I would never have predicted that at 24 I would be checking the “divorced” box when filling out paperwork.
But I would also never have predicted that at 18, I’d be signing a document that bound me to another person for life.
So really, who am I to predict anything?
By the time we turned 18, we’d been together for 3 years. We’d gone through 2 miscarriages, transitioning to different colleges, and more family “drama” than I can even begin to commit to print. By 18, we were family.
So we got married.
And life was great, truly. We were both going to school full time in different cities, so we rented an apartment in the middle, adopted a cat, and settled into our version of married life.
At first, we both worked full time and did school full time, but he couldn’t handle it. We realized we could afford our lives on one full time income (he continued part time), so he was able to better focus on school, and I carried the brunt of the financial burden.
We worked. We went to school. We worked some more. We had study groups. We worked overtime. We slept in the same bed, lived in the same house, but I’m not sure how much of each other we actually saw, let alone interacted.
For almost 5 years, we did life together. And honestly, in a lot of ways, it worked really well. I can genuinely look back on those years with pride and happiness, as we achieved a lot, and stuck together.
But at some point, we became roommates. He used to call me his “domestic living partner,” as a joke of course.
One day I woke up and realized I wasn’t happy with this version of marriage. This didn’t feel like marriage. Were we supposed to be living this way? Is this as good as it gets?
We had come to a crossroads, with two very different ideas of the end.
Over the next few months, I quit my job and tried to commit fully to my marriage. I was determined to give it my all, but also knew deep down that may not be enough.
He was convinced we’d stick it out regardless, that he’d rather live with me than without me, no matter the state of our relationship. But at 24, what sort of settlement is that?
I knew we were too young to bind ourselves to unhappiness, despite the vows we’d taken, and I was determined to help him see that.
In the end, I couldn’t.
But it ended anyway.
I believe that people change over time, whether they “grow up” or not. I believe that marriage can be forever, but maybe it isn’t always meant to be so.
I believe in the decisions I have made, both at 18 and 24. Both to begin, and end, a marriage.
I believe in happiness.
Our divorce was finalized a few months ago, after a lengthy legal process. Splitting two lives that have grown together is no simple task.
We do not speak.
I hope one day this changes. I wish him nothing but happiness, and believe that when he finds it, he’ll better understand why I wasn’t willing to “settle.”
As for me?
I found happiness.