The proposal was unexpected. Jake, an army officer, had just learned of his coming year-long deployment to Iraq. He was lonely, he said. He missed me. He visited me one weekend about a year after we broke up. Several weeks later, I got some time off work and visited him in El Paso, where he was working.
He had bought the ring even before I arrived. He said we could get married when he came back.
And that’s what we did.
He came back, and I married him, just like I said I said I would. I moved out of my house and I went to El Paso and I learned what it was like to be married and it was wonderful. I learned that I liked coming home to someone.
I learned that I liked not being alone.
Jake, I soon found out, didn’t feel the same way. A few months into our marriage, he started acting differently towards me. He was colder, more angry.
He was mean.
One time, I remember, we decided to go to the opera together. I had wanted to go, and he had not.
He complained the whole time. He embarrassed me.
I never forgot that night.
Soon after that, I wrote him a letter and put it next to the bathroom sink where he would be sure to see it. I wrote a lot of things about what I thought I needed from him and what he was doing that hurt me.
It was a nice letter.
That night, when I got home from work, it was still right where I had put it by the sink.
“Did you read my letter?” I asked him as he sat at his computer.
“Yes,” he said.
“Do you want to talk about it?”
“No,” he said.
I paused. Then I said, “I think I’m going to move out.”
I went into the kitchen and cried.
For a while after that, I was pretty mad at Jake—even, for a little while, bitter. I didn’t purposely try to stop myself from feeling that way, though.
Sometimes, it’s right to feel wronged.
Anyway, the bitterness didn’t last long. Soon after we broke up, I was glad that it all had happened. I was glad that I had met him and married him and then gotten a divorce.
I still am. In fact, I recommend it. If you can’t break up with someone, I say: marry them.
That, it seems, will do the trick.
After Rachel and Matthew had their first child, they had a couple of fights. Well, okay, more than a couple—they fought for over three years. They fought about schedules. They fought about bad habits. They even fought about the lawn mower. And besides actually having their child, it was the best thing that could've happened. Get Fights You’ll Have After Having a Baby: A Self-Help Story on Amazon now.