I must admit, I married the same man twice.Everyone thought it was a beautiful love story, while I was living it. What’s interesting is that I have no regrets. The second marriage was several years later and I proudly required his participation in self-work before a dating attempt was even made. I knew by then that while I had a part in the demise of our first marriage, his problems had nothing to do with me. As women, we sometimes take on the guilt of relationship failures when the person was already broken before we became a couple. We can’t fix other people, nor should that be our responsibility. (Funny thing about exes, you become more attractive after you move on).
It was during the second marriage that I changed. I had a reality check when my child became ill and it left a bad taste in my mouth. I hadn’t planned or saved anything for the future and like many other Americans was not prepared when the financial emergency hit. This was just the wake-up call I needed to force my entry into adulthood. I was motivated to grow, he wasn’t.
That became an unexpected problem because I started focusing on getting out of debt, my financial future, and retirement. I took immediate and intense action like it was a life or death situation. For me, it was. Previously I was a free spirit, just like him. He probably felt cheated when my new foreign ideas of becoming responsible adults emerged! Who was this woman and what happened to his financially irresponsible wife? I’m sure she was a lot more fun.
I finally realized my part of this failed marriage was not having those crucial conversations before saying I do. I didn’t beat myself up, however, because I honestly didn’t know I needed to. I’d entered into marriage under a false set of assumptions so I took the message from the mess and this time when the old familiar texts started up again, I didn’t respond.
It was time to finally burn that bridge to eliminate the temptation to ever cross it again. As Oprah said a few years ago, “just because the phone rings, doesn’t mean you need to answer it”.