Time didn’t stop its relentless torture. It didn’t take long at all to realize that we were not great together. It took barely more time to realize that we weren’t actually compatible at all. Almost as quickly as we ran into all of it, we suddenly found ourselves battling time again, only this time it was counting down to the end of a marriage. I did everything an inexperienced boy could think of to stop the clock from ruining it. My wife did the same. Yet, with time, we were too young and too foolish to do much of anything right. With every day that passed, I lost more hope than I found. It was the same for my wife.

Then, one day, nearly seven years into it, something happened and the marriage ended.

I was worthless once more.

At the end of the marriage I was both slender and attractive, or at least I felt that way when comparing myself to what I had been my entire life. The day our divorce finalized in the courts, I opened an account on a local dating website and set out to prove my value and my worth once more. I set out to prove that I wasn’t at fault for our marriage failing, and I set out to prove that somewhere there was a beautiful woman who would love me the way I’d always been desperate to be loved. Somewhere, there was a woman who would think I was valuable. Somewhere there was a woman who would keep me from feeling worthless.

Again, I never thought any of these thoughts as each of these events unfolded in my life. These are all things that I have figured out in my long and lonely hours trying to figure out how I ended up divorced twice.

One of the first women to reply was a beautiful red-head who later would become my second wife. She was a young widow, and was drop-dead gorgeous according to the world’s standards. I asked her out, and she accepted. She was the first woman I took on a date after my divorce to Andrea, and she was also the last. I was engaged to her just six weeks later, and four months after we met, I was married once again.

I had done it. I had found a girl that would say “I love you” back. I had beat the clock. I was wanted, and I was valuable. Therefore, I wasn’t worthless.

And, once again, I walked across the threshold after we were married, holding the hand of a woman, having no idea who the hell she was.

The reality of it all hit me on our honeymoon. Though I didn’t want to admit it to myself, I stood looking at a woman literally wondering this time who she was and what I had done. I can only assume she stood looking at me trying not to think the same thoughts. After all, she barely new me as well.

After returning home from our honeymoon, the reality of life descended upon us. We were both parents with completely conflicting parenting techniques. We both had relationships with our own families that suddenly began getting in the way. We both had conflicting needs that were important or imperative to us, but which we had never before discussed.

I fought with this woman. I had never been a fighter before. With my first wife I could count our number of fights on one hand. With my second wife, I didn’t have enough fingers and toes to cover a week’s worth.

Once again, time became our enemy number one. Once again, it unremittingly pushed itself across my view, threatening to end another marriage.

I was married to her for barely more than a year. That time was filled with more bitterness, anger, and contention than anyone should experience in a lifetime. Together we went to more than forty counseling sessions just to keep the tender thread that was holding our marriage together from breaking. The marriage never worked. It never functioned. It was doomed from the beginning.

But… we had to make it work. We were determined to make it work.

We needed to make it work.

I was not going to fail again. I was not going to be the guy who gets divorced twice. I fought for that marriage, desperate to not be the guy who freaking gets divorced twice. She fought for the marriage, too. Desperate, I’m sure, for her own reasons.

Then, one day, something happened and the marriage ended.

I sat unexpectedly alone in the dark after the girls left, a worthless man yet again, about to be divorced twice. I wanted to die. I wanted to disappear. I wanted to run away. Instead, I sat down and stared a blog called Single Dad Laughing. I started it to keep myself in check as a parent. I started it to keep from losing who I was completely. I also started it to try and figure out my shit through writing.

It’s taken me seven months of soul searching and journaling to figure all of this out. It’s taken me seven months of writing this blog, hurting a couple of incredible women along the way, and a lot of sad, dark time alone to figure this out. It’s taken the tears that have come while writing several of my heavier posts to realize that it wasn’t the events at the end of my marriages that were the problem. It wasn’t the marriages themselves. It wasn’t my wives. It wasn’t even me. It was time.

This is not to say that other factors didn’t contribute. It’s not to say that either of my wives didn’t also struggle with their own demons, pasts, and choices. It’s not to say that I am shouldering responsibility for it all or even the majority of it. It’s simply to say that because of what my past made me, I was far more likely to fail than not. Until I could recognize the demons that fancied my destruction, there wasn’t much opportunity for anything but failure. No matter how hard I worked, no matter how “good a guy” I was, there was an underlying problem that was more powerful than any of it.