I recently found myself wondering if marriage is worth it, what people’s biggest regrets about getting married might be.
When I was a little girl, I always assumed that one day I would magically wind up meeting the man destined to be my husband, and that we would quickly go about the business of getting married.
Don’t get it twisted. I didn’t exactly spend every waking second of every waking hour planning my wedding and subsequent marriage (although, I’ll admit that I did save a picture of the engagement ring Brad Pitt designed for Jennifer Aniston — just in case). It’s just that I figured that’s what happens when a girl grows up and fall in love. She becomes a wife.
Now that I’m older, I am very much aware that marrying someone is no guarantee of a happy, healthy relationship, and it certainly isn’t something anyone of any gender should feel like they must do.
But what would make a guy go so far as to say, “I regret getting married”?
The truth is that If you love someone, you can choose to make whatever type of life together you want. It’s up to the two of you, not to our antiqued notions of what must come next in the circle of life for all human beings.
Figuring out that I don’t have to get married — ever — has actually made me feel better about several other things as well.
Weirdly, because I come from an intact family with two still-happily married parents, I’m a bit more skeptical about what it takes to make a marriage work. Yes, my parents are blissfully happy, but they are also such weirdos that it makes sense to me that once they found each other they each clung onto the institution of marriage for dear life.
I can’t ever imagine meeting a person who I want to make that particular commitment to, and I mean that legally and spiritually and in whatever additional sense I possibly can.
I think this mindset of mine developed the way it did from watching many of my own friends and acquaintances get married right out of college. Some of those couples are still together, but others who tied the knot in say, 2006, have already split up. Heck, some already moved onto their second marriage!
That doesn’t exactly inspire a lot of hope in a girl when it comes to the prospect of settling down. But because I can’t really talk to these folks about something as painfully fresh their biggest regrets about getting married, I decided to head to Reddit to see if there were other folks out there who tied the knot and now wish they hadn’t.
As you might suspect, the gentlemen over there had some opinions on the matter, and while some of the reasons they regret their marriages seem silly, others make so much sense you might just swear off of the institution yourself … even if only temporarily.
If you’re wondering if marriage is worth it, here are 15 painfully honest truths from men who say they regret getting married to their wives.
1. The love was never mutual.
“She never loved me. She married me because she thought it would force her to develop feelings. Waste of time.”
2. They had different ideas about what family means.
“Wife lied to me about her family plans. Partially about having kids, mostly about building our own family. Her definition of ‘our family’ puts her mother at the head of the table. Mine does not.”
3. She changed the minute she became a wife.
“Her personality changed dramatically from the person I was dating. Stereotypical changes when we got married — way less [intimacy] and more entitlement. Another huge change about eight years into the marriage with a 3-year-old kid together. I never would have dated the person she became at that point.”
4. She grew needy and depressed.
“Her dad became terminally ill around the time we got married and she never recovered after his death, despite my best efforts to get her medicated and into therapy. She gained weight and does basically nothing except watch Netflix, I do about 80% of the housework. Thankfully we are still in an apartment and have no kids yet because divorce is almost a certainty at this point. We have nothing in common anymore. I feel like I’m living with a lazy, extremely needy roommate. We’re living two completely separate lives.”
5. She wasn’t “the one.”
“I regret that I married the wrong woman, that I was immature and naive and too eager to find a woman vs. waiting to find the right woman.”
6. Nothing made her happy.
“She thought buying a house with me would make her happy. It didn’t. I sold it alone and at a $10,000 loss.”
7. She had a hardcore drug addiction.
“She was a compulsive liar and coke-head. If you don’t do drugs, it’s hard to pick up on the tell-tale signs. My friends knew, my associates knew, her family knew, everybody knew but me. Yes, every sign was there. I just fell for all the lies. I loved that woman too. Two years and $250,000 stolen later I get to say I got the better end of that deal. She’s still a junkie and I bounced back. In short, don’t marry anybody, man, woman or [my ex-wife], who does hard drugs.”
8. They were too young.
“The first time, I was too young (23), got into it way too fast, and didn’t pump the brakes when I knew it was headed off the rails. At the time I was in the military overseas, and I met someone who was in the service but on her way out and I felt like this was just kind of the next logical step in life, to go ahead and take the vows and make it work. The military lifestyle kind of forces people into bad marriages (mostly to guarantee yourself housing off-base), and the circumstances you live under are custom-made to put strain on those marriages.
What I’d have told my younger self is that at 23 you are just a baby, and you have so much more life to live and to find someone you’re truly compatible with. Whatever problems you encounter with a person prior to getting married multiply exponentially afterwards. So be very sure, and if you’re not sure, don’t do it. You don’t have to break up, but if you’re not ready, you’re not doing either yourself or your new spouse any favors.”
9. Marriage means saying goodbye to your free time.
“I’m married. The worst part is the loss of free time to play video games or do what I want. The second worst part was that I gave up my job to try out her family business (completely different career path from what I was doing) in a different city, and after six months, I’m just not into working 50-55 hour weeks with no benefits, even if I’m my own boss and would get summer off. Now we are seriously considering going back to my job, which will make things tight and I worry about her and if she will like it or not.
My wife is awesome though, it’s just been hard to change everything in my life at 41. We have a newborn baby too. I find myself short tempered now at times, tired, feeling overwhelmed, scared, etc at times. I worry about her being happy. I don’t worry about her being a gold digger, cheating, etc. Just a lot of adjustments. Nothing crazy with her yet thankfully. My only gripe is that I like my ‘free time’ and not running around all the time.”
10. They only got married because she gave him an ultimatum.
“I gave into her ultimatum. She just wanted to get married. Generally. Didn’t necessarily have to be me.”
11. She used him bad.
“She drained me financially then cheated on me. Then when we tried to work it out ‘for the kid,’ she just wanted to convince me to pay for several of her bills (rent, utilities, etc.) with the idea that we’d be living together again. Oops, her deadbeat boyfriend already lived there. And was still a thing, apparently.”
12. He lacked the … organizational skills for monogamy.
“Mistress management proved to be much more challenging than I anticipated.”
13. He messed it all up.
“I don’t regret the marriage per-se, I regret not ending it sooner. There’s a long story, but basically we separated because I acted like an idiot. I got myself together and we got back together to try and raise our daughter. It was clear right away she didn’t really forgive me and wasn’t really trying to forgive me. It seemed more like she was getting her revenge or something.
More long story, but I kept trying to make it work and I think she was too scared to be alone so we stayed together in misery. Instead of just getting a clean divorce and custody agreement we separated and spent years fighting even after I’d moved on and had a kid with someone else. So yeah, I regret not getting the divorce done before she flipped out and disappeared making me do it in absentia.”
14. He should have spent more time learning about himself.
“Don’t regret it. But I wish I waited till I was at least 30 to get married so I would have had time to discover more what I like and who I am.”
15. Some men just cannot be tied down.
“The very, very short version is because it ended in divorce. But there are more complex reasons, most of them circling around the lifelong tug-of-war between my need for independence and my need for belonging. They’re mutually exclusive, so something’s gotta give.”
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