I’m compelled to write in the first person this time around. Divorce emotions are coming out in full force and what needs to be written needs to be personal. A drawn out contested divorce such as mine is difficult. My responsibility has tripled since separation (my youngest was one month old). It is too bad my younger self was not given a heads-up on marriage complications once children come along. Now that my youngest is almost a toddler and teething; my patience has reached an all time low. The drool, incessant cries and elevated temperatures come at nightfall and make me want to scream, because I never wanted to face parenting alone and I am so dead tired. I never thought I could have such negative feelings as I do for the father of my children, not in a million years. Oh wait, it was even worse when we were under the same roof after my first was born, because of the abuse that ensued once we both went back to work. (Both parents working is another topic for another blog.) I stayed quiet about the abuse in all areas of my life, because I thought every relationship has its peaks and valleys – the thoughts of an optimist. By acknowledging how bad it was then, I already feel better in the present. I only wish I had been more of a realist than an optimist. My naïve nature during it all kind of disgusts me now. If I had been more of a realist and faced the music I probably would not have had a second child from the seed of Jekyll & Hyde. It hurts my heart severely to reflect on that notion. I love my children and I wanted four children before the tides changed.
Oh, there is so much advice I have for my younger self. No one was giving the advice I needed and I knew several newlywed blended families at the time our camouflaged frayed knot was tied. Do people hold onto their past stories in secret, because they want to maintain a happy image to bury the hatchet or do people temporarily forget the divorce turmoil amid new bliss and love? I hope it is the latter and not the former. I also want to be the person that boldly remembers, so that I can help people make good decisions and minimize repeating a history full of mistakes (sometimes mistakes are inevitable and in a strong relationship mistakes make the relationship even stronger instead of destroying it). FYIDivorce.com aligns with that goal. If I could write a letter to my younger self, it would go something like this:
You have no idea what you’re doing when it comes to marrying someone, especially if you have known them for less than a decade or even less, only two years. You should wait and develop your career and goals before jumping into anything. YOU HAVE TIME. You have lasted this long without a committed relationship, what is a few more years? Please try to answer the following questions before you say “I do,” acquire a marriage license and decide to make all your life decisions with someone else steering the ship.
- Does the person make you uncomfortable in public situations? If the answer is “yes.” Please move on and kick this one to the curb before there is a proposal.
- Does the person isolate you from others in a group? If the answer is “yes,” please move on immediately. This is learned behavior from a dysfunctional family.
- Does the person talk about themselves most of the time? If the answer is “yes,” this does not mean they’re a good conversationalist, it means they’re self-centered and prideful. Take a hint, the person won’t change once your relationship is more serious.
- Does the person push your physical boundaries? If the answer is “yes,” they’re indirectly disrespecting you and they will do the same thing in different contexts later. Do not rationalize the behavior by saying “By doing this it makes things more fun or this is an indicator there will never be a dull moment.” This is the biggest red flag, do not stay. End it.
- Is the person critical of anyone in your family? If the answer is “yes,” stay clear of danger!
- Have you asked every question you can think of about their past? If the answer is “no,” make a list and start checking them off. Write down the answers, so you have a record. The history of a person determines how they will react in the future; it’s in their (nature) and in their learned behavior from childhood (nurture). Make no mistake, familial ties run deep. Any questions avoided, run like the wind and do not look back.
- Does the person have a busy schedule or are they spending most of their time on you? If they are spending most of their time on you; they don’t have a real job, they are not living on their own nor do they know how to manage a relationship when real life hits them in the face. They are only making you feel special, because they don’t have anything else better to do. Do not be a fool. Take it for what it is and say goodbye.
- Do you get along with the person’s family and do they feel like family? If the answer is “no,” and all the previous answers direct you to move on, what are you waiting for?
- Has the person done illegal things in front of you? If the answer is “yes,” you should no longer look to the last item on this list! That qualifies as corrupting. There is no way this person should even be dating you much less become your spouse.
- Do you often yield to that person’s desire? If you say “yes,” you should know this person is controlling and has no interest in sharing a world, but wants to monopolize your life to feel validated and secure. Once you show you have a voice, they will turn on you. Get out while you still can!
Please do not take this advice lightly. You have a life ahead and every decision you make impacts your life. Granted, even the bad decisions can make you a better person, but please avoid some turmoil by really understanding what it means to marry the wrong person. Being with the wrong person is worse than being single and truthfully being single can sometimes be better than having a relationship.
With enduring love from your older wiser self ,
I wish I considered the 10 questions above before marriage. Do not avoid these questions. I read so many relationship books it makes my mind spin and I wonder if someone gave me this advice whether it would have fallen on def ears. It is very possible it could have. I drank from the love cup, it happens to the best of us. All the questions above contributed to the demise of my marriage, because they all impact parenting. When there are only two people in a relationship there is less conflict, especially if one person is always agreeable. I was the agreeable one.