Real stories about dating and relationships in New York City. Truth is more interesting than fiction.

Living for Ourselves

Perhaps I should I have a rule, only blog when I’m clearheaded.  I that this post won’t make sense to anyone but me.  But I’ve given it a lot of thought and so here goes (note to my non-Twitter following readers, I have the flu or something that feels an awful lot like the flu):

I have a lot of married friends.  A lot of divorced friends.  And now that I have this blog and am meeting new people on twitter I even have a lot of friends (for a while I was the last of a dying breed).   I don’t really think that anyone got it right or wrong (although I wish that the people who were in miserable marriages would either make the effort to fix them or leave them, that shit makes me sad).  I think each of us made decisions that were right for us at the time.

Now clearly there are lots of folks who disagree.  It’s pretty much impossible to surf the net without reading some nonsense about how one group or another is WRONG. Sometimes it just comes out as plain hatred and anger (I’m not giving those sad souls links, pity-yes, links-no).  And sometimes just warped logic.

Speaking of warped logic.  I was reading double X.  Can I just say, I really, REALLY want to like double X more than I do.  I’ve been a longtime Slate fan and adore their podcasts.  Such a disappointment, so far. They posted this piece called My Wedding Was in the Times, My Marriage was in Shambles.

The author, while pimping her book and website, described how she struggled with the decision to end her .  But reading her story I couldn’t help wonder if she was  leaving out a major element – she was afraid of what people would say.  She wrote around it, but didn’t actually come out and admit it.

Which is a shame.  Because I think it’s a helpful thing to admit.  That what people will and do say so often affects women.  That we find ourselves bullied into decisions that we might never have made on our own. Staying in relationships, leaving relationships…  Because of what people will say.  I’d like to hope this is generational.  But I don’t think so.  I come across a lot of women in their 20s who seem completely overwhelmed by groupthink.

The flip side of this was the piece in The Frisky on Jessica Valenti’s wedding and the attention (mostly negative) it received.  God forbid a feminist decides to put on a light gray dress and get married.  How dare she!  Anyway, I’m happy she’s headstrong enough to do whatever she wanted to.

Living in fear of what others think isn’t much of a life.

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13 to “Living for Ourselves”

  1. RJW121 says:

    Voltaire said ‘marriage is the only adventure open to the cowardly’ !
    Great blog.

  2. Dating is My Hobby says:

    I’m in the 20-something age bracket, and I have to say I have stayed in relationships just because of what people would think if “oh-my-god-there-she-goes-ending-it-with-another-one-we-thought-might-work-out”. I even had a friend blow up at me once about going through guys like water– but I have to say, I feel like, if you aren’t happy, just move on and screw what other people think. They may just be too cowardly to admit their own unhappiness.

  3. drumdance says:

    Hm. As I guy I’ve never stayed in a BF-GF relationship because of what people might think. I was, however, upset about getting divorced because it felt like I was losing part of my identity. Divorce, in my view, is failure. I’m past the negative feelings associated with that, but I still hate using the phrase “my ex-wife.”

  4. dmfontana says:

    I’m in total agreement with what drumdance posted above having been there.

    As for “my wedding was in the times..” it seems that not much thought was placed past the wedding and the trappings that go along with it. Its almost as if she wanted the Times wedding and didn’t think “what’s next”. Thats ok on a date, where you can ease out of it the next day…. not when you share the same address.

    Both blogs scream you have to be happy with who you are and not just following someone elses lead or pressure. One just does it in a real positive way.

  5. pups4me says:

    Well said drumdance, as that is exactly what I felt and still sometimes feel–failure. It’s easy to say “50% of marriages end in divorce, so it’s not so bad”, but I couldn’t get past the failure label, and unfortunately, it was mostly me that used it. I have several close friends and I am the only one that is divorced, so while I know they don’t judge me or think of me as a failure, I feel it sometimes.
    It was one of the reasons I stayed in my marriage longer than I should have…the fear of being labeled a failure by others. However, I am so grateful to have my friends and family, as they really showed their support when I finally decided to proceed with a divorce.
    But now it seems I am falling back into the labeling thing and wondering what people think because it’s been 5 years and I am still single. I have met many, many men, but for one reason or another, things don’t work out. And I feel like a failure at that, and I wonder what people say. It’s not going to change how I approach dating and relationships, but I worry from time to time if others think there is something wrong with me. That’s why I like this blog…I realize it’s not just me that is single and dating.

  6. onedatewonder says:

    Let me share a little secret with you. If I hadn’t worried about what other people thought, I never would have married my first husband at all. I got cold feet after the invitations went out. But then, I couldn’t call it off you see. Because the invitations were out and what would people think? So I married him. And crisis after crisis I came *this close* to calling it quits and always took it back in the end. I remember the last time I took it back. It was three days before our housewarming party in the adorable little house we had just bought in rural USA. I had gone so far that he quite literally had one foot out the front door when I called him back. Because the housewarming party was in three days and what would people think?

    I divorced him 6 months later. When I found the wads of stolen money from his previous job stuffed in his desk drawers, and the letters from the last girl he’d cheated with laying underneath them. I threw him out the next morning and I never called him back. I never even looked back. And for once, I made a decision I didn’t regret later.

  7. Sega Megadrive Support says:

    a life is when you take control and live it like you want.. maybe that woman was afraid what others thought, that only she’ll regret later in life.. but no1 will know.. YET.

    Divorce is not really a failure in life, its somethin that happens when wrong decision was made. Wrong love found, ppl that think its a failure are those who need to enter the 21st centure xD

  8. Simone Grant says:

    Welcome to the blog and thank you. I’m a big fan of Voltaire, don’t know much about marriage.
    -Dating is My Hobby
    YEP! I had a friend (who is now married and MISERABLE and talking divorce with her husband) give me shit for ending a relationship that she thought had potential (and I thought it didn’t and the guy was a jerk). For a long while after that I thought that maybe she was right. But fuck it. Maybe if she wasn’t so concerned about playing by the rules and marrying by a certain age then she wouldn’t be so miserable now.
    I can’t tell you how you should feel. No one should. But I don’t see divorce as failure. Hell, I was just having this conversation – see What’s in Your Mirror? What is it with you guys?
    I think a lot of people see their wedding as a finish line. They got married. They “won”. Instead of realizing that it”s just the start of something bigger and maybe harder.

    Sadly there are a lot of really small-minded, unintelligent people out there who can’t see past their own experiences and prejudices. And some of them do think there is something wrong with you. And with me. And with anyone who dates and doesn’t meet someone they’d like to partner with in a LTR/marriage. Many of those people would rather you be in a bad marriage than single, because there is something wrong, in their eyes, with being a single adult.

    But you’re a smart person. Too smart to care what a bunch of losers like that think, I’d assume And I’m going to guess that you have people in your life who love you because of who you are. And would love you no matter what your relationship status. That’s the great thing about being smart and independent – we can see the situation for what it is, ignore the losers and be happy with our lives.

    Thank you so much for sharing that story with us. I’m constantly reminded, over and over, why I like you.
    -Sega Megadrive Support
    Welcome to the blog. Yes, I’d agree with you, divorce isn’t a failure. But it can be hard for some people to come to terms with their own divorces. Sometimes they need time.

  9. Skippy . says:


    The way you frequently refer to your “haters” and call them out in your posts and comments makes me think you ~want~ them to write something negative. I don’t know why you do this or if you’re trying to jack up your comment count or what but like you have always said. There’s already so much negativity out there. Why encourage more?

  10. Kelly Seal says:

    Thank you for this posting! I am 38 and single, and I have to admit I’ve been swayed by my friends and family in regard to who I should date, the timeline to marriage, etc. My saving grace has been my stubborn belief that I won’t settle for just anyone, that I have to meet the right person. So many of my friends have divorced or suffered in bad marriages, because nobody ever told them that they could make different choices. Women can be bullied into settling because of family pressure, the biological clock, a number of reasons. They can even convince themselves that marriage is what they want, even if they really don’t. Sooner or later though, the unhappiness and frustration will surface, so the feelings must eventually be dealt with. Isn’t it better to admit defeat and move on, rather than wasting time trying to “fix” something that isn’t fixable? Divorce is traumatic, but an unhappy, unfulfilled life is tragic.

  11. Simone Grant says:

    Frequently? Really? I’ve mentioned a 4 or 5 times in the last month that there are people who disagree with me. I don’t recall using the word hater. Not really my style. Considering the shit I have to read about myself, here and elsewhere, I’d say that’s not overreacting in the slightest bit. Just, you know, reacting. Like a human being. With feelings. Which I AM. Further, I have no need to jack up my comment count. I can’t, actually, keep up with the comments as they are. I think you misunderstand the purpose of the comments. They’re here for readers to engage in a part of the discussion (in a civil manner). And I’ve gone back to deleting the nasty comments, so those get wiped away before anyone sees them anyway (just me, lucky me). Oh and welcome to the blog…
    -Kelly Seal
    A big welcome to you too. And you’re welcome. I think it’s really important that women in their 30s who are sane, and happy speak out and tell the world that we’re OK with the choices we made. That we’d rather be single than stuck in unsatisfying marriages, etc. Otherwise, all anyone ever hears is the crap about how single women our age are pathetic and unhappy and desperate for a man. Anyway, that’s just the way I feel about it. I really do believe that there are just as many of us as there are of them (and we’re smarter and cooler).

  12. Singletude: A Positive Blog for Singles says:

    Oh, I’ve definitely made decisions based on other people’s opinions! I think it’s hard to break away from this completely. We’re social creatures and want to be accepted. We also have our pride, and it hurts to admit that we’ve “failed” (even though I don’t see a break-up as a failure, I know some people do).

    Regarding relationships, the way I chose to handle it after awhile was to just stop talking about them so much. When I was dating, I stopped raving to my friends about guys I’d just met and kept my lips sealed till I could say that we were definitely together as a couple. Then, throughout the relationship, I might talk about things we were doing, but I wouldn’t go into great detail about what was happening between us emotionally or what our plans for the future were. When the end inevitably came, I hadn’t pumped up anyone’s expectations, and so it was much easier. I also found that it was a relief not to have to drag my friends into every little thing and let five different opinions confuse me.

    Of course, if you’re engaged, that’s a whole other story. Can’t help setting up expectations there!

  13. Simone Grant says:

    Sorry, I’m just seeing this comment tonight. Didn’t mean to ignore it. I think you hit on something valuable there. I’ve never been one to overshare about my dates with friends (which is hysterical because now I overshare with the blogosphere. But I think your instinct on that is right.

    You also brought up one of the big issues here – pride and the fact that so many of use aren’t willing to admit that we’ve failed. This affects me in so many areas of my life (work, family, relationships). I’ll die trying before I’ll admit that I’ve failed. It’s petty and prideful and nothing I’m proud of but there it is. It’s part of who I am. And I can think of at least one woman I know who is married right now to a man she doesn’t love (and cheats on) because she won’t admit that she’s failed at marriage.

    Ugh. The things we do to ourselves.