One man says,”My marriage failed, and I’m okay with that.”
Five months removed from telling my wife I wanted a divorce, I can safely say, “Yes, my marriage failed and I’m OK with that.”
For years — and I mean, years — I equated Divorce = Failure. It may be why I hung on as long as I did. As I searched my soul these past five months and read numerous articles online, it finely dawned on me that divorce doesn’t mean you’ve failed.
Like many, I thought the success of a marriage was based on its longevity. How many times have you heard that So-and-So have been married 35 years? 50 years? It is like confirmation that the couple had a successful marriage. Were both of them happy or did they just live together for the sake of having a successful marriage (longevity)? If longevity is our only criteria, what happens when it ends like mine? I was married for 29 years. This is almost three decades with the same woman! Has my marriage been a failure because I terminated it five months ago?
Apparently so…if you listen to some of my friends. A very close friend of mine told me to go back to my marriage. Her plea was based on longevity as she exclaimed, “You have been married 29 years! Go back.” When I told her again that I left because I was miserable and unhappy in my marriage, she became adamant that I continue. The sole basis of her logic was longevity, not my happiness nor the other reasons I was not about to tell her (which are no one’s business nor should they ever be aired in public).
I made an honest attempt at my marriage. The bottom line is that the love we shared ran its course. That sounds cold and harsh, but these are the facts. I no longer had intimacy, compassion, affection, and warmth in my marriage. The details are not important; the end result is.
My marriage served its purpose as it did what it was meant to do. The marriage brought many happy experiences, two wonderful adult sons (one just got married!), and the opportunity to share my love. The fallacy is that the years I invested in my marriage are an investment. The time spent is wasted if I “throw the marriage away.”
Wrong! The emotional “investment” I made is history; it is not something that can be transferred or carried forward. They are happy memories — history. One cannot recover memories; one can only treasure them. What has occurred is done. C’est fini! My good times should not have any bearing on me going forward.
As an online friend of mine stated, “Energy invested in the past doesn’t promise a return in the future. When deciding if a relationship should continue, look at the value it brings to the present and the predicted value in the future, not the investments already made. Those costs are already sunk. Sinking more ships won’t make the first ones rise.”
Everything in life comes to an end. The fact is divorce happens, and to good people and to good families. The CDC / NCHS National Vital Statistics System says that in 2012 (the latest figures available), there were 851,000 divorces in the United States. Are these 1,702,000 men and women failures? No!
I did not make my announcement lightly on that November morning. In fact, I was damn scared to tell my wife that I could no longer move forward with our marriage. We all know that the idea of ending a marriage doesn’t happen because we are perfectly content with the current situation. I had been unhappy for an extended period of time. The negatives on that November day easily outweighed the positives in our marriage. Obviously, it was not that way when I married my wife, but we had changed. It is not a cliché as people are always changing, but there are times that a couple’s paths do not parallel each other. One of our paths veered from the other. It happens. It is life. Marriages end.
Most marriages end in divorce thus I am okay with my marriage “failing”. I only use the word, fail, because it is a common and loosely used term to describe people like me who have their marriages end. I look at my divorce not so much as the end of one chapter, but the beginning of the next one. New relationships will be created as I am only in my fifties. I am a physically healthy man with a healthy attitude. There is no doubt I will meet a woman (most likely divorced) who thinks marriage is a “journey together to the same horizon.”
Because of my divorce, I am getting that second chance. As the Austrian composer, Franz Peter Schubert once said, “Happy is the man who finds a true friend, and far happier is he who finds that true friend in his wife.”
Yes, my marriage failed and I’m OK with that.
It is now time to tell my wife, “Thank you for that experience — all 29 years of them!”
This article originally appeared on Divorced Moms.