Q: Good morning.
A: Good Morning.
Q: How old are you?
A: 46 years old. I would rather not answer specific questions, but rather give my testimony in a global way, if you don’t mind.
Q: All right.
A: About 12 years ago, my husband’s company expanded the business and started working in several European countries. The workers of this construction company were sent to different places. My husband went to Spain and stayed there for three years in a row. He came home every 15 days, in a van with other workers. At that time, we had been married for 10 years and we had two children: a 7 year old girl and a 4 year old boy. I asked my husband many times not to go, because there have been many accidents with workers on the way home or on the way to work, because they went too fast or drove while being too tired and that situation scared me very much. Besides, we both had a job, our salaries were not very high, but we could live comfortably. Our children were very young and needed their father. In addition, taking care of them alone would be very complicated to me. However, he preferred to emigrate. After three years, the construction site where my husband worked was completed and I was relieved because I thought he would definitely return home. I was wrong. He was with us one week later and went to work in Belgium. My daughter was 10 years old and my son was 7 years old. They were both in school and my work and responsibilities were always increasing. My husband told me several times to quit my job and stay at home just to take care of the kids, but I always enjoyed earning my own money and being independent. My children were very close to me and their father was just someone who came to visit them. Although he came home many times, he was always very tired and stayed only for two or three days. During his time in Spain, he never had a vacation or wanted us to visit him there. He said that he lived in a place with other work colleagues and we couldn’t stay with him for a long period of time.
When he moved to Belgium he started coming home every two months. Sometimes he came by car, other times he came by plane. When he moved to Belgium, I asked him if he would like us to go with him, but he did not want to. He said that he would not be an emigrant forever and that he wanted his family to remain in Portugal waiting for him. He stayed in Belgium for four years and then returned to Spain. Once again I asked him to return to Portugal, but I thought he was so used to living alone that being an emigrant was normal. During those seven years, he called home every day, sent money every month, he tried to keep up with our children. Everything seemed normal.
However, shortly after having been 4 years in Belgium and having returned to Spain, things began to change. He talked to our children every day, but tried to talk to them during the time they were at school. When he called me, he spoke very little. When he came home he was not so attentive and caring towards me as he used to be. He started sending less money than usual. So I started to think he might have another woman. I gained courage and asked him directly if he had another woman. He told me that not only did he have another woman, but he had a child with her. She was from Spain and they had met before he had gone to Belgium. That was why he had decided to go to Spain rather than come to Portugal when he returned from Belgium.
A son? I hadn’t seen that coming! It was a shock! My husband had two families: one in Portugal and another one in Spain and that changed everything. There was no turning back. Besides ,it seemed that he had already chosen who to stay with. My daughter was turning 15 and my son was almost 8 years old. Those were very difficult times for all of us. I blamed myself for the situation, my children did not want to see their father and my husband thought that I turned my children against him. Everything around us was sadness, disappointment, anger, hatred. It’s been almost 4 years now and we’re still dealing with some legal issues related to divorce. That’s why I’d rather be anonymous – to protect my children.
I often think that if I had gone with my husband to Spain or if I had somehow forced him to stay in Portugal, things would be different now. Other times I think it was destiny and some things are just meant to be and there is nothing we can do to change them.
Q: Do you ex-husband and your children keep in touch?
A: Yes, they do. Yes. They also know their half-brother. Regardless of everything else he is the father of my children and it is very important that they keep in touch and that they can see each other from time to time.
Q: What are your wishes for the future?
A: I don’t make big plans for the future. I want my children to study and to be happy and responsible. I want to settle the unfinished business with my ex-husband and move on. I want to be healthy and happy. I am a young woman and I deserve to be happy with or without another man. I want my children to study and be happy and responsible. I want to resolve unfinished business with my ex-husband and move forward. I want to be healthy and happy. I am a young woman and I deserve to be happy with or without another man.
Q: Thank you for your testimony and cooperation.
A: Thank you.