I have a pile of questions that you lovely readers have emailed me over the past several of months. I’ve printed them out and set them in my desk drawer. I haven’t been able to dive into them… Until today. I decided I’d pick one of the most difficult ones to start with. It’s time to get real friends.
When did you realize your marriage was over?
I told you we were starting with some tough stuff. This answer could be a book but I’m going to try to keep it as simple as possible. I knew my marriage was over my sophomore year of college as I sat in a marriage and family class taught by my favorite instructor of all time, Mrs. Borst.
How could I know then you wonder? I hadn’t even met my husband yet? I hadn’t but in that class I learned the statistics about marriage rates. I remember like it was yesterday looking at the numbers on the board as Mrs. Borst wrote them out. At that time the rate for first marriages ending in divorce was over 50% and second marriages were closer to 60%. By the time a person hit their third marriage 73% of them would end in divorce. The numbers stuck with me.
I was marrying a man on his second marrige, third committed relationship with children. The odds were not in our favor! But I loved him and he loved me and somehow I convinced myself that we would be different.
Then the day before my wedding came and I met my dad and step mom for breakfast at the restaurant at the hotel we were staying. And I looked at the table next to us and there was Mrs. Borst. Oh how I love that woman! I saw her and we chatted and I told her my folks were here for my wedding. I heard the surprise in her voice as I told her about my upcoming wedding to a man with five children. She knew I wasn’t a fan of marriage and so did my dad. I remember him laughing and saying something about “hell freezing over.”
I thought in that moment that is the sign. Mrs. Borst knows the truth and I know the truth. Run away! Cancel this thing. But I again pushed my feelings aside and convinced myself that we loved each other and it would be different.
So the wedding day came and between nasty text messages and voicemails from one of his exes I got my hair and makeup done. As she was calling and leaving hateful messages on the voicemail at my office my sister helped me into a beautiful wedding gown. And I thought to myself, can I put up with this bullshit for the rest of my life? And again I convinced myself that our love could overcome. That somehow after we were married the exes would stop, life would become normal and everything would be fine.
We had a beautiful wedding. Seriously, one of the most fun days I’ve ever had in my life. I loved everything about that wedding. It was fun and simple and pretty and it was us. And in that moment I believed it all.
Then in the days following the wedding I got sick and our honeymoon was canceled. It was the beginning of my battle with mastoiditis. I remember being so so sick and his ex calling and demanding we take the kids. We weren’t supposed to have them because we were supposed to be on our honeymoon. I was sure he would say no, I was so sick. But he didn’t. He left me in the hospital and went and got the kids. And then I realized I would never ever come first.
When you are the second or third or fourth wife you never come first. It doesn’t mean he doesn’t love you. He can love you like crazy but he still has to balance everyone else. And that means you never get to be at the top of the list. For some people that is okay. And I tried for 18 months to believe it was okay. But it doesn’t work for me. I don’t have to be first but I need to be closer to the top of the list.
After you get married you have 10 days to turn in your marriage license. I was really sick and it got down to day 10. The last day. I remember driving to the courthouse and passing it while having a conversation in my mind.
I could just not turn it in and no one would know. Everyone would think we were married and then when we get divorced it would save a ton of money. I could just tell him then well I never turned it in. We aren’t really married anyway.
Holy shit! Now that our divorce still isn’t paid for and completed I sure wish I would have listened to myself. Instead I waited until 4:50 on the 10th day and turned in the marriage license. Sealing our fate until we came to our senses.
Time moves on and you can pretend things are ok. You can even be happy in brief moments. You can really love the person you are with. But sometimes marriage is just a really bad idea. I’ve always known that marriage isn’t for me. I remember the day before my wedding telling Mrs. Borst that Ray was the only person I ever loved enough to try marriage with. If that isn’t telling I don’t know what is. I loved him enough to try but not enough to stay, I have a feeling he would tell you something very similar.
So when did I know my marriage was over? I knew before it began.
Just always trust your gut friends. You know the truth by how it feels. Be brave enough to listen.