CAN a break-up really be the roundabout route to a happy marriage?
It seems to have worked for celebrity couple Gareth Gates and Faye Brookes.
Getty Images – Getty Gareth Gates and Faye Brookes split up but came back stronger than ever[/caption]
They split up after six years together, but after four months apart they rekindled their romance and last month announced their engagement.
Gareth and Faye said their break gave them the space to realise how perfect they were for each other, and claim they are now closer than ever.
But is this really a recipe for living happily ever after?
JENNY FRANCIS hears from two women with very different experiences.
Oliver Dixon – The Sun After two years together, Ami realised her relationship with John was not making her happy[/caption]
FOR full-time mum-of-two Ami Roberts, breaking up made her fall in love again.
Ami, 29, of Chelmsford, Essex, only realised she wanted to marry John Roberts, 29, an area manager for a security firm, after they spent 18 months apart.
She says: “John and I met on a trip to Disneyland Paris in 2009 and were instantly attracted to each other. We were from the same town and everything just slotted into place.
“We loved each other’s company and knew we were well suited. I felt so lucky to have found someone so special.
Oliver Dixon – The Sun It took Ami and John a year apart to realise they were perfect for each other[/caption]
“But about two years in, cracks started to show. John had a full-time job and I was focusing on getting a career in performing arts. We started arguing about silly things.
“The number of friends we had in common became smaller. John had his work buddies and my new friends were totally different to his circle.
“John was more of a homebody than me, having to be up early for work so he wanted to be in bed early. I was having fun, enjoying lie-ins and late nights.
“I knew we loved each other but it was getting hard to find common ground. It was a relationship with lots of pressure.
JUSTIN AND JESSICA
IN spring 2011, Justin Timberlake went public about a difficult split from Jessica Biel after four years together.
A few months, later the couple got back together and they married in October 2012.
“I was devastated when I realised we needed time apart, but we admitted we needed to break up. Two years after we started dating, we parted ways.
“We agreed we could date other people and made the decision to limit the contact we had. I knew it would be hard, but we both knew we still had feelings so had to make rules not to text each other all the time.
“It was scary but also exciting. I suddenly had all this freedom.
“At first, I partied and soaked up the fun of single life. My friends all told me this was the time to be wild and make mistakes. I dated eight men – some lasted a month or so, some were just one-off dates.
WILLS AND KATE
PRINCE William and Kate Middleton began dating in 2003 when they were students at St Andrews University in Fife.
In 2007, they split, but they reignited their spark in June 2010 and got engaged later that year.
“After a year, I started to think more about John. I went on a holiday to Turkey with friends 17 months after the break started, and it was there that I decided I wanted to make contact with him again.
“I’d been missing him. I didn’t want anyone else. I knew who I was and what I wanted with my job, so I felt more secure about settling down.
“I wrote to him and he immediately called me. We met and it was like we had never been apart. I knew instantly that John was my future.
“John told me the freedom had been fun but the other girls he’d seen just weren’t me. He’d grown up, dated two girls and felt more secure in his job.
MILLIE AND HUGO
MILLIE Mackintosh and Hugo Taylor were the golden couple on Made In Chelsea in 2011 and dated for just under a year.
After splitting, Millie married Professor Green in 2013, divorcing in 2016.
It was just five weeks after the divorce that she was pictured back with Hugo, and the pair married in summer last year.
“Sparks we never knew existed flew and almost immediately we got back together. Five months later John proposed and we got married in 2013. We had Oliver, who’s now four, in 2014 and Samuel, seven months, last June.
“We now felt so strong as a couple, we were ready for the challenges of kids and marriage. If we’d stayed together there is no way we’d have our wonderful family.
“Surprisingly, we weren’t jealous of each other dating other people. The break made us grow up.”
JOHN SAYS: “When we decided to have a break we were at a point of either breaking up or looking to marriage and we didn’t want to get it wrong.
MILEY & CHRIS
MILEY Cyrus and Liam Hemsworth started dating in 2009 after starring in The Last Song together.
The couple got engaged in 2012 but broke it off the following year.
In October 2016, after being spotted in public together, Miley confirmed the engagement was back on.
They married last year in the US and are “happier than ever”.
“Taking a break was the best thing we ever did. It made me a better husband, a better dad and a better partner because I now know we are meant to be together.
“You have to face the fear of being alone and hoping the decision you made to take a break was correct. It’s a gamble, but one that paid off for us.”
Okay, so it doesn’t always work…
Huw Evans Picture Agency Amy was with Dan for two years before their relationship began to turn sour[/caption]
AMY Hubbuck, a student from Swansea, thought a break could help her relationship in the long run.
The 25-year-old ended her two-year relationship after completing her Masters in Psychology at Leeds University, but time apart only made them both realise there was more out there than each other.
She says: ”I met Dan* in 2014. He was a student working part-time in a supermarket and we just clicked.
”He seemed mature and confident and we’d talk for hours about our mutual love of sports and going out. After six months I was convinced that Dan was the one for me. We were so comfortable around each other, it felt right.
After the split, Amy says she began to enjoy her freedom – and miss Dan ‘less and less’
”It was two years in that we started having problems. Not major arguments but niggling issues.
”I complained he didn’t communicate well . . . and he complained that I communicated too much.
”I always felt that I was the “doer” in the relationship, while he just sat back and did nothing.
”I knew I loved him, so I didn’t want to end it, I just felt my dreams of travelling and working abroad were things he wasn’t getting excited about.
”After another six months together we both agreed a break would be useful.
”I think we were both hoping that the other one would realise what they were missing and change.
”We set ground rules. Texting each other was OK, but no seeing each other, and only the occasional phone call. The first week I missed him terribly, but as the weeks passed, I began to miss Dan less and less.
”I felt more relaxed and when I had the perspective to think about our past arguments, I realised I’d been sugar-coating his faults.
”I enjoyed the freedom more than I imagined I would – and being able to talk and flirt with other guys. But I also wanted to focus on me.
”It was weird after two years of a fully-committed relationship to find myself in the position of being “sort of single”.
”Dan would text me but I found myself increasingly uninterested in replying.
”The break helped me reconnect with myself and what I wanted. And I didn’t want to be held back.
”I decided to surprise Dan after three months by turning up unannounced, as I figured this grand gesture would help me decide once and for all how I felt about our relationship.
”My surprise arrival went down like a lead balloon.
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”Dan wasn’t interested in what I’d been up to, and I felt I was straight back in the same uninspiring relationship I had left behind.
”We both knew it was over for good.
”At first I was sad because I’d assumed we’d be so much happier after a break, but the opposite happened.
“The break saved us from staying in a relationship that wasn’t working and taught me that if you’re willing to separate, there’s obviously a reason.”