Lately it seems I have been surrounded by divorce. Having grown up in a family of relatively stable marriages my experience with divorce has been somewhat limited. Now however, it seems every which way I turn, another friend has filed. Some of these separations weren’t shocking. I knew sitting in the church that divorce would one day rear its head in those relationships. Others shook me; I had truly believed they would make it. All of them have caused serious contemplation of life and partnership.
I think I like being single. I am pretty sure that I enjoy my alone time and own space. What has been hard over the years is the disappearance of married friends as they built homes and families. Of course, I have been included in their lives as much as possible, but it was obvious our life experiences were miles apart and that they had as much interest in my latest date as I did in their child’s diaper rash.
As divorces take over the present, I have found all of a sudden friends that have shared custody of kids have free time on their hands. My social life has been on the upswing. And I’m not talking about nights of drinking and looking for men. I’m talking about friendly lunches, dinners, movies, and conversations where more is discussed than the daily routine. Recently though, one friend – after a few glasses of wine – confessed that while she was happy to be out of that particular relationship, she wanted to find a new love to commit to and build a life with. She didn’t want “this” life. My life.
I have to admit at first it was hard not to be insulted. But, I do realize that just as she’s not lived my life – I’ve not lived hers. While she is unaware of the bliss that can come from true independence, I lack perspective on the bliss that can come from true partnership. Still, as more and more of my friends separate, I kind of feel like I dodged a bullet. If they were all going to end up where I am anyway, (because most say that even though they want a committed relationship again, they don’t want marriage) then why bother with all the societally induced angst over missing out on marriage?
I have seen good marriages, a lot of them later in life and a lot of them second and third marriages. I think that if I ever met someone that I wanted to build a common dream with, I might be convinced to sign on the dotted line, but I’m not 100% convinced it’s worth it. My friends and I have taken different paths but in a roundabout way we’ve all ended up in the same place. The biggest difference is children. For some friends they were the primary reason to marry to begin with. The older I get the more I feel like that ship has sailed anyway.
I don’t really have a conclusion to draw from all this. I think some friends will re-marry and get it right the second time, some will re-marry and divorce again, some will stay single and love it, and some will stay single and be miserable. As for me, I can honestly say that up to this point in my life, I have never experienced misery from being single. I have experienced joy and the feeling of loving my life. I think if you can say that, then you’re on the right path no matter what lifestyle you’re living.