Starter Wives

11 Aug
Debra Messing at the 2009 Tribeca Film Festiva...

Image via Wikipedia

Debra Messing starred as The Starter Wife on TV and there was a whole movie about The First Wives Club. But, are these things that have been created by society for comedic effect, or are they real?

Starter Wife even has a definition in urbandictionary.com :

A man’s first wife that (usually) marries out of love and helps him achieve wealth, power, etc., but is then promptly discarded upon reaching said goal for a younger more attractive woman. Can sometimes result in the starter wife getting half.

Does that make it a “real” thing, or is it just a label slapped on a common occurrence?

Are all first wives in actuality, Starter Wives? Is that just the natural evolution of a man that they need to go through this?

Well, according to the Huffington Post, divorce is just the Natural Order of Things. To be fair, a reader commented to the author that he believed it was a natural flow, not the Huff Post itself. He believes that the mother of your children didn’t need to be the love of your life. And that may be true-for those that have children out of wedlock.

But the woman you marry(who ends up the mother of your children) should be the love of your life. Otherwise, why marry her in the first place?

The reader stated that:

Our first mate is usually a good mother, she cooks and cleans and is maternal. Once those things are no longer in demand (the kids are grown) we move on to search for a mate who has other traits we desire. Younger, hotter, more sexually open perhaps… usually someone who doesn’t challenge us as much.

First of all, why would you want someone that doesn’t “challenge you as much”? Are you that insecure with your intelligence that you can’t handle a woman that can match you? That just shows what a complete lack of respect for women this guy has. How does someone go around looking for a “stupid” woman? How do you feel ok about yourself as a human when one of your qualifications is that the woman not be smart? Try telling another human that and see if they don’t think you’re a complete dick.

But, my main issue with his statement is that they guy says that the maternal traits are “no longer in demand (the kids are grown).” I honestly believe what he meant was, the maternal traits are being used on the kids and no longer on me.

I think the real issue is that men (some men, not all men to be fair) marry their first wife-someone they know to have maternal traits-as a transition person between being cared for by their mother and being an adult.

They still wish to have someone take care of them and mother them, but they know they are too old to have their actual mother do it. So they marry a transition woman-aka Starter Wife.

Her job(although she doesn’t know it) is to help him move from being cared for by mommy to being able to care for himself. In the first couple years of marriage, Wifey takes care of the household, just as Mommy did and man gets to do what his father did-go to work, golf and drink with his buddies, and come home to a clean house and hot meal.

Then they have kids and reality sets in for Dear Husband. They are no longer the center of their wife’s attention. All that mothering is going to someone else. They have to quit being mothered cold turkey. They go into shock, get through the withdrawal, and then realize, they are on their own.

Once Dear Husband figures out he can make it on his own, he leaves. He has gotten through transition time and realizes that he wants a woman he can impress and show off for. Not the woman that he used to rely on and have take care of him.

He wants to flaunt his peacock feathers and get the attention he is craving, but not getting as his current wife is busy taking care of house and children.

So, divorce ensues, and along comes the Trophy Wife

I will flat out admit-this is NOT all guys. But I will say, I consider myself a Starter Wife and I feel that the definition exactly happened to me: helps him achieve wealth, power, etc., but is then promptly discarded upon reaching said goal.

It may not have been wealth and power, but I firmly believe I was used to help my ex achieve his goals for him to leave for another woman. While there are several other issues that ultimately led to my divorce, this is one huge cause.

But the ultimate question is: Are all first wives doomed to end up a Starter Wife? Should women just wait to marry a man until they are his second wife to ensure a they will be “the one that sticks”?

I may be a Starter Wife, but I also know that someday I will someone else’s Trophy too-whether I am his first wife or second. While it sucks to be labeled, one of the advantages of being a Starter, is that you’ve been through it before. You know what you want, what to avoid, and how to make marriage better the second time around.

If a man wants someone that babies them, doesn’t challenge them, and is fooled by the peacock feathers, then they’re not the man for me anyway.

And if being a Starter Wife means I get to look like Debra Messing, well, that’s an advantage too!

Are You A Tortoise or a Hare?

8 Aug

It’s funny, as you go through this divorce path, you think you’re getting over it and moving on. But with each step you take, you find that divorce tether is still there holding you back just a little.

Not because you want to be with your ex or because you’re not ready to move forward. But because you find that as you explore your new path in life, your steps are a little more cautious, second guessing each one.

You’re not sure-is this normal? is this right? is this real? Or has my divorce f-ed me up so much that I can’t tell this isn’t normal, right, or real.

That’s the tether. It holds you back just a little from running full speed into your new life.

But maybe that’s not so bad. We ran full speed into life the first time and now we’re divorced. Maybe the tether isn’t holding us back, but is a safety net. It is a lesson learned. Move a little bit slower, be the tortoise, not the hare. And you’ll win the race this time.

Free Therapy

4 Aug

I had an excellent IM conversation today with a friend also going through a divorce.

He, unfortunately, suffered a lot more betrayal than I did. That is his story to tell. However, in essence we are both divorcing because we were each cheated on by our spouse.

As our conversation developed, some interesting revelations came about that I thought anyone who was cheated on could probably relate to or benefit from.

Realization #1

We both felt like it was our job to make our spouse happy. As a result, we let a lot of things(red flags) go that we would have otherwise spoken up about. Both our spouses did not respect or appreciate our efforts and rather than reciprocating the effort, chose to find relationships with others to make themselves happy.

What we learned:

Happiness is your own responsibility and if having someone else a part of your life helps in that, then you do what you can to nurture it. But nobody else can make you happy, nor should someone else be responsible for creating your happiness.

Realization #2

Our marriages were comprised of two individuals, not one whole. We both thought we were a part of a whole, while our spouse saw themselves strictly as an individual.

What we learned: 

Any relationship has compromises, and in a marriage,to be a “whole,” some parts of individuality are lost. It’s like a team. Each player has their parts and sometimes you get individual recognition for successes, but the whole team gets the trophy, not the one player.

Realization #3

We don’t understand how someone could cheat.

What we learned:

People who have affairs are unhappy with themselves and blame the marriage, but they feel like they can’t just ask for a divorce without a “valid” reason, so they have an affair to create that reason. There are those that are unhappy, that can’t picture an affair and just divorce. But those that do take to the level of an affair already have a lack of integrity or moral code that allows them to cheat. Their delusional justification for the affair is the unhappiness in the marriage, but in reality, the affair had nothing to do with being unhappy. That act was a result of a lack of morality.

Realization#4

Just because you’re going through a divorce, doesn’t mean you can’t fall in love with someone new.

What we learned:

Almost everyone says not to date until your divorce is final. That may be a good general rule, however, some divorces take a lot longer than others. And people grieve and heal from their divorce at different rates-not always parallel timing to the finalization of the divorce. Going through a divorce doesn’t turn you into a robot that prevents you from feeling until you get the “official word.” It’s not like once you have that magic piece of paper that says divorce, the robot heart disappears and your real one grows again.

That being said, it is important, no matter what stage of divorce legalization you are in, not to date until you are ready. If your divorce is finalized and you’re not ready, then you’re not ready. Do what is best for you and you alone. After all, you are in control of your own happiness, not someone else or a piece of paper.

In essence, we had a good dose of free therapy and I know that we are both in better places each and every day as move forward with our lives and find love again. And we both know that whether or not we find love, we will find happiness.
What realizations have you had during your divorce? What lessons have you learned?

I Yam What I Yam

11 Jul

Gotta love Popeye.

He was what he was and didn’t take any crap from anyone about it.

I think the biggest misconception that kids have is that adults know who they are. That somehow, when you become an adult (whenever that is) you magically become self-confident, self-aware, and well, adult.

But adults don’t have it all together. We’re all still waiting to become adults, just like the kids are. We’re still waiting for that aha moment when we know. Because life is an ever evolving process. We take our hits that knock down our self-confidence, no matter what age we are and have to start over again.

I am in my 30′s and thought I was on the path to having it all together and being a real adult. Then I got a divorce and all hell broke loose in my self-confidence, self-awareness, and desire to be an adult.

It sucks.

However, over the process, I have learned one thing:

I am what I am.

It’s just what I am now is different than what I was before. And I have to accept that first before I can expect others to accept it too.

But now having comes to terms with being a divorced, single mother. I am ready to move on and fully embrace who I am now.

And gosh darn it, people like me! I didn’t expect that to happen. But when you embrace yourself and charge into the world fully willing to share yourself with others-good, bad, and ugly (i.e. being who you are) then people will flock to you and love you for who you are.

And those that don’t, well, they can shove it.

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