Siggy Flicker, a 49-year-old professional matchmaker who will make her debut on Bravo’s “Real Housewives of New Jersey” Sunday at 8 p.m., separated from her husband of nearly a decade in 2006 — without a single lawyer or catfight. Here, she tells The Post’s ANNA DAVIES how she made it happen.
Surrounded by happy couples in Bed Bath & Beyond, I felt sadness well up as I pulled a set of king-size sheets from the shelf before tossing them in a shopping cart.
I may have seemed like just another wife on an errand, but I was doing something I’m sure no one else in the store could even imagine: My husband and I were about to get a divorce, and I was furnishing his bachelor pad.
It wasn’t the ending I anticipated. My soon-to-be ex-husband, Mark Flicker, and I had a fairy-tale romance for most of the decade we’d been together. We met in Miami in 1996 and married and moved into a beautiful home in Boca Raton, Fla., the year after. We had two children, we were close to both of our families and we had a busy social schedule.
On the outside, everything looked perfect. In reality, Mark and I hadn’t been meshing well for years. We’d go out to dinner, and I’d jokingly ask our waiter if I could use my matchmaking skills to set him up, while Mark seethed. I knew he wished I were quieter and more reserved; I wished he would accept me for the loud, no BS, life-of-the-party person that I was.
It was the many moments like this that “caused” our breakup in 2006. While there were a million little things we didn’t see eye-to-eye on, we did agree on one thing. We both loved our children — Joshua, now 17, and Sophie, now 14 — and would do anything to make their lives as comfortable as possible. So together, we made one of the most important decisions of our lives: no lawyers. We wanted all of our money to go to our kids someday, not some attorney. Instead, we hired a mediator for a couple hundred bucks. The process was simple, because I didn’t want to ask for any money. I just wanted an easy divorce. I even offered to help him decorate his new home.
Still, an “easy” divorce included its difficult moments. I had self-doubt. I was a matchmaker: What did it mean that my own marriage fell apart? Friends no longer invited me to lunch, as if divorce were contagious. I spent one weekend watching “The Notebook” and sobbing. That was when I decided I was going to dress up, flirt and live again.
It was that attitude that led me to my now-husband, Michael Campanella. We met at a bar in New Jersey in 2006 when I was visiting my sister, and I was struck by how humble he was — the opposite of most guys I had recently gone out with.
After a year of long-distance dating, Michael and I knew we wanted to live together in the New York area. Having the kids go back and forth between Florida and New Jersey wasn’t the right choice for us, so I asked Mark if he would consider moving, too. I said I’d help him find an apartment, and even set him up on dates. Amazingly, he went for it, getting a place in Manhattan while Michael and I moved into a house in New Jersey.
Siggy Flicker is the newest member of Bravo’s “Real Housewives of New Jersey.”Angel Chevrestt
I made good on my word, too. I set him up on six different dates. He ended up meeting his now-fiancée in his building, and I knew as soon as I met her that she was the perfect woman for him. She and Mark are clearly crazy about each other. Meanwhile, Michael turned out to be the best match for me, and also an amazing friend to Mark. Michael had Mark be his best man at our 2012 wedding. Michael has an 18-year-old and a 20-year-old from a previous marriage, and our four kids get along great. I even threw a baby shower for Mark’s fiancée!
Today, the four of us — along with our five collective kids — vacation and spend holidays together. I completely see why Mark and I were never the right match and work so much better as exes. We’re both loud and funny and love the spotlight.
Friends and family think it’s weird, but I’m the first person they come to when they’re considering divorce. They see us as the ideal and want what we have.
Still, divorce isn’t all rosy. I was sad, I felt rejected. I also knew, deep down, I needed the divorce to become the person I was meant to be. I don’t regret the 10 years I spent with Mark; my years with Mark were what led me to Michael.
While I had the means to focus on other aspects of my divorce besides money, I would advise other women to approach a split by looking beyond it as well. Throughout the divorce proceedings, my mantra was “I deserve more.” But to me, “more” wasn’t money. It was more love, more life, more opportunities. Money gets in the way of that.
Every divorce is different, but I would tell people to be the bigger person and think about what matters. If you have kids, they matter. Your friendships matter. Choosing to make your divorce the best it can be can make you happier than you ever imagined.