~ Marriage …

This first episode of Don’t Lose Your Balance is the result of decades of self-help books, thousands if not hundreds of thousands of dollars in Therapy and Rehabilitation. Years of bad choices to get to the one place I am in now. A happy and a balanced life. No extreme highs. No extreme lows. Just balanced. How did I get to this title you may ask? Well, I think it’s often asked of working mothers, some are divorced, single parents. How do you find the balance in at all? How do you balance or manage the working life the traveling the kids, the kids sports. The juggle? How do you balance the husband or your single life living?


When rooms and roundtables of people get together, people like myself who seemingly have it all or asked how do you balance it all? I actually had a better question to address that question. I asked how do you not lose your balance?


Don’t lose your balance with Mallory Durrick there it was plain as day ready for the recordings ready for anything. I know there are many moments in life and the highs may outweigh the lows. But I also know the lows can outweigh the highs. Enjoy the highs and keep the lows at a minimum is the statement often expressed to me by my mother. Now, an 88 year old woman who was once a single woman, always a working woman, married, widowed, remarried, and still living as of today. She and her second husband of 45 years, my stepfather, might actually have the magic secret sauce. The thing we all hope to find or attain. How did she managed to not lose her balance? Clearly she’s been the rock for me along the way the anchor. No, she was life vest, the safety net, the fallback in the event, I did lose my balance. And boy, if anyone can be so brilliant at losing their balance, that woman is me, was me.


I’m not an expert. I’m just a woman that has been fortunate to live five decades of her life; finding joy and happiness at 22 and losing her balance at 36. And finding and again finally, at 57. Literally two decades of finding herself, finding some peace, seriously trying not to die, despite all evidence to the contrary along the way. Finding the person my ex-husband always referred to as M. I am Mallory Durrick. This is my journey, my podcast, my story. This is Don’t Lose Your Balance.


I just met the man I’m going to marry and later divorce. I’m about 20 years old in my memory. I won’t bore you with the dating details that only lasted one year. In fact, my husband, my ex-husband never proposed marriage. I simply asked him one year into our dating life. Well, are we going to get married or what? He said yes. I said, Okay, when? He responded with, I don’t know. I said, How about next April? He responded, yeah, that sounds good. I said, well, I’m leaving for Mexico tomorrow, should I tell my parents I’m engaged? He said yes.


Please understand, this wasn’t a forced conversation or even an ultimatum. The decision to get married was not introduced or followed by some grandiose proposal. No fireworks or airplane clouds asking anyone to get married. No one got down on one knee asking, Will you marry me? No ring actually, just the decision to become husband and wife in April of 1986. Join me while I tell you a little story, my story. And if I’m correct, you may find find yourself in a little bit of it.


To all the brides to be: There are a few people that walk down the aisle at their wedding thinking, What if I get a divorce? Or will I get a divorce? There is something to be said about having cold feet questioning your own decisions, naturally. Thinking about your future and wondering about the person you are choosing as the one whom you will spend your life with till death do you part, all the while thinking are they the one? At 22 Your future is bright and forever feels like a really long time. In fact, God willing, it is a long time. But at 22 aren’t you still a baby yourself? So young thinking about making such permanent decisions? Do you ever wonder if you’re even capable of knowing the answer at 22? Especially after only knowing the other person for two years, tops. At that time, it seemed like a very good idea. It also seemed like forever was so far from my consciousness. I doubt I would have made any other decision. I was getting married. I chose this man. And it was my time.


Someone recently said to me who’s never been married and almost 60 years old at the time of this recording: that when you know, you know, but you know, that person isn’t, and has never been married. Actually, he expressed to me and I’m paraphrasing here; He probably dodged a bullet or two. He skipped the marriage part skipped the divorce and didn’t have to settle or share his financial worth with anyone else. No kids, no ex wife, not even a dog. No one. But that comes with its own price in my opinion, but I’ll get to that later. Let’s talk about the wedding.


It’s an exciting time for a bride. The frenzy of planning the wedding is all consuming. Months and months and months of preparation, the flowers, the venue the menu, the invitations, the wedding planner, and most of all, the dress THAT dress the one you’ve dreamed your whole life about. The one you tore pages from bridal magazines, and scoured the internet just to make your Canva mood board. It’s such a thing there are even television shows about the dress. Say Yes to the Dress. Bridal shops take pictures that later get posted online. She said Yes to the Dress. Future brides shop on Etsy for hair jewelry thinking about flowing waves and braids intertwined with sparkling pearls and gold leaves. It is my belief that little girls dream about their day in white the center of attention and bask in the glow of such an incredible affair. Interesting that the words event and affair are synonymous. Photographers are hired for both the engagement photos and the wedding. Videographers are secured for the date and music is selected. A band, a DJ or both. I didn’t even mention the proposal, the ring. Influencer’s share their carefully selected “Minted” engagement and wedding invitations and even have stamps created for the envelope with their favorite picture of the happy couple on them. Heaven forbid you use a regular ‘forever’ stamp. These invitations after all are special.


I think there’s more talk about the wedding than the marriage. No one asks, When are you getting married? Not really. They ask, when are you tying the knot? When is the big day? When is the wedding? No one asks, do you love him? And will you do so for the rest of your life? At least not until the actual day! Then whoever officiates asks, Do you take, do you promise, do solemnly swear for better or worse? But what is the worst part? You have no idea. You really have no idea. So you say yes. Yes, I promise.


Thankfully, there was no Pinterest or Instagram in 1986. If you planned your wedding, there were wedding planners, but only the celebrities and the wealthy could actually afford them. For me, this was the 80’s. It was actually a really fantastic decade if you ask many people, including my mother. When was the movie Father of the Bride made,  and the movie The Wedding Planner, 1991 and 2001 respectively. What else comes to my mind? {hmmm} My Best Friend’s Wedding. If you run a Google search on movies about weddings there are literally over 200 movies about weddings and only half that about divorces. I mean who really wants to go see a movie about a divorce? Harper’s Bazaar online lists the following top movies about weddings Love Actually. Steal Magnolias, The Graduate, My Big Fat Greek Wedding, Bridesmaids, Royal Wedding, the Wedding Singer, Sweet Home Alabama, Runaway Bride. Just to name a few. I’m sure there are more than 200. But I gave up the search as it’s actually an endless list. I just stopped to question. Why are there so many movies about weddings? Because we love movies about weddings. We love weddings, and all that they represent. It’s all so fairytale, until it isn’t. But, we often forget one important element. The wedding is a marriage, a legal tie between two people that truly believe that love conquers all, and that for better or worse, they will hold one another tightly and say, we’ve got this! We can get married and have a wonderful life together. Whatever comes our way we can handle it. Things like illness, unemployment, financial struggles, good days, bad days, the worst of days. And that, my dear listeners is something no one can prepare you for, not even your mother.


When I look back on my own marriage, after the wedding, I recall that for many years, nearly 15 years, I was happy. I was content with our home with my job. As my husband and I were really aligned. Of course there were arguments or disagreements. That’s completely normal. But we both had similar goals. We wanted children, which we had. We wanted a nice house and we had three of them over time. We wanted nice cars, and that was never an issue. He got a top of the line Acura and I had a Volvo wagon at first and then upgraded to a Mercedes SUV. We enjoyed trips to Arizona in March, Miami on New Year’s Eve, first class all the way and five star hotels coast-to-coast. We were indulgent and never thought twice. We were living our best lives. Additionally, we completely renovated our houses. The first one a 1965 colonial in an up and coming neighborhood, but somewhat modest nonetheless. I loved it. It had sleek styling for the bathrooms, the kitchen, all the flooring, all remodeled, and best of all, our master bedroom and bathroom was incredible. We took down walls, we added sinks and a bidet, that fancy bidet. Even a big steam shower. There were custom closets in every room, even the kitchen pantry. This was not usual or common for people in our neighborhood. I knew this because we had great neighbors. We also had great friends. But as they renovated or moved into newer and bigger homes, my husband seemed to want that too. But I loved my house. I was so happy there. I remember even dreaming once that we were going to lose the home and have to move. I woke up terrified and called my mother. She said she had experienced dreams like that too. And it was normal. It bothered me all day, though. That feeling, that feeling, that feeling. That feeling did eventually go away. Clearly, I built the perfect life. I had it all. It was so incredible and I thought I was happy. I thought Yep, this is it. And then there was a time when it all just disappeared.


I was so depressed and concerned that I even sought out medical help. Depressed might not be the right word actually, off, something was just off. I was heavily focused on my children and their school and education, especially my oldest child. I sought out help for her. The doctors I had been to we’re not psychiatrists or specialists, yet. So I landed on one psychiatrist that was able to provide ADHD medication for her, but said there was likely something going on for me. She was right. And I was self medicating, not alot. But I was not telling her anything about anything. I recognized that my husband and I were not aligned. But he said it was my problem and to handle it myself. One day a week turned into three days a week, but we’ll save all of this for another episode.


I was clearly unhappy. But was I truly suffering from a mental illness like bipolar disorder or postpartum depression? At the time, yes, and yes, but looking back, no and maybe, maybe postpartum depression. I wasn’t completely transparent with them about the wine in the evening and the ladies that had lunch, the pills in my handbag, and then more wine with my husband at dinner or when my husband was away on business, the wine at the restaurants out with the kids and the pills in my handbag.


I’m not quite sure when I felt disconnected from my husband. I only remember there was this one specific time when I realized I was incredibly lonely in my marriage. To no fault His there was one evening when I said to myself, there’s no way this is going to be the rest of my life. I don’t mean like stomping my foot down like a petulant child and and saying it, that way. I remember vividly thinking, this can’t be it. This can’t be what the rest of my life looks like. It was an incredibly sad moment for me. I was scared and confused. And most of all, lonely. Living like this feeling like this. I was on the porch, enjoying the night air like any other night, staring at him and thinking, I do love you. But I don’t know if I’m in love with you. I don’t even know if I’d ever been in love. There was also a moment that I recall when a friend of ours was killed in an automobile accident. Not a great friend, just someone we all knew. A wealthy man and like us had young children. The reality of his widows life was familiar to my own mother. Her husband, my birth father had suddenly dropped dead from a massive coronary at the age of 36, leaving behind two small girls, one seven, me and one 10, my sister. After the death of that friend, I remember thinking if anything should ever happen to me, If I should die early, that I hoped my husband would marry her, the widow. What a strange thought that was for me to have. I was literally fixing up my current husband with a friendly acquaintance, a wife of another. A beautiful young mother with two young boys. Now in the blink of an eye, a woman who had just lost her husband, who is now available on the market, and also a widow.


The marriage between a husband and a wife should be one of true and deep friendship best friends. But I didn’t look at my husband as my best friend, just my partner, my life partner. I wore the ring on my left ring finger often twirling it with my thumb recalling how uncomfortable it felt. It was a simple Platinum band and one small diamond in the center. Something we had designed ourselves and discovered that Tiffany’s later sold it as a design. I am sure that the two are not related. There were absolutely good times in the marriage, some really great vacations, some amazing dinners out with friends, parties with family, holidays, and yearly celebrated traditions, backyard barbecues, a surprise 40th birthday for him in our backyard. But I was so lost at that point. I think I showed up without really feeling connected at all.


Why would I start my first podcast with the word Marriage? Well, this is a three part series marriage, infidelity, addiction. I am literally scripting the initials M – I  – A. Missing in action. This is about the way I felt for the latter part of my marriage and what I put myself through to get out of it. There is so much inside of me that needs to get out. And let me be clear, I don’t want this to be looked at as a trauma dump. But more so as self reflection. A way for me to express how I felt many years, if not decades later. In the event, I can help even one person understand that living alone might actually be a better alternative than living in an unhappy place or a situation, my job here is done. Even if that situation looks great on the outside. Maybe it isn’t great at all. Maybe it’s just empty, or worse, lonely.


Please understand, I also realize the complexity of having children creates an entirely different dynamic. Money is involved or the lack thereof. And as a nonworking mother, there were few to little alternatives. But as I look back, I question whether I could have done things differently. Rather than find a way to, self destruct, I could have simply asked for a divorce and settled for what I may have been entitled to. The fallout for my husband and children would likely have been the same, I don’t know. But the path I took, that involved infidelity and addiction, might have never happened. But hindsight is 20/20. And at the time, that just wasn’t the case. Although marriage is about a commitment forever, as I look back on the last 30 plus years, I realized that 20 years with the same person is still an accomplishment. Just because it didn’t have the fairytale ending or ending that I may have expected at 22, doesn’t mean it or I was a failure. It’s just brought me to where I am today where I am now. Exactly in the place I am meant to be alone in a barn; happy, healthy, strong, sober and living my best life. My life on my terms. My life as my most authentic self.


Join me next week as I address the difficult conversation and reality of infidelity. Something that went against everything I believed in and stood for morally and ethically. I never thought being monogamous was that challenging. But when chemistry is at play, when someone steps into your life during one of the most vulnerable times in your entire existence, although we do choose, sometimes we choose without considering the consequences. And oh boy did I lose my balance!

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Transcribed by https://otter.ai

About The Author

Mallory Durrick

Mallory Durrick

Hi, I am Mallory Durrick. I am a creative. A Marketing Strategist and Web Designer with a small and modest boutique Marketing Agency living in the suburbs of Philadelphia. I am the creator and narrator of this podcast, Don’t Lose Your Balance. This is a culmination of decades of self-help books, countless doctors, numerous hospitals, including rehabs. Once a wife, now divorced, a mother, a grandmother and an addict in recovery. These are things that I am and have experienced.

I’m sharing it all. Baring it all. Hoping to help others; not lose their balance.