While I had braced myself to face whatever was ahead of me in the situation I found myself, I still had to deal with (a) heartbreak and (b) betrayal In the two weeks that followed my husband ending our marriage and me preparing to go back home, I had plenty sleepless nights trying to figure out what had really gone wrong, asking myself what I could have done to help us stay together. In those two weeks I then realised how much I loved my husband who apparently no longer loved me. What I found most hard was trying to work out how the person who had loved me to a point of marrying me could say they no longer love me. In my book you do not suddenly stop loving someone because loving someone is a very strong emotion which you do not shake off at the spare of the moment. For a moment I kept hoping that once we had a family meeting according to culture things would be normal again.
It was at that meeting that I realised the marriage was over I was so taken aback with the hatred expressed by my husband as he told both our families all things the that I had done wrong and that for those reasons he could not be with me any more. I guess what broke my heart were things I did to hurt him which he kept to himself and never talked to me about. In a marriage the couple are supposed to talk about the things that may be bothering either person. I still struggle about why he never brought these things up with me.
I acknowledged my wrong doings (according to him) and asked for forgiveness and promised to change even that was not going to change what my husband had decided ‘to end the marriage’I actual realised that he was not interested in working things out or even our marriage a second chance. Yet in my understanding marriages have to be worked at if they are to survive as it is about two human beings who were brought up very differently and yet try to be one. For days I lost appetite did not even feel hungry I was in turmoil as I had invested a lot in this relationship I was in a dark place as it was reflected in the colours that I was drawn to. If I was going to buy a dress or something I was drawn to the greys and blacks which was the state of my mind my whole world had curved in.
What broke my heart was when I learnt that my husband was already in a relationship, and was planning to get married to someone else he actually got married a year after we had separated, we had not divorced that was a very big betrayal. I guess what got me was how quickly he could fall for someone else to a point of getting married in such a short time. Was our relationship been all a lie I questioned myself, till to this day I have never contemplated falling in love with someone else because I had loved him so much. It is sad that while I was putting all effort to make the marriage work my husband had other ideas.
If ever there was a lesson I learnt about relationships in my predicament the lesson was: ‘never assume things’ as you are bound to get a lot of surprises which I did in a big way. I never suspected that my husband would be unfaithful as I had no reasons to doubt him at all.
With all the political upheaval that was going on at the time in Zimbabwe my husband decided we should leave the country for a while. He got a job to teach at Sanford International school in Addiss Ababa in Ethiopia. At first I was very reluctant to leave my family friends and the only country I had known and was my comfort zone. I felt very much in control of everything about my life. In the end my marriage came first than my career so I resigned from my job of twenty nine years and followed to join my husband who had already living in Ethiopia for three months.
Living my job was the most difficult thing I had to do as my job had become my life. As a wife of an expatriate the law of the land (Ethiopia) did not allow me to work as that would have deprived a national of a most needed job. It took me a while to settle in Ethiopia simply because it was a different culture and a different lifestyle. I did settle in eventually and discovered that Ethiopia is a very beautiful country with very friendly people who in my own experience are very keen to make a foreigner very welcome. Every time I explored life in Addiss people were very helpful and very soon I developed very good relationships.
As I was not working I had the opportunity to do voluntary work among the Sudanese refugees who had settled in Ethiopia fleeing the strife in their own country, I teamed up with the other expatriate wives.
I also got involved with the local church of England worship, the vicar who together with his wife became friends of us both got me doing things in the life of the church. I led worship and facilitated in the midweek bible studies which filled the gap of what I was missing from my old job.
I was at home 24/7 for the first time in our marriage my husband and I saw each every minute and hour of the day that I did not notice that we were drifting apart. I mentioned in the last blog that the one thing which was beautiful about my marriage was the friendship which existed between my husband and I. I noticed that my husband was becoming very with drawn and very secretive, when I inquired what was wrong I was simply told it was pressure of work. I did not want to read too much in this sudden withdrawal and carried on as good wife making sure the house was well kept and that everyone was well looked after.
There were a lot of calls which came from women I did not know, faithfully I took the messages which I passed on to my husband to call back the one thing my husband was good at was relating all people. I was a bit naive that I did not see that something was not right.There was one call which came one night at about 11:00pm local time and we were in bed I answered the call and passed it innocently because I had not suspected any unfaithfulness going on. This put him in a very awkward position because of the proximity between him and I. In my sleep I just commented on the fact that it was an odd time to be calling and was told it was the airline confirming the bookings. That telephone call decided the fate of my marriage. The following photograph summarize what had happened to my life
Two days after the call one evening as we were having supper my husband from the blue told me he no longer loved me, my reaction was to tell myself that he was winding me up and I just laughed it off. He then took off the wedding band which I had given him when we got married saying that he no longer wanted me to share his life with me. I was dumbfounded as I realized that he meant every word he was saying I continued clearing the table and proceeded to do the washing up not knowing how to react to the news I had just been told. It was the longest night of my life, here I was in a foreign country with no-one to run to talk to.
The following morning I then started realizing that he had removed all the wedding photographs and any photographs we were together from were they were displayed which I had not noticed until that day. It then dawned on me that he had been working on this for a long time, he had told the home office to withdraw my residency and I had two weeks to leave the country. That was the most challenging two weeks I ever experienced now that he had told me that he no longer loved me the dynamics in the relationship changed dramatically, he would not eat anything I prepared. The hardest thing was that I had to pretend all was well in front of the son who was still leaving with us. My whole world had crumbled in front of me and there was nothing I could do about it.
I finally managed to talk to my sister and two of my friends, this was the first time I broke down and cried my heart out. Those three phone calls gave me a space to off load all my emotions. In the two weeks as I was packing to leave I resolved that I was not going to allow what had happened to me define who I was going to be, I was going to work through it even if at that time I had no clue as to what I was going to do.
I spent a lot of time in prayer seeking God’s face and pouring my heart out to him about what had happened to my life. While my heart was broken I was not resentful I began weighing out my options and looking back on the eight years of marriage and looking for the lessons I would learn from the experience.
Getting married is every girl’s dream, I am sure I am right in saying most girls of my generation were brought up to value the marriage insttitution. We were socialised to prepare ourselves to be wives and hopefully mothers. I grew up imagining what my wedding day was going be like, this was the only thing I fantasised about i.e my wedding dress, my bridesmaids and everything I wanted my wedding day to like. I did think about the career I wanted to pursue but getting married was for me the ultimate goal. My wedding day took long to come by which I mean I married late making it the happiest day of my life because I so wanted to get married and it finally it happened.
Like most weddings I had one year to prepare for my special day from the day my the boyfriend then proposed and worked hard to make sure the day would be perfect. As a religious person one of the preparations which was significant was the pre wedding counselling sessions with the minister who was going to marry us. We were prepared on how to deal with money matters, communication and many other areas of married life to help us make our marriage work. While all these preparations were good in themselves nothing ever prepared me for a possible break up. I for one never contemplated on that possibility because as far as I was concerned I had married for life.
I had eight wonderful years of marriage, I continued with my career heading the training department in the Methodist church in Zimbabwe . I loved and enjoyed my job and I loved being a wife as my job involved travelling I was away most of the weekends running training programmes throughout the country, this meant coming back home was special as we would spend quality time with each other to compansate the times we were apart. The best thing about our marriage was that we were best friends and enjoyed each other’s company as we made each other laugh a lot.
As far as I was concerned all was going well, my husband was a history teacher at one of the leading private schools, and was a cricket umpire which meant when I was away doing my job he was busy umpiring cricket. We suported each other in our separate lives, and our relationship was solid as far as I was concerned we talked honestly and openly about politics and everything else. However now with hind sight I now realise that we never talked honestly about the intimate side of our relationship which may have been the beginning of our marital problems. I worked hard to enhance myself in my career, and worked hard to being the perfect house wife creating a beautfully well kept home and all that went with it I took everything for granted as far as our relationship was concerned that I never realised that we were slowly drifting apart.
I guess there must have been some disatisfaction as far as my husband was concerned which contributed in him having other relationships outside our marriage, hence my saying with hindsight I now understand what happened. I assumed I was doing the right thing by being a good wife and a good house keeper and put all my energies in working hard to improving my job which I did very well and husband did the same yet in the meantime our own marital relationship was suffering.
This scenerio I believe was the source of our drifting apart, the one mistake that can happen in any marraige is to take each other’s feelings for granted and ignore to work at the relationship. My first piece of advice to women who want to protect their marriages is be attentive and not take anything for granted in a marriage relationship – keep working at it!
Hello! welcome to my second blog. Thank you for taking time to visit this space. My name is Mabel a Zimbabwean currently living in the United Kingdom. This blog is going to focus on an event which turned my life upside down – a relationship breakdown. It has taken me a good ten years to getnto a place where I am able to talk about this life changing event without bitterness.
What I want to do and hope to achieve by this blog is to show that set backs in life of whatever shape or form do not stop one to rebuild a shuttered life. My experience has taught me that life’s set backs can only be a springboard of great things. In this blog I will be sharing my experiences of heartbreak, betrayal, loneliness and the joy I felt as I reinvented myself after the breakdown of my marriage.
At first I was all over the place not knowing what to do next as I found my self single, jobless, homeless, and a confused woman who had been happily married and succeeding as a professional.
I did manage to pick up the pieces of what was left of my life and used the set back to reinvent myself and now am at a very happy place. I am hoping that by sharing my story someone who may have gone or is going through a marriage break up may know that life has not come to an end but that it is a beginning of something new and very exciting.