Sometimes it’s what prompts people to start a family.Sometimes, one or both partners embark on an affair.
I didn’t pine for him, but I did feel guilty about having so much fun, knowing Simon was still unhappy back home.While I was racking up exciting new experiences, with sunshine and sangria on tap, he was stuck in the same routine.The catalyst came in the form of a job offer — to spend eight months in Ibiza editing a magazine. We were aware this could be make or break for our relationship. Ibiza in 2008 wasn’t known for quiet nights in with a crossword, and I could see Simon’s mind concocting all sorts of scenarios as to what I’d be getting up to.There was, I knew, no way Simon could take the time off to come with me. But it also felt like the shake-up our marriage needed.Otherwise we intended to keep communication to a minimum.
I was committed to taking this time for myself, to work out who I was — both in the relationship, and in terms of my life goals.I also believe that always prioritising the needs of a partner at the expense of personal fulfilment can lead to the resentment that is kryptonite to a long-term relationship.In the event, I had a few flirtations over the summer. But if anything, every cheesy chat-up line or lustful glance across a dancefloor reminded me how special my connection with Simon was.When I told friends and family that my husband and I were taking a ‘marriage sabbatical’, I could see the wheels spinning behind their eyes. But for the most part they chose to avoid asking difficult questions directly.Most viewed the situation with some scepticism — was our relationship falling apart? After all, Simon and I had always been the perfect couple.Having ‘settled down’ so young, was I missing out on something better?