My Learner Marriage
Divorce can be a celebratory rite of passage.
Posted Jan 26, 2010
My memoir, How To Get Divorced By 30, published by Penguin, is in stores today. While doing interviews the past week several interviewers have commented that I sound surprisingly cheery for a divorced lady and it occurred to me that although about 50% of marriages end in divorce, divorced women are still thought of as baggage-laden shrews. In my experience the opposite is true! Divorced women, especially those who have been divorced by 30, have a sense of independence and self-worth. For whatever reasons their marriages didn't work out so instead of staying the course and being miserable ‘til death do they part, they got out feeling being single is better than being unhappily married.
How To Get Divorced By 30 tells the age old story of girl meets boy, girl falls in love with boy, girl realizes she is way too young to be stuck in nuptial mediocrity. I got married at 27, as did many of my friends, and amazingly on the precipice of our 30th birthdays, we all got divorced. None of us had children so this decision did not upset the lives of offspring. It was a looming new decade that helped us all realize that what we thought we knew in our 20's was totally wrong. We decided we would wizen up in our 30's.
Many people have the foresight to understand the meaning of modern day marriage the first time around. It takes work, upkeep, communication skills, maturity and a desire to be married. It takes not getting swept up in irreplaceable teenage memories once you Facebook your first love. It takes not forming an office crush when you work 80 hours a week. And it takes not letting the day-to-day monotony of bills, and grocery shopping, and giving the dog his vitamins suffocate your passion. For those who figured it out on their first try I say, mazel! For those who didn't, there is no need to be ashamed or angry or feel branded with failure forever. I view my divorce as a rite of passage and as something to celebrate.
I needed to marry the wrong guy at the wrong time in order to realize what marriage is all about. The term "starter marriage" is accurate but I recently coined the term "learner marriage." My ex-husband and I went on an adventure together and when it ended, I had learned that compromising to the point that both parties are unhappy is a bad idea. Jumping from one boyfriend to another and then marrying him without giving myself time to reflect was going to lead to me repeating negative patterns. Getting excited about my wedding rather than my marriage was a red flag. Now that I see all this clearly I am more equipped and prepared for the next adventure.
How To Get Divorced By 30 is a hopeful book about young love and young divorce. I didn't need to buy a villa in Tuscany to heal, or join an ashram in India to find myself. I stayed in Los Angeles, went to therapy, really looked in the mirror, and am wiser for it. Perhaps How To Get Remarried By 35 will be next?