The Divorce Series: To Divorce or Not Divorce
When one goes through a divorce, a million questions come to mind. Will I ever fall in love again? Am I meant to be alone? What if I'm letting THE ONE get away? But no matter what thoughts and questions come to mind, the ultimate question is, do we divorce or not divorce?
Our next post is from a man's point of view. Read about his highs and lows, why he made the decision to end his marriage, and where he is in his love life now.
How long were you married? How long have you been divorced?
I was married for 6 years, divorced for 6 years as well.
Was your ex Hmong or not?
Yes, my ex is Hmong.
How did your family react? How did her family react?
The initial reaction from my family was not so good. They encouraged practice of patience and fine tuning in changes to better our lives. They were somewhat shocked but I guess they kind of knew it was coming. As for her family, I have to say, divorce brings out the true colors in people. Her family was not happy at all, wanted the worse for me at the time.
Did you try to fix your marriage through the community? What did the community advise you to do? What was that experience like?
I did try to fix my marriage through church, family and siblings. The most common word that was advised to me was be patient, things will get better. I feel most folks (OG’s) don’t really actually listen to the issues at hand but only give direction. I guess at the time maybe that’s the best they could do or offer. I felt most advice were universal which is fine but to me wasn’t personal enough to help me in my situation.
Sometimes they’d bring up topics that would make my ex-wife look like the one in the wrong, when I knew it was me who needed to work on myself, vice versa, I saw there were topics that pointed at me when I was not at fault. Although, we were in disagreement at the time, it did hurt me to have others talk down on my ex when she was my wife still. I’d still defend her regardless in a mature way and listen to what folks have to say but the confrontation part of it was not fun at all. What I did observe was that during the meetings of advisement, my ex-wife would never stick up or stand up for me at all. She was quiet the whole time without any words to say or defend me even if she knew that for the topics discussed I was not at fault.
Was it a mutual agreement to get divorce? Explain your answer.
I felt I did everything I possibly could to make it work but it was never enough for her, so I decided to proceed with the divorce counsel (Hmong OG’s his side/her side), although I felt there was a slight possible chance things could possibly work out, it didn’t. I don’t mean to bash on her but she was very bi-polar about the situation. Some days she’d want it to work, some days she wouldn’t even look at me. It was very confusing. Towards the end, I tried again, willing to try and make our marriage work but she was very two faced about it.
During consultation, she’d be quiet, nod her head of acknowledgement of advice and direction to do better, but every time as soon as the consultation was over and people left, she would throw her anger at me, blaming me for her embarrassment and waste of her time. This would go on for weeks/months before she decided to do anything wife-like towards me. The divorce meeting was pretty brutal. Her side wanted me to pay fee’s, give money to fix her “face/reputation.” I told them no, the issue was her unwillingness to try to better our relationship. I remember clearly, she sent me a text in the middle of the meeting saying if I agree to the divorce, she will not put child support on me. I felt cornered, being young and not knowing what to do. I told the OG’s, okay I have made my mind, I want a divorce. So now everyone saw it as mutual, and that’s how it ended. Since the OG’s asked both of us and she said she wanted the divorce and I now agreeing to it, they said since both parties no longer wish to be together, then that’s that, no fees of any kind, if they wish to find love in each other again they may return as a married couple.
How was your support network?
After the divorce, my family and friends were very supportive. I however made some pretty dumb decisions, not handling the divorce well. I lost my job and got a DUI all within a couple weeks, after my divorce. It was tough but my siblings gave me a roof over my head, while I worked odd jobs to make financial ends meet.
Did you have kids? If you did, was it difficult to process for you, the kids?
We have two daughters 7 and 5. At that time we split the time week by week, it worked well until I decided to relocate to another city. Then I had them for weekends while their Mother had them during the week. I don’t know how the kids were while in her care but I have a good relationship with my daughters, I feel they handled it the divorce well. I did explain to them the situation that I am no longer with their mother in marriage but we are both still mom and dad.
Where are you now? Single? Dating? Remarried? If you're remarried, how does your wife feel about you being divorced and having kids from a previous marriage?
Now I am remarried, no kids of our own yet besides my 2 daughters from prior marriage. My wife is a very loving and supportive woman. She loves the kids as her own and has shown that countless times. I know she still has fears though, that one day our daughters will grow up and say to her that she is not their mother. I encourage her to not have fears but focus on now and what she can do, the media on evil step-mothers are overrated.
I have a wonderful relationship with my wife, she’s the best partner I could ever ask for. We do have our ups and downs but we always try to work the kinks out. It does help that we put God in the middle of our relationship. He is the bond that keeps both of us strong.
Advice to others who might be going through the same thing?
Advice that I can give to others who are going through a divorce or hard times in your relationship, if you can salvage your relationship, do it! Do everything you possibly can so that you don’t have to live with regrets, so you don’t have to live with the thoughts of what if. Fight for your relationship until you cannot fight anymore and when you feel its not worth fighting for anymore, find it in you to fight again. Just because you’re married doesn’t mean its automatic that your relationship is gonna be good, you have to constantly work on it, every day, it will only be what you put into it. Sometimes life gets busy and we overlook the “little things.” Stop being lazy and put in work, when your gas runs out of your car, what do you do? You go to a gas station and pump it! Same thing with your relationship, when its running low, you need to identify what its lacking and fuel it up.
We overlook the “little things” too often. However, a toxic relationship is not good for anyone. Make sure you know what kind of relationship you wish to have, the kind of partner you want beside you to handle life with. Most importantly, give it to God, regardless of what your religion is, we all worship someone or something. Put faith and trust in that, then love yourself and do what is right for you. If it feels wrong than its probably wrong. Learn to know who you are, learn to love and care for yourself, if you cannot love yourself you will fail to love others.