The Starter Husband
Within months of promising to love and honor and cherish Tucker forever, she
knew she had made a huge mistake. The problem? He was boring. "Wholly
uncomplicated," as she puts it. The kind of guy who reads Tom Clancy books
on the couch and watches Adam Sandler movies while dreaming of white-picket
fences. Going to depressing French movies, leapfrogging over the less ambitious
on the company ladder — those were the things that excited Andi. "The idea
of spending my life with someone like that seemed stifling," she says.
"It finally just got to me that he was so ... sunny."
I hoist my drink in that you-go-girl kind of way, but I'm struck by her
casual disregard for the institution. Marriage used to be a big deal. How could
she slip in and out of it so easily? She'd plodded along for nearly 12 months,
passive-aggressively avoiding her relationship by consuming herself with the
restaurant openings and black-tie benefits that were part of her job. But then
Tucker started talking about having children. "To me, once you have kids,
you can't get out," she says. "When he began asking about a family, I
felt like that was too final of a commitment. That's when I had to say,
"Okay, I've got to fish or cut bait here.'"
Her own parents split up when she was 3, and she didn't want to condemn
another generation to that hell. Andi and Tucker got divorced almost a year to
the day after they had vowed to be together forever.
"Oh, my God, it was so easy," she says, exhaling loudly. "I
realized, I can get out of this, and he can get out of this, and we can get on
with our lives." They sold the condo and split the profits, and that was
that. She felt bad about hurting his feelings, but she never doubted her
decision. I raise an eyebrow. "Never," she repeats.
Andi takes a throaty slug of her second raspberry martini, picks at her fish
taco, then sits back in her chair. "I think marriage is the new dating and
having kids is the new marriage," she proclaims loudly, as yet another
woman dining with her partner turns to stare. "It's true. I wouldn't have
married him if I didn't think I could get out of it."
Despite how it sounds, Andi is not a first-class bitch. She's the type who
will hunt down the most perfectly thoughtful baby gift or whisk you off to a
much-needed mani-pedi after your boss goes nuclear on you. But when it comes to
relationships, her attitude is pure pragmatism: Clearly she'd screwed up — best
to press delete. And I bet there isn't a married woman out there, if she's
really honest, who hasn't flirted with the thought of doing the same. I know
there have been days in my own five-year marriage when I've dreamed of
reclaiming my freedom. Not many, but a few. But then I wake up, not just
because I love the guy — and I'm damned lucky to have him — but because I'm
married. That is supposed to mean something.