Seems a good time to take a bit of a breather from the woes of the world and rein my focus for the day in to the realm of the woes of the woman. Don’t get me wrong, as I’m certainly not saying that many of those woes don’t have the same testosterone-driven cause, but not even I would go as far as to blame earthquakes and tsunamis on the penis-laden.
It’s this article that prompts today’s post, titled, “Why Remarry?”, a look at the idea of doing it again from one not chuffed about the idea.
The other day a younger friend, a woman in her twenties, called to share news of her engagement. She’s been dating a great-seeming guy for about a year, and she sounded exuberant, glowing, over the moon. “Congratulations, Eleanor! I’m so happy for you.” Yadda, yadda, yadda, and we wrapped up the call.
The truth is, as a divorced woman in her forties, it’s hard for me to get excited about anyone’s impending nuptials. Very hard to pretend the divorce and adultery statistics don’t exist, to push into the background my own painful memories of marital discord, the tedium and pain of having the same fights over and over again, the feeling of being unloved and trapped. What I mostly feel for Eleanor and others like her is a jaded sense of “Good luck dear. I’ve been there. Enjoy the good parts and take care of yourself when it’s bad. And try to have some sort of long-term back-up plan.”
Cynical? Sure. And why not? It’s been no bed of roses for so many of us, and the prospects aren’t looking so good through the filter we now attach to those tinted glasses.
Most men require a lot of care. They want to be fed; they require copious dry cleaning; they’re physically large and take up space; they demand attention in ways large and small. All these things are well and good, and I’m often happy to do my part. But why would I sign myself up to have to do it, 24/7? Sex on demand is a beautiful thing, but having the bed to oneself sometimes is equally a treat. Once the kids are old enough to go out and get around on their own, the feeling of liberation is pure bliss. Being able to do whatever you want, whenever you want, in your own home! People have fought wars for less. Do you really want to give that up?
Good question! And giving it up in exchange for a lying, cheating bastard who’ll run you ragged, support only what builds him up and may very likely end up leaving you in the lurch? Hm.
Given that the rate of divorce in first marriages in the US is 45% to 50%, and for second marriages that jumps to 60% to 67%, finding bliss seems an illusion, at best.
The not-doing-it-again thing is going around in the world of Western woman, and the idea of opting for single has caught on big time:
According to the 2007 US Census, for those 25 and older, 52 percent of men and only 44 percent of women are likely to remarry after death or divorce. The New York Times analyzed the data and reported that for the first time in recorded history, more women are living without a husband than with one.
… I’ve been surveying girlfriends on this subject, and 14 out of 15 of my married friends, all women over 40, look mortified when I tell them that the subject of marriage has been raised in my current relationship. “No! Don’t do it!” is the swift cry. After that they all say “Why? What for? Isn’t it perfect as is? Living apart, seeing him when you want to? What could be better?” One women at a recent dinner party, married for sixteen years, told me that if she were to find herself single again, not only would she not remarry, she wouldn’t ever have another relationship again!
Okay, that may be a bit harsh, and there are those in the 50% to 55% of marriages who are actually pleased with their situations, content, happy even. Off hand, out of all my friends all over the world I can think of about five women who would change neither their man, nor their circumstance, for anything.
Sure, we tend to hope that we could be one of those women … those living-happily-ever-after-til-death-us-do-part girls … which is my lame excuse for having been down the aisle THREE BLOODY TIMES. And, of course, I’m far from alone in that dream …
I’ve concluded that for me, the biggest draw lies in the smidgen of chance that I could experience something I’ve never had before, the old fairy tale that makes youngsters like Eleanor want to get married. Maybe it would be fantastic. Maybe we’d continue to hold each other in the night in this perfect way, resolve our differences with relative ease. Maybe the emotional rewards would trump most discomfort? That he’d be my partner and best friend always? Hmmm.
Yeah … that.
And what is it with that?
Thankfully, it’s Lent, so my mind isn’t going anywhere near those sorts of thoughts until at least after Easter, and given the level of shit I’ve been wading through lately avoidance is likely to last a hell of a lot longer than forty days.
Should I someday find myself again thinking in terms of sharing not only my life, but my space and legal status with a man, having somehow manage to rid my mouth of that nasty, ashy taste that lingers … well … you may find me writing:
Remind me again what the appeal might be …