I Didn’t Fail

Marriage is not a test.

I lived.

I loved.

I lost.

But I didn’t fail.

Society makes assumptions about those who are divorced. Maybe we lack the fortitude to persist through difficulties. Perhaps we possess some great fatal flaw that makes us unable to sustain matrimony. Or, possibility we are flighty, given to jump in without thought and give up just as easily.

There is often shame inherent in admitting that one is divorced, like some scarlet letter “D” is forever branded upon your character if your “ever after” ended sooner than expected. It’s as though you failed at one of the biggest assessments you face as an adult.

In the strictest sense, my marriage did fail. After all, it ceased to exist upon the receipt of the horrific text: “I’m sorry to be such a coward leaving you this way but I’m leaving you and leaving the state.” Furthermore, my husband failed me through his betrayal and abandonment. I failed him by not seeing that he needed help and I failed myself by not being aware of his actions and the signs of a crumbling marriage. Yet, even with all that defeat, I refuse to look at my marriage as a failure. That label undermines our years together with all its shared memories and joys; the shared life and experiences are negated with that single word. Although I did feel as though I failed in some ways, I was adamant that I was not going to let my divorce define me as a failure.

Failure is an act, not a person. I’m divorced. Not defective.

As I grappled with the end of my marriage, I found comfort in the words of others. Others who had faced their own challenges and were determined to learn from and grow from their mistakes and unrealized goals. Read the rest on The Huffington Post.



20 thoughts on “I Didn’t Fail

  1. I never bought into the idea that I had failed or that I was a failure, when it came time to end my first marriage. The wasbund went on and on and on about how he was so ashamed, that our divorce made him a failure (to his family and friends and maybe to himself). But, I never went there. When I finally had the courage to get out of my dysfunctional, emotionally abusive marriage, I actually felt like, if I stayed, would have been the real failure. Like you, I don’t regret the marriage. I would not be who or where I am today, were it not for those years, together. The wasbund liked to say things like, “quitters never win…”, but I like to think that sometimes quitting is the beginning of winning, sometimes and that means that even if quitting is considered failure by some, that you may need to fail in order to find the strength and the courage to start again, on a new, more successful path.

  2. I do see the demise of my marriage as a failure. But that doesn’t make ME a failure. My husband and I failed to keep our commitment to stay together. Failures are part of life. Some we suffer long term consequences as a result of but that’s part of being alive. Fear of failure can and does inhibit living and loving. I’d rather take the risks and fail in that regard. In fact, the best times of my life so far, were with my husband. So, we failed. Time to accept and move forward.

    I do agree with you entirely that failure is an act, not a person. But I can say pretty definitively that I did fail at staying married. And I do feel judged and categorized by my status. That is not cool. People who have succeeded at staying married have failed at plenty. No reason to pass judgment on those who of us who have endured the brutality of divorce. Hopefully, we can shift perception regarding divorce and failure and inspire some compassion and understanding.

  3. Kudos! Most of us tried harder than anything we’ve ever done to make this thing work. In the end, it wasn’t in the cards. I have a friend who told me, “relationship equity isn’t 50/50… it’s 100/100!” SO SO TRUE

  4. I can’t sympathize here because I wanted out of my marriage so fast I didn’t care who labeled me what…I’m single. Not divorced. End of story 😉 We can always start over and create our own happy endings.

  5. My ex-husband both gave one another a high five and shared a hug on the day our divorce was finalized and said, “We had a good run”, and indeed we did. Eighteen years of marriage and two extraordinary daughters definitely are proof positive that we did not fail at all. Had we remained in a marriage that did not serve either one of us well for a number of reasons, we would have failed one another and our daughters. We parted as the best of friends and remain committed to our girls, and all four of us are happy and thriving. We passed with flying colors!

      1. Thanks so much! As odd as it may sound, my ex-husband and I pride ourselves on our amicable divorce and our commitment to one another and to our daughters. I hope that you and your ex can also have a healthy relationship, and I wish you all the best!

    1. My ex-husband both gave one another a high five and shared a hug on the day our divorce was finalized and said, “We had a good run”,

      That’s wonderful! Me and my ex wife went out for a meal to celebrate. Everybody else thought we were weird for doing so but friendship should always be celebrated as far as I am concerned.

  6. I am about to separate from my husband, my choice. You didn’t fail and nor did I! Some things in life just come to an end and sometimes we don’t know why? I hug you and hope your doing okay. Hugs Paula xxxxx

  7. I’m often surprised by how many people online dating say they are not interested in divorcees. Why?! As you rightly state, we’re not failures. Some of us fought tooth and nail to save our marriages and not every divorce ends in drama, not every divorce ends in a tug of war between children (we didn’t have children) and not every divorce ends up in the other party stalking their ex and chasing away new partners, lol.

    I don’t get it. Even if I’d never been married I’d still date a divorcee. Take people as they are, make your decision on their individual circumstances.

  8. I consider my marriage a wonderful success and was proud of what we had together. He moved away from it. End of story.
    I like your concept of considering it losing (in the end) but not failing or making / being a ‘mistake’…… otherwise the years have been wasted and the children a product of the supposed ‘mistake’.

  9. Thank you for this post. I don’t feel it daily, but it is felt in my life that my divorce is a failure- being so young in doing so, people tend to look different or judge me. Thank you for affirming- I am not a failure.

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