Divorce and Broken People

I read somewhere that a blog post should be around 300 words to maintain reader interest and keep writing concise. This won’t be that. Consider this fair warning.

I’ve been pretty quiet for the past six months or so. Quiet on my blog, on Facebook, Twitter, in my everyday life. I’ve spent a good deal of time reflecting. I’ve also moved, my little girl started kindergarten and I’m in the middle of a divorce. This post is going to be about the last item in that series.

Until a couple of years ago I associated divorce with broken people. I judged people based on that, based on how long their marriage lasted and why a divorce happened. It was a difficult concept for me to understand. I assumed divorced people were selfish, or had a ton of baggage. As it turns out, I was raised in an abnormally functional family. My parents almost never fight. They are perfectly complementary to each other. Where one is weak the other is strong. I naively assumed that I could turn someone into the person who perfectly complemented me. I was wrong.

Luckily enough, some really supportive people surround me. I’m amazed how many friends are in the same situation as me, or almost there, or just a little further along in the process. It feels like an epidemic of divorce, but perhaps it’s just my age. Not long ago I had summers filled with weddings and weekends of baby showers, but that seems to have shifted into the land of marriage turmoil and divorce. I’ve had some great discussions with friends in the same position, and found some glaring similarities; bad decisions that almost all of us made.

Marriage should never be the next step in the process because you’re that age, or you’ve had a baby, or “well we’ve been together for three years.” Learn to love the fact that you alone is so much better than you with someone who isn’t right.

I’ve seen too many women plan their weddings before they’ve met someone to stand at the altar next to them. If you want to have a party and wear a fancy dress, you should. Don’t have a wedding for the wedding, because it’s about the marriage. It’s about finding the best possible person for you. Find a person with whom you want to raise children, or not, but figure that out before you walk down the aisle. I don’t mean find someone who wants babies. Find someone who actually wants to parent with you, as one half of the parenting unit. Find a person who cares about you, and I mean really cares about you, the kind of person who loves you enough to lay in bed next to you when you are recovering from the stomach flu. Find the person who is willing to give up a night with friends to share the couch with you watching some shitty old TV show that you love (read: The OC). If you’re not with that person now, marriage isn’t going to change that.

Don’t make the mistake of thinking that you can change someone else. You may be a miracle worker in many aspects of your life, but you’re not that good. If he doesn’t want to change, you’re not going to make him. You will end up resenting each other. Can you live the rest of your life with the person he is right now? If the answer is no, it’s time to cut your losses and walk away.

I’m going to reiterate this point: you alone is better than you with someone who isn’t right. Learn to love you. Walk away from the assholes. Someday they’ll get it. Then maybe they will be motivated to change. By then, you’ll have moved on.

Divorce is scary. Maybe it’s the control freak in me, but it’s terrifying to not know what the future looks like. It’s terrifying to be a divorced 27 year-old mother of a 5 year-old. Not knowing whether you just improved the world of your child or destroyed it is a large burden to bear. So, until she’s 25 and can tell me for sure that I made the right or wrong decision, I’m going to trust that two happy parents in different houses is better than two unhappy parents in the same house. I’m not a broken person because of a divorce. I’m a person who decided to be strong and walk away from something that was not salvageable.

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6 thoughts on “Divorce and Broken People

  1. Thank you for this honest post. I’m 25 and can’t wait for a connection with someone, a partner in life and parenting, and someone to laugh with. Thank you for reminding me that “marriage” doesn’t create that – a happy relationship does.

  2. Pingback: Divorce and Broken People – A Link | Catherine Armstrong

  3. Good stuff, thanks for writing this. I grew up with divorced parents, and tried to learn from that only to end up divorced in my late 30s. It’s scary, but it gets better, and having grown up with separate parents i know that it can work out fine for my kids too. Good luck!

  4. I can relate to much of this (divorced at age 29, 5 years ago). I would seriously love it if you would share part of your story on Divorced Before 30. Pretty please?

    Happy to find another fellow Minnesota blogger, too!

  5. Your divorce, like mine is old news by now. I was reminded of your blog post this morning when reading a HuffPo article wherein Amy Poehler, in talking about her divorce, quotes Louis CK, “‘Divorce is always good news because no good marriage has ever ended in divorce.” This might’ve seemed glib when in the midst of a divorce though it’s simply a truism.

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