When my first husband (let’s call him Pimple for the sake of this article) came home from work to tell me that he’d been sleeping with the (insert a list of insults) girl from work, everything I knew to be true died. Not in the dangerous drama you may imagine. No screaming, no threatening, no throwing of expensive breakables. Just us. In a quiet lounge, in a quiet block of flats, with me on my haunches on the kilim rug he’d bought me in Cape Town, and Pimple staring down at me and waiting for an explosion that never happened.
The next few weeks were akin to the most inhumane torture of heart and mind, and the next few months close to unbearable. I lost 9kgs in those first 3 weeks, the rings under my eyes had turned the colour of the Surrey sky at 5pm, and I found myself physically grasping people that had been in a similar experience and asking them how long it would take to feel better. Actually, how long would it be just till I could catch my breath again? But, slowly (and just as my friends promised), I crawled out of a very deep, dark hole. I started to hear laughter again, see the dimples on my bestie’s face, taste the deliciousness of chocolate, and relax enough to chuckle at grumpy cats on the internet.
It still took me a long time to realise that Pimple, who I’d been married to for almost 10 years, was not quite the model husband, though. Now, looking back, it might only have been with the help of my present husband (let’s say his name is Idon’tknowwhattookmesolongtofindyou) that I realised what marriage could be.
I’m not for a moment suggesting that first marriages don’t or can’t work out. They should, can and do; all the time. I would never wish the heartache of divorce on anyone (well, except maybe for Pimple and his lovely wife, the very helpful girl from work). But, there are a few advantages to getting a second chance. And now, having met Idon’tknowwhattookmesolongtofindyou, I would do it all again, just to find him.
Here are some reasons a second marriage works:
- I’m older and wiser, I just know myself better and feel more secure in what I want and don’t want.
- I’ve experienced a marriage that, even prior to his affair, never gave me much joy. So, when choosing to do it again, I knew what I was looking for in someone else in a much more realistic, tangible, quantifiable way.
- There was less drama. I was honest and straightforward, and so was he. We didn’t play games or mess around. Bliss.
- I have learnt that I can’t ever change someone. So, I didn’t marry with the thought of being able to fix something that bothered me once the ring was firmly in place.
- I married him based only on the love I felt for him (and Katie). Not because I needed him financially, or because my friends were all getting married, or because I felt this was my last chance to have a baby. Nope, just for his wonderful self.
- I had sorted a lot of financial responsibility issues out, which certainly wasn’t the case when I was 23 – driving a clapped-out Beetle and drowning in Woolworths accounts.
- I now consider what is important and what isn’t. The first time around, we make issues of things that, given the opportunity to start again, I guarantee you, you would leave alone. Just enjoy one another and don’t sweat what doesn’t really matter. I spent a lot of time regretting nagging Pimple about giving me a goodbye kiss, or crying about being ignored at a party. Time to WHOOOSAAAAH.
- I am more invested in this marriage, now that I understand what is at stake. I have found the most incredible human being and I’m determined to make him happy. I’m so much more grateful for him, and I never want to be without him. That’s worth working for!