A letter to a young newlywed considering divorce

You and I haven’t talked about what’s going on, so everything I know is, like, thirdhand. Which is to say that I really don’t know what’s going on at all. BUT. I thought I’d reach out with some unasked-for advice about stuff that I wish someone had told me when I was young and going through a divorce.

1. Marriage–and adulthood, for that matter–doesn’t have to look a certain way. When I was 23 and working and married I thought that meant I couldn’t have any fun and the rest of my life was going to be boring and budgeted from then on out. Which sucked, because I hadn’t had any fun before then, so I was looking at a life of just no fun at all. It took me YEARS to realize that my life can look however I want it to. I know you and he have been saving money and living with your parents and going to bed early and basically having zero fun, but that doesn’t have to be the case. You don’t have to buy a house right now or have kids anytime soon; you don’t have to work jobs that are a drag just because they pay decently. You can go back to drinking every day and seeing a different band every night and eating out at restaurants and traveling the world and buying each other lavish gifts and spending every cent you make and just generally having a blast. The important thing, if you love each other, is that you do it together.

2. It’s not your husband’s job–or anyone else’s–to make you happy; it’s your job alone. If you’re not happy with yourself first, you will never be happy with anyone else. It seems simple, but it’s actually super fucking hard. You have to spend a lot of time thinking about what YOU want and how you’re going to get it. And the really awesome thing about having someone who loves you by your side is that they also want you to become who you want to be, and they’re there to offer support and encouragement when you doubt yourself. I’ve been single for a couple years now, and, man, it sure was nice to have that built-in support, because it’s really hard to find it in yourself sometimes. Impossible, even. We have friends who can help, but unfortunately friends are unreliable. Life is just plain too hard to do alone, and that is the best argument in favor of marriage that I know of.

I don’t consider myself an expert at love or marriage by any means, but those are some things that I had to learn the super duper hard way, at the cost of some of the things (and people) that were most important to me, and I’d never forgive myself if I didn’t at least share them with you in hopes that they might help. Mostly, I just can’t stand to see good love go to waste, because I know now how hard it is to find. If you love him, none of these things matter, and you can work through it. Or even if you don’t feel like you love him right now, working on these things might help you feel that way again.

If what you truly want is out, I can certainly understand, and you won’t get any judgment from me. You need to do what’s ultimately best for you–you’re the only person living your life, and no one else is going to live it for you.

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