The internet is a funny place no matter who invented it.
Through the power of electrical pulses and pixels, total strangers can come together to learn, share, and support each other through trying times. Divorce, Parkinson’s Disease, 12 Step Programs, even where to eat dinner – no topic is too small. Dealing with the death of a spouse’s parent? Find the answers on WikiHow. Want to know the correct way to plumb a sink drain? Check out the video on YouTube. Get rid of your love handles for good by following the advice on Men’s Fitness. The information world is an oyster just waiting to reveal pearls of wisdom.
The wonderful thing about the internet is that it affords us a level of anonymity where we can express things that may be too raw to share with our family or friends. Sharing opens the door to criticism, some undeserved and off-base. Rap along with me, Haters Gonna Hate.
- My simple advice is to not take marital advice from someone with two failed marriages.
- Never take marital advice from someone who has never been married or from someone who just can’t seem to stay married.
And my favorite:
- This lady has more baggage than Greyhound.
I responded by saying I had a whole matching set of luggage. Even in the midst of strangers slathering their opinions on me I can still work my sense of humor.
In reality, who doesn’t have baggage? Can’t love be defined as someone’s insecurities meshing with our own and pulling at us from the very bottom of our base attachment and abandonment issues? Otherwise why pick the people that we pick?
Under all the rubble of my first divorce and current separation, there are lessons to be learned. Mostly they are lessons for me to learn, but if others can see the warning signs and avoid the same bottomless pits, there’s a benefit for a larger group. I wish someone would have come along and told me about behaviors that destroy marriages. I only had my parents as an example—and while they are still married after 48 years I can’t say that I admire their union.
My mother, the adult child controller, married my father, the alcoholic avoider. It’s a relationship that works for them but it didn’t lead to happiness. They stay together for some reason. I’m not exactly sure what it is. At this point I don’t care. I only know it’s not for me.
These people are not a success story. Did I learn a lesson from them? Yes. I learned what not to do. Unfortunately I didn’t learn everything, so I still made many mistakes. Which brings me to this comment:
- Best piece of marriage advice I ever got was this: it’s never 50-50. Try to keep everything 50-50 and you’ll ruin your marriage. It’s 100-100, 100% of the time, but you never keep track of the other person’s output percentage. You give it your best, and communicate with your spouse.
I failed. I’m not a good example of how to have a happy marriage. I worry that my kids will look at their mother and see a woman who was left by two different men after a decade with each of them. I’d rather have them see someone who tried, got knocked down, tried again, got knocked down again, and continued to get back up. Like a meteor shower I’m going to bring something mystical and beautiful out of something destructive. Maybe all that my kids will learn from me is the power of hope.