Yes, I said it (or wrote it, rather). I say it multiple times a week. There are many words that are far dirtier and make me cringe, but why should this seven-letter word be something that people whisper about, afraid to say at a normal decibel? I say it so often because it is a part of my life. As of last month, I am officially divorced. At the age of 30. With a two-year old child.
This isn’t the path that I thought I’d be travelling down. I always wanted to be married and to have a child and the perfect life that you dream about growing up. Things were going well. I met a guy who seemed like he was the one for me, we talked about marriage and kids, something that we both wanted. Fast forward to a surprising proposal, an elaborate wedding, and our newlywed life together.
It’s funny how without realizing it, you expect that as life changes, you change with it. But sometimes that isn’t the case. I knew being married and having a child would rock our home, our lives, and our marriage, but I think we both had visions of our future life that didn’t quite match up.
This isn’t a post about things my ex-husband did wrong or blaming him for our failed marriage. I was just as much a part of it – as they say, it takes two to tango. I don’t think either of us set out to be divorced less than four years after we said our vows. But that’s the reality. There was a turning point last summer when we had been trying (though we had different definitions of “trying”) and I reached a point where I knew it was over.
I knew it wasn’t going to work. I knew that I needed to get out; it was the best thing for me, for us, and for our child.
I remember being so nervous about people finding out. What would they say? I felt like my failed marriage was the hot gossip. I felt ashamed because I couldn’t make it work, and that my daughter was going to grow up in two separate homes instead of one. My fear and shame contributed to the stigma surrounding divorce. I’m not saying it’s something to be proud of, but for something so common, why is it only talked about in secret?
In our newly divorced life, my ex and I go through our ups and downs. We’re working through it but it can be a battle. Above it all though, I’m trying to keep my daughter in the forefront of my mind when communicating and interacting with her father. It can be hard, but we are bonded together for life because of her, even if our marriage didn’t last. (If you are co-parenting through divorce and haven’t read “The Ugly Divorce” yet, please do so.)
One of my favorite posts on SMB is “How To Make Marriage Last Against The Odds”. I wanted a marriage that defied the odds and survived and made us better people, better parents, better spouses. Unfortunately, I realized that my first marriage was not going to be a life-long one. No ‘for better or worse, til death do us part’, and I’ve come to terms with that.
In the United States, roughly 40-50% of marriages will end in divorce. There’s no timetable and no magic eight ball that will tell you if or when it might happen to you. But it should be something that is ok to talk about.
I am the first of my immediate circle of friends to get divorced. However, my parents are divorced, my coworkers are divorced, some of my relatives are divorced, and the man that I am seeing is also divorced. That’s a lot of people that I have a direct connection to who have been through it or are going through it. Like I said, it doesn’t have to be easy, but sometimes, knowing people who have been through it, sometimes much worse situations than your own, does ease the pain. It helps to know that you’re not alone.
Not all fights in a marriage will or should lead to a divorce. Some people might say that divorce is the easy way out – but ask anyone who’s been through it, they’ll tell you it’s the opposite. Just because I’ve lived through it doesn’t mean I don’t value marriage. I’d love to get married again, definitely without all the pomp and circumstance this time though. I want that marriage that defies the odds. I have hope for myself and I plan to keep that dream alive.