Today is a really weird day for me. If I hadn’t gotten divorced, I would have been married for 10 years.
Now, it’s not because I have any regrets. I don’t regret getting married and I don’t regret getting divorced.
When we got married I couldn’t picture my life without him, there was no doubt in my mind that I would love this person forever, and it’s the only time I didn’t doubt that he felt exactly the same way. Not a trace of doubt, only pure love overshadowing everything else. The fact that we were so young doesn’t make any difference at all, it doesn’t diminish what we had.
When we got divorced it was, without a doubt, the right thing to do. It was 3 years later and a million things had changed. We moved to the countryside, even though we are both very much city people, we had a son, and we were living the stereotypical family life. We had a fat cat, that I managed to re-name Cat because the name she had before was stupid, we had a dog, we had a garden that none of us wanted and neglected as most people do, since very few people actually want all the work that comes with a garden.
I hated it. I was trying so desperately to be something that I wasn’t, because I had the idea that this was how it was supposed to be. I was convinced that there was something terribly wrong with me, because why on earth did I not thrive in what was the dream? Because it wasn’t my dream. It wasn’t what I wanted. I got postpartum depression, I completely stopped working on anything, to the point where housework didn’t happen either. My surroundings reflected exactly how I felt, everything was a mess.
It’s 10 years later and I’m not where I thought I would be. I guess that is true for most people, when they hit their 30’s, the realization that their younger self would stare at them, asking what the hell happened, with disbelief in their eyes. I’m not hating where I am, there are for sure things I would wish were different, but it’s something I can work on and will eventually get there. But the marriage thing. It’s bugging me and I’m having trouble pinpointing what it is exactly.
I’m not exactly sad, but it feels like the end stages of a mourning process. I’m also grateful that I have this experience, that I know what it’s like, that I know for sure that I don’t want that life at all. Because I already had it, and it, obviously, didn’t really work out. I can tell people who say the whole “Oh, you just haven’t met the right person, you will love it when you try it, it’s a wonderful life and the end-goal of your existence” to bugger off and shut their face. I did the thing. The thing didn’t work. Shut your face and quit telling me what I want from my life.
I don’t mind getting married again, but the premise will be different. I don’t want more kids, I was so lucky with the one I got, and I honestly don’t want to risk getting a shitty child, crying all the time, having all the problems, in particular when I got postpartum depression the first time. I know these things for sure, because I tried it. I feel like I have to justify it all the time, and I can’t imagine how annoying it must be for the people who know these things, without having the get-out-of-jail-free card that I have.
I don’t consider the marriage to be “failed”, even though it fits the description. It didn’t work out and that’s that. I guess I’m sad for the existence that could have been there. The parallel world, where we were both happy, still living with a neglected garden, probably gotten a new cat, since Cat would most likely have died by now.
It’s not failed, because I learned so much from it. It’s not failed because I fully understand the people who doesn’t want this, who know that it’s not what they want from their life. I envy them a little bit, for being so secure in their decision, because I needed to try it out before I realized it.
There is nothing wrong, but everything right, about that decision. We need to understand that, we need to understand that the life we think will make us happy, wont make everyone happy. When people are called selfish because they don’t want children, when they are met with judgement because they don’t want marriage, whenever someone explains to them that they’ll want it all later, when they are grown-ups, we are telling other people what they want.
And if you have ever thought, or told someone, they are selfish because they don’t want children, how about you think about how selfish it is to put another human being into the world, just because you want your last name to remain, basically exposing a person to a lifetime of troubles, because you want to hold a tiny human in your hands and be all proud that you procreated.
I don’t regret my failed marriage. I don’t regret any part of it. But I do feel weird, and I think it’s perfectly okay.