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Real Life

Real life: My husband got married before our divorce was finalised

We’d had our ups and downs, but this was ridiculous!

By As told to Take 5

Tina Wallace, 46 shares her heartbreaking story of betrayal.

A delivery man walked into my office with a massive bouquet of flowers.
"Tina?" he said, looking around.
My mouth dropped open.
"For me?" I asked.
I read the note and swooned.
I love you Tina, from Paul x
Paul and I had met on a dating website and he'd swept me off my feet.
I couldn't get over how romantic he was. I put the flowers in water and phoned him.
"What have I done to deserve these?" I said.
"I just wanted to make you smile," he said.
Paul lived an hour away and after a while the travelling became a pain. So he moved in with me and my four children, and his three kids came to stay every second weekend.
"Isn't it a bit cramped?" a friend asked.
Truth was, it was a madhouse. But I loved it!
Then, to top it all off, Paul started talking about marriage. I was 34 and had always dreamt of being a bride and having a big, white wedding.
We went to a jewellery store and I tried on a stunning diamond ring. It was $1800, which was a lot of money for us. I looked at Paul hopefully, but he shook his head.
Paul and me. (Image exclusive to Take 5)
"I don't think so," he said and steered me out of the shop. Outside, I felt like a deflated balloon.
He didn't mention marriage again, but one day when I was making us dinner, he held out a cheap ring.
"Will you?" he said.
It wasn't the romantic proposal I'd hoped for, or the ring I wanted, but I did love him.
"Of course I'll marry you," I beamed.
We set a date and I had all sorts of fancy ideas for our big day, but Paul said he couldn't afford it, so we tied the knot in a registry office and I wore a simple ivory gown.
It wasn't my dream wedding, but Paul and I were husband and wife and that was all that mattered.
Back home, I tried to settle into wedded bliss, but things were far from rosy.
Paul started to become distant and I felt sure he was hiding something.
One day I got the chance to have a peek at his laptop, and found explicit pictures of women that had been sent to him by email.
I was furious, but he swore there was nothing going on.
"I'm sorry, Tina," he said. "Please forgive me."
I was hurt but I let it go.
We'd been married for two years when the phone rang one day. It was Paul's boss.
Me and Paul on our wedding day. (Image exclusive to Take 5)
"Is he there?" he asked.
"He should be at work," I frowned, confused.
"He isn't," his boss replied. "He hasn't turned up for months. What's going on?"
I didn't know what to say, so I rang Paul.
"Where are you?" I asked.
"At work," he said.
"No you're not," I said. "Your boss rang."
There was a long silence and then he said: "Oh."
He came home and it all came out.
He told me he was depressed and the stress of his job and our marriage had got to him.
Instead of working he'd been driving around because he hadn't known how to tell me.
"Please don't leave me," he said.
I was shocked, but relieved it wasn't anything worse.
We made a fresh start and Paul got a job as a postman.
It wasn't the wedding I wanted. (Image exclusive to Take 5)
When he wasn't out delivering mail, he was usually in our shed.
It was his man cave and I was happy to leave him to it.
"Just tinkering," he replied if I asked him what he was up to in there.
Over the next couple of years, strange things started happening.
Our phone was cut off, then our electricity.
"You could've warned me," I fumed when I called the providers to complain, but they said they'd sent me repeated overdue notices.
I'd never received any.
Then the landlord called to say our rent was late.
Something inside me snapped. I'd forgiven Paul for the naughty pictures and not going to work, but this was the last straw.
I suspected he was spending all our money down at the pokies, and it wasn't good enough.
When he came home, I told him I wanted a divorce.
"What?" he said.
"This is my house," I said. "I have children to look after and I can't afford to lose it."
I kicked him out and filed for divorce, but he refused to sign the papers.
Months later, I decided to see what he'd been up to in his shed. When I opened the door, the scene left me reeling.
Me now. (Image exclusive to Take 5)
Sitting there was a mountain of post. I counted at least 15 bags of letters, clearly stolen on his postal run.
It explained my missing bills.
I called the police and Paul was convicted of stealing post and given a suspended sentence.
It was infuriating, but I tried to get on with my life. One night, my son Jake rang me.
"You need to look on Facebook," he said.
I logged on, looked at Paul's profile and my mouth fell open.
There was a photo of Paul and beside him dressed in a gown was a bride. His bride.
I tried to contact Paul, but he didn't answer so I called the police.
In time, Paul Roberts, 51, pleaded guilty to bigamy.
The magistrate decided against a prison sentence and instead ordered him to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work.
Now, I just wish I'd never met him.
If I've learnt anything from all this, it's never to trust an oversized bunch of flowers.
It's always hiding something.
And in Paul's case, it was that he was a lying scumbag.

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