When I was a teenager – and even into my twenties – I clung to the notion of finding my soul mate with the tenacity of only the romantically deluded. Looking back, I’m not even sure I understood the meaning of the words “soul mate”. In those days I still believed in love at first sight (and that kissing a boy could get you pregnant), but it was something like the idea that there was someone out there so in tune with me that together we played out a symphony.

When I married James, I married a best friend – I thought that’s what one did. So I got the “mate” part of the equation right, even if the relationship turned out to be pretty soul-destroying.

Thing is that the notion of a soul mate seems to imply that all the pieces will fit together like a jigsaw puzzle when the reality is more like trying to squeeze a square block into a round hole – sometimes you’ve got to file down the corners a bit to make it fit. While I’m certainly not letting James off the hook for sleeping with my best friend, I think that perhaps my disillusionment in finding him less than perfect may have driven him some way towards her bed. Somewhere along the line, when the guy fell off the pedestal, so did my belief that he was made for me. So, instead of trying to work with him as he was, I retreated from the marriage. And, while I never consciously sought to end it, somehow I allowed my dashed dreams to turn my marriage into something resembling a nightmare. Was I really that surprised when I woke up one morning to find my husband had absconded from the marital bed?

Now I’m not saying that if you happen to pick a bad apple, you’ve got to swallow the worm, but rather that even the sweetest apple’s gonna have a pip or two and maybe to give those pips a chance to germinate into something fruitful instead of throwing out the whole apple.

Or, to rephrase in non-fresh-produce terms, perhaps the success of a marriage has less to do with all the parts that work and more to do with working with the parts that don’t. And, crucially, that means abandoning the notion of perfection. Forgetting the idea of that knight in shining armour and allowing the real (albeit flawed) heroes to sweep us off our feet.