Family Nature

Luck Has Nothing to Do With It

When I was in my twenties I married a guy that I’d dated for 6 years.  I didn’t really give it all that much thought at the time.  Getting married is just what you do after you’ve dated someone for a long time, right?  Wrong, wrong, wrong.

I quite literally woke up one morning and came to a realization: I did not love the man to whom I was married.  Not only did I not love him, I actually didn’t like being around him.  I realized that on nights when he was going to be home (he worked two jobs so wasn’t home several nights a week) I’d work late, or I’d go for coffee with girlfriends.  I also realized that when I was walking home to our apartment, my heart would sink if I saw his car.

I knew that if I stayed with this man that I’d be stuck in a life of servitude.  He was the type of man who would rarely do dishes or clean the apartment.  He never cooked and didn’t do laundry often.  He was the kind of guy who wanted a wife who was like his mother; someone who’d take care of him while he sat on the couch watching hockey with his hand down his pants.

I also knew this man would never change a diaper, never tend to a needy child and probably never be an involved dad.

The answer to why I married this man is long and complicated.  The important part is this: I left him…rather I asked him to leave.  Not long after my realization I sat down and told him that I didn’t love him, that no amount of counselling would make me love him and that I wanted a divorce.  Sounds harsh, I know.  But I didn’t want him to leave with any hopes of us getting back together.  I didn’t want to lead him on or make him think there was a chance when I knew, absolutely and positively, that there wasn’t.  I didn’t love him.  I don’t think I ever did.

Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t take marriage and divorce lightly.  I made a huge mistake.  The kids ask me, “but why did you marry him?”  I don’t want them to think that you just marry and divorce like it’s no big deal.  I never wanted it to be a secret that I kept from them and so I do my best to explain it in an age appropriate way.

The break-up was fairly simple.  We didn’t own any property, we didn’t have any kids; we didn’t have much of anything for that matter.  I kept the apartment, most of the furniture, the rusty old car and our debt.  He took the new car, the computer and the T.V.  “They’re just things” a dear friend told me.  And she was right.  Things could eventually be replaced, debt could be paid.  My well-being and my happiness were still intact and my life was all mine.

We had been married in the Catholic Church so after my divorce was final I went through the process of having the marriage annulled.

While I have wondered and agonized over why in the world I married him in the first place, I am, in many ways, grateful for the experience.  It was very much an exercise in self discovery.  I came away from the marriage a changed person.

When I was still with my Ex a part of me had always felt like I had ‘settled’.  Everyone does, don’t they?  They settle for a partner that isn’t right for them, or that they don’t love.  Or they settle for someone because their family will approve.  I just thought it was what you did.  Nobody finds the perfect partner, right?

I also used to think that I didn’t need a man to be happy – that no man was ever going to make me happy.  That I was going to be happy all on my own, god-damn-it.  If I was going to be happy it was going to be because I felt happy, not because somebody else made me feel that way.

Well, not long after I left my Ex I got a promotion that I’d been dying for at work and it helped me appreciate my strengths.  It made me think of Stuart Smalley “I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and doggone it, people like me!” And I thought, “I deserve to be happy.  I deserve good things to happen to me!”

I felt so free and strong.  I felt like I could do anything or be anything.  And I knew that I would never, ever ‘settle’ again.

Not very long after I left my Ex I reconnected with an old high school friend.  Within a few months we were talking about marriage and kids.  We eloped exactly one week after I got my divorce certificate.

My husband is the kind of guy who does more dishes than I do, does more than his fair share of housework and is a completely and totally involved dad.  He changes diapers and does everything that I do with the kids (breastfeeding being the only exception).  And oh ya, I really love this guy.  No, I’m not a fool and I’m not living in a dream world; he’s not perfect and we certainly don’t agree on every single issue.  Our marriage has its ups and downs just like most, but I did not settle this time.  And I still don’t think that I need a man to be happy; but I do think that it’s okay if a man makes me happy.

One day I was chatting with another mum in the school yard and somehow my husband – who is no stranger to the school yard – came up in the conversation.  She told me I was “lucky” to have a husband like him.  I told her, “Luck has nothing to do with it.  I chose him.”  Then there was an awkward silence.  A forced laugh.  I think she thought I was a snob.  But listen, I married the wrong man once; I wasn’t going to make that mistake the second time around.

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9 thoughts on “Luck Has Nothing to Do With It

  1. Melissa H

    I remember at MNO when you told this story. And i thought wow… ITs funny watching him on Grad… you did marry the perfect kind of guy. Luck was on my side when i got gary. Shh!!! don’t tell him… i tell him he is lucky i picked him. LOL… but iam so the lucky one. He is that type of guy that melts your heart when you see him playing with the kids. And i see that in yours too.
    and snob you are not…. your in love with your husband and enjoy what you have. LOL…
    Anyman that can cook, carry baby on back, and do business is a keeper. LOL….

  2. Alexandra

    Yep, me too; as I’ve already written about here. What irks me about the “you’re so lucky!” comment is the randomness it implies. As if I didn’t carefully and thoroughly assess my partner before marrying him — as if it was just up to chance!

    And, yes: I carefully and thoroughly assessed my partner before marrying him because I, too, married thoughtlessly (and hopefully) the first time ’round. And I, too, left that marriage. Realizing that it wasn’t ever going to be what I wanted it to be and I didn’t have to stay, knowing that, was one of the absolutely pivotal moments of my life!

  3. Beevers!

    I count myself as being blessed for getting my husband. As my friend says, “It was a hard won battle.”. I had to lose a baby to figure it out!

    And you know how I brag to everyone what great husbands we have and I feel sorry for other women whose husbands will never live up to the standard that our husbands have set. ;0)

  4. Rebecca

    I love this post. Your candidness is appreciated.

    I met and married my husband in my twenties and never look back. Why? Because each day, I still get those girlie feelings I had about how much I love him. Is it luck? Maybe our meeting/timing in our lives was luck. But we work hard to have a great marriage. That’s not luck, that’s just smart. 😉

    Thanks for sharing such a personal story!

  5. TheFeministBreeder

    My friends think I won the Husband Lottery, because mine does exactly half of everything in the house too (even hyphenated his last name with mine). For this reason, I don’t feel like I’m ever allowed to complain about all the things I can’t stand about him, and no, I don’t really love him anymore either. He let me down in a huge way right after I had our first son, and I’ve just never gotten over it, no matter how much he does now. And people always tell me I need to STFU and get over it because “the past is the past”, and love him for the person he is now, and that everything we went through 3 years ago was just him growing up, but I’m a grudge-holder. I can’t get over it. Not when we’re still living in this mess he made (a mess that keeps me working 80 hr weeks , being in class full-time, and hating every minute of my life except the RARE moments I can enjoy with my kids.) I’m bitter. And I do NOT feel love.

    But he’s not the divorcing kind, and I never wanted to be a single parent. My parents were never married, and I’ve never even seen them in the same room together, so I do NOT want that for my kids. But If we were child-less, I’d have left him years ago. I also wouldn’t hate him this much, because feeling like he trapped me by convincing me to have kids is what keeps me so mad at him. It’s not that he’s not a good person, and I know that any other woman would probably be thrilled to have him, but I’d just rather be alone. That’s how I work. But – the therapist keeps telling me that love is a Verb, and not just a “feeling”. They say I could reestablish love if I wanted to. Maybe one day I’ll want to. Maybe one day when I don’t have to work 80 hr weeks anymore and know that it’s all his stupid fault – maybe then I’ll want to. But in the meantime, I’m holding a grudge.

    But good for you for getting out. And good for you for still being in love after 4 kids. I’m jealous. I don’t know how couples do it.

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