Today, I’m starting a new series and I’d like you to meet Swati. Swati is a fellow blogger and writes The Single Mothers Chronicles where she posts about life after divorce and now life as a blended family, since Swati got married again on New Year’s Eve!
Swati was divorced about seven years ago when she was in her early thirties and her daughter was under two. Even before she was pregnant, her marriage wasn’t working. She just didn’t want to admit it and she didn’t see the divorce red flags. Here’s Swati:
I was working for a consulting firm so I traveled a lot. I’d be gone during the week and then home on the weekends. Then I had an assignment in London for about a year and every other weekend my husband would come see me. We didn’t see each other a lot, so when I came home from that assignment, we decided to start trying to have a baby.
I knew stuff was wrong, I could even tell by the fact that I was across the pond. You could tell, but maybe neither of us thought that it was that bad, or I didn’t want to acknowledge that it was that bad because I was really ready to have a child. So, I got pregnant, but within a month or two something inside of me was like “this is not going the right way” but I did not want to see it. I did not want to fully lift my head out of the sand and understand it.
He was cheating on me but I wasn’t ready to see it until I was ready to see it. I would find receipts where there were two meals ordered randomly on a weeknight and keep in mind, I’m the one funding the checking account, so he’s using a debit card, paying for the meals with my money. He was out at all hours of the night, he would leave and take a change of clothes with him, he was not trying to hide the fact that he was having an affair.
Even my mother-in-law said, “Do you know that he has another life? I think that he has another life.” In fact, the Christmas when I was trying to decide if I should file for divorce, my in-laws said, “You should have him followed.” I couldn’t do that. I just wasn’t ready to see it.
I did decide to file for divorce and that’s when he just got so angry. He is really a fighter. I think it’s from the way he grew up, his family fights and argues a lot and I grew up in a very peaceful household. My parents are about to celebrate their 50th anniversary, I never saw them fight, never.
He’d walk in the door screaming at me. I’d literally walk in the door and before I shut the door, he’d be threatening me. It was just crazy, like something snapped. He had moved into the basement but he would come and sit on my bed after I fell asleep. He would take garbage out of the garbage can and leave it on the counters when he left. He’d leave my daughter’s diapers on my bed.
Here I was, working a very powerful job, even though I had gone internal, it was very senior, and coming home to deal with this and taking care of the baby all by myself. He wasn’t doing it.
He’s extremely immature. He’s the one who was cheating on me, he’s the one I was supporting, but he was acting out on me, like this was all my fault and I hadn’t actually done anything. However, I think it’s a common behavior in people who know they’ve been doing something wrong and they don’t want to face up to that fact.
I really am thankful that my daughter was so young because she doesn’t remember the ugliness, she doesn’t remember seeing her mother exhausted and completely depleted. I think if she had been older and observed some of that, it would just be all the more painful.
The drive to have a child is a very strong biological urge – no wonder Swati didn’t want to see what was happening. Many people only see the red flags with hindsight. But the arrival of a child rarely resolves martial issues and pregnancy can be a catalyst for divorce.
I believe that how well children adapt to divorce depends hugely on the degree of conflict to which they are exposed. Swati’s divorce was high conflict and although that was final in 2003, there’s still conflict. It’s been over two years since she has spoken to her ex. That her daughter was less than two at the time this was going on is positive – hopefully like Megan whose story we’ve just finished, as a child of divorce she will have no memories or resentment.
Clearly, Swati’s husband was not going to just quietly agree to the divorce and tomorrow, in the next post, Swati will be sharing the drastic measure she took to resolve the conflict.