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I found this article shared by a friend at Facebook. It caught my attention and when i read it - it           brought me tears. I pity the hearts of thy sons and daughters that are affected with such                      separation. They don't deserve such traumatic experiences....my heart  goes with the affected           woman's heart...i hope and pray that they will be able to recover fast and regain their lost spirit....    .
MIGRATION AND SEPARATION
Posted at 02/25/2012 11:34 PM | Updated as of 02/25/2012 11:34 PM

"Raising a family is like playing a game, its either you win or you lose...”

We got married in 1995. My husband and I had so many dreams for our family. We only wanted the best for the children we will have. These were some of the considerations we had when my husband shared that he wanted to try his luck abroad.

In 1997, as our eldest son was about to turn two years old, my husband left for Riyadh in Saudi Arabia. Looking back, we were not really hard up. My husband was working as a sales agent selling cars. I was working as a secretary in a big company. We were actually doing well. We were able to meet our needs. But perhaps, fate tempted us.

An officemate of my husband who had worked abroad broached this idea of applying for work abroad. My husband was one of those who tried to apply, and the only one in their office who was accepted.

Perhaps, it was also our desire to further improve our situation that made me agree to my husband’s plan to work abroad.

My husband signed a two-year contract to work in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia as a maintenance specialist in a government hospital.

There were other Filipinos, both men and women, working in the same hospital. My husband would tell me that the Filipino women there are different. They are the ones who show interest in men even if they have families in the Philippines. It was, according to my husband, a normal situation there, to which I would reply that if he loved his family, he will not be tempted and go into such a relationship.

I resigned from work when we had our second child. At that time, my husband also had plans of bringing us along with him to Saudi Arabia. In fact, we have made arrangements to join him; my children and I already applied for our passports.

Unfortunately, it did not materialize because of some problems.

Thus, we were not able to join my husband in Saudi Arabia. But this did not pose as a problem to us because my husband would go home every year. It was a happy occasion and reunion for us whenever my husband is home for his vacation.

He would have presents for everyone, especially the kids. He would stay for one month then return.

Just like other couples, we also had our share of marital problems. I learned that my husband was sending money to his relatives without my knowledge. I confronted him about it. I told him that there is really no problem with me if he wants to send money to his relatives and help them. However, as his wife, and as a sign of respect to me, I should have been told about it, or the money could have been coursed through me.

However, he continued sending money to his relatives without my knowledge. I also learned that he has been supporting the nursing studies of his niece. Every time I would ask him about it, he would either deny it or ignore it.

Our problems worsened when my husband began fooling around with women. Unknown to him, I was able to open his e-mail because I knew his password. I read his exchanges with several women, most of them his co-workers. Some even took advantage of him by asking for money. I would always confront my husband about these but he just kept on saying that he was just playing around with them, and they are just his friends.

But one time, I saw a picture of him with a woman, which he sent to his brother. He told his brother that she was his girlfriend. I had that picture copied and I confronted my husband about it. He said that he was just trying to show off to his brother. I did not believe him and I got mad at him. I felt that there was already something that was going on. My husband apologized to me and said that he will not do it again. I accepted his apology. Since then, he has changed his password and I could no longer open his e-mail.

After this incident, my husband’s attitude towards me changed. Every time he would call, he would accuse me of dating somebody and would always ask my whereabouts, and the person I was with. Since I wanted our relationship to work.

I would tell him where I was and who I was with. His jealous bouts worsened. He would even make up stories that I go out even if I were at home with our three children. Every time we argue, he would end up apologizing and I would forgive him.

But this would happen again until it came to a point that I got fed up with him. I told him that if this happens again, I would not reconcile with him anymore. Since then, his calls have lessened and he would talk more with the kids than with me.

In 2009, my husband did not come home for his vacation. He promised our three sons that he would come home on several occasions such as graduation, birthdays and Christmas, but he did not come. One day, my sister told me that she saw a message in my husband’s Facebook account on his birthday saying “My congratulations pare and more babies to come.”

I got surprised so I started searching the Facebook account of the woman he was with in the picture. I saw a picture of that woman carrying a baby girl, who resembles my husband. I immediately sent my husband an e-mail asking for an explanation. I attached a copy of the picture to the letter I sent him.

One night, I was checking my e-mails together with my 11-year-old son. I received a reply from my husband and he confirmed that the baby in the picture is his daughter. He said he was sorry about what happened to us and asked for my forgiveness.

He said he has converted as a Muslim and has married the woman in the picture, who happens to be a Filipino woman working there as a dentist. He kept on asking for forgiveness but said that he cannot abandon his other family in Saudi Arabia. He just promised to send money regularly for the needs of our children.

As I was reading his letter, I did not realize that my son who was able to read the letter, too, already had tears in his eyes. He just stood there quietly. I hugged my son and told him that no matter what happens, I love him and his brothers and will always stand by them.

“I do not understand Mom. What did he mean when he said he got married there and could not abandon his family there,” my son asked, with tears pouring from his eyes.

I knew that my son understood what he read, since it was in Filipino. But it was difficult for him to accept what has happened. I knew he was hurting and at the same time confused. I hugged my son more tightly and once again assured him of my love.

That night, I watched over my son until he fell asleep. It was only after he slept that I replied to his father’s e-mail. I told him that his son was able to read the e-mail and was asking about it. I asked him why he chose his family there rather than us.

The following day, I received a call from my husband asking me for forgiveness. He promised to send financial support to his children regularly. But this is not just about money. It is also about the hurt and pain he caused us.

I had no other recourse but to talk to all of my three sons. I had to tell them the truth. I told them that I love them very much and would always be there for them. I also told them that no matter what happens, my husband is still their father.

After this incident, I noticed that my sons were not that eager anymore to talk to their father or chat with him over the internet. It turned out that they also harbored some resentment. Their father would always tell them that he would go home for Christmas, or for a birthday, or for the graduation of my eldest son, but he never did.

Sometime in 2011, my children told me they got a call from their father. They think that he is in Manila but has not yet come home to visit us. I called the number that registered on the cellphone and was able to talk to my husband. Indeed, he was back in Manila. I told him that we should meet and talk.

The following day, he came home to us. We talked about our relationship. He said our relationship is over and he has a new family. I said that is fine with me so long as he continues providing for the school and other needs of our children.

My husband said he will open a bank account for the children and needed some documents. I prepared the documents he needed. But I found out from my children that my husband had no intention of giving the passbook to me or to the children.

He wanted to keep it himself. Thus, when he came to pick up the documents needed by the bank, I asked him about it. He said that he will save for our children’s future but meanwhile he will not be sending anything to us anymore. I said if that is the case, then I am not giving him the documents he needed.

He got mad and hit me. My three children saw him do it. I asked one of my sons to go to the barangay because I am reporting the matter to them. Unfortunately, the barangay captain said it was a family matter that we have to resolve it. I lodged a complaint at the barangay and at the police station. I also consulted a lawyer regarding our case.

Before my husband went back to Saudi Arabia, he signed an agreement with me that he will send a fixed amount to cover the needs of our children. Unfortunately, since he returned to Saudi Arabia, he has not sent regular support for the children.

I am trying to be strong for my children. But at times, I cannot help but wonder where I went wrong. I tried hard to understand him. For a while, I kept our problems to myself and would just cry. But I knew I had to be strong for my children.

I thought our marriage and relationship would work even if we were far from each other physically. My children and I saw to it that we maintain constant communication with him.

And yet, our marriage did not work. I guess there are many factors that would make a relationship work. It takes two to tango, as they say. Unfortunately, while I tried to hold on, my husband let go.

I no longer aim for a reconciliation. I do not want to go back into such a relationship. I just want to be there for my children and for us to make a life of our own. Hopefully, my husband will keep his promise to provide for our children.

Life has to go on for me and my children. No matter what happens, they know that I love them very much and will always be there for them.

 

Editors Note: The story is from the book “Migrants’ Stories, Migrants’ Voices 3" published by the Philippine Migrants Rights Watch (PMRW) with the support from CEI (Conferenza Episcopale Italiana) or the Italian Bishops' Conference. The book contains a collection of 12 stories of the realities of migration as faced by Filipinos abroad and their family members in the Philippines. abs-cbnNEWS.com obtained permission from PMRW to publish the stories online.