Love After Divorce: Love Grows Over Time
1. How old were you when you got a divorce?
When I was 24 years old.
2. How long before you found somebody?
5 years later.
3. How do you feel about remarrying after divorce?
Marriage after divorce was difficult for me. I was married when I was 15 years old, just growing up and trying to adjust to the different cultures in America was my challenge. Trying to believe in my own culture to make the right decision but also adapting the American belief system in becoming an individual. My divorce left emptiness inside. I trusted someone for 9 years and at the end of it the trust was broken. I didn’t know how to heal because I didn’t have friends. I gave my entire 9 years to this man who destroyed everything I had due to his infidelity and his gambling addictions. I didn’t know how to recover by myself because I still was trying to deal with all the emotions of being so angry and frustrated with this one human being. I was very fortunate that I took 5 years to heal and was able to trust and love again. I am very blessed to have found another man who believes in me, loves me for being Hmong but also for certain western aspects within my personality, and most of all a person who also accepts me to be who I am. I feel everyone deserves to remarry after divorce, don’t limit yourself because you encounter a previous bad experience.
4. How long did you wait before you started dating?
I waited for about 2 years before dating again.
5. What was the dating scene like for you?
The dating scene did change for me. When I first started dating, we used telephones and Hmong New Years to meet people. After my divorced I had to learn how to use the internet to meet people. I was able to enjoy going to clubs, social gatherings with coworkers, and experience things I did not get to do before marriage. It was important for me to experience this part of my life.
6. What did you learn from your first marriage?
Wow, the things I learned and was forced to learn when I got married came within an instant. I had to grow up immediately. I became a wife, a nyab, a full-time high school student, and also entered the work force. It was a change that challenged me to be responsible and to grow up without knowing it. I learned at that age you just do what you need to survive. I learned that it was not love but more a life experience which was not truly necessary because of my own poor choice. I learned to also change my parenting style and not be like my parents who were not supportive in education, after school sports activities, and to have friends. Although it was my choice to go and get married at 15, I also believed that I wouldn’t have if my parents were more knowledgeable with the western culture instead of keeping all their children sheltered and controlled. My biggest lesson is not accepting and being content with someone who is not going to grow with you. Thinking you can just be content, and things will change is not acceptable to me anymore. Also, never change who you are because you are someone’s wife.
7. What did you look for in your first marriage vs. your 2nd marriage?
I was looking for someone who truly will accept and love me for being the Hmong person I am but also having parts of the Western culture within me. I was looking for someone who would challenge me but also allow me to grow to be myself and not to shape me to be someone’s wife or someone’s nyab.
8. Do you have kids and how did that affect your dating and when you remarried?
I did have 1 child. I was very lucky that I did not have more then that. I know it would have been difficult for me if I did have more than 1 child. The biggest challenge wasn’t the person who I was dating. It was the person’s parents who struggled with it more, knowing I was divorced and a single parent. There were a few relationships that did not bloom because of my past. I was very lucky when I meet my husband now, he accepted all my flaws and loved me for whatever was heading towards his way.
9. Are you happy in your marriage right now?
It has been 17 years and it seems as if we just got married. Time is passing so fast. I am very blessed to have a wonderful person in my life. Sometimes I think my father (who has passed) must have sent him my way. I sometimes wonder what I would do one day when we get older and he is no longer with me. My husband is Hmong but he is so different. He makes me laugh, loves me for who I am and who I want to be, he has instilled confidence and trust within me, and when I look at him I smile and grateful. I am very lucky.
10. How do you think you're different now than your first marriage?
I am more at peace with who I am and what I want in life. I am happier and spiritually stronger. I am not sacrificing my emotions based on someone else. I am not afraid to speak how I feel.
11. What did your parents, relatives, and friends think?
What did my parents, relatives, and friends think when I got divorced? Hum, there were so many opinions and people looking down on me. So many comments that many of those friends and relatives soon after also divorced. I learned from my own experience to not do what they did to me, JUDGE. I learned to accept that many people divorce for many reasons and you can overcome divorce.
12. What do believe about love?
Love is attainable if you know what you want. Love is different when you become older. Love grows over time; it is not instant. You learn to love your spouse because of the things he is willing to do for you because you are his wife. You learn to love your spouse because he understands what he needs to do as a partner. You learn about love when you are almost 50 years old and you don’t have to worry about his choices, his beliefs, his loyalty, and his love for you. When he doesn’t have to verbally say he loves you but shows you daily through his commitment to you.