Twelve years ago, I was a bridesmaid in four weddings and attended another three. For the next couple of years, those numbers held steady and, in some particularly busy years, increased until one year, the wedding invitations stopped and the baby shower invitations began. Years went by without dancing the chicken dance or stuffing cash into a groom’s pocket. Then, somehow Round Two began.
A few years ago, right around the time I was figuring out custody arrangements and how to kill spiders on my own, other couples in my life started splitting up. I don’t think I was a trend starter, but there did seem to be something about that decade anniversary that ended relationships. We commiserated together. We exchanged divorce lawyers’ numbers. We chatted while crying in our wine. Then, we started dating with its subsequent horror stories. Laughter replaced the tears and life moved on.
Still, I wasn’t prepared when wedding invitations began to arrive in my mail. Out of the five couples I know who separated at the same time as my ex and I did, three people are re-married, four are engaged, and two are in serious-just-waiting-for-the-announcement relationships. The situation left me confused. I texted one girlfriend and asked, “How are you able to get married again?” Fortunately she knows me well enough not to get offended.
“What do you mean how?”
“I mean, how did you get to that point where you thought marriage was a good idea again?”
“I don’t know. I just love him.”
The answer was so simple, but for some reason I can’t get my head around it. After the chaos, the pain, the financial ramifications, the paperwork, I can’t imagine how they’d be able to order invites, buy dresses, rent tuxes, get a cake, and all those other things that go into a wedding, not to mention actually living with and sharing income with another person again. It makes me wonder, Will I be a single mom forever? If after three years I can’t imagine sharing living space with another man any time soon — even though I have a fantastic boyfriend — will I ever be at that point where I’ll be able to let go and take that step?
I think of my hard won independence. It took me years to find my footing again and the idea of giving up that independence, of letting someone else have a say in how I decorate my living room, is something that sends panic shooting through my stomach.
I do want a partner who understands and loves me on that level, which is what my friends have found. As with most milestones in life, maybe I’m just not there yet.
Did you have a hard time imagining yourself getting remarried after your divorce?