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