Couldn't be me, I'd have to kill somebody....
Sometimes, when she felt overwhelmed by the demands of motherhood, Jackie Corry would draw strength from a dream she harboured for her retirement.
She and her partner Elliot would buy a holiday villa on the shores of Lake Garda in Italy.
They would sip red wine as the sun set. With their children grown up and Elliot’s career no longer encroaching on their precious time, they would be free to focus on each other.Sadly, it seems Jackie’s romantic vision was not one that Elliot shared.
Three months ago, after a quarter of a century together, Elliot announced he was leaving. There was to be no Mediterranean swansong after all.
Jackie had no sooner had a chance to wash the smell of his citrus aftershave from their sheets than he dropped a further bombshell.
Five weeks after walking out, and having insisted throughout their 25-year relationship that marriage was not for him, Elliot told Jackie that he had married another woman.Instead of spending her retirement years basking in the sun with the man she’d built her life around, Jackie, now 53, is facing a bleak future alone and contemplating how she could have misread her man so catastrophically.
‘I am numb with disbelief,’ she says. ‘I’ve wasted the best years of my life on a relationship that turned out to be a lie.
‘I thought we would grow old together. I feel so stupid.
‘How can I not have seen any signs that Elliot was unhappy? Now, I don’t have a future. I’ve lost all my self-worth. My faith in men has been destroyed. How can I love again?’Jackie also admits that the signs of their downfall could be seen in the very first days of their relationship when Elliot refused to commit to marrying her. Indeed, as she puts it: ‘I’m the proof that no woman should settle for anything less than marriage.’ And looking at Jackie’s situation — broken-hearted at on the wrong side of 50, living in a one-bedroom rented flat and without a penny to show for all the years she spent with her partner — you would be hard-pushed to disagree with her.
It was not an outcome Jackie could have foreseen when she was introduced to Elliot, now 58, by a mutual friend in June 1988. A 6ft 4in stockbroker five years her senior, with dark hair and sparkling blue eyes, Elliot radiated success and charisma.
‘He was witty and fun,’ she recalls. ‘When he asked me on a date, I was flattered. I was a 28-year-old human resources manager and had never dated anyone as successful as him.’
After two months, she moved into Elliot’s London flat.
‘I thought we were utterly engrossed with each other,’ she says. The following March, her contraception failed and she became pregnant. Perhaps even at this early stage Elliot had doubts as to their future together.
‘He went pale when I told him and he was detached for several days,’ says Jackie. ‘But I didn’t blame him: the pregnancy had been a shock to us both. And when he realised I wasn’t prepared to terminate, he came round to the idea of fatherhood.’
Five months into the pregnancy, Jackie brought up the subject of marriage for the first time.
‘I had always imagined I’d devote my life to one man,’ she says. ‘As we were expecting a child together, getting married seemed the logical next step. So I asked him how he felt about it.’
Elliot’s reaction was not entirely the one that Jackie, still a human resources manager living in London, had hoped for.
‘He asked what the point was,’ she recalls. ‘He said we were committed anyway — that we lived together and were having a baby.
‘I felt hurt, but he was so persuasive I decided he had a point.’
Besides, Elliot seemed to warm to the idea of parenthood as her pregnancy progressed, and when Matilda was born in December 1989, he was delighted.
‘He helped with bathtime and bought her Care Bears, her favourite toys,’ she says. ‘I was convinced we were the perfect family.’
So much so that she became pregnant again just three months later. Their son, Oliver, was born in November 1990. ‘This time the pregnancy was planned, and Elliot didn’t seem fazed at all,’ says Jackie. ‘He was over the moon.’
When Oliver was a couple of months old, they moved into a spacious four-bedroom London home.
As Jackie settled into motherhood, Elliot’s career went from strength to strength, and the family were soon enjoying all the trappings of his success and six-figure salary. Two Mercedes sat on the drive. Holidays were spent in Australia and the States.
But with Elliot’s lavish income came responsibility. He worked 12-hour days and was often expected to entertain clients in the evenings.
‘I understood Elliot being away a lot was part of the deal,’ says Jackie. ‘He always called if he was going to be late, and he got home to help put the children to bed as often as possible.
‘I trusted him implicitly. It certainly never occurred to me he would cheat.’
Yet the fact they weren’t married continued to niggle and shortly after Oliver’s birth, when the family were holidaying in Italy, Jackie decided to broach the subject again.
‘I said we were so happy, with two beautiful children, and asked gently if a wedding was something he was ready to consider.’
Elliot was more adamant than ever that it wasn’t.
‘He said he was worried it would change the dynamic of our relationship,’ she recalls. ‘I was confused. But his parents had divorced acrimoniously when he was younger, so I put it down to that and tried to tell myself it didn’t matter.’
Elliot compromised by letting Jackie take his surname, albeit unofficially. And in every other respect, she says, he appeared a committed partner and father. He bought her bouquets of her favourite freesias once a month, and always told her she was beautiful.
At weekends, he caught the children as they hurtled to the bottom of the slide in their garden.
Sundays were spent on countryside walks. In the winter they had snowball fights, and in summer they splashed around in the paddling pool. Jackie waited until Matilda was five before mentioning marriage again.
‘This time Elliot was visibly riled,’ she says. ‘He asked “Did you not hear me before?” and accused me of not listening.
‘He said all his friends’ relationships had changed since they married, that the husbands complained.
‘I was shocked by the strength of his reaction, and realised that he was never going to change his mind. But everything else about our life together seemed so wonderful that I decided to accept it. It was a small price to pay for the perfect man.’
Listening to Jackie recounting their idyllic lifestyle, you are struck by what a good actor Elliot must have been if he had concealed such doubts about their love for all those years.
Perhaps Elliot’s lack of commitment was symptomatic of a deeper discontent. Maybe he felt suffocated by the financial and emotional needs of two small children.
In any case, by the time Matilda and Oliver reached adolescence, Elliot said he was expected to travel abroad regularly for work and that he would be away every six weeks for four days at a time.
But like most mothers of teenage children, Jackie reasoned that when the children had left home for university, the couple would have more time to devote to each other. ‘Elliot was planning to retire at 60 and I thought we were both aiming for that,’ said Jackie.
She says they were thrilled when Matilda, now 26, had a baby boy and made them grandparents nine months ago. Oliver, 25, meanwhile, is training to be a lawyer. After years of hard work, it seemed Jackie and Elliot were finally about to savour the rewards. At least, that’s what Jackie thought until Elliot came home early from work one evening in April. The sequence of events that followed has tormented her ever since.
After he’d showered, she served him veal schnitzel with sauteed potatoes. He seemed distracted, and she asked him if anything was wrong. Nothing could have prepared her for his response.
‘He said he was feeling very lonely, and was finding it increasingly difficult to come home to me,’ she recalls. ‘He said that while he cared for me, he was no longer in love with me.
‘It felt as if someone had slapped me. I asked him if he’d met someone else, and he was adamant that he hadn’t.
‘Sobbing, I begged him to explain.
‘He said he was leaving, but he wouldn’t tell me where he was going. After packing a suitcase, he looked at me and said, “I’m so sorry” and walked out.
‘I stayed awake all night, not quite believing what had just happened.’
The next day, she called Elliot and begged him to consider relationship counselling. He refused, and said he would come round to pick up his belongings in a few days.
‘I arranged to be out,’ she says. When it dawned on Jackie that Elliot was not going to change his mind, she told Matilda and Oliver that their father had left.
‘They were as devastated as me. Oliver was livid. When they called Elliot, he told them he felt he needed a new chapter in his life.
‘Was that really all I was to him? A “chapter”? Was that why he’d never considered marriage — because he had always wanted an easy escape?’Jackie’s doctor prescribed her antidepressants as she tried to come to terms with her sudden single status.
‘I didn’t know where Elliot was, and when I called he didn’t answer his phone,’ she says. ‘It was as if he’d simply disappeared.’She has spoken to him only once since, in a conversation Jackie still can’t quite believe took place. In June, five weeks after he walked out, Elliot called for a final time.
‘He said he was really sorry to have to tell me that he’d just got married. He said he didn’t want me to hear it from anyone else.
‘I fell into a chair. I was sobbing so much I could barely breathe, let alone ask questions. Elliot apologised again and hung up.
‘I sat for hours, numb. How can he have spent so many years saying he wouldn’t marry me, then marry someone else just weeks later?’
Then, overcome with anger, she smashed a crystal vase against the wall and started a fire in their garden to burn all the pictures she could find of the pair of them together. ‘The memories they held were just too painful,’ she says.A few days later, she received a letter from Elliot’s solicitor saying he wanted to sell the house.
Because the couple weren’t married and no longer had to provide financial support for their children, Jackie says she was not necessarily entitled to any of his money.
‘I’m not privy to his financial commitments and don’t know who else he has to provide for,’ says Jackie with understandable bitterness.
One thing Jackie is convinced of is that his new relationship started while he was still with her.
‘He was cheating on me,’ she believes. ‘How else could he have married someone else just weeks after leaving me?’
For how long he was leading a double life is not clear.
‘I’ve wracked my brains, but can’t think of any signs at all,’ she says. Their mutual friends, however, may have suspected something.
‘Some have stopped contacting me, which makes me wonder if they knew something was going on,’ says Jackie. ‘But one couple who we are both close to told me they didn’t suspect a thing and haven’t seen Elliot since.’
Three weeks ago, Jackie moved into a rented, one-bedroom flat.
Their children, meanwhile, have cut off all contact with Elliot.
‘It is sad for them. I hope one day they can forgive him, but as far as they’re concerned they don’t have a father any more.
‘It is like a bereavement for all three of us. Elliot may as well be dead,’ she says, before adding in a sudden burst of fury: ‘Maybe then I’d feel a whole lot better.’
But she doesn’t mean it, because below her anger lies an enduring love for the man who strung her along for so many years.
During particularly low moments I have called him just to listen to his voice on his voicemail,’ she admits. ‘I still want him to be here.
‘Sometimes I hate him. At other times, I hate myself.
‘Even though he showed so much resistance to marriage, I thought we knew each other inside out. It turns out I didn’t know him at all.’
When the Mail contacted Elliot, he said of Jackie: ‘I’m sure she is hurt and I’m dreadfully sorry. But I moved on and I wish she would move on as well.’
He wouldn’t deny cheating on her — ‘Maybe I did, I don’t know’ — but declined to say, if so, how long he had been unfaithful for. His reason for refusing to marry Jackie was crushingly simple: ‘Maybe I wasn’t ready emotionally, and maybe I wasn’t as in love with her as she was with me.’
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2390834/Shattering-proof-trust-man-says-marriage-spoil-relationship.#ixzz2br7f8KkG - Shattering proof you can never trust a man who says marriage will spoil your relationship | Mail Online
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