**Disclaimer: The spacing on this is screwed up and I can’t seem to get it right. Once again, Technology-1, Alyssa-0**
This is kind of a big day for me. I don’t know what it is about “5 years,” but it seems significant. A lot can happen in that time. It’s half a decade.
Nine years ago today, I got married. My ex and I would be celebrating almost a decade of marriage together today but….
On what would have been my fourth wedding anniversary 5 years ago, he and I were huddled around his laptop, trying to navigate a website about filing for divorce in Wisconsin. I remember half sitting on the arm of the couch, not wanting to be that close.
The next day, we went downtown to file and pay the fee (yup, it’s not free!), and then he left on a plane to California. A new chapter in each of our lives was beginning as we began the 6-month waiting period until our divorce was finalized.
That day before, an “anniversary” spent discussing the logistics of splitting up the remnants of our seven years together, I remember I had put on my vinyl of Bon Iver’s “For Emma, Forever Ago.” A rather melancholy tune was playing:
Pump the plumb
In my arbor ’till my ardor
Trumped every inner inertia
Rushing from the sub-pump
(Or so the story goes)
Balance we won’t know
We will see when it gets warm
You really have to listen to it to get the full effect. I’m actually listening to the album right now, and it’s raining. Too perfect. Melancholy as it is, it brings me an odd sense of comfort. I remember putting it on approximately a year after that day, when I was in my own apartment, the first apartment I lived in by myself.
It’s true. A year later, life was good. But I was still figuring out a lot. I still am.
She was right. Although I didn’t take my accounts offline, all of those things were true. Even now, my efforts to delete nearly every trace of my former relationship on social media doesn’t stop things from popping up in Timehop and Facebook memories. Tons of friends and family have documentation from my wedding day, even if I’ve managed to wipe my own account fairly clean.
It’s OK. It’s not exactly like I’m trying to erase my past. Most of the time, on days like today, it just shows me how far I’ve come.
Over these past 5 years, especially in the first couple, I just didn’t understand how I’d gotten it SO wrong. I do take marriage seriously. I took my vows seriously; I wrote them myself. How did I screw it all up? Not the marriage itself — that takes two — but my choice of life partner.
And that’s not meant as an offense to him. It’s just that he doesn’t possess a lot of qualities or interests that I learned were really important to me. It scares me. It makes me feel like we don’t know who the fuck we really are in our 20s, and tons of people get married in their 20s. Some of them are just fine, but I know there are others like me, who wake up one day and are like, THIS PERSON? How did this happen?!
Honestly, though, I feel like getting divorced resulted in an evolvement from a former version of myself. Starting over at 30 isn’t exactly ideal, but it’s a lot better than a host of alternatives. Now at 35, I’m very confident about who I am and what I want. I’m still going to make mistakes, but I don’t think I’m going to make them in love.
The thing about romantic love is, you’re only half of the whole. It’s more than just feelings. It’s making a choice every day. It’s a partnership.