Offbeat Divorce, Part 1: The Struggling #Relationship Advice#divorce#relationships April 27 2011 | Guest post by Kate Leroux Photo by Caroline Welch of Constructive Tendencies Last week I received an email from a reader whose marriage is struggling. "No one ever talks about offbeat divorce," she said. "I know you're a wedding blog, but I can't be the first offbeat bride to have a struggling marriage." She's right: she's not. Over the last four years, we've removed several wedding profiles at the request of couples who've emailed to say the partnership has ended. Heck, there was one bride whose wedding we were about to feature, but when we emailed her, the marriage had already ended. Nontraditional marriages end, just like traditional ones do. That in mind, I decided to ask a recently divorced friend to share some of her thoughts on divorce. This may not be what y'all planning weddings want to think about right now, but it's good information to have. -Ariel Hi, my name is Kate and I failed. I had a somewhat offbeat wedding, was married for 8 years, ultimately failed at it, and got divorced. I'm starting this way because it's not something you hear people say very often. After a marriage falls apart (or serious problems are worked out), it's swept under the rug, put in the past, and never mentioned. This might make the newly-divorced feel better, but it creates a false impression that most people are happy and have never had these problems. When my marriage was exploding, I felt so alone and so defective in a world full of (apparently) shiny happy people. In this post, I want to pass on a few of the things I learned while my marriage was struggling, before we decided to separate for good. TALK TO PEOPLE My initial instinct was to keep my problems to myself, for fear that people would judge or pity me. But I didn't want to perpetuate that illusion that marriages never struggle, so I summoned the courage to talk to my friends about what was happening. I didn't tell everyone all the details, but I gave at least a broad outline. Far from being judgmental, every single person I talked with was supportive and sympathetic. To my surprise, three of my friends had previously been divorced that I hadn't even been aware of! Sharing my story led them (and several others I already knew about) to share their stories with me. I'd forgotten that it is struggles and challenges that bind friends together. During the hardest time of my life, I found myself blessed with a number of deeper friendships. One word about this: everyone will react to your story through the lens of their own experience. If they struggled but made their marriage work, they'll assume (even if only subconsciously) that that's the best outcome for you. And vice versa. If you know this going in, you won't see their perspective as judgment; they're trying to help. I learned that everyone's situation is different, and nobody can know what's best for anyone else. HANDLING THE GUILT AND ANGER Chances are, one person in a struggling relationship is wrestling with guilt and the other is wrestling with anger. I don't want to share too many details about my situation, so I won't say which I was, but it was often unbearably intense. I had to learn to handle the feeling, both within myself and in my partner. Just accepting that my partner was feeling his guilt/anger was a first step. I tried not to poke at it or make it worse. He did the same for me. But there's only so much we could do, and I had to come to terms with the fact that neither of us could make his negative feelings go away just by trying really hard. The emotions had a life of their own, and needed to run their course. I'm going to ask you to bear with me as I use a couple of buzzwords: empathy and mindfulness. During my difficult times, I read two books about them that I found very helpful: Nonviolent Communication by Marshall Rosenberg and Radical Self-Acceptance by Tara Brach. Yes, the titles both sound kind of weird and new-agey; don't let that turn you off. They have a lot to say, but the very heart of what I got from them was that I needed to empathize with myself and my partner, and that means just HEARING what needs to be heard without trying to change it. And mindfulness is accepting and making room for the negative emotions instead of ignoring or fighting them. Letting them pass through. That may sound counterintuitive, but it made the difficult stuff seem smaller and more manageable. ONE MOMENT AT A TIME Related Post Offbeat Divorce, Part 2: The Separating As I said in my previous post, my marriage failed. After a period of struggle, we decided to separate (and have since divorced). The separation... Read more Beyond this, all I have to give is sympathy. When your life feels like it's falling apart, maybe permanently, it can be excruciating. In retrospect, I don't know how I kept my life functioning on a day-to-day basis. Cling to whatever things help you get through the moments. Some of the things I relied on were: a single song I must have listened to a thousand times, vodka, mundane housework, my job, writing things down, and walking on my slackline. Time moved so slowly that I often experienced a week's worth of emotions in a day or even less. But life went on, somehow. Eventually, we decided to call it quits. In my next post, I'll share a few things I learned during that part of the process. Be sure to read the second half of this series, Offbeat Divorce, Part 2: The Separating. Reporter Name * Reporter Email * Original text Enter the original text here. Edited text* Enter your suggested copyedit here. Notes You can add a note for the editor here. * Required information. Fix Typo Guest post written by Kate Leroux Kate Leroux is a thirtysomething mother of one living in Seattle. She works in the software industry and seeks out high places when she wants peace. http://mynameiskate.com PREVIOUS Fun with table numbers: candles, hurricanes… and Legos!? NEXT How to have a short and simple ring-warming ceremony Show/Hide comments [ 56 ] As a twice-divorced person now preparing for my third (and LAST!!) marriage, I found myself recognizing and nodding along with this article – particularly the part about allowing the emotions to run their course instead of trying to fix right away. This applies ALL the time at all stages of a relationship: before, during and yes… after. *sad sigh* Must have been very hard for you to revisit and slightly reopen some of those wounds. Thanks for sharing it with us. Reply As someone going through a rough stage of a committed relationship, thank you for this. I literally had to talk myself through letting my anger and frustration go last night because, consciously, I was aware of how little they were helping. I think empathy and communication help at any stage of the relationship, not just the bad ones. Reply No, this is good. I feel like we're supposed to have "eventualities" in mind for every other area of life, but with marriages one doesn't speak of a "what if." As someone who cannot turn off her "what ifs" in ANY situation, I say thank you. Reply *hugs Suz* Wow, you sound like me: I'm twice divorced but have now been happily married for longer than both prior marriages put together. Sometimes it takes two or more times 'round the rodeo to get it right, but I think it shows strength and courage to not give up on love. Best wishes to you in your last and best! Reply On the journey on becoming divorce, I am learning it is not a failure, but it is a new chapter of discovery. I have learned a lot about myself, how strong I am. I never knew this person was in me. Sometimes a curse becomes a blessing. Reply I can totally relate to feeling like getting divorced is admitting failure. But you are completely right it is a new chapter of discovery, sometimes it just takes some time to see that. I'm finally seeing my divorce as a blessing because without it I would not be where I am today, and the place I am at today is worth all the heartache from the past. It is my life now and going in the direction that I finally want it to. Reply Great article, and bravo to you for coming clean about how much it hurts. I am a wedding photographer, and shooting other people's happy day was BRUTAL during my own divorce (after 13 years and one child). SO, I decided to start doing a little Divorce Photography and let it all play out on my (no longer current) blog: http://www.sunset-pig.blogspot.com. I can't tell you how many people said that hearing that they weren't alone in their pain helped them, and it was a super-cathartic experience for me. Hang in there. Reply The idea of Divorce Photography is very intriguing! Are any of your photos still available to see anywhere? Thanks (to you and the other commenters) for your kind words about the post. Reply I'm a wedding florist. Brutal is a perfect description of the year surrounding my divorce! Through my whole divorce, I kept wishing for a divorce coordinator. Not someone to do the lawyer stuff, but someone to remind me of all the details like getting the utilities switched out of his name and when bills were due. Love that you were able to use your skills proactively! Reply Thank you for writing this. I am divorced, and about to go into my second marriage. I appreciate your words, and I'm sure many other people will, too. Reply Thank you for posting this. Although I am not divorced myself, a close family member is and although she has never said it outloud to anyone – the line, "I failed" pretty much sums up the way she seems to have felt about her divorce. I look forward to reading the next part and hope that it will help me to better understand how I can help my family member through her struggles. Reply I've only been married a year and a half (and never divorced) and honestly, can't imagine what you went through (and must still be going through) but I, too, wanted to thank you for sharing this. Marriage, like anything else, needs to have both sides shared to truly appreciate it. Reply I'd like to echo all the gratitude pouring out in the comments. I'm not divorced, actually I'm newly engaged, and I think these life lessons can benefit everyone. What I appreciated the most is that you focused on what we can do for ourselves during times of relationship turmoil. Usually, articles explain how to communicate with the partner, or how to "make it better." Those articles completely leave out what we can do to take care of ourselves. So, thank you for sharing your experience and reminding us to focus on our own well-being during times of struggle. Reply Yeah, I failed too. I think that was one of the darkest and certainly longest feeling parts of my life and unless you go through it, you can't really understand that feeling of dread and tension that lives in your house with you. Massive kudos for being brave enough to talk about this in the open and for your kind words of advice. Reply Thank you for posting this. Divorce and the emotional fallout that comes from it don't come up in honest discussion enough. Reply Thanks for posting this. I am about to be married for the second time and I know exactly how each of these things worked. I've learned so much from my first marriage. It's good to have someone put the words "I failed" out there. Some of my friends would get angry when I would use those words but they were truly the words needed. I think it was harder since I have a son and the learning to deal with his feelings too. However, I didn't just fail I learned and I think that's the good part of it all. Reply Currently going through the "legal" divorce (since we've been apart in heart and mind for almost 2 years now) with a man I met when I was 18 and didn't understand the difference between pity and love. It was harsh, and it continues to be so, but ultimately I an happy knowing that we made the best choice for both of us. And had it not all panned out the way it did, I wouldn't be here reading OBB because the charming British gentleman (that I met soon after becoming seperated) and I are in the "let's talk about weddings and babies" stage. Reply Thank you so much for doing this – reading this was a powerful moment of clarifying for me what happened to us. I've been surprised how little talk there is in the Tribe, even though so many seem to be preparing for their second marriage. I wish I would have read this while my (offbeat!!) marriage was ending. Because neither one of us would acknowledge the guilt/anger, it became an abusive relationship. I found it so hard to talk about things to friends, who thought we had a model relationship, and a model though incredibly nontraditional wedding that was so tremendously meaningful. Reply Kate, I applaud you for "coming out" as a divorcee. I failed once, too, and it was so, so hard to admit to people. My husband dumped me, and I don't know how I got through it. I talked to people I hadn't talked to in way too long, even though it scared me, and they were kind and wonderful and supportive. I drank a lot more than I should have, and had a short, intense affair with a sweet guy who offered himself as an "excellent rebound" (his words). I moved 600 miles away and met lots of new people and my new husband. Somehow the whole thing still hurts to think about, but it's easier than it was. Reply So glad to finally see this talked about on here. As a previously featured Offbeat Bride I think I actually once said out loud "How come there are no blogs for Offbeat Divorce?" I related to a lot of the emotions in this post (and the advice about remembering that everyone will view this with their own lens is spot on). But at the same time I also felt much differently after my separation. I think because I'd been so miserable in the last 6 months+ of my marriage I felt this crazy relief when it was done. Nobody seemed to get that and it made my feel like I was cold-hearted or not processing my emotions correctly. But the fact is while a lot of the feelings are universal it's also different for everyone. You'll heal at your own pace. Now that I'm planning my 2nd offbeat wedding some friends and family seem to think it's too soon. But for years I didn't think I was entitled to happiness. Now that I've found it I want to celebrate it and have learned a lot of lessons about making it last. Reply By the time I got to the place where I could file for divorce, I had already grieved the end of the relationship. It was over and there was no going back. To everyone on the outside, it looked like I jumped into a new relationship after only a couple of months, but inside, it was over a year of being alone. Time just works differently during stressful periods of life. Even knowing I made the best decision and the right decision, I still (7 years later) feel like I failed. Not that I failed in the relationship, or that I let someone down, but that I failed myself by having to break a vow I made; the most important promise I ever made! Reply I'm halfway to my divorce (In New Zealand we have to be seperated for 2 years before we can get divorced) in about 2 weeks. Its so strange to think that a year has gone by already. We had a very angry dramatic break up, On the night of a huge birthday party for me. I had to turn up to my party and explain to people what had happened. which took away a lot of the hard stuff of having to tell people individually or let the grapevine do it. I think it almost helped because i could tell everyone exactly what had happened and noone heard dstorteed versions from gossip. Then surprisingly i had an awesome night with my friends. they took my phone off me. made sure i didnt drink myself into a stupour. kept me dancing and eating. i barely even cried. that all came the next day. But looking back i always think it shows how well my friends know me. They know i'm a pick myself up and keep going kind of person. Noone tried to constantly talk about it. They just let me have a fantastic night and ignore it for a while. It really was a time for me to strengthen and deepen what were already pretty solid friendships. But what really bit at the time was noone else was even surprised. i felt like my life had just been one huge joke to everyone else. what could they all see that i couldnt. So yes. Failure was a word i had buzzing around for a very long time. I saw a counsellor at the time who said that that is a very female reaction – what was it about me that was wrong? what didnt i do right? Then my Father told me something that has become so incredibly important to me for amazing reasons. he said to me 'Men are essentially selfish creatures. Until they find the ones they will give it all up for. You just werent his one' I look at my Parents who have been together for 34 years and i know my father would give everything up for any one of us. So i found myself a guy like that. 🙂 Reply Your father's words just gave me chills. That is so simple and profound. Thanks for sharing… Reply A different perspective: I absolutely reject the idea that my divorce means I "failed". To me, that word implies the possibility of success. But staying with someone with whom you are horribly incompatible is not success. Being married for 50 years but hating each other the whole time is not success. A good marriage (or any relationship, really) builds up both people, makes them better in some way than they were before. Owning the fact that people and circumstances can change to the point where you are NOT building each other up, and responding to that by letting both people move on…that was a huge success for me and my ex. I did not fail, at all. I succeeded in moving from a bad marriage to a good life. Reply Hi Kate, I'm Kathy and I don't think you failed. More to the point, I'm tired of pretending that two people staying together for the rest of their lives is the "norm" when every statistical and personal evidence I've gathered is to the contrary. I'm tired of seeing guilt and self-loathing heaped on people during a difficult time. I'm tired of hearing long-running marriages dismissed as "failed" because, after 30 years, the couple decided to part. Oh, the whole 30 years didn't count because they parted? Pft. From my perspective staying married to the same person your whole life is not automatically part of a person's makeup and you're not "flawed" if you can't do it. I like to think of it like singing : some people can do it and some people can't. Some people can't but work at it until they can. Some people work at it but still can't. Some people sing but then later in life their voice gives out. Whatever. Nobody says "I failed" because they can't sing. I know that you're using the words "I failed" to take the sting out of them, to show people they can admit "failure" and survive. But I still maintain you didn't fail! I reject your failure! LOL… Reply Exactly. When I read her words about "failing," it reminded me of a chapter in Dan Savage's "The Commitment." He writes about how we only measure the success of a marriage on whether or not someone got out alive, ignoring the fact that that one unhappy marriage might be replace by two amazingly happy ones. Kate, you didn't fail. Reply Absolutely agree with the above 2 comments. Kate, you did not 'Fail', nor does divorce necessarily mean failure. I see people like puzzle pieces; some fit with each other better than others. But unlike puzzle pieces, people are not static. They grow and change. And they don't always grow together or even in the same direction. Relationships evolve and the failure is when people don't do what they need to to allow everyone involved to be happy. Any child of a divorce will tell you that staying together 'for the kids' can be even more damaging to them in the long run. I say that staying together for any reason other than 'it makes us happy' can be damaging to everyone involved. Kate, thank you for this post. Not merely because it was very brave of you to come forward, but because by doing so you're making it more okay for other people to talk about what they've been through. Your post has the potential to heal many, many people. Go you, Kate. Reply Thank you for sharing your story! I'm thankful to read an article speaking openly about divorce. I haven't been married before, so I don't know what it is like to be divorced. However, I do know what it is like to have parents who are divorced. My future husband's parents are also divorced. I struggle with feeling like wedding planning is supposed to be a purely happy process, or at least if I am upset it should be related to planning the wedding. Yet being a child of divorce brings up a lot of internal struggles for me, and the sad feelings I have had more often have to deal with my childhood and the worries that I have about those experiences being repeated in my (future) marriage, despite having a wonderful relationship currently. These feelings are intensified because I feel like I can't speak to them with anyone. That I am some sort of freak for even thinking so much about it. (I'm sure it doesn't help that when my parents divorced, despite the large statistics of how common it was, I was the only one out of my close friends to not have married parents.) I wish more people spoke openly about divorce, and so I really appreciate seeing that the word divorce does have a place on a wedding blog. Reply Thank you thank you thank you. It really is wonderful to hear the other side of life. All I can say is thank you. Reply Thank you so much for this. My husband dropped the divorce bomb on me last weekend, exactly two months before our anniversary. I am having to take everything day by day by day by dayâ€¦ Some days I have been strong and kickass and fuck-him, other days I have cried, today I wanted to puke all day because I think he's been cheating on me and I have no way to find outâ€¦ Who knows how tomorrow will be? I know that he is not good for me and every day I see how his energy contaminates mine on contact and poisons it. I am trying very hard to inject some sparkles and cupcakes into my attitude, so here goes: we never had a wedding (of course, he uses that to rationalize it) and I never got to wear my grandmother's wedding band.â€¦ I am trying to get him out of my life and out of my head so I can focus on the important stuff and maybe meet my future Offbeat Husband in the process! <– selfish? maybe. But I need every bit of "on the bright side" that I can get. And right now is a "do me" time and I have every right to it. Reply Hang in there. Every day your husband spent with you not wanting to be married to you was a waste of your limited time on the planet. If you can be thankful for anything, be grateful he told you he wanted out now and not 5 miserable years from now, during which time you could have turned yourself inside out trying to fix things. I have a friend whose husband almost left after 4 years (he actually moved out briefly). But then he came back. Six unhappy years later he left her for another woman. She feels like 10 years of her life were wasted and she wishes he had just had the courage to really leave her at the 4 year mark. Reply I just want to say thank you for sharing your feelings, and the reason I say this is because 1 year ago I took a pregnancy test on what turned out to be the same night my partner was unfaithful to me, which I found out 5 days after having an abortion. The unbearable pain which ensued over that year was undoubtedly the worst experience of my life, one from which I thought I could never emerge. What does this have to do with your post? The grief and loneliness you experienced during your divorce was the same grief and loneliness I experienced — and what countless other people in terrible, heart-wrenching situations are experiencing. The most valuable thing we can do for each other is reach out, and let each other know that we are not alone in our grief. If by just reading someone's story of pain, one person can realize that grief is truly a process, and can stop feeling alone even for one second. Sharing your story is so brave, but I want you to realize how kind it is as well. Thank you. Reply Thank you for sharing your experiences. I know it's not easy, but you are very brave. And, you did not "fail". People change. Life happens. I'm sure you did the best you could. Just yesterday I began looking for pre-marital counselling books in order to help my partner and I communicate better. Our wedding is coming up this summer, and although I feel very happy about it, I come from a divorced family (my mother just finalized her 3rd divorce) and I have to face the reality that problems do come up. Thank you for your book suggestions. NVC is a really useful tool. Good luck to all the future brides. Reply If you find any good pre-marital books, let me know! I'm another engaged woman from a divorced family who has been petrified of the institution of marriage (thus my first marriage coming at age 36!). I agree — I'm happy and excited about my wedding, but I am also scared! I have to remind myself that sometimes in life you have to take a leap of faith…but I wouldn't mind a parachute 🙂 Reply Thank you for posting this. I was married for the second time 6 months ago. I first got married when i was only 22 (way too young for me) and it lasted all of 2 years, but started to fall apart almost immediately. We seperated over 5 years ago and to this day i still feel embarassed and ashamed and racked with guilt. I didn't even tell my parents until at least a month after we seperated as i felt so guilty that they'd paid for our wedding & now i was walking away from it (they were 100% supportive) The most difficult part for me was our mutual friends virtually desserted me when i needed them more than ever, they thought i was fine & didn't need support as i was the one who ended it so they thought i must now be happy. They didn't understand how much i was hurting. To this day i don't always admit that i've been previously married. The big reason our marriage fell apart was lack of communication, that is my advice to anyone getting married, make sure you can communicate with your partner about anything & everything or it just won't work. Reply I could have written this whole comment. I got married at 23, we made it work for about 2 years, and it just fell apart. I was the one who walked away, and I was the one who made my new relationship public first (he was right on my heels, though), so our mutual friends pretty much abandoned me. Being the one to leave meant I was clearly the bad guy, because it's all very black and white, right? I also felt horribly guilty because my parents paid for the wedding, and they were very supportive (having just gone through their own divorce). I think I might have ended things sooner without that serious wedding cost guilt, which is a terrible reason to stay married to someone. It's nice in a weird way to see that I'm not the only one who felt that way. Hell, I *also* omit the fact that I'm going through a divorce when I meet people now. Your comment is reassuring, and I appreciate you sharing your experience because it makes me feel a little less weird and embarrassed. 🙂 Reply Somehow Offbeat Bride always has what I need to read. We aren't getting divorced per se but after a long engagement and a six and a half year relationship everything is over. This is what I needed right now…this is the direction I needed to turn my mind in. Thank you Reply Thank you for sharing what you've learned. My parents just finalized their divorce and my father is about to be remarried later this summer. My birth mom is divorced. My dude's parents probably should be divorced. A couple friends very nearly were divorced. After seeing all these relationships that did not work or had serious problems I have had to contemplate that it could happen to me. I know we will have hard times so it is helpful to hear someone admitting that they got through and it was hard, regardless of whether the marriage continued or ended. I may not have many examples of successful relationships, but I certainly have examples that you can come out the other side and survive. Reply Thanks for posting this. Like many who have already commented, I've been divorced before and am going down that proverbial aisle soon. Your thoughts about guilt and anger were spot on for me. We were married for 10 1/2 years, together for over 14. It's really tough to come to terms with a failed marriage, but that was the better choice for me rather than living with misery. I wish everyone here good healing from their past mistakes, and remember, to love someone, you really need to love yourself first. Reply THANK YOU for posting this! Judging by the comments, lots of us have been through this and are glad to hear of others. Thanks for exposing the taboo! (yet again) 🙂 Reply My would-have-been two year wedding anniversary was in March. I found out my former husband was cheating on me on my birthday in 2010 after a year and a half of marriage…we were trying for a baby…thankfully, we failed. My parents were completely unsupportive…and when I moved accross country…I lost everything. He even took my dog. The last ten months have been insane and overwhelming at times, but when you've lost everything, you figure out just how little you really need. Staying strong isn't easy, but it's easier than staying in a failing marraige. Reply I just wanted to thank all of you for your comments, and your courage. I am a collaborative law attorney, assisting couples and families through separation and divorce and these posts go right to the heart of the work that I do – helping people get through one of the most difficult and traumatic times of their lives with dignity and integrity, and from a peacemaking perspective. Mindfulness and empathy are vital pieces in my work, as is forgiveness, for self and the other person. Thank you again for sharing. Reply It's good for people to talk about divorce openly and realistically. When I was going through mine, my mother opened up about her failed marriage that had taken place before I was born. I'd grown up thinking divorce wasn't normal and it was something to be horribly ashamed of, and my own mother hadn't seen fit to share her story with me. It's important to know that it's a challenge many women face. The pain of divorce never leaves you, and I'm still struggling to process some of it as I go into my second marriage. (Planning a wedding has brought up a lot of emotions I thought I'd dealt with long ago.) However, the way other women have opened up about their experiences and feelings has been incredibly helpful both through the grieving process at the loss of my first marriage, and in dealing with my anxieties about my second. Reply Feel like the failure is the hardest part. I'm divorced and it turns out I'm the first in a long line of friends to start the process. Mine was final in early 2009 after a long separation, but since that day, nearly half of my friends have gone through the same thing. Being the first, I felt truly alone and like a huge failure. Now I can help my friends and they're all SO GRATEFUL for all the advice and the listening I can do. Thanks OBB for doing this article. Reply wow – thanks for writing this… I just have to say, however, you didn't fail. I'm divorced and about to remarry my gorgeous fiance, but I never think of the end of my first marriage as a failure. Sure, it didn't work out, but there's no "winning" in marriage, so I don't think there can be a failure. I still haven't really let out all my demons from the end of my first marriage, and as we have kids together, I don't feel I really can either, for fear of damaging our "OK" relationship we know have as co-parents. My heart goes out to all fellow divorcees, as it's a totally shitty thing to go through, even when it's "amicable", and I'm so happy that there are 2nd and 3rd timers here on OBB who aren't afraid to get back on the horse again 🙂 Reply I think this was a wonderful thing to feature. I knew my first marriage was over on the honeymoon, but it took until our first anniversary to find the courage to finally ask him to leave. My family and friends were shocked. They knew there were problems but they didn't want to believe that it was "that bad". The experience taught me to never compromise who I am and what I want out of life. I can only speak for myself but the failure of my first marriage made me a better partner for my second. Reply I love this post. Two of my bridesmaids and one sister have gone through divorce (and have "Wasbands" who they are still cordial/friendly with); two are in new and promising relationships. My brother as well, though his marriage was not friendly-ending; yet now he's engaged. As a first-time happy bride (Who found happiness later in life), I want to be sensitive to my loved ones' emotional head space. It helps me to remember what my "Special Day" may mean to others, or what feelings may arise in them, and to be a better friend to them, or to not take things personally if they react unexpectedly to our decision to marry. I look forward to reading part 2. Reply I agree with some of your other commenters: you didn't fail. You got a result, and you worked through it. I recently ended a committed partnership with a man I thought I would spend my life with. You make great points! I definitely can relate to feeling so many emotions all in one day and filling time doing other things. This was a great post, thank you for sharing. Reply offbeat divorcee here! What's more offbeat than getting divorced on Valentine's Day?? Reply me too! I got married October 2009, aged 23, and left him May 2010. And yes, I feel like a failure, but leaving him was the best thing I have done for myself in a long time. As I've told my mum, who left my father after 25 years, anyone can get married, it takes so much strength to leave someone. It has been horribley isolating though. None of my friends are married, yet alone divorced. I've been made to feel that it was wrong of us to get married in the first place, which is true but don't say it to someone! My grandma went as far to ask if we only got married so i could wear a pretty dress- way to dimish my pain gran! Reply Hey Kate, yes, wow, this is so great you posted. I wish I had known anyone besides my parents who were divorced, when I was thinking about getting – and eventually got – married. I was divorced within two years. Something weird happened in my community – as single women, all my girlfriends would rant and rave and cry and laugh about the men in their lives, but the moment anyone got engaged and married, all conversations about relationship problems were off the table. Because what, now you're married, and there's no out? So why complain or own up to any problems, because you're not going to get divorced, right? You're just going to work it out, right? So what are you complaining about? Well that didn't work out so well. My marriage wouldn't have stayed together even if I had been more open with my friends and asked for more support, but I would have spent a lot less time feeling isolated and alone throughout the whole process, and maybe met you along the way! Thanks again Kate, wishing you all the love and joy in the world! Nicole Reply Needed to read this. I've been divorced since Sept 2010 after getting married April 2009. I made the decision based on the fact I couldn't see a time that I wouldn't be responsible for my husband, and had been severely tempted after 5 years together. Still I feel embarrassed at the steam roller my wedding day turned into, proof that after a relationship of turmoil, the band on my finger would make everything ok. Needless to say, it didn't. My problem is that I soon after met a man who I am utterly in love with. Part of me feels guilt and anger towards myself as I feel I've invalidated a huge step in our relationship. If I ever remarried there would be this huge shadow over it for both of us, and added pressure to 'succeed'. I also got married before a lot of friends and I often feel like I can't make comments or share in their planning as I've 'failed'. Reply Thank you for posting, although it's a tough subject, it's nice to be able to hear someone else say exactly how you're feeling. I failed too, and it took being divorced to realise that I got married for all the wrong reasons to the wrong guy. Dealing with how everyone else reacted to the divorce was harder than the separation itself. I'm in a new relationship and the fear of failing again has already started to haunt me. The idea of getting married makes me happy but I'm finding it hard to get passed the idea that there's not point. Thanks again for your post (: Reply While I'm aware many see divorce as failure, believe you me somewhere along the lines, you worked hard to make it work, to fix it to do everything to avoid the stigma of divorce. My divorce was a matter of survival, I was in a dangerous situation, yet no one close to me knew. For all the divorced individuals out there, to me you didn't fail, it simply didn't work out. It reached the point beyond being able to be fixed, due to whatever reasons. Your reason could be, abuse, lack of attention, financial reasons, etc. You did not fail, you broke free of something whether you wanted to or not. You're not alone, you never were. I commend anyone who can speak up and feel little or no shame in their past. I am divorced and it took me six years to realize that it was for survival, I didn't fail, I never did. I broke free of things I had chosen to be blind too. Reply Thank you for posting. I recently just went through a divorce and it was really hard. I felt really guilty, but I wasn't happy either. We were on two different pages in life. I want to travel, take photos and eventually have a family. Unfortunately he was the opposite. Thanks again for posting Reply Thank you for this post. Im not yet married so cannot understand how it felt, but by speaking about your divorce you have also brought to light that my fears are not irrational. like many others who have replied, I come from a family who endured a heart breaking divorce and in all honesty I felt for many years of my life that I would never put myself through something as ridiculous as marrage. But here I am, ive been engaged for a year. Although I met the one person that managed to to turn my way of thinking completely completely upside down, I still feel like a deer in the headlights, like because my parents got divorced that my marrage will altimatly end the same way. I think this is another topic that is too seldomly mentioned and frankly just swept under the rug. But thank you because your talking about your divorce has helped me realize that im not the only one that feels this way and that maybe if I keep a honest open relationship with my partner that I can maybe make it work better then that of my parents. Reply Join the conversation Cancel Reply Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *Comment Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. Notify me of follow-up comments by email. Sign me up for your offbeat awesomeness newsletter! No-drama comment policy Part of what makes the Offbeat Empire different is our commitment to civil, constructive commenting. Make sure you're familiar with our no-drama comment policy. Biz owners & wedding bloggers Please just use your real name in your comment, not your business name or blog title. Our comments are not the place to pimp your website. If you want to promote your stuff on Offbeat Bride, join us as an advertiser instead.