Kristina Kettering and her ex-husband followed the typical formula for happiness – they fell in love, got married, bought a house, and had a couple kids. Never did Kristina imagine that she would be getting a divorce 22 years after tying the knot, or that her strong and resilient children would be her saving grace during the darkest moments of her life. 

Kristina was 18 when she started dating her husband, but the two met long before that. In fact, they had crushes on each other in middle school. Their budding romance fizzled out when Kristina’s family moved away from the area, but the flame was later reignited when she returned to her hometown for her senior year of high school. 

The two started dating almost instantly, and they got engaged in 1998. They married in 1999 and bought a house in 2000, complete with a white picket fence. Their son Anthony was born in 2002 and their daughter Allison came along in 2006. 

“We had a good life, I loved our love story,” Kristina, 45, said. But her husband would soon do the unthinkable, cheating on her with someone he had met while working in city politics. 

He strayed from their marriage with the same woman twice, first in 2012 and again in 2013. He begged for forgiveness both times, and Kristina was able to look past his indiscretions. When 2021 rolled around, she was under the impression that their marriage was in a good place – until he cheated with the same woman yet again, after running into her at a bar.

“I knew something was off, but he just kept saying he wanted to go to therapy. When I asked him if there was someone else, he denied it. But then, after his second therapy session, he came home and laid it all out. He was seeing her again and he was leaving me.” 

The divorce papers were signed on January 25, 2022, on the 25th anniversary of the day they started dating. Her ex-husband married his mistress in December of that year. 

Kristina was unsure what to do after realizing she had dedicated 25 years of her life to a person who had decided to walk away from everything they had built together. 

Kristina’s kids light the path through divorce darkness

Anyone who has gone through a divorce will attest that support systems are instrumental to the healing process. Kristina’s support came from her son and daughter, who are now 21 and 17 years old, respectively. 

“If I was home, my daughter was right beside me. She slept with me every night for the first month or two; she would just lay there and hug me while I cried myself to sleep,” said Kristina, who works as a pharmacy technician in Xenia, Ohio. 

They were also great about helping out around the house and suggesting movie nights and other ways to keep Kristina occupied. 

Kristina remembers one particular moment when she was talking to her son about the possibility of his father coming back after the third and final cheating incident. Her son was very clear about what he thought, telling Kristina that his father didn’t get to return home after doing what he did. That was one of many moments when she realized just how lucky she was to have her children. 

“My relationship with my kids has gotten better and stronger because of this. They know I’m the one who is here for the good times, the bad times, and the hard times. I’m not bailing on them like my ex-husband did.” 

She also recalled her darkest moments after the divorce when she considered taking her own life.

“I thought about ending it. If I didn’t have my kids, I might not be sitting here right now,” she said. “It was my sheer love for them that kept me from doing it.” 

Kristina’s next chapter is a world of endless possibilities

With the help of friends, family, therapy, and medication, Kristina is slowly recovering from the pain of her divorce and is looking forward to her next chapter. She plans on selling her home after her daughter graduates high school and is currently exploring new places to live.

“The possibilities are pretty much endless, which is both exciting and daunting.” 

She’s even dipped her toes in the dating pool, though she admits the dating scene is a lot different now than it was when she was 18 years old. 

“I’m hoping there are still good guys out there,” she said, adding that she’s slowly becoming receptive to the idea of remarrying at some point.