I Married The Laziest Man Alive

How to lose a schmuck in 10 days.

confident woman Olena Yakobchuk / Shutterstock

I vividly remember the moment I knew I was getting a divorce.

"I think I made a mistake," I told my parents almost exactly one year after marrying my college sweetheart.

We were sitting around a table in the corner of a Chinese restaurant ironically called Double Happy. I laid my head down beside my plate of cashew tofu and said, "I think I married a schmuck."

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By the time we got married, my then-husband had been in grad school (a five-year Ph.D. program) for six years, and he hadn’t even started writing the thesis required to get his degree.

Instead of doing yoga or playing tennis with me like he used to, he had become sedentary. He spent his free time inhaling entire bags of chips in front of his computer screen, gaining 60+ pounds while insisting that mowing the lawn once a month counted as exercise.

As you can imagine, this put our relationship in decline.

Though I tried to look past the schmuck's physical changes, it was hard being attracted to someone who had no motivation, no passions, and no interests. We developed very separate lives. Me writing novels, go for runs in the Colorado foothills and hang out with coworkers from my engineering job. Him watching YouTube videos on his laptop for hours on end.


I know what you’re thinking: Porn? Excuse me while I laugh at my keyboard.

With delusions of being an old-fashioned man's man, the schmuck watched videos of people doing things like carving wood and curing meat. On the rare occasion, he would try out a new hobby, rather than just observe, it was something ridiculous like smoking pipes (yes, that happened), and it never lasted more than a week.

I honestly wish he'd been watching porn. It would have been less boring.

That really sums up the first year of my marriage: boredom. We weren't fighting constantly or cheating on each other — we were just roommates who happened to sleep in the same bed.


The last straw came in July of 2019 when I had yet another come-to-Jesus talk with the schmuck

Since getting married, I had tried in vain to turn him into the man I wanted him to be. I helped him set goals for grad school and constantly checked on his progress — which was, after a year, exactly zero.

That's when it hit me: I couldn't fix him. If I stayed married, this hamster wheel of boredom and nagging and trying to manage someone else's career on top of my own was going to be my life. Forever.

At that moment, imagining that future for myself, I felt like I couldn't breathe. I had to get the hell out.

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As anyone who's been divorced can tell you, it's harder than your average breakup. There's legal garbage involved, splitting a house that's in both of your names, deciding who keeps the dog (me— over my dead body would a schmuck take my furbaby).

For me, the hardest part was emotional. Not that I wasn't sure about my decision — I was — but it was still hard to go through with it. I constantly felt like I was being tugged back toward my loveless marriage from all directions, including the schmuck, other people, and myself.

Guilt is a dangerous feeling

The schmuck had become increasingly manipulative over the years, convincing everyone around him (myself included) that he was the victim in his own life. He couldn't work out with me because he was too busy with grad school, he couldn't finish grad school because his boss didn’t like him or his coworkers were annoying — the excuses kept piling up.

This victim mentality only amplified after I told him I wanted a divorce. He treated me like a soulless monster who was abandoning him "during the hardest time of his life" (it was grad school, not cancer) for "no reason" (even though I kept telling him all the reasons).


Unfortunately, it worked. After years of listening to his twisted narrative, I couldn't help feeling bad for the schmuck.

As it turned out, these feelings of pity and guilt were stronger than any love left between us. They weighed on me. They whispered in my ear about how easy it would be to call it off and go back to our familiar mind-numbing existence.

I had to fight them. Thinking about that future I had imagined, the misery I knew lay ahead, helped me stay strong.

Society pressures us to stay

Even in 2023, our society still puts a heavy emphasis on marriage. It's sacred. It's a commitment. It's not something to be entered into, or given up on, lightly.


One of the hardest parts of my divorce was accepting that I would be judged, at least by some people, for having a marriage that barely lasted five minutes.

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My wedding was on the cheap side, but my loving parents still shelled out some five figures for it, and all my out-of-town relatives flew to Colorado for it. I felt guilty for changing my mind a year later. I became painfully aware of every sacrifice these people had made for a relationship I was now throwing away.

Thankfully, my friends and family were extremely supportive. No one judged me. No one asked for their wedding gifts back. When I asked my parents, teary-eyed, if they were disappointed in me, they said not at all. They were proud.


At the end of the day, all they cared about was my happiness. That's what I had to focus on in order to get through my divorce: happiness. I kept reminding myself that, when I finally reached the other side of the Rocky Mountain-sized stack of divorce paperwork in front of me, I would truly be happy.

We pressure ourselves even more

I've always been a driven, hard-working, high-achieving person (hence why the schmuck and I weren’t compatible). That's why I stayed with the schmuck for the better part of a decade, fighting tooth and nail to make it work.

Now, I had to give up. I had to accept that I had failed to fix the schmuck and would have to rebuild my personal life from scratch.


I kept wishing I'd figured it out sooner so that I could have avoided paying for a wedding and putting myself through a painful divorce. That’s the case with most breakups, isn't it? We always stay longer than we should. We need time to come to terms with it, to make sure what’s broken isn't fixable.

Instead of focusing on how I could have done better, I tried to remind myself what I could have done worse. I could have waited longer, wasted more years on the schmuck, or even (*shudder*) had kids with him. This helped me let go of the guilt and embrace my newfound happiness.

Instead of focusing on the "divorce" label, which even today has very negative connotations, I like to think of this part of my life as a "de-schmuck." I didn't quit my marriage.

I carved a toxic person out of my life and filled the void with new happiness.


And happiness is worth fighting for.

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Rachel Craft is an engineer, writer, and blogger who has published several short works.