My husband and I got married at 26, which is still fairly young by many people’s standards. By that time, he was already a card-carrying (or divorce-paper-carrying) divorcee. He was someone that got married young to his high school girlfriend. Spoiler alert—it didn’t work out because now we’re married with two sons. Yay!
Okay, it wasn’t really that simple. My husband and I were actually best friends in high school, and we reunited after he got divorced at 24. We can thank our romantic reconnection to a little thing called MySpace. (Those were the days…)
So, we reconnected, I moved back to Texas, and we got married a few years later. While it all sounds beautifully simple, I had tons and tons and tons of insecurities about his ex-wife. Granted, I probably would have felt that way about any serious ex in his past, married or not, because I was just insecure like that.
It took a lot of talking and hashing out of past issues before I felt really comfortable with the “ghost” of my husband’s past. But now, we’ve certainly moved on from that, and the majority of the time, I forget he was ever married before.
Which brings me to my point. Even though my husband had his share of baggage to get through, he was definitely ahead of the curve when it came to what it took to make a relationship work. As a child of divorce, I know that divorce can go several different ways. Many people become jaded and bitter and stew in their juices (Hi, Dad!). Some people face the unpleasant reality of what caused their marriage to dissolve, learn from it, and move on.
When I got married, I was really, really inexperienced in having an open, honest relationship. I wouldn’t call myself a liar along the lines of being pathological, but I definitely lied about my feelings because I didn’t want to experience the burn of rejection. Because my husband and his ex-wife lied to each other constantly and hid everything from each other, he made one ground rule that we had to stick to when we moved in together: We had to be honest about everything.
As long as I was willing to accept those conditions, we could go on our merry way. As it turns out, being honest is really freaking hard. I mean, it seems like a wonderful and noble endeavor, but it’s hard to say exactly what you’re thinking and not worry about the backlash. It’s hard to put yourself out there and open yourself up and wonder how the other person will react. I didn’t have a lot of positive experience with it from my childhood years.
Not to lay on the cheese too heavily, but my husband’s forced honesty as a byproduct of his divorce is the reason I am emotionally healthy today. (Well, I’m getting there.) I know there are plenty of people that get married for the first time and have a successful, open, and honest relationship for the rest of their lives. As for me, I couldn’t have imagined it any other way. Depending on the person, divorced dudes can bring a lot to the table.
(photo: Getty Images)