Guest blogger Kate Meyers: David got married the summer before medical school and was married for eight years. He and his wife had a son, who lived mostly with his mom. He married again at 33, and his second marriage lasted 18 years. When his wife informed him that she wanted out of the marriage, their three children were 13, 11 and 6. He is currently married to Lena, also a physician. They were colleagues for more than a decade and married when he was 54 and she was 52. They have been married for four and a half years.
momlogic: Why did you get divorced?
In my first marriage
, I had an extramarital affair and almost immediately told my wife. It was obviously the wrong way to handle the situation. In hindsight, I would say that I got married way too young. My second divorce was one-sided, completely her call. She said she was "unhappy." I was absolutely blindsided and devastated .... In retrospect, for me it was a huge blessing.
ml: What was the hardest part?
D: I think for the kids it was terrible, and I think how it was conducted was destructive and poisonous. Watching someone that you thought you knew over the course of 20 years really be deceptive and untruthful and indirect was just very hurtful. I think what was really, really brutal was [that] the kids were used. They were being lied to, they were being manipulated as agents of warfare and they weren't being treated respectfully and honorably and it was so hard to see. It took me at least a year to eighteen months to get over the betrayal and the fact that I was the last of many people to know
ml: When you separated, how did you work the split with the kids?
D: It was all court-ordered. The court ordered an evaluation of everyone: She had a request, and I had a request and my request was upheld. So I got the amount of time with the kids that I requested, which was a third of the time. After two years, she took me back to court and I didn't want the kids to be interviewed again by the court, so I acquiesced and gave her more time. I now see them every other weekend, Friday through Sunday and two weeks in the summer.
ml: What did you learn from this?
D: Perseverance. I'm just grateful that I was truthful and honorable and took the high road. It continues to be a challenge for me. I miss my children and not having the amount of impact I'd like on their lives because I have such limited time with them. That's hard for me and very painful. The biggest challenge I have is not to retaliate, and my Christianity helps me with that a lot.
ml: What is the best thing to come out of this?
That's a tough question. I don't think divorce is a good thing or I'm happier because it happened. I made the best out of it -- a situation I couldn't control. I'm a much stronger person. My faith is much stronger. I feel that with my new marriage
, my faith has been rewarded. I married my best friend and we both feel that way. What I've learned is that love is putting the other person first and thinking of them first, but not in a selfless way. Wanting to please them and encourage them and wanting to always be truthful, in a loving way. I am a much happier person.