breakup

Annulment Questions Answered

I’ve been wanting to continue my blog series about Boracay especially that it’s summer and the weather has been really nice here down south and I’m missing the beach so much because of the community quarantines and lockdowns. But because it takes at least 4 hours to do a travel blog post (although most of the time it takes me a whole day because of a ton of travel photos I need to sift through and edit), and I can’t afford to have that much free time this weekend because I need to finish editing the videos for our Online Mushroom Cultivation Training, I decided to have this post which has been on draft mode since the first week of March.

A reader anonymously emailed me at that time asking questions about my annulment. The questions she asked me didn’t occur to me before and I thought it would be helpful if I share her questions and my answers on my blog. I asked her permission if I can blog about her email letter and she gave me her “yes” in the hopes that someone else in her position could glean some insight from it.

So below are her emails and my replies… please be kind while reading.

Dear Ms. Jennie,

Congratulations on finally getting the freedom you deserve.

I would like to thank you for sharing your experiences re: annulment. I would also like to apologize for reaching out anonymously. For legal reasons, I hope you would understand. Thanks again, ma’am.

I am writing to you because I’m looking for someone (or people) who can empathize and understand my situation. Your advice is welcome and appreciated.

My relationship status is troubling me sometimes. I need concrete solutions or actions. To find people who have similar experiences, I researched on WordPress the word “annulment” and I chanced upon your article: Annulment Process in the Philippines [Here are the 8 Steps I Took, posted on 26 August 2019 with a tag #relationship. Again, Ms. Jennie, thank you for sharing this. It’s a great help.

I’m 30, woman, single and never been married, and no child. But I have a boyfriend. I have a boyfriend who happens to be still married on paper. He was already separated (not legally, though) from his ex when we met and started our relationship. They separated because his ex cheated on him while he was working abroad. He tried to fix their marriage but his ex chose the other man and left him and their child.

His child calls me mommy though our relationship is more like siblings than parent-child. My parents accepted him, his child, and our relationship. My close friends know him. Likewise, his family and close friends know me and our relationship. It’s like… everything is almost fine and going well, except for his civil status and the stigma.

It hurts to be tagged as “kabit” despite the fact that I did not steal him from his ex. I did not destroy their marriage. I’m not even the reason why their marriage failed. Nagkataon lang na kasal pa sila sa papel pero hindi na sila nagsasama.

We used to talk about annulment. But I got impatient, bugged him with the issue which annoyed him, until he told me that he felt pressured. So I stopped. We stopped talking about annulment and where our relationship is going. He has other matters to prioritize especially financially. He is the breadwinner of their family. When it comes to priorities, I feel like I’m the least. Ano’ng laban ko, ni hindi ako maituturing na “legal” or kung anuman.

Sometimes I ask myself: should I leave or should I stay? Should I wait for the annulment? Should I wait for the marriage? I don’t know what to do. It makes me insecure. It makes me think and feel like he still loves his ex and I’m just a rebound, though he keeps on telling me that it isn’t true.

I have also a few questions:

1. Is Mahal your current boyfriend?

2. Have you been together while you were still “married” with your ex?

3. What’s the advice of your lawyer re: being in a new relationship while the annulment was on-process?

I once consulted with a lawyer before and the initial advice is: Don’t go public on social media. As much as possible, don’t tell anyone even family and friends about the relationship.

Thank you very much, Ms. Jennie.

~~~oOo~~~

Hello Ms. _____,

It’s been a while since I last posted on my blog and it’s only now that I opened my email connected with it. I was supposed to sleep already coz it has been a  long day but I have some unfinished work to do so when I read your email a few minutes ago, mejo antok and pagod na rin ako. But something in me is compelling me to answer your email now rather than later coz I might forget about it when Monday morning comes and I’ll be bombarded with other priorities. Hopefully what I’ll say below will make sense and be helpful to you kahit na limited na ang energy levels ko at this time.

First off, thank you for reading my blog post about the annulment ordeal I went through. I’m really glad it helped you in some way. It’s one of the most discomforting experiences in my life and how I wish it never happens to anyone. But then life is not perfect and these things do have to really happen so we can have a chance at a better love… a better life.

I’m really sorry you’re in the situation you are in right now. I don’t know how it exactly feels like but maybe I have some idea… it’s confusing, painful, nakakaloka, nakaka depress… or maybe that’s just my mood lately…

Let’s get to your questions and let me answer them as best I could.

1. Is Mahal your current boyfriend?

> Mahal is my best friend. I met him in Oslob, Cebu  back in 2012 because he owns a little resort there (Oslob New Village). But he knew me since HS because he studied in Ateneo de Cagayan which is the brother school of my HS, Lourdes College High School. When I met him, he was in a rocky relationship with his ex GF who was my HS classmate. I was traveling alone (because my ex was too much of a workaholic and rarely travels with me anymore during those years leading to our separation). Mahal initiated a conversation and our friendship started. It was the first time I really felt safe with someone, especially a guy, and what we had was purely platonic. Sa kanya ko binuhos lahat ng sama ng loob ko sa asawa ko at that time.. naging best friend ko talaga sha… he met my ex hubby pa coz he vacayed at our house in Alabang too together with his sister. And for some reason, my ex allowed me to travel with Mahal dahil hindi nga nya ako nasasamahan sa mga travels ko na. When my ex-hubby eventually left me because he wanted to go see other girls na raw and he even told me that I should see other guys too especially if I want to have a kid pa raw (we’ve been married 12 years with no kid), my world fully collapsed. But because I’m a strong woman and I don’t want to wallow, I fought off my depression and started entertaining other guys online, until a gf introduced me to a guy from Iligan who wanted to really date me. I was traveling with Mahal then as best friends and told him that there’s this guy inviting me to go to Iligan with him. That’s when he finally admitted his real feelings for me. He thought there was still some chance that my ex and I will get back together kaya he never let his feelings known. But since I was entertaining other guys for real, he wanted to let his feelings be known na rin in case he has a fighting chance… and then the rest, as they say is history.

He calls me his wife and I call him my husband. But really, deep down, it kinda feels fake, because we are not married. When the annulment was approved, all the emotional baggage I had with my ex came back and I told Mahal to not propose anytime soon because I feel like I am not really ready nor will I be anytime soon. But when I saw the wedding photos of my ex with his now new wife, it’s like my world crashed to pieces again and now I feel so sad that I’m not yet married to Mahal, to think we are already living together as hubby and wifey and as parents to our only boy. But on second thought, it might just be my pride that’s hurting because I dreamed of a nice wedding with my ex too (sa huwes lang kasi kami kinasal at a young age of 24 and he promised to give me a nice wedding which never came to fruition, which actually was one of the reasons why I started resenting him). Sometimes I have these self-pity moments because I feel like why is this always happening to me? Ako gumastos sa civil wedding namin ng ex ko dati. Ako gumastos sa annulment namin. No wonder he could afford a really nice wedding sa gf nya because he didn’t spend naman for our annulment. Naubos ang savings ko sa gastos sa annulment namin. Ako ba ulit gagastos sa 2nd wedding ko? Tas pag hindi nag work out, ako na naman gagastos sa annulment? So I am biding my time and practicing patience as much as I humanly can (and trying to become a better person as well… the best version of myself if possible because I know Mahal deserves to be loved by the best and not a “broken” girl like me). I am trying to live one day at a time and be the best partner to Mahal and best mother to Tuz kahit nasasaktan ako na hindi pa kami kasal. Ego ko lang cguro to. Because I don’t want to overstep Mahal’s role as the “man” in this marriage this time. Baka history might repeat itself. I felt like I was the “man” in my previous marriage which was probably why it slowly crumbled. So now I want my man to be “the man” and be able to provide his girl I(me) the wedding of her dreams. I want to wait for him to be financially ready for marriage.

2. Have you been together while you were still “married” with your ex?

> Na-answer ko na pala to sa taas. The short answer is, No. We were just best friends. My ex-hubby, according to my sister, was the one cheating on me and she never told me because she was afraid I might get hurt and she thought we were in an open relationship.

3. What’s the advice of your lawyer re: being in a new relationship while the annulment was on-process?

> I remember my lawyer telling me to make sure when I go to court, that Mahal or my child is nowhere around. I remember someone who went through annulment too telling me to be careful with my social media posts because my ex might use them as evidence against me to file an adultery case against me and Mahal. But I don’t remember my lawyer telling me that, just other people who were concerned. On the other hand, I already knew my ex was in a relationship with his gf. But he never posted anything on social media about it. He was really discreet. They were already living together but there was really no evidence. Unlike me, had he sued me for adultery, I might already be in jail now just because of the millions of evidence of me and Mahal together in my social media feeds.

Looking back, I am thankful that my ex found happiness with someone else because had he been depressive, he might have resorted to making life difficult for me. He was the one who first approached me via email to fully move on. He was making me kulit about the annulment. And that was because he was ready to marry someone else.

About what you said towards the end of your email: ”I once consulted with a lawyer before and the initial advice is: Don’t go public on social media. As much as possible, don’t tell anyone even family and friends about the relationship.” — THIS IS REALLY SENSIBLE AND YOU SHOULD LISTEN AND FOLLOW. Because your bf’s wife is still the wife, and according to our law, the wife can kill you and she wouldn’t even be jailed for it because lahat ng karapatan ay nasa kanya dahil sha ang legal wife. Tell this to your bf. Kawawa ka talaga. Maybe this is why Mahal pushed me to file the annulment na rin dahil hindi natin hawak ang pag-iisip ng legal na asawa. Kapag tinopak ang legal na asawa for any reason kahit na cheater pa sila at sila ang unang naging dahilan ng hiwalayan, at depende na rin sa galing ng lawyer nila, e pwede talaga kayong kasuhan ng concubinage at pag nanalo kaso nila, makukulong kayong dalawa. During my first hearing sa court, I witnessed a case like this. Final judgment was kulong ang mag jowa dahil napatunayan ng lawyer ng legal wife  na nagsasama na sila ng jowa nya.

Shucks, I feel sad bigla na yun ang mapapayo ko. Ang anti-climactic but it is what it is, for your own protection. It’s really another reason to tell your bf na sikapin na nyang mag file ng annulment para maging tahimik na rin ang pamumuhay nyo.

My lawyer is _______. Matanda na sha pero sha ang pinaka murang lawyer na nakausap ko. 3 gives ako sa kanya. So at least, pwedeng mapag ipunan habang ongoing ang kaso, and the case can last for years so sana masimulan nyo na as soon as possible. If yung wife naman nya ang maykaya, baka pwede nyang kausapin ang wife nya na magtulungan sila sa gastos but then don’t let the court know kasi bawal ang ganun, baka lalong di ma approve ang annulment. In case di ma-a-annul, at least there’s legal separation. Yun nga lang he can never be married again. But at least, the legal wife will have no legal reason to sue you in the future.

On the other hand, para wala na lang sakit ng ulo, break up with him na lang. I know it feels impossible lalo na kung mahal mo sha. But if you want to be practical and not go through hell, this is the simplest (though not the easiest) option to take. Your heart will heal. And you will love again. Choose a better man next time, yung single din at walang sabit like you.

Shucks, ang haba na pala nito. Pasensha na. Madaldal talaga ako once I start writing my thoughts. I hope somehow nakatulong ako and pasensha na sa mahaba kong mga kwento at no holds barred na mga payo at sagot… I wish you good luck, lots of strength and resilience sa mga pinagdadaanan mo at pagdadaanan mo pa.

If there’s anything else I can help you with (wag lang pera ha.. lol!) just email me back and I’ll see how else I can help you.

Warm regards,

Jennie

~~~oOo~~~

Good morning, Ms. Jennie.

Thank you so much for your time and effort in responding to my email. It means a lot to me. It feels like there’s someone who genuinely listens AND understands. And thank you for braving to share with me — an anonymous stranger — some of your personal life. Very much appreciated, ma’am.

I apologize for asking questions or for opening a discussion that resulted to painful flashbacks. I was too clouded with my own thoughts and emotions that I forgot to be sensitive of others’ feelings. I’m sorry, Ms. Jen.

Yes po. It’s confusing, painful, and nakakaloka. I’m torn. I want to stay; we both love each other. Yet I want to leave; I want to love and be loved freely — without sabit, without stigma. He once told me that he will file for annulment, that he’s preparing for it financially and emotionally, that he wants to marry me. But until now, wala pang nasisimulan.

Aware naman po ako na magastos talaga ito at matagal ang proseso. Ang sa akin lang po, maramdaman ko lang na nag-e-effort siya at desidido siya na gawing “legal” ang lahat sa amin, assured na ako. I really don’t know what keeps him holding back. ‘Yung mga napagtanungan ko, kahit single parent na sila at sarili nila ang gastos, nasimulan agad nilang mag-file ng annulment. ‘Yung isa almost 3 years ang inabot. ‘Yung isa around 1.5 years. Hindi sila mayaman; pinagsumikapan nila ‘yung pera pambayad sa annulment. Kumbaga… kapag talaga gusto mong makamit ang isang bagay, gagawan at gagawan mo ng paraan. Na-open ko po ‘to sa kanya before pero ang naging dating ay pine-pressure ko siya.

Ms. Jen, if it’s okay to ask, may I know paano kayo nag-come up sa decision na magpa-file for annulment? How did you feel? What made you decide? Bukod po doon sa nabanggit ninyo na si Mahal ang nag-urge sa inyo to file. Gusto ko rin po kasing malaman ang perspective ninyo as a person na “natali” sa kasal, sa “maling tao”. It might help me understand kung saan nanggagaling ang boyfriend ko, bakit hindi pa siya nagfa-file for annulment.

“Because your bf’s wife is still the wife, and according to our law, the wife can kill you and she wouldn’t even be jailed for it because lahat ng karapatan ay nasa kanya dahil sha ang legal wife. Tell this to your bf. Kawawa ka talaga.” —– THIS. Ito talaga, Ms. Jen. Sabi nga n’ung nakausap ko na abugado, ako ang dehado sa relasyon na ‘to. Ilang beses ko ‘tong sinabi sa boyfriend ko para ma-realize niya kung bakit gusto kong maging legal ang lahat sa amin, pero parang wala pa ring action sa part niya. Nag-consult na ako sa abugado, nagtanong ako sa mga kakilala na dumaan sa annulment process, naghanap ng makakausap online na may pagkakahawig sa pinagdaraanan ko. Eh, siya ba? Tbh, hindi ko alam kung anu-anong actions or effort na ang nagawa niya to legalize our relationship, though sabi naman niya nag-consult na siya ng ilang abugado before. Baka nababagalan lang ako sa kanya, or nagmamadali ako, kaya feeling ko hindi ko deserve pag-effort-an ng lalaki. Or I dunno? Maybe I don’t have the right to judge him this way since hindi ko naman talaga fully alam ang nararanasan at nararamdaman niya. Baka sarili ko lang din ang iniisip ko imbes na kami?

Or perhaps take the other option? Magmahal ng iba, ‘yung single din at walang sabit. Hmmm.

Ms. Jen, maraming salamat po ulit sa response ninyo. Sa mga payo. Pati po doon sa referral na abugado. Malaking bagay po sa akin ang pagse-share ninyo.

Yes, Ms. Jen. You can blog about this matter and your email reply. Baka po may mga sissums (or brothas) pa tayo na kailangan din ng makakausap at enlightenment, hehe. 🙂 Makiki-hide lang po ng identity ko kahit anonymous ako. Hehe. Thank you po ulit, Ms. Jen.

Good morning! 😉

~~~oOo~~~

Hello Ms.___,

Naku pasensha na now lang ako naka reply. I’ve been so swamped with everything feeling ko bibigay na body ko sa pagod. I was actually in bed na kaso alam mo yung sa sobrang pagod hindi ka makatulog? So I got up na lang ulit and browsed at my emails when I saw na may email ka pa pala from last week! Sorry talaga. 😦

Anyway, let’s get to your question… “paano kayo nag-come up sa decision na magpa-file for annulment? How did you feel? What made you decide? Bukod po doon sa nabanggit ninyo na si Mahal ang nag-urge sa inyo to file. Gusto ko rin po kasing malaman ang perspective ninyo as a person na “natali” sa kasal, sa “maling tao”. It might help me understand kung saan nanggagaling ang boyfriend ko, bakit hindi pa siya nagfa-file for annulment.”

  1. How did I come up sa decision na mag file ng annulment? When it became us ni Mahal, naging  one of our topics na ang pagpapa-annul ko. Kasi shempre, ayaw naman nyang mabansagan na kabit forever, at ayaw naman naming  magkasala sa mata ng batas at baka makulong pa kami. But what really pushed me at that time were 2 things: 1) I got pregnant. It’s a very clear and concrete evidence of adultery. 2) I happen to have some extra cash to start the process. Sa totoo lang, kung hindi ako nabuntis, at kung wala akong extra cash, baka until now kasal pa rin ako sa ex ko. Stressful kasi sha na process… from start to finish, para sa akin, even before ko na-experience yung proseso ng annulment, I already know na stressful sha. Introverted akong tao. So yung paghahanap pa lang ng abogado ay isang malaking stress na for me. Kuripot pa ako. So kung hindi naman talaga kailangan, hindi talaga ako gagastos para sa annulment. Antayin ko na lang cguro ex ko na sha magpa annul samin since I know naman na sha itong atat magpakasal sa iba.
  2. How did I feel? STRESSED. Hahahaha! Kasi ako na nga gumastos sa kasal namin. Pati annulment ako pa rin. Financial stress sha. And nitong na-annul na kami, suprisingly, emotional stress. Masakit pala sa ego ko na malaman na nagpakasal kaagad sha sa iba.
  3. What made me decide? Basically, ayaw naming makulong. It was really FEAR of the law that pushed us. Mashado kasing public yung relationship namin, naka broadcast sa lahat ng social media, unlike sa ex ko na talagang super discreet sila. So if ever biglang hindi mag work out relationship nila at ma-stress ang ex ko, baka sa akin nya ibuhos sama ng loob nya at biglang kasuhan kami.

So yun… I hope makatulong sayo ang mga sagot ko. I hope it gives you another perspective to understand where your BF is coming from. Feel free to message me lang anytime. Forgive me lang if I can’t reply agad ha. Zombified kasi lagi ang lola mo.. lalo na pag ganitong sleeping time ko na sa umaga. ^_^

Good luck sa inyong dalawa and God bless!

Warm regards,

Jen

~~~oOo~~~

I never heard from her again after this last email. I replied after a week and I hope my reply didn’t get buried in her inbox. I’m hoping I was able to help or enlighten her in some way somehow.

I just want to add that relationships are complicated matters. It’s only the people in the relationship who really know what’s going on, or what went on in the relationship, in this particular instance, her boyfriend is the only person who really knows why he is not yet doing what he must do, like start the annulment proceedings. It could really be about the problem of budget or some other reason. Whatever it is, true love will always prevail and lead both parties to the right path. I may be a practical person, but I’ve always been a romantic that way.

As for me, I’m still hoping for my own happily ever after. Mahal and I are not yet ready to get married. Maybe in time… when I’ve dealt and overcome my own relationship demons and issues and when Mahal can afford the wedding of my dreams (charot!)… an intimate beach wedding lang naman ang gusto ko, hehehe.  Sana lang buhay pa ko nun. Lol! For now, we are ok pretending to be hubby and wifey. 😉 At the end of the day, marriage is just paper (though a powerful paper at that), but still, it’s just paper. What matters is whether you’re married or not, you are committed, honest, and loving to your other half. Someday, we will have that piece of paper, in God’s perfect time. But for now, commitment, honesty, and love are enough. ❤

 Have a great Saturday, everyone!

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