NOTE: This is the second part of a two-part blog. Please read well and learn.
In less than a month of marriage, I found out that my new wife, Joan, was a kleptomaniac. She took money from my sister right under our noses and pretended to help us look for it. If not for the CCTV camera in the restaurant we were at, no one would have found out about it.
As the CCTV footage was playing, everyone got so quiet. I was holding my breath myself because I hoped that doing so would make the scene on the screen seem unreal. Even the security personnel did not open his mouth and did not meet anyone’s gaze. After all, we brought the thief with us. I brought her with us.
Then, my sister Elle broke the silence.
“All right. I know we all saw the same thing, but perhaps there’s another explanation for it. Maybe Joan thought that was her bag?” Elle uttered carefully.
Hearing that made me want the ground to open under my wheelchair so I could fall into an abyss. I felt ashamed, angry, and guilty at the same time. I could not believe that behind my wife’s gorgeousness was an ugly and unacceptable habit. And neither my family nor I deserved that.
My wife excused herself during all the commotion because she was apparently getting a call from her parents in Sweden. When we met her at the lobby, she still feigned concern over what happened. I did not know how she could act like that – like she genuinely cared. The rest of my family was so awkward and did not know what to tell Joan, so I felt the need to break the news.
To everyone’s surprise, Joan tried to deny it. She said the CCTV footage must have been edited or that someone must have framed her. Joan kept making excuses, but the more she talked, the more my love and respect for her diminished.
I did not go home that night with Joan. I booked a hotel room for her so I could think about my next steps. My sister was willing to look past the situation and move on as nothing happened, but I could not do that. How could I be happy with someone who broke my family’s trust and showed no remorse over what she did?
I contacted a divorce lawyer the following day. I realized I did it with a not-so-heavy heart – one indication that I made the right choice. After that, I visited Joan in her hotel room to break up with her officially.
I was hurt when Joan acted all confrontational instead of feeling sad or sorry. She said, “You have the nerve to divorce me when I agreed to marry you despite your disability. Is this your way of thanking me for that? If that’s what you want, then you need to give me alimony for life.”
Joan surprised me for the third time in less than 24 hours – and not in a good way. “We have not been married for long, and you already did the unthinkable to my family. I will make sure that you will get a single cent from me ever,” I uttered as calmly as possible.
That was the last time that Joan and I spoke as a couple. The jury initially wanted us to go through marriage counseling to resolve our issues, but I made my case clear, so they did not push it. I also had that CCTV footage ready to show why I could no longer stay married to Joan and why she did not deserve alimony. Our legal battle went on for almost a year, but the heavens must still be looking after me as our divorce was finalized in my favor.
How Did I Survive All That?
It was not on my own, of course. My family supported my decision when I made it clear that I would not stand beside someone who would commit a crime towards them, regardless of how petty it might be. The amount that Joan stole was easy to earn, but my trust would forever be broken.
I also met a counselor during the divorce process. I felt myself spiraling down, and I did not want to get depressed over what’s happening in my life. The counselor helped me evaluate and organize my emotions to express them in a way that would not harm me or anybody else.
In truth, this two-part blog is the result of my counseling sessions. The counselor encouraged me to express myself through words, but she chose to do it in any form. I decided to write about the darkest year in my life, hoping that my life experience would be a teachable story for anyone who found themselves in the middle of a crossroad.
I admire people who choose their spouses over their snooty relatives. We all deserve a shot at true love, and we should not have to give that up because our family members do not support our decision.
However, in my case, it was the other way around. My family welcomed the love of my life and was willing to overlook her petty theft for my sake. If you experience something remotely similar to that, choose your family over your partner because only the former cares for you.