Beating the Odds—by Jamie Levine
When I was blissfully happy in my relationship with Library Guy, I was also blissfully unaware of all of the miserable relationships that were floundering around me. As much as I tried not to be one of those annoying women who glowed from head to toe and made constant references to my wonderful boyfriend and all the happiness I was feeling because I was dating him, I couldn’t help but expose my euphoria sometimes—especially when people specifically asked me about Library Guy and how we were doing. And maybe that’s why nobody told me the truth about their own relationships.
It’s amazing how much things have changed in the past month. Ever since my breakup, it seems that everyone around me is in a bad marriage: husbands are cheating, wives are feeling neglected, and friends and strangers alike are confessing the woes of their unions to me. More often than not, they’re also telling me how smart they think I was to have had a child on my own—and to not have “settled” for the wrong guy when I realized my clock was ticking and I wanted to be a mother. But instead of making me feel smug about my choices, or allowing me to revel in a “misery loves company” attitude about my breakup, these revelations simply make me feel very sad—and worried about what’s out there.
We all know that at this point, close to 50% of U.S. marriages end in divorce…but there are also the marriages that don’t end in divorce—but just continue to suck for a very long time. I never realized so many of these marriages existed around me. And discovering this makes me vacillate between two different attitudes: Some days I ask myself, “Do I really want to be in a relationship if this is how they usually turn out?” and other days I get sad and angry because I look back on my relationship with Library Guy and think we had it pretty good (at least a hell of a lot better than most people I know!), and can’t believe he was stupid enough to let that go. Either way, I’m not feeling all warm and fuzzy about relationships right now, and have started thinking it’s best for me to get comfortable with being alone for awhile so I don’t make any wrong choices.
On the other hand, this sudden perponderance of marital dissatisfaction amongst my acquaintances is suffocating—and has also made me realize that I need to make positivity outweigh negativity in my life again; that means focusing on the positive relationships around me—because even if they’re hard to find, I know they do exist. And despite feeling a bit jaded now, in my heart, I know I do want to share my life with a man, and be in a healthy marriage someday. I’m realistic about the bumps in the road along the way, but it’s not just my daughter, Jayda, who believes in happily-ever-after. I’m just not so sure how to make it happen for me. Or how I’ll ever find my prince. But I’m pretty certain it has to begin with feeling positive again about love and marriage and men. Loving Library Guy—and showing the world how joyful I felt—sheltered me from a lot of the unhappiness that was festering around me. Maybe getting to that place again—but this time, alone—will help me find a way to get there with someone special someday. Because even if happy relationships happen less than 50% of the time, I want to beat the odds and be in one again.