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TOUGHEST PART OF THE EX FACTOR iS MOVING ON

Exes moving on is hard. Relationships that were to last a lifetime tend to founder in the thirties more than other decades. We do the last of our growing up.

This weekend, I poured a bottle of blood red wine into a Dr Who weeping angel who lost her god to a girl in a red patent devil costume. I know. It's a little heavy on the Hallowe'en imagery. We went round the shops together before getting dressed up and her hitting the sauce. There was a cast iron jewellery stand for sale in one.

"That's just like one I had but it belonged to his mother so I gave it to him. I might buy it," tears were pearling on her eye cushions.

"No," the assistant who'd heard her story said. "You might be up for murder in the morning if I let you." The laughter took the edge off her pain and the wine did the rest.



Crown

He was the one to do the leaving and she did the crying. There's something sad about going to a fancy dress with a woman who needs to be mopped up. It was a good job I was Glinda, in an Eighties' debs frock and a cardboard crown, an exceptional witch who knew just what to do to get Dorothy back to Kansas. I got my girl there by getting her drunk on ruby red wine in the absence of slippers.

She's heard he's getting married having spent five years living with her, adopting her cat to the extent that he tried to take it. Now he's getting married in the morning and she's grieving again.

"It's not that I want him back, it's all the stages you have to go through. First there's the break-up, then telling everyone, then separation of stuff, being on your own again after years, sending on his post, redirecting calls from old friends who think he's still there. You think you've done all the horrible stuff."

Then she heard through a mutual friend he's getting married. He hasn't phoned or written. Shuttles move less quickly than this guy. But it would have been nice to know before anyone else.

"Mind you, I didn't know he was seeing someone else so why would I be informed when he's decided to marry her?" Her attempt at humour made me want to hit him with the jewellery stand myself. It is a cruel way to do things. I found it difficult watching her face trying bravery, her grey make-up running and one of her wings getting droopy.

When my ex got married, his new wife had become a friend and even still it felt funny. I got over it because I was overjoyed for them and the tingles passed.



Bump

No matter how good the split, the final severance only comes when one of you meets someone and has children. A good friend of mine has been dealing with his ex-wife getting pregnant. They split by mutual agreement, but he still finds it hard to watch her bump, as he describes it.

There's no doubt all of us have done the right thing in deciding to go our separate ways. Coping with consequences is like climbing Everest several times in flip-flops. You're used to the fact you could slip at any moment. But one day you're at the top and ready to stay there.

It's hard to know it when you're scaling, watching the one you wanted to grow old with growing old with someone else, having the babies you wanted to have with them. I am living proof that one day you do turn the corner and there is someone else.

How do you know? Because nature wants this and a friend of mine who divorced and remarried confirms: "I called it my womb with a view period. I projected myself in to a future with a man and baby in it. It made me stay positive."