[W]hen I think about marriage I think of stem cells. No, not because of anything to do with reproduction, but because stem cells, like unattached selves -- "stem selves?" -- are "pluripotent," they have the potential to become many different things. Once a stem cell is assigned a role in the developing embryo, the rest of its potential is suppressed, and it becomes one kind of tissue in a larger organism....If this is a good analogy, divorce is disastrous. You develop into the marriage, then you lose it, and you're crippled by having a self that grew to work inside a marriage.
[M]y marriage was not a "normal" one (if there is such a thing; actually, I doubt it). It demanded much more self-sacrifice, which I long resisted (becoming stronger but barer in the process, like a tree that's all trunk and no branches), but it also forced me down to qualities I might otherwise never have found in myself. Unmarried or divorced I would have achieved more, and chased burnin' love more, and made a more manic-depressive, creative life...
In fact, you are always a human being and can always grow and evolve in a new situation (and you can grow out of shape for your present condition).
The single you after marriage is different from the single you that would have been if you had never married, but I think perhaps the post-married single person has even more potential then a never-married single, because you have real knowledge of the condition that, before, you could only imagine. The question whether you want to do something again is more complex than the question whether you want to try something once. "Anything once" is a phrase that doesn't need coining.
And I don't agree that the single person chases and burns and goes up and down more than the married person. The solo life can be more serene, stable, and coherent. But married or single, human beings are going to concoct an explanation of why where they are is the sensible place to be, unless they are really concocting the explanation for going somewhere else.
Makeweight argument: Agree with me and Karl Marx is wrong about the one thing Amba thinks he got right.