Sunday, September 6, 2009

On the Topic of Marriage and Divorce

A week ago, I found myself in a conversation with someone who had gone through a divorce. As I listened to my friend discuss her own experiences as a divorcee, working through being a single mom, dealing with the idea of the kids having a new step mom, managing the logistics of dual custody and pondering the dating scene, I couldn't help but contemplate my own situation.

Sometimes people ask me my thoughts about my ex, about divorce and about marrying again. I'm candid about it. I realize the mistakes I made. I recognize it was I who shrank in the face of challenge and failed. Yes, there are things about my ex that I miss - he had many wonderful qualities. I tell people, though, that I'm really glad he has a different life....one with a new wife and a new little boy. I tell them that I'm very happy to see that his career has been successful and continues to show promise. These are all things that I wanted for him....really, really wanted for him. Despite any ill feelings he may harbor, I think he would admit that I strove to help him find happiness and success. Unfortunately, it didn't appear that it would happen with me at his side. Did I love him? Yes. Very much. Did I lose sight of that? Yes.

Not long ago, I watched a movie titled "Seven Pounds." In it, Will Smith plays a man who has made a terrible mistake in his life, and he decides to atone for that mistake by doing things for select individuals (to help them) that ultimately necessitates the taking of his own life by suicide. The movie reminded me of another movie, "Butterfly Effect", which stars Ashton Kutcher. Kutcher's character has the supernatural ability to go back in time, and he uses this skill throughout the movie to try to better the outcome of certain life events. No matter what he does when he goes back in time, he is incapable of altering life's events without resulting in pain or heartbreak. In the end, because he can't make things better, Kutcher's character chooses to go back to his very conception in the womb and not be born at all. Interestingly, the happy ending in these movies is the death or non-birth of the heroes. The message seems to be that the world would be better off if certain individuals would die or would never have been born.

As dangerous an idea as this is (and I do understand the peril of such logic), I recognize it's toehold on my own mind. I've asked myself how the world would be if I didn't exist? In answering that question, I can't help but look at my ex-husband's new life and think that his happy outcome is the result of my exiting his life. That's a problem because it doesn't speak well of the value of my own life. This is where my day to day struggle lies. How can I see any positive value in my own life knowing that someone else's life is better because I'm not in it?

After our divorce, my ex told me that I would probably find new church friends who would assuage my blameworthiness and approve of my moving on. I never found that new group of church friends and, truth be told, while I have moved on to another relationship (which, by the way, we classify as a partnership) I still fight that feeling of being a colossal failure at marriage. This is such a strong sentiment that, even though I want to be married again someday, I'm afraid to make the same mistakes and I'm not even sure I should get a second chance. Moreover, I don't want that pattern of marrying and divorcing, marrying and divorcing. I've seen how that pattern takes a large physical, emotional and financial toll.

The question comes in various forms. Why aren't you married? Don't you want to get married? When will you get married? Do you think you'll ever get married again? Co-workers ask. Friends ask. Relatives ask. I ask myself. How will I know when I can remarry?

When I see that I play an irreplaceable roll in someone's life and that I make his life better by being in it, then I will know I can remarry. Otherwise, I would only be repeating the same actions and expecting a different outcome.

2 Comments:

Blogger IF I... said...

I understand.

September 13, 2009 12:28 PM  
Blogger Nanay said...

No body is perfect, only god.

October 30, 2009 12:20 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home