I've been unhappily married, miserably single, blissfully single, and am now very happily married.
In my experience, the rank order of marital status is as follows:
1. Very happily married
7. Unhappily married
In my first marriage, I had the opposite of what I expected marriage to be. Instead of the loving, mutually supportive, equal partnership I bought into, me and my dreams took a backseat to my husband's. His job in the Navy dictated where we lived, whether he was away at sea for weeks or months at a time and our overall quality of life. My dreams and ambitions were dismissed. I was lonely, frustrated and felt doomed. What were my options? Divorce? Become a single mom?! No thanks!
Is it possible to be married and miserable? Linked-up and lonely? YES. And, I think that's the majority of the marrieds out there.
Without question, being happily married (or partnered up, if marriage isn't your thing), is the best. A mutually-beneficial relationship where both people feel lucky and act accordingly is a pretty sweet spot.
A close second is being blissfully single. All you singles out there who are bemoaning your single status have it all wrong -- you've got the world by the balls (literally in some cases). You can explore what you like and don't like in people. You're free to meet fascinating people, and even if they don't end up to be your happily-ever-after, you can have wonderful romances and make new lifelong friends. At the very least, you clarify what you don't want!
When I finally go the hang of being single, I took my time and enjoyed my freedom. I had a blast. My daughter and I went on a different trip almost every month. I got a trainer and found my 25-year-old ass again. I discovered my real reason for being on this planet, my true passion, and no one could tell me I couldn't achieve my dreams... so I did!
I wasn't in a rush to get married again because I was happy and I didn't want to end up unhappy again. I believe that 50 percent of marriages end in divorce because 95 percent of the people are not very happily married, and only 50 percent of those folks have the guts to call it quits. I think I've heard one person say that he wishes he'd stayed married to his ex-wife. Everyone else has said, "I don't regret the divorce. I regret staying and being unhappy for so long."
Now, let's get to the very happily married part. My being happily married does not mean everything is perfect while we're having the greatest sex of my life every day all day. My husband isn't braiding my hair, kissing my ass, buying me everything I want and singing Michael Bolton. Instead, we share the qualities of other happily married couples. The happily marrieds have a great time together, love each other, and allow their partner to authentically be who they really want to be. That's my marriage today. It's not perfect but it sure is great!
I'm not alone. All of the women I wrote about in The Successful Single Mom book are now happily partnered up, some of them with new children. Over the past five years I've spoken to countless single moms who are deliriously happy with choosing freedom and a new life. Scary, yes. Worth it? Definitely!
If you feel a pit in your stomach every time you see your spouse, they annoy you more than they delight you, you're over it because it's just not working, and you feel like you've done all you need or want to do to make it work, don't wait for the kids to go off to college, or you have enough money saved, or any of the other bullshit stories you're telling yourself about why you can't leave.
Life is short. You don't have the luxury of wasting one more minute in an unhappy space. The time is now to stop wishing and start planning. If you're not happy, you're unhappy and unhappy sucks. Do something about it! There are plenty of us out here to support you into the next amazing phase of your life.
The Successful Single Mom is the only book series for single moms written in a positive, can-do voice, from the coaching perspective, by an executive coach who was also a single mom. These books provide that road map for creating the life you want, starting right now, today!