Woman who called off wedding to marry herself weds original fiancé years later
When Nicole Russo, 39, got engaged to Paulo De Souza, 35, back in 2013, she was overjoyed.
But less than a year later, she had called off their wedding and decided to get married to herself instead, reciting her vows into a mirror and buying herself a ring.
Nicole couldn’t handle her insecurities around the relationship, but found that marrying herself changed everything.
Four years after ending things and having her own wedding ceremony, Nicole had the confidence to go back to Paulo and rekindle their romance.
Then a year later, on 12 October 2019, with Nicole still married to herself, too, the couple tied the knot in front of 100 loved ones.
She credits ‘self-marriage’ for resolving her insecurities, allowing her to love herself first before she committed to Paulo.
‘I made the choice to honour and commit to myself and now I’ve done the same with Paulo,’ said Nicole.
‘My self-esteem and confidence has improved so much that I can now believe I’m loveable.
‘For so long, I couldn’t accept that, and that’s ultimately what broke us apart the first time.
‘People have asked me questions like, “Am I cheating on myself?” I’m not sure if they are just wanting to be sensational, or are being very simplistic and old-fashioned in how they are thinking about marriage, but I always tell them it’s in the definition.
‘My marriage to myself is not the same as my one to Paulo. It’s not a legal marriage, nor a traditional one with a church and big white dress. Rather, it’s a way of committing to and loving myself.’
Nicole had been single for around 10 years when she met Paulo back in February 2011.
Formerly an engineer, Nicole had quit her job to launch a business, and met Paulo in a communal office space.
He was working as a cleaner, and the pair met when Nicole was blown away by the cleanliness of the office space and asked to thank whoever was responsible.
Nicole said: ‘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 realise that he liked me at first – until I looked properly into his eyes one day and fell for him.’
After getting to know each other just as friends, Nicole and Paulo enjoyed their first date in April 2011 – communicating, because of the language barrier, using hand gestures and broken English, peppered with the little Spanish they both knew.
But a deep connection developed that ‘transcended words’, leading to them becoming an official couple and, after their relationship went from strength to strength, to their engagement in October 2013.
While Nicole was in the midst of excitedly planning her special day, she began to have doubts – and eventually decided not to go through with marrying Paolo.
‘I began to feel unsure as to whether either of us was truly ready,’ she explained.
‘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.’
She called off the wedding in June 2014 and she and Paolo split.
In the weeks that followed, Nicole 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.
‘I realised I had never felt as lovingly about myself as Paulo had about me,’ she said.
‘Then, a thought crossed my mind one day and I wondered, “Why don’t I just marry myself?”‘
Nicole began to research the idea of self-marriage, also known as sologamy, and found an online course to learn about self-love.
After processing her emotions, building her self-confidence, making a vision board, and having a self-love-themed hen party, Nicole tied the knot with herself on 4 October 2014.
‘I married myself at home, not in a fancy dress, but in some lovely comfy pyjamas,’ she said. ‘I picked out a ring and said my vows to myself in front of a mirror, before lighting some candles with my vision board as a backdrop.
‘Then, I tucked into a wedding cake I had bought myself.’
The ceremony helped Nicole rebuild her self-esteem and tackle all those trust issues, allowing her to return to the world of dating – but no one was a better match for her than Paolo.
She decided to take a risk and get in touch – and thankfully, Paolo was on the same page.
The couple went slowly this time, going on a few dates before committing to being officially back together in March 2018.
Then that October, Paolo popped the question.
One year later, on 12 October 2019, the couple finally wed – just days after the fifth anniversary of Nicole marrying herself.
And in a far from traditional but truly happy ending, Nicole finally walked down the aisle on October 12 last year – just days after the fifth anniversary of her marriage to herself.
Nicole is happier than ever, and thinks she couldn’t have got to this point had she not committed to herself first.
She said: ‘I’m still figuring out my own deal breakers, and how I can set boundaries and honour the commitment I made to myself, while still being a good partner.
‘I make a point of still having that “me” time.
‘The view of marriage and what it means is changing, which is amazing to see. More and more people are doing it their way.
‘As women, the old-fashioned view of marriage can feel like you are giving part of yourself up to your husband, but we should value ourselves and a self-marriage ceremony is a great way to do that.
‘I’d encourage people to give it a go, even if it does feel a bit silly. There were times where I thought I was nuts and that nobody else in the world did this sort of thing.
‘But once you learn to love yourself, it ripples out, and makes being kind to others come naturally.
‘When we’re critical or gossipy about others, it isn’t really about them – it’s about how we judge ourselves.
‘Marrying yourself isn’t easy. There are a lot of tears and forgiveness involved, but it’ll also be the most fulfilling thing you ever do.’
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