What would I say?

He is engaged to be married again.

This is not a surprise of course. I had already predicted it.

Really, he told me as much. Many times in fact. He said that if I were to die or we were ever to divorce, he is not the sort of person who can be on his own. He needs someone. I knew it would be within a year though. Technically I was off by one week.

He also told my parents the same. During that spring break visit when we were still trying to figure things out and I was not entirely privy to all of his activities in my absence, he sat across from my parents and told them “I will never treat another woman the way I have treated your daughter.” My dad showed imperturbable strength in his restraint at that moment.

He was already planning on finding another before it was over.

Once it became apparent that his promises of change were just like all the other thousands of promises he had made, I began the divorce proceedings. He began attending divorce support meetings.

It would be more than six months before the divorce was final and from what I understand, that is where he met her.

Several months after they started dating, they became engaged. I have had a lot of people in my life express concern for her. She seems to be a very nice person. Never before married and ten years his junior, she has, it seems, held out a good many years for Mr. Right. I am certain he has spun a good story for her, just enough truth to show his fault and flaws, enough to be contrite and repentant about, while the depth of his illness remains buried. And the love-bombing! I can only imagine… (Shudder)

He is good. Quite good. He has a very high EQ (Emotional quotient: IQ’s counterpart) that enables him to disarm people, which in turn causes them to suppress their inner warning signs. I have had several women come to me after the fact and tell me there was just something, they couldn’t quite put their finger on it, that bothered them, but they excused him for any variety of reasons: that’s just who he is, his quirks, or because he was so nice that surely they were just imagining it. One young woman, whom he admitted to me that he was flirting with in order to make me jealous, used some very unflattering verbiage (words like creepy and predatorial) to describe the impression she had of him.

So what would I say to this new woman if I were to talk to her?

She is a girl “in love.” No doubt entranced by the adoration she is receiving, I am not sure she would listen to a word I said. After all, I can only imagine what opinion she has formed of me based on the stories he is telling. It is likely self-deprecating in nature; how he messed up, but I refused to forgive him.

And I am the ex-wife, surely I cannot be trusted.

Despite this, I would tell her what I would tell any woman about to make this decision, but I would especially want her to know this:

If it seems to good to be true, it is. 

You have held out for so long waiting for the right man, a good man, to come along. Take your time. You are making a forever decision.

Now that he “has” you, don’t allow him to push you into a quick decision. Six months is such a short time. Trust me, I know, he is repeating the past.

Allow your friends and family to interact with him regularly and plentifully and then ask their opinion. Ask them to be honest. If they have red flags, listen. I wish I had. 

If you have red flags, run away. You have not done anything that obligates you to be with him or ties you to him forever. 

Ask his family what they really think.

Do your homework. Find out all you can. It is not disloyal to make sure that the person you are about to marry is who they say they are. Talk to people in his past…. and listen with an open mind.

I know and understand. I have been there myself. It is imperceptible at first, those strings. The tiny web strands have tensile strength. The fog has you believing that it is what you want, all the while the strings are controlling your thoughts, actions, desires, while you believe it is you controlling these. 

December 1st came and went and I did not remember that it had been a year since my divorce until December 7th. January 6th also came and went and I did not remember that that would have been my anniversary until my phone reminded me it was my brother’s birthday. That was mid-afternoon.

It was a good day for once. I no longer dreaded its approach or spent the day intermittently crying, wishing for it to be over as I had so many other anniversaries. January 6th is just a normal day for me now.

I have miraculously and amazingly recovered. I am one of the lucky ones. The wisdom of friends and family that encouraged me to break off all ties and communication saved my life. I am happy. I am healthy. I have had several people remark on this fact to me lately. People who had not seen me for a while have commented on how different and happy I seem.

I am not pretending like nothing happened. I was devastated, shaken to my core, a mess of shards and broken pieces. One of my co-workers joked with me once saying that when I started working with them, I was “fragile and damaged.” I don’t know that I will ever be undamaged, but I am not fragile anymore. And I am free. I can breathe again.

Yes, in marriage you often put someone else before yourself, compromising and giving up your will to your spouse at times, but you should not have to give up your personhood, your ability to think, feel, be.

Marriage is a forever commitment. Do you really know who you are marrying?



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1 Comment

  • Reply John Bensley January 17, 2018 at 12:23 pm

    God bless you and your loved ones. We are all over the top happy for your happiness!

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