“30 percent of now-divorced women say they knew in their gut they were making a mistake as they walked down the aisle — and kept walking anyway.”
It’s easy to guess why this might be so. And, in fact, many of us came up with theories as to why. But I have another theory, one that’s been on my mind lately, in a round about way.
For example, man meets woman. Man dates woman. He shares, with friends and family, concerns about whether or not this is a good match for him. There seems to be a lot of drama. But they continue to date. And after a year+ and a couple of rough patches they decide to live together. Subsequently, he tells friends and family that they are madly in love and he’s always known they are meant to be together forever.
Did he always know they were meant to be together forever, or is he changing the story? And yes, these are real people.
I suspect that his memory is changing. That he is selectively remembering things differently. Subtly. I’m sure there are all kinds of research studies that might explain this. Or not. But I’m not in research mode (and this is just my silly personal blog).
I’ve come to believe, though, that we all change our stories, unintentionally. That we misremember details and/or shift to make things fit with the conclusion we select for ourselves. So, in the case of the man meets woman story, the man has selected a happy ending. Therefore, he is eliminating all of the doubt he used to have from the final narrative. Now, when he tells the story of his relationship, he says that he’s always known that they were meant to be.
Makes sense? A little bit?
I’m guessing that a fair share of people have doubts on their wedding day. Our society is changing rapidly and ideas about family and marriage are wrapped up with all kinds of political, religious and cultural tension. Marriage doesn’t mean what it used to mean (for many people).
So are those now divorced women any different from the general population of married women/people? In other words, were they really experiencing more doubt than anyone else? Or did they decide, in retrospect, that their stories went that way? That their marriages were doomed from the start?
Just something I’ve been thinking about, in general. The way we interpret our experiences, tell our stories, compare our truths. Not that I know shit about marriage or divorce. I just thought it was interesting to look at that specific study through this lens.
Tags: change, marriage, memory, research