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Getting Divorced as a Millennial

While everyone else is getting married and starting a family, I shifted the focus on myself.

Never in my dreams did I expect to get divorced at the ripe age of 26. Yep, on the cusp and beginning of my adult life, I filed for divorce. I wasn't married for just one or even three years. This was the end of a six-year marriage and an eight-year relationship.

The decision was not an easy one. I do not presume that it ever is for anyone who discovers a little too late that the relationship that they consumed themselves with is not for them. Devotion. Sacrifice. Loyalty. Friendship. Just some of the necessities of a successful marriage — at least when you're 19. These seemed easy.

I had goals — as soon as I began college — I had goals. Known to be independent by family and friends, I was so sure that I would become something big after college. I wanted to change the field of social sciences. I wanted to break out of the little city that I am from. Love got in the way. Feeling secure got in the way. My biggest risk was uprooting my goals, my way of living, myself away from my family, and moving across the country to completely devote myself to another. 

Getting Married at 19

This was my choice and mine alone. I didn't know then that I would change — I would lose myself. We got engaged in May, married in August at the city hall of Virginia Beach. He was in the military. Sure, you can presume that I got married for the benefits, for the money, to be able to travel. Well phew. I thought I had gotten married for love.

The health benefits were great. I didn't ever worry about anything medical related. The money? If you know anything about the wages of our military service members, you would know that they get paid less than minimum wage hourly — working 12-18 hours a day sometimes. It was not a life of luxury for us. Traveling? Well I have been to Japan and lived in California for about four years — but there was also three round trips back home to New Jersey, twice when he was deployed, and one moving there and another moving back.

When I Became a Part of Something Bigger

I placed my goals on hold about six months into our marriage. After finishing a terrible semester online while we moved, I decided that I couldn't go back to school. The university I was at did not have an online program for me to continue my studies — just some random courses. For three months I was out of school — only in my second year. Sure I worked. Did I love what I did at age 20-21? No. Monotonous administrative work. I enjoyed the people I worked with, but soon after I began work, I had to leave. I moved back to NJ as he went off on a deployment.

Why couldn't I stay in California? Why couldn't I hold down our fort until he returned? We wanted to save money. More of his idea over mine — but I was supportive and sacrificial.

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Getting Divorced as a Millennial
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