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If there is a crazy little thing called love, then I’d say there’s a crazy big thing called marriage.

They all start beautifully, and a few have happy endings. Some sadly do not have the happily ever after.

I belong to that “some.”

I remember emailing many years ago an old friend with this very subject, titled “I’m divorced! Woohoo!” along with a funny animated gif image of a dancing elf in the body of the email. But I was not being honest. My mind wanted to think of it that way, but my heart did not feel that happiness of “freedom.” Who was I fooling but myself?

What led me to remember this?

Weeks ago at work, I spoke with Martha C* (an employee from one of the agencies I assist). She is recently divorced and just had her last name changed back to her maiden name. I.T. Support changed her last name in the system but forgot some of the other parts. Hence, she was having issues accessing some of her files in one system. I advised her I will assign the ticket to her local technical support.

Towards the end of the conversation, my friendly self said, “I’m sorry about your divorce” which is as casual as “I hope you feel better.”

That led to a short but heartfelt conversation between us.

She gently replied “Oh no, don’t be sorry. He made me think less of myself. Anything I do is never enough for him.” I told her, “Girl, I know what you mean! I’ve been happily single for over a decade now. And yeah! Now I can eat cereal for dinner if I want to, haha!” Then she laughed.

She said they’d been married for 16 years, no kids. I said, that made it easier to separate. She said she is in a better place now – as I am. I told her I was married for 18 years but did not elaborate on the cause of my divorce.

Then I asked her, “Not that I’m being nosy, but I’ve always been interested to know why couples divorce. What leads to it? We may simply be statistics and It’s easy to say incompatibility. But there is a story in every divorce. After all, a relationship usually starts beautifully.”

Then I told her that I had thought I’d be jumping up and down after my divorce. But I didn’t. Instead, even though I was relieved, I felt deep sadness. Sad because you had been married to someone for a long time and you have memories together and shared the ups and downs together, even if it’s mostly downs. He was my husband, the father of my children. He was family.

After a few minutes of talking, Martha and I parted ways and wished each other the best as we hang up from the phone.

Every divorce has a story to tell. I have mine. I can write a book about it. But not every story needs to be told and exposed to the world. My story is something I keep for my own lessons and growth.

I learned that even those who wanted to be out of a marriage and initiated the divorce will not necessarily jump up and down rejoicing after a divorce. Maybe some do, but not everyone.

I remember saying to some friends earlier on as a single woman that I liked being married – and would not mind marrying again. But after a while though, I got used to being single and became contented, and realized why some women decide to remain single. If intimacy and pleasure are what we look for, we learned that those are not good enough incentives if our peace of mind can be threatened by major differences and constant struggles. Therefore, I’ve said no to a few prospects of romance, especially after seeing differing values. I’ve nipped them in the bud, so to speak.

Another valuable lesson you learn as a long-time, contented single woman is that you learn not be desperate for a man or a relationship. If it comes, it comes. If it doesn’t, it’s okay too.

I also learned that just because I have not remarried does not mean I’ve become a man-hater. I still respect the marriage institution and have a high regard for it. I admire men who value and cherish their wives. I used to be jealous of those wives but not anymore. After all, I know I have a choice to be married anytime I want. However, marriage is such a sacred union that I want to be 100 percent sure this would be it, no more divorce, no Plan B. A blog post I read long ago stated that if you have a Plan B, then you don’t even want to consider marrying the other person – because you are not 100 percent sure of him/her. You will work things through no matter what. Rich people may have prenup but for those of us regular folks, there should not be Plan B. It’s either you love the other person with your whole heart and soul or you’re just testing the waters.

If my ex-husband and I had not gotten divorced, this month would have been our 31st wedding anniversary. Wow, that actually made me feel sad thinking about it. Despite the fact that no marriage is perfect, it could have been 31 years of happy family events and celebrations, of graduations and weddings.

No, I am not having a pity party. I am still contented with where I am. And I certainly no longer “carry the torch” for my ex. I do have some regrets though. I looked back and wished that we could have worked through on some more things. God knows we tried to a degree, but the immaturity and selfishness got in the way. What about me? What about my needs? Me..me..me.

In a rocky marriage, I believe there is always a way to patch things through. If two people will only stop looking at each other, and instead look at the same direction into the future, they will refrain from seeing each other’s imperfections, and work together as a team. Because the journey is lighter when there are two people carrying the load, and life’s excitements are more joyful when two people share in the happiness of this crazy big thing called marriage.

I guess all I wanted to say is …. I wish I stayed.

*Name changed to protect privacy

For this reason, a man will leave his father and his mother and will stick to his wife, and the two will be one flesh. – Matthew 19:5

In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. A man who loves his wife loves himself. – Ephesians 5:28

Yesterday morning as I was dressing up for the day, I spotted my buttocks in the mirror. Somehow, I felt compelled to stop and look. Suddenly I had this realization. I am already aware, but once again had to be reminded that, “Toto, you are no longer looking at Beyonce’s butt.” Though that was not the realization. I realized as I was inspecting my behind, how crude it would be to expose it to others, to show it to men who are not my husband, or to the world. And yet, famous women deliberately do it.

Perhaps if mine were nice-looking, would I not want to show them off too? And for money? We are not talking about seeing people’s rears in a public pool or the beach. That’s just the norm in those places and generally, no one pays attention. I’m talking about posing in front of a professional’s camera to flaunt one’s buttocks in exchange for a talent fee.

Like what talent? And who pays for it? And for whom?

What I realized is there is just something very indecent about it. Some of us may have already grasped that idea, but this morning’s realization is a personal one. It’s like matters pertaining to cleavage and women’s breasts. Three infants extracted milk from mine. And looking at my sagging breasts, these female anatomical parts should really not be objects of sexual desires (at least not for other men). What they are is a source of life-giving food for little humans. It was the same realization I had a few years ago when I wrote about women purposely displaying their cleavage in public. Maybe there’s something I do not know, or I do not get.

You can try this if you wish. Lock the door behind you and in front of a mirror, pull down your pants or lift up your skirt. Examine how your buttocks look like and ask yourself, “Would I be willing to expose them for the world to see?” You may not have the same epiphany as I had but try it anyway. Feel free to share your findings.

Dumped

It feels out of place writing about the topic of being dumped in the midst of the Corona Virus global pandemic (one can create an entire blog on this unprecedented worldwide event). But I happen to remember a song that may go well with losing someone in a romantic relationship, either by being let go by the other person, or for another reason that is not deliberately done by the other person.

Have you been dumped before? I have. Man…that was painful. Thankfully, that happened many, many years ago. And I got over it after a year. I hated the guy so much when he did that to me. All I could think of were his negative qualities – or in fairness to him, what I perceived back then were his negative qualities. Because now, I believe that how you perceive people and things hugely depends on what is going on within you.

Looking back, I could see later on the wisdom of having done that on his part. He had to let me go because it just was NOT working (due to differing values). A few years later, our communication resumed, just a simple hello via email. There were no hard feelings anymore. He seemed to have wanted to start again at least the friendship. But I did not see the point anymore in even maintaining that. So I just let the contact die off in a subtle way. I realized he really is a nice and caring man. My understanding is that he has remarried (was divorced from his first wife), and I am happy for him.

I learned that when a relationship ends, it may be painful for a period of time. You may feel that the pain will never end. But trust that in time, you will get over it and move on, look back and even say, “That was not a waste of time,” because you gained experience and learned some important lessons in life.