Broke-Ass Tag: divorce

12/14

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Now that all the wedding madness is over and we’re getting back to real life (and getting those damn thank you cards out — guess they’re going with our Christmas cards now!), I’d like to pause and reflect on what it’s like going through this whole process for a second time.

Some Real Bride realness: It sucks to come out as a second time bride. I told you guys from the start, because what good is this blog if we lie to you? But I found myself keeping that little tidbit of information from vendors and salespeople.

Why would I do a little thing like that?

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Well, for one, there’s a lot of shame in play here. I’m 29 years old, and got engaged for the second time at 28. Even though divorces are pretty common (hell, our two head BABs have both been divorced), and even more common among people who get married young (I was 21 the first time), I felt like a failure. It turns out this happens to a lot of people. No matter who’s wrong or right, or what happened, there’s a sense of being publicly judged as a failure because you couldn’t keep your marriage together. My first marriage was based on low self-esteem and my fear of being alone. Staying in it would have been the real failure. But that’s not something you explain to a random person on the street, and so you end up avoiding the topic with everyone but your close friends.

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For another, just because it was my second wedding doesn’t mean that it was my husband’s second wedding. There’s a strong undercurrent in a lot of second wedding information implying that, once you’ve already had one pretty princess day, it’s tacky to want another. Does he suddenly not deserve to have the wedding he wants because he chose me? A low key, non-traditional wedding that you choose is great. A low key, non-traditional, let’s-not-make-a-big-deal wedding that people want to force you into as punishment for your failures is another.

He wanted to see me in a long white dress walking toward him in front of all our friends and family while he stood waiting in a tux. And damn it, that’s what we did.

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If you’re a second time bride, you’re allowed to approach your wedding with the exact same attitude every bride should have — trying to create the wedding that you and your fiance want, in a way that you can afford. And best of all? Since you’ve already been through this before, you have a leg up on navigating those confusing waters of wedding planning.

Are you a second-time to-be-wed? How has the process been for you? Share in the comments!

  • 6/4

    Real Bride Shannon: Never Tell Me the Odds
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    It’s an unfortunate fact that almost all of us have that work “friend” or casual acquaintance or sometimes even a family member that’s gotta be a total Debbie Downer when it comes to marriage. You’re in a state of bliss with a ring on your finger and a head full of forever and someone’s gotta be the person to roll their eyes and ask why because, “Half of marriages end in divorce!”

    Seriously? Wow. WOW.

    If you’re anything like me, the first time someone dropped that little nugget of “wisdom” you had to shake yourself from the daydream of pouncing on that person like a lion and ripping out fistfuls of hair before you could respond. While I’ve certainly never acted on any thoughts of violence, I do tend to handle these situations with a large dose of biting sarcasm.

    “Actually, divorce rates are down because people can’t afford it. If we’ve got the cash when we start to hate each other, things can’t be all bad!”

    Yes, I’ve actually said that and the words tasted like vinegar coming out of my mouth. Some people will tell you sarcasm is the lowest form of wit; I speak it as a fluent second language, but that was a little heavy-handed, even for me. We’re not entering this marriage with divorce in mind and certainly not anticipating a time that we will grow to hate each other, but I’ve always been a fan of the ad ridiculum (otherwise known as the appeal to ridicule) argument in specific situations and this seemed to fit.

    It’s terribly likely that someone will, at some point, drop this little factoid on you. A year into my engagement I’ve heard it plenty. Suck the power out of the words as fast as you can. You can argue about the validity and health of your relationship, but it’s important to remember that anyone who tells you this is likely coming from a place of bitterness. Speaking to the goodness of your relationship will likely just end in the person accusing you of thinking you’re better than everyone else and both parties are going to walk away mad. Making it a joke and making yourself the butt of it denies them the satisfaction of hurting you. I’ve used more benign quips like, “Well, I’m really sure I’m right about this, but we all know I’ve been wrong before! *shrug*” “Nah, he knows he’s stuck with me for life. It’s basically a threat at this point.” “Oh, we agree we’ll stay together for the pets.” Just try not to attack back. It never ends well.

    The fight over who keeps the cat would be brutal.

    The fight over who keeps the cat would be brutal.

    The whole “half of marriages” thing is one of those largely untrue ideas that a lot of people believe and continue to misrepresent, but sometimes people can get even more personal. My fiancé is a law enforcement officer and that comes with a whole bunch of ugly statistics, true or not. There is a fairly common idea that police and law enforcement officers have a divorce rate of upwards of 70%. The truth is, there are very few scientific studies to support or deny these claims. Now, my favorite way to argue is to pluck a contradictory statistic from the encyclopedia of my mind that can be immediately verified with a Google search producing a .gov or .edu source (Thanks, journalism school!), but there just isn’t a lot verified data on the subject.

    What is widely known to be true is that marriages in which at least one partner has a high-stress job or one that commands a lot of traveling and separation do tend to dissolve more frequently than average. You may not be marrying a cop, but a lot of you are marrying teachers, coaches, military personnel, pilots, journalists or any other profession that’s considered “high stress” (which, let’s be honest, is most jobs). When bitter people throw out statistics that are more personal than societal, it stings.

    This is when I feel like it’s totally appropriate to turn the statement back on them. Put them on the spot. “So do you have a problem with cops, marriage or me?” is my favorite. I’ve run into this situation three times in the last year and every single person has stuttered and responded with some form of, “I’m just saying … ” Cool, dude. Conversation over. You’re dismissed.

    We’ve all got a lot that’s going to ruffle our feathers during the whole wedding planning adventure. Don’t give negative people the power. Your relationship is the sole property of you and your partner and no one will ever understand it like the two of you! Divorce isn’t the end of everything. Some of the people I love most in the world have been divorced. Have an open dialogue with your partner about what your vows mean, what you feel is grounds for a divorce and what your two will do together. Looking to the future can keep you from getting blindsided by the present.

    Photoby Shaina Sheaff
    Photo by Shaina Sheaff

    Has anyone tried to neg on your engagement? How did you handle it? Let us know in the comments!

  • 7/29

    As an often-times (admittedly) snarky person, I'm not immune to flippantly "predicting" the outcome of others' affairs. I know it's not a good thing and it can breed negativity, but I also mind the company I keep when doing so, and I know with all certainty I'm not alone in my passive judgements. But what's more telling than an outsider's view on a couple's status…

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    6/9

    Like Lindsey Ellison, author of this post -- which originally appeared on The Huffington Post -- , I also read a plethora of advice columns before my first marriage. But I've found, in my time since leaving that marriage, that it's the divorced ladies that actually know their shit. Not that married ladies don't, but there's an extra wisening that happens when you make the…

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    1/7

    It's easy to get caught up in fantasy land and think about nothing but whimsical details, cake flavors, and reception playlists while planning a wedding.  Zach and I recently got smacked back down to reality, though, when we heard the sad news that two of our old friends are getting a divorce. It was hard not to feel a bit shaken by this event, especially…

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