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Woman Who Called Off Her Wedding To Marry Herself Is Once Again Engaged To Her Ex

Woman Who Called Off Her Wedding To Marry Herself Is Once Again Engaged To Her Ex
Nicole (PA Real Life/Ma Cherie Studios)

A businesswoman who called off her engagement to marry herself went on to rekindle her romance with her ex – and is due to become his bride this autumn.

When Nicole Russo, 38, first met Paulo De Souza, 35, in February 2011, the pair did not even speak the same language.

However, their connection was so great that they fell in love anyway, getting engaged in October 2013.

Nicole after marrying herself (PA Real Life/Collect)

But before long, Nicole, of Boston, Massachusetts, said doubts began to creep in and eventually, after much soul-searching, she called off the wedding in June 2014, despite having paid for her dress and venue, as she had expected to tie the knot in February 2015.

In the wake of the break-up, her confidence at rock bottom, she decided to do something radical – marry herself instead.

And, incredibly, following the ceremony, which she had at home in her pajamas, being her own wife made her feel so good that in 2018, she got back with Paulo.

Nicole and Paulo (PA Real Life/Collect)

He proposed and she accepted for a second time, and is now set to marry him at a country club in October.

Nicole, who has her own wellness business, said: “I think my self-marriage and having that time apart is the reason Paulo and I have been able to reconnect this time around.

“Throughout my life, I was a people pleaser, wanting to do good for others and not myself, until it reached a point where I wasn't even sure who I was or what made me happy anymore."

Nicole's original engagement ring (PA Real Life/Collect)

She continued: “When Paulo and I split, I remember looking down at my engagement ring and thinking how much love and commitment it symbolized – then realizing I had never made that commitment to myself.

“Self-marriage has silenced that negative voice in my head, constantly shouting at me. Now, I am my own biggest cheerleader."

Having been single for around 10 years when she met Paulo in February 2011, at around the same time, Nicole had quit her engineering job to launch her own business after developing an interest in massage.

And working in a new communal office space led to her meeting her future husband.

She said: “There were some areas of the office that were always being left untidy, so I kept complaining to the landlord and we tried out various different cleaners. Then, one day, I noticed it was absolutely spotless. I wanted to thank whoever had done it, so I tracked down the cleaner – who turned out to be Paulo.

“He's from Brazil and only knew a few phrases in English at the start, but we'd see each other around and say hello. I didn't even realize that he liked me at first – until I looked properly into his eyes one day and fell for him."

Nicole and Paulo (PA Real Life/Collect)

In April 2011, Nicole and Paulo enjoyed their first date, speaking either in broken English, peppered with hand gestures, or using the little Spanish they both knew.

Virtually inseparable from then onwards, they gradually got to know each other better as Paulo's English improved.

Then, in 2013, keen for their proposal to be a joint effort, they began looking for rings.

Nicole's self-marriage ceremony (PA Real Life/Collect)

“We were officially engaged in October 2013, as I'd told Paulo that I wanted him to get my dad Bob's blessing first," said Nicole. “He's sadly passed away now – he died of cancer in 2015 – but it means so much to me that he met Paulo and gave his blessing."

Once officially engaged, Nicole happily set about arranging her special day, which was scheduled for February 2015.

She booked her venue – Willowdale State Forest in Massachusetts– and even found her dream strapless beaded dress. Sadly, all the while, though, doubts had been creeping into her mind.

She explained: “I began to feel unsure as to whether either of us were truly ready.

“I have a lot of trust issues and I worried we weren't on the same page with commitment, but I also had all these thoughts in my head about how expectations of me would change once I was a wife.

“Paulo wasn't pushing anything on me, it was all in my own head, but I felt like I'd be expected to be a certain way. Eventually, the relationship just felt like too much of a struggle."

Nicole (PA Real Life/Ma Cherie Studios)

So, with a heavy heart, Nicole called off the wedding in June 2014.

In the weeks that followed, as she began to process her decision, she started thinking about self-love, and how important it was for her to make peace with her own insecurities before she could be truly happy in a relationship.

Realizing she had never felt as lovingly about herself as Paulo had about her, a radical thought crossed her mind – “Why don't I just marry myself?"

Nicole and Paulo (PA Real Life/Collect)

Taking to the internet, she began researching the idea of self-marriage, or sologamy, and found an online course – enrolling on it in August 2014.

She explained: “It was a self-marriage course, and basically became a place for me to process all the emotions I had about the break up, and learn about self-love.

“I slowly learned how to love and honor myself, and wrote some vows where I promised to do what is right for me, rather than what I think other people want me to do. I relearned who I am, and how to give myself a break."

Nicole also created a vision board, showing how she wanted her life to look, by sticking on various images which meant something to her – all of which, she said, have come true.

She continued: “Some of the things were very obscure. For example, I stuck a photo of the Northern Lights, just as I thought they were beautiful – only to end up seeing them in person years later on a trip to Alaska, which I was invited on by chance.

“I also put a lovely picture I found of a happy couple laughing, as a rowing boat they were on tipped over."

Nicole in the outfit she wore to marry herself (PA Real Life/Collect)

She continued: “Once Paulo and I got back together, we went on a trip up to Maine to stay in a cabin, and got a kayak out onto the lake.

“Not only was it the same color as the boat in the picture, but Paulo and I even fell out of it and laughed our heads off when we did.

“I remember thinking, 'I've never seen him laugh like that.' That's when I knew the time apart had done us both good and given us the space we needed to grow."

The ring Nicole got to marry herself with (PA Real Life/Collect)

But before finding love again with Paulo, Nicole first had to prove her love for herself. So, she set a date for her wedding to herself and, like any bride, had a bachelorette party.

Gathering around 12 of her friends, she gifted them all little mirrors, encouraging them to repeat, 'I love you,' to their reflections, whenever they felt down or unsure about who they were.

The big day itself – October 4, 2014 – was a rather more solitary affair.

She recalled: “I had told some of my friends about it, though I stuck to the ones I knew would understand. I think they thought I was nuts, but having seen how much pain I was in, they wanted to support me. The wedding day itself I spent alone, which I thought was important.

“I married myself at home, not in a fancy dress, but in some lovely comfy pajamas. I picked out a ring and said my vows to myself into a mirror, before lighting some candles with my vision board as a backdrop.

“Then, I tucked into a wedding cake I had bought myself."

Nicole and Paulo (PA Real Life/Collect)

After that, newlywed-to-herself, Nicole found her confidence soaring.

In time, she felt ready to get back out into the world of dating, but could never find anyone to match the spark she had enjoyed with Paulo, who she still spoke to from time to time.

Then, in October 2017, after a catastrophically bad date, when she flew to Kansas City to meet an online love match who turned out to be a catfish – somebody who creates a fake profile – her feelings for Paulo started flooding back.

Nicole's self-marriage ceremony (PA Real Life/Collect)

“I got home and was feeling so thrown by it all," she said. “I started thinking about Paulo, and realized we really had shared some happy times. Then, it was honestly like that moment in a romantic movie, where a character will see a montage flash up of all the memories they have with someone before realizing that they're in love.

“I knew then that I loved Paulo still, and that I had to trust him and let him be the partner he'd worked so hard to show me he could be."

Agreeing to take things slowly, Paulo and Nicole started seeing each other on a casual basis, before officially getting back together in March 2018.

Then, in October 2018, they got engaged once again, having shopped for rings together, just like the last time.

Now, they are happier than ever, with their special day booked for October 12, 2019 – just days after the fifth anniversary of Nicole marrying herself, which she usually celebrates by taking herself to a spa or buying something “decadent."

By sharing her story, the bride-to-be hopes to encourage anybody else feeling lost to give self-marriage a try, as she believes it helped her to find her happily ever after relationship.

Nicole's self-marriage outfit (PA Real Life/Collect)

She said: “I haven't so much had negativity, but people are definitely uncomfortable with the idea of loving themselves.

“We all say we do – but deep down, there are things we all want to work on.

“This has been so healing for me. I had been really lonely for so long, and that carried through to relationships. I'd tried to seek love in other people, but what I truly needed was to learn to love every part of me, from my body to parts of my personality and things I have done."

Nicole's current engagement ring (PA Real Life/Collect)

Nicole continued: “Now, where I'd previously have been unkind to myself, I ask myself what I would say to a friend or relative. Then, I go and tell myself exactly that in the mirror.

“I honestly feel as if I have gained a new best friend, and Paulo and I are happier than we ever thought possible.

“To anyone else out there thinking about marrying themselves, I would say go for it. Once you learn to love yourself, it ripples out, and makes being kind to others come naturally."

Nicole and Paulo after getting engaged the second time (PA Real Life/Collect)

“When we're critical or gossipy about others, it isn't really about them – it's about how we judge ourselves," she concluded.

“Marrying yourself isn't easy, though. There are a lot of tears and forgiveness involved, but it'll also be the most fulfilling thing you ever do."