Giving herself a fresh start

Giving herself a fresh start

When she was 18, she thought she had found the love of her life.

But Mrs Cicilia Fleitas del Sol, now a 40-year-old marketing manager, said that her 16-year marriage to a Singaporean contractor 11 years her senior was far from rosy.

The Indonesian left behind her family in Jakarta and moved to Singapore in 1994 after her first marriage and she felt alone and scared most of the time.

Soon after, her nightmare began.

"I tried three times to divorce him. I would call my lawyer and he would do up the papers, but he would always beg me not to leave, beg for my forgiveness," she told The New Paper.

In the end, she had to leave, she said, "for the children", who are now in their teens.

"Can you imagine how the children felt? They were very affected by the whole experience," she added, pausing as tears welled up.

She stayed in the marriage because she said she had very few friends and did not know who to turn to.

Ashamed

"I think a lot of women (in situations like these) don't know what to do, and they don't tell anyone because they feel ashamed," she said.

"How can they feel more protected? Hopefully, these things will change."

A year ago, she started a new phase in her life, when she married her Cuban boyfriend Eddy Fleitas del Sol, who is 10 years her junior.

When the pair met in 2011, it was the first time she had gone out clubbing after the divorce a year earlier. Mr Fleitas del Sol was a musician at the now defunct Movida at St James Power Station.

"He teased me and told me to join this competition," said Mrs Fleitas del Sol, now a Singapore permanent resident. "He said it would be fun if I could make new friends."

The couple live in Bedok with her three children. The children, she said, have taken well to their new dad.

"The girls are always asking him to fix their laptop and my son thinks he's very cool," she said, laughing.

This article was published on April 18 in The New Paper.

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