The Starter Husband
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.
Andi was my introduction to the concept of an icebreaker marriage, but
certainly not my last. Burning through a starter husband is almost becoming a
rite of passage: While newly marrieds everywhere fear the
one-in-two-marriages-fail statistic, the more relevant stat is that while the
median age at which a woman first marries is 25, the median age at which she
first divorces is 29. In fact, 20 percent of marriages fail within five years,
and of those, one in four end within two years. So much for until death do us