How long have you been married?
It is an innocent question. The person asking is usually simply curious. They are not trying to “get you.”
Yet it brings up an internal conflict for me:
Do I answer as I suppose they are asking about my current marriage? Or do I reveal that I had been married for six years prior to this marriage?
Further, do I share the unpleasant truth that my first marriage ended via my first wife’s cheating? How awkward do I want to make this interaction?
If I don’t tell them, do I want to risk their judgment as either being a naive newlywed or at fault for my divorce? Do I care?
It is such a simple and innocent-looking question. However, the question resurfaces a host of feelings.
The answering quandary is a reminder that my story does not fit the “polite” conversation mold anymore.
Yet it is an opportunity as well.
I have discovered through courageous sharing that I am not the only faithful spouse in my surroundings. Also, I have discovered people can be more compassionate than we might think upon hearing about one’s hard history.
So, for me, it is more important to be truthful and “show up” than avoid social awkwardness.
Question: How long have you been married?
Answer: It’s complicated. My first marriage lasted six years before ending with my first wife’s infidelity. My current wonderful marriage is about three years along. So, I guess I’ve been married for a total of nine years.