Success or Failure

I like to switch it up sometimes and not always be talking about me and CF and our fucked up marriage/divorce situation. So… I was reading this other Internet forum that I like and someone brought up the topic of remarriage and how she was very ambivalent about what she wanted to do now that she had been engaged for a year. She pointed out that she never thought she’d be planning a second wedding; she always thought her first one was going to be her only one.  Alas, after twenty-three years, I believe, he cheated on her and left her for the OW, marrying her only 6 weeks after the divorce was final.

In her original comments she talked about how it was difficult for her to make vows, promising to love this person forever, when she had already done that once before and it didn’t work out. She made mention of the fact that she had hoped and expected her first marriage to be forever and that even now, many years after the divorce, there was still a part of her that was sad that it didn’t last. She explained that she had never wanted to be with someone who had been married to someone else before or who had had children with another person. She mourned the loss of her ideal, this idea that she would have only one forty or fifty year marriage.

These other people were trying to pump her up and boost her confidence, telling her that whatever she and her fiancé chose to do would be fine. Someone remarked that she needed to stop focusing on “forever” because, seeing as how this was a forum that centered around divorce/remarriage/stepparents, they all knew marriage didn’t always mean forever. Then someone said this: Nothing lasts forever. Everything changes.  It’s not about failure; it’s about growth.

Is it? I get how the original poster feels. I always thought I’d only get married once. I didn’t dream of a starter marriage (and let’s face it- a starter marriage doesn’t usually last twenty years). I remember all the anniversary cards I signed with, “X number of years until our 50th!” That was important to me.  It was important to me to raise my children in an intact household. I appreciated the fact that I didn’t have to deal with visitation schedules, split holidays, exes, stepchildren and trying to be fair to everyone, and coordinating schedules so we could take a freaking vacation with our entire family (not that he usually went with us anyway).

I’m not entirely sure that’s how I want to view my divorce or a possible remarriage- as this huge personal growth for myself. I always think it’s just too bad that growth and change couldn’t have happened within the marriage. I also tend to think that when people make comments like that they’ve never really experienced the huge devastation that divorce brings. I don’t think there are many pleasant things about it quite honestly. I suppose if you were in an abusive situation then getting a divorce would be a positive, but maybe even the people in that type of a situation are not happy about everything that’s happening. I think when people talk about the subsequent marriage as being a sign of growth and change they minimize what marriage is.

I don’t want to get all melodramatic here but divorce is the death of a relationship. It is the death of the life you thought you were going to live. It is the complete and total rewriting of your future. To talk about remarriage as this wonderful sign of growth and change sounds a little flippant.

I completely understand what this person was trying to say. How do you vow to love, honor and cherish someone for the rest of your life, to let no man put asunder what God has joined together, when you already did that and it didn’t work out? I felt the same way about renewing our wedding vows. You’ll get to read about that eventually in some of the Blasts From the Past. Why renew our vows? They didn’t mean anything the first time around; why would I believe they mean something now, after he’s cheated? Likewise, how do I vow to stay true and to stand by him in sickness and in health, in good times and in bad, until death do us part, when I already did that and obviously it didn’t stick? I don’t feel that just because I wasn’t the one who cheated that makes it any better. I can vow all I’d like but what’s the point if the other person considers his vows mere suggestions?

I’d like to point out I’m not against second marriages. Hey, if the second one is happier and more fulfilling than the first one and it lasts forever, good for you! I’m all about happiness and love. I’m not ragging on subsequent marriages. Get married two, three, four, twenty-five times; I don’t care!

Ultimately, the original poster said that while she was happier than she had ever been with her new partner the divorce from her first husband will never feel like anything other than a failure and a disappointment, and in turn, the second marriage will never feel like a big accomplishment.

I hear ya, sister; I hear ya! I do feel like I’ve failed. I am disappointed in the failed marriage. My thirty year class reunion is coming up next summer and I have no desire to go. I don’t want to show my face and have to explain to everyone that I am now divorced, living at home with my mom, and working for almost nothing. Things may change in a year but I’m not holding my breath. I am not even dating at this point so no second marriage for me; however, I tend to feel the same way this person does. It’s not a big accomplishment.  Any idiot can get married. CF and Harley are engaged, for Christ’s sake! They’re planning on making it official as soon as they can, I’m sure. Talk about growth and change! They’ve both grown and changed into selfish, immoral, lying, cheating douche bags. WTG!

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5 thoughts on “Success or Failure

  1. I read somewhere that being abandoned and losing a child are the two worst things that can happen to a person. I was an adult when my mother left my father. They both moved away and sold the family home. All of a sudden I had nowhere to go on holidays. I was ok emotionally but it tore my kids up because their grandparents were in their lives every day until then.

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    1. I know it’s not exactly the same but my mom sold the house we had lived in for 7 years soon after I graduated from high school. It was a bit weird coming to the new house on breaks but now it feels normal. Of course she’s lived here for 29 years so I’d hope I would have adjusted by now.

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  2. I feel every bit of this. I didn’t give up on my vows – they still have power over me, in fact. None of this was my choice. So what do I do with “I will honor, respect, and care for you, all of the days of my life”? What do I do with his vows?
    Side story: We don’t wear our rings very often (I have always said that not wearing them doesn’t make one any less married), but the other day we were headed out and I saw him slide his on. “What the hell do you think you’re doing?” I asked.
    “You don’t want me to wear my ring?” he asked, affronted.
    “No, I don’t! That ring is a symbol of my promise to be faithful and supportive. You don’t get to just wear your ring like you have any right to those promises any more. Just like I won’t wear the ring you gave me, since your promises amounted to shit.”
    He thought for a moment. “That sounds fair,” he said. And put the ring back on the counter. I have it now. I don’t know what to do with it.

    I can’t imagine wanting to ever get married again. Even if I do find someone amazing. Because to me, forever means just that. And I can’t promise that again when I was wrong about what forever looked like the first time.

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    1. I understand. I feel very much the same way. When I was younger I saw marriage as the pinnacle of a relationship. Now, having been married for 20 years, being cheated on and going through a divorce, I just can’t see myself doing it all over again. I’m not sure I even want to date again, but if I did I would be perfectly fine with a monogamous long-term dating relationship where he lives in his house and I live in mine. We could go on vacations together, spend weekends together, but that’s as far as I envision it going. I already did someone’s laundry and cooked their dinners and cleaned up after them. What did it get me? He went off and fucked his cousin after complaining that I never loved him and he was nothing more than a paycheck and a handyman. So, sorry. I know it’s not this new guy’s fault and he’s done nothing wrong to me, but I’ve served my time. I was a devoted, loving wife and it did not pay off for me. Forever is just something some people say.

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  3. “It is the death of the life you thought you were going to live. It is the complete and total rewriting of your future.”

    Rewrite it!! The second draft is always better than the first….if YOU make it better…

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