IT'S no secret that the marriage rate has been steadily trending down and the divorce rate up, with official statistics painting a bleak picture of young people's views on the holy union.
Some see it as couples waking up to the reality that marriage may not be for everyone, a lightbulb moment that many of those who have already jumped the broom wished they'd had. Because the reality is that married life isn't all it's cooked up to be, and this realisation usually comes with some amount of shock.
Before getting married many people are guilty of falling for the myth that marriage has all the things that they longed for — intimacy, friendship, companionship, honesty and a guaranteed happily-ever-after. Unfortunately, sometimes this life-altering decision doesn't live up to the expectations of the parties involved, and when this happens it triggers a host of emotions, including regret.
All Woman asked currently unhappily married and divorced readers to share their marriage regrets.
Saline, 35, nail technician:
I regret getting married because I really only did it because of the church. I wanted to serve God and so I knew I needed to set my house in order. Now I think that I settled because I didn't take enough time to know this man and I was naive in thinking that all Christian men make good husbands. It turns out that not even holy water can save some of these men. So now we are separated and I know that I want to get divorced. I am also on the hunt for a new church because I am being side-eyed and it makes me uncomfortable.
Tanice, 39, teacher:
I regret getting married when I knew that there were so many unresolved issues in our relationship — some very toxic. We went through the proper channels of counselling before getting married but the wedding day anxiety has become my reality. This man seems to have cheated more than he did when we were just courting, he slacked up on responsibilities, he disregarded my concerns, and so many other things. Before the divorce, I recall the last big argument we had when I caught him in a lie and discovered that he was out cheating regularly. My man told me, “yuh lucky none a this naa gwaan inna yuh face. That is respect. After mi not doing it in our bed”. I knew I couldn't go on after that.
Shawn, 40, mechanic:
I regret that I got married young because by the time we were 34 or 35 we knew that we no longer wanted to be together. Before that we just lived separate lives because we had evolved and we were no good to or for each other. We wanted different things, had different beliefs, and the marriage was not serving any of us. So we did the right thing and went through with the divorce and there were no hard feelings.
Sharon, 47, business owner:
I regret tying myself to someone who was not only psychotic, but who was manipulative and waited until marriage to begin his gold-digging. He knew I was weak and he also knew my insecurities, so for three years I lived in hell. He stole from me, used abusive language, forced me to do things I was not comfortable with in the bedroom, and caused so much drama on the job I got him that they had to fire him. This significantly strained my relationship with some of my most trusted friends. When I finally got enough strength to tell him to leave my house, he said I had to give him two million dollars up front or risk having my nude pictures uploaded to the Internet. I gave him some money to get him off my back and to guarantee that he signed the divorce papers. Soon I will be a free woman.
Marsha, 37, insurance agent:
I regret getting married, even though my mom warned me that it could create legal problems with my filing (she was filing for my siblings and I). This man came, he was good, he was a gentleman, and he told me he wanted to do things the proper way. I was ensorcelled by him and the plans he had for us, and I went against my mother's wishes. It didn't last long; it was less than a year before things went downhill. I got pregnant and he told me he couldn't produce children so I should go blow my nose wherever I got my cold. Then this man just continued to disregard all responsibilities he had at home, wouldn't help with the mortgage, our son or anything. It is my mom whom I had to turn back to. Thank God she didn't judge me; but she insisted she needed to save me from myself so she is paying for my divorce and I am here, forced to live with the fact that my siblings got their green cards and are now in a position to better themselves and I am stuck.
Dave, 45, pharmacy technician:
I regret saying we would figure things out when I realised that we had so many differences. For example, I felt I had to decide to go outside of my marriage to father children because even after five years in the marriage she still didn't want children. I shouldn't have insisted on going on with the wedding and now I know this. I also regret thinking she would be ideal because everyone else drooled over her. She wasn't the right fit, but I didn't take enough time to truly figure that out.