Where Will Love Take…or Leave You? (part 2)

A two-part Discussion Topic composed by an ISR member speaking from first-hand experience

After the Leap and Beyond

If you find yourself falling in love with a host national overseas, you owe it to yourself to take the time to wonder about what might happen if you fall OUT of love.

If you’re not married, breaking up is simple. You each go your own way and nurse a broken heart. If you’re married, it’s more complicated. If you’re married with children, separating can become quite complex and one partner will be faced with challenges and issues that far exceed the scope of a divorce back home. Picture yourself in a court room in Indonesia for a custody hearing…

I’ve been there and done that. It was a nightmarish journey that left me with nothing. It was an experience that, as an overseas educator who has lived internationally 18 of the last 20 years, tainted my last three and a half years in said country. Faced with insurmountable odds, being pummeled by an incessantly biased farce to the point of provable family court corruption, and having lost $30,000, I threw in the towel. In the end, I had no choice, pushed to the brink of despair and hopelessness, I left my overseas home. Now alone, without my children, as a heavy-hearted, alienated, targeted father, I am focusing my energies on again getting settled in a new culture, a new nation.

I cannot fathom repatriation at this time, for I’d already been stripped of my identity as a parent and I couldn’t stand losing my identity as a traveler and expat. I must now rethink all that dating overseas entails, and where it will lead. I still have hope that horizons hold something rewarding—at least for matters of the heart, as I set out on this new international journey.

If you are hoping and expecting to date abroad, look further down the road, far past the excitement and romantic stages of dating, far past the various phases of long-term love and relationships, and consider your choices and what could happen if your relationship does not work out. Keep faith that mixed-culture relationships can and do work, yet always make your decisions with the realistic notion of what might happen if all fails—especially if children are in the mix.

Something to Add? Comments? Please scroll down to participate.


[The author, who has taught in Europe, Asia and Latin America, is a seasoned international school teacher, one who is now considering what countries lie ahead, sans family, while on a literary-minded sabbatical. The a fore-written articles are to bring light to such a topic.

[“I am setting out now to commence a detailed book on divorce and custody abroad, a difficult process that many have faced since travelers, migrants and expats first began falling in love internationally.  I’d love to hear of similar stories from overseas experiences.”]     

6 thoughts on “Where Will Love Take…or Leave You? (part 2)

  1. I am very sorry for all you have lost. On that note, before diving into the dating pool again, maybe you should take some time to just find yourself?


  2. The romantic stage and excitement of blossoming love, particularly in cross-cultural relationships, can be deceptive. I know—I’ve been there and done that: 15 years married to a foreigner, plus multiple times dating other internationals. They always seem to fade away due to cultural differences and differing communicative styles. Of course, these relationships can work out, but they will always be more challenging than with someone from your own culture, who understands the values, Thought processes sense of humor, etc. that only someone from your own background may get. My own mother and father were from different cultures, languages, religion etc. and while they may have stayed together until my father’s death, there was never any true I tomacy or harmony between them. Dare I say there was passion, but it’s not sustainable over the long run (and wasn’t in their case).

    My advice to those contemplating a move abroad for a loved one—make sure you understand what to do if Plan A doesn’t work out, and that you have viable options if they don’t. No use romanticizing “feelings” and hoping for the best (as I naively did) when
    reality hits you later. I don’t mean to rain on anyone’s love parade…but use your heads as well as your hearts!!


  3. I’m so sorry for your loss. I hate to think you were driven to give up the fight for your children. Hopefully, one day they will wander back to Daddy.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Indeed driven out, unfortunately. So much incessant corruption and ridiculous antics prompted me to write the president of said country, to no avail. Thus, commencing a book at the moment to detail all.


    2. Very difficult and sorry this happened to you. I have several female friends married to Indonesians who have gone with their kids to visit family at home and just haven’t returned to indonesia. They left everythng as if they were just going on holiday as it was the only way they would be able to keep their kids. Once out if the country, they had a “sick grandmother” or some other reason why they couldn’t return. If they had gone through the courts, even if their husband had been blatantly cheating or abusing the kids, the indonesian husband would get custody. Not an easy situation.


    3. That’s also sad to hear, yet brings about my recollections that when the notion of separation first reared its potential head, even a year before the actual separation, I had written my family back home in the States that if it ever happened, I would be willing (yet somewhat ‘forced’) to live in Asia forever. I even brought the emails into the courts, having had written various relatives and friends over the last year of marriage something like, “Things are not going well, and if we separate I’ll be here for the long-term,” to show that I had the children’s best interest in mind (to have both parents in their lives). I had to defend my ex’s unfounded claims that I would simply take the kids and run to the USA, which she used as part of her defense of the 189-day parental abduction she committed in 2014 (the courts did NOTHING to punish her actions)–even though she possessed the kids local passports after separation (i.e., without an entry/exit stamp to show I could NOT just take the kids away).

      So to hear that some women had absconded with their kids back to whatever country causes some sadness in my heart for those fathers involved (for those who were good, wholesome and nurturing, adept fathers, deserving of relationships with their offspring). Naturally, if a parent is leaving another who abuses, neglects the family, etc., the fleeing parent’s actions could be condoned and even promoted, but if a situation is that one person is simply unhappy or in a dissatisfying marriage abroad and bolts said country with kids in tow–leaving a deserving parent without his/her loved ones, that’s a different story.

      Obviously, one cannot tell from your post what the background was in these cases, but if they took the kids for the benefit of the kids and to justifiably be safe, kudos. On the other hand, if there are good/great Indonesian dads out there who are suffering now, kidless, that’s a shame.

      Yes, I can easily see how the counter argument would be that the Indonesian fathers would have gotten custody in court, so these women may have felt that they needed to leave, but the upshot is that for kids’ rights, the focus should be on what the children deserve: both parents in their lives (if both are good people).

      During 3.5 years in court, quite a few friends had recommended I just leave with the kids (though no local passports in my possession), yet I always replied that it wouldn’t have been right–for even though the birther was an absolute _______ for doing what she was doing in court, she still had a right to see the kids (I refuse to use the term “m______r” because no mother would take her kids away from a loving, caring, great father).

      In retrospect, however, all that she did for those 3.5 years (including refusing to let them speak on the phone between our weekends at mine, brainwashing, interference in my relationship with them, the 189-day parental abduction) was tantamount to CHILD ABUSE. To see my kids confused, doubtful, torn, unsure, etc., was all a result of her abusing them mentally.

      With that said, even though I’d have thought of my actions as unethical (i.e., taking the kids would have been wrong), I now believe I would have been fully justified in taking them away at the start (when both sets of passports were in reach at the start of separation)! Even though it would have been “wrong”, I’d at least now have my kids abroad.

      Instead, the targeted parent, I sit here alone writing about it all.


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