When my Liam decided to leave the family business, I could never have guessed why…
By Joanne Mullarkey, 36, from Tyne and Wear
I gave my elegant white wedding gown one last adjustment as I waited for my music cue at the bottom of the aisle. I’d never felt more attractive.
I couldn’t wait to reach Liam, 31, who was waiting nervously for me at the other end. Once he sees me my nerves will vanish.
Liam was the love of my life and I wanted nothing more than to make it official.
As the first few notes of Shania Twain’s moving From This Moment began, I took in a big breath. I gripped my bouquet tighter and began the seemingly endless walk to my gorgeous groom.
Liam looked proud as punch when he caught the first glimpse of me.
When I arrived at the altar, my chief bridesmaid lifted my veil over my head and I turned to him.
‘You look beautiful,’ he whispered, with a giant smile.
We’d met five years earlier when Liam had asked me out after we were introduced by mutual mates.
Liam was the local bad boy and I fancied him like mad so I jumped at the chance to date him.
The chemistry was electric but although we both loved to party, we were completely devoted to one another.
Liam treated my daughter Lauren, now 13, from a previous relationship like one of his own and when I fell pregnant with our son in June 2005, we couldn’t wait for his arrival.
Keen to give the kids the best start in life, we launched our own plastering business and watched it grow from strength to strength. We were amazed by how well it took off.
In June 2006 I went into labour. I hadn’t seen Liam cry until Cameron arrived into the world.
‘He’s perfect,’ said Liam, cradling our newborn in his arms. It was love at first sight for both us. Our beautiful little family was growing.
Then in December 2009 Liam surprised with me a delicious, romantic meal. He had previously worked as a chef and was an incredible cook.
‘This is delicious,’ I said, polishing off my juicy steak. Then my heart skipped a beat as Liam placed a small, dark green leather jewellery box on the table and pushed it towards me.
Is he going to propose?
Inside was the most beautiful diamond ring I had ever seen. It fitted me perfectly.
‘Will you marry me?’ Liam asked, with a twinkle in his eye.
I was over the moon. ‘Of course I will,’ I said, collapsing into tears of joy as he took me in his arms. ‘This will make our family complete.’
Our 2010 wedding was the best day of my life and we settled into our marriage easily. It was bliss.
But then, in early 2012, Liam suddenly decided he wanted to go into security.
‘Why do you want to leave the business?’ I asked, concerned. I thought we’d been doing well.
‘There’s a recession on and I’m tired of not knowing if we will have a wage or not,’ he said. ‘I want something reliable.’
I was worried by the sudden U-turn but we had kids to feed and I had to agree it was hard to run a business when you didn’t know what was around the corner.
After weeks of trawling through the job section of the local newspaper, Liam eventually announced that he was going on a security course. He assured me that it would lead to a static security job – reliable employment.
So when he told me he’d been offered a job as a doorman, I was less than pleased.
‘You’re a married man and a father – not a doorman!’ I pleaded with him. ‘Why would you want to work those crazy hours?’
‘Look, it’s a job and I’ll only do it for a couple of months until I find something else,’ he reasoned.
But of course he didn’t look for another job. The doorman lifestyle proved to exciting.
I couldn’t understand it. Our clubbing days were over and our business hadn’t gone under, it didn’t make sense.
But Liam was insistent that he needed a change in direction, and as his wife who took her vows seriously, I decided to support his sudden career change. For better or for worse.
But as soon as he started work on the nightclub doors, Liam’s behaviour changed.
He started working out at the gym every day, using sunbeds and shockingly, he even began shaving his chest.
‘What’s with the sudden obsession with your looks?’ I joked with him one day. ‘Are you going to all this effort for someone else?’
Liam laughed it off.
‘Am I not allowed to want to take care of myself?’ He smiled. ‘I want to look good.’
Taking me in his embrace, he planted a kiss on my face. ‘There’s only one woman in my life and it’s you,’ he insisted.
But I wasn’t so sure.
I became convinced there was another girl on the scene but every time I questioned Liam, he’d strongly deny it and tell me I was being paranoid.
‘I’m off to York this weekend,’ he said out of the blue in September 2012.
‘Why, what for?’ I asked, concerned.
‘I’ve been promoted so they are sending me on a course,’ he replied. ‘I’m doing this for us.’
It seemed to make sense but for the next few months, I couldn’t shake my niggling doubts.
Then one day in July 2013 I seized my opportunity to turn detective. Liam’s mobile was normally glued to his side, but that day, he’d left it on charge in the bedroom.
My heart hammering in my chest, I grabbed his phone and scrolled straight to his inbox. Despite my suspicions, nothing could have prepared me for what I’d stumbled across.
I felt sick as I found countless messages between Liam and a mystery woman and tears filled my eyes as I clicked into the texts.
‘I love you,’ read one message.
‘I want to have a baby with you,’ read another.
Each message was like a punch in the stomach. There was no promotion… Liam was cheating.
Devastated, I called the unsuspecting rat upstairs. I thrust the evidence in his face but he said nothing.
‘This proves it!’ I cried, tears of betrayal streaming down my cheeks. ‘How long has it been going on?’
He stood still as a statue. He’d run out of excuses. He was in shock.
In a fit of anger and despair I punched him in the nose. Liam clutched his face but still, he didn’t say a word.
Liam’s silence spoke volumes. Unable to deny it, I showed my dirty doorman the door and kicked him out.
‘Get out!’ I yelled. ‘I don’t want you living here a minute longer.’
I was furious… and heartbroken.
Had Liam swapped our family business for a job at a nightclub to pick up women?
He filed for divorce and moved in with his nightclub floozy, but it didn’t last.
Liam continued to see the kids but relations between us were frosty for two-and-a-half years. That was until Christmas last year when he came to visit the children. I couldn’t help but notice he wasn’t his chirpy self.
‘What’s wrong?’ I asked him. ‘Why are you so down?’
‘I’m with the wrong woman,’ he confessed. ‘I don’t know what to do.’ Over a cup of coffee, Liam poured out his heart to me.
I was happy to offer him advice. After all I knew him better than he knew himself.
After that, we tentatively began rebuilding our friendship for the sake of the kids and we’ve managed to salvage that aspect of our relationship. In fact we get on better than ever now.
Liam had been unable to handle the temptation that his new lifestyle threw at him – and he’d cracked.
But there’s no chance of a romantic reunion. He broke my trust. I’ll never forgive my bouncer hubby for bedding a clubber.
Liam says: “To be honest with you, I’ll just be truthful about it. There were quite a few affairs that I had over a couple of years. It was just that sort of life at the time, being on the door. I’ve always been a family man but it opened my eyes to a whole new world. I started getting in with the wrong people and would go to work to party. It just spiralled out of control a bit.”