Cut us repeat offenders some slack.
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This isn’t how I expected my life to go. I had the same dream for my life that I think most human beings have. I’ll be married, grow old with someone, and have loads of grandbabies, and live happily ever after.
This has not been a reality for me.
People ask questions of divorced people. I’m really not sure why. I don’t mind but sometimes the questions lead to the awkward moment (aka The Awkward Realization) when the questioning party realizes my recent divorce is my second.
Usually, this realization is preceded by a question involving my daughter. The answer reveals that my first husband was her dad, not my second. In my experience, this is followed by a few responses based on assumptions people make about the fact that a divorce court judge has pardoned me twice.
Most of the time, I don’t think the people who make these assumptions are being mean spirited. Some of these are just flippant comments.
But, even jokes carry truth. These assumptions are hurtful nonetheless.
So stop it.
#1 - We’re Crazy
This is one threw me for a loop. It hit me from a friend and at first, I thought he was kidding and then I realized it. He wasn’t. When the Awkward Realization occurred, he looked at me and said, “Oh. You’ve been divorced twice then? You must be crazy.”
What the? What the actual?
He explained that his friend married this woman who had been divorced before and he realized that he married a crazy woman and then divorced her. Because she was crazy.
Look, I know a good number of happily married people that are totally crazy.
Marital status is not a gauge of one’s mental health. Sometimes, it’s a gauge of one’s ability to find someone able to handle their partner’s mental health.
There is a judgment that divorced people fear. It grows when divorce number two happens. Which leads me to…
#2 - We’re Broken
We’re not bad people. We’re not these shattered, broken people who do not deserve love. We aren’t narcissistic jerks who aren’t capable of giving love. Something just went wrong and we couldn’t get the ship back on course. There is no use is painting the side of that sinking ship.
Marriage is a contract. The contract gets broken. Not the people.
We made a mistake. We thought we could trust someone and we couldn’t. We thought we knew someone and we didn’t. We thought we could make it through the bad days and we didn’t. That’s all.
If anything, we’re actually a pretty damn self-aware group. It takes a lot guts to acknowledge your marriage failed. Notice I said the marriage, not YOU.
#3 - We Don’t Take Marriage Seriously
Getting divorced is not fun. It is certainly not easy and it’s not cheap. Yet, people make assumptions that this was just an option going in. Like a sunroof we can add later.
This comes up in a variety of follow up questions after The Awkward Realization. “Didn’t you want it to work?”
No, my friend. I didn’t want it to work. I really wanted to find myself in my kitchen three months after separating from my husband, well into a bottle of Cabernet, standing in my kitchen looking at a cooked frozen pizza, crying over the fact that my marriage was over and I no longer owned a pizza cutter.
Duh. Of course, we wanted it to work. Few people marry for sport. (Word to the Kardashians.) I didn’t find myself walking down the aisle thinking that if this didn’t work out, I could just get divorced. That’s absurd.
#4 - We’re Not Allowed to Marry Again
I get this one a lot. This is the most well-intended assumption and the most hurtful. We get it. We feel you. You don’t want to see us hurt again. You want us to stay clear of the deep, awful place that we ventured into a time or two. Your concern is commendable.
Being twice divorced does not mean we are totally incapable of choosing life partners ever again.
You do not get to make this decision for us. When you do this, it makes us feel like we don’t deserve to be married again.
What comes right on the heels of this is the last assumption:
#5 - We Never Want to Get Married Again
I learned at a very young age not to put my hand on a burning stove. I also learned that people are tenacious. Past levels of success do not always determine future levels of success.
Wholehearted people learn from failure. It is really hard to want to go into something that left you painfully hurt before. It doesn’t mean that everyone is just going to give up and swear it off.
You mean well when you say, “I bet you never want to do THAT again, huh?” It makes us feel like we’d be foolish for even considering it. It makes us doubt ourselves. What if we did and it didn’t work out? AGAIN.
Fear is not a reason for making a decision whether to do or not do something in your life.
We make decisions based on what we feel in our hearts is the best thing to do. Sometimes that means giving it another go. Sometimes that means refusing to ever wear a ring again. Either way, let us work that out.
All I’m really asking is for you to cut us some slack. This is hard. We twice-divorced folks are hanging out in a space we never knew we’d be in. Give us a little room.