Our divorce taught us there’s a big difference between romantic fantasy and the reality of a lifelong partnership – and staying single is sometimes better.
At a recent dinner with friends from the SingularCity social network, a question came up. How many of us were divorced? We did an informal poll and discovered that most of us had tried marriage at one time or another before tossing our rings to the four winds.
Being among those at the table with a divorce decree stashed somewhere in my “important papers,” it struck me that one thing distinctive about my fellow singulars is that many of us have tried marriage and learned the hard way that happily ever after is more frequently found in Jennifer Aniston movies than in real life.
We who are divorced are like wizened war veterans watching cheery boot camp graduates eager to leap into the fray. We wish the bride and groom good luck, we don’t want to discourage them, but there’s a truth we share. We’ve learned what it’s really like to be married.
Even so, most of us are not anti-marriage. Some of us even want to get married again someday if we find the right partner. It’s just that we have a more realistic expectation of what it’s like once the big party with the fancy dress is just a memory.
In my case, I was 29 when my boyfriend asked me to marry him after only four months of dating. A co-worker, who was unhappily married, said, “Say yes! You don’t want to be 30 and still single, do you?” And my therapist, who was on her third marriage, counseled, “You can always get a divorce if it doesn’t work out.”
So I got married at the Ventura County courthouse and when the anticipated married bliss didn’t materialize, my remedy was a big church wedding replete with all the “fixins” – dress, veil, cake, flowers, limo and reception. Well, that didn’t fix the marriage either.
Even without kids or community property, our divorce was traumatic, sad and seemed to take forever to complete. It’s oh so easy to get hitched and oh so difficult to get divorced — something that would make more sense if it was reversed!
Some of us escaped with just a few battle scars, some of us are forever traumatized. But I can say with conviction that the single people I know with a divorce in their past — and certainly those who were enjoying dinner together that night — had made a decision to live life to the fullest despite their rough ride on Divorce Road.
If someone in SingularCity decides to get married again, we’ll cheer them on. If another decides that staying single is their path, that’s great too. That’s because divorce taught us is that at the end of the day, it’s our friends who see us through it all.
And besides, in those quiet nights alone that we’ve come to cherish, we can tune into an old re-run of Bridezillas and experience the gratitude and the thrill of fully realizing that we know the difference between getting married and being married.
Check out this funny snippet of bridal mania from an episode of Bridezillas.
Copyright © Kim Calvert / 2015 Singular Communications, LLC.
Kim Calvert is the editor of Singular magazine and the founder of the SingularCity social networking community. An outspoken champion of people who are living their lives as a “me” instead of a “we,” Kim oversees the creative direction and editorial content of the magazine and online social networking community. She secures contributors and is responsible for maintaining the fun, upbeat, inspirational and often-humorous tone of Singular, a lifestyle guide for successful single living.