Stephanie could not imagine that the life I had dream of was about to become a nightmare. The first few months in Australia were just divorce_cake 2bliss. Tennis while the children were at school, weekly lunch with new friends, and a tidy home to go back to.

Donny, on the other hand, had something else in mind. Despite his apparently happy family life, he divorced his wife at the end of their first year in Australia. He claimed to have found “the love of his life.”

Stephanie, a former office clerk who gave up her career to support her husband’s work, simply couldn’t believe her ears. “I thought we had a great marriage. He had just recently mentioned that we should go to the Maldives for our tenth anniversary. We were best friends,” she says. Stephanie and Donny were together for fifteen years and were married for over nine of those.

Donny left home the same evening after breaking the news, and Stephanie watched her two children, aged ten and seven, crying in despair. For the first few weeks, she denied the situation, thinking that he was just having “a hard time at work” and that he would return.

A month on and forced to deal with the practicalities of family life on her own, Stephanie found herself relying greatly on her new friends.

divorce 2“When we live abroad without family and relatives close by, good friends become our real family and baby. I couldn’t have coped without their advice and support, even for things like finding a lawyer. My helper has been like a mother. She has been looking after me and my children with so much care.” So far, Stephanie doesn’t know what the future holds financially for her and the children as she and John have not yet agreed on where the family should live.

“It is difficult for me even to Google ‘divorce’ on the web,” she acids. “I didn’t come to Australia to get divorced.” Stephanie is still coming to terms with her new circumstances. She remembers that she had contingency plans for her husband losing his job, their parents dying or someone falling sick. “But never thought that he would ever leave.”

On a positive note, she says that her children are the most important things in her life and that her happiness comes from within.