What not to do
LOD sent me this article on HuffPo entitled “Why So Many Of Us Marry The Wrong Person.” The author interviewed a whole bunch of divorced women and found that 30% of them knew they were marrying the wrong person before they got married.
I was in that 30%.
I knew, all along as we were dating, that there was something not really amazing about us together. And it all came together for me two days before the wedding when I just had the stark realization that he wasn’t the right person for me, and that I would never be able to trust him with who I really was.
Before you say, “What kind of cold-hearted bitch would marry someone knowing he was wrong?” Well, I wasn’t cold-hearted. I just put all my faith in culture instead of in myself. I thought that getting married would give me security, especially to someone who looked good on paper, very solid. On paper we came from the same background (all middle-class white people from two-parent homes are alike, right?) and the age difference (8 years) was actually good because it meant he would be more stable. And I thought that security meant safety, that he would keep me safe from myself.
I was scared of the energy in me that I’d never learned to process as a Good Girl. I was scared of my desires, sexual and otherwise. I was scared that I really was Kali, Goddess of Destruction, as my dad had teased me when I was a teenager. (It was only during the divorce process, when I was taking a burlesque workshop with Victoria Libertore, that I found out that Kali is the goddess of destruction and creation. AND CREATION.)
So getting married was about Settling Down and starting the rest of my life. I had this idea that I was going to be a good wife. And be a food writer (very genteel profession) and have children and raise them carefully and then. I don’t know what, then. Just fade away, I guess.
And LOD was a nice guy. An Eagle Scout. He called when he said he’d call. He assembled Ikea furniture for me. We pretended we thought the same things were funny. It was nice, after having my heart broken repeatedly in Mexico, to have someone steady, who got my Electric Company references. And I believed that stupid, stupid aphorism that you should marry someone who loved you more than you loved them. I knew I could surely love him enough, enough to make him happy.
So I didn’t, for even a millisecond, entertain the thought of not marrying him. I couldn’t not marry him, because then what would I do? And I don’t mean what would I do on that day instead of getting married. I mean, what would become of me? Of the rest of my life?
I was in shock the day of our wedding. I got my hair done, put on my own makeup, drove myself to the church. Put on the gorgeous dress my mother had made for me. Sucked it up and sucked it in, said the vows even though I was screaming inside and when the pastor pronounced us married my heart sank and I realized what I’d done. So I Made The Best Of It.
Until I couldn’t anymore. The road from our wedding to the day I told him I couldn’t do it anymore was long and painful and bruising. But along that way I was being compressed and hardened without even knowing it. I thought I was weak, and am still, sometimes, shocked at how strong I am.
I am not proud of how small I was back when I got married. I wish I had had the strength and honor to trust myself and trust that God had something better for me. But here I am, now, and I’m ready. That’s all I can offer.