When we are younger we judge a lot of things. We do this because we are inexperienced, immature idiots. We can not help ourselves. We have never experienced something but think we’ve seen a lot and hence judge and say dumb shit like, “I’m NEVER doing X” or “If I were a parent I would never X” it is human nature so forgive yourself if you have done it. Everyone has and if they said they have not, they are liars. Just learn and grow.
I was born out of wedlock and so I dealt with a lot of shame – that is for a whole book – suffice to say it was the beginning of my low self esteem. This may have been one of the reasons why I held marriage to be so sacred. I thought you should choose very wisely, marry at the perfect time and if you are successful, you would never divorce. Divorce is for the weak. God I was so wise (dripping sarcasm).
One of the biggest fights I ever had with one of my best friends was over dating someone who was not yet divorced. I know right? The shit we waste our times on in the precious few years we have on this earth. Youth is definitely wasted on the young for sure. But I digress. So he had broken up with this twisted weird lady after a long relationship and was looking for a girl friend when one of my colleagues decided her marriage was over and filed for a separation. Since they were both in my bubble, they found each other, was attracted and began dating. Very natural. Then it got weird.
I considered him my brother and I was protective. I felt that he should not date her until she was divorced. I didn’t understand the legalities of divorce proceedings back then because you know I was stupid. Instead of researching and figuring things out first I decided to shove my ideals in his face and of course he was having none of it. One of his great qualities is that he takes shit from no one. It was the one and only fight we had that I can recall. It was a blowout. Over what? Something that I was passionate about and didn’t know a damn thing about. Thank goodness, we were able to work through it. They dated for a bit and then they grew apart. He and I are still best friends thankfully.
After that I watched many couples marry, separate and divorce. There were all sorts of reasons for doing it. Infidelity, abuse, growing apart, realization that the love was gone, etc. I always thought divorce was a dirty word and it was for quitters. Watching many GOOD people try so hard for so long and then finally get divorced taught me something. It was a very good thing for many people. Thank goodness divorce is legal.
According to History.com the first recorded divorce in America was on January 5, 1643. Until I learned that I thought divorce was fairly modern. I am not saying that divorce was fair or painless or anything else in the past. If you study the history of divorce you will see that it went through a lot of iteration and it was fairly one sided for a very long time. My point is though, divorce has been around for a long time.
During a discussion, someone said, “People need to stop saying their marriage FAILED.” I agree. It is a dissolution not a failure. Failure normally means lack of success and I think that a marriage can have a lot of success even when it ends in divorce. I want people to stop bashing themselves for human situations. We would all be mentally healthier if we were kinder to ourselves.
Some people like to brag that they are the only person in their family who are not divorced. It IS something to be proud of if your marriage works for you. Congratulations. However, do not judge the rest of the people. Staying married does not necessarily mean you are happier than they are. Divorce is there to give people a chance to say, this is not working and I want to be happy. Divorce can give you a new lease on life. Divorce is not the worse thing that can happen.
I watched someone I deeply care about go through a divorce after a lifetime of marriage. They had children, they both grew in their careers and had a nice house with creature comforts. They were miserable. It took her a long time to gather the courage to realize her growth was being stifled and that she was not respected as a person. No one cheated, no one beat anyone but the marriage was over. I was her ear during the whole process and I learned a lot. It HURT to divorce even when you want out of the relationship. You grieve the loss no matter why. It puts everyone under an immense amount of stress. You have to really want out to go through this sometimes messy process. However, it was something that freed her to become the person she needed to be.
I am also watching someone I care about STAY in a marriage. I have never wished divorce on anyone but I hope he will one day get the courage to end his marriage so he can grow and become himself again. He is the shell of the man I once knew. I don’t know if he knows that solitude and loneliness are different. I hope he learns he CAN enjoy being alone and it is better than being with the wrong person. They have two children – one with autism – and I think he worries for them. He does not seem to understand that a happier parent is a better parent. If you are happier you are a far more effective parent. He loves his boys so much and he worries he will not get to see them as much. I miss him laughing and enjoying things in life. He is miserable and I wish him relief before it is “too late”.
I am in a marriage that takes A LOT OF WORK. We both work hard to keep things as good as it can be. I have also thought about divorce on more than one occasion – he knows about them. We have had therapy, we talk (more than I ever want to) and we try very hard to find ways to fulfill ourselves outside of marriage. I have my art, crafting, music and friends. I make sure I let my wishes and preferences be known even though it can make situations uncomfortable. That bit of discomfort always passes though – and we are able to have a better marriage because we go though those difficult conversations. I respect divorce and I know it is there if either of us ever need it. There is no shame in divorce. It is a choice and a way to have a healthier life if needed.