Featured Writer: Kari Langslet
Brooklyn freelance stylist and writer Kari Langslet writes about how a Tinder match lead to a romantic elopement and then...divorce.
I feel a little weird writing about marriage, or perhaps "underqualified" is the better adjective? Either way, I was married. It was brief, but it happened. When I first moved to New York, I was absolutely enthralled by the dating scene there. Everyone was on this new Tinder app, even though there were thousands of more than eligible singles right outside your doorstep. Curious about Tinder, ready to start dating in my new home, and also not wanting to be in a committed relationship, I set out on a social experiment to go on 300 Tinder dates in one year. Long story short, I ended up eloping with someone I met on Tinder.
He was Lithuanian and living in Paris, and I'd had about enough of long distance relationships. I told him to quit his job and move in with me for three months at the end of his ESTA. I sold my car so we could have some money until he found a job. After one month, I told him that when the three months were up and he moved back to Paris, we would have to break up. I had been in a long distance relationship before, and it had nearly killed me. He said, "I don't want to break up." I said, "Me neither. Why don't we get married?" I know, I know, not necessarily the smartest decision, but romantic as fuck, right?
All was well at the beginning. Not typically marriage types, we were surprised at how easily we slipped into these "married people" identities. We both worked but made time for each other. We cooked (and by we, I mean me. Boy couldn't even make toast). Our nightly routine was to snuggle up on the couch with my dog, watching "Come Dine With Me" on youtube. Our life wasn't glamorous, but it was ours. It was sweet.
However, this was quickly to change. Our schedules were so different, with me working long days and him working nights at a restaurant. Both of us are socially active, but he started going out with his workmates and friends after every shift, getting completely fucked up on drugs and alcohol. We still had a couple of lazy days a week, but we started arguing more. We spent less time together. On top of that, I hated my job. I hated my job so much that my husband said he would work more and support us while I found a job I loved. I appreciated him for that. I had paid for everything when he first came out here before he had a job, and so it was a way of evening things out monetarily, as well.
He started working more shifts at the restaurant and became manager. He was also working at a gallery during the days, and he became resentful for working so much. If I wanted to see him, I would have to go into the city after-hours and hang out with his friends. When he came home at night, he would verbally abuse me for no reason. I was miserable. I told him over and over during sober discussions that I did not deserve nor tolerate that abuse. He apologized over and over, but nothing changed. I said that all I wanted was two days a week with him: one date night, one at home night, so we could try to repair the relationship. He couldn’t even give that to me. Not to mention, I was sitting next to my best friend as she was swiping on Tinder, and his profile popped up. "Active two months ago."
It's not like I could just break up with him. We were married. We were married and sharing a dingy railroad apartment in Brooklyn. This was the reality I had chosen, to be legally joined with this man. After the twentieth argument about the same thing, with nothing changing, I gave myself a mental time frame. "Kari, if at this date you are still having the same argument and nothing is going to change, nothing will change. You are going to get out. You are going to get a divorce."
That day came. Things had gotten so terrible that I had asked him to move out so that maybe we could both reprioritize our relationship and make more time to appreciate each other since we weren't coming home to each other. Maybe we had taken for granted that the other would be at home waiting, no matter the time. Understandably, he was upset; we both were. That night, he ditched work and instead of coming home, he went to a party. He told me to come by, accused me of fucking the Uber driver, and made a scene in front of all of his friends. When he woke up the next day, instead of realizing his drunken mistake, he yelled at me again. That was the last straw. Time was up. I said I wanted a divorce, and filled out the paperwork there and then. We had been married only 10 months.
The next week was one of the most emotional weeks of my life. We agreed to wait to tell our families. Even though he'd been a terrible partner to me, he was also my best friend. I was losing my best friend, my partner in crime. What was my family going to think? How many "I told you so" responses would I get? Is there anyone with whom I feel comfortable enough to cry in their arms that's not him? It was a rollercoaster of ups and downs. We had agreed to stay friends through the divorce process, but it was so emotionally tolling on us both. He called me names, we cried together, we didn't speak, and then we did. As soon as I'd think that we could be friends again, we'd have a terrible argument. Our divorce didn't involve children, home ownership, alimony, or any of that, but it was still so fucking hard. I decided that for my own mental well-being, I would have to cut him off completely. Block him from everything. Not see him. This was almost like breaking up a second time.
I couldn't wait for the divorce to be finalized, I wanted to be free. I had felt so low and shackled down from the whole process. I wanted that weight, that burden, him to be off of my shoulders. On the day that the divorce was finalized, I was sitting at breakfast by the beach in Costa Rica. The email came through from the New York court system as I was eating my avocado toast: disposed. My marriage was disposed. All of those emotions—all the heartache, joy, pitfall, sadness, love, everything—ended in a single word. I felt relief with a tinge of sadness. I sat staring at that word—disposed—for a solid ten minutes before texting my mom and best friend that it was over.
That was five months ago. I'm happier now. I run into him on occasion, or hear about the girls he fucks in Brooklyn, but I don't care. I took some time off from dating to concentrate on myself and my projects, and I am slowly getting back into the dating scene. I downloaded tinder again the other day, but this time I promise not to marry anyone.