I had everything I wanted in life – a good job, a loving husband, a beautiful home and three wonderful children. I was even the leader of our neighbourhood’s women’s group. My life was so seemingly perfect that other women would come to me for advice when they were having any kind of problem. However, I woke up one morning and my perfect world had come crumbling down.
The day started off well. I made breakfast for my family and prepared the kids for school. My husband left for work as usual and I stayed home preparing for my lecture. I had been invited to one of the top universities in the country to give a guest lecture on building a career. When I got there, I was received by the Faculty Dean and led to an empty lecture hall.
“We’re so excited to have you here.” She said.
“I’m honoured for the invite.”
“The kids are going to love you.”
“I hope so.”
“Are you nervous?”
“Yea. I’ve never been much of a public speaker.”
“Don’t worry. You’ll do well. Just have fun with it.”
I took her advice and had fun with it. The students started streaming in and before I realized it, the lecture hall was filled to capacity. I took a deep breath, said a little prayer then looked at my audience ready to make my presentation.
“Good morning, guys.”
“Morning.” They replied.
From then, everything flowed so easily and I hardly noticed the hour passing by.
“Does anyone have questions for Sally?” the Dean asked.
I answered a few questions before one lady raised her hand to ask another one.
“Yes, young lady.” I pointed to her.
“Thank you.” She said standing up. “Apart from being a career woman, you’re also a wife and you’re not shy about showing your home life on social media. How come you don’t talk about your ongoing divorce?”
“Umm… I don’t know what you’re talking about.” I said, genuinely confused.
“Your divorce. Your husband’s side chick told me abo…” The moderator snatched the microphone from her hand but the damage had already been done.
“Thank you guys for coming.” I managed to say in a shaky voice. The lecture hall slowly cleared as I stared at the whiteboard full of notes but my mind was somewhere else entirely. I wondered how I was learning about my divorce from someone else. I thought it was a joke or a homewrecker trying to ruin my marriage. As I was about to leave, I spotted the lady who had asked about my divorce. She didn’t try to run. In fact, she stood at the gate and waited for me to drive by.
“I’m sorry I ambushed you like that.” She said.
“Is there a side chick?”
“I’m the side chick.”
There was a long pause then I invited her into the car.
“So, what do you know about the divorce?”
“Nothing much. I just know he wants one and he’s already talking to a lawyer.”
We went for lunch where we talked more. She turned out to be a really caring young lady and even offered to spy on him for me. However, I didn’t want any more mess so I decided to handle the situation myself.
I confronted my husband who confirmed that indeed, he wanted a divorce.
“Why? We’re a respectable couple. You can’t do this to me.”
“You’re so focused on your image that you’ve forgotten about being genuinely happy.” He explained.
Reality sunk in and I started seeing the cracks in my marriage. I had been so caught up in painting the perfect picture that I hadn’t even noticed my husband was having an affair.
A few days after confronting my husband, he served me the divorce papers. I immediately broke down in tears. The strong boss lady was crying on her kitchen floor. To make matters worse, word got out that I was going through a divorce and I became a social outcast. The same women who used to come for me for advice would gossip in their chamas. I was no longer invited to social events and even when I dropped my children at school, I would get ignored by the other mothers. I had no one to talk to. No one wanted to be my friend. The people I thought I could trust the most turned their backs on me.
However, there was one woman in our chama who stuck by me. Though everyone discouraged her from interacting with me, she still checked up on me and made sure I was doing okay.
“I understand what you’re going through. The other women are pushing you aside because something like this has never happened to them but I went through a divorce myself,” she explained.
Hearing that gave me so much comfort. At least, I could rest knowing someone understood my situation. She assured me that she was there to help me if I needed something.
Since I couldn’t stay in that neighbourhood, I moved to an apartment as I figured out my living situation. My children stayed with their father to finish the school term at their school.
I had been through a lot in my life but that was one of the hardest times I’ve ever experienced. I felt lost everything and not seeing my children for weeks made the situation worse. In a desperate attempt to contact them, I called the woman who informed me about her divorce.
“Hey, how are you?”
“Not good. Can you talk?” I asked.
“Yes. What’s wrong?
“I just need to know what’s going on. Have you seen my kids at school?”
“Yes. I’ve seen them a few times.”
“I need to see them but I’m so scared of going to my house in case I bump into those estate women.” I sobbed.
“Don’t worry, my friend. I can pick your kids up from the house and bring them to your place.”
“Yea. Whatever I can do to make your life easier.”
“Thank you so much,” I said and gave her my former address. I informed my husband that she would be picking up the kids for me.
Sure enough, she brought my kids to my house the following day. I stayed with them for the weekend then she drove them to their father’s place. It became a routine for two months until they closed school.
After what seemed like an eternity, the divorce was finalized and I got custody of my children. It took me a while to get back on my feet and at some point, I thought that I wouldn’t. I had lost my self-confidence and motivation but as soon as I got my kids, everything changed. Though I’m not back to my old self nor do I think I ever will, I’ve learned to navigate life as a divorcee and even formed a support group for women who had been through a divorce.
Divorce is never easy. Check out 7 Common Reasons Why People Get A Divorce and How To Help Your Children Deal With Divorce
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