33 years old male. Longest relationship was with my ex-wife of 6.5 year.
I hate to define marriage because it’s defined by whoever enters it so the two people that enter into the marriage are the only ones that define it. You don’t get into it for selfish reasons, you want to spend as much time as possible with this person and in doing so concessions are made on both sides so its as amiable as possible for both. Eventually it does become a joint identity.
I have no idea why people want to get married. They are under the illusion that it will fix something in the relationship, cultural pressure, so many reasons.
I was in love with my ex wife. I never considered marriage before I met her but when you spend that much time with someone and you grow together you decide to take the next step. I wanted a partner in crime. Someone that enjoyed being silly and talking about that same things. We met in undergrad but I only met her during the last five months of schools. We met when we were 25.
Couples don’t understand the complete integration that happens when you do get married. The may not understand the financial aspects. One of the main things we fought about was money. People have different views about how lives should be led. Sometimes personality conflicts are overlooked. But when you are in a close path they are in your face all the time. We knew each other for three years, I felt we knew each other very well. I though I did. At the beginning it was a relationship in which I felt very comfortable with. When I asked her to marry me, she didn’t answer right away which scared the shit out of me. 26 hours later she said she wanted it too. It was a relief. Now we have to figure out all of these things.
Our wedding was a huge event but interestingly enough something happened there that would foreshadow what would eventually happen. Her dad got hammered and took me aside and said, “I think you are an arrogant prick.” I lost my head. I yelled at him, she yelled at me. What the hell was going on? Weird thing. This was definitely not the first fight. But then we fix it. The inter support. You can come home after a bad day but if your wife is there you can grab pizza together. The stress just melts away. Someone is invested in your well-being. I did the same for her. I am a very independent person, so having to double check things with someone was challenging, but that’s the deal. I was always bad at that. I tried like hell but even today, unilateral decision, I don’t think about other people’s interests.
Before we got married, she got pregnant and I took a hard line on it. We were broke, and I pushed for an abortion that she eventually underwent. I don’t think she ever got over it. I tried to make it up to her. She really wanted kids and for me, I don’t know if I do or not because it was a big deal. Eventually I thought I could be a good dad.
She is terrible with money and I am notoriously meticulous about things. We went into marriage counseling. I though we had solved our problems. Maybe I didn’t listen. I thought we were good. But one day she didn’t want to do it anymore. She came completely out of left field.
Then came the process of who got what and it got so nasty. When she explained the divorce she said she was done compromising. But that’s what marriage is, did you not think that’s how it was going be? Once you say something like that, you cant un- say it. Once you ask someone for a divorce is like asking someone to marry you. When I asked her, I felt I knew what I was in for. I was committed to making it work.
I drank for 4 months straight, gained like 30 pounds, I had a support group and they helped me. No one saw it coming. She never forgot the things and would always bring up the old stuff. I apologized, you accepted it and I thought that was the end. But she had a rolodex in her head. I was in the dark about it.
Still after all this I still care about her. I want her to do well. I check on her every once in a while. Im still trying to sort it all out. It’s like somebody died.
I don’t believe in marriage anymore. I am completely jaded. I don’t want to predict the future again. It paid out poorly but I don’t see myself getting married again. It’s too much.
Love is an irrational thing. The biggest thing I learned was the independence vs. the codependence. It was my misinterpretation that things were going wrong. Maybe I didn’t pick up the signals. I could be perfectly fine with being myself forever. I need to work and occupy myself. I felt very lonely at the end of that marriage. You work on yourself for them, but people get married for different reasons and maybe our reasons didn’t line up.
Note: All interviews shared in this website are part of the project THE MARRIAGE STORY COLLECTOR by Daniela Antelo and all of the people that have been interviewed are and will be held anonymous.