'Our Relationship Has Never Been Better Now That We Are Divorced'
Should you stay in a toxic, unhappy marriage for the sake of the kids? Is it better to split? Read Maris' eye-opening story now.
It’s never nice to see a couple separate, even more so when they have kids. And while those who are considering divorce are always encouraged to try and iron out their differences, sometimes, a divorce can actually help the couple have a better relationship.
This is the story of Maris*, who wanted to share her story with theAsianparent to show that sometimes, separation could be a good thing.
It all started soon after we got married.
In retrospect, there were signs that our marriage was going to be a disaster when we were dating, but I was too young and naive to know they were red flags.
We had the usual honeymoon period when all things were viewed through rose-tinted glasses. But then, the rosy hue started to fade.
My husband has always been jealous, always been possessive. At the beginning, these traits kind of turned me on. I mean, what woman doesn’t want her husband to be her knight in shining armor, protecting her from undesirables.
But soon, these traits turned into a headache. I couldn’t even get a call from one of my friends and he would look at me suspiciously. I caught him several times checking my call history, even rummaging through my underwear drawer a few times.
Things became worse after I had my first child. I had to stop work to look after our baby girl. I had no choice because we couldn’t afford to get a maid. He started belittling me, accusing me of just spending his money and not contributing to expenses. How could I? It was obvious why I couldn’t at least to me.
Goaded on by his accusations, I wanted to prove to him (and myself) that I was not useless. So, when our little girl was big enough to go to daycare, I found a small part-time job.
It was low-paying, but it was something and gave me a sense of pride that I was actually earning something. But even this wasn’t good enough for him – he laughed at my “inadequacy”, belittling the small amount I was able to contribute to the household expenses.
We had a second child – a son this time. And it was a repeat telecast of the first time around, except the insults intensified in their bitterness.
There was a lot of verbal abuse and since I am meek by nature, I never retaliated, never told him to stop it. Soon, I accepted this miserable marriage as my lot. How could I leave him anyway, now that we had two children?
He didn’t mind that our kids were in the same room – he would yell at me, yell at them. My heart broke when I saw their scared little faces and I tried to keep a brave face on for their behalf.
But all this “acting” took its toll on me and I soon turned into a shadow of my former, bubbly self, resigned to my fate.
But then, I met someone…
My daughter was in KG and my son was old enough to go to daycare. I found a work-at-home job. I started going to a nearby cafe to work once a week, just for a change of scene. And that’s when I met him – John*.
To cut a long story short, he made me feel wonderful. He was in awe of the fact that I had two kids and still found the time to work while looking after them. He was genuinely interested in me and what I had to say – which was a first for me. I had never been appreciated like this by my husband.
Our coffee dates soon turned into more that – a relationship. My happiness reflected in the way I dressed, my face, and my husband noticed and even suspiciously asked me if I had another man.
I know you might be judging me right now. And that’s okay. Because as you’ll find out, this was the stepping stone I needed to turn my life around.
John too was in an unhappy marriage. He had one child. We knew we had to be together, but we did not know how to make it work, how to break the news to our partners. So we continued with our little affair.
I should have known my husband would have found out. At the start, I took good care to cover all traces of communication with John. But I became careless and a call that I forgot to delete from my call history was picked up by my husband.
There was a lot of shouting, screaming, accusing, bad words. At one point I thought he was going to hit me. But then he calmed down. Walked out of the house. He didn’t come back that night. And when he did come back, it was with a request that I move out.
What a relief this was for me! Finally, a way out from this miserable marriage. I knew my children would be happier for it and I would too. I didn’t waste time in looking for a small apartment and soon, moved in there with my children.
John was yet to tell his wife, but that was okay. We were both adults and I left it to him to tell her when he felt the time was right.
After I moved out, I noticed a difference in my husband. He was calmer, more respectful. Several times, he asked me to come back to him. But I refused. And he respected my decision. He took the kids on the weekends and we even went out to dinner or lunch once a week as a family.
A month ago, we finalised our divorce. I think he’s seeing someone else too. And I am genuinely happy for him. John told his wife too, and he’s moved out as well. We’ll take it from here, together, in our own time.
Marriage should not be a trap. If you are in a toxic marriage you’re poisoning the very atmosphere around you. It’s not healthy for you, it’s not healthy for your children.
By all means, try to sort out your differences. But if you can’t, don’t feel bad about making that decision to go your separate ways.
Children should NOT be a reason to stay in an unhappy marriage. It’s much better for them to see their parents in an amicable relationship out of marriage, rather than unhappy, angry and staying in the marriage.
My ex-husband and I have never been more comfortable with each other. We do things together with the kids. We still meet once a month for a family meal. And we are polite to each other and are respectful of each other’s privacy. I think he’s met someone too, and I am genuinely happy for him.
I realise now that he and I were a wrong match right from the start. We both didn’t know any better, but now we do.
John and I, well we are in a very happy place. We are not rushing into re-marriage – we will take things slow, and as they come.
And seeing the woman I’ve become, the mother I am now, seeing my kids thrive, I know that divorcing my husband was the best decision I made – for everyone involved.
*Names have been changed to maintain privacy. We are grateful to Maris for sharing her story with us.
Did Maris do the right thing? What are your thoughts on staying in an unhappy marriage for the sake of kids?