Saskia and I met at work. She was attractive, funny, quirky, and older than me and living with her boyfriend. I was young, fresh out of college and enjoying life. I entered the world of finance at a time when it resembled the Wolf of Wall Street and I was hungry to succeed. I worked hard, played hard and got paid well.
Randomly, a snowstorm was hitting NYC and we were told to go home. Saskia had to take a bunch of files with her and I knew she was on my way, so I offered her a ride. When we got to her place she asked me if I wanted to come in, her boyfriend was away, so I did. For three days. When I finally ventured outside, the snow was so deep that my car left this huge gap as I pulled out. ( He chuckles) It was kind of obvious someone had stayed over. I presumed this wasn't going any further, but the guy noticed and called her on it. Saskia couldn't lie and came clean. He even called the office wanting to speak to me. I recall staring at the flashing light not wanting to pick up, and when I did he threatened me but I didn't care.
Obviously, they split up and Saskia needed a place to live. I organised a U-Haul to collect her stuff, and we both moved into a home with some of my buddies. We were great as a couple, and Saskia was easy to live with. We meshed, we had fun together and we laughed a lot. We fell in love in under three months and engaged in less than a year. It was so long ago I don't recall how I proposed. I just know that I got her a ring and we bought a home. Our wedding day was event after event with me almost not making it. Crazy traffic, bridge issues, no mobile phones to say I am on my way. I was driving like a madman, and my family was freaking out. I had to stop to use a pay phone to call the church to explain. Her mum was so pissed I thought she was going to murder me. Especially when we got pulled over by a cop for driving down a one-way street, the wrong way. Saskia had this amazing sense of humour and we didn't have any issues that suggested I would bail and leave her at the altar so she didn't mind. Today that would be a series of red flags, but I didn't have any doubts.
We both changed jobs and worked even crazier hours. It was the 80s and it was the norm. As she was older than me I was fine with her wanting to start a family sooner than later, except there were some medical issues and the doctors told us it wasn't going to happen. Saskia, born to hippie parents, turned to spiritual healing.
Did it bother you not being able to have kids together?
Saskia was enough for me, and I loved her with or without children. Miraculously, this healing thing worked and we were blessed with our first.
A little background: I was born and raised in NY from a middle-class family. I had a solid education and was a competitive athlete. I am still exceptionally competitive and always do my personal best. Work for me was and still is more than money.
When our first child was born I was financially doing great and loving every minute of life. Saskia got to be a stay-at-home mum with our children and we moved to an affluent suburb with the country club and the manicured lawns. At first she was this awesome baby mum, loving the freedom to be with the kids when they were little, and a perfect wife for me. Then about ten years in, she just gave up. She hated the need to dress up, to be the executive's wife. As the children got older she stopped enjoying being a mum. I was traveling every week and working long hours, she hated everything I loved. Our bickering turned into ugly fights that never ceased. From where I sat, I was succeeding, I had moved up the ladder, we had money in the bank and I wanted to start my own company. Yeah, I could have worked less, toned down my motivation, but I can't do average. I would have been miserable. I wanted the big life.
We had to separate, it was unhealthy for both of us. We tried multiple therapists, but she wouldn't see her role in the demise of us. She focused on every minute detail of what I didn't do, she was a pit bull with her anger and sensitive to everything. I was trying, but she suffocated all my efforts and I stopped tolerating her. She drove me nuts, she was so damn articulate and righteous. Back then I wasn't good with emotions, and I never understood her point of view.
She wanted me to not be me.
I don't know why, but she hired this lawyer who played dirty. I had no intention of playing games and was already offering her half of everything. We had built our lives together, she was the mother of our children and I valued her and all that we had shared. I never cheated on her, there was no reason to take this ugly route.
Saskia appeared to enjoy playing the victim and publicly character-assassinated me. It made life awkward in the community. The truth came out eventually, but I was coaching their kids at the time, it was a bad look.
She sprinkled her anger dust and it damaged my reputation.
Meanwhile, my eldest came to live with me. Saskia had become too controlling on all decisions that affected their well-being. It damaged their relationship. My other kid would come and go between our homes freely, we never set dates and times for visitation. I lived locally to keep things as easy for them as possible. How did I do it with the traveling and long hours? I don't know, somehow I made it work. Did it affect my work? I don't believe so. I have the ability to compartmentalise.
Meanwhile, I hired an old lawyer, a nice guy who wanted me to wrap things up nicely. Her lawyer hired a forensic accountant and we went to court. She turned up with two lawyers which annoyed the Judge. He stopped the court session, sat me down in his chambers and told me straight up what I was up against. He was used to this type of ambush, and he too was divorced. He gave me some options to consider, and I chose the 'give her half of everything and a healthy cash amount upfront'. It was the best decision, it was the right way to end our relationship and to move forward. The monthly alimony payments would have been a weight around my neck. We cut the co-dependency that would have kept us joined in some way.
Sometimes in my life an angel has appeared, and he was one of them.
When my kid moved to college I moved to NYC. I finally got back into the dating scene using dating sites. It was crazy how they matched you back then, but it was fun. I met a lovely woman, we dated for a few years and then I met another lady who became my second ex-wife. That's a story for another time.
My eldest married into a beautiful, warm, welcoming family who encouraged peace with Saskia. It's a work in progress, and I apologised for my role in the breakdown, which she appreciated.
Meanwhile, I can't say divorce didn't hurt, but my kids are these amazing, balanced, healthy adults that impress me all the time.