I’ve got a couple of friends who are engaged, newlywed, and in long-term relationships. I didn’t realize this when it happened, but I suppose that I’ve been categorized by them in to a new little label when certain topics come up. My label is: divorced. See also: no longer married. Synonyms: failed, poor relationship management, doesn’t know anything about being in a committed relationship, you know, seeing as how I’m not in one currently.
I was thinking about this only because one of them had spoken up about a fight he and his ladyfriend had over likes and dislikes, and doing everything together all of the time. Everything. His friends are her friends and her friends are his. There is never a time other than work that they are not together.
Now, this article is not to imply their method of madness is wrong. I think that’s all subjective, and some people get along just fine like that. The issue is when he says he’s going nuts because there’s not a lot of ‘just him’ time, and that when he brings it up to her, instead of it sounding like he just wants some ‘him time’, it sounds to her like he wants some ‘not you time’.
As he begins to describe the issue and argument in detail, I open my mouth to offer some advice in the situation – advice that could help him get what he desires but also give her some piece of mind that it’s not what she fears. Immediately, I am interrupted. “Yeah, sounds smart,” he begins before poking jest, “but what would you know. You’re divorced, right?”
Again, the synonyms with this label. I am divorced, and thus this must mean I know little to nothing about relationships and how-to-have-one. I failed at it, so therefor I must not be any sort of point of authority. It’s not that I am relatively young, still. It’s not that I have had X amount of relationships in my life. It’s that at one point, I was married, and as we speak now, I am not. That is what this is based off of. This is why I am discredited.
But what do I know?
I know that in a relationship where I loved a man to the moon and back, I was not happy.
I know that in a relationship where I met a man who was unbelievably kind, I was not happy.
I know that in a relationship where I was married to a man who was considerate and handsome, I was not happy.
My marriage ending has nothing to do with what I don’t know about keeping a relationship together, and everything to do with what I know I want in a relationship and did not have. Like communication. Like a connection on a deeper level. Like a partner, a team player, a motivator.
My ex-husband is everything to me. He is one of my very best friends and someone I am so thankful to be co-parenting with, but he is not the man I am meant to spend the rest of my life with.
But what do I know about relationships? What does any of this have to do with anything? Excuse me. I did one of the most difficult things I’ve ever had to do. I had to take the huge risk of losing a whole lot not only for myself, but potentially for my son.
I know a whole heck of a lot about relationships. I know what happiness looks like. I know what a disagreement and what a resolution of a healthy couple sounds like. I know what an unhealthy one sounds like, as well. I know what contentment and contempt look like. I am well aware what is and isn’t and how to make it happen without it being the end of the world, if it doesn’t have to be.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that I have been unfortunately stigmatized by a simple label. It’s just another symptom of judgment by those that don’t understand.
Annnnnnnnnnnnd, that’s my rant for the day.