In spite of my boyfriend’s hesitance, I was determined to get married. However, just six months into the marriage, everything came crashing down.
HER entire life, she had hoped to find her prince charming and live happily ever after.
Cheryl Beckworth married her long-time partner of seven years in 2011, but the marriage ended six months later.
The only thing 40-year-old Cheryl has ever wanted in life is to be a wife, but she says she would never go through that experience again.
Many famous people have had similar experiences to hers.
In spite of having been together for five years prior to their August 2018 wedding, TV host Alex Zane, 44, and artist Nettie Wakefield, 35, recently announced their separation.
Former England striker Jermain Defoe, now 40, and his wife Donna Tierney, also in her forties, were married for a brief period last year after dating for over a year and a half.
Less people than ever before are saying “I do” to each other now, and it’s not just the rich and famous who are losing faith in marriage.
The average age of a woman’s first marriage was 35 in 2021, and there were 1.2 million more singles in the 25- to 35-year-old age bracket in England and Wales than there were in 2011.
‘Rung alarm bells’
Cheryl, a successful life coach, was born in 1983, when the median age of a bride was 27.
She regrets her decision to get married.
Unlike previous generations, she believes that today’s youth have an accurate understanding of what marriage really entails. And I wish I had done so.
It was my one and only goal in life when I tied the knot 12 years ago.
A safe home was always something I aspired to have as a child raised by a single parent.
I naively believed that tying the knot would bring about permanent stability and a promise to spend the rest of one’s life with one person. A family is something I’ve always wanted to have and raise.
“It just didn’t seem like my boyfriend Henry* wanted the same things that I did. My alarm bells should have gone off, but now I’m wondering if he knew I was going to leave if he didn’t change his mind.
“After seven years together, he finally agreed to tie the knot.
We just decided to get married and went to pick out the ring together, so there was no romantic proposal.
When she said yes, I was ecstatic and held out hope that our future together would be everything I’d hoped for.
We booked a lovely hotel, and I spent months planning the perfect day, complete with bridesmaids and my favorite wildflowers, because I had a vision in my head of the ideal wedding.
However, I was taken aback when the event turned out to be different from my wildest dreams. My schedule was so hectic that I didn’t have time to relax and enjoy myself.
I told myself that the marriage itself was more significant than the wedding itself, and I was looking forward to the life I imagined we would have together.
However, after the wedding, Henry started treating me differently. Things seemed different to me, but I couldn’t place the shift. In my opinion, he was distant and icy.
When I sat him down for a serious talk six months after the wedding, I learned the hard way that he never really wanted to get married.
When I returned from work the next day, he was gone, having packed up his belongings. Finally, it was over, and I felt utterly empty.
But Cheryl, from Derby, says: “Seven months later, I became pregnant with a new partner and started to realise that I didn’t need a piece of paper to be happy.
Elfie, now nine, and I divorced amicably when she was two, and in 2017 I launched Grounded Goddess to teach and empower women in all facets of life.
That’s the same year I started dating Jaden, now 36 years old, who is my current partner. Both Osha, age 3, and Neo, age 1, are our children from this relationship.
And while I am enjoying my life right now, I am still confident that I do not wish to wed again.
I always assumed it would make me feel safe, but the opposite turned out to be the case. Vows were ultimately empty words.
The Marriage Foundation is a national charity that was established in 2012 in response to “epidemic levels of family breakdown.” It is of the opinion that the high cost of weddings is discouraging many young people from taking the plunge and tying the knot.
Psychologist Emma Kenny concurs, stating that the institution of marriage is facing a perfect storm.
“It is no surprise young people are turning their backs on marriage,” she says. “From being put off by the breakdown of celebrity unions and the high price of a wedding to the fact that there is now less of a stigma around children coming from unwed parents, it is no surprise.”
In theory, marriage was all 48-year-old copywriter Bernie Watkins had ever wanted, but in practice, it was a huge letdown.
She tied the knot 15 years ago after a whirlwind romance in a quaintly decorated register office.
Liverpool native Bernie, however, quickly discovered she was back on her own and had spent through her entire £2,000 life savings.
She reveals, “Ever since I was a little girl, all I’ve wanted is to get married and live happily ever after.
“Growing up in a devout Christian household, marriage was always the focal point of conversation and the unspoken norm.
I always imagined myself as the picture-perfect bride, wearing a long, white dress down the aisle.
We used to play a game called “weddings and families” when we were kids.
It was in her Wendy house that we “used to pretend cook for our husbands.”
Bernie, at the time 33 years old, thought she had finally found the man she would spend the rest of her life with when she met Jaxon*, a construction worker, in a crowded bar in 2008. Jaxon* was then 35 years old.
Apparently he was always able to make her laugh with his witty one-liners.
This was only my second serious relationship, but I immediately knew he was The One.
Eventually, he proposed to me in my kitchen, and I eagerly accepted because I knew this was my chance to dive headfirst into the bliss of wedded life.
‘Rushed into things’
We got married only a few weeks after I started planning the wedding.
“We were surrounded by friends and family, but on the day of the ceremony I had an instantaneous realization that it was not the right thing to do, and I lay awake that night worrying that I had acted too hastily.
Although Lyme Regis in Dorset was a romantic setting for our honeymoon, warning signs began to emerge. There was a sense of indifference and even inconsideration that emanated from him, at least in my mind.
It was nothing like they had planned, and things were not better at home.
According to her, “I felt like there were stinking socks everywhere,” and she was irritated by even the way he squeezed the toothpaste tube.
“Right away, instead of being the energized newlywed I had anticipated, I felt like a tired, boring housewife.
“This instant discontentment centered on the ordinariness of the situation—whose turn it was to take the bins out, what were we going to eat for dinner, etc.
I yearned for a perfect home life, a place where jokes and laughter were never in short supply.
My mom was always gushing about her romantic love, so I grew up thinking marriage was great.
Once I had that ring on my finger, I thought my life would be perfect and all my dreams would have come true.
But the ideal marriage I had pictured in my head was just that: an illusion.
I tried to describe how I was feeling, but I couldn’t find anyone who could relate. I couldn’t believe it when I found out I was pregnant two weeks later.
I fell madly in love with my newborn, but I knew Jaxon wasn’t the one. About four months after saying “I do,” I broke down in tears at the foot of our bed.
To paraphrase, “Jaxon begged me not to leave. I realized it was my mistake to consider a divorce and I made peace with that fact by saying we would stay together. But I told him I wanted to raise our son on my own, so we’ve been living in different places.
“Two years after we split up, I had a one-night stand with Jaxon and we had a baby, who is now 12 years old. This did not change my mind, however; I still did not want to get married.
“Jaxon and I get along great as friends, but I haven’t dated in a long time because I have no desire to date, much less marry, again. I also prefer to live alone.
A wedding is a big commitment, and ‘wedded bliss’ was nothing like I had imagined it would be, so I’m not surprised that marriage rates are falling.
Emma, a psychologist, is also not shocked to learn that marriage is in decline.
The article quotes her as saying, “Fifty years ago, the goal of many young girls was to find a husband who could provide for a family and offer some economic protection.
But much has changed in our society since then.
“Today, 72% of UK women work; therefore, they no longer need to take a traditional approach to relationships; and single-parenthood does not carry the stigma that was once associated with having children outside of wedlock.
As divorce has become more acceptable in society, many members of Generation Z and the millennial generation have grown up in homes with only one parent.
Because of these events, many partners may begin to view marriage as unimportant, unattainable, and unreal.
Instead of spending money on a wedding, Cheryl says she’d rather buy a camper van and travel the world.
If you want to get married, that’s great, but I’ve realized that it’s not the only way to find fulfillment in life.