Young women with crumbling marriages should be thanking Kim Kardashian. She's giving each of their mother's something else to analyze 24/7.
Divorce in your 20s is horrifying enough to go through, let alone having to explain the change of your social network status to curious connections and fretting family members. For each woman on the receiving end of all those "I'm sorry," and "what happened?" sympathies is a stressed out, scared little girl wondering how her fairy tale turned into failure.
Through interviews conducted for the book I'm currently writing, Trash the Dress: Stories of Celebrating Divorce in your 20s, I've noticed common themes among women who divorced before hitting the big 3-0.
While the factors behind every relationship's demise are different, the underlying motivation behind marriage is similar for some of the women:
It was convenient. When maintaining a comfortable long-term relationship in your 20s, the next logical step is to get hitched. Madison, a 29 year-old accountant from New Jersey who is sharing her story in Trash the Dress, admits to marrying even though she didn't feel "crazy love," because was "content and secure instead."
A previous relationship left them heartbroken. They say you never really get over your first love. Tara, a 26 year-old freelance writer from North Carolina admitted during our interview, "I didn't think I would ever fall in love again so I figured it didn't matter who I married."
I can relate. Breaking up with my college boyfriend left me devastated. He wasn't just my first serious relationship; he produced the beats to my heart for years. I never thought anyone could ever make me feel that way again, so I settled for the memories and pledged my honor to someone with whom -- wait for it -- I was in a convenient relationship.
Madison also attributes a past heartbreak as a reason why she became Mrs. to Mr. Wrong. After being told over the phone by her first fiancé, "I have cancer and can never see you again," Madison had an understandably hard time trusting love. She married her ex-husband because "We were both financially stable and could have a good life. I loved him, but I'm not sure about actually being in love with him. I felt that I would never be hurt by him as long as I didn't give my whole heart."
They hoped marriage would change things. I am guilty of this mindset. I thought once we were settled into newlywed bliss, my ex-husband would be happier with his own life and able to hold a steady job and show me more affection. However, the honeymoon ended during my engagement. I brushed our problems aside, directing my efforts to tracking down black ostrich feathers for my bouquet and the perfect all-pink flower girl dress.
Casey, a 35 year-old travel correspondent and founder of GirlsGetawayGuide.net, described her ex-husband to me as "immature and insecure." She married him at age 24 and recalls "I thought getting married would fix those problems."
They had low self-esteem. When interviewing Kim (not Kardashian), a 30 year-old social worker who is now one of my best friends, she confided "I was a very insecure individual at that time. I was losing weight from gastric bypass surgery and wasn't happy with my appearance. He told me I couldn't do any better and I believed him."
During a recent interview about my divorce, the producer commented on a photo of me on my wedding day saying, "You don't look like yourself." She told me to cover my smile with my hand and look at my eyes: they were blank.
I had my doubts, but it wasn't until I was walking down the aisle that I realized the person I was about to marry was not my soul mate. I wasn't overwhelmed with joy taking steps towards the man of my dreams, father of my future children. I was seriously hoping everyone loved my dress. Emotionless, I read my vows and listened to my groom recite the sentiments I wrote for him- red flag?
Of her pending second divorce, 31 year-old Kardashian (who was married in her 20s to music producer Damon Thomas) wrote to fans on her official site, "I want a family and babies and a real life so badly that maybe I rushed in to something too soon. I believed in love and the dream of what I wanted so badly. I felt like I was on a fast roller coaster and couldn't get off when now I know I probably should have."
There's not one main reason that I, Kardashian, or any of the women I'm interviewing for Trash the Dress, can blame for why we got married. Some of us had inklings that our marriages were not meant to be but went ahead with it anyway. Others were over the moon in love. The one thing everyone does have in common, however, is that the end of our marriages were just the beginning to the rest of our lives as strong, independent, successful women.
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