Woman in her 50’s. Married for 22 years. Divorced.
Marriage is a legal commitment. That’s it. The legality of living together.
I met my first husband in college. We lived in the same dorm. I didn’t know he was the person I wanted to marry. We ended up living in the same house because I was friends with his roommate. I invited his roommate to live with us and we started sleeping together and then I got pregnant. I married him because we decided I was having the baby and I wanted for him to be a part of it. By the time we were doing all those things, I figured rationally we should be married. It was the least romantic marriage ever. The fact that we made it 22 years is a miracle.
During the wedding I was saying “I can always get divorced.” At that time I rationalized it. It’s a legal connection. I never needed to get married but made it easier to take care of things. That was my bullshit rationale. He kinda wanted it because his family kinda wanted it. I didn’t think I deserved someone to love me. I didn’t know what a healthy relationship was so I didn’t know I could do any better. The things I saw in him then, he was a doer, very talented, very smart, so I believed he wouldn’t always be a fucker.
If I hold my way through, we are going to make it. I wanted five kids which we didn’t talk about before marrying. We have five kids. We were really good partners. We got a lot done. As long as I didn’t need anything emotionally, we could’ve stayed married. It wasn’t until I realized that I needed something emotional. I tried to work it out with him. We went to the shrink when we were 30. I am a different person thanks to him. He is the most important person in terms of my emotional development. The shrink helped me realize what the marriage was. I want to be married to you but not like this. He was tired of changing and me raising the bar. I was quieter with him, he was center stage but I didn’t know that I was so quiet, my kids didn’t know who I was. My kids thought I was that person. That, I totally regret.
We had some great experiences. I think it’s possible to stay with a person your whole life but you are not necessarily happy. When I found my shrink, he said he was married 43 years. I swear, they have fun together, travel together, he is insecure and he admits it but they love each other. That’s the biggest gift you can ever have. You have to work on it in order to reach to that. It’s not supposed to be easy. Having kids for me, was the best thing ever. I love them. The hardest thing I have ever done but I don’t love anyone as much as my children. Raising kids is not easy, so why would a marriage be easy? But you get married, because that person really shares your life. The joy. What I wish for my children is to have a partner that would need and enjoy their family as much as they do. The best blessings, my kids, I didn’t get to share with him. I was alone with that. I want someone there to enjoy the joy. That’s what marriage is. Makes the hard times a little bit easier. Losing your husband is hard.
I want to want marriage… because I am concerned about my abilities to pick. I think I do want it but not just with anyone. I want to feel confident. The things that I hated the most in my own marriage was feeling so alone even though I had my kids and my marriage. I felt unloved and unwanted and disrespected most of the time. He wasn’t overtly mean but always felt threatened so he always had to keep me in my place. I had to be less than him.
I liked tradition, I like sharing a history, being a family, I liked planning a future together. I tell my children, before you get married, have your heart broken several times. They should know that they can stand it if it happens. They need to know they can be loved by different people so they don’t settle. They should have someone that is emotionally available and open. I feel happier now than when I was in my marriage.
My ex husband used to tell me that I was no fun. So it took me a couple of years to realize that was not true. I would go to conferences, and I danced and he said why would she only have fun with them? But it was him who was no fun. Not me. I have lots of crazy ideas now. I have always loved sex, even when I was married. I can’t believe I had boring married sex. It was the same routine. We were in bed lying down. SEX SHOULD START BEFORE YOU GET TO THE BEDROOM. If you are having good sex, you don’t always have a good relationship. That’s why people have affairs. There’s no expectation in the relationship. You can keep great sex going without a relationship. The hard part is going through the hard times in the marriage and find relief and comfort in the sex. That’s the difference between sexual intimacy and just sex.
There’s a difference between head and heart.
Open marriages make perfect sense but in my heart I would have trouble with it. I don’t judge people that do it. It’s another level of honesty and trust. A lot of marriages survive with affairs because people either ignore it or get away with it. Some marriages survive because someone is fucking around.
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.