I think this is an original thought. It’s certainly one I have experience with.
One who is easy in the beginning will be hard to live with in the end.
You can interpret the meanings of easy and hard as you will. That’s the beauty of the statement and for all intents and purposes, I shall not delve into the interpretation of them, but allow you to find your own perspectives.
But as I continue to endure the pains of my separation from Ex2 and all that transpired there, along with the daily sparing with Ex1, (she was up commenting here on the site at 1:54 a.m. today and sent me another email at 5:47 a.m., another at 9:35 a.m., 9:36 a.m., 10:04 and then 10:06 a.m. today,) I’m coming to a list of thoughts about what I’ve learned, would encourage others to be wary of, and of which I know I must not once again re-embark. (For the purposes of fairness, these are not necessarily related to either of my ex-wives, but rather an accumulation of life knowledge.)
You might say that being on the failing end of two marital relationships now, maybe I’m not the best one to give advice. Contrare monfrare, I’ve learned a lot.
RULES GOING FORWARD AND RULES FOR YOU TO KEEP IN MIND
- People falling out of marriages are not good people to fall for. The DivorceCare classes I used to teach say it takes roughly a year of recovery for every four years of marriage lived. That’s a good rule of thumb. It just takes time to heal. And when you don’t allow time for the healing, you inherit a lot of things you’re not expecting.
- Being single and “hungry” for fulfillment of one’s needs makes us do dumb things. But like I said, easy in the beginning, hard in the end. As one of my friends used to say, “It’s amazing what guys will ignore when they’re frequently getting …. “
- I’m simply not equipped, particularly at my age, to be a step-parent of a child with special needs. I don’t have the skill sets for it, and you’ve had a lifetime with the child to learn to cope with their ailment. I can try to be understanding, but I’m just not going to be able to get to the level of overlooking the points of the condition like you do and make excuses for them not even trying to do things for themselves and allow them to blindly use their condition as an excuse. Yes, I realize they have a medical condition, but if they can learn to do some skills like getting up, brushing their teeth, going to school, putting on/tying their shoes, and conquering the many levels of an RPG (Role Playing Game), well, they can learn to do other things, too, like run the microwave, mow the yard in a straight line, put dishes away and clean up their rooms. If that’s going to be too much to ask, well, I’m sure you’re a special, wonderful person, but I’m going to have to pass.
- Before getting married, all couples should be compelled to take six months of counseling that should also require relationship building time before the counseling and after the counseling. I seriously think that getting married to anyone and having at least one year pass before matrimony should be made mandatory. (Maybe Facebook could be the official keeper of such data. You know, you change your relationship status [which most don’t do until they’ve been seeing someone for awhile] and an official counter begins and you can’t get a marriage certificate until you’ve had the passage of one year since your relationship status change, you have counseling certificates and the like). Church marriage counseling should require more than a preacher not being able to get access to the test so he “just talked with us for an hour.” Such is a recipe for divorce. If you go to someone and they don’t have a test to give you, go to someone else. Yes, you may have your wedding date set, but it’s not going to hurt to reset the date. It’s kind of a pay now or pay even more later proposition.
- Upon getting married to someone, before adding more kids to the family, it’s of paramount importance that the two of you learn how to be married to each other first. Yes, you learned “a lot” about them while you were dating or even “living in sin,” however, you never know someone you’re married to until you’ve been married to them. Again, it’s kind of a pay now or pay even more later proposition here. Consider that time invested with your spouse prior to kids as an investment. Or if you prefer a Cold War analogy, you’re kind of holding at Fail Safe, waiting to see if diplomatic relations can first decide whether or not you need to be dropping swimmers into the Motherland.
- There is such a thing as a generational gap. Too much of one might seem fun at first, but young, young girls when you’re not young, young or even just young, are for TV series shows and movies, or Jerry Springer. (Hey, marry trailer trash and you might get both!)
- I’ve told my girls that Daddy’s not paying for any weddings until they’re out of college, they’ve gotten a job of their own, lived on their own and are at least 28 years of age. I’d prefer they’ve have been out of the country a couple of times, too. Anything before is just too soon, and while that decreases my odds of being around long for my grandchildren to grow up, it also gives me a greater sense of comfort that my girls won’t make some of the dumb mistakes that have led to the present situations.
- Alcohol and anxiety meds do not mix. Neither does Ambien. Even John Mayer makes note of that in “Heartbreak Warfare” when he says, “Red wine and Ambien, you’re talking sh** again.” Amen, Brother John. Amen. One day the FDA is going to realize the danger of Ambien and take the sh** off the market.
- For a blended family, good luck. You’ve raised your kids a certain way. Your potential mate has done it completely another way. There’s a limit to what works in “you discipline your kids, I’ll discipline mine.” At some point, your step kids will realize they can cause more trouble for you (and seemingly enjoy it,) by telling you they’re not going to listen to you and don’t. All that does is causes an insurmountable fissure between you and your spouse. There’s nothing worse than feeling like you have no say as to what happens in your own home. You’re loyal to your kids, your spouse will be loyal to theirs. I’m almost to the point of suggesting to not even try blending a family; it’s not like the Brady Bunch for sure. My experience with doing it twice has been disastrous.
- At the first signs of physical abuse, it’s time to leave whether your a man or a woman. Game over. It’s not going to get better. Your spouse may try to punish you further, may threaten you, yes. I’ve even seen lately an example of the spouse trying to kill the other. Again, at the first signs of it, LEAVE. You may be financially dependent on the other person. You might be afraid of them. You might be afraid of the embarrassment. Is that as good as living in Hell and the risk of putting yourself or your kids in danger?
- Alcoholism is a disease. As far as I’ve seen, it’s not curable either. Drinking in moderation is fine. Drinking with meds in ones system only magnifies anxieties, anger and whatever other emotions are going on inside the consumer. You show up one time wasted before I say “I do,” and I will be telling you real quickly, “I won’t.” I have lived with the problems of others’ dependency on alcohol for as long as I remember and if I see it in you, I’m sorry. I wish you the best, but my heart has had enough of that pain for a lifetime and I have yet to get my own kids through their years of experimentation.
- If you make me give up the support organizations I’m working in to help others, if you make me leave friends behind, etc. we’re not going to be a good match.
- If we meet at a restaurant to talk and you tell me you have a real pet snake that you often like to allow crawl around in your bra, those may be nice looking boobs, but that’s one kind of snake bite I’m not looking for.
- If you tell me that none of your kid(s) father(s) are involved in the lives of their kids, while at first I might find that shameful of them, I know, too, that now tells me something about you.
- If everything that happened in your prior marriage(s) was your exe(s) fault and none of it was your fault, thanks, but I’ll wait until I get to Heaven to bow down before you at God’s right hand. If you’ve not come to grips with the fact that you had a role to play in your breakup, well, you’re not ready for a new relationship. I’m sorry.
- My divorce attorneys have told me “no more wounded sparrows.” With no kids, maybe it’s okay to take on a person who is hurting or healing and be married to them and walk them forward through their personal darkness. With my own set of kids and responsibilities, however, I can not afford to try to do that, I’m sorry. I’m wounded, too. Any future prospect, (God, I can’t even imagine the thought) is going to go through a multi-hour interrogation by my attorneys. Kind of look at it as insurance.
- We’ve all made mistakes in our past, but there are things I’m not going to overlook: a messy house/apartment, smoking, an irritable and irate father, attempted suicides, abortions, prior drug usage, alcoholism, jail sentences, bra snakes, over use of “ain’t,” “I already done that,” “I ain’t got no money,” or youthful sexual/physical abuse. Those kinds of things, are all deal breakers. I’m sorry, I’ve learned from enough people who have dealt with those situations to know I don’t have what it takes to weather those storms.
- If we go to a restaurant and the wait staff or manager(s) linger at our table talking to me/us about their products, their experiences, etc. and you don’t like it, well, again, we’re not right for each other. You see, since I’ve had to give up everyone else I might talk openly to, this is about all that I have left.
- If your potential mate doesn’t love themselves, they’re not going to be able to love anyone else, either. I really don’t know how else or what more to say to that point. You’ll know if they do or they do not. If they tell you how ugly they are, or how dumb or fat they are when they are not, or etc. those are all RED FLAGS. Sure, you can swim out into those waters, but if you’re soon covered in crude oil, you were warned. Trust me, the effect will feel similar.
- If we don’t go to the same church, thank you, but I’m not going to spend my Sundays wishing you’d walk through the back door to come join me before the services start. If you don’t have a passion for God, how can I have a passion for you, too?
- A family that likes to hide its secrets isn’t healthy. Listen closely to the family lore. Instead of thinking about how you might fit in, listen to what’s been said and done. Maybe marriage counseling also should include the future in-laws, too. Just like you can look at a potential spouse’s same-gender parent and see how they’re going to look similar in 20 years, by listening, you’re also going to get a decent idea from observing both parents about how your spouse is going to act during that time, too.
Look, I’d be a fool to pretend I had all the answers. I’ve made some terrible mistakes of my own and I own up to them. For some things I was ill-prepared and swimming, lost at sea.
I still care for both of my ex wives. There were happy times with each of them. Again, I made my share of mistakes in both relationships. But I have to tell you, there are only a couple of people who are active in my life right now that are happy in their marriages and I’m hearing a lot about what hasn’t/doesn’t/won’t work. I’m seeing what seemed to be easy in the beginning has gotten very hard and bitter in the end. Maybe you can avoid some of the mistakes.