When is Divorce a bad idea?

Date posted: March 24, 2010


When is Divorce a bad idea?
(This problem has been translated from Arabic to English)

Dear Marwa

I have been married since 2000 and I have a 7 year old daughter and a newly born baby boy. I am a university graduate but I have never worked before. My husband is in the media industry and he has been cheating on me constantly. He is wasting his emotions, time, and money on affairs and I do not know what to do. I tried winning him back; he said that I was not good enough for him. I tried changing how I dress and how I talk to appeal to him; he said that he was not physically attracted to me. I tried opening interesting conversations with him; he said that I was boring and ridiculous.

He loves the kids but when it comes to the eldest, he accuses me of being a lazy mother. He wants me to take her to piano classes, ballet classes, and French classes but I am usually busy with housework and with her baby brother. I realize that he wants to upgrade his lifestyle and I realize that I do not fit the image. I try and try but no matter how hard I try I can never compete with the girls he meets at work. A week ago he announced to his friends and family that we are officially separated. He is now looking for a bride and I decided to ask him for a divorce.

Marwa, I am scared and I do not know what to do.
Y

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Dear Y

Your story is heartbreaking. People who know me in person and who read my column know that I am pro women's empowerment and that I am pro divorce. If someone else sent me this problem I would not hesitate to tell her to turn the page and start over a new life with dignity and true stability. But in your case I have so many reasons to tell you to stay in that marriage! Yes! I am telling you to stay even if he gets married.

1) You do not have a job. This means you are financially dependent on him.

2) You did not mention your family at all and that implies that they will not support your decision morally or financially.

3) You have no working experience and this means that even if you find a job, your salary will be peanuts – literally.

4) You have a newly born boy and that means that you will not be able to even think of work before a year.

5) You have a lot of expenses; the girl's education and classes, the boy's expenses, and daily living costs. If you get a divorce, you will not see a penny, you will waste your time in court halls chasing a petty alimony, and you will waste what's left of your dignity chasing his family members begging for what is rightfully yours and your kids'.

6) The worst part is the stress; you will be under a lot of stress and filled with anger – and you will take it out on your kids! You will unintentionally punish them for your misery. They will neither have a mother nor a father; just two people who assume parenthood by birthright and that's it!

I want you to stay in the marriage while you work on yourself. The education that you have is useless now. You need to study all over again to fit the job market. You also need to start working at least on part-time basis to build a proper CV. Do not think of divorce before you can sustain yourself and your kids.

On a brighter note, if he is as picky as you say, very very few girls would welcome a husband with an existing wife, a 7 year old girl, and baby. I seriously doubt his finances and I do not think he will be getting married anytime soon.

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