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Split decision

Sherie Holder-Olutayo

Split decision

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EASY MAGAZINE is taking a look at the effects of divorce on the lives of individuals in this series called Happily Divorced.
With Barbados’ divorce rate ranked as 50th in the world, it is clear that couples are having problems navigating marriage. While this is not to sanction divorce, there are situations where people realize it is the best option for both parties.
Today, Felicia Lashley talks candidly about her decision to divorce, how it changed her life, and her outlook.
Q: What made you decide that divorce was your best and only option?
A: Divorce was indeed my best option, but not my only option. I could have stayed and continued to be the victim; I could have stayed for financial reasons; I could have stayed so my children would have a father in the home.
But I chose to go, only after I did everything in my power to save my marriage; and when I finally came to the realization that I wanted to  save my life way more than I wanted to save my marriage.
I also think children would prefer to be from      a broken home than to be in a broken home.
Q: Did you have any misgivings while you were going through the process?
A: Of course I had misgivings. But misgivings can take a back seat when I am trying to save my life. Sometimes when we have a life changing decision of that magnitude to make, our judgement can easily be clouded. We tend to want to hold on to what’s familiar. I spent many nights crying, sleepless and praying for direction.
Q: Has your divorce tainted your views on the institution of marriage?
A: It took a long time for me to heal. I had to dig deep and understand that the institution of marriage has not changed. The individuals who enter into marriage are the ones who are tainted, not that sacred institution.
I firmly still believe that marriage is and can be a beautiful thing; it just takes two participants who are both willing to each give 100 per cent.
Q: How would you describe your life now and how you’ve grown personally?
A: To be quite frank, I live life now more aware of what’s out there. My grandmother used to say not to let anyone rub garbage in your mouth and call it cake. My eyes used to be “open wide shut” now they are “wide open”.
No matter how dire the situation is, I try to face and accept the truth and get out of constant denial. When you stay in denial, you can’t blame anyone for your mistakes but yourself. Once you know better, do better. I have become a better mother, a better friend and most of all a way better person.
My ex-husband and I are now co-parents and friends. We are able to communicate about any situation involving our son. He is at every doctor’s appointment, every dentist’s appointment and every school function.
Every decision about our son is made together, it is not a power struggle and we both realize that it is not about us and our past issues anymore, that chapter is closed.
Our main focus is our son, he comes first. I also accept that I have a lot more valleys along the way, but the valleys teach me and help me to grow so I can appreciate the mountains. You live and you learn.