Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Feeling married (or not).

When will I stop feeling like a divorcee?

Given that we are born into this world single, you would think that it's sort of the natural, default setting for who we are, and how we feel about ourselves. I think though, that since most of the mainstream, "normal" world gets married in their twenties and spends the rest of their lives with one other person (Isn't that the mainstream, normal world? Isn't it?), feeling married takes over as the default setting for how one feels about oneself. Your average adults spend much more of their lives married than they do as singles.

And divorce, of course, screws everything up. Bluescreen.

I got married in my early thirties, and so it took a while for my settings to switch from single to married, but they happily did. In the first few years of my marriage, I couldn't imagine feeling any other way. Subsequently, divorce shook me to my core and of course, I went through months of self-redefinition, as any divorced person will have to do. Hard reboot.

So I suppose when divorcees get remarried, that redefinition recurs, only the settings adjust themselves to the new spouse. This is how it feels to be married to Spouse #2. It feels different from being married to Spouse #1. It feels different from being single. It feels different from being divorced. It's new. But it's a tangible, factory-installed setting.

When you remarry your Ex, the settings go off kilter. Frankly, I don't think there is a factory-installed setting for remarrying your Ex. You've got to create a custom setting. It's definitely different from being single or divorced, and it's also incredibly similar to being married to Spouse #1, because after all, Spouse #2 actually is Spouse #1. But it's still very different from that feeling because after all, Spouse #2 is not Spouse #1 at all (and if he was, we'd still be divorced).

Here's the thing: given the fuzziness of feeling (or not feeling) married again, I seem to be slipping back into feeling divorced from time to time. Even The Husband noticed some of this sort of weirdness.

For example, I still occasionally use my maiden name, even when I have committed to taking my husband's last name again. I tend to take care of a lot of "Man Things" that I used to rely on The Husband for when I was married, like car maintenance or mechanical stuff. I am much quicker to make decisions without him (something he finds a little annoying), even decisions that effect both of us. I am less domestic; I don't cook or clean as much as I used to when I was married. I still shop more for myself than for both of us. I tend to do more of my own thing.

I haven't really figured out how to feel married yet, at least not how to feel married to The Husband. I haven't really started dreaming about our future. I haven't melted my stuff (both material and psychological) into his stuff yet. I still feel a teeny weeny bit more divorced than married.

Don't get me wrong. I love The Husband, gangbusters. He's been fabulous. He is trying so hard to make our lives together good and special. I really couldn't ask for much more. I just haven't completely let go yet and surrendered myself to my marriage. I'm wondering if I'm still a little bit too damaged from the divorce, but I don't think that's it. I think it's probably just good old-fashioned fear. Maybe.


Anonymous said...

You keep saying how hard H is trying, what about you? How does he react when you make decesions for the both of you? How would you react if he did that?

Bottom line, it work on both sides. If you really want this, you have to put in the effort. Please don't get me wrong, I'm not saying you're not working hard. I'm just saying it's not easy and if you recognize areas that need to be addressed that's half the battle.

Best of luck! :-)

frum single female said...

i dont think that there is one just one way of acting married or one way of acting divorced. everyone is different. i think what you are experiencing is normal, especially since you were divorced and remarried the same person. give yourself a break. you guys will work it out.

Nice Jewish Guy said...

I like the computer metaphors. Nice post. I suppose with time things will acclimate. Kudos to both of you for trying so hard and being self aware.

Liz said...

Sometimes we just think too much. it took huge courage not only to remarry but to make things work from a fresh start for the two of you - and to be able to remarry again. There is a great book called The Anscetral Mind (by Gregg Jacobs) and though a bit scientific for this point, it pretty much talks about how our modern minds today just think too damned much! Take it from someone who has been married twice (second husband is a new dude though!). You are doing *awesome*. Keep doing what you are doing, dont meander on whether you feel this way or that - just DO (which you clearly are doing). After a while the strangeness will dissappear. Its people like you who make the rest of us say - wow. And feel inspired.

(sorry if this came across as too didactic. i do the same thing everyday. its easy to preach ;-) )