Lotte, 40, ignored her gut feeling for nearly two years. When she said yes to her wedding, she knew she made a mistake. “With bullets in my boots and with my new last name, I left for the reception.”
Lotte: “As my face convulsed, I watched our wedding cake being cut in the football canteen. I felt beautiful in the dress my parents gave me as a gift. But that was the only thing I felt good about my wedding.
This whole marriage was Rod’s dream. As the child of a single mother, he never experienced what it could be like, marriage. I found it poignant, how childishly he dreamed of the traditional family. He wanted nothing more than a new home, two kids, and a Labrador. A woman bearing his name. I also had a desire for a child, I didn’t necessarily think marriage was necessary, but I loved Rod. So I said yes, when he got down on one knee after a year of dating. As long as he was happy and I loved the party.”
But what started out as a blind crush got some cracks in that first year together. Rod turned out to be quite possessive and unable to deal with inconsistencies. To avoid conflict as I am, I avoided some important discussions as a result. About how often we meet as friends, for example. The example, which I thought more important than with my large circle of friends, about how much we saved for holidays and how much we spent on fancy dinners: she preferred travel, while he left her hanging widely every week.
And after that first year, about our wedding. Six months before the big day, for example, I agreed to a site that already made me depressed upon arrival. Furthermore, the DJ I was coveting was strictly forbidden there, as it would disturb the peace in the nature reserve around it. It was not a real football canteen, but the grounds for the local Nature Society. It smelled like a gym locker room and had furniture from the 80’s.
“If you make a fuss now, the wedding will not take place.” Rod said when he saw me looking around in disappointment. Not that we looked elsewhere… of course I should have suggested moving our wedding day up a few weeks, but instead I stammered that it was okay. The place was idyllic. Perhaps this ‘canteen’ look could be given off with some wreaths and standing tables, and with enough guests you wouldn’t see the old tile floor anymore. “
The big day came and my hair was in curls and in my dream dress I felt like the queen for a moment. Rod smiled, reason enough to make this day a big party. The town hall wedding hall was packed, the music we chose was blaring from the speakers – there was nothing standing in The path of our marriage The civil registrar opened the marriage contract and eagerly read a romantic story… about two people who were not us.
Joke, I thought at first. But it turned out to be pure earnest. A commotion broke out between our loved ones and it was only when someone intervened a few minutes later that the officiant realized that the couple in front of him wasn’t the couple in the act. He muttered an incomprehensible argument, shook his stack of files, and pulled out the right verb. But it’s too late. If our guts were right, if our love was big enough, we would laugh out loud. Now I accepted my husband with mixed feelings, smiled as cheerfully as I could, and left to greet us with my new family name and step into my shoes.
Rod gave light for the rest of the evening. It was a dream day for him. He is happy, I am happy, I decided. Guests danced to the safe sound of birdsong, and wine flowed freely. I flipped the switch and decided to make the most of it. Tired of sex, we crawled into our honeymoon suite in the middle of the night, but I didn’t sleep. Did you act hastily? Or was I demanding my ideas about what my wedding day should have looked like? My moaning, of course, had nothing to do with it. I was married to my chosen one, in front of our loved ones there was a party – what was I thinking? “
Watch from the sidelines
“In retrospect, the rock in my stomach was of course a warning: I should always be happier in our relationship. Rod, it wasn’t about whether I was living my life to the fullest and whether I was truly happy. I was allowed in his life, and if I wanted to go in a different direction, he corrected me. We had to go straight ahead to his horizon. And so I ended up on autopilot. From the sidelines, I watched people around me fill Saturdays with dinner tables full of friends, go on trips and save a lot for it, And they gave birth to their first children.
We didn’t get along about those kids either. Wanting them right away, Rod preferred to wait a little longer – despite his previously expressed desire to have children. Difficult, but I respected him: I could not force him to become a father. Each time he comes up with a new objection: first we need a different car. bigger house. better job. More free time.
Even after a year of waiting, I exclaimed, “But how do other people do it, in their smaller cars, fewer-room homes and average full-time jobs?” That became a huge battle. Rod cried I didn’t understand how life works. Not everything can always be done my way. I felt so wronged, I shut down. And that’s the way it’s always been.”
Maybe that is
“Happily, the kids arrived a year later, and we were relatively happy for years. Rod was an involved dad, and our girls grew like weeds. No big problems, but I wasn’t happy either—except when I looked at my kids. Maybe it was just that, I thought, Being an adult. And the life I longed for, full of spontaneous trips, treading in puddles and making love on sand, was the picture of a dream that would have been impossible for anyone. Something you saw on social media, but you know you couldn’t. Like we planned. to a dog, which we used to want but it never came because Rod thought it was too hard.
I was getting more and more advanced. Rod did not understand my displeasure and called it “spoiled” and “exaggerated”. We were so different, I realized then. Because I didn’t understand his attitude to life either: too rigid, without room for adventures or unexpected twists.
Perhaps the biggest difference between us was that I was the only one of us who understood this better and better, and drifted off slowly. Evenings were spent scrolling Funda, dreaming about girls while I was home alone. Rose and I found each other in our love for the children and stuck to the routine they brought. Meanwhile, we not only completely lost each other, but also ourselves.
You want, but you can’t
“I was finally able to explain it to Rod when we looked at camp together one last evening of our summer vacation in the south of France. The kids were asleep. Don’t do anything about it, forever,” said Rod. “Well, I really want to do.” Things are different from next year.” “Five years later, I now know these are family camps and that the girls are old enough to travel further.” The conversation paused for a moment in a discussion of the danger and hassle involved in flying and traveling with children. Until I said: “Of course this symbolizes a greater difference between us, my dear.”
Then Rod started crying. He said of course he also realized how unhappy I was. He didn’t know how to make it better. I suggested sometimes moving a little with my desires. And that was exactly it: he wanted to, but he couldn’t. He was unable to relinquish control, or to give up his will, as Rod himself called it. It made him distraught. I suggested couples therapy, and he accused me of wanting to change it. Until I said, “But I’m really unhappy.” ‘Then we should get a divorce,’ replied the man who had been so radiant on our wedding day seven years ago.
I wanted to take another look at him – not knowing why or what I expected of him. Rod preferred to continue. A week after he came home, he had already dealt with a mediator, and three months later we signed a divorce agreement. What do you call a quick divorce? Like we were never happy and our kids were just a fluke. Rod moved into his cousin’s house in the same city and gave the children the world.
But he was more emotional than ever. Handing over the girls as they moved from one week to the next was cool and practical. No hassle but even no friendship. This made me worry: Could our failing marriage be entirely my fault? “
“This question still haunts me four years after my divorce. I am happier, and I laugh more often and louder at my dining table which is filled every week with spontaneously joining friends. The life I dreamed of. This is hard work, because absolute motherhood is hard sometimes.”
Two years ago, Rod met a woman who could have been my sister. Both in appearance and personality. She seems to love his wavy personality and I see how Rod blooms. This also makes me doubt again: If I’m still not fully living the life I dreamed of, and someone who looks like me finds happiness with my ex, do I still have some work to do on myself? I’m glad I tried to live a happier life after my unhappy marriage, but I’m not quite there yet. Although I can put one lesson in my pocket: never marry in a natural club.”
Text: Jorind Banner. For privacy reasons, all names have been changed, and the real names are known to the editors.
Photo: Getty Images
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