updated 30 Jan 2010, 08:32
    Powered by
user id password
Sat, Jan 30, 2010
The Straits Times
EmailPrintDecrease text sizeIncrease text size
Divorce is tough, don't be afraid to seek help

RECENTLY, some friends divorced their partners after a few years of marriage.

Some have children and the adults often face lodging issues when they go their separate ways. Some will either stay with their ageing parents or rent a room on their own. As rent is expensive here, this can be a financial setback for many divorcees. Those who have children with them will find renting a hassle as it is not so convenient with other people in the same household.

Suffice to say, in any divorce, the children suffer the most, with some even sandwiched in their parents' custody fight. Some visit one parent according to court-sanctioned weekly visitation rights. Often when the family breaks up, children are the most affected as the ideal structure to them is an intact family environment.

So the question to ask is: When a couple divorce, will it make them happier? After all, when a partner calls it quits, he or she must be really unhappy with the union.

After talking to some of my divorced friends, it does not seem to be so. All of them miss their children terribly, especially fathers who have only weekly visitation rights. Moreover, they feel guilty as a contributor to the failed family and wish they had done more to salvage the marriage.

Socially, they also suffer as now they live alone. Where once they went home to see the family, they now go back to an empty house. They eat out alone after work and on weekends they often stay home all day with no aim or mission.

They lapse into depression easily and I have spoken to a few who feel that life is meaningless after divorce. The feeling is like someone has died. The first year of divorce is terrible for some and it takes away their confidence and self-esteem.

The monthly maintenance most men must pay their former wife and children after divorce is something they must accept. Those who struggle financially may find this particularly stressful.

I hope many who are thinking of a quick divorce from their unhappy marriage will consider other alternatives after reading this letter. Try to work things out with your spouse and put at least 110 per cent into the relationship. A marriage, like a plant, needs water, fertiliser and tender loving care. There is no easy way.

Seek help from a marriage counsellor if you find things beyond your control. Money spent there will be worth it if it saves your marriage.

I urge those who are already divorced to look ahead, despite the personal setback. Join a support group for divorcees if you need support. You can find such resources from the many family service centres in Singapore. Move out of your comfort zone and try to mix round and get to know more people.

Lastly, always seek out alternative ways to mend your relationship. Divorce should be the last option to consider and not the first when you find your marriage is failing.

Gilbert Goh

This article was first published in The Straits Times.

readers' comments

Copyright © 2010 Singapore Press Holdings Ltd. Co. Regn. No. 198402868E. All rights reserved.