how-not-to-divorce

Maybe you’ve heard the stat that 50% of marriages end in divorce. Though the accuracy of that number is up for debate, a deluge of celebrity uncouplings this summer have brought to light just how difficult long-term, monogamous relationships can be. Sure, the Hollywood elite aren’t representative of our culture at large, but it’s hard to believe in everlasting love when those who seem to have it all, don’t.

As a diehard romantic, divorce always seemed like the ultimate failure. Growing up, I could think of no worse outcome for my future love life. Separating from your spouse meant there could never be a true Happily Ever After, and that terrified me. (Clearly I was one of many young girls effectively brainwashed by Disney…)

Even so, when it comes to tying the knot, I still feel fairly strongly about choosing the right guy the first time around so I can “have and hold” one person for a lifetime. Ultimately, I know, there is no foolproof strategy for marital success, but it doesn’t mean you can’t try, right?

When you’re in love, the concept of divorce feels so impossibly distant and “other” that you’re certain it’ll never be you. But, one would assume that every couple feels that way when they say “I do” or they wouldn’t be getting hitched in the first place.

After thousands of days waking up next to the same bleary-eyed human though, the thought of splitting up must become more appealing… It’s freedom, it’s a break from monotony, it’s an escape from the insular snow-globe life you created with another person.

With everything we know about the institution of marriage, how can two people today say that marriage is a good idea? If we go into it knowing it will likely fall to pieces, why would anyone ever get married?

Hope.
And delusion.

If you’re smart, you know what your odds are. You understand that vowing to stay committed and faithful to a single person for decades on end is biologically laughable and historically near-impossible, yet, you big fat do it anyway. You convince yourself that you’ll be the exception, not the rule.

But from what everyone tells me… the whole commitment thing is not easy. I guess what I need to come to terms with is the idea that marrying someone doesn’t mean your love life gets any less messy. It just means that you’re experiencing all those ups and downs, and i-love-yous and i-hate-yous with one person.

And maybe you stick it out. Or maybe you give up. But either way, a separation doesn’t have to be as life-ending and earth-shattering as I envisioned as a youngster.

If I charted every moment of my eventual marriage on a scatterplot, diligently recording relationship highs and lows, I’d hope the graph would skew positive. From what I’ve read and seen and heard, however; over the course of a lifetime together, you’re probably lucky if you average out at zero.

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