I thought I could never forgive Chris, 49, after he cheated on me – but when my divorce papers came through I had a sudden change of heart…
By Lisa Bligh, 37, from Plymouth
When I first met Chris in July 1994, it was love at first sight. I was sat on a train going to London, and when I looked up our eyes locked across the carriage.
Chris was handsome, warm and friendly, and I couldn’t help but fancy him straight away. We spent hours chatting to each other during the journey, and when it was time for me to get off the train he asked for my number.
“I’ll give you a ring,” he said to me with a wink.
I shyly wrote it down for him, but as I waved goodbye, I thought to myself that there was no way he would ever possibly call me. In my opinion, he was way out of my league.
But to my delight, he called a few weeks later and we spent the next year talking on the phone. When we finally plucked up the courage to go on a real date, things progressed quickly. It didn’t take me very long to fall head over heels for Chris – he was a perfect gentleman, who really knew how to treat a woman.
We moved in together after a few months and then we went on to have two sons together – Mathew, now 20, and Anthony, 18. I felt like the luckiest woman in the world – Chris was a brilliant father and I loved having a family with him.
One day, while we were watching television, Chris turned to me and smiled.
“We should get married,” he said. “We can be a proper family then.”
I was thrilled, and we decided to get married in July 1998, when Anthony was five months old. We didn’t have a lot of money, so we got hitched in a small register office ceremony. I wore a simple black dress and as we sealed our love in front of our family and friends, I’d never been happier.
But as we settled into our married life, the cracks soon began to show. Chris worked long hours for a train company and was often away overnight, while I took care of the children.
It was tiring being the sole carer for the children, and as we only had one wage coming in we also struggled with financial pressures.
When Chris was home, he would go straight to bed, tired from a hard day’s work, while I started to feel consumed by loneliness.
I woke one night in September 2002 and looked over to find Chris was missing from bed. I was falling back asleep when I realised I could hear Chris’s voice in the next room.
He was talking in hushed tones, and I couldn’t make out what he was saying. I crept out of bed and walked into the hallway, only to find Chris quickly turning off his phone.
“Who was that?” I demanded, suspiciously. “Who were you talking to in the middle of the night?”
Chris looked sheepish and I could immediately tell he was up to something.
“Is there someone else?” I asked quietly. He nodded in return.
“I can’t lie to you,” he sighed. “There’s a woman from work, I’ve been seeing her when I’ve been away from you. It’s not serious. It just happened.”
“How long has this been going on for?” I asked, my eyes filling up with tears.
Chris couldn’t meet my eye as he gave his reply.
“Three months,” he said. “I’m so sorry.”
I was heartbroken and the next day I threw him out of the family home. He didn’t put up much of a fight – he looked as devastated as I felt.
I felt absolutely amazed that Chris could cheat on me and sneak around behind my back like that – all while I was raising his children. I vowed to never let him back into my heart ever again.
As the months went past, I remained civil with Chris for the sake of the boys. I wanted them to have a good relationship with him so I always let them stay with him in his flat whenever they wanted to.
Whatever anger I felt towards their father, I was always friendly to Chris in front of them. I didn’t want to use the children against him – that would have been wrong, so I put them first and always made sure they were happy.
Thankfully, the boys seemed quite unaffected by the split, so I went ahead with a divorce, filing on the grounds of Chris’ adultery. He signed the papers without a fight, and in July 2003 the decree absolute arrived.
But when the papers landed on my doormat, I looked at the envelope wearily. I opened it and stared at the wording for what felt like forever.
‘The said marriage was thereby dissolved’
“Well, that’s that then,” I said to myself. I expected to feel closure – but instead I felt a sudden and unexpected wave of sadness.
As I leafed through the papers, it all seemed so final. The end of a marriage is always sad but I felt a deep sense of regret and it played on my mind for hours.
Had I been too hasty? Should I have fought harder for my family? To my surprise, Chris phoned me later that day.
“So, have you had your paperwork through?” he asked tentatively.
“Yes, I have,” I sighed. “It’s all done and dusted now then isn’t it?”
“Yes, but I don’t know how I feel about it all,” Chris admitted. “I suppose it’s for the best.”
“Yes, it is” I replied. But my stomach churned.
Had I made a huge mistake?
Over the following few days, I couldn’t stop thinking about the divorce. I turned it over and over in my mind, until out of the blue, Chris phoned and asked me if I wanted to go for a coffee.
To my surprise, I felt relief. I immediately said yes – if nothing else, I knew Chris understood how I was feeling about our marriage being over. At least I could talk it through with him.
We met up later that day and as we chatted, it felt like all the pressures which had weighed us down during our marriage had disappeared.
All the anger I had harboured towards him over the last year melted away, and when he asked me if we could meet up again, I agreed.
In time, we started dating again. It felt strange going out on proper dates with Chris, but as the boys were older by that point we felt more carefree and we started to get to know each other all over again.
As we saw each other more and more, we realised we had spent so many years taking care of our family, we had forgotten to take care of our relationship.
It was as if the divorce allowed us to take a step back and really focus on where we had gone wrong.
Slowly, our romance rekindled, and Chris moved back into the family home. On Christmas Day 2011 Chris got down on one knee and proposed with a beautiful engagement ring.
I was thrilled – the first time we got engaged, we hadn’t been able to afford a ring. This time around, I had a sparkly diamond to admire.
The boys were over the moon and in July 2013 – ten years after we divorced – we tied the knot for the second time.
This time, we pulled out all the stops – I wore a beautiful white gown and we wrote our own vows. Anthony gave me away, and Mathew was the best man.
It was an incredible day and as our guests congratulated us on our second wedding, I couldn’t help but beam with joy.
Getting divorced was actually the best thing that ever happened to us – it gave us the perspective we needed to save our relationship. I’m so glad to have married my husband – again. This time, I’m never going to let him go.
Chris says: “Lisa and I are like two peas in a pod – I can honestly say she’s my best friend. When we were younger, we never really made time for each other – it was all about the children and the pressure of everyday life got to us. I massively regret my affair now – I wish I had never done it. I felt a massive sense of loss when I saw the final divorce papers. I realised at that moment what I had done, and what I had lost, and it broke my heart. In a way, getting divorced helped us see where we had gone wrong and we spoke about it at length afterwards. I never stopped loving Lisa and I don’t think she stopped loving me. The second wedding meant so much to us – it was a fantastic day and I knew that this time it was going to be forever. Now we have far more respect for each other and we can cope with whatever life throws at us. If anything divorce has made us ten times stronger.”