that fam­ily base was gone and I felt lost.

I had to step up and take on the role of the man with Mum. For years, Dad was in charge of so much and Mum was clue­less.

I sorted out bills and jobs at the house. I went from be­ing care­free in my 20s af­ter mov­ing out, to su­per-re­spon­si­ble. Mum didn’t fil­ter her views and I’d beg her to stop talk­ing about Dad badly. I couldn’t work out how they’d been mar­ried so long then de­cided to di­vorce.

Af­ter a few years, it be­gan to af­fect my re­la­tion­ships, too. I’d al­ways be­lieved I’d marry when I found the right man, but that changed. I ruled out marriage and it caused havoc with my boyfriend at the time. It made me care­less in my re­la­tion­ship and I ended up break­ing up with him. I was sud­denly scared of love.

I had a lot of short-term re­la­tion­ships. It wasn’t un­til I met my fi­ancé Philip, 52, that I re­alised I could be happy. We’ve been to­gether for 14 years and are long-term en­gaged as I’m still scared of marriage.

‘i ruled out ever get­ting mar­ried’

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