After my divorce from Danny, I waited eleven years before I got married again. I was finally happy and content. I had dated several men, but never was willing to make a commitment to marry.
I had not been awarded tenure at the university where I had been teaching Portuguese because I didn’t have a Doctorate, so I moved on, and did some modeling and voice-overs for TV and radio along with continuing with my singing. I joined the Tall Texans of Dallas Club and became Miss Tall Dallas and was 1st runner-up for Miss Tall International. I was sixteen years older than the winner who stood 6 feet tall. I was only 5’11”. It was a fun year because I got to make TV appearances, do radio interviews and travel representing our Dallas Club.
I also became a flight attendant for a major airline, flying the Dallas-Rio de Janeiro route. After a year the route was discontinued due to cultural and political issues at the time. Being a flight attendant was tough, but I enjoyed our lay-overs in Rio where I had grown up.
Then I met a Brazilian man named Ivo, in Dallas. Since my upbringing was in Brazil, it seemed like he could be my “soul mate.” It made sense, our outlook on life was Brazilian and we only spoke Portuguese together. Plus, the attraction and feeling of excitement were instant. He was 6’4″ tall, a great dancer and very good looking. When we danced the samba and other Brazilian dances, the floor would clear and we became the show.
His parents lived in Brazil, up north in Recife. We got married before I met them. So, a few months later, we flew to Recife so I could meet them, his bother and sisters.
I had never been “up north” and did not realize how hot it was and there was no air conditioning, so inside, it could be very hot and muggy. The beaches were beautiful, however, and I had a great time getting to know this exciting city. We were there during Carnival and danced all night, three nights in a row, at the private club where my husband’s father was Manager.
So what could go wrong with this marriage? The “American” side of me would cause a culture clash.
One problem for me was that Ivo was very much under the control of his mother, and loved her more than anyone, including me and he let me know it. His mother would always be number one, and the wife, number two.
While we were there, his mother talked non-stop about all the beautiful women who were still in love with her son and it seemed like she didn’t think that I measured up in the “looks” category.
According to her, Ivo had broken many hearts, and she never thought that he would marry. I began to wish that I had taken my marriage certificate with me, so she would believe that we were married.
Then there was the issue of extreme jealousy and possessiveness on Ivo’s part. He imagined that his brother-in-law was going into the backyard to look in the window of our bedroom, when I was getting dressed or resting.
He also attacked a man in a Club, who dared to ask if I was “Xuxa,” a blond Brazilian star…a lot of people thought that I was in fact, her. This made me the center of attention when we went out, and Ivo worried about my safety. He and his brother were policemen, so they carried their guns to protect me. I was walking on eggs, trying not to make Ivo mad. If he thought that I had looked in the direction of another man, he would sulk for hours. This made the trip extremely unpleasant.
Once back in the U. S., this behavior continued and it was like I was his prisoner. He kept track of everywhere I went, even following me at times, and then accusing me of flirting with some guy.
Ivo was working non-stop, to be able to send an enormous amount of money to his mother, after his father died. True to Brazilian customs, the oldest son steps in to take care of the mother. Even though we were in the U. S. and she was in Brazil, our lives revolved around her. About a year and a half later, I decided that I could no longer live this way. After Ivo left for work, I put all his belongings in bags and left them at the front door with a note, saying: “Isto não está funcionando,” translation, “This is not working.”
I knew that this decision would be permanent, and that Ivo would never forgive me. It would injure his male pride, but, my American side had taken over. This finally ended my desire to ever get married again or find my soul-mate. I was making the wrong choices in men, and there seemed to be something about me that brought out the worst in them.
I have been unmarried for twenty years now. I went back to teach at the university where I had taught before, and restarted the Portuguese program that had fallen apart when I left years earlier.
Recently I retired and moved to a great city, where my Dad, sister and niece live. I bought a beautiful Townhome with views of the mountains and gorgeous sunsets. I have not dated at all and have found a peace within myself that can only be fulfilled by a deep trust in God. To quote a famous hymn, “It is well, it is well with my soul.”