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The Moment I Wake Up

How getting a divorce changed my views on marriage

PHOTO BY  VIKTOR HANACEK
PHOTO BY VIKTOR HANACEK

Another question that has been asked of me lately (by my youngest son, no less) is, “Do you want to get married again?” The short answer is, “F*^% no.” However, the polite answer is, ” Not sure, open to the possibility.”

The long answer is after going through a marriage, followed by a nasty civil divorce, followed by a humbling request for a Catholic annulment, I have to really ask myself if getting married again is really the right thing for me. Would I be doing it to please my family, god or some antiquated social concept? Let’s be honest, marriage in the civil sense is basically a business arrangement. In the spiritual sense, marriage is a commitment that brings you closer to god, as you grow, and hopefully evolve together. Most people royally suck at one if not both of them.

The idea that marriage should be a never-ending mash-up between “Leave It to Beaver” and the greatest-porno-ever is a pie in sky ideal that mere mortals can only fathom, but who am I stay that isn’t #relationshipgoals? I’d say marriage is more like something in between Malcolm in the Middle and Survivor. Joking! But seriously, real life, e.g. marriage or commitment, can be ugly and tiring and relentless, but I can see that it can also be fulfilling, erotic and comforting. Most people can’t handle it when life throws them a curve ball. I prefer people in my life that can face adversity even when they don’t want to or are scared. The reality is that in life, bad things happen to good people. It’s what we do in those situations where a person can either stand with integrity or not (This is one of the times where someone’s real personality comes out).

I guess my point is, do we really to claim ownership over someone through a marriage certificate? I’m wondering if people with life partners, like Oprah and Stedman, have the kind of relationship which allows space for each person to grow as a person uninhibited due to the lack of martial constraints, while the partner is on the sidelines cheering them on and helping them out when (and vice versa). Furthermore, does one really to combine households and finances to show they are committed to another person? I honestly like having my own personal space and knowing that my partner can go to his. I like the financial freedom of not having to discuss certain purchases or having to get “permission” from a partner if I want to go out with people without him.

Yes, I realize some people are willing to put in the hard work to make a marriage work in the financial and spiritual/emotional sense. Those people are few and in between, not to mention a majority of that population is likely attached already. Would it be nice to have someone bail me out literally and figuratively if I needed other than my family or friends? Sure. The reality for me is that at the end of the day, it was always, always my family and friends that were there for me when I was knocked on my bottom (I wonder what that means for me and the types of relationships I choose–to be continued on that subject for sure).

Right now, I’m having fun dating in the moment with no grand expectations about the future with Oprah’s voice quoting Maya Angelou, “When people show you who they are, believe them the first time.” I’ve learned that I can’t base the success of a relationship on someone’s potential anymore. Making decisions based on the future is pretty much a moot point when it comes to self-determination leading to different outcomes, and I’ve realized I’m not the gambling type.

When I do find that someone who’s willing to put in as much time and effort of building a life together as I do, sure, I’ll have no problem getting married if that’s what he wants. Just as equally fine with the idea of a life partner. My #relationshipgoals if I ever decide to get into a serious relationship again is best described in the marriage portion of Khalil Gibran’s “The Prophet.” Until then, I’m okay waking up to the idea of such a person rather than next to someone who isn’t him.

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