True Story: Expat Life In Singapore Ruined My Marriage

24 January 2017

My husband of over a decade and I separated in mid-2016 and our divorce will be finalised in 2017, I hope.

In retrospect, I realise that our relationship had been slouching towards its demise since our child was born several years ago.

However, I also firmly believe that “expatriate life” probably contributed to its end.

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His endless travel; the distance from our families who weren’t able to support us or intervene in hard times; and our tendency to use our wealth, which increased exponentially as expats, as a crutch to avoid our issues. “Let’s go to Bali, yay!” “Let’s get regular pedicures, yay!” or “Let’s buy our child lots of toys, yay!” – all of these directly affected our partnership.

My situation was such that I left Singapore with a snap decision, although it ultimately proved to be the right one.

Fortunately, my husband and I were able to mutually agree that I would have full custody of our daughter.

However, I regret the haste with which I left the country, my work obligations, and, above all, my friends.

Because I departed so quickly, I was not able to say goodbye to many people who had opened their homes and hearts to me during my time here. I would have loved to have visited my favourite cafes, hawker centres and parks one last time.

But what I regret most is that I have told half-truths and obfuscated certain details from many people I considered to be friends. I hope that, after all has been finalised and when I can tell the truth, that they forgive me for my transgressions.

See also: 7 Simple Ways To Meet Fellow Friendly Expats In Singapore

What I don’t regret for a minute is my time in Singapore or overseas, because living abroad has provided me with varying perspective.

I’m no longer so Western-centric in my world view; I have travelled to countries and tasted food that I had only read about in books!

I’m confident that wherever life takes me, I can build a network of friends and resources, and I am more comfortable with uncertainty and change than I ever was before I moved overseas.

See also: ASK THE EXPERT: Everything Expats Need To Know About Filing For Divorce In Singapore

I have returned to my home country with our child, while he has chosen to remain in Singapore.

Our time in Singapore was amazing and the sunny island will always hold a special place in my heart.

In the end, it was the right decision for our family; it was right for me and my child to say “goodbye” to expat life. I am happy and thriving, and I hope my ex is, too!


From The Finder, January 2017

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