I have yet to figure them out.
Take my husband Bruce and I. We have been together for the better of 30 years, mostly. The “mostly” comes because for a short time we were divorced. For the first divorced year we didn’t spend much time together, and our relationship was tense. After that first year though, we started to do a few more things together, with the boys as a “family type” thing. Soon Bruce would be stopping over for a home cooked supper or I would stop over to the house (which he kept) to help do a deep cleaning once in a while. We would talk (about our current relationships, so weird right??) and about anything else that came up. In time, we decided that I should move back in.
That describes Bruce and I though. When we were married we didn’t fight. We mostly got along but of course, we were different and each had our own ideas about finance, extended family, etc. We usually saw eye to eye on issues for the boys. As a divorced couple, we were much the same. It is not that we were without problems, clearly we had them (we did get divorced) but our problems were not dramatic.
During our divorce, we dated other people but after a certain age people just come with more baggage (A LOT MORE). Sometimes a new relationship can be harder than the first.
Why the divorce? I don’t know. Maybe my mid-life crisis? Maybe his mid-life crisis before mine? Maybe I had never seen a healthy relationship between my own parents? Maybe we were too young when we married (we were 19 and 21, and we already had our oldest son by then) and had outgrown each other? Maybe while were busy making ends meet and raising our kids, we “forgot” to be a couple? Maybe because Bruce was always the affectionate one, and I always struggled with affection and intimacy (remember, I never saw it growing up). We had problems but not obvious ones. They were the type of problems that slowly ate away at our relationship until the time came that our youngest son graduated from high school. Suddenly, we looked at each other like, “who are you”? Instead of figuring that out, it seemed easier to step away.
I found that I am the most imperfect person I know, and I have a laundry list of things that I would change if given the chance. But our divorce isn’t one of them.
Here’s why. Somehow, after our divorce and living apart, we realized how much we had taken the other for granted.
A tough lesson to learn they way we did.
Why the re-marriage? Because we realized that sometimes a marriage is more about two people that can be great friends and together navigate some big life changes. Because Bruce had been diagnosed with multiple myeloma and a bone marrow transplant was in the future (that was 2014). Because our son has schizophrenia and we make a better unified front as one whole, rather than two halves, when it comes to helping our son navigate his life. Because Bruce is still one of the funniest people I know and anyone that can make you laugh for 3o years is a gift. And because we do love each other. It may not be in the way that people think married couples should, but I think it’s even better. We have come to this place not by finding the perfect, but by accepting the imperfect in each other and I guess you can say we did it by choice.
I guess we were meant to grow up and old together.
And yes, I did say that I would NEVER marry again. But does it count if it’s to the same man???
P.S. For always, I have found that watching an elderly couple walk down the street holding hands is the sweetest thing. I think that if you can hold each other’s hands when you’re 80, and say that you made it loving that person, and then still like them enough to hold their hand, that’s also a gift.