14 April, 2008
There's no way to ease into these topic so I might as well just say it: my parents are getting a divorce. I have read extensively about the concept of divorce, and its adverse effects on even grown children, but now I am living it, and it's much more and much worse than I ever could have imagined.
I have read (and even experienced) that the end of a significant relationship carries one through the same grieving process as death, and I have also read about the five stage of grief:
At approximately 10 PM tonight I was lying in bed trying to sleep, and I felt myself smoothly transition from denial into anger. My mindset changed from attempting to to get my mind around the very concept of having two people to coordinate Christmas schedules with, to fantasizing about yelling obscenities at my dad in front of the rest of the family, so everyone would finally know what a lousy husband he was.
I can't take sides here, but most of my anger is directed towards the party who served the divorce papers without the other party's knowledge or consent. I won't say which party that was, but know that since I'm speaking English, I will of necessity be using the male pronoun. If only I could be writing this in Hungarian.
He has treated me mom like shit for as long as I can remember. I don't like to use that word, but there is no other word for it. He treated her like shit. He made her cry, embarrassed her in public, undermined her in front of us and everyone, disregarded or ignored her opinions, mocked everything she believed in, and told her, verbally and non-verbally, that she was worthless: physically and in every other way.
The really disgusting thing is that he doesn't treat all women like that. Misogyny is an ugly thing, and my heart goes out to those who are married to men who treat all women like chattel. I wonder what thought process led those women to marry their spouses. But to treat all women with respect and courtesy, except for your wife ... that is the most repulsive thing I can think of. That is the ultimate betrayal.
I am just now coming to terms to what this means for me. All I have observed my entire life is this marriage, and now that it's over, I can know with even greater assurance that it's nothing to build on. Nothing to admire. Nothing to emulate.
The married couples I really admire have one thing in common: they are all best friends. They have no need to go on fancy dates because because they have just as much fun going grocery shopping together. They don't need to plan time to talk because they just do, naturally. They face problems as a team instead of blaming the other for what could have been done to prevent it. They face the world together. Their relationship is built on respect, which stems from friendship; instead of romance, which, let's face it, stems from penises and vaginae.
Yes, that is an accepted plural of vagina. I looked it up.
Anyway, I used to think that I didn't want to grow up to be my mother, nor did I want to marry my father. The problem, I am just now realizing, is that my thinking was off. Both of my parents are fabulous, intelligent, fun, kind individuals. Unequivocally people to emulate. Individually. But them together is peanut butter and soy sauce. Chocolate and asparagus. Raisins and gravy. Any other disgusting combination you can think of.
They should never have gotten married. They were older and lonely and hadn't dated for very long. And unlike me, they were older in the real world too, not just according to the Mormon timeline. They never became friends. Never developed mutual respect. Never looked at each other objectively and decided that they would still love each other even after they got fat and gray and faced unemployment and childbirth and every kind of misery together.
A mentor of mine told me a few months ago: marry someone who will cherish the promises he makes to you. Who would never dream of hurting you. Don't just marry any guy that wants to marry you. Sound advice from a sane man. And a happily married one to boot.
I would add to that promise I make to myself: I will marry a friend, who loves me because I am fun to be with, not because I have huge breasts. Guilty as charged, but someday those same breasts will be hanging around my knees and hell if I'm getting plastic surgery to keep a husband around. That's not what women are made for, and I'm not going to do it.
I am going to marry someone who has all the qualities I want (a surprisingly short list) and who will listen to me cry on the phone for an hour even if all he can think of to say is: I'm sorry.
And the fabulous thing is, I might have already found him. Stay tuned.