Today, I’d like to introduce you to my next guest, Nancy B. Nancy B was married for twenty-one years and has been divorced now for about eighteen months. She’s fifty-six now; her husband was ten years her senior and had been married twice before. Together they have a daughter who is now eighteen and a freshman in college. Although it was a long marriage, Nancy B says it was always a struggle and she kind of knew at the very beginning it wasn’t a good idea. Here’s Nancy B:
I think I knew from the beginning that it wasn’t the right match for me, but at that time I just really wanted to get married and have a family. He was the one that was there and willing. Not a very good reason, but quite honestly, that’s what happened.
Everything happened very quickly. I just thought he was so crazy about me, but what I didn’t realize was that he was very, very needy. He had a lot of fear and panic attacks, things of that nature. We got engaged, we’d known each other six months, not even that probably, and we got married at about the 10 month.
My sister, who I’m pretty close to, and who knows my former husband really well, she likes to say if I’d had another two months, I never would have married him, but he really was pushing to get married, and I just got swept up in it, as many brides do. I hung in there longer than Kim Kardashian, but that’s not saying much. I really did know deep down, but I didn’t want to admit it.
It wasn’t a good marriage. It pretty much was always a struggle, although I will say that we had a lot of fun times as a family. I consider myself a pretty funny person, and he’s pretty funny as well, and so we did have fun times. Both of us can look at a situation and see the humor in it. I think my sense of humor probably carried me through the marriage. That, and after I had my daughter, then I really wanted to hang in there for her and give her a childhood and all that.
I don’t know if that was the right thing to do, but I did it.
The Divorce Coach Says
I don’t know if I’m feeling melancholy but stories like this always make me feel sad. I think about all the excitement, the expectation and the hope that comes with a marriage, how wonderful it feels to be in love and to think you have a soulmate. Then, I think about the disappointment, the regret, the sadness that comes from knowing deep down it wasn’t the right decision.
How does that happen? I think most of us want to find a mate – I think that’s a combination of biological hard wires and societal conditioning/expectations. When we get in a relationship that works OK, and especially as you get older, we want the relationship to last so we tend to discount the red flags, compromise our values, think we can change some behaviors and settle. The Fit4Love program helped me understand that … and BTW … my coach tells me they are working on an online version which will make it much more affordable.
Nancy B is far from alone, Megan felt should never have got married; Tara (The Divorce Encouragist) was unhappy before she got married but couldn’t see a way out; and Kristen who felt her marriage quickly became more of a friendship than anything else.
Of course, not all marriages that end because the partners were mismatched to start with but would you say to your child to help them avoid the mistake of settling? Date for at least two years? Live together? travel together? What are you doing differently to make a wiser choice about your next partner?