Amy Poon

Life Lessons from a Successful Divorce
My Magazine, September 2009

After the publication of “This Little Piggy went to Prada”, I appeared in an article in Singapore Tatler under the sub-heading “Amy Allen Has It All”. Ostensibly I had a great business, written a funny little best-seller, a beautiful little girl and a loving and supportive husband. The article appeared three months after I finally told my husband I wanted a divorce. Just goes to show, you never really know what goes on between two people unless you’re one of them and even then you may not know. I tell this story because when you do finally make a decision like this, everyone and their dog seems to have an opinion on why you should or shouldn’t do it, whose fault they think it is and other unhelpful insights into your marriage. I had my fair share of unsolicited opinions and equally useless advice but I will be forever thankful to the handful of true friends who stood by me, respected my decision and did not judge me for it.

Divorce was never part of the game plan. Doris Day never sang “Will I be pretty? Will I be rich? Will I be a divorcée?” I never thought “When I grow up, I want to get divorced,” but sometimes, getting divorced is about the most grown-up thing you can do. Joyce Brothers wrote “for some reason, we see divorce as a signal of failure, despite the fact that each of us has a right, and an obligation, to rectify any other mistake we make in life.” So, the biggest step I took was to admit that I had made a mistake – well lots of mistakes actually - but that I was going to do something about this one for the long-term happiness and well-being of myself and therefore those related to me – my husband and my daughter. In two years of marriage counselling, the one thing that really hit home was when our counsellor said to me, “Amy, it’s very important that you leave a man before you start to hate him, particularly if that man happens to the father of your child.”

It’s never easy to get other people to see your point of view when it differs from theirs. What ensued was a not uncommon emotional mangle that made us, at the time, bitter and beaten and deeply desperately miserable – in a Sylvia Plath kind of way without the poetry. I not only left the marriage but I left the country, with our daughter and a container full of furniture, memories and broken dreams tagged with pink Post-It notes, “Hers – London.” The financial piece is a whole other chapter! Guilt-ridden and emotionally spent, I took the financial path of least resistance. It may be wrong to marry for money but it’s very foolish to divorce without it. I can say this because I was very foolish! It is very important to separate the emotional from the practical when it comes to finances. What I should have done was to listen to my head.

Coming up to three years on, however, I can honestly say that where I am now was worth the pain. I started “This Little Piggy Got Divorced” over two years ago but it needed the time and the distance to say what I wanted it to say. Simply, that as hideous as the divorce process is, there is life after divorce, and a damn good one at that, if you allow yourself to embrace it and can shake off the shame, doom and gloom that everyone traditionally associates with divorce. My ex-husband and I are civil. I care about him as the father of my child and I dare say he cares about me in the same capacity. My daughter is happy and adjusted. They say life is about cycles, doors opening and closing so all I urge you to believe is that there will be new beginnings and great adventures, maybe in unexpected places but that is perhaps one of the exciting things of rediscovering who you truly are when you start all over again on your own.

Amy (Allen) Poon is the best-selling author of “This Little Piggy went to Prada”. Her second book, “This Little Piggy Got Divorced”, a helpful and humorous handbook to untying the knot is available at all good booksellers. Published by Spy Publishing and distributed by Portfolio Books.

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