By Jennifer Anastasi, BounceBack Editorial Staff
We all know staying in a marriage for the long haul is a challenge. It’s no surprise that over the past decade, we’ve seen more and more young couples entering into marriage with no intention to love, honor and cherish each other until death. If one of them gets bored, falls out of love, or simply grows out of the relationship, it’s easy to make a quick, clean break. No children, no court battle, no problem. If your first marriage began in your 20’s, ended in less than 5 years, and produced no children – chances are it was a “starter marriage.”
Why bother with the hassle, expense, and emotional fall-out of getting married in the first place if you thought there was a chance it wasn’t going to last? We wanted to know more about why a woman would take a “starter husband,” so we sat down with Rebecca* a 34-year old graphic artist who recounts her starter marriage, subsequent divorce, and how she bounced back from the experience.
Rebecca recalls how she joyfully raced down the aisle at age 26. “It was as if Publisher’s Clearing House was waiting at the altar with a million dollar check. I was so eager to say, ‘I do! In hindsight, getting married really felt kind of like winning a contest. I got to wear a princess gown. I got to dance at the ball. And most importantly, I was acquiring a prince charming. I was indeed the envy of my friends.”
The wedding was just how she had imagined it…a fairytale day that required at least a year of planning. According to Rebecca, “I was fulfilling a wish list, but now I realize it wasn’t mine. Everyone told me how lucky I was, and what a great guy he was. Looking back, I got married because it was what everyone wanted and what I was supposed to want. So down the aisle I went! Lovely heirloom china pattern? Check. Monogrammed towels? Check. Husband I really wanted to love and cherish until DEATH? I was too caught up with my “things-to-do-before-30” list … I never gave that enough thought. “
The honeymoon was nice, but Rebecca now admits she secretly felt guilty knowing she would’ve had a better time with her girlfriends. The more time she spent with her newlywed husband, the less interesting he seemed. As the weeks turned into months, she began to wonder if she was ever really in love with her husband. Rebecca became more restless, and her husband grew distant. A few anniversaries passed, and their relationship degenerated into nothing more than a daily exchange of boring pleasantries reserved for roommates.