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August 24, 2007

The Starter Husband

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And that’s just our prerogative, says Generation Me, fingers poised above the do-over button. We can pick and choose among limitless possibilities seemingly unattached to consequence because today’s 20-somethings are living out an extended adolescence in a manner unlike any generation before them. We’re still knocking around and figuring it out, often on our parents’ dime.

“Simply put, my 20s were freaking me out,” says 29-year-old Elisa Albert, a wavy-haired brunette and adjunct assistant professor of creative writing at Columbia University. “I felt unqualified to be barreling into adulthood alone — I felt at loose ends in regards to my career, my ability to support myself, even my post-college social identity. I was lonely and scared. At the same time, I’m watching Sex and the City and going, OK, so should I spend the next 20 years getting my heart broken and pretending that it’s all in good fun? Or should I marry this dude I’m dating, have a gorgeous party, and make my parents really, really happy?”

She chose wrong.

It all started over a steaming cup of coffee in a New York City diner. Elisa’s mother suggested she give a family friend a call in the wake of his sibling’s death (Elisa’s own brother had died a few years back). “We talked about our brothers, which was intense, and then somehow we went from there to falling in love and having this 100-mile-an-hour courtship,” Elisa says. “We were talking about naming our unborn children after our dead brothers. It was totally crazy.”

From an outsider’s perspective, you could see trouble ahead: They crashed between breakup and make-up like a game of pinball. But during one warm-and-fuzzy reconciliation, they decided to get hitched. Suddenly, the relationship snowballed into something bigger: getting married.


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