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Old 28th September 2011, 12:39 PM   #1 (permalink)
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After a decade, it starts to crack

After a decade, it starts to crack



by Joyce Lim


JOHN, a 53-year-old marketing manager, and Mary, a 49-year-old school teacher, have been married for 26 years.

They have raised three children together.

The eldest child has already joined the workforce, the second is in a university and the youngest is in a top school here.

Like most happy families, the couple would take their children on holidays during the school break. They have been to the US, Australia, Hong Kong, the UK, Turkey, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia and Brunei.

They also celebrated special occasions like birthdays and Christmas Day together.

Then, some time in 2008, Mary asked to divorce John.

But John and Mary are not alone. More long-term marriages are falling apart in Singapore.

Lawyers told The New Paper that they are seeing more older couples who have been married for more than a decade wanting to end their marriages.

Last year, out of 7,405 divorce cases, 1,846 were couples who had been married for 15 years or longer - up from 1,430 in 2005.

There were only 1,133 such cases in 2000.

While adultery may have been the real reason that lawyers are hearing from their clients, many of them cited unreasonable behaviour when they filed for their divorces.

It was also the claim made in the divorce case of Mary and John.

They had nothing in common, Mary told John. She told him that she had married the wrong man.

On Dec 8, 2009, Mary filed for divorce on grounds of John's purported unreasonable behaviour.

John was shocked and suspected his wife of having an affair, a charge she denied. So he spent more than $10,000 on a private investigator (PI) to track his wife.

The surveillance on Mary was carried out over eight random dates last year.

The PI found that Mary invariably spent time with one of her former male colleagues.

Mary and the man used to teach in the same school, but both of them have since been transferred to different schools.

One of the PI reports alleged that Mary was seen holding hands with the man as they walked down the stairs from his flat on the ninth floor.

On another occasion, he accompanied Mary's father to the doctor.

In her affidavit, Mary denied behaving intimately with any other person.

She said that she had accepted her friend's kindness to take her father home from dialysis on Tuesday nights, as she did not drive. And the friend had been doing so for about a year now.

John said that he used to send his wife to school every morning for four years, until she told him not to do so in January 2009.

"I began to suspect that she did so because she either did not want people to know that she was happily married or she had a colleague in school whose relationship with her she did not want me to know of," John said in his affidavit.

"My suspicions were substantiated when one of her ex-colleagues told me that Mary and a male colleague had been electing to go to courses frequently together."

Changed person

John also claimed that his wife became increasingly cold and harsh towards him and started wearing more revealing clothes, like spaghetti-strap tops and tight dresses - allegations that Mary had challenged and denied.

Mary had also moved into her daughters' bedroom, and started labelling and allocating food such as bread, cakes and individual bananas to only their children and herself, claiming that John would consume all the food if she did not do so.

She did it to ensure that she and her children would have food for breakfast in the mornings.

In her affidavit, Mary said that she and her children felt suffocated by John's obsessive behaviour and were unable to tolerate living with him any longer.

She cited an incident that happened 20 years ago, where she claimed that John had strangled her and grabbed her arms during an argument, leaving bruises on her arms.

John denied the accusations and claimed that he had pushed his wife away in self-defence as she was trying to hit him with a clothes hanger.

Describing his marriage as normal and rather uneventful in his affidavit, John said: "Like any other couple, we had our occasional disagreements and conflicts.

"But our marriage had not been so fraught with problems that I found myself contemplating divorce or expecting my wife to file for divorce."

Source: http://www.divaasia.com/article/14576

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