A story of love, loss and second chances by Nikita Singh, releasing this Valentine’s Day.
We are Breaking Barriers once again, are you? Join us with leading change makers.
This woman divorced her cheating husband after many months of being taken for granted and made her own life in a country foreign to her. Read on.
Adultery. Once a phenomenon, now has become as common as a housefly. We aren’t surprised when we hear about it. A lot of couples stay together even after one of them was discovered cheating. What could possibly let a woman or man continue to stay with their cheating spouse?
Turns out, there are a lot of reasons. Women stay with their cheating husbands for very practical reasons and it has nothing to do with their children or societal pressure. A divorce is not an easy procedure. It’s expensive, complicated and time consuming. All of which a woman can’t handle easily while balancing heavy workload and emotional turmoil.
A lot of women go through this, including Alisha Joshua (name changed to protect the identity of the interviewee).
She is a 34 – year – old Indian born university professor, working in the United States. Joshua had an adulterous ex-husband. She has shared her story to give women strength to make the right decision to separate from their cheating spouses.
She was intrigued when she met Joseph Miller (name changed to protect the man’s identity). He was an Indian American. He worked as a music producer for a record label in the United States. Joshua, who was from Mumbai, was studying in Seattle when she bumped into Miller at a club.
Miller’s company was celebrating the success of their latest album, and one of her friends befriended Miller’s colleague. So they kept meeting frequently at parties and clubs. Joshua was undeniably attracted to Miller, who was a popular Casanova. “At first glance, he was nothing special. But he was always surrounded by women.” she recalled. “I assumed that it was because of his profession. And that caught my attention.”
Miller could be charming, confident and gentle whenever he wanted. And that’s how he won over Joshua. She was swayed with his personality and sweet talk. Soon, they became a couple.
But their blissful relationship lasted only a few months. As both of them were busy with their course and career respectively. “We both became busy, and we didn’t have time for dates.” she informed.
But as Miller’s workload kept piling up, he would spend days in the studio without contacting her. Unfortunately, crisis struck Joshua. She wanted to pursue her Master’s in the United States, but she won only a partial scholarship. So she decided to work to pay the rest of her fees. As a result, she couldn’t spend time with her boyfriend. This frustrated Miller who offered to pay the rest of her fees.
Joshua initially declined. But work became a vital part of her life, and it was taking a toll on her studies and health. “I collapsed in class due to exhaustion.” she said. “Miller was listed as my emergency contact and he was notified. Without consulting me, he paid the rest of my fees.”
Miller meant well, but this angered Joshua. She always fended for herself and didn’t even ask her parents for money. “I knew that he meant well. But he had no right to take charge of my life. That’s when we had our first falling out,” she explained.
Miller walked out on her that night and didn’t contact her for several days, repeating his usual pattern, whenever they argued. Also, he would give her presents, whenever he wanted to appease her. He manipulated her by giving her things she needed, so she couldn’t refuse him.
But problems wouldn’t leave Joshua. Her tenancy contract ended, and the landlord wouldn’t renew it. Once again, Miller became her knight in shining armour, much to Joshua’s dissatisfaction. He insisted that she move in with him. He was manipulating her and taking control of their relationship, which Joshua didn’t realise. She was too pre-occupied and exhausted with university to pay attention.
Though they lived together, they barely saw each other. They had different schedules and didn’t communicate on a regular basis. They barely went on dates, as they were fatigued. But surprisingly, they took their relationship to the next level.
“When I moved in, the inevitable happened. Yes, had sex. Not that we didn’t before. Just like every other man, Miller prided himself on his sexual prowess. He made it clear that he had experience. He didn’t brag about it. He showed it.” she chuckled.
But she didn’t match his expectation. “I’m an Indian, and premarital sex isn’t a part of every Indian’s lifestyle. He was my first. So obviously, I’m not as experienced. It bothered me. He was constantly dissatisfied,” she mentioned.
It was then that she started noticing the signs. He would come home at wee hours of the morning, claiming that he was locked up in the studio. He would initiate sex, but discontinue it abruptly. She observed how he was always exhausted, and couldn’t display his usual prowess in bed nor at work. He became cranky, distant and cold.
“I presumed that he was suffering from some of writer’s block. I’m an engineer, so I don’t know how the music business works. Nor am I creative, so I couldn’t offer comfort or advice.” she elucidated.
He stopped coming home, and would stay at his colleague’s place. She always had an inkling that he was cheating on her, but she gave him a benefit of a doubt, as she didn’t have proof. “I didn’t have the time to stalk him or fight him. I was struggling with university and I was under severe duress.” she defended.
But Miller’s career took off when he signed a now A-list singer to his record label. He was happier and they resumed their relationship. He came home every day, and would communicate with her. Joshua was sure that the problems had stopped, as they were in a good place. But once again, Miller shacked up in the studio for months. Joshua didn’t care either, as she was in her last semester. The lack of communication and presence led to a gap in their already tenuous relationship. Both of them never considered love or their partner a priority, which slowly ruined their relationship.
The once smiling, gentle and kind Miller turned his back on his girlfriend and ignored her. They wouldn’t talk to each other over the phone or message each other. They just discussed about things required for the house like grocery items and toilet paper. They had turned into ordinary roommates, which upset Joshua greatly.
Months passed, and the couple had good news, as Miller’s new A-list singer had a hit album and Joshua landed a job in a great company. At the height of happiness, both of them decided to get married. The couple presumed that by getting married, all the problems in their relationship would be solved.
She wonders what kind of idiotic logic she had come up with at that time.
“That was the wrong decision. It was a hasty decision. I was just 24. I was a love sick woman, who was over the moon.” she stated. “Married couples looked so happy. So I assumed that I could be happy if I was married. That was illogical. You cannot have the honeymoon stage in a marriage for the rest of your life. I learnt that the hard way. God knows what I was thinking!”
But the euphoria didn’t last time this time either. As Joshua had a stable timetable, her husband didn’t. He would miss dates, shoe up late, come home drunk and wouldn’t contribute to household chores.
He would bring his drunk friends home, and they would wreck their apartment, which angered Joshua to no end.
She had to pay all the bills from her income, as he was remiss with even necessary jobs.
Then, their arguments began. “The screaming, the shouting and bickering blew up. And we stopped talking to him, for good.” Miller mentioned.
After the first two years of marriage, Miller and Joshua indulged in their work, neglecting each other. Miller became irritable, and began ignoring his wife as well. He worked late and rarely slept. Joshua became concerned about his health and tried to make amends.
“I did whatever I could to mend our relationship. But he didn’t co-operate. He just preferred to be left alone. So I conceded.” she admitted. Another hurdle she had to overcome was geographical distance. She got transferred to San Francisco for nearly a year and a half. The only communication she had with his husband was through text message and phone calls.
By that time, she heard rumours that her husband’s company was doing well. Miller finally confessed that his company had invested a lot on their new talent, and he was stressed because of it. He displaced all his frustration on her and apologised.
They worked on their marriage and regularly had conversations. During their last conversation, Joshua believed that their marriage was back on track and they could be happy again. And then, the bombshell was dropped on her. She overheard a conversation between two women who worked in her husband’s company, when she was on the way to Los Angeles to surprise him. They were sitting behind Joshua on the plane.
“The girls were talking about Miller’s sexual escapades with a couple of models. They were hired after I left L.A., so they didn’t know who I was. I just happened to overhear their conversation. I had heard enough to confirm that they were talking about my husband and not anyone else with the same name.” she said.
Her husband was constantly having one-night stands and he continued to fool her. His friends and colleagues never bothered to tell her the truth. Instead of crying or prying the women for more information, she decided to confirm this with solid evidence.
She hired a detective to investigate her husband’s exploits. “The first time, the detective told me that all my husband did was work. So I still had hope.” she explained. “But then, within the third week of investigation, I received a package from the detective. There was photographic evidence, with copies of bank statements on the presents that my husband had bought for his concubines.”
That was the end of the marriage for Joshua. She was shattered. She was depressed for days, and locked herself in her room for a week. She didn’t confront her husband. “I picked myself up and continued work. But I gradually stopped loving my husband,” she expressed. “Day and after day, the love faded away. I didn’t like him anymore.”
So she ignored his phone calls and text messages at first. She didn’t understand why he married her, if he wanted to sleep with other girls. But she began to be curt and polite with him. She faked interest and made empty conversations. But she couldn’t avoid him forever.
After pulling herself together, she consulted a lawyer. As the divorce procedure is long and complicated for international marriages, she didn’t have the time or money for it. So she didn’t know what to do. If she confronted her husband, he would blame his infidelity on her.
“I know that men are experts at blaming their wives for everything. So I was aware of how the argument would go down. I didn’t bother fighting with him,” she explicated. “So I continued avoiding him. I focused on my career instead.”
Her boss offered a permanent placement in San Francisco, only on the condition that she would do a project in Seattle for six months. So she decided to take the job.
The day before she left for Seattle, she received a phone call from her detective. He informed her that her husband had fathered a child with one of his mistresses and paid for her abortion. That was it. Joshua had reached her breaking point. “I was not going to file for divorce. I had made no plans for that. After I found out, I had it. I did it. I quickly began making plans to annul our marriage or divorce him. I didn’t care how long the procedure took.”
She didn’t understand what she hand done wrong to make him cheat. But she didn’t care anymore. As she was hunting for attorneys, she came across an Indian gentlemen based in Washington, who happened to be a family friend. She narrated her story and he agreed to fight her case, without receiving any payment. The attorney’s sister went through a similar experience, hence he sympathised.
“It was by God’s grace and my mother’s prayers that I met him at the right time. The same goes for overhearing those girls talk about Miller. It may sound ridiculous in this era, but I think God has his way of helping you.” she stated.
Some of her friends knew about his cheating and kept it from her as they were envious. None of her friends could get rich husbands or successful careers. Even his colleagues thought of her as a country bumpkin from India whom Miller married on a whim.
So she decided to live separately, without informing her husband of her arrival in Seattle. She would lose her spousal visa if she left him, but her company couldn’t sponsor her work visa. Despite this, she filed the papers and let her attorney handle the rest.
“I wasn’t going to leave him because of the spousal visa. But I’m glad I did. Women often stay in marriages for reasons like expensive divorces, children and spousal visas. But if you’re in a toxic marriage, how will you ever be happy?” she voiced. “I got lucky and received help, otherwise, I would’ve landed in a dumpster if Miller decided to leave me first.”
The divorce procedure was messy, lengthy, and emotionally taxing. However, she was granted spousal support. Simultaneously, she had applied for a teacher’s training programme in New York, for which she was selected. She completed her training, on a student visa. She applied for a job as a teaching assistant in one the most reputed institutions in the United States. She got the job, and is now working as a full-time professor in that university.
“Just because you’re in your 20s, doesn’t mean that you’re in love. So think twice before you get hitched. Or else, you will have to go through experience the emotional turmoil I did. It doesn’t matter if you lose financial stability. You can always make money. But you can’t escape a marriage. You can only separate from your husband.”
When she asked her husband why he cheated, his answer made laugh. “He didn’t like the fact that I didn’t need him emotionally, financially or sexually. Also, he blabbered something about not being good in bed and not being there for him. I think it’s absolute garbage. Actually, he needed a submissive woman, which I was and now am not. I’m glad that I have this personality, other men would trample all over me.”
Joshua doesn’t want to get married again. She encourages women to focus on their careers and stop wasting time with men. “I still haven’t forgiven my ex-husband. I’m not a sati savitri or a heroine in an unrealistic TV show. I’m human. I still hate my husband, and still curse him to death for ruining my life. I still argue with him when he doesn’t give me the spousal support on time,” she states.
“We hate each other’s guts and avoid talking to each other at all costs. There is plenty of animosity still within me. I don’t know what he blames me for, or why I married him. But I can say this, women should never stay with their adulterous husband. No matter how difficult the situation is, leave that man, fight for alimony and don’t stay with him because the world will comment on it.” she avers.
In India, divorced women are ostracised, shunned and avoided at all costs. They are considered disgusting and bad wives, even if the man is at fault. That’s not the case in the United States, as it’s a normal procedure there. Joshua never returned to India as she didn’t want to deal with societal nonsense and gossip.
“San Francisco is my home now,” she states. “I got my passport changed, and now I’m an American citizen.”
She says everything happens for the best, as her current job pays better and she can pursue her actual dream of teaching. Her career is her only priority, and she isn’t bound by anyone. “I’m free,” she states. “Both from him and society. I am Ms. Independent!”
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