Here, Melissa Moussie, 29, tells the story in her own words.
￼As the dark-haired man sat down next to me, I introduced myself. I’d noticed him around the office, but today he was using the desk next to mine. ‘I’m Aalden,’ he smiled.
As we got to know each other, I realised Aalden was like an open book.
‘I have to be careful about gambling,’ he explained, saying he’d sometimes got carried away at the pokies.
But now, he was recovering. It was refreshing to meet someone so honest.
Inviting him to my birthday drinks, I decided to seize the moment. Pulling Aalden towards me, I leaned in for a kiss.
Thankfully, he was thrilled. Turns out he fancied me too!
After that, we started dating and when I introduced him to my little girl, Mikayla, then five, they really hit it off.
‘He seems like The One!’ my mum, Jill, now 53, said. ‘You should marry him!’
My sister Rachael, 32, was a fan, too.
When I fell pregnant, just nine months after we started dating, we were both surprised but over the moon. Aalden was by my side as we welcomed little Coen into the world.
At first, we settled happily into family life. But slowly issues began to emerge.
Having been betrayed in the past, I found myself worrying where Aalden was and what he was doing. ‘Will you be out tonight?’ I’d ask. ‘Yeah, I’m going to my mate’s place,’ he’d say.
I desperately wanted to trust him, but my anxiety got in the way. So I’d quiz him about his night.
Although he never got into debt or ate into our bill money, he sometimes lapsed with his addiction recovery and played the pokies.
He always felt genuine remorse afterwards, but things started to get rocky.
Aalden was hurt that I didn’t trust him, and I needed more reassurance. When we were both left devastated by the sudden death of a friend, things got tougher.
Then, one night, Aalden went for a drink with his mates. By the time I went to bed, he wasn’t home.Where is he? I thought as the hours ticked by. Had something terrible happened?
The next morning, he came home looking sheepish. Seeing his face, I knew the truth. He’s cheated on me, I realised, completely floored. ‘Do you want to explain?’ I asked him.
That’s when he admitted he’d spent the night with another woman.‘I’m sorry,’ he said.
He told me it was a huge mistake, but angry and hurt, I couldn’t believe his betrayal.
‘You have to move out,’ I told him.
We’d stay respectful for the children but I couldn’t be with him any more.
When I told Mum and Rachael, they were outraged. ‘How could he do that to you?’ Mum said. ‘You deserve better,’ Rachael said.
As I nursed my bruised heart, Aalden and I still spent time together with the kids.
He’d come to their birthday parties and we’d take them to the park.
Despite everything, our old spark was still there. When we’re together, everything just feels right, I thought.
So, earlier this year, we decided to give it another go.
Sitting down with the kids, then aged 10 and three, we broke the good news.
‘We’re back together,’ I said, and they beamed in delight.
Rachael and Mum weren’t so pleased. They thought Aalden was a cheater and a gambler and that I should show him the door for good.
When he came to family events, it was awkward. They’d be civil to him, but they couldn’t understand why I wanted him back.
‘If he loved you, he wouldn’t have cheated,’ Rachael said.
It was one mistake, I thought. I’m over it, they should be too. I trust him.
Then, Aalden and I went out for a boat trip. Sitting side-by-side staring at the ocean, he started mumbling nervously.
‘You make me want to be a better person...’ he said. Then, he got down on one knee. ‘Will you do me the honour of being my wife?’ he asked. ‘Yes!’ I cried.
It felt absolutely magical and I couldn’t wait to share our happy news. But Mum was upset.
‘This is insane,’ she said. ‘Melissa, what are you doing?’
I loved Aalden though and I knew in my heart we should be together.
Planning my wedding, I desperately wanted Rachael and Mum to support me. I loved them and wanted them by my side, and I dreamed of Rachael being my maid of honour.
So I decided to share my story on the TV show Bride & Prejudice.
Now, I’m hoping my family will be there when I say ‘I do’ to the man of my dreams. I’ve forgiven him, I hope they can too.
To see if they do, watch Bride & Prejudice, Mon. to Wed. at 7.30pm, on Channel Seven.
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