Tuesday, April 2, 2013

The Scarlett "D": I'm Divorced. Really, Who Cares?

I got married when I was 21 (almost 22) to my college boyfriend. I got married because that was just the cycle that I assumed life was supposed to go in. You go to college, meet a guy, get hitched, etc...

J and I met through mutual friends my third year of college. We had initially started talking because I was trying to set him up with my friend. I was so convinced that they’d be a perfect match, that I even accompanied her to meet him. It was about half-way through my self-imposed third-wheel situation, that my friend turned to me and said “dude, I think YOU guys are the match here.” She was right. He and I continued talking. The beginning was very sweet. We went on picnics, totally said “I love you” two weeks in- we were young and in love- something we both desperately wanted and never experienced before.

Our relationship started to show signs of wear about a year in. We figured we’d get married to each other. I was a virgin. He was the first dude that ever got past first base. A relationship was something we both wanted. However, J and I were different. We were different and it didn’t work. Our relationship was failing before we ever walked down the aisle- both of us stressed and arguing constantly- bound to roles that we didn’t want to fill. For J, it was having his own family structure and for me it was to be taken care of. A mix of obligation and a massive post-graduation panic attack.  Our wedding happened after a brief argument that ended in J calling my “let’s just go to Vegas” bluff and us both being incredibly defeated and prideful. His parents were there, mine were not. I didn’t even tell my parents until months later.

Our marriage ended a couple weeks after our 1-year anniversary and by that time we were already living separately. J had already met somebody else. It was time. We knew it was over and that was that. It was a hot mess for a while. We hated each other and had mean passive aggressive Myspace fights. We were both young. Then we grew up. J and I are even more different now than we were 9 years ago and over the years we’ve managed to establish a friendship. He’ll always be somebody important in my personal timeline, but to be completely honest- sometimes I forget that we were ever married. It feels like a lifetime ago. It certainly isn’t anything I dwell on.

As much as I have moved on, my divorce is this weird thing that haunts me in relationship-land. I don’t see myself as a divorcee, honestly, I totally forget about it...then I started dating. People are REALLY weird about it and this thing that I rarely ever think about becomes this weird source of insecurity. I don’t want to hear about exes on a first date, but it seems that people think I need immediately talk about my divorce. Like, oh better put it out there because it’s such a BIG DEAL. It’s really not. I promise. I don’t want to talk about it, you don’t want to hear about it. It's really not that exciting.

My experiences (good and bad) have made me into the person that I am. I definitely don’t want to get divorced again, but I wouldn’t re-write my story. I am very pleased with my life. I work hard. I am a unique person with a unique point-of-view. I care deeply for others and always try to do the right thing. There are a LOT of antiquated opinions on divorced women- even from the most well-meaning of people, I’ve heard them ALL. I'm not made of stone, my feelings get hurt. I’m not damaged goods. Guess what? I’m almost 30. The men I date are also in their 30‘s. We've all boned other people, have exes, broken hearts and had our hearts broken. By this age, we’ve all got stories. To everybody that bet on the right horse the first time around, that is AWESOME! I still have aspirations and dreams of falling in love, getting hitched and growing old with somebody. I certainly don’t think that being divorced is that weird- I don’t see it any different than the baggage that comes from any other relationship. It’s not a scarlet letter. It’s just me. It’s just life. It’s time to move on.

"So what? Who Cares?"