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.
And there is another reason I’m glad I got married, which is: I learned a lot. One of the things I learned from being married is the most important piece of advice I can ever give anyone who is not already with someone, and it is this: marry someone nice.
But I learned something else, too. I learned that I didn’t want to be alone anymore. And, I thought, I didn’t need to.
I’d done that already, and it had been a success.
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