I keep telling everyone that I am never getting married again. And people laugh at me and say "oh, you'll change your mind one of these days".
I really don't think so.
I started cleaning out my filing cabinet today. There was a lot of junk in there that I'll go through later, but the worst part was the paperwork. There was so much of it.
Some of it - not so bad. Kids' report cards and drawings and love notes that they had written to me. Those made me smile.
But as I dug deeper, I started getting into the ugly stuff. Really ugly stuff. And I had to go through it and look at it and sort it out and organize it.
I went through all of it. I sorted it out and put it in mostly chronological order and put it in files marked "Divorce #1" and "Divorce #2" and I put them in their place in the drawer before I really realized just how huge the files are. So much ugliness in those two fat manila folders. I hope that I never have to look at them again. But it seems like every time I put them away, something comes up and I have to dig them out again.
I'm not perfect - I never said that I was. But seeing it all in black and white again just brought back so many things that I had left buried in the past. And I will admit that right now, I am angry at both of my exes, but at the same time I am also angry at myself. I made some crappy choices back then and while I suffered the consequences, my kids went through hell too. They went through hell because of choices that I made - and no child should have to go through that.
But they did. We did. And while we got through it and we survived it, I don't want to risk doing that to them again. I don't want to risk doing it to myself again. I'm terrified of failing at marriage a third time. I don't want to have to add a third folder to that collection.
I know what you're thinking - I have this wonderful guy in my life now, and wouldn't it be great if.........?
First off, it is way too early to even be thinking about that. Rushing into things is just a small part of where those two folders originated.
Have we talked about it? Yep. Have we joked around about it? All the time. In fact, our favorite joke started because it seems like no matter where we go, people assume that we're married. So The Dude has taken to calling me "Wifey" - and I respond with my nickname for him: "Never". He knows my feelings on marriage - I made that clear to him from the very beginning (actually I think I made it clear to him even before our first date, just to be safe).
Am I crazy about him? Oh, hell yes.
Do I want to be with him as much as possible? Yep.
Do I see a future for us together? Yep.
Have we talked about moving in together at some point in the semi-distant future? Yep. (Don't get excited - we're talking 1-2 years from now, depending on lots of different factors.)
Do I foresee us getting married? Nope.
Maybe that's a little harsh. But honestly, right now, I have no desire to ever be married again. The first two times were brutal on me and on the kids. We've been hurt too deeply too many times by men who claimed that they loved us. At this point, I have lost all faith in marriage. Vows don't seem to mean as much as they used to for so many people. I see people in long-term relationships that function so much better than couples who are married - so why ruin a good thing by making it "official"?
Maybe, just maybe, at some point I'll change my mind. I don't know how he's doing it, but somehow The Dude has been knocking down the walls that I so carefully built and he's making me feel things that I swore I would never feel again. And for some reason, I'm ok with it. We talk about things like this a lot, and I am open and honest with him about everything. He knows what I'm thinking - sometimes before I even say it.
How he puts up with me is a mystery to me. But I'm so glad that he does. And I just hope that he will continue to put up with me (and the chaos that is my life) for a very long time - whether or not we ever decide to make it official.