Last week my friend broke up with her boyfriend after six years of being together. There were marriage and happily ever after plans but didn’t work out. Now my friend constantly hears: oh you wasted six years of your life and now you have to start from scratch. If you ask me, it is better to split after six years than after sixteen or sixty and find happiness somewhere else rather than suffer in an unhappy relationship. Sooo… what does a happily ever after look like?
We are constantly fed by the media and general pop culture that a princess found her prince charming, they rode towards the sunset together and lived happily ever after. Only why doesn’t Disney show us how the happily ever after looks like. Do you imagine for example Cinderella shouting at her prince to stop watching horse racing and help her scrubbing the floors or Snow White and her prince in couples therapy? Not really right? Even the TV series that changed many women’s perspectives on how to approach and talk about relations – Sex and the City shows that a woman can only be happy after finding The One – even Samantha!!! That changes in the movies and Samantha is Samantha again. What if The One turns out to be an asshole or there is no The One for each of us or the happily ever after is not quite as happy as we pictured it? Then we invest time, effort and money to make things work. If that doesn’t work out we end up frustrated, lost and disappointed. The last three feelings are inevitable at some point but I think that the happily ever after stereotype is so deeply embedded in our psyche that we are willing to do and risk everything to glue together something that is already broken for a long time. Surprisingly it’s not only a womans’ thing as men have similar struggles. Let’s not be selfish here Ladies that we are the only ones worrying about our relationships, plus not all men are feelingless creatures 😉
Another point is that society is putting lots of pressure on singles to find the significant other. After you find the significant other the marriage questions come up. After you get married, the question of having children comes up. After the first kid the questions about the second one come up… and so on and so on. Actually, no wonder that many men and women are unhappy in their relationships. Pretending and playing happy couple is easier and helps avoiding question gunfire from friends and family. There is also the fear factor. We are simply scared to say – enough, I’m leaving. At some point I do understand that, as we get comfortable with the partner and the idea of being alone again is incredibly frightening. In some cases people stay together because they have kids or a mortgage. Nowadays mortgage is more bonding than marriage. Regardless of the reason we can’t picture how our life can go on after a break up, how to manage life after a break up or if we will be able to manage all that jazz.
I was scared as well to leave my prince charming. Similar to most of us I was dreaming about a happily ever after only slightly modified as kids are not my thing. However, I pictured all those stereotypical stuff until life verified my visions. The One turned out not to be The One after all. Now nearly a year after I got divorced I can say that I heard it all. From oh 13 years of your life gone, you won’t get them back again over did you have to get married in the first place to now you should find somebody quick time is ticking. Honestly that is a bunch of crap. Wasted, lost, find somebody new as quickly as possible. Others don’t have the right to judge you and your decisions and what is fabulous, that you don’t have to answer any questions if you don’t want to 😉 Now, you might ask what was the thing I was most afraid of while making the divorce decision?
Was it being alone again? Was it the divorcee label? Or was it that I’m not going to find anybody ever again? None of those. It was will I be ever capable of loving someone again. Truth is that over the past year I’ve become very cynical and romantic relationship visions don’t appeal to me anymore. Prince charming 2.0 and happily ever after got redefined. Now when I meet a guy and he says that for example travel is not for him or thinks that women shouldn’t smoke or having tattoos is grose, I don’t have the illusion anymore that this might change… nope. Lately I even joked to one of my friends that I should go to a speed dating event and start each conversation with Valar Morghulis, if the response is not the proper one, the conversation is over. For those of you who don’t know what Valar Morghulis means, it’s a greeting used in the series Game of Thrones, no more spoilers 😛 Jokes aside but you get the picture, right? Is it a good thing to be cynical? Maybe… at least it’s some kind of armour preventing you from getting hurt. You might also ask, is there life after divorce? Yup there is and I think it’s even better. Like two months ago while queuing at the bakery I bumped into my friend MI who I hadn’t seen for like 7 years. After a couple of minutes I told him – man you look awesome, what happened. He said – I got divorced. If you are worried that life ends after divorce, nope divorce is a new beginning.
Happily ever after redefined
Don’t get fooled by the stereotype, which only looks good on the silver screen. Create your own vision of a happily ever after. For some it will be a house with a white picket fence, a husband and a bunch of kids. For others living in an ashram in India and for others just doing their own thing. All of it is fine, just don’t let society tell you what’s good for you and what your happily ever after should look like, figure it out yourself.
How do I picture my happily ever after? I don’t know yet. It definitely won’t be what my Mum would like me to do. Settle down, stop having crazy ideas, find a nice guy and produce at least two children so she can be a grandma finally.
That would make me incredibly unhappy. I prefer to enjoy my job, continue having travel adventures, keep diving and skiing and most of all enjoy life. At some point when I’m grey and old with boobs hanging to my knees, I don’t want to have regrets of not doing something. I’d rather regret doing something than not doing it at all. If by some weird cosmic coincidence Mr. Right appears in my life, fine… if not also fine.
That’s my definition of a happily ever after… do your thing and not what others want you to do or to be. My life, my choices, my freedom to make mistakes.