It's not for the faint of heart.

Welcome to my slightly silly, often odd, and mostly messy life.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Is Divorce Contagious?

I'm starting to wonder if marriage is like sex; you know, the first time isn't very good - but once you get the hang of it then it's pretty amazing.

It seems that EVERYWHERE I look friends and family members are getting divorced. My cousin is calling it quits after a year of prayer, and church based counseling. They've been married 13 years.

Another friend from high school just shared that her husband left her for a freaking 21 year old. I mean really? What in the world does a man in his late 30's have in common with a 21 year old Barista? There was some back and forth, but in the end she's filing for divorce. She's in the early stages where it's mostly just sad and scary. She'll move into angry soon, but I'm not sure that's better. All I could tell her was yes, it is sad and stressful. Yes it is scary. But a year from now it'll all be over, and you'll be moving onto bigger and better things in your life.

Some friends on the outskirts of my social group have divorced and are in a bitter custody battle. They always seemed happy when I saw them at parties and social gatherings.

My former sister in law is a second time divorcee. She's angry, bitter, and resentful. I don't want to end up like her. I'm terrified of ending up being bitter and alone. She just oozes disappointment from every pore, and she wonders why she can't find a man. The problem is she's totally closed off her heart - she claims all she wants is casual sex. No dating, no meeting each others friends or family. While you would think guys would jump at the chance... nope... it's no fun hanging out with someone who so obviously hates her life right now. Plus I think it's just an excuse to avoid getting close to anyone.

Honestly most of the people I know who are married aren't happy. They go through the motions. Or they've just accepted their "fate" and they don't feel like starting over. Or like Fred and Ethel, there's issues there, but there are so many other things on their plate that working on their marriage has to fall to the back burner for now. The problems are still there - they are just simmering under the surface.

The only people I know who are happily married, or happy in their committed relationship are those that are remarried, or dating after divorce. My friends B & C are really committed and happy. They have all sorts of amazing adventures, they are so sweet together, they are considerate and share interests. I want their kind of marriage were I to ever do it again. What they have is special. They work at it. B was divorced and met C online. They had a long distance relationship for about a year before C moved here and they've been together over 11 years now. It's really beautiful to see them together. My parents are going on 34 years this winter. It's my mother's 2nd marriage. BLT's dad and step-mom have this amazingly sweet relationship, and it's a pleasure to watch them together. This is his father's 3rd marriage, and her 2nd marriage.

I guess I just wonder if we set ourselves up for disappointment and failure by marrying too early. It seems that all these people (myself included) got married at 19 or 20, or even in their early 20's. Are we allowing ourselves to be pressured to get married instead of just living together? Do we do ourselves a disservice by not allowing ourselves to mature a little before we decide exactly what we need and want in a life long partner? Do people who stay together do so because they're happy...or simply because they refuse to get divorced for whatever reason? Is it possible to be happy with one person for your whole adult life?

I hope divorce isn't contagious. I hope that I'm just more aware of it now since I've gone through it so recently. I believe in love. I want to think that there is someone out there for everyone. I want to believe that happily ever after is possible.


  1. As someone who married at 20 I certainly dont recommend it. At that age you aren't very self-aware and definitley not wise enough to make the best choices. But honestly I think people quit relationships WAY to easily these days. They think something else will make them happy when the truth is they need to do the work to keep the relationship a good one. Our society is filled with the relationship-lazy and people who feel entitled to immediate gratification, regardless of who they hurt to get it.

  2. Well you know, it's not like anyone getting married (no matter the age) with the intent to get divorced, that's for sure. I never did. But in the end, the divorce is what made us happier. :) However, Min makes a good point. People are relationship lazy. The fact is, it's the falling in love that's the easy part. The harder work begins after that.

  3. Well sometimes things have to be back burnered while you attempt to keep from living on the streets....

    I don't regret my marriage to "Fred" nor would I catagorize it as unhappy. It hasn't been easy but it has also been wonderful in it's own way. At this point it isn't over. However, I've come to the realization that I'm no longer going to totally compromise myself any more. It is a hard place to come to.

    My suggestion to any bride and groom of any age would be to not lose who you are. Your love for each other should enhance the both of you and make you better people. It should be a soft place to land and a reassuring hand in yours.

    I just don't think there is really much to prepare us for how hard marriage can sometimes be.


  4. I think that for many of us, we learned some hard lessons from being married and going through the divorce process...and hopefully one of those is learning how to be in a healthy, loving relationship when we're able to find one again.

  5. I think Ethel is right, there is no way anyone can tell you how much work it takes to keep a marriage strong. It's just not all sunshine and roses like you expect it to be when you're madly in love, or in love with the idea of being in love.