Ruth Munro, 51, Ellon, Scotland
Staring at the friend request on my Facebook page, my tummy flipped. I'd recognise that smile anywhere. Andrew. It had been almost 20 years since we'd split. We'd met through friends when I was 29 and he was 18.
As a single mum to three kids, Scott, then 11, Alana, eight, and Sheree, one, I never dreamed he'd fancy me. I was wrong! 'I think you're really sexy,' he'd grinned. Sadly, our relationship fizzled out after two years and we lost touch. Until now...
Long time no see, Andrew messaged me. How's things?
Intrigued, I replied and soon we were often chatting online and had exchanged numbers. Then one day, I was pottering at home when Andrew called. 'Fancy a visit?' he said.
He seemed older, wiser, and we talked for hours.
My heart was hammering as I invited him round for a coffee. All the old feelings came rushing back the moment he walked through the door. 'You look gorgeous,' he said. He seemed older, wiser, and we talked for hours.
With three kids of his own, he'd worked hard to become the manager of a local farm. But some things never change. When we kissed a few days later, the sparks flew just like before. A couple of months later I moved in with him.
Yes, things were moving very fast but after 20 years lost between us, there was no point in hanging around. So, when Andrew suggested we get married after we'd been back together four months, I found myself agreeing.
Booking the wedding for December, I was excited but some people wondered if we were rushing things. 'I'm not wasting any more time!' I laughed. We decided on an intimate ceremony followed by a quiet meal with our families. As I stood in my white dress, saying my vows, I couldn't believe I was finally Mrs Munro. If only the feeling had lasted...
At the reception, Andrew couldn't keep off his phone. He seemed more interested in it than me. 'Put that away,' I said as it beeped for what seemed like the 100th time. 'Who are you texting?'
Andrew told me it was a friend of an ex who was trying to cause trouble and ruin our day. I tried to put it to the back of my mind, but as we got back to our hotel for our first night as husband and wife, Andrew seemed withdrawn and moody. When his phone rang again, I snapped and snatched it. That's when I saw the name Jennifer* flash up on the screen.
There was a girl with that name in our town. Sheree knew her vaguely but why would she be calling Andrew? Pressing the answer button, my frustration boiled over.
'This is Ruth,' I snapped. 'What's going on? This is our wedding day.'
I couldn't believe what she said next.
'There are some things about Andrew you should know,' she told me. 'But I'd rather tell you to your face.'
What? Hanging up, I felt furious and confused.
'What the hell are you not telling me?' I said to Andrew.
'How should I know?' he yelled back. 'If you're going to be like this, I'm leaving.'
With that, he stormed out of the room and there was a huge thud as the door slammed shut. Looking at my beautiful dress hanging forlornly in our room, I choked back tears. It was my wedding night. But where was my hubby?
Spending the night alone in the huge double bed, I hardly slept a wink. Andrew didn't come back until the next morning and as we drove the 400 kilometres home, we hardly spoke. For weeks, things were strained as I struggled to accept he'd left me on our wedding night. But whenever I tried to bring it up, he snapped at me for overreacting.Then, six weeks after our big day, Sheree came round and dropped a bombshell. 'You're going to have to sit down Mum,' she said.
'What's wrong?' I stammered, not sure I wanted to hear.
'I spoke to Jennifer,' she went on. 'Andrew cheated with her - two nights before you got married.'
I felt sick and faint as my mind flashed back to the night in question. I'd been out. Andrew told me he had gone to bed.
As I tried to make sense of it all, Sheree took a deep breath. 'I wasn't sure whether I should believe her,' she went on. 'So I asked her to describe your bedroom to me. She knew you had a dream catcher above the bed.' It was true.
I felt furious and confused.
My head spun with anger. Andrew had promised to be faithful for the rest of his life. But just two days before he took those vows, he'd cheated - in our bed! I thundered upstairs, where Andrew was having a nap.
'You're a scumbag!' I spat. 'I don't want to see you again!'
'What are you on about?' he said.
I told him I knew about Jennifer before rushing downstairs and logging on to my computer. Annulment I typed into the Google search engine. Our marriage was a sham... But then Andrew fell at my feet, crying. 'Please don't give up on us,' he wailed. 'I love you. It'll never happen again.' I could hardly look at him, but he went on.
'I'll do whatever it takes,' he sobbed. 'We can move away. A fresh start.' At that moment, something inside me melted. I wanted to believe him so much, I wondered if perhaps a fresh start could really change things. So, pushing any doubts to the back of my mind I relented and a few months later we moved to the country. Like any couple, we had our ups and downs, but slowly we rebuilt our relationship.
I should've known it wasn't going to last.
Just over three years later, in April 2013, I received a Facebook message out of the blue from Fiona, Andrew's kids' mum. There's something I think you should know, she wrote. When Andrew was meant to be babysitting on Saturday, he had another woman in the house. I felt panic rising in my throat as I dialled her number. 'What's going on?' I choked. I thought I might collapse right there as she revealed her son had caught Andrew with another woman.
I felt like such a fool.
Andrew had promised to change but I should have known better - once a cheat, always a cheat. I was devastated but this time I didn't even want to hear his excuses. I packed my things and a few weeks later, I moved out.
Nine months on, I've filed for divorce and found a house of my own. Andrew and I don't speak now. It's been hard to pick up the pieces, but with the support of my family and friends, I'm determined not to spend every day crying.
I've learnt the hard way that a leopard never changes its spots.
*Name has been changed