I was an unhappy twenty-four year old married woman, and I had just had a miscarriage. When that happened all I could think was: I could now leave my marriage. I wasn't trapped anymore.
Of course being trapped was my own fault. Lots of silly reasons made me marry this tall, dark and handsome man I hardly knew. But I was young, inexperienced and looking for love - I certainly wasn't getting enough of it at home at the time - so I said yes when he asked me to marry him after just knowing each other for three weeks. And funny thing is, I knew going in he wasn't the right person for me. We were too different. Our parallel paths would never merge.
But, I went through with it six months later, and lived with him for three and a half years. Six months after our marriage I graduated from college; he never went to college. I quickly got a good steady job working as an editor for an aerospace company; he was a film editor who had to withstand periodic layoffs. I liked quiet dinners and the movies; he liked partying and drinking with his single buddies. So for a guy who was in a hurry to marry me, he showed me almost immediately he didn't like the married life. The only good things he did for me was teach me to cook and get me to quit smoking. I still have a photo he took of me with a cigarette in my hand - it's hard for me to believe I ever did that.
The last straw came with the miscarriage. It was a particularly difficult experience, and I ended up staying in the hospital for three days. Besides taking me to the hospital and picking me up, he never visited me while I was there. And he had no patience for my tears afterward.
In deciding to leave him, I reasoned I had a better chance of being happier without him than with him. And I decided I better not wait. The longer I stayed the harder it would be to leave and the harder it would be to find someone else. And it turns out I was right. We were divorced by the time I was twenty-five. Poof, the marriage was over. And because I had no ties to him - we had no children and owned no property together - I never saw him again.
And yes, I did find happiness without him. Five years later I married my second husband and we've been married for forty years. I'm very glad I let my first marriage go.
Causes Madeline Sharples Supports
Didi Hirsch Community Mental Health Center, Culver City, CA
Vistamar School, El Segundo, CA
Crossroads School, Santa Monica, CA (Endowment in...