Let's face it: Too many of us go into marriage with high expectations and a smug attitude toward divorce. Divorce is not an option, we think to ourselves, it's something that happens to other people.
But the truth is, not every relationship has what it takes to last in the long-run -- and not every marriage that ends in divorce is a failed one. If we're smart about it, we learn from the mistakes we made in our marriage and come out better, stronger people for having made them.
That's why we took notice when a thread from Reddit's TwoXChromosomes -- an awesome subreddit mostly from women's perspectives -- made the front page of the site Monday. "Why are you divorced?" the original poster asked. What followed were painfully honest, relatable takes on the overlooked issues that ultimately brought down the Redditors' marriages.
Below, six marriage mistakes we can all learn from:
1. You rush into the marriage.
"We never should have gotten married in the first place. We were still in the sex-every-day honeymoon phase, just six months in, when we got engaged. Then we started planning the wedding and moved in together and I started having doubts, but I ignored them. If we'd waited just a bit longer before deciding, our relationship would have run its course and my entire life would have been different. I guess it's called hindsight for a reason."
2. You underestimate the need for a physical connection.
"I've never been head over heels attracted to him physically, but I tried to focus on the intellectual, emotional, and philosophical things that we shared and held dear. I had doubts as our wedding day approached. I tried to ascribe them to other reasons. I didn't want to have sex with him the night of the wedding. I wasn't really attracted. I think I tried to chalk it up to being tired or something, but I should have known that the spark was waning. And we didn't rush into the marriage -- we'd been together for about 4 1/2 years before getting married."
3. You can't handle being alone.
"I was 23, she was a couple of years older. We had known each other for four months and suddenly we were engaged. The next thing I know I was getting married, working for her father, buying a house, buying cars, racking up debt, etc. I don't think I ever really loved her. I think it was more a fear of being alone and I was a pushover and dealt with it. After two years of dealing with her bossing me around and making me feel like I couldn't do anything I wanted, I couldn't take it any longer. I resented her... When she proposed that we 'stay in separate bedrooms' in the house, I knew it was over. I had found my way out."
4. You -- or your spouse -- suffer from low self-esteem.
"I've been married and divorced twice. I could list all of my ex-husbands' faults to a T (there were many, for both of them), but when it comes down to it, I'm divorced because I have spent the majority of my life with an exceptionally low sense of self worth, and would take any man who showed interest, no matter his faults, and tell myself that if I were worthy of them, I could make him (and, by extension, myself) happy. Both divorces were the result of my soul being so crushed by the relationship and my own depression that I knew leaving was the only way to move my life in any kind of positive direction."
5. Communication is an afterthought.
"I'm divorced because we didn't know how to communicate properly. Our issues we exacerbated by infertility struggles. To this day, I think we could have worked through our problems with counseling, but by the time we realized we needed it he didn't want to try anymore."
6. You aren't emotionally ready for marriage.
"I'm divorced because I rushed into marriage too young. In my community just about everyone gets married right after high school, so that's what I did, too. In retrospect, if I had taken more time to think things through I would have noticed how incompatible we were. When we first started dating, he seemed ambitious and motivated. I thought we had a shared goal to get educations and get out of our small town. But it was just an act he was putting on to impress me (he's said as much after the fact). I knew I wanted to leave when I found out that he had dropped out of school and was going off to play video games instead of going to classes while I was working 60+ hours a week while pregnant. It just was going nowhere ever and I lost all interest in him. We did counseling and tried for over a year to make it work, but by 20, I was divorced."