My first marriage was when I was 18 and I got more than just comments about how it wouldn’t last.
First of all, I knew people would be dismissive about it because of my age, so we eloped and didn’t tell anyone. Of course, this only solidified most people’s belief that I was too young and immature to get married.
Afterwards, my family and friends were openly hostile about it and refused to be supportive of our marriage. Some people didn’t speak to me for months. The ones who did speak to me only told me what a disappointment I was or that I should hurry and get it anulled. The opposition was such that I actually ended up homeless for a few months because my grandmother, who I lived with previously, refused to let me back in her house.
To complicate matters, my ex-husband was a foreign citizen (living in his own country, mind you- he wasn’t able to return with me to America). Not only did people tell me that he couldn’t possible love me and that he was just marrying me for a green card (Yeah, because an 18 year old with very little income is such a great candidate to sponsor someone for a visa! I wasn’t even eligible to do that.), but my family outright sabotaged our relationship.
After pulling a lot of strings with the embassy, ex-husband was finally granted a visa to visit me for six weeks, a whole year after our wedding. I didn’t know this until my dad told me about it a few years ago, but one day while I was at work, my ex-husband went to see my dad at his office and literally got down on his knees and begged for his support and his blessing. He told my dad how much he loved and couldn’t stand to be apart from me and wouldn’t my dad just please co-sponsor his visa so he could get a job here and be a proper husband to me. And my dad refused.
After ex-husband left to go back to his own country when his visa was up, I never saw him again. My family refused to help me move to his country (his parents were dirt poor, being from a recovering Communist country) or help him move to mine. After a few months, I stopped hearing from him even by email, except very occasionally, and it was clear he had given up. I grew tired of his lack of commitment and we then both moved on with our lives.
However, to this day, almost a decade later, I’m convinced that we would have been able to make a go of it if my family had been more supportive. As a young couple, in that situation, making it work without the support of people close to us was impossible. If we had been able to be together, I think we would probably still be married.
That’s not to say I’m not glad to be marrying the man I am now engaged to or that I don’t feel we were meant to be together. My first marriage failed and because of it, I got something better. But I will still always feel bitter about the way everybody treated me and my marriage and how they purposefully did whatever they could to ruin it.
I have a special place in my heart for young brides who have people telling them their marriages won’t last or say other hurtful things like that. The only people who can know how a couple truly feel about each other and how committed they are is the couple themselves. It’s no one else’s place to make remarks about it.