Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Marriage isn't for everyone - Guest Post by FreeBlackMan


Today's post comes from FBM (FreeBlackMan) who as he says "escaped" his marriage less than a year ago. He has a unique perspective on marraige that I thought was worth a share. Show him some love:

(Shout out to OneChele who took my rantings and turned them into this post)

Truth - I stumbled out of my six year marriage like a wounded one-foot Kunte Kinte breaking for the Freedom Trail. That ish was indentured servitude. I'm still struggling with PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). My whole marriage was trauma.

I met old girl in my junior year of college. She was highly sought after on campus. Not gonna lie, all I knew about her was that she was pre-law, member of a sorority that wears red, and had the bangingest body I'd seen in a while. I approached her, she seemed uninterested. I started dating her line sister and wouldn't you know, that piqued her interest. She chased me down like a lioness pouncing on a gazelle near the Serengeti watering hole. I went down hard.

What can I say? She was hot, ambitious, adoring, "spoke so well", very demanding of me and herself. Neither of us was particularly religious though we both believe in a higher power. I thought we loved each other. And did I mention she was hot? My non-knowing azz thought that was reason enough to seal the deal. I always planned to get married after college. In my mind that was time enough to sow the oats, see the field, pick one and lock it down. Yes. I know NOW I did it all wrong.

It never occurred to me that I was going to have to share my entire life and give up things I didn't want to give up just to call someone my wife. It never occurred to me that a woman being driven could quickly turn into controlling with a ring on the finger. I didn't know that a person without an organized religion can also be a person without a moral base. And I clearly didn't know what love was supposed to be all about.

I'm not blameless. I was hella immature. I thought marriage meant having a 24/7 sex partner, a chef, a housekeeper and someone to split the bills. I really didn't think much further than that. Someone should have pulled me to the side and wised me up (in other words, I could have used this series six years ago). When the going got tough, I shut down. And neither of us cared enough to repair the ever growing rift. Then came the frustration. Then we got mean. And then we started flagrantly cheating, I don't know who cheated first. It probably doesn't matter at this point. And then it was just ugly.

She was mad I didn't live up to her dream and I was mad she was still in my reality. I had nothing to prep me for living in the bowels of hell so I just hung out there for awhile cursing life. Until one day I realized - I don't have to live like this. After opening the window and screaming, "I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it anymore!" I bounced. 

My mother always used to say to (scream at) me - You're so hardheaded, why do you have to learn everything the hard way? Deep masculine sigh... I don't know. 

I'm not anti-marriage. I may not even be anti-marriage for me. But I'm not sure I'll get married again. Sometimes ish falls apart. For me, it's easier to get out of if I don't have to involve lawyers and the court system. But that's just me. The planets gotta align and I have to know and trust that woman better than I know and trust my mama (and that's saying something). I need a woman without a Cinderella Disney-azz complex. I have to see no signs of potential crazy. I have had the windows busted out of my car... I don't care to repeat the experience. 

Long story short - good luck to the single folks trying to make it happen. Hats off to the married folk making it work. Fist bump to the almost, nearly and newly divorced who are intimately aware of that "bowels of hell" feeling. And yes, I'm working on being less bitter. You should have heard me six months ago. At least now I can say - Let my story me be a lesson to you...

Well now BnB, what do you think of this particular After the Broom perspective? Any other BnB divorce stories to share? What did you learn from FBM's story? And he wanted me to ask you all to guess (or list) where he went wrong from jump. He wants to compare your list with his. It's like group therapy this week on BnB. Join the session...

99 comments:

Michele said...

I too am a divorce survivor and I can see elements of my own story in FBM's. Where did he go wrong? Probably the same place I did: getting married because he thought it was time to get married. Instead of waiting for the right person he chose what he thought was the right time.

Sol_dier said...

WOW O_O.
From the beginning, it seems your partnership was devoid of any real emotion. I'm surprised you both didn't go crazy.
It all seemed so cold, so calculated, like you were buying an object your friends would be envious of.
You seemed to place so much value on 'her hot body'!

That relationship must have felt like hell for both of you. I wish your future relationships bring you a heck of a lot more happiness as well as the joy of emotional attachment.

What did I get from this? Marriage is not the issue. Knowing and sharing what you expect from a partner before going in is. (Communication is KEY)

Alvin Milton said...

Great story.

The author didn't say how old he was when he got married but did mention after college. To me it just sounds like he got married too young and maybe for the wrong reasons also. The time period at college is no where long enough to sew your oats AND become mature enough to decide to become someone's LIFE partner, its the opposite. Its the time you are supposed to be free of parental oversight and for the most part handling your business although a good amount spend it doing things they never did before.

Either way, 22-25 (and I would argue 22-30) is no where old enough to make that type of commitment. And going into it expecting a woman to be your chef, and to always want sex, and to clean up after you is just not going to get you anywhere. This isn't 1950 bro. You said she was pre-law also so you know you had an ambitious woman on your hands and not some stay at home housewife waiting for you to come home everyday.

If I may, I would amend the title to "Marriage isn't for anyone... that's not nearly mature or knowledgeable enough to begin with". And thats not a knock at dude... because everyone needs time to mature and date and determine what it is they truly want. And you should know its not going to be roses and dancing pixies every day. Its a long term race and you are going to need some stamina for disagreements to enjoy the fruits of it.

Mony_Mony said...

I'm sorry you went through all this. I thank God I didn't marry my college boyfriend (at one point it was too close for comfort)! What seems right at 18 is not always what's right at 25... It seems like you went wrong from the beginning. The fact that she wasn't interested until her line sister was dating you? Not just you were dating someone else, but dating someone whose back she is supposed to have no matter what? Serious red flag for a potential spouse! And you were just flattered by her attentions (and her hotness) instead of questioning her motives. You also went wrong by focusing on the external (and reading in between the lines, the cocoa?) instead of taking the time to move beyond the representative and figure out who she really is. But mostly, it sounds like you were getting married because it fit you your timeline, not because she was someone that you should have been marrying.

tiffanyinhouston said...

FBM - don't hold a grudge against all the ladies that wear red, OK?? *wink*

Seems like you got married too young for one thing? I'm assuming you are still under 30, if my math if correct.

Other thing is seemed you got married to the paper resume - right look, right grades, right ambition..but didn't examine her emotional/character resume.

I am glad that you admit that you also had fault in the breakup of your marriage, as it takes 2 to tango. The only other thing I would say is I hope you are upfront with the women you are meeting these days about your intentions and if you feel like a lady may be getting into you way too deeply, that you have the decency and graciousness to walk away from that situation. Don't hurt someone else because you are still hurting.

Cynthia-Nycole said...

I would have to disagree with the age range ( like Aaliyah said age ain't nothing but a number). My parents got married at a young age and have been married for almost 30 years. Yes that clearly was 30 years ago but I still know many people who are young and married and enjoying their marriage with each other. First of all you have to know yourself and know your potential spouse. It didn't say how long they have been dating.. but the fact is he entered into the relationship for the wrong reasons which led to him entering into the marriage for all the wrong reasons.

Mony_Mony said...

I totally agree with this, especially since I see many seasoned folks who continue to act the fool, including those who have been married before. Age and maturity are two entirely different kettles of fish.

superwoman said...

crikey! what a horror story.... well, i identified where things went to hell with this, right here...

"I approached her, she seemed uninterested. I started dating her line sister and wouldn't you know, that piqued her interest. She chased me down like a lioness pouncing on a gazelle near the Serengeti watering hole. I went down hard."

um. she never really wanted you. you just wanted her coz she was all these hot things.... but you actually had NO idea of who she was - no wait, you DID know that she was a hypocrite, dog-in-the-manger, backstabbing trollop who was happy to betray her friend for a guy she didn't even want....

WHY DO WE DO THESE THINGS???
*weeping*

This relationship never, ever stood a chance. EVER. you both went into it with warped motives, and you didn't think it through. i reckon you need to acknowledge that this wasn't even the average 'why did i get married' screw-up. yours had red flags sticking out of every orifice going. you both ignored them at your peril - and paid the ghastly price. don't be cynical about marriage and other women - you had a horrific experience, but there's still hope for you to be a happy hubby...all the best!

lessie brown said...

Er, hi. I mostly lurk here. But I love the discussions. I just wanted to chime in with FBM. My (also six year) marriage went very similarly--except I was the wife that was supposed to cook, clean and be a sex machine. Looking back (I've been divorced two years now), I'm able to see just how young and immature we both were. We also had completely unreal expectations for each other. So I agree with the other commenters about maturity being an issue. That said, I still don't think marriage is for everyone. I'm no closer now to tying another knot than I was when I first got out. I enjoy companionship; I enjoy sex; I enjoy having someone who knows me inside and out. But I think marriage for me will always mean unwanted obligations, expectations and demands. I've decided to give myself and my future partner(s?) permission to define our relationships any way we want, not the way our friends, family or society may expect us to.

Alvin Milton said...

I applaud your parents, but that was 30 years ago. We are all kinds of different nowadays. You would be hard pressed to find folks that get married under 30 TODAY that actually know what it means to be married.

OSHH said...

I guess the good thing for FBM is that he is not anti-marriage, and he has learned some things.

rochee said...

Yeah, this marriage was doomed from conception. They both seemed to have shallow reasons for wanting to be with each other. It seems that he wanted someone pretty. Side Note: (men seem to be willing to deal with all manner of foolishness and clears signs of craziness just as long as the woman is pretty). It makes no sense. Stop thinking with your penes. All glitters is not gold.) Anyway, she wanted someone who she could easily control/manipulate. There wasn't any real substance there to begin with.

I might be going out on a limb here, but most divorces that I have been witness to are all as a result of people marrying the wrong people in the first place. I don't really think it is rocket science. People need to ask themselves obvious questions like, "Are we compatible?".What are people doing during the vetting process? Having sex, probably. Maybe we should have some real discussions about who we are, what we want, and where we are going? If people built the proper foundation and true emotional connection, then a lot of this nonsense would be avoided. And people need to listen to their minds, bodies, and spirits as well. Someone who posts on here regularly mentioned how she didn't like kissing or cuddling or really showing genuine affection with her ex-husband. That is a sign that something is wrong. My take away from this is: stop dating/marrying the wrong people in the first place.

Crystal said...

Could not have said it better myself!!!! I triple like, especially the observation about the ex-wife not being interested until he started dating her line sister. That was tres suspicious!!

Just_A_Thought1218 said...

Well, that was some hectic crap. I'm glad you are out of it now, and that you seem to be learning from it. And, it is instructive to hear stories like this so that people can hear how easy it is to get into something that goes very, very wrong.

1. Wouldn't say I learned this, as much as just got another confirmation, that getting married because it's time is the WRONG THING to do.

2. As for where FBM went wrong, I feel like it is a whole host of stuff. First, you went for this chick and she shot you down. You then start dating her line sister. Really? Seems like you wanted to catch her attention and make her jealous. You were in college, so I'll give you a pass for that. Two, you never ever mentioned what you expected to give in this marriage. It was all about what you could get "24/7 sex partner, chef, housekeeper, and someone to split the bills with." How could you have expected to have a mutually giving marriage when you just had your hand out? Three, you say that she had no morals, and didn't have a religious center. If you expected sister suzy, deaconness and church mouse, then you should have gotten with a woman like that (she probably wouldn't have been as well known or well regarded, and thus not as desirable as an ego boost on campus). You cannot expect someone to change just because you give them a ring. You wanted the fine, jazzy, sorority girl with enough smarts and drive to bring something to the table financially. That is what you got. Fourth, you say she was driven and that turned into controlling. I don't think it so much as turned as it slowly dawned on you that she wasn't going to let up. A lot of men (and women) make the mistake of thinking they only have to do certain things for a little bit to get what they want. It's all fine and good until they feel like they've fulfilled their obligations and he other person STILL wants "so much". That's one thing they don't tell you - marriage is marked by continual giving. If you don't truly want to give to that other person, then do both of you a favor and exit. Finally, you are right to move on from worrying about who cheated first. Like you said, it doesn't matter, and even if she did, it still doesn't absolve you (although most people think it does. Nope.)

Anywho, I know I typed an essay, and I know it seems as if I'm ragging on you. I'm not. The ugly truth about broken relationships is that the dissolution is never simple, and there are long lists of what went wrong that have to be carefully (and painfully) examined.

I'm glad you are not anti-marriage and are focusing on being less bitter. Thanks for sharing what has to be a still-raw area of your life. I hope one day you will find that person that can be a perfect partner for you.

CaliGirlED said...

Wow FBM, just Wow! Great story and although a very unfortunate experience, I'm glad that you learned from it. I'm also glad that you are sharing your story so that someone else (male or female) may realize their potential disasterous marriage and walk away from the altar instead of to it.

3 for 3 Chele!!!

Troy said...

Respectfully sister, I think you are being a little naive with the stop dating/marrying the wrong people for the wrong reasons. Do you honestly think people know at the time that the person they are marrying is wrong? Not one person I know who is divorced had a clue it was going to go that way.

And as for your premise that men put up with a lot of mess because of a pretty face, plenty of women do the dame for a pretty bank balance.

Last, if it was as easy as saying "Are we compatible" and leaving it at that, Match.com, eharmoy and the like would be out of business.

Not saying there isn't a basis for some of your points, I just don't think you are looking deep enough. IMHO

Troy said...

I want to thank FBM for candidly sharing what was clearly a tough experience for him. I also commend him for owning up to his responsibility in the demise. Stay strong brother.

SingLikeSassy said...

Where did you go wrong? You chose your wife with your cocoa stirrer. Y'all had to get up out of the bed (or off kitchen floor or out of the backseat of the car or whatever) at some point. The rest is just symptoms of that underlying problem to me.

I do agree, however, that marriage is not for everybody. Some people do not know how to function in a relationship. Many people don't want to commit. All these folks should stay single.

Unless it's not here yet, I don't think I'm going to experience the "bowels of hell" feeling. I loved my husband (I'm talking couldn't wait to get home and in the door everyday for my "Hey baby, how was work" and hug, kinda love) and finding out he wasn't faithful wasn't as devastating as finding out he didn't want to work on the marriage. THAT hurt like hell. Still, I like my husband. He wasn't just somebody I stirred cocoa with, he was my friend. He likes me and has said I am his best friend and the best thing that ever happened to him. But in the end I loved him more than he loved me and he didn't want to be married to his best friend he wants fireworks everyday. That was hard to accept, but, it's the truth, and we should both have what we want. As I said yesterday, I am prayerful that I will choose differently when I marry again.

GregIsDumb said...

I made the same mistake, getting married because I thought I should, not because it was it was right for me with the right person. But, you live and hopefully you learn, as I have, and share that wisdom with others before they make the same mistake. I just don't like his comment about "people with no religious affiliation have no moral base." That's patently false, and frankly offensive as all hell, considering my ex-wife was a devout Christian that got pregnant by another man while we were married and I'm an agnostic that never cheated (or did anything wrong in itself really in the marriage). But besides that, all around good post.

Sol_dier said...

erm..I really have to disagree with this. I'm not married. But I am surrounded by married folk. people who married young. (early 20's) & both partners always say how they have to work at it.

Ironically, the only bad marriages I know of are of church going folks (I'm not judging, just stating what surrounds me). And a lot their probs seem to centre around 'ownership and gender roles'.

GrownAzzMan said...

Props to FBM (and editor Chele) for telling his story. I am in the camp that under 30 is too young for a man to get married. We just are not ready for the most part. It may be true for women too but the women of Bougieland will have to speak on that. I mostly know about men. There are lots of wrong choices in the story but most of them were preventable if both people had enough life experience to make good choices. Like the saying says, "When you know better, you do better." Good luck next time around.

Deb B said...

My ex and I married right out of college at 22 years old for me 23 for him. We had NO CLUE what we were doing besides playing house. But I think it's more what FBM said here And neither of us cared enough to repair the ever growing rift. that was our downfall. No one is at 23 who they are going to be at 33 and unless you're committed to growing together, it's a recipe for disaster. Believe me, if I'd had even the little bit of guidance that Jayme and Max dropped this week, it would have been a different ball game.

Thanks FBM for sharing and Chele for showing the other side of the coin.

rochee said...

I never said that women don't put up with nonsense for shallow reasons. But, I do believe that this man's shallow reasons for dating and subsequently marrying this woman should be noted. And because we are referencing this man's perspective, I am simply pointing out that I find that his line of thinking is quite common. I have seen men date and marry women who are crazy as all get out or a gold digger (etc.) because she was pretty. I have seen women do the same thing as well. I just think it is more common for men to marry for physical appearances than for a woman to marry for that reason. Maybe I am wrong.

A LOT of people who get divorced will tell you that there were signs of nonsense and serious incompatibility in their relationship from jump street and they chose to ignore it for whatever reason. there are instances when people are blindsided, but for the most part the signs were there.

And as for compatibility, my point is that there are so many things to consider and discuss before entering a relationship with someone. And frankly, a lot of people don't even consider basic compatibility. So, they get married and they discover that one person likes to stay in on weekends and one person likes to go out...and then 4,5, 10 years into the relationship it falls apart because their "lifestyle" is incompatible. Well, the truth is that in a lot of instances they should have known that from the beginning, but they choose to ignore their differences. And I do stand by my argument that A LOT of divorces would not happen if people really vetted their mates, considered their true compatibility, and did not focus on superficial and silly reasons for getting married in the first place.

JaymeC said...

I need to chime in and tell BnB not to be so hasty to judge why and how people find themselves married and subsequently divorced. Every marriage (and every divorce) is different even if they seem the same on the surface. Some people are not as fortunate as FBM and can never really trace exactly why (how, where or when) the relationship went off course. I think this is a great teachable moment and the fact that he was able to share it without artifice tells me he is well on the way back to feeling whole.

taut_7 said...

very interesting perspective. i have a close friend whom got married and divorced within a year. i knew that the person she married wasn't the man for her but what do you tell someone who is in love? i'm happy she finally wised up and got out of a situation that she didn't belong in in the first place. i don't think i would ever get married at any age younger than say 28. the person i am today is so much different from the person i was right out college. sure people can grow together but i think its important to figure out who you are first before you try to build a life with another person.

FreeBlackMan said...

TIH - No grudge held. I appreciate ladies in all colors. *head nod* I turn 30 in two months so your math is dead on. As for the ladies I meet today - I'm so clear you can call me crystal. To a point, I've been told I may be a little too blunt about my intentions. And I damn sure don't eve want anyone to feel even a tenth of the hurt I did.

Thank you for keeping your response classy. You all right by me. And for that, Imma actually read your "happy to be a newlywed" post - Bwahaha!

FreeBlackMan said...

Respect, brother.

FreeBlackMan said...

Props for coming out of lurkerdom to share this. I really never thought about what it was like to be married to me, but I gotta assume it was no picnic.

FreeBlackMan said...

Jayme, do you have a younger sister? Cousin? Niece?

happinessisme said...

This post didn't really show me in which ways marriage isn't for everyone. It just sounds like the author was a nucklehead who by his own admission, didn't think things through. Confused lust for love and got burned in the end. The foundation was cracked from the get-go.

BlackestBerry said...

I rarely comment but I think you're making sweeping generalizations here as well. Your opinions are yours to share but I think you're painting with too broad a stroke.

Steve said...

Let me jump to FBM's defense and say most men are knuckleheads at 23. And some of you ladies are getting real judgmental. Few people can justify why they did what they did in their twenties.

SingLikeSassy said...

I think people are offering up reasons why he went wrong cause he asked commenters to list where he went wrong so he could compare it to his list.

rochee said...

I have qualified all of my statements and I am commenting based on my observations. I think it would be interesting to see if those who have experienced divorce here on bougieland would say that they were completely blindsided and if in hindsight they felt like they ignored signs of issues or problems before they got married that eventually caused their marriage to fail. I am not saying this is true in all cases. But, I think a lot of people have witnessed the divorce of family members or friends. And how many times are we truly surprised by the divorce? I think a lot of people can say that even as outsiders, they saw some of the problems coming before they even got married. People do change during marriage and the trials and tribulations of a marriage can surely rip people apart but, I also think that a lot of people married the wrong person in the first place. I don't know any of you who watch RHOA, but Cynthia and Peter's marriage is indicative of the point that I am trying to make.

FreeBlackMan said...

Sorry bruh, I didn't put that clearly. Definitely people of all (or no) religious background can be shady. What I really wanted to say was that I need a moral compass from here on out.

Grace said...

The part that really struck me was how in retrospect you see the stuff you did wrong. My ex is still walking around thinking his ish don't stink and I'm cruella d'evil.

Trudy said...

I genuinely believe that marriage is NOT for everyone, especially since anthropology reveals that families and reproduction occurred prior to this institution the way it is present day. However, this blog post does NOT illustrate why marriage is not for everyone. It illustrates how to build a poor marriage on bad beliefs and probably not enough life experience, which people do often. It reveals every mistake possible and lessons learned...which makes the post still valuable. I think someone can use this post and think about why marriage immediately after college or based on superficial ideals is not a great situation to place self in, but it does not illustrate why marriage is not for everyone. Studies reveal that the older the couple is when they marry, the greater the success rate (assuming it was a first marriage and not a serial marriage seeker, i.e. I know a guy who was 36 on his THIRD wife).

I believe that this guy learned a lot of lessons (well, experienced a lot of lessons, whether they were learned or not I am not sure) so perhaps he can give insight to those who think the natural progression is high school > college > bachelor's degree > wife > mortgage > baby (the latter 2 for some), all before 25 instead of doing some genuine living and introspection. The latter is hard since just about everyone will judge you for not conforming, but most who do not conform live quite meaningful lives where they have the room and adequate consciousness to decide if marriage, or just dating or even the "dreaded" being single is the right choice for them.

I think it is a very good post and glad that he shared his story, it's just how he framed the story that doesn't seem accurate, but of course his experiences and feelings are valid as no one has the right to "judge" feelings, only reflect on how they are framed in reference to fact.

Good post.

tiffanyinhouston said...

I agree with you Steve. There are a lot of ditto head chicks walking around here at age 23 too. And they BOTH were at fault. FBM didn't get married to himself.

FreeBlackMan said...

Thanks SLS - and sorry to hear about your impending divorce.

Sol_dier said...

'And he wanted me to ask you all to guess (or list) where he went wrong from jump. He wants to compare your list with his.' .....

Is the only reason I said anything beyond.. 'glad you are out of a bad situation'.

derek love said...

I also believe that marriage isn't for everyone and not necessarily for the reasons listed in FBM's story. Some people are not cut out for it, some people are not ready for it, some people do not understand it and some people are attracted to people who are not their best long term fit. I could go on. The title didn't necessarily match his test but I got that bruh was sharing a story. And I like that Chele posted it. It's good to see both the sunshine and the rain.

BB Waite said...

Oh Greg - what kind of devout Christian is acting in a distinctly unChristianlike manner? So she's a Christian in thought but not deed. That's rough. Sorry that happened to you. It's a disgrace to everything Christianity is about.

BB Waite said...

I agree. I got married young but it was a completely different era. If I was in my twenties now exposed to the types of things you young folks are - I'm not sure Mr. Waite and I would have made it. I'd like to think we would but I wouldn't bet on it. We are over 20 years together now, a concept that is inconceivable to some people. I could go on but I do think it's a different world with different influences and exposure.

BB Waite said...

I guess it's all a matter of perspective. I'm surrounded by church folks and all of the marriages are solid.

Just_A_Thought1218 said...

@ Steve:

I too noticed a lot of people (read women) are coming off judgemental. I even reread what I posted, and noticed that it is a bit terse. No judgement from my end. Unfortunately, FBM asked people to give their two cents on where he went wrong, and he is getting waaayy more than $0.02 from everybody.

It's always easy to see stuff either after the fact, or from the outside. It was so easy for me to tell one of my siblings that marrying his wife was a BAD IDEA. Not so easy for me to see that my previous relationship was just as bad.

I also think some women (myself included) are a little frustrated with common "mistakes" they see men making about mate-choosing. It's the way men get either frustrated (or conversely, completely unsympathetic) when they see women make common mistakes in the men that they choose.

BB Waite said...

This post makes me a little sad and the comments are illuminating. I can tell from reading the comments who is in their 20s, 30s, 40s, and beyond. All I can say is that for many of us, time is an equalizer that brings wisdom. Live longer and let's have Chele do a check in five years from now.

JohnKinPDX said...

All I can do is shake my head and mutter "There but for the grace of God..."

blackprofessor said...

Wow! FBM, sorry you went through this and I hope you get help for your PTSD.

I want to take a different angle, from the perspective of moving forward. I hope you don’t give up on women and especially us of the red persuation (wink) so you possibly might meet another woman you would consider marrying or dating seriously. As someone who has dated divorced men with equal or worse horror stories, I have found the following questions to be useful during the dating phase.
What are your wants?
What are your needs?
What specific lessons did you learn from your marriage?
What are you specifically going to do differently?

I am not encouraging you to answer these questions on this blog, but to ponder these answers as you heal and move forward with your life.

FreeBlackMan said...

Thanks Chele for the opportunity. It's pretty much like other readers who have opened their lives have said - cathartic, painful, exhilarating and irritating all at once.

Pure Choco said...

Sometimes we learn best by not only seeing what TO do but what NOT to do. So thanks for the perspective.

Leon X said...

*Doing the Martin Lawrence eyeball point from Boomerang in FreeBlackMan's direction.*

datdudeincali said...

This is why I won't be sharing my story round these innanets. 5 paragraphs does not my life make. And to be try and explain the complexity of who did what and how this went down, I don't have that kind of talent and Chele doesn't have that kind of time. Hats off to you sir. Hope it's all better from here.

maureen palmer said...

Thanks FBM for sharing your story. This is definitely a scathing experience. In Oprah's word and by your own admission, you know better you do better.

SingLikeSassy said...

Ladies who wear pink and green are good bets, too. LOL!

maureen palmer said...

Out of curiosity FBM, did you have good examples of solid working marriages?
Like Jayme mentioned on MOnday's post, counseling is imperative before marriage. Other than that, I do not think u did anything wrong, like I said before u did not know any better?

Lady4Real said...

I have a divorce story to share. I was 21 when I married my ex-husband. I was 25 when we separated and 26 when we divorced. He was talk, thick and in need of someone willing to stand by his side because he had an illness. I was willing to show him that someone would love him no matter what and that the love could help him heal and get him to a better place. I'm a very giving, caring, helpful type of person and pride myself that I am willing to get into the trenches when others are heading for the hills. I married him for all the wrong reasons, the number one being people telling me I wouldn't be able to do it. They were wrong, I was able to deal with spending the night in the hospital, changing gauze, being at surgeries, arranging for nurses to come to the house and people to sit with my husband. I was willing to be the bread winner and the cook. What I wasn't willing to do was be lied to, cheated on, stolen from, neglected and taken for granted. I wasn't willing to be a second-class citizen in my marriage or my household and I damn sure wasn't ready to be married to him, his father and his mother. I tried marriage counseling, but it doesn't work if only one person in the marriage attends. I tried talking to the older women of my church with healthy marriages, their advice doesn't work if the husband won't let you try it. I tried talking to the older men with successful marriages, they just looked at me like my cause was futile but tried anyway. At the end of the day I was the only one fighting and trying and a marriage has two people in it, and those two work at it to make it work so since I was doing everything on my own I decided to be on my own. During our divorce proceedings he texted me, emailed me and facebooked me every derogatory thing he could, told me he only was using me and that he had someone else all a long. It was fine by me, I didn't know it but I did too, I had a best friend, my oldest sons dad, and as things got bleeker and worse in my marriage the closer he and I got. I realized that I wasn't being treat right and left and now I'm with someone who gives me what I give, who works with me and who I never feel like I'm in this all alone. I'm thankful for my ex-husband, he taught me a lot about myself and people and as time goes by I hate him less and less for dogging me so badly, he didn't love himself, so how could he love me?
(sorry for blogging in the comments, just needed to get this out my system)

Diggame said...

I am going to give this brotha a virtual fist pound for this!! The thing is many of us have this preconceived notion of what marriage is and should be. The truth of the matter is every marriage and group dictate themselves. With that being said everyone is not ready to be married today because most of us do not do any self-reflection and don't have self-accountability. We live in a capitalistic society that is all about ME! ME! ME! Why wouldn't we think our relationship would be come the same?

Lady4Real said...

Girl who you telling. My ex won't give me credit for nights spent up the hospital, me paying all the bills, my faithfulness or dedication. Negro is crazy delusional, another reason why we ain't together or friends.

Penny said...

Well, FBM, thank you for sharing your experience. It took guts, and you were not shy about admitting to your faults within the relationship. I hope that time diminishes your pain and your admitted bitterness.

While others may know people that had similar experiences, no one's experience is exactly the same. For those saying they wished they had been given such advice before they got married, would you have taken it at the time it was offered? When my brother got married, he was the happiest I had ever seen him (and have never seen him that happy almost more than 10 years later.) I knew the woman he married was not the woman for him. (Like FBM's former spouse, she was high achieving, well educated, etc. Can't speak for the fine and other attributes. Like FBM, he was under age 30 when they married.) He was so happy when they got married, but that happiness eventually turned to something else. They were two very different people and it took years of drama for them to realize they should have never married. If I had told him before his marriage that he should not have married her, he would not have listened to me (or our parents.) People have to see and figure things out for themselves.

While marriage may not be for everyone, I think we also need to consider that it might not be right for everyone at the same time. You may be ready, but your partner may not be, and vice versa. It is not easy for two people to reach the exact same place at the same time.

I wish you peace.

Alvin Milton said...

Thank you. I think you have to be able to step outside of yourself and perspective to understand. The things most sub-30 year olds have been exposed to have not necessarily contributed to valuing one another for ideals other than "she got a nice body", or "he got this possession or that possession" etc. Then on top of that a lot of men/women stay in long term relationships with people that are not right for them or just don't treat them right to begin with (you know who you are). If they do make it to the altar, it doesn't get better!

Why does this happen? Because you didn't know what you wanted/needed to begin with IMO.

NY2VA said...

I'm 36 and this July my husband I will have been married for 12 years. We dated in high school, went our separate ways as undergrads, reunited in our early 20's and got married a few years later. That dude is my best friend and I am his. Our life has certainly not been a crystal stair, but we went into it with our eyes wide open. Our first couple of years together were HARD, but the cool thing about s is that we both love to learn, and most importantly we love to learn about ourselves. I learned how to let that man be a man and make his man mistakes without beating him about the head and neck. We taught one another how to love one another because that's not some ish you just pick up off the street. We also decided that we would not have a baby until we had been married for at least five years because from all we had read and heard babies just make the situation that much more complex.

My point is that age has nothing to do with it. I know people who got married last year at the age of 37 who hadn't talked about and considered everything my husband and I had when we were still damn near kids. Thought processes know no age.

lessie brown said...

Thanks for the reply and the courage to submit your story. I do want to clarify that a) I agree with your general argument that marriage may not be for everyone and b) I was no picnic to be married to either. I wasn't trying to call you out so much as say my ex-husband had similar expectations. But I had my own set of unrealistic expectations for him. What I've learned since is that relationships should be based on acceptance of an individual for who they are rather than expectations of what that individual can do for you. It was a lesson I had to learn just as much as my ex-husband did.

NY2VA said...

The interesting thing about life is that when we are immersed in a situation we cannot always see the situation for what it is. If you throw a strong emotion, like love, on top of that situation and swirl it all around, it makes it even more difficult to see clearly. I like to use the analogy of the life guard. Why is it that the life guard doesn't hang out in the pool and have a good time? Is he any less of a life saver when he's in the pool? Are his swimming skills less viable? No. It has to do with perspective. If the lifeguard is in the pool, he can't see everything that the folks on the perimeter can see. The lifeguard must remain on the perimeter so that he can have a clear view of all that is transpiring. When we are in relationships, please understand that our objectivity lenses are quite cloudy. I know plenty of folks who feel like they were blindsided when they were served divorce papers or when their spouse left. They really thought, at the time, that they were doing everything right, although those of us on the perimeter could see different. We can't be so cavalier as to say, "How could you not see that the ish was bad news," because the reality of the situation is that this marriage ish is not that black and white. It is continuum of gray like a mug. Hindsight is always 20/20, but that in the moment vision often suffers from a horrible case of cataracts with a glaucoma chaser.

Asada said...

Pre-concieved notions indeed...

We all gotta learn the value of talking to people about thier mistakes and doing research at some point.
For me , it was failing college.
For him, failing marriage.

Next time he will realize he is marrying a person and not a "sex partner, a chef, a housekeeper and someone to split the bills".

CorettaJG said...

Looks like I made it back just in time for marriage week -- a bit of a painful subject for me even though I am a huge fan of marriage and I'm planning a wedding for a bride right now. I appreciate FBM putting his experience out there. It really can be difficult to honestly come to terms with what happened and why, and to get and apply the lessons learned.

I was married at age 24, a year into my active duty service after completing undergrad early and law school. I was pretty mature and focused for my age and immediately clicked with my 30-year-old divorced fighter pilot husband. Our 4-year marriage began with an elopement and 2 years of relative bliss. However, the issue with roles started creeping in. He wasn't feeling taken care of and didn't feel like I was fulfilling the duties he imagined of his wife (which in our household wasn't just the regular cooking, cleaning, bedroom, we had a rental property company, side hustle businesses, stepchildren issues, etc). I was working just as hard as he was and figured some of these things he could do for himself. I was also demotivated by the harping. Then I changed assignments and according to him became more married to my day job. Cue failure at communication 101, grudges being held, going to sleep angry, tit for tat behavior and before you knew it, he was saying he couldn't take it anymore and released the escape hatch.

Men really do need respect, women really do need love (Ephesians 5). I wasn't a perfect wife, he wasn't a perfect husband, but in my eyes our issues were basic newlywed stuff that became putrified. And there were some things that I needed my grandma/mama/auntie to take me aside and tell me (if I had let them) that would have helped. Ir was too late though. When the going got tough, he didn't honor his vows of for better or for worse so that we could finally get to the real work of a marriage. Instead, he told me it shouldn't be that hard.

I look back and see a lot of things we could have done differently, but I was honestly shocked that the consequence of making those mistakes was divorce. That never even occurred to me considering that we had said divorce was not an option and I'd seen my parents work through less over their 40-year marriage. However, Lord knows I know a lot more at 32 than I did at 24 and I'm certain I'm going to make someone an awesome wife. I truly regret this failure, but I keep on learning and growing and making mistakes and I know there is an awesome Godly man out there who will be ready to share that committment with me for life.

Sorry for the long post.

Asada said...

yes! Before 30 is too young to get married, for anyone. I dont know what it is. People expect more from thier marriages. Seems this generation takes longer to mature ( but also lives longer-go figure).

GregIsDumb said...

What Christianity is about has no solid definition, it is subjective I guess.

OneChele said...

A few responses turned into dissertations and I had to remove.

GregIsDumb said...

Right, but to infer you need religion to have a moral compass is still a slight against irreligious people. There is no such thing as a objective moral standard, regardless of what anyone tells you. All morality is subjective, and the best way is to come up with a moral standard based upon the way you want to be treated, and to not bend on it at any means. When you bend your morals to accommodate ANY person in your life, you will always end up hurt. Believe me, I have PTSD too, but mines is from bending my morals in Iraq along with other war-related issues.

GregIsDumb said...

Yeah I'm definitely not feeling how all the blame for the failure of the marriage is being placed at his feet. Not one of them has mentioned that she might have been rachet, but they KNOW he was a knucklehead or not thinking right. Let's be real.

BlackButterfly said...

FBM thanks for sharing.

Relationships for some unfortunately are based on fairytale expectations for both women and men. For every woman that subscribes to the 'princess & prince fairytale' there is the male counterpart that subscribes to the 'king of my castle' one. And with marriage being a legalized union riddled with expectations (personal and societal) NO ONE is ready to meet any of them unless they have fully explored who they are and what they want in life.

I spent too many years in a relationship not being my full authentic self and even if marriage isn't in the cards for me... I do know that a loving monogamous relationship is what I require to invest my time. The time line for figuring out self is different for everyone and at the end of figuring out who we are... marriage may not be for everybody but peace of mind is a necessity.

GregIsDumb said...

Military marriages are rough. I was married and subsequently divorced while on active duty.

William Martin said...

If I met a lady in law school, bright, ambitious, determined, gorgeous, chemistry works who came out me with the full court press - it might take me more than a minute to see through all of that as well. It's not just packaging. That mix of intelligence, charisma AND chemistry is a beast.

Liselle said...

I was watching the chat just now, Chele - any chance we can get FBM's ex's side of the story - that would be interesting.

Shondriette said...

This post made me so sad! It sounds like youth, lack of knowledge, unrealistic expectations and bad decisions led to disastrous results.

FBM, if there is a next time I'd suggest pre-marital counseling and a lot of open discussions about both of your expectations (kids, finances, travel, all of it). Good luck in the future and God bless.

OneChele said...

Unless she reads the blog, I don't see how that's going to happen. But yes, it would be interesting.

thinklikeRiley said...

Wayment! Man listen - eff that trick you married yo. She gotta take some of the blame - I think she Okey-doked yo azz with the credentials and bangin' body. Sheiiiiiit. #NoCountryforEvilBishes.
Riley out.

thinklikeRiley said...

Dude - I'm sayin' - these chicks coming atcha with extra extra.

OneChele said...

I don't even know what that means, Riley.

Jesse said...

That picture is giving me life though. You should put together a gallery of just the post photos and let us guess what the topic was. Epic!

Man's World said...

Um - "Never trust a big butt and a smile"
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TdF2zqs1bxQ

CaliGirlED said...

I agree! I know a couple (not technically a couple because her parents have not given her the green light to date yet), he's 16 and she's 15. They have had deeper conversations about religion, values, morals, beliefs, college, career choice, life goals, marriage, sex (or their agreement not to til marriage), kids, etc. than most people EVER have! It absolutely amazes me the kinds of conversations that these two kids have. And the reason I know is because he tells his parents EVERYTHING and seek their advice and opinions on the things they discuss. So age is not the defining factor in preparing for a future together.

Jasmin said...

Thanks for sharing FBM. I have a feeling I'll be hearing a similar version of your story from some of my college friends in about 8 years. :-/

As far as youth and marriage, I think a big thing is that we have a culture that promotes choices, options, and self-satisfaction. So it's considered "smart", not manipulative, to go out and look for something better. There's also a lot of shaming directed towards men and women who chose not to sleep around or to be in serious relationships. I think the balance lies somewhere between what we're doing now and arranged marriages/courtship.

BrendaKay said...

FBM ~ bitterness is one of the latter stages of divorce. You're nearly on the other side! :-)

While we're only 3 days into the "Jump the Broom" week, I am surprised that no one has mentioned another important aspect to a successful, happy marriage ~ getting along with the IN-LAWS!

While complacency was one aspect that killed my marriage, the other was my former in-laws. While I could go into a long discussion, I'll just say this much ~ I was raised that as a wife if I had a problem or issue with my husband's family, that I should discuss it with him and let him talk to his family. Unfortunately, my ex-husband had no backbone whatsoever when it came to setting boundaries with his overbearing, pushy, snippy and snide remark making, "always trying to be in the midst of our marriage" parents. Long before the complacency set in; my resentment, anger and frustration towards my now ex-husband over his cowardly, little boy behavior was already threatening to rip us apart. It had reached the point where I would politely refuse to spend Christmas with his family after years of trying to get along with them.

My cautionary warning to anyone thinking about getting married is ~ no matter how much you may love and adore your intended-to-be, if your future in-laws are people who work your last da** nerve, who you find yourself dreading them coming over or you having to go over to their place, or you force yourself to be around them just to keep the peace with your Sweetie. Then you need to think long and hard about taking the next step of getting married, along with having a few honest, calm discussions with your intended on how you both plan on handing the "Families".

And one last thing that I've learned, prayer doesn't change other people, it's helps us to change our attitudes towards them. :-)

Hidi said...

One word for FBM: Damn

I felt exhausted after reading about your marriage. All I can say: it happens. I wish you the best and I hope you find happiness (if you haven't already) within yourself. {"Don't worry be happy" Bobby McFerrin} :)

Adonis said...

Morning... Wow... Thank You For The Perspective

Lady4Real said...

I totally agree, my former in-laws were IN everything, I asked my ex-husband at the time to do something about it and he did nothing. I was raised to respect my elders and do unto others as I would have them do unto me, I got nothing in return but headaches, heartache and heartbreak. My current in-laws are the best, I love and adore my mother-in-law and she loves and adores me and my hubby and Dad share the same relationship.

Adonis said...

cocoa strirrer... smh... i am def in bougie land

Adonis said...

Co-sign... I am very unsympathetic that people lack to do research on their pasts or on other's past... & then repeat classic mistakes... (Enough ranting...) Good Post

Shah said...

I can't make generalizations but I can speak about my experience as a person who got married too young (@ 20, didn't even finish college) and who was married for 20 years. I was too young. (I said that already, right?) I don't know, if I had chosen my partner wisely, maybe things would have been better but how wise are you at 20, really? As it was, my ex had FreeBlackMan's pre-marriage ideas and it didn't work so well for me. Add into the equation that I did not give myself time to live and enjoy life as a single person, did not figure out what I really wanted from life, we became parents before our first anniversary, and it was a wrap. Other issues that we both had from before we got together that we did not acknowledge or address only served to make things worse. My opinion is people should with until their 30's to start thinking about marrying, once you have enjoyed being with yourself and know you are ready to share your life with another, whole heartedly.

Alvin Milton said...

Shout out to you for your honesty.
I know I was onto something :)

...and that thought HTML tag (I'm a web dev).

Alvin Milton said...

wasn't sure if you were agreeing or disagreeing, but yes age and maturity are mutually exclusive. Regardless, I don't think anyone in their 20s really understands what that level of commitment entails. If Mr or Miss "actin-the-damn-fool" tried to live a little in their 20s by their 30s they might just be a little more grounded. But what I typically see is folks burnt out from early serious relationships and trying to "catch up" to all the fun/shenanigans they should have been having in their 20s. I don't mean to make generalizations here though so forgive me.

Oh Stewardess said...

PWUHAHAHAHAHAHA!!! I don't understand why someone hasn't captured this man and chained him up in the basement - Uhm I mean dang a man who can make you laugh has to be a keeper, at all cost "right?" :)

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