When I visited New England last month, I got to spend some time with my little sister, Michelle. She’s my dad’s daughter from his second marriage, so she’s my half-sister. I was surprised to learn that she thinks that she will be married more than once. It’s a given. She’ll get married, she thinks, one day. And then she’ll get a divorce. And then, presumably, she’ll get married again.
This seems completely mind-boggling to me. How can you even conceive of getting married if you think – if you assume – that it will not work? I felt like I was communicating with someone from another planet. She told me that most of her peers feel the same way: You get married to the wrong person, get a divorce, and then find the right person.
When I was her age – granted: over a decade ago – I never would have imagined that. When I was a little kid, when I was younger, when I was anything before now, I thought for sure that what happened was that you got old, met someone you liked, got married, and lived happily ever after.
Now. I’ll admit that I didn’t have any real reason to believe that. One set of grandparents was divorced. My parents were divorced. Almost everyone I knew had divorced parents. My dad would – soon enough – be divorced for a second time. But for some reason I believed. Maybe I thought that my parents’ generation was an aberration. Some fluke of the sixties. I don’t know what I thought. But I always remember thinking that there was no way I would end up … well … like them.
I am smarter.
I am more feeling.
I am more loving.
I am more wise.
I am better.
I am fucking different.
Hubris, table for one?
This morning in a courtroom three thousand miles away from Los Angeles, a man I’ve never seen represented me before another man I’ve never seen and – if I may put words in their mouths – announced that I am no smarter, no more feeling, no more loving, no more wise, no better, no different … than either of my parents. Or any of the other hundreds of people in relationships that I’ve known and I thought I was … well … not like.
I am now an ex-husband. I now have an ex-wife.
And I really don’t know what else to say about that.
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