Marriage is meant to be a sacred ritual between two people that is supposed to last ‘until death do us part,’ but in this day in age it seems nothing lasts forever.
Helen Butterworth, 36, a riding yard manager from Saltney has been a single mother to her son Jack Butterworth, 18, and her daughter Megan Butterworth, 13, for eleven and a half years.
She got married at the age of 22, and was with her husband, Kevin Butterworth, 34, for two and a half years. “He committed adultery and with the 16-year-old babysitter that use to sit for us. That is unforgivable,” she said. “I came home early one night from the nursing home I worked at, because I was feeling ill, and caught them in bed together. I thought we were happy together, but clearly he wasn’t happy at all. Although he is not with her anymore.” Kevin use to get home at 10.00 pm and Helen started her night shift at 8.00 pm, she used to baby sit for them over the overlapping time period. “Clearly she never went straight home after Kevin got back to the house from work. When I look back now I don’t blame one or the other, it takes two to make something happen and if he wasn’t happy its probably best I caught them because who knows, I may not have found out otherwise,” said Helen. “It is just sad to have thought we had been together since we were 14 and in school together, and of course we have two children.”
Even though they have been divorced for 10 years they keep in contact on a weekly basis, mainly because of their son Jack. “He goes to visit his father most weekends and they spend a lot of time together. They have quite a solid father-son bond.”
The divorce affected both Megan and Jack in different ways, although Megan was only effect later on in her life because she was only 6 weeks old when her parents got divorced. “Megan was too young to remember or feel anything, so it had no effect on her in her early life. Although now when she sees her cousin with her dad, she feels like she is missing out on that father-daughter relationship. There has never been a strong father figure in her life.” Jack on the other hand was always a ‘daddy’s boy’ said Helen, and visits his father regularly. “It didn’t really bother me growing up without my dad, but I guess I wish we could have had some sort of relationship now. It doesn’t effect my day-to-day life and I hardly think about it,” said Megan.
Both children have a completely different relationship with their father and that was Kevin’s decision. “Kevin never seemed interested in Megan, and I really do not know why. I sometimes think it is because she was so young when he left, so there was never really much of a relationship to begin with,” she said. “Jack on the other hand was five and his father adored him.”
Megan felt her father never tried to have a relationship with her and for that she does not like him. “He would be a different person to talk to for different things, and I would have liked to have had a father figure, but he never gave me the time of day.” Kevin has never made any attempt to contact Megan but sends her the occasional gifts for special occasions.
Unlike most fathers who contribute financially to their children’s lives, Kevin chooses not to. Helen has had an ongoing struggle get financial support from her ex husband and involved the CSA. Unfortunately whenever they caught up with Kevin he would change his job, in the end Helen said she gave up, as it was not worth the hassle and constant chase. “He doesn’t contribute at all to any holidays, food or leisure activities but they do get a Christmas present or two. He does however take Jack out when he goes to visit at weekends,” said Helen.
Megan has lived without her father her whole life and feels he would not make a difference what so ever. “I have lived without him for so long, I couldn't see him making a huge difference to who I am or my life. I have grown up knowing no different and kind of learned to accept that it probably would never happen, even if I wanted it to.” Although Helen has had boyfriends over the years, none of the relationships evolved into anything serious. Megan found it easy to bond with her mothers’ partners and could form a kind of friendship with them, going out to the cinema and spending time together, “it was just nice to have someone else around, it was hard when they were not there anymore. I felt like I lost a possible father figure and a friend too,” said Megan.
The unfortunate thing about situations like Helen’s is that it affects you for the rest of your life. “I would not get married ever again, not even if I ended up in a committed and solid long term relationship. I lost so much when I went through my divorce, including my house amongst other things. I have completely lost trust and faith in men and would never put myself in the same predicament again,” she said.
Helen is now single and is concentrating on working to sustain a happy life for her and her children, they are her main focus.