MUM SAYS I found love again after my divorce

Love was the last thing on single mum Shivani Priyadarshini’s mind after a failed marriage…then fate stepped in.


“My ex-husband and I dated for a decade before we decided to get hitched in 2011. He wasn’t favoured by everyone in my life, including some of my family members, but I felt I had to see the relationship through since we had been together for so long.

I fell pregnant with Alexander soon after our wedding and our beautiful boy was born the following year. My ex was happy to have a son, although he wasn’t a hands-on father at all.

Our marriage was turbulent at best. I guess the red flags had always been there, I probably just refused to see them. My super-controlling ex had me under his thumb for the most part of our union that I completely lost myself when I was with him. He was also physically abusive.

While I had put up with such mistreatment for many years, once my baby came into the picture I know I had to re-prioritise my life. I didn’t wish what I was going through on my own worst enemy, which meant I definitely didn’t want it to happen to my own flesh and blood.

On hindsight, I know I should have walked out on my ex-husband a long time ago, but my tipping point came when one of our altercations ended up with me sustaining facial injuries.

I reported him to the police, packed my bags, picked up my baby, walked out and never looked back.

It was easy for the courts to give me full custody of Alexander based on my ex’s sketchy past. The last time my little boy saw his father, he was 1½ years old. That was almost five years ago. My ex hasn’t even bothered to reach out to see his son ― not that I want him to.

“My tipping point came when one of our altercations ended up with me sustaining facial injuries… I reported him to the police, picked up my baby, walked out and never looked back.”

Picking up the pieces of a failed marriage is arduous on anyone, even more so when you have a baby in tow. Alexander was solely my responsibility from then on ― I had to take care of every single one of his needs.

The thought of having such a huge responsibility was terrifying, but I knew I had to do it. My child needed me and it was my duty to provide him with as normal a childhood as possible.

What kept me going was having a career that I absolutely loved and was good at. It gave meaning to my life and a means to provide for myself and my kid. Being financially independent also meant I could give my son the life I had always dreamt for him. I was also lucky enough to have my mum, sister, brother and aunts around to help with taking care of Alexander.

Once I had set up a support system for myself and Alexander, the next thing to do was to help myself heal from the trauma I went through. Being happy again meant I could be a happy mother to my son. At that point, though I was laughing on the outside, I didn’t feel the same way inside. So, I pored over self-help books and worked with a counsellor to help me get my emotions back on track.

Life began looking up for both Alexander and myself. Friends and family encouraged me to open my heart again to someone. I tried to date casually, but since I didn’t meet anyone I really liked, I decided to leave love in the back-burner for the time being. Nothing wrong with being a career-focused single mum, I thought to myself.

A year later I got a random text from an old family-friend Mateen. We first met when I was 19 years old. In the past decade, we had met randomly at functions. I knew he was also, like me, coming out of a marriage.

In his text, Mateen asked me what I was up to that week. Coincidentally, it was the eve of my birthday and I was literally hiding at home and wallowing in self-pity. When I told him how I planned to ring in my birthday, he immediately shut down my plans and said he would come around to take me out.

I was taken aback at his thoughtfulness. ‘Why not?’ I asked myself. He was a good guy and I could use a night out.

How did a random text turn into a lifelong commitment? Read on to find out!