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среда, 4 января 2017 г.

'I was dumped a week before my wedding'

The invites are posted, the cake is baked and the vows are written. Then your partner decides they can't go through with it...

She'd spent the morning lounging by the pool in Marbella, but Emma Bradbury couldn't help shedding a few angry tears.
Today was her wedding day. Or at least it should have been. But a week before, her husband-to-be called the whole thing off.

Emma was jilted by her fiancé
The primary school teacher had spent 18 months meticulously organising every tiny detail of her traditional 'do', from the three-course menu - a tapas-style starter, chicken breasts stuffed with cheese, followed by chocolate pots - to a first dance to the Lighthouse Family's High. Every detail was perfect.
But there was one thing Emma didn't plan for. And that was her fiancé Mike* saying "I don't" instead of "I do".
Now, nearly two years later, 30-year-old Emma, from Manchester is still bitter. "I should have been blissfully happy with my new husband, surrounded by family and friends. "Instead I was suddenly single. One minute I was furious, the next I was heartbroken, unable to eat or sleep. I couldn't believe what had happened."
Emma met Mike, a lawyer, through school friends when she was 17 and he was 18.
"I knew almost straightaway that he was The One," she says. "He always made me laugh and he was so trustworthy. Or so I thought."
Despite spending long periods apart while Emma went to university in Birmingham and France, and Mike studied law in Lincoln, the couple stayed together.

Mike dumped Emma a week before the wedding
"We'd always talked about marriage and Mike was really enthusiastic," Emma says. "He knew what he wanted. For example, he didn't want a church wedding, and he wanted a live band, not a DJ. He didn't seem scared about marriage or commitment."
So when Mike popped the question with an emerald-cut solitaire diamond ring on Valentine's Day in 2007, Emma said yes.
"I knew he was the man I wanted to spend the rest of my life with," she says. "I couldn't wait to be his wife."
Eager to start planning their big day, the couple visited a posh boutique hotel the morning after getting engaged.
"I cried because everything was so perfect," Emma remembers. "We booked the hotel for August 8, 2008. I just couldn't wait."
Over the next few months, invitations were sent to 80 guests and the couple chose a band and the £45-a-head menu together.
Mike even urged Emma to splash out on the designer dress of her dreams.
"I tried on a gown by Suzanne Neville, the designer who created Danielle Bux's dress when she married Gary Lineker," says Emma.
"It was off-white, with a strapless corset and a ruched A-line skirt. I loved it but at £2,000, I thought it was just too expensive. But Mike encouraged me, telling me it was important I had the dress I wanted.
After my final fitting, just days before he called off the wedding, he told me he couldn't wait to see me in it. Knowing now that he was having doubts about the wedding when he said that makes me so angry."
Looking back, Emma now realises Mike was stalling on some plans, like getting his suit and booking the honeymoon.
"I just thought it was his annoying habit of putting things off until the last minute," she says.
He wrote a letter listing my faults
With just over a week to go before the big day, Emma returned from her hen weekend in Edinburgh full of excitement.
"We went out for dinner and I said I knew I'd been getting a bit worked up about the arrangements, but the important thing was that we were together," says Emma. "Suddenly Mike said: 'Do you really mean that? Because I don't think we're in love any more.'"
Devastated and confused, Emma broke down at the table.
"I started crying," she remembers. "Mike got annoyed, saying I was overreacting. He said he'd been feeling stressed and nervous, but now that we'd talked about it he felt better."
Despite his assurances it was just pre-wedding nerves, Emma couldn't stop thinking about what Mike had said and suggested she stayed with her mum to give him some space.
"I thought he just needed to calm down," she says. "I didn't think for a moment the wedding was off."
The next day, Mike arrived at her mum's house with a letter he'd written.
"It was a rambling list of stupid things I did that annoyed him, like falling asleep on the sofa when I got home from a night out," Emma says.
It suddenly hit her that Mike no longer wanted to get married, but she still hoped things could get back on track.
"I asked if the wedding was off," she says, visibly shaking at the memory. "At first he said he didn't know. And then he said: 'Yes, I think that's what I'm saying.'
"I threw my engagement ring at him. Then I ran into the house and collapsed on the floor, sobbing."
A few hours later, Mike returned. They talked for hours, Emma desperate to change his mind, unable to face the thought of not only the humiliation of cancelling the wedding, but also the end of their relationship.
"All I could think about was the horror of calling the arrangements off, and the money our families had spent. If we didn't get married, our relationship wouldn't recover."
Even an emergency appointment with a counsellor the next day couldn't salvage things.
"Mike admitted he thought we'd become like brother and sister and that he'd not been happy for a while," Emma remembers. "He'd made his decision weeks before, but didn't have the guts to tell me."
Emma told Mike it was up to him to cancel everything. They and their families had spent £14,000 on the wedding so far, all of which they lost.
"He collected my dress from the shop and left it with a mutual friend," she says. "It's still there. I've not been able to look at it."
Emma's bridesmaid and best friend Kelly booked them a last-minute holiday to Spain a few days later to help her escape the humiliation of what had happened.
There Emma spent her days sunbathing and her nights analysing every aspect of her shattered relationship.
Despite not hearing from Mike while she was away, Emma nursed a tiny hope he'd change his mind. But when she returned to their flat, all his things were gone.
She began the process of rebuilding her life as a single girl instead of the married woman she'd hoped to be.
"The hardest part has been going out without Mike by my side," she says.
"I was invited to a friend's wedding last August, on what would have been our first wedding anniversary. I just couldn't go. Mike went, and I heard he took his new girlfriend."
Now, almost two years after being jilted, Emma says she's happy being single.
"I had an amazing cocktail party for my 30th birthday, and I've been travelling, learnt a new language and passed my driving test. I feel like I'm entering a new phase in my life," she says. "In the past I was insecure, but now I'm more fearless - I feel I can cope with anything."
Another bride-to-be who knows the pain of jilting is Belinda Coles. However, she was the one who made the painful decision to walk away from her dream wedding, leaving her fiancé, Matthew*, devastated.

Belinda has no regrets about calling off her wedding
"Cancelling my wedding was the hardest thing I've ever done," says Belinda, 26, from Hampshire. "I didn't know if I'd ever meet anyone else or if I'd regret my decision, but I knew in my heart I couldn't go ahead with it."
Belinda, a customer service administrator, met Matthew, a banker, online in 1999, and after a few months, they became a couple.
"I was 17 when we got together and he was 21," she says. "He was my first serious boyfriend and when we moved in together after five months I felt so lucky I'd met Mr Right." They got engaged in 2005 on a snowboarding holiday in Andorra, and Belinda began to plan for their wedding in September 2007.
"We booked a hotel in Sheffield for 100 guests, and I ordered a beautiful white satin dress with black detail that cost £895," remembers Belinda. "I ordered my wedding ring - a £700 gold band to match my diamond engagement ring - and chose red and white roses for my bouquet. We also paid a £600 deposit for our honeymoon - three weeks in Australia."
I just blurted out that I couldn't do it
But despite her initial enthusiasm, by December 2006 Belinda had started to have endless doubts.
"Matthew and I had always been very different. He was shy and loved to stay in, whereas I'm more outgoing and sociable. Over the years, I'd turned down nights out to stay in with him," remembers Belinda. "I felt like I was changing and the thought of spending the rest of our lives together scared me in case it wasn't the life I wanted for myself. The more I thought about marrying Matthew, the more I wasn't sure."
Too scared to admit how she was feeling, Belinda tried to push her doubts to the back of her mind. But two months later, in February 2007, she couldn't pretend any longer.

Belinda knew she couldn't marry Matthew
"I sat Matthew down one night after work and just blurted out: 'I can't go through with the wedding. I need to figure out what I really want from life.'
"I was trembling with nerves and seeing his face looking so confused was horrific," she recalls. "He tried to convince me to postpone the wedding and stay together. But I knew that if I didn't want to marry him, the relationship was over."
Belinda says her biggest regret is the hurt she caused Matthew.

With new fiancé Ryan
"He was so upset, and really wanted us to work things out. I felt so guilty."
Matthew accepted a new job in Germany and left the UK months later.
Belinda was left to cancel the wedding, helped by her mum and sister, who supported her.
"I kept wondering if I was doing the right thing. But once everything was cancelled, I was relieved. I was proud of myself for having the courage to do it."
A couple of months later, Belinda began a relationship with a work colleague, Ryan Jenkins, 27. Last summer, Ryan proposed on top of Sydney Harbour Bridge while on holiday. The couple are getting married in May 2011.
"This time I have no doubts," Belinda says. "Finding Ryan made me sure that cancelling my wedding to Matthew was the right thing to do. I don't regret it for a second. Ryan knows all about my past, but also how much I love him. This time I've definitely found The One."

The celeb nearly-weds

Rachel Hunter
Model Rachel Hunter, 40, was devastated after her ice-hockey player fiancé Jarret Stoll, 27, called off their wedding in June 2009. Jarret, who is 13 years younger, broke the news seven weeks before they were due to tie the knot.
Rosamund Pike
Bond Girl Rosamund Pike, 31, was dumped by her fiancé, film director Joe Wright, 37, just weeks before their wedding in the summer of 2008. Incredibly, Rosamund says she still thinks he is "an extraordinary man".
Carrie Bradshaw
OK, so she's not real, but we all felt her pain. Carrie was abandoned at the altar by Mr Big in the Sex And The City movie, but this tale had a happy ending with the couple making it up the aisle at the end of the film.

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