Twenty years ago I was thirty-six years old and twice divorced (with no kids).
My first marriage lasted nine years, including two years living in sin, most of it great. We lost our virginity together, married young, and had a lot of sex and youthful experiences. I put FemEx through a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree, and during our time together she never earned enough from her summer and part-time jobs to pay my income tax, let alone support herself. The same month FemEx graduated with her MA she got a teaching job and moved out. The timing was coincidence, she said; let’s be friends forever, she said. I should have sent her a bill for her education, instead of sharing what little assets we had left 50:50 (brainwashed fool that I was). A few months before she departed I found cum on our bed; FemEx told me she’d been using our bed to entertain her thesis advisor, a married man. Today FemEx has a PhD and is a pretentious professor of English, Women’s Studies, and “Feminist Praxis.” She remained childless and single, although in her late forties she remarried—to a professor 16 years older. She is no doubt looking forward to an early, financially-secure widowhood.
My second marriage lasted three years, including a year of living in sin. MadEx was intelligent, direct, honest, and warm but schizophrenia brought her down. As a teenager she’d been buggered by teachers (more than once), raped by classmates (more than once), and gang-raped and left for dead by the side of a prairie road, requiring surgery to repair the damage (her attackers went to jail). She’d had at least one abortion. I didn’t know all of this when I married her. MadEx became delusional, ran away, came home, and ran away again, assisted by a series of women who appeared on the scene to help her out of her marriage to the only man who was foolish enough to love her, thus reinforcing her bizarre thoughts instead of guiding her to the therapy she needed. There was nothing I could do. Today—in no small part thanks to these helpful but misguided women—MadEx has been arrested at least once under the mental health act, remains childless, and lives alone with a dog. A decade later her childhood story made it into the newspapers as part of a feature on sexual abuse in schools.
After this painful fiasco I spent two years single and sexually independent, determined to stay that way. Experience had conditioned me to avoid close female relationships as nothing but trouble, just as Alex was conditioned against ultraviolence in “A Clockwork Orange.” I reckoned another divorce could kill me. In any case, as a twice-divorced man, my market value wasn’t high enough to attract any woman who would be of interest to me. I was probably depressed but I was in control of my life. I moved abroad, moved my career ahead as an expat, and saved money.
Then my job rewarded me with my first ticket to Asia: I would spend a month exploring the Philippines, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, and Thailand for the first time. But just hours after getting off the plane in Manila I met my future FilEx on a Jeepney on her way home from work. A week later I cancelled the rest of my tour to spend more time with her. We got engaged. There was no sex before marriage, just dating and talk. I wrote and telephoned for three months before marrying her in Manila, and a few days after that my sweetheart was living with me in Europe (spousal visas were easy to get in those days). My Asian tour resumed two years later, with my wife and first child.
What happened in Manila to shake me out of hermithood? I met a pretty and sweet Filipina with a bachelor’s degree who seemed both to meet my standards and to be interested in me. There is no way a 36 year old twice-divorced man could pair up with an attractive 24 year old virgin in the west. I never dreamed it was possible: this was pre-Internet—and pre-Stick—remember, and I was ignorant of Southeast Asia’s possibilities. I felt I had to move quickly or risk losing her.
I was soon disappointed. Weeks after the wedding, my Filipina segued from being romantic to being bossy and supercilious. She stopped looking up to me and started speaking down to me. She’d cut me off for a week if I failed to point my eyes straight ahead when walking down the street. On any pretext she would bitch, moan, and whine; she would complain and sulk for hours or even days. After my vacation days were exhausted and I returned to work, my wife demanded I stay home with her because she was bored. I explained that I had a job to do, and if I didn’t do it she would soon have no home in which to be bored. She shouted, “Hit me! I know you want to hit me!” Perhaps it’s a Filipino tradition. Then, perhaps disappointed that I never did hit her, she slammed the bedroom door and slept on the couch.
She left it to me to make all the arrangements for everything we did, then she reserved the right to complain afterwards if the outcome was not to her satisfaction. She wasn’t interested in alleviating her boredom by taking self-improvement courses of any kind.
With 20:20 hindsight, I should have bought her a return ticket after the wedding, and made it clear that her stay with me was voluntary—if she was unhappy she should leave. Then I should have withdrawn her visa support and put her back on Philippine Airlines when her self-centered, moronic behavior became the norm.
However, the problem was this: I was determined NEVER to divorce again, come what may: it was a rule I enforced on myself. I rationalized the situation by thinking that as bitterly disappointing as she was, she was neither feminist nor paranoid—and she was great fun in bed, now and then. So I accepted her miserable behavior and put it down to homesickness and immaturity. I hoped that with tending loving care and attention she would develop into a full life partner. But she never did. She couldn’t. It wasn’t in her. She married out of her depth (as described by close friends of mine), so we lived side-by-side for twenty years but never really together. In fact, she wasn’t by my side, she was on my back.
I would often work late rather than come home; an empty office was more pleasant to spend time in than a house with her in it. Because of the children and her fidelity I tolerated her conduct and was faithful to her. She was a good nanny to small children, but raising western-minded teenagers with IQs 30 points higher than her own was beyond her capabilities. For me, it was like being a single parent of three teenagers.
It’s over now. Just short of our twentieth anniversary I went for a divorce under the grounds of “unreasonable behavior” and she did not contest it. I was single again six months later. It is amazing what you can discover and prove with modern technology when you finally get suspicious, open your eyes, and have a good look.
I discovered that for nearly a year FilEx had been having online sex with a Yorkshireman. I discovered she had been chatting with him two out of the eight hours a day she was spending on the Internet while I was at work, and much of this chat was highly erotic. I discovered she’d bought a second cellphone SIM card and kept it secret so I would not detect her calls and text messages. Her cyber-lover is unemployed, diabetic, lives with his parents at the age of 36, and can’t afford a plane ticket to visit her. He even has a small dick, and I can prove it.
But, worst of all, FilEx told our teenage girls she didn’t love their father and she now had an online boyfriend. She told them never to tell me. My youngest daughter even asked FilEx if she could go to school in England! The girls would heard hear her giggling late at night but never told me anything. Driving a wedge of deceit through the family instantly made me abandon my rule never to divorce again. FilEx was unrepentant and (as per established pattern) blamed her behavior on me. Her behavior in front of the children crystallized what I have been putting up with all these years: she is an idiot. A few months after we divorced she broke up with her cyber-lover and started dating men from an internet dating site. Good luck to her.
Many, many times lying next to her in bed at night I have wished that I never got on that Jeepney in 1990; many, many nights I lay sleepless at the edge of the bed after listening to griping and drivel. When I look at the family photos taken around the world in the countries where we have lived and traveled, I remember complaining, not laughing. I remember events the family didn’t enjoy because she ruined them through self-centered behavior. I cannot remember the last time she lay her head on my shoulder in bed and said “Darling, I Love You,” or if she said it at all.
What did I do wrong? Two things:
1. My due diligence was disastrously optimistic, perhaps because of my two-year abstinence.
I didn’t know her long enough to see through the age, language, and cultural differences to her lack of potential as a life partner, both due to her attitude to life and marriage and to her below-average intellect … despite a Bachelor’s degree from a third-rate Manila university (it actually exists) where she just warmed a chair for four years.
2. I failed to set boundaries and consequences for her behavior right from the start—and to follow through with the consequences. I failed to do this because of my determination not to divorce again under any circumstances.
FilEx once said it’s good for the children to listen to their parents argue, because then they can see life the issues their parents have to deal with. I said it’s better for the parents not to argue at all, and certainly never to do so in front of the children. FilEx has been a negative role model to my teenage girls, and it is this I regret most of all. They have been damaged by it.
I told the children we are divorcing because no man will accept a wife that webcams her cunt. Although they are not happy about the destruction of their family, and the fact that their parents will eventually be living in different countries, they were relieved that they didn’t have to keep Mommy’s secret any more. My relationship with them improved.
I lost a chunk of what I have earned and saved for the past twenty years, a princely sum to a girl who was born in a bamboo hut and enough to set her up for life in the Philippines. I can justify this cost as the price of having two children. I was lucky to have been a expat for more than twenty years; I would have been taken to the cleaners if she had divorced me back home. Fortunately for me, we divorced in Asia. FilEx will never get immigration papers to my country.
Would I marry a Filipina again?
Possibly, but after (1) longer due diligence; (2) time living or at least traveling together; (3) agreed rules of behavior, and (4) a pre-nuptial agreement backing up the agreed rules of behavior. Filipinas speak English, are great fun, make good companions, and are anxious to emigrate. Their honesty, sobriety, thriftiness, and faithfulness meet or exceed western standards. Their blood mixes well; my kids look Italian or French. Although not tall, many have sexy figures as long as they watch their weight and stay off a Filipino diet. FilEx works out and still looks good in a bikini at 45.
But I don’t want to live with another woman who is vain (sulking for a year after I refused to pay for breast implants); spiteful (blaming every unpleasant event on someone else); unforgiving (accumulating, concentrating, and regurgitating this blame again and again years after the event); irresponsible (blaming her own choice of behavior on the situation or on others); bulimic (taking laxatives daily for fifteen years in the belief that it keeps her slender); lying (telling the kids she’ll charge half of an expensive purchase and pay half in cash so Daddy won’t know how much she paid); and unsympathetic (saying, ‘Can you call back—I’m watching American Idol,’ when I call home from a busy business trip). I dressed, groomed, and outfitted FilEx with diamonds, gold, Rolex, and Vuitton over the years but I could never take her anywhere—she is easy on the eyes but hard on the ears. We were never able to befriend couples where the wife is educated, so we have no couples as friends. In short, she rarely made me happy.
If I do marry another Filipina, she will be:
(1) an educated hi-so Makati woman closer to my own age, one with an international-standard degree, who is the intellectual equal of any western woman, but with traditional values. She will be my equal partner.
(2) a quiet but intelligent and much younger Visayan girl who has no illusions about our educational and wealth differences and understands the fantastic deal she is getting—although it will be another long slog teaching her about life in the west, such as the difference between a brake and a throttle, or a washer and a dryer (removing laundry soap baked into an electric dryer basket is not easy). She will be my junior partner, who understands the situation and accepts it for what it is.
Purgatory is to be married to a junior partner who thinks she is an equal partner, or, worse, thinks she is the senior partner and demands to be treated like one. Hell is to be married to a junior partner who has acquired the expectations and financial rights of an equal partner by virtue of living in a western country. I was in purgatory, but thank God I was in Asia and not in hell as so many other men have been.
Good luck, stay mobile, marry late … and slip an IQ test in with the visa application forms.
PS, I have read every submission, so it’s time I put something back. Some of the submissions written by older men for the benefit of younger men are fantastic and there is wisdom and great value in them, although others are at best skimmed. Dana and Korski at are often unforgettable. And my heart goes out to you, Phet. Stickman’s Readers’ Submission word count now comes to the equivalent of 14 Bibles (or 70 Korans)!
I wish I had had the distilled knowledge of the human comedy from this website before I married the first time—I would never have done it.
I just loved the honesty in this submission. Isn't it such a shame that it takes us so long to learn some things that if learned at a much younger age might have put us on a different path? With that said, I never think it is a good idea to dwell on negative stuff from the past. Learn from it and move on, which is what you seem to have done.
And I couldn't agree more that the subs from older guys from which us young 'uns can learn so much bring realvalue to the site.