EXCLUSIVES

A Filipina American Millennial on Divorce and Self Respect


A story by Maria Lee Cruz, as told to Candice Quimpo


September 3, 2019
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“I was too young to have hopes for myself when I got married. I just wanted to move out of my parents’ home. My boyfriend’s practicality won out. Getting married would appease my conservative parents and save us money by living together.

Now I’m coming out of our eight-year marriage. At first, I kept replaying my marriage: where did I go wrong? At what point did you fall out of love with me? What could I do differently? It was like a review of my job. It comes with the territory of being an immigrant in New York, making sure you are putting in all the work because the world is going to discredit you regardless. So I operate in this space where I try to put my best foot forward.

Our relationship was death by a million papercuts, but if I had to go through a divorce with anybody, I’m thankful it was my ex. Divorce is ugly, hard, and sad. But it was necessary. It was me putting my foot down. I needed to reconnect with myself and give myself some self-respect and love. And I didn’t ask permission.

It has taken therapy, a good support group, and trial and error, but now I’m the happiest and healthiest I’ve ever been. And yes, I’m dating and I think I’m dating my future husband. But I know that a partner is just the icing on the cake. I will be okay as an individual with or without him.

I’m not done taking care of my needs. I’m seeing my bank account drain from the cost of a divorce. Getting financially sound again is next for me.”

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