The Newlywed Catch 22: The First Year Is Tough

Love, Heartbreak

A new wife finds it tough to live with or without her husband.

I fantasized about an idealist who could quote Thoreau and Emerson; I fell in love with a Prada-loafer wearing lawyer. I longed for a man who was at least 6 feet tall; I got 5'9"—with shoes on. I dreamed of lazy weekend mornings in bed; Eric worked seven days a week, and for the few hours that he did sleep, he snored. When I accepted his proposal of engagement, I was well aware that I was agreeing to marry a 37-year-old whose dirty clothes would never meet a laundry basket, and who still called his parents "Mommy" and "Daddy."

It wasn't perfection, but it was right. In just one date, I had been transformed from a boy crazy, what-if-the-grass-is-greener tease into a monogamist. When I was with Eric I was present in a way I didn't know I could be. I trusted him. After our first fight, I didn't want to slam the door or run away; I wanted us to hold each other and talk it through. I loved him and he loved me back in just the right way. This was it.

And yet, here I was, married less than a year, staring at this man, my husband, wondering how I got to this place, and if it was really going to be forever. It felt as though I were the first newlywed to let such horrible thoughts cross my mind, and I wondered if I was destined to become part of the 40 percent divorce statistic. How To Survive Your First Year Of Marriage

The truth, I've since discovered, is that many women are filled with doubt in the early days, but keep it to themselves primarily out of a fear of being judged. Only after promises of anonymity did dozens of married women reveal the truth about their first year of supposed wedded bliss, calling it "a shock," "like whiplash," and "hell on the heels of a beautiful honeymoon."

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