For Better or for Worse.

Infidelity, what causes it? Many perpetrators will tell you it’s not personal, they don’t actually want to hurt their partners. There is, apparently, a deep seated issue, a trigger, one that ignites a much deeper motivation than pure attraction. With divorce rates high and single parent families outnumbering the traditional unit, it’s worth questioning the root cause. What is it we envisage when we enter and commit to a relationship? Do we model our ideals on messed up Disney fantasies (or in my case Johnny and Baby)? All happy unions ending in a white fairytale wedding and happy ever after. Speaking of which…

Rooney has messed up again. I’m sure I’m not alone in thinking that this was inevitable? Seriously, the guy has unhappiness written all over him. And, maybe you have no sympathy for the overpaid ballboy but, I think it’s worth considering his misery.

Scouted when they were a teenage couple who probably shared a bottle of White Lightning and a quick snog in the local park, Wayne and Coleen were plucked from obscurity and transformed into a fairy tale to rival Shrek. Both became famous – him for his skills on the pitch and her for dressing well. Propelling them from working class Liverpool to between the pages of ‘Hello’ quicker than you can say ‘Football transfer’. Whilst Him and I battled through being young parents to three, we looked on in wonder at this lucky pair. My goodness, I thought, how canny of Coleen to pick the right boy when playing truth or dare! How could she have known, well either of them really, where their joined lives would take them? Within months of being 18 he was playing for England and then Man Utd. With success came pressure for children, marriage, responsibility, hair transplants…and this is where it gets messy. Instead of them being another working class statistic: becoming joined from an early age through teenage pregnancy and circumstance; working together to build a life through grit and determination; living on the breadline and juggling shifts and childcare; they got ‘lucky’. They had fame and fortune. However, be careful what you wish for…instead of happiness, it could be argued they became trapped by the glossy confines of our mighty media. Their whole relationship bought and scrutinised – two kids making mistakes and growing together, all in the spotlight. Outwardly wonderful and sparkling lives for us to envy. Every girl wanted to bag a footballer when they saw her ‘living the dream’. One minute Coleen was strutting down the town with her mates, in jeans and a bomber jacket and the next she’s gracing London Fashion Week with Victoria Beckham, Talk about rags to riches! What worries me though is, when did they get chance to grow up? Were they forced together by the lure of celebrity and bright lights? What is it they actually wanted? Was it each other?

Now don’t get me wrong, I am in no way comparing their plight to that of people trapped through consequence. They had it all – the perfect start in life. How I wish my girls could start their adult journey with love and security. Also, if it all went wrong, either of them could get out anytime they tried (by now both could have good careers and live well separately). Instead, they decided (for better or for worse) to work through the highs and lows and have it all documented by the gutter press – can you imagine? My god, I wouldn’t fancy having my picture taken and being speculated about, after having an argument with Him! (Now I live in a small town and gossip is bad enough…)

What I do believe is that like any relationship, it is undoubtedly deeply flawed, complex and contains long lasting love and companionship. They’ve grown together, worked through infidelity and living in the glare of the media. Two families melded through circumstance have done what we all do when we marry and grown to love and support each other. We know this through the charity work they have both done for her brother. We also know both families are well looked after. They have supported and no doubt made sure, that financially, their nearest and dearest are well looked after and provided for. Massive responsibility on their shoulders from a young age. This said, you might think ‘so what!’ We all have times that we have to battle through life. We also all have times when we lean on each other when that black cloud hovers ever so slightly in the peripherals (we don’t expect sympathy though) Finally, admit it, we all make mistakes – we are only human. But where’s the cameras and reporters publicly announcing it? Now unless you want to wash your dirty linen (as my mum would say) in public and splash it all over Facebook, you’re probably safe from the media. They aren’t so lucky. Also, all our anxieties tend to be set to the added worry of money – how will we survive? We think when wanting to jack it all in, or faced with long term illness etc. We worry about providing for our children, putting food on the table, paying the mortgage…Statistics show that of people stay together because they can’t afford to separate. This fact not only reflects a sign of the financial times but also makes me reflect on the sanctity of marriage. It asks the question ‘how much importance do people place on their marriage vows?’ (Now, at this point I don’t want to get all sanctimonious but this was something I took, and still do, very seriously…). So, how when they are worth an estimated £124 million, do they have the right to feel stressed, depressed and require the need to escape? Is the reason they’re still together because they believe in their vows? Or has the fame and luxury trapped them in the same way a baby at sixteen could have?

Empathy. Ask yourself this: what did you dream of as a child? I wanted to be rich, successful and famous (plus mansion in Hollywood Hills and a fur stoal al la Rita Hayworth). Mostly though I wanted to be happy and live a worry free life. Even at the age of ten, i knew I wanted to live stress free in a grand house, somewhere fabulous and with someone wonderful to hold my hand. The happy ever after (I blame all those black and white flicks the nana made me watch). The main factor, I shrewdly realised at that young age, was money; to have copious funds to support this lifestyle would undoubtedly gain me life long happiness. And that’s the thing kids think (and some adults) – money solves everything. Wrong! It can solve some problems and opens doors but it doesn’t make us better people and certainly doesn’t enrich our relationships. Many of us believe that if money was no issue that life would be a breeze. Be honest, you do don’t you? Imagine not worrying about bills, putting food on the table and how you are going to pay for Christmas. Pure bliss yeah? Lottery win anyone – no me neither! You see what motivates us to get out of bed is just that; the bare bones of the shit o clock alarm there is only one thing that pulls us out of bed: money. Not in mercenary sense where we are only motivated by the pound sign but by the knowledge that if you don’t move that foot out of the bed your children will lose the roof from over their heads and there will be no food in their mouths. Now I don’t want to sound dramatic (I know I do) but that’s it. Given the chance I would always work, however, not for the amount of hours a week I do currently. Ideally, I’d like a balance between work and being a mum – maybe have a life for once which enabled me some freedom. I’d like to have time to follow my dreams. But what I’ve realised is, is that this utopian state does not exist, instead we take our joy from what we can grab at. We snatch at quick gains and embrace and cherish the sweet and glorious moments we are presented with (right now Sunday morning cuppa in bed). We capture memories and hold them close…and it is easy to think a couple like the Rooneys don’t need to do this. Surely, in a life full of opulence their lives are full of untainted memories which have no tinge of worry behind them. For example: I bet when Kai’s birthday is coming up, they aren’t hastily counting the entire cost and budgeting in advance for party, gift, family meal, new outfit etc. But this is my point: has their life spoilt them? Do they turn to each other with their worries? What keeps them united? Has the fairytale become jaded? Is it flawed? How could two teenagers live happily ever after, when, as we all know as paid up adults, it doesn’t exist. Life evolves and we work at it. How can they possibly realise how lucky they are when they haven’t worked through the same worries we have to get to this point? Was it (in the words of the Specials) too much too young?

Therefore, whilst a pregnant Coleen, avec kids, relaxes in Spain, Wayne is back at work in England. Rattling round the mansion after a morning’s training – no longer the youngest kid on the block. No doubt starting to feel old and inadequate alongside the sharp skilled youths. Ego diving and he’s back to being 14 on the council estate. He’s fighting for his place in the team and wanting to be noticed. He’s probably wondering what to do next. He’s got years stretched out in front of him and the prospect of not playing anymore must be petrifying; does he speak to his wife, tell her his fears? Or, does he bury his head in the sand and seek solace wherever he can? Drink, women, gambling…anything to reach those natural highs he felt in his hey day (it’s that old stereotypical problem). Yes, he’s got form: Eileen. But that’s the thing, it’s a repeating pattern. When he’s scared, desperate and depressed he makes stupid choices. I personally think he needs to speak to his wife.

Sadly, the fairy tale does not exist: even for Fiona and Shrek. It’s unobtainable and life will never be – even if you chuck money it, easy. However, what does exist is love, respect and companionship. They all make us far wealthier than Rooney, Bale and Ronaldinho put together. Sometimes we get lost. Sometimes we miss the point and have to remind ourselves how blinking blessed we are. I just hope that Wayne and Coleen find what’s important and get their happily ever after. I also hope you all do too xxx

Disclaimer: All details of Wayne’s career aren’t 100% accurate but I’m sure none of you care either.

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