Lived Through This

Second Marriage Lessons From My First Divorce

Learn how I messed up so you don’t have to

Jill Francis
Human Parts
Published in
6 min readOct 24, 2021

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Woman with blue hair and tattoos in white wedding dress laying on the ground.
Photo by Suzana Duljic from Pexels

Marriage is always a challenge. It never ceases to amaze me how difficult it is to get right, yet how willing people are to jump out of one and into the other like they’re on a club crawl in Ibiza. There were 13 years between my first and second marriages and while it might seem like an excessive amount of processing time, I assure you that it was commensurate with the amount of my personal contribution to the cranium-searing disaster. I needed every minute of the layover between the two. My second marriage needed as clean a slate as possible and I had to be sure I wouldn’t mistakenly wipe back to front under pressure.

Don’t get me wrong, I know I don’t need to take all the blame. My ex-husband — let’s call him George — was an equal partner in the mess. It’s just that I was terrific at upping the ante on the calamity factor like I was constantly playing a game of asshole poker. I can not speak for George, though, only myself. So, in honor of my third anniversary with husband number two, I thought I would share a little bit of wisdom by pointing out the various and sundry ways I screwed up. They are all terrifically embarrassing, but I won’t let that stop me.

Mistake #1: I based my interest in my ex-husband on an assumption

When I met George, I was prepared to be uninterested since he was a medical student and therefore boring to me, a 22-year-old who still carried her skateboard everywhere. I think I was trying to be authentic, but it was probably just that I had watched Gleaming the Cube too many times. My friend, Keisha, would invite me out with her med school classmates and I would thank her by being an insufferable snob at the parties. I would slink into a corner drinking vodka-Diet Coke and smoking Marb Lights while hoping no one asked me what I thought of last week’s episode of ER. I used to say I wanted nothing to do with the “establishment,” which basically meant that I wouldn’t date guys that wore Dockers. Therefore, most of Keisha’s pals were out of the running.

When I got into George’s car and found a Blink-182 CD in the stereo, my antennae went up. Maybe this guy…

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Jill Francis
Human Parts

American immigrant in Italy with too many degrees in Psychology. I write about everything I’m afraid of. jillfranciswrites@gmail.com