Image: Bella Koh

Bella Koh is the founder of lifestyle brand Slowhouse and a Her World Tribe member. She opens up about how the new work-life arrangement gave her a clearer picture of what she needed to do.

I was married for 10 years and got divorced almost two years ago. Even though I had already contemplated a divorce some years ago, the pandemic and the new work-life arrangement that came with it was what solidified my decision to call it quits.

Since my ex-husband was home a lot more, I was exposed to him a lot more, and this made me realise that things were not going to change. The whole world slowed down during the start of the pandemic, and being free from a packed schedule gave me the time to respond to my emotions and reflect on my reality. Being able to see our dynamics more clearly made me determined to go through with the divorce.

If this had been years ago, I probably would have been open to seeing a marriage counsellor, but when I made my decision, I felt that it was already too late. We’d been together for 23 years, and a lot of resentment had built up over this time. Plus, he has never provided for me. Thankfully, it was the other way around. I’ve been financially independent since we met.

As we had been married for a decade, we didn’t have to go through a separation of three years. Now, I’m the happiest I’ve ever been. When my marriage ended, a sense of relief washed over me. Even the way I speak to people is different. My advice to a woman in an unhappy marriage is to take a step back and focus on what you need – we tend to internalise things, so it’s important to write down your thoughts. If both parties are willing, try therapy, but at the very least, learn to look after yourself first.

This story first appeared in the January 2022 issue of Her World.