Finally I found someone with whom I can see a happy life. Someone who made me feel that I can give this whole marriage thing a second try. After all, I learned a lot in my first marriage and things should be better from here on out right? Nope…. There’s this misguided notion that a first marriage, sometimes viewed as a “trial marriage,” gives you a better understanding of what to expect and so you should be able to do it right the second time. Then you fall in love again and things don’t exactly work out the way you thought they would. It’s the “Fairytale Syndrome” all over again. This is when you imagine that you finally found the one to make you whole and now you can live happily ever after. Once again you’re disappointed when you realize this isn’t what you were expecting either. What went wrong? Again?!
I thought I had healed enough after my divorce… I thought I was ready? I thought I found someone to be my savior. To help me heal those broken pieces, to lift me up and give me that picture perfect family I had always envisioned having. But the patterns in my second marriage were following the same tendencies as the first. I’m living in flashback mode all the time. What’s going on?! I thought I’d learned my lesson and that this marriage should be easier.
I made the mistake of passing the responsibility for my healing to my spouse. After all, he’d been divorced much longer than I had been, so he should know how to heal, move on and show me how to do it. Only after coming out of denial and finally accepting the hard truth that a lightbulb really went off in my head. You NEVER get over the pain of divorce! How could you? The person whom you had once loved and was willing to sacrifice everything for had broken and betrayed your trust and love. Even after you “get over” it in the sense that can live your daily life without thinking about and getting angry all over again, the damage is still there and can have a devastating and lasting effects. The truth is that in the first marriage there were problems that led to a divorce. Whatever they may be. These problems weren’t able to be resolved in a manner that could save the marriage. Personally I have never known of a Divorce where one person was the absolute saint, and the other pure evil. The reality is that typically both parties are responsible for at least some portion of damage for their marriage. If this is not addressed or fixed in yourself, it will just repeat in your next marriage. I needed to accept the responsibly for my own healing. Even if my spouse wanted to help me with all his heart, he didn’t go through my divorce. He doesn’t fully know and understand the things that I need to process. Just like I don’t really know how far along he has come after years of separation, or even how far he has left to go. I can’t assume he is in a position to help me. I believe a second marriage needs to provide each spouse with more solidarity for each individual than in traditional families. He loves to work out and I love to paint. Really anything that will let you be alone with your own thoughts and feelings in order to process and work through them.
Now you need to factor in the loss of trust that occurs. Divorce is ugly and it hurts! There’s a ton of anger you experience after divorce and to protect yourself you may vow to NEVER be treated like that again. For me this spiraled down into hypersensitivity for any action that even remotely reminded me of the negative aspects of my first husband. In one argument with my current husband I recall blurting out in frustration. “Stop treating my like your ex! I’m not her!” I had been so blinded by the belief that he should be over his hurt after divorce that I failed to see that what he was really trying to say is that he’s still hurting and he still isn’t ready to open up to me all the way. In a second marriage, not only are you behind traditional families in the bond between spouses and you don’t have time to date the way traditional newlyweds do, but you need to take things more slowly anyway. A second marriage requires A LOT more patience! The chances are very likely that any problem that couldn’t be resolved in your fist marriage will only be amplified in your second. You are presenting twice the broken person with twice the problem you had before. Remember the vow never to be treated that way again? It comes back to bite you in the butt because it secures your need to mistreat your spouse in order to protect yourself. And chances are very good your spouse will do the exact same thing to you. Be patient and give them space. They just need more time.
In a second marriage you really need more of everything! More personal time, more patience, more responsibility, more empathy, more understanding, more good communication, more respect, a more healthy outlet of anger, and above all more compassion.