It's always diffcult when a marriage breaks down and two people grow apart, but it's even more painful to deal with the separation and learn to move on when the cause of the breakup is a third party. But a woman like actress/TV host Donita Rose, whose 12-year marriage to Eric Villarama ended in 2016, is bound to rise above it all.
The couple was married in Christian rites in Santa Barbara, California on June 9, 2003, following a romantic proposal by the San Francisco Bay six months prior.
Donita gave birth to their son Joshua Paul (JP) in Singapore in July 2004.
In 2008, she became a co-host of the ABS-CBN morning talk show Umagang Kay Ganda, which she did for more than three years.
During a guesting in ABS-CBN's Magandang Buhay two days ago, Donita revealed in detail how her marriage slowly succumbed to infidelity in the years that followed.
"Sabi niya [Eric], he felt na he is not man of the house, because siyempre sa Pilipinas, may career ako, parang kinu-compare kaming dalawa." Donita supported Eric's decision to move the family to the United States in 2012.
In Las Vegas, she applied what she learned from her Culinary Arts degree at the famous Kumi Japanese Restaurant & Bar in Mandalay Bay, while Eric, who worked as an art director in Singapore, was also able to practice his profession.
"Ang pagkakamali namin is we moved in with my mom's side of the family. So, nagkaroon ng tensions between my family and him," the actress said.
Eric eventually moved out of the house, just as Donita was offered a TV show in Manila. To aid their finances, and upon Eric's insistence (according to Donita, Eric told her, "I want you to take this job, you have to obey me"), Donita took on a co-hosting job in GMA-7's variety talk show, Basta Everyday Happy in 2014.
The distance took an even greater toll on their marriage, and Donita found the need to go for marital counseling in Manila.
"Akala ko okay kami, kasi he would call five times a day, many times in a day.
"Sasabihin niya sa akin, ‘You are beautiful.’
"Akala ko, it’s the right thing, we are on the right track. But in my heart, something was telling me different."
She remembers how she learned that her marriage was over three years ago.
"That was Valentine's Day, hindi siya tumawag. Sabi ko, that's strange, baka nakalimutan lang niya.
"Tapos, noong [February] 15 na hindi pa rin siya tumawag, tumawag ako. Hindi siya sumasagot ng phone, kinabahan na ako.
"Noong nakausap ko na siya, he said, 'Why are you calling me?'
"Sabi ko, 'What do you mean why am I calling you? I'm your wife. Saan ka ba?'"
Donita had to confront Eric right then and told him, "'Parang may iba kang kasama ngayon.'
"Siguro nagulat na lang siya at umamin bigla sa akin.
"Nagulat ako. I was not expecting it."
But Donita wouldn't let her marriage fail just like that, so she was willing to forgive him for his indiscretion and start fresh.
"May usapan kami [when we got married] na if ever mag-cheat siya, hindi na [kami] puwede.
"But when you’re in that situation at mahal na mahal mo 'yung tao, gagawin mo ang hindi mo akalain.
"I told him immediately noong sinabi niya yung pangalan ng babae, tapos umiiyak na siya, 'You know what, I don't understand this, pero I love you and I'm willing to forgive you.'
With hope as her only ally, Donita convinced Eric to continue their marital counseling — she in Manila, and he in the U.S.
However, unknown to Donita, Eric still kept seeing the other woman. That was when she decided to go back to the States and resolve the matter once and or all.
When they spoke, she told Eric, "It takes two people to make a marriage work. You have to decide, do you want to save our marriage or not?
"Tapos sabi niya, 'I'm not ready.'"
Donita also revealed the other woman had grown impatient. She left Eric for another man after he took so long to leave Donita. But Eric was still unwilling to work out his marriage with Donita.
"I [had] to move on na rin. I think it's too much na, kailangang magkaroon ako ng respeto sa sarili."
Their divorce papers were finalized in December 2016.
In an interview with Pep.ph in 2016, Donita said, "The hardest part is when you have kids, in this case, my son. But one thing that I take comfort in knowing is that sometimes God has to work through adversity.
"We don't really learn a lot through the good times.
"I feel that after everything that has happened to me, believe it or not, I actually feel that I've become a better person out of it.
"When you feel that things are hopeless, it's through adversity that we can become better people."
This story originally appeared on Smartparenting.com.ph.
* Minor edits have been made by the Femalenetwork.com editors.