I have some friends whose marriage has come to an end. Divorce is never fun or easy but it is often for the better. This marriage has been in trouble for years and it is a wonder to me that it took so long for one of them to realize that it is better to be divorced than to be in a relationship with someone you no longer love or like. There are so many events that can end a relationship and I know that both partners are usually at fault. The following is my experience.
Kelly and I were married for 11 years, separated for 1 year and divorced after 12 years. The end of our marriage was the beginning of both of our lives. We had grown to dislike each other and were cruel and disrespectful. What happened? I can only speak for myself and from my point of view. Here is my version of the story.
Kelly and I had lived together on and off for about five years before we decided to make our union legal. I had sworn to myself that I would never get married but I fell into the trap of social norms and the dream of a life-long commitment to one person. We got married in 1986 and were fairly happy for the first six years. We had fun together, had sex fairly often and liked each others company. We did most everything together and took interest in the same activities. Gradually I grew to dislike doing most of those activities. Kelly's life is music and we played music together, which I liked for quite a few years. I am a flute player and he plays all things with strings. We played at a local restaurant with me on flute, recorder, pump organ and various percussion instruments and Kelly on guitar and banjo and both of us doing vocals. I never was any good on the pump organ and I grew to resent the fact that he didn't understand that I am a flute player and that I didn't like playing keyboards or recorder or percussion. Kelly is an avid bird watcher and stargazer and we did both activities often. I grew to dislike birdwatching so quit doing that activity with him. Once me moved into our house we no longer had the opportunities for stargazing. You notice that all of the activities we enjoyed were his passions, not mine. Yes, I was one of those women who basically lived her husbands life. Ick.
I truly believe that Kelly was more interested in pleasing other people than in pleasing me. If his parents said they wanted him to do something, it was done pronto. If a friend needed him to help them do something, he was right there. If I asked him to do something I had to wait in line and I was always at the end of a very long line.
Kelly had never been monogamous before we married but I suddenly expected him to be. If fact, before we married I asked him if he could be monogamous and he said he thought that he could. Well, I never trusted him around other women and I'm sure he sensed that. Therefore, when he finally drifted to another woman I was self-justified in my suspicions. Gads, what an awful way to treat someone.
I stopped enjoying sex, especially with him. When our relationship first began I was the main initiator of sex. When I stopped being the initiator our sex life slowed down and as it slowed I enjoyed it less. Plus, our sex life had become so very boring and predictable. Current wisdom says that the more sex you have, the more you want to have sex. I am a firm believer in this, and a shining example.
By the end of our marriage, the end being the last 4 years, I resented Kelly and felt as though I was just a caretaker. I paid his bills, washed his clothes and cleaned his house (though not that well) while he pursued his passions. I remember crying most every day the last year we were actually together and sometimes wishing him dead. I wanted out of the relationship just as badly as he did but I couldn't think of a way to end it. I think many women do exactly the same thing I did, they drive their spouses into the arms of someone else and then go crazy when it happens. And I think many men can't fathom living alone so they continue to live with a person they dislike until someone better comes along.
I drove Kelly into the arms of another woman and then went crazy weirdo on him, but that woman is absolutely perfect for him. I, on the other hand, love being single and have no interest in living with someone ever again. I have absolutely no regrets about our marriage or our divorce as both taught me so very much. I will leave out the crazy weirdo things I did when Kelly finally said the words "I want a divorce" and leave this post with a list of lessons learned.
Lesson number 1:
A successful relationship requires that both partners take an interest in each others activities and passions.
Lesson number 2:
Have respect for your significant other and put his/her needs second only to your own.
Lesson number 3:
Mistrust is a relationship killer.
Lesson number 4:
Keep your sex life active and interesting.
Lesson number 5:
Life is too short to stay in a relationship that makes you unhappy.
Lesson number 6:
Divorce is not the end of the world and can change your life for the better.
Now for my favorite quote about love...
"Love isn't something you feel; it's something you do. If the person you're with doesn't want it, do yourself a favor and save it for someone who does."