It is so scary to finally get to that point when you so want a divorce!
That was me and I finally got one when l recently returned to Cameroon my country and place of birth.
I used marriage as a refuge from my mother’s house. I was running away from a home where I felt so out of place as I rightly or wrongly assumed I wasn’t welcomed.
But, I also wanted to be married hoping the new status as a Mrs X, will shield me from my self harm and provide me some sort of ‘one in all social and emotional package’ that I longed for.
The foundation of my marriage was already damaged and so was the marriage itself. The abuse started soon after and before long, it became clear that the Marriage I had ran to, was now threatening to devour me and at some point I remember spending several days and weeks contemplating suicide. I needed to escape…again.
This time, my route out of my unhappiness consisted of having one affair after another seeking validation and attention from others. Needless to say that this behaviour only made me feel worse each time but it also led me to realise that if I were to save myself, I would need to leave my marriage.
I knew how divorce was viewed by those around me and I knew that I risked being labelled as one of those women who allowed her marriage to fail, who was unable to hold on to her man. But I also knew that that was what I needed if I were to survive.
The Divorce Process
Obtaining a divorce isn’t the easiest of processes and it’s not just about whatever is written on paper declaring that a marriage has been terminated.
For me, the divorce was getting ready to let go of six years of my Life, owning up to my mess, and being ready to start off again but most importantly and making the very difficult decision to leave my children behind.
At first my now ex-husband and I wanted to go ahead with the divorce procedure after 7 months of living apart. I thought I was ready but he wasn’t and he made it clear that he would make my life hell. I knew I wasn’t strong enough to go test his threats so I left him to take his time and make up his mind when he would need the divorce too.
It took a whole year, or thereabouts, before he was ready. He informed me on the eve of filing the papers and I being a lawyer, advised him on the most effective procedure, guaranteeing I would not make any claims other than the right to see my Children whenever I came home. I never sought any financial support.
Once filed, the procedure took barely 5 months. I did not make a court appearance nor was I represented by anyone. This was a deliberate choice and one made out of need to simplify procedure. A divorce by default is easier to obtain in my Country.
What took a long time in my case, was obtaining all the necessary papers for a final judgment to be established.
Realizing my ex had lost momentum in a procedure he initiated, I got in touch with his lawyer, a senior colleague I knew and had actually encouraged my ex to retain, paid whatever fees he was reclaiming and I followed up the divorce I now so badly needed.
I finally got all the papers I needed to proceed to my change of status and today, I am finally divorced!
Although the memories will forever stay with me, for a long time coming, I really don’t feel bad about that period anymore. Yes, my sons don’t live with me but I know their father loves them and is an even better dad now than when I was around.
Divorced and Happy!
Although I never got to meet my ex when I was recently in Cameroon, I really wasn’t bothered.
I called him a few times, I even brought him a gift which he acknowledged out of politeness. I don’t care if he decides not to keep it for whatever reason but there’s a part of me, my flesh and blood, which he would never consciously give up – our children.
He is very firm when he tells me they are HIS SONS. He even denied me contact on the eve of my departure even though I had had them alone for two weeks. No ill feelings though, no trauma, no painful emotions to address in that area. I am moving on and I know my well being is of utmost importance at the moment.
I am just glad I finally got divorced!
Marie Abanga – Follow Marie on Twitter