His first time. Not mine.
When I first met Tyson, and people started to ask about him, the first question was always ‘divorced?’. Because its far more common to be divorced than never married once you’re over 30.
I remember the first time I heard of a friend’s parents getting divorced when I was growing up, and it was almost earth shattering. I felt so bad for that friend. None of us had any frame of reference for what she was going through, or what to expect from that point.
While divorce has become much more common in this day and age, it’s not something we openly talk about outside of the dramatics of the nastier situations. We don’t talk about the feelings you may experience when the person you thought would be your person forever ends up not to be. About how much harder it gets to start over the older you get. Regardless of whether you were the initiator or the other party, we don’t talk about what the whole experience does to you mentally and emotionally in some cases, unless it’s extreme.
I feel like I wear a black mark on me since I’ve been divorced.
It’s a hard topic because there are SO many scenarios that lead to divorce, and they’re certainly not all the same. There are no blanket statements about moving on. I’ve wrestled with how deep to get in to my own experience because I don’t want to make any insinuations based on my perspective. So let me say this: I feel like I wear a black mark on me since I’ve been divorced. A feeling which is not helped every year filing taxes, and having to click the divorced box no matter how many years have passed since it happened. How card renewals show up with the married name even though you’ve called and called, and been assured it would be changed this time. And then there’s the new relationships, where loved ones continually caution you ‘not to move too fast’ or even worse – ‘Maybe you should just be by yourself for awhile’ This statement is usually made by people who have been in committed relationships for 10+years and haven’t experienced dating (or breakups for that matter) over 30.
What is the correct time for mourning your marriage or relationship? If you even are mourning it. And even if you aren’t – what governing party decided what the right amount of time is to meet someone or dare to try again, whether it’s Mr Right or Mr Right Now?
When Tyson told me he wanted to get married and have a wedding – well, let’s just say I internally panicked. Maybe not so internally – I’m pretty transparent. I told myself I’d never get married again, would never change my name again. I was so mean to myself with my internal dialogue, and told myself people who know I was married before are definitely going to think, “Is she seriously going to have ANOTHER wedding?”. I thought of how many people I knew who’d never been married at this point and wanted to be, like I was somehow flaunting it.
A part of me resented him for it because I knew first hand marriage is not what keeps people together. Why couldn’t we just agree we loved each other and not have to get the government involved? I wrestled with so many feelings and most of them were strangling the little joy there was because this perfect-for-me man wanted to marry me.
It’s been a constant struggle from the day he asked me until now with our wedding day being just 3 days away. I’m asked ‘are you excited’ on a regular basis and I know my face contorts into trying to show a smile, but it’s like my muscle memory is saying you’re a fool to believe. I would never say to another person who was remarrying the things I have said to myself or felt. We truly are our own worst enemies.
Over this last month, the month of the wedding, I’ve tried really hard to let go of all those past memories of what comes after it doesn’t work out, of the stigmas attached to remarrying, and just focus on the positive of it, but it’s been hard. I worry writing this will hurt Tyson’s feelings but I’ve been honest about my struggle with him.. somewhat. I never wanted him to think my adversity or negativity had anything at all to do with him because it doesn’t. If I wasn’t so sure in our love and commitment to each other, I would never go through with a marriage again, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy to let go of years of self-deprecation.
Upward & Onward
I guess I just want to let people who are divorced and maybe wrestling with those stigmas and feelings know; I see you. I know it can feel like you have a black mark on you too, and it’s ok to feel all the things – good, bad and questionable. It’s ok if you never want to try marriage again. It’s ok if you are on your third time. Try not to limit yourself with final statements because you never know where life will take you.
Tyson, I’ve made a lot of mistakes in my life. Especially with love. To think I could have let those bad decisions keep me from being here with you today is…. unfathomable. Thank you for understanding, as best you could, what I was going through in my own head, and allowing me the space to process my feelings.