I believe that each marriage story has two sides, and likely more. Our children, after all, have their own views of what they see growing up.
I believe that each divorce story has two sides, and likely more. Not only the views of our children, but our own as the years go on – if we choose to reflect on the details of a past marriage.
As I tend to observe, examine, and analyze by nature – trying to put pieces together as I enter situations and sort them out – I can’t help but review the stories of both my marriage and divorce when I consider where I am, where I’m going, and the relationship in which I currently take part.
Miss? Mrs? A Ms-tery?
I am reminded of a recent incident that took place in a department store. My Significant Other and I were enjoying weekend sales, and he merrily scored a fabulous shirt at 60% off.
The cashier was a gregarious guy of 50-something. He had us grinning and chuckling as he chatted up my man, and then said “So this is the missus?”
My cohort in connubial cohabitation was a little surprised and then answered… “Uh, no” as I quickly jumped in and introduced myself, saying: “I just go by a first name. You know, like Madonna.”
The transaction was completed, and we went on with our day.
While the topic of marriage has come up in the past two years, I tend to defer discussion, and those boundaries are respected. I’ve also grown used to receiving these queries in a variety of scenarios, including when I visit my guy’s mother with or without him. Among them: “Are you the wife? The fiancé? The daughter-in-law?”
He, on the other hand, doesn’t usually have to field these questions, while I have a supply of stock (mostly flippant) answers. People, it seems, have difficulty conceiving of long-term committed relationships that do not – at least not yet – involve marriage.
It was interesting for me to see him equally wordless when it came to our relationship status.
Why Remarry? Why NOT Remarry?
I have been asked over the years why I’m still single, if I plan to remarry, if I want to remarry. I’m tired of explaining myself, and yet I understand that we live in a culture that categorizes (married and not). It’s also only natural that people want a “label.”
But why “fix” what ain’t broke? Why mess with something that’s working? Why remarry – especially if you’re past having children?
For those who know the years I have lived since my divorce – the financial, physical, professional, and emotional strain and drain – I have seen a measure of comprehension that I wouldn’t trust the plunge another time.
But there’s more to this story. I don’t fully trust my judgment, and I see no reason to “hurry.” Moreover, I’m reluctant to involve the legal system in my relationship in any way, now that I better understand how onerous it can be, especially in my state of residence.
But just as important is this: I waited to marry, I married for better or worse, I had a husband.
This is something other than “been there, done that.” It is in fact an oddly old-school impression that seems to sit (somehow) at my core.
I see no issues with others who remarry (as long as they take their time); I see the joy that some feel when they do so; I am an admirer of the family unit – however we define it. Yet somehow, I struggle with the concept of marriage after divorce… my divorce, and my notions regarding the “permanence” of marriage… or remarriage.
A Contemporary Woman? A Careful One? A Contradiction?
I considered my vows sacred. I considered my family unbreakable. While there were problems from the beginning, the marriage was more or less okay, or so I convinced myself for a decade.
Besides, I made my bed, so to speak. And I believed that I would only make that bed once.
None of this means I’m not glad (and relieved) to be divorced from a man who did not love me or honor me in fundamental ways. Among other things, he was definitely a “my way or the highway” kind of guy… in extremis.
My marriage diminished me, until I no longer permitted it.
None of this means I’m not delighted (and amazed) to have bumped into a man who does love and honor me – profoundly. The feelings are mutual, and so far, so good.
This relationship uplifts me; I can only hope it will continue.
And still I struggle with picturing myself remarried. Is this a matter of more comfort in my independent status? A matter of financial fear? Emotional fear? Pragmatism? Have I grown emotionally unavailable? Am I intextricably and irretrievably wed to the belief that marriage is a one-time deal?
The reasons we remarry – or don’t – are rarely simple. Perhaps some of us hesitate because we no longer believe in marriage, and however contradictory, perhaps because we do.
- Wordless (No Relationship Status Suits Me!)
- Marriage Made Me, Marriage Undid Me
- When the Person You Love is Emotionally Unavailable
- My Way or the Highway: How to Argue With Someone Who Needs to be Right