Self-Help Memoir Miniature: Being Married Is Nice . . . (Alone and Together, Part Eighteen)

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.


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