Friday, August 6, 2010

My Advice: Stay Married!

By Patty Maher,

It is 4 a.m. I have been tossing and turning in bed for two hours.What to do…what to do…what to do.

It seems as though the used computer salesman who was supposedly helping me with a special piece of equipment I bought for $400 to run my business might have broken my $400 investment. $400 is a lot of money to me. There will be no way of proving this guy broke it. All I know is that it worked before I went to him and now it doesn't and I have to wait until morning to talk to my company's tech support and see if they can help.

I waited two weeks for that $400 thingy to arrive in the mail – and for one week I thought it was lost. I bought it used from an insurance agent who has decided to get out of the business. He never used it and I saved $100. But he didn’t write my address correctly when he shipped it. AND he failed to insure it or even get a tracking number of any kind. While worrying that my computer investment was lost in the mail, I had to put my cat to sleep. She was my companion for seventeen years. I had never put an animal to sleep before. Stress from the technology issues and the cat death have been tremendous. I’ve cried lots.

I could go on and on about technological stresses that have happened in the past month or so. They are similar to the car stresses that happened when I was trying to save money by not having a car payment and driving $500 to $1000 cars. Since I am not mechanical; since I can hardly fold a chair, I never knew if I was making a $100 investment in the old jalopies wisely or not. When you drive old cars like that, you’re always being asked to spend $100 on this or that. It’s constantly frustrating. But I don’t want to talk about computers or cars. I want to talk about the institution of marriage.

Mawe-wige – as pronounced by the preacher in The Princess Bride. Seriously, friends – if you are considering divorce, DON’T DO IT – not unless your husband or wife is an absolute scoundrel or a creep. Really, consider just staying together and practicing loving each other. Just keep practicing; eventually you’ll probably get it right. Seriously – who needs big-gushy-romantic love when you’ve got someone to lean on when the car doesn’t start, when the checkbook doesn’t balance and when the computer freaks out?

My former husband and I divorced quite peacefully in January 2000. We had no children or assets so it was pretty straight forward. We bought a do-it-yourself divorce kit off the internet for $75 and went down to the courthouse and filed together. We just were not happy. To be honest with you, it was mostly me who wasn’t happy. He wasn’t romantic enough for my liking. There were philosophical and religious differences that seemed like they would cause real problems if we had children.

I wanted children. He wanted a sailboat. He found his second wife months after the divorce and he is with her today. They have two children. I never found my Prince Charming. I have come to understand that Prince Charming only lives in the story book. And really, if there was a Prince Charming in real life, he’d certainly get on my very last nerve. So my former husband got a family, which I always wanted, and I learned to sail, which he always wanted.

It takes two people to ruin a relationship. And when it’s over, you still have to look at yourself and your own issues in the mirror every morning.

Why am I writing this? Seriously, I miss having a husband around. Sure I’ve dated men since the divorce. They’ve all had their issues, too. Everyone does. I suppose I could pull out some statistics about health and marriage but I won’t. I’m pretty sure we’re all aware that married people are happier in old age and live longer. I mean that’s pretty well documented, isn’t it? But it isn’t just missing a husband and frustration with technology that caused me to sit at my computer at 4 a.m. today and write about Mawe-widge.

Various friends of mine lately have been talking to me about divorce. Some have developed crushes on other people and their spouses seem pale in comparison. Generally these crushes have happened over the internet. It’s a real temptation these days.

My thinking on the subject of marriage and divorce is this:
If you are considering leaving a marriage because you are miserable with your spouse – because he or she is abusive, because he or she cheats on you, because you have no intimacy at all in your marriage – it is very possibly a good idea to leave the marriage. Talk to a few counselors and religious leaders (if you are religious) before making the decision.

If you are considering leaving a marriage because you seem to have fallen in love with someone else who is more romantic and emotionally satisfying – seriously reconsider, especially if the romantic person is someone whom you met over the internet.

Seriously – there are no Prince Charmings. And if there were, who would want one?

And back to the computer and car issues. You say your spouse is an idiot when it comes to cars and computers, so you might as well divorce him anyway? Seriously, it doesn’t matter. Having been single for a decade now I can tell you that it’s so much nicer to have an idiot to commiserate with when things break down. And just remember – you can always blame the problem on him!


  1. Some divorces are because of violence. You can't generalize.

  2. Oh and thanks for including abuse (aka some kind of violence) in your list of reasons is may be wise to leave!

  3. Wise words Patty. I have been married for 16 1/2 years now. It is far from a bed of roses. BUT, my husband is a good man. The unhappiness I feel is definitely in large part my issue. Luckily (for me) I know many people who have been through divorce... many with children. I think it would take something quite drastic for me to consider divorce at this point. I don't want to be judgmental, but I do feel there are quite a few people who give up on marriage easily because it is not easy or as they had imagined. I wonder how many in that particular situation are happier after?