OPINION: Marriage at 21 taught me I could handle anything

Nov 11, 2022 | OP-ED, Tales From Humber

At the young age of 21, I got married.

According to Statistics Canada, the average age of marriage in Canada is 30 years old, and average age of divorce is 45.

Meeting my now ex-husband, our relationship grew quickly, and once engaged, I was the happiest I had ever been. But, I felt shut out by my friends. They were skeptical and warned me to think it through.

They never questioned the love I had, but gave warnings because they felt being 21 was too young to make this kind of decision, but I was happy and going to do what I wanted to do. When you’re 21 you think you know it all.

Although I thought I knew everything, I started to question everything: Was this the right decision? Are my friends going to hate me? Can I handle this?

I asked myself all these questions but I knew it was what I wanted to do. Sometimes when you’re in love you have blinders on and only see what you want to see. We tied the knot in a quick and simple ceremony at Toronto City Hall.

I was happy that I now had a mother, brothers and sisters-in-law who were so nice and happy for us. I often felt that his family and friends were more accepting and happier than mine.

I found myself isolated from those I loved most in my life. I could feel they didn’t support my decision, so they supported me from afar.

Everything went well but in early 2020 we decided to go our separate ways. I felt like a failure of being 23 with a “failed marriage.” I felt like all the things those closest to me warned me about, happened, and they were going to have an “I told you so” moment.

It’s a moment that never came, but in situations like these, negativity seems to take over.

Early 2020 was rough.

Not only was I going through the end of a marriage and feeling heartbroken that I lost someone who I considered to be my soulmate, but the pandemic happened right as we separated.

I was lonely every day and felt like I had no one and nothing to do in my life anymore.

Due to the pandemic, filing divorce papers in court was pushed back months as only urgent cases were taken, as reported by Statistics Canada, making it much more difficult to get a divorce at that time.

Thankfully, as the pandemic progressed, things looked up. I started school in September 2020, once restrictions loosened I reconnected with my closest friends who I hadn’t seen in months, and in the summer of 2021, I was finally able to file for divorce.

All this was so new and I did not think I couldn’t handle what life was throwing at me. I was 24 when I filed. I was dealing with lawyers and paying a big price financially to go through with a divorce. I never handled lawyers or the law, so I was anxious every day.

The unknown was scary, but as things progressed it got easier and I saw the light at the end of the tunnel.

Being so young and looking back at that time in my life I never thought I would be strong enough to make it through not only a pandemic while being completely alone for months, but also handling a divorce at age 24, again, all by myself. But I made it.

Situations like this showed people and myself that I can make it through anything. We can’t ask life not to give us difficulties but we can definitely ask for the strength to survive.