Something I should know?

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-02-2009
Something I should know?
Wed, 03-03-2010 - 1:46pm

Good morning everyone! I hope you all are doing well. I just have a question - I am engaged and we've had a few bumps in the road, but such is life. It is a second marriage for both of us. Do you think it helps a couple to kind of "hash out" the issues that occurred in their previous marriage (successes, failures, etc) so that they can keep from making the same mistakes? I asked my fiance' if we could talk about what happened with his last marriage (I know the general story, but would like more information) and he said "it's none of your business, I don't think it's healthy to go over this"

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-09-2007
Wed, 03-03-2010 - 3:59pm

Hi, alliecat,

I am married for the second time too, we are almost 7 years together and 5 years married
We spoke about our previous marriages before we even spoke of our marriage, and then it was much easier, if I knew things would change after I would have asked more. I am not sure what is the right thing. Sometimes people say you shall discuss everything before you marry and then they say like your BF, it is not healthy to speak about someone's past.
Now my DH never speaks about his ex, and the time he was married before me, if I ask he says he does not remember anything. Well, he would reply my question if I ask him something definite but very reluctantly and shortly. I can feel that even if he speaks about that time he would avoid to say anything negative the same as positive, just neutral. I know more about his former life from his children who sometimes like to speak about it even without me asking them. Mostly negative things about the relationship between him and his ex, though never badly personally to no one. So I can see the problems they had. We do not have the same but it did not stop us to have our won problems.
But they are more like life problems or personality problems.
I do not think that if you insist on talking and under pressure he would even say something it will help. Not because it is none of your business (may be he is right, but sounds a bit rude).
You can put the question differently, ask him what expectations he has about your future life, what in his view can destroy your relationship etc.

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999
Wed, 03-03-2010 - 4:25pm

I can only say "it depends." You say that you generally know why he & his ex got divorced. My first thought was that if she cheated on him, he would not want to discuss that further. If it's something like they just "grew apart," what is there to say? What I would be hesitant about is someone (man or woman) who blamed their ex totally for the divorce and took no responsibility for it. I can "blame" my 2nd exH by saying that he had bipolar disorder which caused a lot of irritability & personality problems and put it all on him, but I have to take the responsibility of marrying a person who was that way--it's not like this behavior just suddenly sprang up after we got married. I had warnings & ignored them.

I guess that you could go about it in a roundabout way by asking him what he has learned about himself since his divorce, whether his views on marriage have changed, what he would do differently to insure that this time he didn't get divorced, things that don't require him to talk directly about his ex. Maybe he doesn't want to say anything negative about her?

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-04-2006
Wed, 03-03-2010 - 6:09pm

Great post Liz.

"I guess that you could go about it in a roundabout way by asking him what he has learned about himself since his divorce, whether his views on marriage have changed, what he would do differently to insure that this time he didn't get divorced, things that don't require him to talk directly about his ex. Maybe he doesn't want to say anything negative about her?"

I'd have to agree that it depends on the situation, the person, etc. Hashing out what happened, with your DF, IMO doesn't do much. What matters more is what I quoted Liz saying. What has he learned from his last marriage? What did he do wrong? How has he changed? Has he changed anything? Etc. I think those answers will say a lot more about him than finding out the details of what went wrong.

I'm not one that wants to discuss my past marriage with a future husband, especially not in depth. I'll say why it ended, I'll even agree to talk about my part in the demise of the marriage, and what I've learned etc. But the details isn't what is important. Because if he's learned anything from his previous marriage, you'd hope he won't repeat them.

I will say this. I know why my DH's previous marriage ended. I now understand why his X may have done what she did. There are parts of who he is, that he didn't change. And although I thought he had changed, he hasn't. So, we have some rough times here and there because of it. I know I'm being vague, and yes, there's a reason for it.

I hope this made some sense. Remember, the reasons his marriage ended, don't need to be discussed per se. What should be discussed is does he take responsibility for his part? What was his part (that I think should be your business)? Did he learn from it and work on himself to change it so it won't happen again? Yes? How so? Can you see the difference of the man he was (by his description) to the man he is today? Can you answer these questions regarding your own previous marriage?

I'd also highly suggest pre-marital counseling. Its more about how to fight fairly, how to communicate, etc. Versus, "fixing what is wrong".


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iVillage Member
Registered: 05-02-2009
Thu, 03-04-2010 - 12:38pm

I can honestly say that I know exactly why my marriage ended (at least from my point of view, my ex won't even talk to me for more than five minutes, so I can't get his point of view) I've discussed this at length with my fiance. We are seriously looking into pre-marital counseling and we're just waiting until there is a break in my schedule (I'm in the military)

Avatar for mhash
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Thu, 03-04-2010 - 1:36pm


iVillage Member
Registered: 03-19-2008
Thu, 03-04-2010 - 4:35pm

I can only answer this personally. I myself would be glad to talk to my bf about why my first marriage failed and I would expect him to talk about his too. I would be taken aback if he refused and my mind might wander and wonder if it was because he cheated and doesnt want to admit it. I usually fear the worst. So yes I agree with your wanting to talk about it. I mean couples should really work hard and communicate openly to make the marriage work.


Community Leader
Registered: 08-25-2006
Thu, 03-04-2010 - 5:29pm

Yea, 'none of your business' is a little defensive.

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-20-2008
Mon, 03-08-2010 - 10:20am

Hi, I agree with everyone else here.

The choices we make in thought, word and deed inevitably return to us in kind.

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-28-2008
Mon, 03-08-2010 - 2:39pm


Actually, it's UNHEALTHY not to be able to reflect on and accept responsibility for what happened in the past.

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-02-2009
Tue, 03-16-2010 - 4:45pm

Well, he and I have talked quite a bit in the past few days. I should mention, I've been to Iraq several times and Afghanistan once, I was recently diagnosed with PTSD and I guess have almost seemed unapproachable...which in hindsight, I can see why he feels that way. I'm in therapy and treatment