My mother warned me not to marry him, but I ignored her and we held the wedding in December of that year.
I overlooked the fact that Carol could barely stand at the ceremony.
Friends who criticised Carol were simply cut out of my life.
At 67, my husband had been seriously ill for the last ten years of our marriage.
And I — far from being the ‘hot young bimbo’ — was, at 45, more like his carer. He already had two daughters from his first marriage, who are now in their 40s, and even though I would have loved to have had children, I foolishly allowed myself to be bullied out of motherhood.
Not only at my husband’s betrayal — but because our marriage was nothing like the one he had described in such prurient detail.
We hadn’t had sex for over a decade, and it was highly unlikely we’d ever make love again.
In 1995, when I was 38 and Carol 60, he was admitted to hospital for open-heart surgery.
The procedure went disastrously wrong, and he contracted MRSA, leaving him in a coma for six weeks.
It was at that moment, ten years ago, I realised marrying a man more than two decades older than me was the biggest mistake of my life. I was 28 and Carol 50 when ‘that’ conversation first came up.
Now, my blood always runs cold whenever I read in celebrity magazines and newspapers of young women in their 20s falling for older — and invariably richer — men. We weren’t yet married and he’d made it abundantly clear that the only life he was interested in was one with fine wines and no ‘whiny kids’.
And for a while I truly believed it would work: one of my happiest memories was of us sitting outside a restaurant in the French resort town of La Rochelle, full of optimism about our new life together.
Not only was I working flat-out to make a career for myself in a foreign country so I could pay our bills, I was also providing round-the-clock care for Carol.
What hadn’t crossed my mind was that Carol had an enormous head start in that department. He’d been married before and was reluctant to commit again.