Married At First Sight NZ bride Anna Saxton admits she was blindsided by her split with Jordan Dare.
She says it came at a particularly difficult time because she was already struggling with her mental health as a result of the public backlash she has received over her sex tape revelation.
Anna and Jordan announced their split on social media in mid-October. Only days earlier they had revealed to Now To Love their plans to move in together and have children.
It was clear from the wording of their individual Instagram messages that it had been Jordan's call.
"Nothing happened or dramatically changed in our relationship but the only downside to spending 24/7 with someone from the first meeting, trying to make a relationship work is when you have to spend time apart in reality you start to realise your deep real feelings... if you realise you are not In love with someone it is not a feeling you can hide," he wrote.
Two weeks on from the couple's shock announcement Anna has revealed to Now To Love that Jordan broke up with her only three days after their interview about their plans for the future.
"It was a bit of a surprise for me and I needed a bit of time to process everything," Anna says.
"He told me that he was really unsure about how he was feeling after… getting back to his own normal life. He was having doubts… I was surprised but I respect his honesty and him being open with me about it."
Jordan told Anna it was over during a weekend away in Rotorua. It was a weekend they had intended to be all about kicking back and unwinding together after the show. Instead it became the saddest weekend they'd ever shared.
"It was very sad," Anna says. "We still spent the weekend... We went for a nice walk and went to the hot pools and things like that. Because we'd spent so much time together it was nice to get a bit of closure on it all.
"But I needed a bit of time after that to process it all and get my head around it because in a way it was very confusing and, yeah, just really full on."
"The week before, I had been struggling with my mental health" Anna continued. "Actually, I had been struggling for a couple of months."
Anna has struggled with anxiety before, but she says the public backlash that came with being on the show sent her mental health plummeting.
Her and Jordan's entire MAFS journey was dominated by Anna's revelation that she'd made a sex tape with a former partner from LA. Her former partner had then shared the tape with his mates.
Anna explains that she'd been advised to come clean about it because it was a better option than having the media find out and break the story, so not only did she tell Jordan about it on national television, she also had to tell her parents and Jordan's.
She understands the thinking behind that advice, but regrets that the sex tape angle was blown up as big as it was by the show's producers.
"It wasn't that I was misrepresented, but it dominated my whole story and there's so much more to me than this sex tape," she says.
The online bullying began as soon as Anna's bombshell came out, and then only got progressively worse as the series went on.
"I got nice messages but I also got a lot of really awful messages," Anna says. "I'm a very sensitive person and I feel everything so intensely. And then it was also my family. My nana was having a hard time dealing with it and she ended up having some health issues due to stress which was hard for me to take. I noticed my mental health going down a lot."
While Jordan was hugely supportive, and so were her family and friends, by the time the reality TV series had finished Anna was afraid to leave her house and had begun having suicidal thoughts.
"That's when I knew I had to do something about it. That's when I went to my doctor and asked for help," she says.
Anna was put on medication to treat anxiety and depression. She also began having regular counselling sessions with Tony Jones, who was one of the two MAFS experts.
Anna reports that she's "improving every day and is "on a good track".
She still has both good days and bad, but she has summoned the courage to return to the gym and is spending lots of time with her mum and close friends.
She has plans to travel to Sydney in December to record new music, which will be released in 2020. She'll also travel to LA and possibly New York in the new year to progress her career as a musician.
Anna still has contact with Jordan and is thankful they've remained friends.
"I still definitely want him in my life. He is a really good guy and getting a friend out of this crazy experiment is good."
(Anna has also kept in touch with Rose, Vicky, Jono, Ray and Carmen from the show.)
But she's keeping her focus on her career.
"I'm not closed off to finding somebody but right now I don't think I'd be able to give much if I met someone now. I think I need to give everything to myself and find my feet."
Even though they didn't work out, Anna says that what Jordan gave her was something perhaps even more meaningful: a new perspective.
"I came from an abusive relationship and then I met the partner I had in LA. So, abusive and then a betrayal - and then I met Jordan, who's amazing. He taught me how a guy should treat a woman. I've never had that treatment before; he opened my eyes to what a nice guy can do.
"So I cherish the relationship we had. It was very special and it was definitely real."
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