It’s so funny when some of you think or assume that men suffer stigmatization after divorce.
No! They move on most times very fast into another relationship or marriage. It’s the woman that bears the insults and abuse that follows.
Okay; My Ex and I used to work in the same establishment and when the divorce happened, I was judged guilty by most people even before they listened to my own side of the story.
You know as a woman, I was judged a failure for not putting in all it takes to protect my marriage.
I wasn’t the type given to much talk when it came to explaining myself in a situation but my Ex taught me how to perfectly do that.
I mean, you don’t have to listen to me after listening to my Ex on how bad I am before looking for a knife to cut my head off.
I remember a time when concerned parties tried to mediate between us and a meeting was called for at my in-laws place with their pastor in attendance.
My Ex as usual knowing how to talk painted a terrible image and situation. After he spoke for over 30mins, I was asked to say mine but all I said was, “everything is just as he said it”.
I was asked several times and I kept repeating same words. My mother in-law got annoyed and said that means my Ex was right and I had nothing to say to exonerate myself.
My mum who was also present at the meeting equally shouted on me to say my own story but I did not.
But when the pastor said; “Seems sister Lagbaja is the one that does not want this marriage to work”, something in me snapped and I opened my mouth to talk.
I spoke at length; I poured out my mind, for everything he said against me, I gave responses to them all. I said the things they weren’t expecting me to say with evidences to back them up.
By the time I finished talking, everywhere was dead silent! The pastor looked at me and said; “So this is the depth of what you had inside of you and you kept saying you don’t have anything to say”?
My Ex was asked if the things I said were true and he couldn’t but confirm that they were. Though he rationalized some.
The pastor gave some advise but it was too late by then. The mind of one of us was made up.
We separated in the month of March that year and by the September that very year, one of us had gone ahead to do introduction with another partner without the legal dissolution of the marriage.
By April the following year; one of us had welcomed a baby with the partner. We eventually divorced in June that year.
But the months following up to our separation and divorce, my ears heard a lot! I was the topic of discussion most especially at my place of work.
It was hard for me I must confess but I had to be strong for myself.
At this junction let me advise we women, pls have something doing as a job! Either you’re gainfully employed or you have your own business.
The only thing that kept me going then was my job; I forget my troubles whenever I’m on duty. You wouldn’t even know I was falling apart deep within me.
I said to myself; “it’s either you hold yourself together or end up on the bed as a psychiatric patient”. I was just a thin line from going into depression.
Now; the society did not stigmatized my Ex when he dropped and picked up his child at the creche of our working place.
But if reverse was the case; I’m sure they would have said I was definitely committing adultery while married else I wouldn’t have had a child a year after separating from my Ex.
And should my baby cry at the creche, I’m sure someone will be there to pull the poor baby’s ears for daring to cry when he/she is the offspring of an adulterous and divorced woman.
It’s been years since I’ve been divorced but there’s that perfect human being who will always find a way to rub it in your face and make jest of you.
It was painful at the initial stage but now, I don’t even remember my status cos my happiness and mental health is all that matters to me.
I have friends that used to say that if they were in my shoes, they would have left my place of work out of shame bcos of the stigma.
But I always tell them, “why would I”? I did not kill someone neither was infidelity part of the reason for the divorce so why should I punish myself unnecessarily.
The society looks at you and considers you a failure as a woman cos you’re divorced even when you’re excelling at other things in life.
I honestly don’t know why we have decided to turn this into a gender war. A gender says what he/she has gone through or is going through, the other takes it up and turns it into a competition of my own story is worse than yours.
But you see in this particular issue; speaking from experience as divorcee and as a mental health Nurse, a woman faces more stigma from being divorced than a man.