Catherine and her husband had been married for over twenty years and had two adult children at the time of their divorce. She had not worked during the marriage and her husband left her in a financially precarious position.

What I wish I had known: 

I should have spoken to a counsellor but I was very concerned about the counsellor’s fees at the time, as I didn’t know if I would be able to afford it! I just had no idea where I stood. Also it would have been an advantage to have spoken to my husband as he has never spoken to me since the day he walked out (I still don’t know what its all about and making him face up to me and speak to me would have been such a help to me then and now).

I question some of the judgments the Courts made but I did not have the finances to continue to get the right evidence against my husband. I’m still looking for the truth in a lot that he has done/hidden. I have lots of evidence but not the finances to carry the (investigations) out. (This is) so frustrating and holds me back from moving on completely in my life!

The low point:

The loss of trust in everybody. The way my whole family reacted including my children who didn’t really speak to me for years, as he told them lies which they believed. That was the hardest thing – nobody knew who anybody was and what to believe. We had previously all been so open and loving. Now I have an amazing relationship with my children who are finding out more of who he really is but it hurts us all.

These have been such hurtful hard years but I was determined not to bad mouth my husband – I resolved to let the truth of his dishonesty come out from his own behaviour. Which is happening. It was worth all the hurt, anger and hard times to stay calm/quiet and so now I have their love, respect and their trust. I have seen a counsellor at different times over the last eleven years which has helped.

The certainty that I made the right decision:

Yes, I am certain even though I’m still very sad, hurt and find life tough sometimes. I’m still amazed that I’m divorced. It is the last thing I ever thought would happen to me. I can still be embarrassed about it! I never thought I would live by myself but I have found ways of getting over this and we all do it in different ways, but going into another relationship is not the right thing unless you really meet your soul mate and have that amazing, special feeling for somebody again. I couldn’t have gone back my husband as I didn’t know who he was anymore!

What I would do differently:

In a relationship never let your partner talk you into letting them have all the control over money decisions or your life. You must know where you stand.

I would also have got myself into a more stable state of mind as I had no idea at the time what was going on. It was one unbearable shock after another and it would have been nice to have be in more control of myself.

I would have involved more of our mutual friends to give me answers to what was going on but I was too embarrassed to speak to them because he had lied to them about me and I couldn’t understand why they were believing him when they knew me. I should have had the courage to speak to them. I’m glad I went to a hypnotist so I could control and handle myself calmly in court.

I’m still spending a lot of time looking for answers, even now, and I’m sure I could have helped my situation more if I had not been in such an uncontrollable emotion state. I was losing my husband, my father died and I was losing my house and all the security that I had worked for. Every bit of love went out of my life which was the only thing important to me, my family. Now the three of us are returning from all this hurt but its hard to fight on all the time but worth it.

I lost all my confidence and couldn’t socialise so I threw myself into working (which earned me extra money) and the gym. I also travel by myself, because you only have to communicate with people you choose to speak to and go were you want to go without having to please anybody else. So now I’m back out there living life but in a totally different way, (almost) holding your breath a lot of the time but its so worthwhile. This took such courage as I hate flying and being alone but you just have to get on in life and enjoy it as much as you can. Its very scary, but that’s part of the excitement of living. Or you can go under, its your choice. My thought as I fly away is “the worst thing that could have happened to me, has happened” – my husband has left, breaking my family up, so whatever happens now will never hurt me as much as that and I wasn’t going to let him enjoy life and not me!

I read a lot of self help books and go to seminars, which has not only helped my reading but has helped me to get over the embarrassment/feeling of failure and raised my confidence, so now I will ask for help and I will help others.

I’m very scared about spending money so I go to things that are free and borrow books. I also have my free travelcard which is great to be able to travel without worrying about the price of the fares. I now realise you can’t get over this coping by yourself, it doesn’t make you a failure for accepting help!

I wouldn’t be here now without the support of my fantastic lawyer David Allison and his team at Family Law in Partnership. It’s amazingly reassuring to know I can still contact David and his team to get help whenever I need it.