Sometimes a good divorce is better than a bad marriage.
When I was younger I thought my mum was my superhero who would come to my aid no matter what and my dad was my entire world. I was a little daddy's girl. Just like any other relationship, they argued, but they were still strong in my six year old brain. However, that all changed the day my parents got divorced. At 7 years old, I watched my dad have a baby with the woman he cheated on my mum with. This sent my mum into a dark place she never came out of even after she remarried.
I’m bent over at the waist. Snorting, uncontrollable, hysterical deep-belly laughter takes control of my body. The kind of roar that makes you ache from the inside and soothes the soul simultaneously. The kind you can’t stop no matter how much you will yourself to stop. You half want it to end, but can’t anyway, and you also want your hysterical laughter to keep going as long as it can because it makes you feel alive.
It is a rare thing for those brave enough to get married to walk into it expecting a divorce. Maybe I am too much of a romantic or too much of an optimist to believe that those of us who get married go in thinking, “If it doesn’t work out, divorce is an option.”
I've read once, that by reading books, you can live many lives. If you don't, you only live one. I can see a point to this statement, but if you're brave enough to change your life, you can have many lives yourself.
Sarah and John were the model couple. They first met in college at a pep rally just hours before the big football game that night. Sarah was standing in a circle just talking and laughing it up with 3 of her closest friends when this tall, buff, athletic blonde haired and blue-eyed jock from the football team was not paying any attention to where he was going had walked up behind Sarah and bumped into her causing her to drop all the books, notebooks, and folders, she was holding scattering them all over the place and nearly knocking her to the ground. Without any hesitation Sarah hollers out " hey, watch where you're going bub!" Catching John completely off guard he instantly looks up and says " Gosh, I'm so sorry, I was not watching where I was going." Then a split-second later Sarah and John happen to look up and lock eyes for forever but was only a minute if that, but it was the most powerful minute in history for them. Sarah not taking her eyes off John quickly bends down and starts to gather her books, notebooks and folders up off the sidewalk and John not taking his eyes off Sarah says " where are my manners? Allow me to help you with that." And with an innocent yet flirtatious smile Sarah just says " ok." Sarah looks at John and introduces herself and John answered her by introducing himself. From that moment on life was never going to be the same for these two because the very next day they were meeting up for a cup of coffee and a bagel at the small bistro they had there on the campus. And what was only supposed to be an hour-long meeting at the latest they ended up talking and laughing and flirting and smiling and really enjoying each other's company for 5 hours. They were so engaged in the moment and so fascinated by each other that they had totally lost track of time. It is a good thing neither one of them had any classes that day because if they had they would not have made it. While all this was going on Sarah looks up and just happened to catch a glance at the clock on the wall when she realized just how late it had got to be when she let out an unexpected gasp and says " goodness gracious! Would you look at the time?" She goes on to say " I really hate to end this, but it is getting late and I have a test I need to study for in the morning. I really should get back to my dorm room now." John just smiled sweetly and agrees and says '" Ok well at least let me walk you to your building, no girl such as yourself should be walking alone this late in the evening." Sarah gives John a grin and gracefully accepts his gesture. From then on, these two love birds were inseparable, they did everything together, they even graduated together and went on to get jobs in the same office after graduation. This turned into them dating for another 4 years when without giving any clues or hints to Sarah John had secretly planned this elaborate and romantic date night for him and Sarah. The night started out with drinks at the bar in the most expensive and exclusive restaurant in town, then a candle light dinner for two with a nice quiet table back off in the corner of the room allowing them all the privacy needed for John to surprise Amanda with what he had been planning for the last two months, they got seated, their waiter had got their drinks and took their orders and had walked away, Sarah and John were deep in conversation when John slowly reaches across the table taking both of Sarah hands and holding them in his, he looks Sara square in her eyes, gives a nervous grin, he stands up next to Sarah just to drop down on one knee, slowly pulling a small blue velvet box out of one of the pockets in his pants, he looks Sarah in her eyes again and with a tear rolling slowly down his cheek John takes a deep nervous breath and says " Sarah, from the moment we met I knew instantly that you were the girl I had been waiting my entire life to meet, and I knew that no matter what I had to make you mine, and I did, now here it is some few years later and every moment I get to be with you and spend time with you feels like I did the day we first met, I could not be any happier than I am today so would you make me the happiest man alive and be all mine for the rest of our lives? Sarah will you marry me?" Sarah looks at John, tears rolling down her rosy pink cheeks, she is trembling, in shock, Sarah gasps for air and without a moment of hesitation she throws herself to the floor, wraps her arms around John and begins to shake and she looks John in his eyes and says YES! Sarah said yes! Well, it was not but 6 months later and Sarah was meeting John at the alter in a huge white Catholic church, surrounded by hundreds of family members and friends and John's family and friends, all decked out in flowers and candles and decorations galore, John and Sarah are saying their vows to each other and saying Idol and at last it is time for everyone's favorite moment, the bride gets to kiss the groom. Sarah and John are now Mr. and Mrs. John Matthews. This blessed event turns into many years of love, joy, happiness, and bliss followed by the births of their 3 glorious children 2 boys and a girl all of which were exactly 2 years apart. But this is where things start to get tricky. Sarah had left her job at the office to be a stay-at-home mom to their children. Sarah soon found herself smack dab in the middle of getting the kids up every morning, cooking their breakfast, packing their lunches, taking them to school and picking them up at 3. But it does not stop there. Sarah had Ballet lessons for her daughter, soccer, and football practices for the 2 boys, parent teacher conferences, PTA meetings, music concerts, plays, making sure the kids got their homework done every night after cooking dinner and feeding her family etc. All the classic duties of the average homemaker. But that was not all that had changed. Sarah had noticed a huge change in John too. John had started working more hours than normal, working late more often throughout the week, coming home later on the days he left work at his usual time, she noticed that John was becoming more and more distant with her and the kids, he was becoming more and more easily irritated by Sarah in general, he stopped going to any of the kids school functions and activities, he seemed to be depressed a lot, he was talking less to Sarah about things that were going on with him, they stopped sleeping in the same bed together and John had moved to sleeping in their guest room, he had become so withdrawn from anything that had to do with their family so much so the children began to take notice. Something was amiss, and Sarah just could not figure it out, she too became depressed and withdrawn and had started separating herself from John and the kids. Things had gotten so bad between them that they finally had to hire a live-in babysitter just to tend to their children and keep them from noticing more of what was happening with mom and dad. Sarah always being the stronger one of the two had begun putting two and two together and started trying to figure out just what was going on with her husband. She could not help but to repeatedly ask herself how was it that after all these years together and having and raising their three wonderful children together could this marriage be falling apart all the sudden? She started to blame herself for everything that was going on. She could not help but to think about what it was that she had done or said or not done or not said that was so wrong that it caused all of this to happen? Was she not being the wife she needed to be for John? Was she not being the mother she needed to be for their kids? Was she not taking care of the home, right? Was she not performing correctly or as good as she should be in the bedroom? Had her appearance become so bad that she was no longer attractive to John? Was there something more she should be doing to make him happy? Where was all this coming from? Sarah never had been one to jump to conclusions and assume stuff about anything, but this really had her baffled and it was starting to take a toll on her wellbeing. All the sudden all these different scenarios began to flood her mind. She started to ask herself could all this be happening because John has another woman on the side somewhere. Could her husband that she loved so much and doted over be stepping out on their marriage and family to be with someone else? Could John be having an affair on all the nights he says he has to work late? She did not want to think the worst and she sure did not want to jump to conclusions and she sure was not going to accuse him of something she had no proof of, but she had to do something, she had to know what was taking her husband and the father to her children away from her and his family, she had to put these suspicions to rest finally. Sarah started recording all their phone calls, going through his phone at night while he slept, reading his emails, and even hired a private investigator to follow John for a while to see if she could find the underlying cause of all this nonsense. Sarah was so wrapped up in getting answers to all her suspicions and questions that she did not stop to think that when all is said and done, and she finds out what John is up to and she finally has an answer to all her questions that the answer she gets just might not be the answer she wants and is looking for. Well, this went on for about two weeks while the private investigator did what he was hired to do, when it had finally come down to Sarah getting some answers. She meets up with the investigator and he start to show her his findings. As she is listening to what all the investigators had seen she realized that her suspicions were true. John was cheating on Sarah with a 26-year-old red headed slutty bimbo that happened to work in the same office as John. Sarah fought as hard as she could to contain her emotions and to keep from falling apart, she had just found out that her life as she knew it was ending and things from here on out were never going to be the same again. She was devastated, crushed, in total disbelief, she was speechless, she felt lost. This would explain all the weirdness that she had been going through these past several months but that still did not make any of this better, it certainly did not make her feel any better. All Sarah wanted to do was give up and give up all together. Then suddenly a vision of her kids flashed in her eyes and she realized no matter how bad she was hurting and how much she just wanted to run away for the sake of her 3 children she had to suck it up and stay strong and never let on to her kids that she was dying inside. So, with that in mind she just swallowed her pride and did the best she could to keep the rest of her family together. After a while thing began to get better and she was coping with things a lot better. The divorce was finalized just 6 months after their separation, Sarah kept the house and the kids and the car, John moved in with the new floozie, the kids stopped asking about dad and life was getting back on track. Things were going good again. Now it has been about 4 years since the divorce and Sarah has moved on with her life and kids and the only thing that weighs on her mind today is if he can leave her so easily for a newer and younger girl, she did not need that in her life anyway. But the one thing that has really brought her the most satisfaction is knowing one thing and that is that if he will leave her, he will also leave his new girl it is just a matter of time because as the age old saying goes...... You cannot make people change their ways. Once a leaver always a leaver. Lesson learned.
My mother left my father when I was 7 years old and basically just took me. She made me call him later that day and tell him mommy took me and she's not going back home. I was still in shock. During the custody battle, one of the attorneys flat out asked me to choose who id rather live with and why. I was always closer to my Dad and didn't want to change schools and move. They awarded him custody. Even though I lost all trust and respect for my mother for what she did I was still riddled with guilt for having to choose and watching her cry. My father was always a drinker, and socially partied when he wasn't working. He was a great provider. He had a normal full time job and unbeknownst to me also sold cocaine and a few of his customers were famous. My father deeply loved my mom, and I watched him go from my hero, protector and provider to quickly declining into a grief ridden, full blown alcoholic and drug addict that couldn't even take care of himself so obviously he was not fit to care for me.
On May of 2020, I decided enough is enough. I was leaving a life that was not my own. For so many years, I was just going with the flow, building up anger and being miserable. I met him while I was still a senior in highschool, he was older and with a daughter at 23. Now, at 36 and with two kids later unmarried women living with a man I did not love. I decided I needed to start living life again. Living with a narcicist who never saw nothing wrong with his actions, who never did anything he didn't want to, never connected with my family, never allowed us to be a partnership, we were more roommates than anything else. I knew I had to get myself out of it. The home was in my name only, but I knew he would never leave the home. I had to remove myself from the situation even if financially it would be difficult. I didn't leave until July 2020, but once I did I felt such a sense of relief, freedom and inner peace.
There is this thing in life called manners. Boy, do they get you a long way. Especially when dealing with the ex. Now, no, I was not the one who was dealing with the ex, but rather my ex dealing with me. Our relationship is no where near rocky, It is much closer to an apocalyptical nightmare. That being said, I can seriously tell you if he asked nicely about this things would have been so much different.
In the midst of a divorce, or even after, your thoughts are often of the children. Now, most people have to sit and admit to themselves that their kids should see both of you and it is in their best interests. Sadly sometimes this simply is not the case.
In the beginning, I started my BringingHomeCam page for a couple of different reasons. At the time, my now 14 year old son was barely 3. His father and I had recently divorced and going through the whole divorce/custody thing was not just upsetting and frustrating, but scary. Now at the time, I was at the top of my game in my career field and still loving every minute of it. I was secure; not only in who I was and where I was going, but financially as well. I was beginning to feel more and more like my old self again, and truly believed things were actually going to be ok. After all, the divorce was both our ideas, no slanderous back-story, and I'd moved only a few miles away into a beautiful new neighborhood with a greenbelt and park, allowing our son to stay in the same school district (when the time came). Incredulous as it was at the time, our custody arrangement was one of the first documented 50/50 splits in our State. Neither of us paid child support to the other (*mistake #1) and we split our time with our young son a week on, a week off. We even had a trade off night during the week so when it was my week, he'd go a night with his dad, and vice-versa. This way, noone went an entire week without seeing each other. I was pleasant still with his parents, agreeable when he had a time date or change, and did nothing to rock this fraigile boat (*mistake #2). So when only months out of signing our papers, you can probably imagine how totally shocked I was to receive more legal paperwork........I mean, weren't we done? Ha....not even close. Now tell me, why on earth, would a father who gets exactly the same thing as far as arrangements go, pays not a cent to his ex, has his son 50%+ of the time, file for a modification of custody? Full custody?! What on earth for???? I mean yea, he said he'd "have our son, no matter what" when we talked about divorcing, but I'd never threatened to take our son away, much less ask for full custody. So what in the hell was going on?? This had to be old paperwork, a typo of sorts, right? I mean, I'll just talk to him, right, and clear up this whole mess.................(*mistake #3)
It was unexpected when my mother met my step father. I was only 3 years old. I didn't understand societal views of race at the time but I knew that if this man married my mother, I would be different from everyone else. He was a Chinese man from Hong Kong that had met my mother, an Indian woman, at a party. I didn't know much about my biological father, I was so young when my parents split up, just that I had taken his complexion in my parents creation of me, he was a African man, and that he lived in Cameroon. I lived with my mother and my sister, and so ultimately I lived with my step father, the china man. It wasn't easy at first. I was a mixed black girl with an Indian mother and a Chinese father. In the beginning I didn't like being different from my friends who all had parents that looked like them until I had gotten older and had become assimilated into the Chinese culture. His family had become my family, and my mother was not close to her family so in turn, they became hers as well. My life is filled with memories of being a Chinese girl, despite not actually being one. My grand father (ye-ye) and grandmother (ma-ma) were the only grandparents I have ever known and they had come to visit us in America bringing along with them their other children, 3 sons, their wives and their grand children when I was 7. It was exciting to have so many uncles and cousins and every time we would come together it was an elaborate occasion. The feasts were grand and we would travel far (or what seemed like it was far as a child) to go to authentic Cantonese restaurants. In addition, there was extended family that lived in Virginia and we would spend Christmas, Thanksgiving and Chinese New Years with them every year. My parents would visit my ye-ye and ma-ma every fall in China and they would always come back with Chinese teas along with Chinese silk dresses and bags. I felt beautiful wearing such unique, expensive and beautiful things that were made especially for me. My parents would come back from visiting China and would tell us stories of the adventures they had in Hong Kong. My ye-ye owned some sort of paper company and they were very wealthy so the stories they told seemed like an exotic dream. They would show my sister and I pictures of the Great Wall and the star ferry, The 10,000 Buddhas Monestary and so many more magical places that I would fall asleep dreaming of these exploring the mystical treasures of Hong Kong. My sister and I longed to visit and every year my parents would go it would seem like torture that we couldn't go with them. Years past as this tradition with my parents traveling to China occurred then one day they returned from their trip with exciting news. My ye-ye was getting old, and they had decided to take the entire family to Hong Kong for his 100th birthday in the year 2000. I didn't know why but I began to cry. I had this overwhelming feeling that it for some reason wouldn't happen. My mother and father reassured me. The family trip was only a few years away, what could go wrong? My mother had gotten cancer that year and the next year would be a hardship on our family. I had noticed my mother and father arguing a lot, then sleeping in different bed rooms. It never occurred to me that they would split up. He had been my father for more than 20 years. He was my father and I was his daughter. The blood at this point meant nothing to me. I had grown up dreaming of singing at my cousin's weddings and having a big Chinese wedding myself. I didn't realize the harsh reality that we were never truly their family. One by one, we started getting uninvited to events. My uncles and aunts as well as my father had stopped returning my phone calls. I was so confused, I made up excuses for why they had abandoned my sister and I. This was the only family I had ever known and all of a sudden they were acting like we were just random people they had to cut ties with. I didn't stop being angry until years later, in 2002 when I had found out my ma-ma was very sick with Alzheimer's, had died and we were not invited to the funeral. My ye-ye was very sick and on his deathbed. I had decided I was going to my step father's to confront him and ask him why he had stopped calling. I spent all afternoon making his favorite muffins and went over on father's day. I could tell by his expression when he answered the door that he was sad. He was hesitant to let me in. He sat me down and told me he loved me. He told me he missed me and that I was his favorite girl. Then he told me it would be easier if I would forget him and move on. I was heart broken. I wept hurricanes of tears as I begged him to reconsider. He handed me some tissues and kindly asked me to leave. Of course it is ridiculous to think I could forget about my family that I had grown up with and grown to love. The Chinese culture was so embedded in me at this point, that I was lost. After years of therapy and healing I realize that the easiest thing to do was not to forget my family or my up bringing. To do that would be to ignore a large piece of myself. Instead I will embrace the time we had together and learn more about the culture of the people I once called my family. It was and still is a dream to visit Hong Kong and to explore what I dreamt about as a child and finally get some closure.
Wow is what I'm thinking now and how could he say this out of all we've gone through. "I make more than you now" how does this even matter if we are a couple, a team. Does he even truly love me now? I was worried so I began to pay close attention to what was going on at this point as i knew something was wrong. I just couldn't place my fingers on it. All efforts of me trying to talk to him about our obvious issues were starting to fail. He began to stay out late after his 3 AM shifts had ended drinking with the members of a biker club leaving me to care our babies all alone. Date nights were far and few between and the I love yous as well. I endured the countless snickers and devious smiles of strange staring females when we took the kids to his corporate holiday events. I often felt embarrassed at what they might be saying or what they might have done with him (my husband) that I didn't know about and so desperately needed to know for my own physical and personal safety. But there I was, a christian mother, told to stick it out and this is what good wives do to keep their family's together. Sweep it under the rug, let a man be a man and take care of my wifely duties and go pray about it.