My first husband was a disastrous choice. Dare I take the plunge again? Ask Ellie
Ellie Tesher is on vacation. The column below is an archived favorite, personally picked by Ellie, as it appeared on January 2, 2015.
Q: I’ve been dating the most amazing man for two years. He treats me better than I have ever been treated.
I was married for nine years and have two children with my ex-husband.
Yet my current boyfriend makes me wonder if I could have really loved someone before. I look forward to everything we have planned for our future.
We’ve talked about marriage casually in the past, but nothing serious. The tones have changed, however, in recent weeks. I have a feeling he’s going to ask the question soon.
I brushed off the conversation that gave me that feeling because I don’t know how to respond if he asks me.
If I had never married my violent, narcissistic ex – who is in my life and tries to control me because of our children – I would say yes, without hesitation.
However, because I married my ex 15 years ago, I can’t trust myself to make the right decision.
I am afraid of marriage and of making the wrong choice. After all, my ex was a wolf in sheep’s clothing.
Should I follow my gut answer of yes, or tell myself that fairy tales don’t exist and keep my original divorcee vow never to make another mistake like marriage again?
You’re not alone. Many “secondaries” worry if they enter into a union that they will eventually regret, as they did with an unhappy first marriage.
But you are not the same person. Hopefully, older and wiser, you will now recognize a “wolf” in disguise.
But the person you need to watch closely is yourself.
You want to see a confident, independent woman who doesn’t need this person to “complete” you, but who loves and trusts them as a companion, lover, friend, and partner.
You want to feel that whatever the reasons you fell in love with your ex a long time ago are not at all similar to the reasons you fell in love with this man.
And that the dynamics of your relationship are completely different from your past marriage.
If you can see these positives, just say YES.
My husband is an avowed maverick. Our discussions give the impression of being cross-examined at every turn.
He used to get angry, but he mastered his demons better.
After living this way for many years, I admit being afraid to assert myself when I need to be and to do things passively aggressive to get out of it.
What hurts is that even if he tries, I can’t connect with him very well because I don’t express my feelings to him properly anymore.
What I feel, simple accounts of my day, a lot of things, are still often shot down, unheard, corrected, criticized. So much so that after all this time, it seems to me that I no longer have the ability to express myself verbally.
What should I do to improve this? How to become more assertive with him?
There are proven public speaking classes that many people have taken to feel more comfortable and assertive in their careers, or even just in public in general.
Find one in your area, tell your husband what you want about it (for example, it’s for work or to combat social shyness) so that he doesn’t laugh at you or belittle you not the idea.
Such a course can help you find your voice.
But having the confidence to use it probably requires you to see a therapist. Chances are, there was something in your past that prompted you to let this demeaning treatment continue.
Tip of the day
Trust yourself and trust your growth and acquired experiences.