Can it work - after a BAD relationship?

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-07-2006
Can it work - after a BAD relationship?
Sun, 02-07-2010 - 8:29pm

I am still recovering in a lot of ways from my first marriage -- it's been OVER a year since my ex left. He was an alcoholic. Very angry person. Very non-empathetic. Not really out for my best interests, out for his own. So ... now I'm involved with a GREAT guy - he seems like a good one. He has 3 kids. No red flags really so far. He isn't super ambitious - he isn't going to start his own company or anything - but he has a good solid job - he's a good provider. He's a little bit on the stingy side maybe. Careful with his money - but my ex was a compulsive gambler, so this is actually an OK thing for me.

I'm just TERRIFIED of getting married again - TERRIFIED. You have no idea. What if he turns out to be a selfish jerk. he isn't a drinker, but what if he has all of these other sorts of issues that I haven't even THOUGHT OF yet! You know? I mean, he isn't perfect. One time he referred to his co-worker as "fat" and I thought that was rude so I asked him to not say that and he has stopped. But other than that and the fact that he's somewhat cheap - I think things are OK.

He's handsome. he's sexy. He's athletic. He is of my same religion. He's a bit more conservative to my liberal - but he isn't a super-macho, gun-crazed Republican or anything. He's not like Ted Nugent or something. HA! he's a good Christian. He's a little more small-town to my big-city, but I think that's oK. I don't know? How do I know this sort of thing?

He's pretty much ready to get married I think. He has THREE kids - and I adore them. his ex is crazy - but aren't they all? He deals with her and I don't at all - so that's just fine with me. Those two work it out. I just go with it. I'm very much a go-with-the-flow kind of person. So much so, that I lived with a raging alcoholic for 15 years.

I've healed a LOT in the past year - but not fully - and I'm TERRIFIED OF DOING it again, you know? Sometimes I feel like a bit of an interloper with the kids and stuff. Like the four of them have their thing and I'm just the girlfriend. You know? And I don't get a ton of alone time with him. But I think that's how it goes with little ones, right?

I don't have kids of my own, so being a stepmommy DOES appeal to me - to have a relationship with his wonderful kiddos. They LOVE their mommy - so I know I won't be their mom. But I get to be an important adult in their life, and that is enough :-) I love them. With all my heart.

do you think he just wants marriage because it's HARD for him as a single dad and he wants the help - or does he really love me? How do I know that?

I mostly communicate pretty well with him - but I think I do tend to hide my feelings because I don't want to come across as emotional. My mom is SO emotional and SO into romance and I think it's a little silly, actually. I want to be taken seriously - so I try to always keep my cool - and sometimes I do stuff my feelings. If I don't know how to say something without being emotional - then I don't say it at all - you know?

And I mean, let's face it - I'm female - so i do get crazy emotions sometimes. I just keep them in.

I am someone who needs at least a LITTLE space. I like to do my own thing sometimes. I don't know - how do I know if it will work or not?

I do believe it's ok to be dependent - I don't need to be super independent. Let's face it - those 3 kids have stole my heart - and I imagine the rest of my life with them. But there is so much unknown. What if it's just absolutely TERRIBLE - like my FIRST MARRIAGE!!! Oh it hurts to even think of everything that happened. What if my new guy doesn't protect me. What if I ALWAYS feel like an interloper??? Honestly, I'd love to marry him - but I am REALLY TERRIFIED!!!

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-30-2004
Mon, 02-08-2010 - 9:12am

You haven't mentioned how long you have been dating this guy.

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-07-2006
Mon, 02-08-2010 - 9:54am
Hi isysmoon! He and I have been dating about 8 months (almost 8). So ... it's under a year still :-) I think he is basically READY for MARRIAGE. He hasn't said so - but he drops these HINTS all the time! And truth be told - I've already decided where we're getting married and what I'll wear and what the kids will wear, what my MOM will wear - what my ring will look like. HA! That's the part of me that IS a silly romantic :-) But I think we should wait until 2011. You know? Take it slow. I am back in college right now - and I need to get my feet under me before I hop into a new MARRIAGE. I would not say I FELL HARD for him - because I didn't. It's been a very cautious relationship - but I feel like I'm GROWING into Love with him. It seems like everything that happens just brings us closer. So that is good :-)
iVillage Member
Registered: 08-07-2006
Mon, 02-08-2010 - 10:01am

He has been divorced almost 2 years and yes, he is kind to children and animals :-) I don't see ANYTHING in him that says he is the cheating kind or a wandering eye. Thank GOODNESS!

He drinks wine everyday but I've never seen him have more than ONE glass at a time. He is very disciplined physically and he seems to have good character and values. I told him that I think we bring out the best in each other - and like it says in Proverbs, As Iron sharpens Iron - that is how he and I sharpen each other - we make each other better :-)

We are both Christian and love God and try to do what is right. He's more conservative and I am more liberal. I voted for Obama and he voted for McCain - so we don't share THAT in common - but neither of us is really into politics either.

We have never had a Fight! Our relationship isn't volatile or explosive (my last one was). So this is good. Do you think that's normal - to never fight? My last one was slamming doors and crying and lonely nights in bed alone - with my cocker spaniel, while my ex was out at the bar or passed out at his computer. So this is a wonderful change, to be surrounded by children and family and a mellow guy. My ex had SERIOUS road rage - and my new guy seems to even be a mellow driver. I just like his evenness. I'm not walking on eggshells with him.

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-20-2002
Mon, 02-08-2010 - 10:47am

Hi CD,

I think what you're feeling would be pretty normal (kinda shell shocked) for someone in your situation.

Community Leader
Registered: 08-25-2006
Mon, 02-08-2010 - 1:08pm

I would just continue to take it all in a day at a time.

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-07-2006
Mon, 02-08-2010 - 7:58pm

Hello Serenity. Thank you for the nice reply :-) All I can say is GOOD FOR YOU - for getting sober, girl.

I just want to cheer you on in that regard. Keep on KEEPING ON my sister. It always makes me so PROUD when I hear of or talk to someone in recovery - you know?

I wanted that so badly for my first marriage. And so - when I see or hear of others doing it -- I know it isn't easy - but I'm just so happy for you and for those around you who love you so much.

You have taken those steps in recovery and it is admirable and brave and bold and really wonderful. GOOD JOB!

-- and with regards to "you're no saint" well, all I can say is that even though I haven't felt the pull of alcohol or drugs, I am no saint either. None of us are. And you know - just forgive yourself :-) You are right - you did NOT deserve to be treated that way in any of your marriages. And I'm so happy for you and for those that love you that you are sober now :-)

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-22-2009
Tue, 02-09-2010 - 9:37am
At 8 months, you haven't even begun to get to know him, IMHO. Neither will you ever really know him until you have lived with him a few years. If he is so determined to marry, and so are you.. why the rush?
iVillage Member
Registered: 10-04-2006
Tue, 02-09-2010 - 12:48pm

Hi and welcome to the board.

IMHO, I would highly suggest therapy. You've been in an abusive r'ship and your "self" has been beat up and you need recovery. The fact that you know you're not 100% healed, says you know yourself well enough, but yet, you need some more work. I'm also going to suggest a licensed therapist versus a church therapist (unless they're licensed). I've known a few who went to their church because they felt strongly about it, but in the end, they felt it wasn't as helpful as a prof therapist.

I agree that 8 months is not enough time to really know him....AND really know your true intentions. I was married to a man I call my soulmate. We had so many intense passionate moments both good and bad, that when I met my current DH, I fell for the stability and lack of roller coaster. However, the flip side to that was that I also realized I didn't have a lot of passion for him nor our r'ship.

You stated that you "grew to love him". Not always a bad thing, but it's something to look at. Are you attracted to him, or what he brings to your life? Like stability? Lack of anger? IMHO, all couples fight. But when I say "fight", I mean, all couple disagree and argue at times. If you two have not had one disagreement about anything, then something else is going on. Maybe you two are trying to please one anoher, so much, you do whatever they say.

Which leads me also to make're not repeating your patterns with the X, with this guy. Are you speaking your mind? Or do you try to please him? Do you tell yourself you're trying to please him because you love him so much, or because he's so good to that you won't bring up XYZ, or ask for ABC, or do something? All are "abused" signs. BTDT. You may not be walking on eggshells, but are your actions showing signs of an abused person? Trying to please him no matter what?

And honestly, this is why I am suggesting therapy. To make sure you're not choosing this guy because he's not the X and doesn't act like him and isn't treating you badly. And to make sure you're not still acting like an abused person...always trying to think one step ahead of him, to make sure he's happy, to do things you really don't want to because "you love him", or "want him to love you".

I would talk to him. Tell him you're absolutely terrified of marriage (not him, but marriage). And that you need to work through that before it even comes up. Tell him you'll let him know if and when you are ready. Maybe he's not really dropping hints, but you're just reading them as such. It's time to have a talk with him....and then it's time to work on yourself. You shouldn't marry him until YOU are healthy.

We all have uncertainties about marriage, especially after we've had one bad one. That's common. There are no guarantees and we can't give you one. The most you can do is prepare yourself. Make sure YOU are healthy and ready for what comes. Make sure the r'ship is strong, healthy, open, forgiving, etc. Trust me, when you have those things in place, you'll feel, maybe nervous, but you'll feel good about marriage again.

Hugs. I know the fear. Take the time to heal yourself. It can take a LONG LONG LONG time to get over any sort of abuse (even verbal or emotional and that includes living with an alcoholic).


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