divorced, engaged, and pregnant

In ALL, DATING & MATING by Stephanie Klein41 Comments

When I was newly engaged to Philip, two of my closest friends invited me to join them for dinner down at a new restaurant on Prince Street. I was late getting there, stopping on my way to duck into a gift shop for two important cards that would need to convey the right sentiment for the occasion. Little did I know that the occasion involved an intervention.

Along with appetizers, our meal began with questions about the state of my romantic relationship. "Too fast," "too soon," and "the one" were being cracked with pepper over our salads. "We just want to make sure you’re being smart," they’d said. I knew their hearts were pure, and in retrospect, getting engaged after knowing each other for such a short period of time is not everyone’s idea of normal.  Phil and I first met in February and weren’t what I even considered dating until July, but by then, I was in love. And four months later, he was down on bended knee waiting for my yes. 

And two weeks after that, I was in a card store warming my hands and willing my heart to find the right words to commemorate the occasion. I asked the woman at the register for a pen, took a moment to compose my thoughts, then I licked the envelopes and slipped them into my shoulder bag. At dinner my friends began, "we wanted to talk to you about…"

"This is totally an intervention isn’t it?" I asked.
Alex and Dulce looked at each other then back at me. "Well, yeah. We just want to make sure you’re happy."
I wasn’t just happy. I was divorced, engaged, and pregnant. "Am I happy?" I repeated while fishing out the cards.
"I mean, we know you’re happy, but isn’t this all happening kinda fast?"
I knew where they were going. They’d seen it before, my ability to fixate on ideas, to want something so much that I could convince anyone that it was the best decision I’d ever made, especially myself. But I wanted what I wanted, which never seems to change with me. I didn’t give them a chance to get much more out in the way of warnings. Instead, I handed them the cards and watched as they opened them in unison.

"Oh my God!"
"Holy shit, Stephanie!"
Then came the hugs, the smiles, the tears, and the questions. "Well, forget that," Dulce said as she wiped her hands in the air, leaving the discussion of rushed decisions in the past. I didn’t give them, or myself, the opportunity to question things. They had to be happy for me because I was happy for me. It wasn’t the traditional order of things, being divorced, engaged, and pregnant all at once, but they were supportive because they had to be. I ended up miscarrying the baby we’d toasted to that night. I then had the opportunity to look at things anew. Plans could be unmade easily if that’s what I wanted. But what I learned in that loss was what a strong and all-out supporter I had on my side. And by then, my friends were his biggest supporters, our biggest supporters. I’m still amazed that it has worked out so well. There are times when I wonder if I made the right decision; I question if it would be easier with someone else. But I imagine I’d think these things with anyone. With all the questioning and doubt, there’s also an extraordinary amount of love, the kind that survives interventions and loss and keeps us together through sickness and health.

Comments

  1. …just read your beautiful post and also want to tell you that I am planning to see you "on the Miracle Mile"!

    I was just laid off and am financially stressed and kind of bummed out … but I have been looking forward to your book signing BEFORE the layoff and I am so psyched!

    Here's love and a hug from one of your LI fans!!!

  2. I hope you're learning that nothing is ever perfect.

    Sometimes GOOD is the perfect thing.

    I only say this because I am trying so hard to learn it myself. And even though I'm not perfect (it seems I get worse and worse and worse at being a cancer patient, and walking stooped over from the pain and wanting to trade in my body), my new Brooklyn apartment (damn damn damn I love it, and buying it was so so cool!, but damn damn damn can it not get unpacked by a magician?), my boyfriend isn't perfect (depositions and meetings and work work work), and my mind is very imperfect. It's got so much going on and so little time and energy and focus to do it all.

    I hope you are a happy person. I know we all have rough times. I sincerely hope that you can look around and enjoy what you have, because you do have a beautiful life and you made that for yourself. You got what you wanted and–though you'll never be perfect–in a sense, you have it all.

  3. What a gorgeous walk down memory lane. Why do I get the feeling though, there's something huge going on?
    I'll second what Wendy said and hope your husband is well.

  4. Sorry to have missed your reading. Ah, the glorious practice of law. Anyway, am sending you strength if you need it. I do not know if the commenters' musings above about Phil are correct, but I sure hope they are not.

  5. I can totally relate about the fixating on an idea and convincing yourself it's the best decision to ever be made. I did that when I was choosing colleges and ended up at a place that made me miserable 75% of the time. I wondered that when I had to fight hard for someone I really love. And I was more than happy when I realized that I wasn't convincing myself, he really is the best decision I've made. And I'm really bad at making decisions. Wish I could be at one of your readings, but I'm heading off tomorrow to Greece with Moose as my airplane reading! I tried SO hard to hold off, but I started reading last week and I've only allowed myself tiny tastes until I get on the plane–with my great decision boyfriend. Tiny tastes? Must be my first stab at self-control.

  6. This makes me hopeful . . . i want THAT. So far, i've only got the divorced part down . . . *sigh*

  7. You use words that make me want to be a better writer. So glad you have a support in your life. I agree there might be something you're not telling us about Phil's health.

    I hope all is well.

  8. i don't think there is anything wrong with phil…she's making reference to her wedding vows , i believe.

    as for the right person in life, the reality of it all is that we will never really know. isn't THAT the point? it may not be easy, but nothing in life that is worth a damn ever is.

    bummed i'm missing the readings in nyc. leaving for vaca. cheers!

  9. I love stories in which life and love renew themselves. It's something not to be taken for granted (especially because I'm in the midst of the worst. breakup.ever.). I'm wishing you all the happiness in the world.

  10. "Cracked with the pepper over our salads" was great. What a sweet story with you, your friends and Phil.

  11. I am still trying to stop asking the "would it be easier with someone else" question. From the outside, so many of my friends seem to have these easy relationships. Maybe they're just less melodramatic than I am. Thank God for blogs where I get to see that other people have doubts and questions and still decide it's love on the back end.

  12. I loved this post so much, I can relate in so many ways. I have 2 best friends who are always on my side fighting for me. I appreciate those two so much. I also have an amazing husband and today is our 2 year anniversary, and I'm pregnant with our first baby! There is so much going on right now and I couldn't be happier..though somehow I have those crazy little moments where I wonder if this is exactly what it was supposed to be? I hate so much when those thoughts come over me. I know he's all there is for me, and I could never be treated better by anyone….it's good to know I'm not the only one who "has it all" yet still wonders really?? Thanks Stephanie!

  13. Great post Stephanie,

    I don't think she is referring to something wrong with Phil but rather reflecting on her relationship with him and their love.

    I also didn't know my husband long before we got engaged and married but I was minus a bun in the oven :)

    We met when I was finishing up treatment for breast cancer and I was bald and boobless. He had just lost his mom to breast cancer a month before we met. He was able to see past the scars and the bald head to who I was and I was lucky for that. We dated only 6 months when he proposed on one knee by the ocean in Newport. Everyone thought we were crazy for not knowing each other that long and they were worried. But i think that because I had just faced my own mortality I had come to realize that life was to dam short and feeling sure about him I just followed my heart and didn't look back.

    Stephanie, good for you that you followed your heart and I wish you much happiness with Phil always…

    I will be at your book reading this afternoon in West Nyack!! Can't wait!

  14. On our wedding day, my husband and I had only known each other for barely a year yet. 7 yrs later we are still going strong. It would be weird if you never questioned whether you made the right choice.

    I just finished Moose. It is an excellent book! It was like a great foreign film – I forgot I was reading. I cant'wait to read your next one.

  15. Great friends. Fantastic & loving husband.
    What else would one need?

    I enjoyed this and thank you for sharing it.

  16. With true soulmates, it is never easy. Your perfect soulmate is perfectly designed to make you deal with all of your sh**, and you are designed to force him to deal with his. In the end, it creates REAL happiness, but it ain't easy! Most wonderful and beautiful things aren't, and that is a blessing.

  17. This post hit home for me today. My boyfriend and I have only been dating for about four months. No bun in the oven yet, but we are already talking about it. We can't wait to be all moved in together and get married. My family and even my co-workers are questioning my thinking.
    Who can gauge our own happiness for us? Who can tell me that when I have finally found everything I was searching for in a man, that its wrong? Thank you for this post. It gives me strength to keep going even when so many are against me.

  18. They day I found out I was pregnant, was the day I went to closing. I had sold my house,quit my job, stored my things and purchased a one way ticket to Italy to go and live for a undecided amount of time with one of my best male friends and see all of Italy. I thought the nausea and the dizzy spells where from nerves and excitement, until I found myself craving and then tucking into a tuna fish sandwich. I loathe canned tuna. I'll never forget that last night in my sold house staring at the pregnacy test that said Positive.

    The Father of my child and I have been through it all. It was not a great way to start a forever realtionship. There were many peaks and deep valleys. More then once did I think, what the hell am I doing with this person, we are so different. But he is always there, and he is such a rock, for me for our child. He is so very rock steady. And I think, SK, about this advice that I was once given. That True Love stories come in all forms and styles. Not everyone has the "You had me at hello" moment. Instead these men honor us and love us and hold us up, in our darkest times and laugh with us in our best brightest moments. I wouldn't really trade that kind of honest love for anything. So I repeat to you, just like people come in all differenet shapes,colors and sizes,
    so do our love stories.
    Keep on rockin the book tour!!

  19. Just like "megs" above I have the divorce part down, but still alone after 4 years….It is not so easy being a single mom, working full-time and trying to meet someone…I am looking forward to seeing you tonite at the "miracle mile" :) I represent the CT fans….

  20. Two thoughts… 1) Sounds like Stephanie's friends were concerned mostly about the pace of the relationship and her mental/emotional health in jumping in with someone else so quickly after a failed marriage, rather than because they actually had concerns about the relationship, or Phil, or changes in her or her personality. After seeing her suffer through life with and then without the Wasband, I am sure they had her very best interests in mind and didn't want to see her hurt again. It sounds like as soon as they knew she was serious and genuinely happy, their concerns were resolved. My friend recently became engaged to someone after 6 months of dating, and in that time her entire being has changed- her physical appearance as well as her morals, beliefs, and personality in general. (The relationship reminds me alot of Stephanie with the Wasband…) Several of her friends and family members expressed concerns not only about the pace of the relationship but about the changes in her, and the general character of her fiance. These concerns were not well-received and she has responded by cutting off every friend as well as her siblings and her parents to a degree. She says no one wants to see her happy and that we're all jealous. This honestly could not be farther from the truth, and it is very scary and sad for me to watch. So to Tennis Coach, I would remind you that your friends and family love you and only are looking after your best interest. Just think about about the reasons your friends and family are suggesting you think it over. It has been so painful for me to watch someone so dear to me slip away into this bad relationship and lose everything she has worked so hard for (including money, as she is now supporting this deadbeat, and possibly her job as she has been under-performing at work since he came along). Had I known she would cut me off for expressing my serious reservations, would I have still shared my feelings with her? I have gone back and forth about this, but I think YES, because I love her and want her to be truly happy without compromising who she is, and I know that talking to her about it was the right thing to do.

    2) Stephanie, you're right on the money. I love my husband and we have a great life together, but sometimes it's hard and I also wonder "would it be different (easier/better) with someone else?" I think this is natural. All couples have struggles, but the good relationships have love, trust and respect at the heart of them, and an interest by both parties to make it work in good times and bad, sickness and health. I certainly have that and it sounds like you and Phil do, too. Bravo!

    This was a great post.

  21. It can be so hard to be understanding with the friends and family members who are always "don't" – don't do that so fast, don't get married yet (this to someone over 30 – not exactly 18 and naive), don't commit to that position, don't take that risk… I have one parent and a few friends and coworkers who can be counted on to always tell me no or warn me off of anything – there could be risk! Horrors, not risk!!!

    Meh.

    I'm not of the nature that sees all of the don'ts and risk limiting warnings as positive, even if intended that way. "Don't" be a buttinsky, that might be a good retort.

  22. I wonder if your issues with Phil ever had a chance to rear their head in the confines of such a short courtship? Seems you two were barely out of the honeymoon phase of dating when you got engaged, which may be why things are rougher as a married couple.

  23. I had the same "interventions" when I got married a year after getting divorced. I met him only a few months after husband #1 and I were separated. Friends were worried about me rebounding, but I don't think they understood how lonely I had been for so long, even though I was married.

    It's been almost 10 years. Some of the intervenors are divorced now. I'm still married to husband #2. What people say to you usually has a lot more to do with what's going on with them than they care to admit.

  24. 28, married, un-married/divorced, remarried and pregnant all with 2 years. Everyone bellowing "are you sure?" I said; are we ever, completely?
    Fast forward a decade plus. Still married .. more babies … sometimes wonder "would be easier with someone else?"
    Life brings many challenges, changes, opportunities; sometimes we have to take the risk and go for it. I can't completely explain why it works with husband #2 (besides the fact that he doesn't consider dating while married an acceptable practice) except that maybe we went into with more realistic expectations, knowing that perfect was a myth and good is GOOD and okay.
    I'm happy. Deliriously so? Not so much … I don't that is a sustainable state. Happy is enough.

  25. >> It would be weird if you never questioned whether you made the right choice.

    then i guess i'm weird. our relationship is pretty much perfect. i've never for a second wondered if it would be easier with someone else. we always wonder whether other people have what we have… i assumed so, but i guess not. but it is out there.

  26. I can't help but wonder what you wrote in the cards…

    Perhaps that isn't the point, though.

  27. My husband is an artist. I'm a PhD… in business. Nobody would have picked us out for each other. I have the "would it be easier with someone else" thoughts. The answer might very well be "yes, it would be easier", but I know it wouldn't be better. I wouldn't trade a more steady stream of income and more compatible schedules for what I have with my husband. I frequently remind myself that any a**hole with good credit can buy you a big diamond and a condo on CPW, but my husband is worth more than that. He takes care of my heart. I can take care of the rest.

  28. Great post Stephanie, I can also somewhat relate to this post. Good luck with the book tour!

  29. Somehow, deep inside, you knew he was indeed the one. Considering my recent track record, I don't know if I can ever be as self-assured as you were.

  30. Hey Stephanie:

    Thanks for the email/listserv about your new book! Congrats on that! I am still fighting myself to write the first one. :) Every time I see Straight up and dirty in the memoir section at my local BN I want to tell everyone "Hey, I (kinda) know her!"

    Also, it's been a while since I stopped by, so what a brilliant way to get old timers to visit the blog again. I'll have to read more later when I have time– visit to the ENT today to see if Twin 2 needs tubes to help his speech delay. Here's hoping YOUR twins are doing fine & hubby & Austin, too. I know, shows I haven't been reading. I will, later. :)

  31. Stephanie, would you be so kind as to post video from your appearance on the Today show? I was waiting and waiting for it to come on, but by 8:45 a.m. EST, I just had to go to work. I'm excited to see it!

  32. Had to pop in to say that I loved your reading last night! Such a fun night! I can't wait to get started on Moose. Btw, your kids were absolutely precious, and Phil seemed like such a nice guy. While I was waiting on line to have my book signed, I was talking w/ your friend Jaimee for a while, who was also so sweet. All around, a great night! So happy for you! Good luck w/ the rest of your tour. There's no stopping you…

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