I don’t want to say that I have all of the answers, but after 2 divorces I do have a lot of expertise in the subject. I remember how afraid I felt after that first divorce that I was destined to either be alone forever or repeat the past over and over again. They say that your chance of divorce increases after each divorce, so I planned to avoid that by never remarrying…when that plan failed me, I realized that I didn’t have to become another statistic.
Immediately after saying “I do” for a second time, I knew it was a mistake. It was as if I needed the wedding to happen in order for all of the bad feelings, worries, and red flags to finally make sense in my mind. The clouds lifted and I realized I wasn’t in love and our relationship always felt off because he wasn’t the right person for me. Why this couldn’t have happened BEFORE marriage, I will never understand, but unfortunately that’s how things went. Marriage #2 lasted a year and I joined the failed marriage statistics again.
I swore that I would be single for the rest of my life after that divorce, not out of fear, but out of desire. I found that I could have a perfectly happy (and far less stressful) life without a man to keep me company. Just when I thought I had it all figured out I met Mr. Right. As much as I tried to talk myself out of dating him, it was completely out of my hands, as if the universe was pushing us together whether we were ready for it or not.
Meeting someone who feels like home is rare. So, do you spend the rest of your life worrying that remarriage will end in more heartache or do you take a risk and use your experiences to your advantage? I no longer believe that remarrying as a divorcée will inevitably end in another divorce. Although nothing in this life is guaranteed and none of us truly knows what the future holds, there are some steps that we can all take towards ensuring a more successful marriage and avoid another divorce.
Listen To Your Intuition
I could have easily avoided another divorce if I would have simply listened to my gut, rather than my brain. I kept reasoning with myself why my second husband would be a good life-partner for me. It all made sense on paper, yet something deep inside me felt constantly nauseous when I thought about spending my life with my Ex. I kept asking all of my married friends if they were ever unsure about their spouses, as if trying to prove to myself that what I was feeling was just a normal part of dating after divorce. Each person I asked said the same thing, “No, I never questioned if I was with the right person”. I really should have taken that as my red flag sign, but I ignored my feelings because I was with someone who loved me and had become my best friend.
If you allow yourself, you can come up with many reasons why you should marry anyone. If you follow your heart it can sometimes lead you astray, after all, we can’t help who we fall in love with. Unlike your head and heart, your intuition will not mislead you. If you have a feeling that something is wrong in your relationship, even though everything seems fine, listen to your gut! I wish I would’ve known this before saying “I do” again. I fought myself so much on whether or not I should stay in that relationship, when I should have known that if I had to convince myself to be with someone, then he wasn’t the right person for me.
Does something feel off in your relationship? Just because everything works with this person doesn’t mean that you should marry them. Even if it feels like the best relationship you have ever had and they seem like a perfect person, don’t stay if you are continuously questioning it. If you are having to convince yourself to stay with someone, then they are not the person for you! You are not making a mistake by walking away when your gut tells you to, you are preventing another heartbreak from happening in the future.
After a divorce it is easy for us to devalue ourselves and think that we will never find true love. This mindset is so dangerous and is what leads to rebounding into relationships with people who don’t check all of our boxes. Just because you were in an unsuccessful marriage, doesn’t mean that you are unworthy of finding something better. Don’t settle for someone just because they like you or make life less lonely. I know that it can be extremely difficult to patiently wait for the right person to enter your life, but have faith that it will happen when you are truly ready. By the way, just because you “feel” ready doesn’t mean you are actually ready.
I think the best way to know that you are actually ready to move on is when you feel happy with your life being single. If you have shifted into a state where you no longer care if you find someone or not, have stopped trying to find a spouse, and have settled into a single-life routine, chances are you that you are ready for a successful relationship. I know that it sounds crazy, but happiness draws in happiness. Have you heard the saying, “You’ll find love when you stop looking for it”? Well, as annoying as that advice may be, it is true. Take steps towards finding happiness as an individual and you will eventually stop worrying about being alone. The worst thing you can do is date and force relationships that aren’t right for you, because rebound relationships rarely lead to successful marriages.
Remember Your Mistakes and Avoid Repeating Them
I’m sure you remember all of the things your Ex used to bitch about you doing wrong. I had a list of my faults permanently ingrained in my brain after my first husband left the picture. Much of his behavior was emotionally abusive and meant to put me down, but there were some personality flaws that I knew were actual faults of mine. We all have flaws and we all know what our flaws are. They aren’t things that we are proud of, but we can work on ourselves and fix those flaws.
We aren’t destined to be the same people forever. I can honestly say that I was a completely different person in my 20s. I married at 20 and had dramatically changed by the age of 25 when my Ex filed for divorce. I changed again at the ages of 25-31. I like to think that I am the person I will always be now, but there is always room for improvement. Part of life is figuring out who we are and continuously striving to be a better version of that person.
So, how do we ensure successful marriages after divorce? We learn from our mistakes. If jealousy has always been your downfall, strive to give your partner more trust. It is difficult, but sometimes we just need to realize that we can’t control everything. Live life, be happy, and trust that your partner has your best interest in mind. It may turn out that your spouse fails you, but obsessively checking their phone and questioning their whereabouts will only bring stress to your relationship and won’t make you feel any better. Or maybe you know you have an issue with nagging your partner. You feel yourself getting irritated each time your boyfriend leaves his towel on the floor or forgets to rinse his dishes before loading them in the dishwasher. Choose your battles wisely, not everything is worth fighting over. We all have things that we do that annoy the crap out of ourselves and our partners. The best we can do is to work on those flaws and not bring them into another marriage.
Decide What Works and What Doesn’t
We all have things that we can deal with in a significant other and other things that we absolutely can’t tolerate. After one failed marriage you probably know what drove you insane about your Ex and the things that they did that made you happy. Sit down and make a list of those things. For example, after 2 divorces I realized that I couldn’t be with someone who had a higher sex drive than me, a neat-freak, someone I wasn’t physically attracted to, or anyone who was materialistic. These weren’t negative traits per se, but they definitely didn’t work with my personality.
It doesn’t matter how hot the person is or how excited you feel around them, if they exhibit the same traits that drove you crazy with your Ex, those things will eventually drive you crazy again. There are plenty of people in the world who will complement your personality and will bring peace to your life, rather than creating more strife. Seek out the traits that will make you happy and avoid those that made your life difficult.
It is possible to avoid becoming another divorce statistic and have a successful marriage after divorce. Take what you learned from your failed marriage and apply it to future relationships. If you want to have a healthy, happy marriage don’t get caught up in the same actions that lead to divorce in the past. When you feel in-tune with yourself and confident in the person you are with, you will discover if re-marriage is right for you. Don’t rush, don’t settle, and always listen to your gut. Best wishes and may you find your happiness!