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|YOUNG, HOT AND DIVORCED
SCARY PROJECTIONS SAY THAT UP TO 70 PERCENT OF YOU WILL SEE YOUR MARRIAGES CRACK UP -- MOST
WITHIN THE FIRST TWO YEARS. KATY MCCOLL GETS BOTH SIDES FROM FOUR COUPLES WHO HAVE ALREADY
LIVED THE STATISTIC.
Byline: Katy McColl
Names: Nichole, 23, and Randy, 23
Date of marriage: September 1998
Date of divorce: June 2000
Grounds for dissolution: the word fun no longer exists in petitioner Nichole's vocabulary; money issues; drug abuse.
I saw Randy at a Korn concert four years ago. He had long hair, earrings. Really cute. I could tell he was also kind of cocky,
and at the time I thought that was masculine. We were both 18, and we dated for two years. But our families wouldn't approve
of us moving in together, since we're both Mormon.
I was at a point where I was like, "If this isn't going anywhere, we're going to break up." He freaked out, like, "I want to be with
you, da-da-did-da." I was like, "This is what I want, you know?" But then I was kind of like, "Maybe I don't know." But then I
just said yes anyway.
On the videotape of the wedding, everybody's laughing because I had this fur on the back of my dress, and it was shaking. I
was like, "Uhhyyuh!" But being married was kind of anticlimactic. We'd get into huge fights over how to fold socks. He also
cheated on me two weeks after we got engaged, but didn't tell me until after we were married. By then I thought I'd have to deal
with it, because I'd cheated on him a couple of times while we were dating, but I'd always told him about it right afterward.
We had a lot more sex after marriage, but it kind of went downhill. It seemed like it was over in 10 minutes, whatever. Before,
there was that foreplay kind of thing.
We hung out with his friends, together. But then it got to the point where he'd take off with them, and I'd sit at home.
Sometimes I'd go hang out with my sister, but he didn't really like that. He was kind of controlling. And if we went over to my
parents' house, he'd just sit there not talking, or he'd go in the basement and sleep. He hurt his finger tuning skis, and I don't
know if it was bad enough that he should've quit his job, but he did.
We took this road trip out East to help his cousin move. I decided to leave him after that, because we spent a week in the car and
didn't talk the entire time. I was like, "I don't want to see you ever again." And he was like, "You hate me, don't you?" And I'm
like, "You don't want to ask me that right now." Then he flipped out, freaked out, went a little weird. I told him it was a
difference in personality, that we were too young, all that stuff. He kept saying [raising her voice], "No! You can't divorce me!" I
paid for the divorce.
I won tickets to a Korn concert from a radio station. During the show I noticed these two girls dancing. One was Nichole, and
she was just beautiful. I kept finding my way back there, thinking, "I can't let this girl get away." After the show, she came up
and asked for a cigarette. We talked, and Nichole asked me for my number. We had similar interests in books.
A week later I tried to call her. She wasn't home, but she had told me she worked at the Kmart in Lehi, which is about 35
minutes from where I lived. So I just grabbed a friend, and we drove to Lehi and sat outside the Kmart for about an hour,
waiting for her to get off work. She finally came out. She didn't recognize me with glasses on. A week later we went out on a
date. We went to a laser show.
I took her to meet my family six weeks later. I was just so excited.
Even when I did propose, I wasn't truly ready. But I knew that was what she wanted. I used pretty much my whole paycheck
to buy the ring. Took her for a walk in the rain, which wasn't the best, and knelt down in the mud. She kind of flipped out and
couldn't go back to work for the rest of the day. It was pretty awesome.
I was worried about how upset she was on the trip with my cousin. After we got back, I went out, and when I came home later
that evening, partially intoxicated, she had a backpack full of stuff and the most excruciating pained look on her face. She told
me she didn't want to deal with it anymore and that she wanted a divorce.
Then she went on a trip to Las Vegas with her younger sister, who's divorced and really bitter toward her ex-husband. I'm sure
they did some man bashing for a couple of days and that she decided she was better off leaving me.
I'm not saying I'm a fantastic lover, but I thought the sex was good. More often than not, I did my best to please her. I never
cheated on her the whole time we were together. Two weeks before we got engaged, I was drinking with friends and might
have gotten too friendly with this girl. But I didn't even kiss her. I might've, but she sort of turned me down.
I am a drug addict. That was a big problem. I mean, I smoked pot on a daily basis and lied to her about it. I wasn't there for her
like I should've been, because I wasn't all there. She'd talk to me and tell me all her problems and just cry into the early hours of
the morning. And then she'd turn to me and ask, "How do you feel? What are you worried about?" I couldn't describe my
feelings, because my mind was so twisted and messed up from doing drugs. The day that we got separated was the last time I
did anything. And since then I've had a spiritual awakening.
I cried every day for the first month or two. I had been such a selfish bastard. She was absolutely selfless, though I guess the
common term for it these days is codependent.
Names: Gaby, 26, and Kenny, 26
Date of marriage: September 1996
Date of annulment: March 1997 Grounds for dissolution: quickie Las Vegas wedding; disapproving parents.
I was 16 and met Kenny at traffic school. In breezes this hot young barefoot kid. No shirt, with huge size-45 cutoff jeans
cinched around the waist with a seatbelt. We had lunch that week, but I had a boyfriend at the time, so we pretty much lost
touch. I went off to college, and then the summer after my junior year, I just had the impulse to drive by his house one evening.
He's like, "Who's that?" because he couldn't see me; it was dark. But when he figures it out, he just starts kissing me. I don't
think I left his house the rest of the summer.
Valentine's Day he called and said, "I don't want to be with anybody else." He dumped the other girl he was seeing, on
Valentine's, on the phone, too, I think. I was appalled, but from that moment on, we were exclusive.
My mom said I'd have no financial support from them if I moved in with Kenny after graduation. They're traditional. I did it
anyway. I was so completely in love with him that leaving him just to go to work every day killed me. All I would do is either sit
on the phone talking with him or draw pictures and send faxes to him.
Labor Day weekend I surprised him with a trip to Las Vegas. And at 2:00 in the morning, we sort of dared each other into
getting married there. I mean, he already called me his wife. And we had a dog named Knock Knock, who was like our child.
When we told them, my parents were like, "Is there anything else you want to tell us?" And I said, "Nope. Not pregnant, just
stupid." My mom was horrified. She's like, "You can't be 21 and divorced." So my parents hired a lawyer, and we got it annulled
-- we had to say that we were drunk when we did it, which we weren't -- but it wasn't like that was the end of our relationship.
It was just a dumb thing we took care of.
Her pop is dentist to the stars. Big shots. I was a troublemaker. Didn't really fit in with her group of friends. We fooled around a
couple times. Then one day, I came home from surfing, and she was home from Georgetown. We just looked at each other and
pow! It was on. She graduated, and I needed a roommate. She was my real, true first love.
One weekend she literally blindfolded me and took me to LAX. Midflight, she told me we had a room and two tickets to see
Sting. Me being the wiseass that I am, I'd make jokes about getting married. Basically, you know, if you're 20 and living with a
girl, what's the fuckin' difference? So the concert's over and we're lying on the hotel bed, bored, and I'm like, "Why don't we?"
Honestly, Gaby's a girl, so when you bring up the idea of getting married as a joke, there's still a side of it -- no matter how
much she tries to say there isn't -- that is totally romantic and sweet for her. Whereas for me, there's a side that hopes she
understands that we're doing this as a joke. Before I even opened the phone book, I said, "We should get it straight that I cannot,
at this age, make a commitment to be with you for the rest of my life." My mom always told me to wait till I was at least 30.
Gaby's parents got married in Vegas when her mom was our age.
Her parents were dumbfounded. They're like, "What do you want us to say?" And she says, "How about, 'Welcome to the
family'?" That's when it clicked that for Gaby, this was leverage in expressing her independence or something. It got a little
90210 at that point.
They took over from there, spearheading the entire annulment process. Paid for it, the whole nine. It cost $60 to get married and
$2,000 to get it annulled.
Names: Megan, 33, and Ari, 34
Date of marriage: October 1996 Date of divorce: pending
Grounds for dissolution: irreconcilable religious differences; spatial incompatibility in a 300-square-foot apartment.
I don't think I've ever taken marriage 100-percent seriously, because my parents had such a lousy one.
There was a shoe store that sold fabulous Italian shoes for like $30. Ari was the hot dude working there. He's Israeli, so we
talked about this Israeli pop star I knew of. Then he said, "We will listen to world music together. Here's my number. You call
me." And I'm like, "I'm not calling the shoe guy." Eight months passed, and I stopped back in. He's like, "You want shoe size 39.
I remember. You sit down and talk to me now." I was kind of skeeved out, thinking that he must pick up women at the shoe
store all the time.
He was so beautiful, it was unbelievable. We went to a bar and played pool. I went home with him, and I never do that, ever.
Even then I knew it wouldn't end up being a one-night stand. You can tell.
After five months of steady dating, I offered to marry him so that he could stay in the U.S. It was like, "Okay, I'm about to turn
29. Oh, shit, I don't know if he's really it, but he's it for right now. And if it doesn't work out, I can say it was just for a green
card." We got married on Halloween of '96. He wore black leather pants, and I bought these God-awful plastic white boots and
this little white go-go outfit. We thought we should pick a scary day, because we were terrified.
Once he got the green card, he had this new interesting, depressing dilemma: "What am I going to do with my life?" He had a
weird metaphor about being in a sushi restaurant and only being able to choose one piece. And he'd ask himself over and over,
"Have I chosen the right piece of sushi?" At the time, we were living on top of each other in his little studio apartment.
I went to Israel for two weeks and met his family. They really liked me, but they told Ari not to get me pregnant until I'd
converted and then -- as soon as I'd converted -- to have 10 kids.
I was paying all the bills. And when he got frustrated, he'd buy super-high-tech rock-climbing equipment. And he's actually
trained as a gourmet chef, but he stopped cooking. I was supposed to do that, too.
He started eating a pint of Ben and Jerry's every night. He told me that he'd actually posed for a romance novel cover -- now he
jokes that he's gone from Fabio to Flabbio. We'd been together for two years, and sex just fell away. I mean, he was depressed.
He tried on my birthday, and it was just this pathetic attempt. I asked him, "Is this dead?" We looked at each other, and he
started to cry.
When we fought, I realized it's different when you grow up in a country that's at war most of the time. You can scream at
somebody, and five minutes later everything's okay. To him words aren't as powerful as they are to me. I take stuff like "get the
fuck out of my life" very seriously.
When she walked in the store, I thought she was really gorgeous. I tried to talk to her, but I was just a salesperson and she was
gone. Months later, she walked in and this time she actually bought a pair. I invited her over to listen to music, Israeli music that
is. But she was like, "Oh, no, no, no way. It's not going to work that way." The third time she walked in, she said yes.
A few months later, I lost my job and nobody was offering me another one. I was heavily considering going back home. She
said, "I'll marry you for the privilege of you staying here." And I was like, "I love you. I have no problem being with you." She
moved into my studio, and it was hell from the get-go: small apartment, no privacy. It's really rough having two people in an
apartment with no doors to close.
I became a real-estate agent, but that was not good. No income, no nothing. There was pressure, from money, money, money,
money. It was a lot. I was watching TV, being a couch potato. And on the weekends, I'd be off on backpacking trips with my
friends. I wasn't used to backpacking with a girl. I was with the guys, and we were in good shape, so we pushed it all the time.
I was dissatisfied with myself. Megan needs a rock to lean on. I can't be a rock all the time.
I want to raise Jewish kids. She was considering converting to Judaism, but I was like, "Don't do it because I told you to. Do it
for yourself. If not, it's not even worth it." In any event, push came to shove. She decided not to do it.
Megan and I basically just faded away, rather than ending in a bang. Overall, I was happy, but toward the end, we thought it was
better to get it over with because it had become like pulling at chewing gum: Stretching, stretching, wondering who had the guts
to say the words, "Let's consider something else."
Names: Anna, 29, and Mark, 27
Date of marriage: November 1998 Date of divorce: July 2000
Grounds for dissolution: Anna sought stability over passion; Anna is also seeking to have the divorce she thinks her parents
My parents were separating during my first year of grad school, and I came home to deal with them. A friend of mine said,
"Mark is dying to see you." "Mark who?" I asked. I didn't remember him at all.
I guess we'd been on the literary magazine together in college and had said all of 20 words to each other. After each of us
finished school, we both started working for my family's business. My parents had reconciled, but they were still miserable.
Mark had an apartment, and I lived at home. We all worked in the basement. My family loved him, but they're like the Mafia.
Once you're in, it's hard to get out. So we dated for five years, just like that.
He was very handsome, a nice family, that sort of thing. I thought I needed a nice guy to help me through this horrible mess my
family was going through. Enough of those wild artistic guys I always dated. I was looking for stability.
The getting-married thing was businesslike and bloodless. He phoned while on a trip with my father and said, "Okay, let's pick a
date." No bended knee, no tearful proposal -- he got my father's consent, and it was a done deal.
After the wedding, I'd dream about running around in a filthy wedding gown. It wasn't all of a sudden, "Where's the magic?" It
was that I had been haunted for years by my mother saying, "Anna's boyfriend is such a loser." I didn't have to worry about that
with Mark, so I settled. One night I told him that I thought I'd made a mistake. And he drove straight over to my sister's house --
my parents just happened to be there -- and told them all that I wanted a divorce.
Because there wasn't something external like fighting or abuse, it makes it very hard for people to understand. Sometimes I think
I purposely had the divorce that I think my parents should have had. My father advised me to stay married and, how did he put
it, do whatever I wanted. I thought that was the most disgusting thing I'd ever heard.
If I do it again, I hope I've learned something: that yes, I do, in sickness and in health are not magic words. You still have to
work. If I haven't learned that, well, then all the horrible stuff that I put myself and my family and this wonderful person that I
married through isn't worth anything.
I got involved with the school's art and literary magazine my sophomore year. I'd heard Anna's name before because she'd
written some plays that were produced on campus. At one magazine meeting, I was wearing a brown leather jacket and a brown
fedora like Indiana Jones. Later on, she told me that she'd seen me there and was attracted to me. She graduated, but I continued
to think about her. When a mutual friend said Anna was coming to visit, I had this weird upwelling of feeling. I can't explain it. It
probably had a lot to do with her writing. And she's a Scorpio, so she's mysterious.
When she came to visit, we ended up going down to the science lab. She was really impressed by the experiments I was
working on. So I think she was probably attracted to that, too -- that I was doing interesting things.
I went to visit her for the weekend, and had a friend buy me a bottle of red wine to bring -- I was underage at the time -- and
asked her if she'd be mine. I remember writing one of my best poems that weekend.
Her father offered me a job. From that point on, we could never get away from our work. Four years into it, she asked whether
or not we were going to get married. Otherwise, she said, she needed to move on. I did the old-fashioned thing and discussed it
with her father. He was really happy about it, so at that point, we were engaged. After the wedding, her father's business was
slowing down, so we stayed there to help. We never did go away for a honeymoon. For me, things were okay, but I could see
that she was going through some changes and becoming independent. She quit working for her father. But I didn't think she was
going to divorce me.
I wish I could just be like, "Yeah, well, I'm single again." I get nervous about telling people that I'm divorced because I don't
want them to think that I did something wrong or I hurt somebody.
Will I get married again? You should ask me if I'd even have a girlfriend. But now I know more of what I want in somebody to
spend time with, serious time. They have to be beautiful, they have to be this, they have to be that. Let's just say I'm really picky
now. And I'm not ashamed of that.