Oh dear. The platinum and diamond engagement ring has come off and is now sitting in its little box in my chest of drawers.
I had left David’s flat feeling upset that he must care so little about me, and himself, to live in such a state. If anything, his flat has got worse. It was so bad I didn’t sleep. I felt so sorry for the puppies, forcing them to go out into his ‘garden’, meaning they trod on rubbish and worse.
Anyway, given I can no longer face staying with him, I found a flat online I liked the look of in Notting Hill: one bedroom, huge windows, a balcony. I emailed him: ‘Dave. Can you go and view this for me on Friday? Take lots of photos, particularly the common entrance area, and then time how long it would take to walk to The Cow gastropub? The flat’s cheap, so it will go super fast.’
Simples? No. It never is with David.
He emailed back to say he had called them, and then he added, ‘In full disclosure, I asked the estate agent if the flat takes dogs.’
Nooooooooo! ‘Why did you do that? I didn’t ask you to speak to anyone. Just to go and see it and take photos. I will never get it now! I might not even take the dogs, as they hate the long drive and Mini is off her food.’
I was so angry, I started to rethink the whole situation. The marriage. Living together. At that moment I couldn’t even bear to look at him. ‘This will never work. I can’t live with a man with no job who doesn’t put empty dog food pouches in a bin over the course of an entire week. When I pointed out a tree is growing through your kitchen window, you actually laughed. You really are painful.’
Him: ‘No job? I’m retired. It was a cardboard box. I didn’t look inside it.’
Me: ‘What man would defend being too lazy to put something that smelled into a bin? I think there is something seriously wrong with you.’
Him: ‘Then leave me alone.’
There is no thought in his head that he might change or that he is even in the wrong. No, ‘Sorry. I know I’m a mess, the flat is a tip. I will try harder.’ Even when I was inviting him to live with me in Notting Hill, saying, ‘But keep your old flat, just in case,’ there wasn’t even a thank you. No suggestion of, ‘OK, if I’m not paying anything, I’ll make sure it’s clean or hire a cleaner. I will cook you lovely food.’
With me it seems, in any relationship, it’s always a one-way street. Me: give, give, give. Him: take, take, take. (In his defence, he did offer to drive me back to Yorkshire as I was so exhausted, but the thought of him all weekend made me decline. Plus I would have had to pay his £126 train fare back to London.)
I think the truth is, if I were 30 and he was still handsome, and I wanted a lovely designer wedding gown (Givenchy, Chloé, Victoria Beckham or Varana; I’ve been looking, despite myself) and maternity leave and someone useful who could mow the lawn, I would never say all this stuff. I would never criticise him or stick up for myself. I would just accept that this is what men are like.
But what if all you want from a man is to make you laugh, to cuddle you in bed and occasionally have sex if there are no box sets that need downloading, and to turn up looking smart in a tux at a formal event? Then you don’t put up with their ridiculous, arrogant, have no money but try to boss you anyway, arrogant (did I say that already?) airs and graces and rudeness and stupidness and laziness. Because there is no need to put up with it.
You have to add something to someone’s life. If he were offering me a flat in Notting Hill that I didn’t have to pay for, I would tell him I was grateful, at least. But he didn’t say a word. When I said, ‘Don’t give up your “flat”, just so you feel secure, and I understand you can’t pay towards the rent or utilities,’ he just said, ‘OK.’
I don’t understand why everything has to be a battle: for the ring, for him to put something in the bin. I bet Meghan Markle wouldn’t put up with him for one second! Even given a title, a home, an electric classic car, clothes, diamonds, a baby, she refused to settle. I admire her for that. I have to be more Meghan. Even if it means I spend the rest of my life alone…
Introducing: LIZ JONES’S DIARY PODCAST
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