I got married at 22 and was divorced by 24.
It's easy to say that I was young, immature and not ready for a lifetime commitment, but the experience made me realize that marriage, as an institution, just might not be for me. Seeing my friends partner off and get deeply involved in serious relationships also makes me realize that maybe marriage isn't right for a lot of people.
Personally, I hated being married. I hated that my identity was tied to another person. Splitting finances was hard, especially when we were trying to negotiate two different views of money into one cohesive system.
Being accountable to another person 100 percent of the time is also difficult. It was stressful when I wanted to do things that my ex-husband didn't "approve" of. My marriage was boring and routine, and I like life to be exciting and spontaneous.
There were so many fights, and fighting with a partner is so draining. The fights distracted me from my social life, my professional life and my family. We fought about the most mundane things, like how to load the dishwasher and the right way to fold t-shirts.
Marriage is hard. It's a job. You need to work at it.
At this point in my life, a lot of my peers are either in long-term relationships or are engaged. I find working on my career far more fulfilling than working on a relationship. Thinking about relying on another person emotionally and/or financially seems too unstable to me; I'd rather put my time and energy into personally fulfilling ventures.
Plus, humans are animals, and I'm not sure if they're monogamous ones. Who doesn't see an attractive person and think about the sexual possibilities? Cheating is so common amongst spouses. Maybe it's not about either party failing as a partner, but it's the system itself that isn't working.
Monogamy isn't for everyone and it's super hard. Being attracted to other people and feeling connections with a person other than your spouse feels natural to me. The greater public frowns upon cheating, and it's treated as moral failing.
But, what if we are just trying to force people into monogamy when it's not necessarily how we were built to live? Some people think that having their partner watch porn is cheating; when did it become so taboo to look?
Now, not all marriages are strictly monogamous. There are swingers, people who enjoy threesomes and even “open” marriages, where each partner is allowed to have their own sex life outside of the marriage. But, most people consider all those taboo also.
My opinions and feelings about marriage might change, but I think it's really time to stop looking at divorce as a failure. It takes a lot of courage and strength to leave a bad relationship.
I knew my marriage wasn't working, but it was still heart breaking and terrifying to leave. Starting over was one of the hardest things I ever had to do -- but one of the most important. Being freed from the bondage of a bad relationship allowed me to thrive like I hadn't before, and live a life I wanted.
So, I'm not bitter, just realistic, and I have the personal experience to back myself up.