These three women embraced their second chance at love post-divorce
Advertisement

These three women embraced their second chance at love post-divorce

​With around a third of marriages ending in divorce, it's easy to become disheartened about the state of true love in Australia. But what the figures don't show is what happens next.

We're often exposed to stories of dating disasters or tales of self-discovery and independence, but we don't hear enough about the great love stories that come after the breakdown of a long-term relationship, an event that can leave separated or divorced women feeling as though their chance for real love is behind them.

A woman's level of self-esteem can also influence her attitude towards finding love again.

A woman's level of self-esteem can also influence her attitude towards finding love again. Credit:Stocksy

"Some women who have experienced a betrayal of trust, for example, are likely to feel really sceptical and guarded about the possibility of finding love – so much so that they don't even consider it would be possible," says relationship expert Susan De Campo.

A woman's level of self-esteem can also influence her attitude toward finding love again.

Advertisement

"If she cannot access babysitting, if she is financially disadvantaged, these factors can impact on a woman's confidence about finding happiness again," says De Campo.

In reality though, the ending of a marriage, while sad, doesn't mean you've lost your chance of finding that one great love.

In fact, many women leave first marriages with a deeper sense of self, knowing exactly what they want out of their own lives as well as a potential relationship.

For these three women, the end of their first marriages left them open to finding the true loves of their lives.

BUSINESS AND PLEASURE

Rachael Scharrer, 38 Rose Bay, NSW 

Rachael Scharrer and her partner Bachir.

Rachael Scharrer and her partner Bachir.

When Rachael Scharrer's marriage began to have a negative impact on her two children, she made the decision to leave and never look back.

"Life was so much easier. We enjoyed emotional stability, financial certainty and we created a child-friendly home."

Despite developing a positive and independent life for herself and her children, Rachael never gave up on love. "I knew that I wouldn't be alone forever. However, I didn't want to bring someone into my complicated and tumultuous divorce. I was content to focus on the children."

As a result, Rachael steered clear of dating sites and instead she developed her business concept, Divorce Answered, an online resource to help people navigate their way through separation and divorce. She required a web developer to launch the business and reached out to a referred contact.

Loading

"I met Bachir at a local cafe where I discussed with him my challenges and vision for Divorce Answered." As the pair spent more time together their business relationship began to change into something more.

"I knew that I didn't want to be manipulated or fooled again. I also knew that it was important to take things really slowly. We understood the challenges before us and could see a great life together."

Rachael says it takes two whole people to make a partnership work, and that the pair share a love that is uplifting and equal.

"I am proud of who Bachir is, I don't need to make excuses for his behaviour and I have full trust in him.

"Previously," she adds, "I was in a relationship that was oppressive and controlling. One of the greatest differences that I enjoy now is that when we disagree, which isn't often, Bachir and I can have a civil and respectful conversation. I don't have to second-guess myself.

"I am in a more liberating relationship and feel more fulfilled and supported."

Rachael says the experience of divorce can be a transformative one, from which you can choose to be a victim or thrive.

"True love is empowering. When you find the right relationship, it isn't hard, forced or difficult.

"You can be the authentic version of you and nothing you say or do will be used against you. I am now able to be me without reservations."

TINDER MATCH

Bronwen Lane, 46 Brighton East, Vic 

Bronwen Lane and her partner Soledad.

Bronwen Lane and her partner Soledad.

When Bronwen met a tall, dark, handsome man with a wonderful personality, she thought all her dreams had come true. And they had. The pair went on to marry and are very much in love. "I didn't find true love until my 40s, and it's everything I had ever dreamed of and better," she says.

But Bronwen's story deviates from the usual script – it came in the wake of a messy divorce and, following that, pregnancy as a single woman.

Bronwen was 20 when she married her first husband in Scotland. "There was bad behaviour … emotional abuse is what they call it now. He didn't support my study, there was restriction of my finances, who I could spend time with, verbal abuse and other things. I was 29 when I ended the marriage and 33 when we divorced."

Bronwen says the experience left her feeling liberated but also scared and broken. After falling pregnant during a relationship soon after her divorce, she found herself alone. Later, as a single mum with a two-year-old daughter, she decided it was time to test a range of online dating sites.

"I tried them all with varying degrees of success. But it wasn't until I downloaded Tinder that I met my husband, Soledad. He was the third person I swiped right on.

"We started chatting and really, we've never stopped. We had one of those first dates that was just easy and we both knew something special was happening."

Bronwen says although they both had somewhat complicated pasts involving children, they believed their blossoming relationship was how things were meant to be. "It was funny and exciting and we were just obsessed with each other. It felt like we would conquer anything together, like we had met each other's kindred spirit."

Loading

With four children between them, Bronwen and Soledad welcomed each other as a package deal. "I went from a family of two to a family of six and we see the children as 'ours'. It doesn't matter that we didn't conceive them together; we have four children and we don't call them steps, they are just our children."

Bronwen says without her failed marriage she would not have found the type of love she'd always longed for. "It's the best thing. My husband makes me feel adored, cherished, loved. My first marriage taught me about everything I didn't want.

"My second marriage gives me everything I want and more – unconditional love. I feel like the luckiest woman on the planet to have met my soul mate."

OFFICE ROMANCE

Katrina Bart, 50 Newcastle, NSW  

Katrina Bart and her second husband Chris.

Katrina Bart and her second husband Chris.

When Katrina left her first husband, she said to friends: "If I ever talk about getting married again, shoot me." She's now been married for more than 20 years to her second husband, Chris, following an unexpected connection.

"I know I'm loved. We talk, we love to be together and we work together – which not many people can do!"

At just 15 years of age, Katrina met her first husband at a church group. The pair began dating a year later and were married when Katrina turned 18.

"Being so young, you don't realise that you're not really suited in any way," says Katrina. "He was stubborn and I suppose I am too, to be honest. He just stopped doing anything in the relationship, he wasn't attached physically or emotionally."

Katrina was 26 when she decided to call it a day. "We had marriage counselling but nothing changed and I didn't want our son to grow up thinking that this was what a relationship looked like."

While Katrina knew leaving was the right thing to do, making it happen proved difficult. "It's hard to actually decide to end a relationship. It's not how you wanted things to be or how you thought that they'd turn out."

But once the decision was final, Katrina says a weight was lifted from her shoulders. She happily accepted that her future may be one of contented independence, with love the furthest thing from her mind. "Because my self-esteem was shot, I wasn't really thinking about ever finding anyone. In a way I didn't care I just wanted to be with my son and make things as easy for him as possible."

Loading

Katrina soon found herself doing office work for the ex-husband of one of her cleaning clients.

"We got along like a house on fire! I'd heard horror stories from his wife, but didn't find him like that at all. We really got on well – same sense of humour and outlook on life. It was really easy to be together at work."

Things soon moved from friendship to romance and despite some hurdles relating to former partners, the pair stuck together and continue to support each other through all the ups and downs. "We're each other's support team and we have each other's backs."

Katrina says finding love after a failed relationship is possible and in her case, the love she found postdivorce was more real than anything she had before. "I think a relationship breakdown makes you realise what you don't want in a relationship, and what you're not going to put up with."

This article appears in Sunday Life magazine within the Sun-Herald and the Sunday Age on sale March 17.

Advertisement