At the New Delhi launch of Rewriting My Happily Ever After, I met Mekhla who listened to the honest conversations around my book about life after divorce but did not participate. Imagine my surprise when almost a year and half later, Mekhla emailed me with the offer to share her story on my podcast!
Mekhla’s story, like that of the others who have featured on this podcast, is unique. In her case, Mekhla got into a love marriage with her first boyfriend. She expected it would be smooth sailing into an always pleasant happily-ever-after, thanks to images of perfectly happy couples portrayed by Bollywood movies, particularly, the Karan Johar stereotypical variety. Yet, a part other knew that she was wilfully ignoring the red flags.
In our discussion, Mekhla speaks about social conditioning and constant messaging that kept her stuck in her untenable marriage even though things got tough pretty quickly. The general tendency of society is to compare how much worse the situations of other unhappy women were while advising her to try harder to make it work. Although her career was suffering and the situation at home was not easy, she fell into the trap of believing that perhaps having a child will salvage her relationship with her husband.
Ironically, the birth of her daughter gave her the required clarity one day as her tears fell on the newborn’s face. At that moment she realised that she deserved better and had to resurrect herself into a better version for the sake of her child. Despite leaving her marital home with an infant in her arms, and rebuilding her career and life as a single parent, it still took her three years to get into the legal aspects of dissolving the marriage. Listen to Mekhla’s story that she narrates with so much clarity and conviction.
The one question she asked other women who had walked away from their marriages was – “how do you know when you’re ready to call it quits?” It took her time to get to that point of no return and some more time to act on it.
While Mekhla wouldn’t wish a divorce on her worst enemies, here is what Mekhla would like to say to others who are procrastinating on the decision of whether to divorce or to stay:
- Build yourself up first – take the necessary steps to become financially independent
- Clear your head – it may take time and multiple stops/starts, but when you are ready, act on it
- Find that one supportive person or a community of people who will lift you up
- Be patient and KIND to yourself – you are going through a lot
- Choose to be the hero of your story
Having a family member go through divorce still carries a stigma because your family is conscious of being judged and criticised for having somehow failed in keeping the couple together, says Mekhla. But her journey made her fearless and self-confident, something which is very attractive. She build a complete life with her daughter and to her own surprise, found the right person to share the rest of her life with. For the last two years, Mekhla has been happily remarried!
If you are looking for a feel-good story about reinventing yourself into a better avatar after a life-changing event like divorce, do listen to this episode and get inspired by someone who has been through it.
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