When I was 21, I was lost. Confused, mostly about myself, and how to actually become “who you are.” I was raised where you dated a single person, went to prom, and probably got married.
I followed suit. I had one boyfriend, followed by a broken heart, too soon replaced by another who couldn’t pick up where the last one had left off, but tried anyway. The pattern repeated. The pattern became self-destructive.
The problem was this feeling – the familiar feeling this wasn’t the right fit. Its an uneasiness that only surfaces when you’ve gotten too drunk and received unwarranted, but welcomed attention. I’d cry, I was unhappy, I knew it, but I couldn’t say it. I knew I was trapping myself in a life I didn’t want, but I didn’t know how to be much more than what I’d practiced and become. So I made a change.
Attention follows change, you appear interesting. You seem brave and independent, because you deviated by doing something drastic. But now that separated from the pack, how do you protect yourself from falling into the same pattern? Marriage, naturally. Dating is too intimidating, because you cannot handle the “field,” you can’t juggle all those “fish.” So, naturally, you find a person who really wants nothing to do with you or any other person for that matter. A loner. A safe bet. A person who can be your excuse for not becoming a whore.
You do it secretly. Because, secretly you know, this isn’t a real commitment, this is temporary. You go through the motions, and just like all the times before you know it isn’t right, but you’ve come this far, so why not? You don’t have to change your name, you don’t change anything, you don’t associate with this new person –you are safe to just be you.
Of course you tell no one. Because marriage is a commitment not to be taken lightly. A real responsibility. But with proper scheduling you never see the other person. It becomes the safest place to finish all those things you’ve left undone without social pressure of dating and introducing people to another anonymous face that will surface in their photos ten years from now. You go places alone. You accomplish things. Its fine to say, “my spouse is at home” instead of “I’m alone.” You say spouse, always, because that’s all it is, a legal term.
You spend years, making friends who like you for you. Achieving goals, undistracted. Its selfish, but your 20’s are anyway. You and this other person never made plans, never discussed the future, so it was safe to make your own. So you did. Then the marriage reached its capacity, and you knew it was time to leave. You had become more of yourself in those years than you had in the prior 21. You understood what you liked, and why.
In leaving, the only worry you have is maybe you waited too long to leave. Maybe you’d become reliant on the force field you’d created for yourself. You built a sound perimeter of being competent, independent, loyal, responsible and reliable. But you were anchored to this perimeter, and it was time to move forward. You knew no ones feelings would be hurt, because from the beginning, it was agreed it was just a way to break out of your old routine, a means to a way to the next point. So you proceed, and are divorced.
You don’t feel divorced, because you never felt married. You try to explain this to the people around you, who now see the curtain lifted and the wires exposed. But they never really understand. Think you were fooling yourself. But you weren’t. You knew and understood everything that happened, you were conscious the whole time. You knew that this might mean you’d never be in a relationship ever again, but you’d gotten to the point that being alone was a welcomed, comfortable place, and you didn’t care.
I don’t know how other people mature. How they break the cycle of circumstantial monotony. How they stop drinking and how they stop crying. But a change works.