#1, #3, and Maybe #2?

this is an embarrassing story but i will swallow my pride and share in hopes of reaching out to others and perhaps it will send a rescue to someone ... anyone.

as a girl i never imagined a marriage ... very unlike all my friends.  for me i dreamt of a career.  it's how i'd been programmed by my parents growing up.  of course, i knew eventually in life a relationship and a baby or 3 would happen.  somewhere my boat got WAY off course!

i was 18 and fresh out of highschool.  i had a full scholarship (partial academics and partial volleyball and softball) to a college on the other side of the state.  i'd just broken up with my boyfriend of 3 years to spend my last summer at home with the girls before i was to go away for the next 4-8 years.

within 30 days of graduation i met 'him.'  let's call him 'joe #1.'  he was great!  we spent the entire summer together.  i was already veering off course.  by the end of the summer with books in hand and my car packed i went to say goodbye to him.  i knew on that day he'd not be there when i came back, no matter how often i came back.  he was a catch!  all the girls thought so ... and i also thought the same ... at the time. 

i didn't show up for college.  i just didn't go.  i moved in with him.  3 short months later we found our own apartment, ridding ourselves of his 2 male, drunk, stinky, loud, obnoxious, roommates.

2 years later he and i married.  we'd been through a LOT in those two years living together.  he quit drinking.  that was a heckuv an ordeal.  but he did it!  w/ my help he established a relationship with his family again, began to see his son on a regular basis, and got a 'real' job ... a career he was passionate about but never believed enough in himself to pursue.

3 years in to the marriage we were doing great.  i was his first wife and all was well.  we moved for the sake of his career.  this is when things went down hill.  to make a very long story short; he ended up seeing his HS sweetheart at work one day and they began working closely.  next thing you know he's drinking again.  after that he began not coming home for days at a time.  he lied over and over but i knew the horrible truth.  no matter how i confronted him or no matter what evidence i showed him he denied the affair.  this went on over a 3 year span after moving. 

i saught marital counseling.  we went once a week individually and was scheduled to meet with 'joe #1' and the counselor every other week.  in a year's time he showed up 4 times total (both individual and combined sessions.)

i finally left him when his mistress turned up pregnant.

8 months after my divorce was final i met 'numberless joe.'  he's numberless because we, thankfully, did not marry.  he and i had the most intense relationship i'd ever been in.  but that would only last 3 mos.  at first he spent every moment with me.  he made me feel so good about myself.  i had the attention of every breath the man drew!  after 30 days his visit time started getting shorter.  i soon realized the 'honeymoon' was over.  when i tried to get to 'know' him he was always very vague or very dramatic and detail oriented but never 'normal.'  he had all these horrible stories of his history with relationships.  he was quite clear that he hated women.  but i was the exception!  ... not really ...  

i came up pregnant in the 3rd month.  when i told him he got this worried look on his face.  we talked about it and he left.  there was nothing conclusive drawn from the conversation.  i just remember his worried look was haunting.  it was nearly a month before i'd hear from him again.  due to all the stress, my broken heart, etc. i miscarried. 

once i wasn't pregnant he wanted to try the relationship again.  we dated for several months and then moved in together.  within 3 mos of cohabitating it was over!  he'd become extremely elusive, withdrawn, cranky, private (phone would ring and before answering he'd walk out of the room) and he was absent more and more for overnight fishing trips with his buddies, trips to see his sons in KC, emergencies with his family, etc.  he began to make me feel terrible about myself - one morning slapping me on the butt and saying, 'look at it jiggle' and giggling wildly.  i wasn't overweight by any means but i decided to start working out again.  that night, after preparing his dinner, i walked out the front door (gym bag in hand) and he said, 'i don't know why you're going to the gym.  who do you have to look good for?'

he and i decided we'd break up.  it was a good conversation but it hurt terribly. 

one night while i was home alone after he'd temporarily moved out while i was finding a new place, the doorbell rang.  ... now i knew he'd been married twice to the same woman who was the mother of his two children and that he had another child from his own childhood girlfriend.  but this would take me by complete surprise!  i answered the door.  there stood these two women dressed like 'hookers' (club clothes but i wasn't into that scene so i thought they were hookers - literally!)  they were crying and their makeup streaming down their faces.  i couldn't make sense of anything.  although i couldn't make sense of what they were saying i deduced there was no danger and they had a message for me.  i invited them in.  STUPID!

soon after i heard the story of my life!  this man was a Player!  he had 7 children by 5 different women and one of these girls was one of the mommas.  imagine my surprise!  but do i believe this woman?  i mean it's 1 in the morning.  but what does she have to gain by lying to me?  soon the phone rang.  it was 'him.'  he asked me if the two women were there and i told him, yes.  he began ranting and raving, screaming violently at me.  within 5 mins he showed up.  he took her by the neck and threw her out the front door.  she flew 15ft!  i'd never seen him this way.  i never knew he was like this.  had i ignored flags?  yes! 

needless to say, the police were called, he was removed from the premises and ordered not to go back that night.  i packed, secured a new place to live temporarily, and moved a 3 bedroom house (all furnishing of which were mine) within 5 hours!!!

i'd been divorced for 3 years and broken up with 'numberless joe' for 2 yrs when i met 'joe #2' ... i'd be his 3rd wife.  he told me why he was already divorced twice blaming it on his mother.  boy was he RIGHT!  20 months later i'd be divorced a 2nd time.  i had undergone a LOT of surgeries and was on a bunch of MAJOR medications the first year of marriage (i'd been hurt in an accident.)  truth is, i had no business walking down the aisle let alone balancing my check book.

nonetheless i don't regret it.  he and i are still best friends ... we simply should have remained that way rather than getting married for the sake of hormones and insurance.  (my health insurance was in jeopardy and we both refused to have premarital sex.)  not only that ... i should have heeded his warning about his mother which he'd do nothing about and it'd only gotten worse over the years.  i fear for his next wife.  not only is his mother insane but ... it seems to run in the family ... in the last days of the marriage he'd become increasingly violent both physically and emotionally.

'joe #3' shows up 18 mos after my 2nd divorce was final.  he's 18 mos out of his 1st divorce as well.  he got a royal screwing in his divorce but he was a wonderful man - still is.

at first we talked of marriage quite often.  thankfully we waited.  it would only take a few months before i realized what his family truly was about.  they are very enmeshed and there are no boundaries.  what's theirs is his and what's his is their's.  they have no room for me and my personal boundaries in their lifestyle.  although he admires me and how i conduct myself and wishes he was more like me, he simply has not been able to step out of it and into reality.

he's also got quite a bit of baggage.  he was married to wife #1 for 15 yrs.  their marriage was bad immediately.  he had nearly the entire marriage to get over it.  in fact he has no remorse about the relationship other than it hurting his children.  he has 3 girls with his exwife.

i believe, although he's a 'broken man', that he's also better than he once was and has the ability to rebuild himself outside of what she wanted him to be.  he always says the best thing about our relationship is that he doesn't feel pressure from me to be any certain way or to be anything that he's not.  i truly believe he's wonderful just as he is and he doesn't have to do anything or be anything he's not for me to feel that way. 

i can't so much complain about her other than she's totally rude to me despite my repeated efforts of befriending her.  but ... *sighs* i hate to see how terribly hurt he is over the loss of his children - she moved them out of state and he sees them every other weekend rather than tucking them in every night.  it's been 2 yrs and he's still very emotional about his children as he lived fully for their existence all those years.

i also have to undo all the damage she did to him.  she made him feel and believe that he was completely incompetent and would never amount to anything.  when in fact had he not married her i'm sure he'd be much further in life than he is.  the point is he still has the passion and ability as well as the competence to do whatever he desires - he's very bright and very able ... he's starting to believe in himself again - FINALLY! 

if you read my other stories you'll see more about his family, his daughters, him, his exwife and the whole situation in general.  needless to say ... odds are not great for he and i. 

so here i sit pondering marriage #3 ... more than anything i'm pondering whether to continue in the relationship at all considering everything ...

when you consider his girls playing games w/ their mother so as to show her their loyalty and then the exwife calling and screaming at him for hours on end about whatever was reported ... when you consider his girls playing both gramma and auntie as well, when you consider his mom's big mouth and involvement, when you consider his sister's authoritarian attitude as well as her aloofness w/ me, when you consider his children playing games with one another (manipulation) about me, when you consider his children playing games with me and their father about each other, when you consider the BIL; his competitive nature w/ me and his other obvious personality defects and FINALLY when you consider my health and how stress affects it so terribly negatively ... it just doesn't look good.

if you're reading this ... please, before you do anything ...  put your love for the person aside, get the emotions out of it all, step out of the box and ...

#1  consider every flag you've ignored throughout the relationship.  admit it to yourself!  don't overexaggerate them and don't deny them.  this is VERY important and i can't stress it enough.  don't choose to be blind because you love someone.  ask yourself if his personality has changed since you started dating.  ask yourself how he makes you feel about yourself and if that's changed since you met.  is he your bestfriend and you his?

#2  do NOT give up your education or something equally as important over a man.  if he truly loves you, he will work with you and your schedule or whatever the situation might be. 

#3  ask and listen intently to the stories you are told about previous relationships!  don't over analyze but take into account how they are now in comparison to what they say they once were and the lessons they share with you. 

#4  ask about their childhood.  ask how important 'family' is to them (their family's involvement mainly.)  get to know his family.  spend time with his mother.  she's usually going to be a major theme in his life.  get to know their friends.  investigate his history with women via listening to him and his friends conversations.  does he have any type of 'reputation' you've heard of?  get to know their children and try to befriend the ex for the sake of the 'blended' family.  don't necessarily listen to the ex but ... in some rare cases they are NOT exaggerating!  these are VERY important KEYS!

#5  if you've exhausted all avenues, done everything you possibly can, given more chances than you should have ... don't damage yourself further by staying in something that will continue to not only torment you but could potentially cause harm in any way to you, your children, him or his children.  when you truly love someone you are willing to give them up so they can have a better life.  this goes both ways.

#6  last but not least ... and most importantly ... do NOT lie to yourself and do not rush into anything regardless the circumstances.  make sure you know what you're getting into and realize it will change and evolve each day.  realize you canNOT change him, that you have to love and accept him just as he is!  realize also, you have to be willing to grow with the relationship as well as continually put very sincere and hard work into it if you want it to be successful!  communication is the most important facet of any type of relationship.  if he can't open up to you, is he able to put forth the effort a relationship requires?  and vice versa...

these are my only nuggets on relationships that i find worthy enough to share and i only hope that anyone reading this will fully absorb what i've said and take it to heart before they make a decision that will affect the rest of their life.

AbbyNormal AbbyNormal
31-35, F
19 Responses Jun 21, 2007

I feel bad for you on your awful life choices up to this point..<br />
Please go back to school and get an education, take some psychology classes <br />
and leave this next dysfunctional set up for some one else <br />
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leave, move go where ever you need to be to be ALONE, go to school and work<br />
and next time you think some one is good for you<br />
maybe seek some one else opinion, because you don't pick winners<br />
you pick fixers<br />
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and you have to realize no one can fix them other people and their lives except them selves.. to think you really had made a change in any one's life has been an illusion at best, pathetic in reality..<br />
<br />
go back to school!! get your masters , doctorate.. make your parents proud..<br />
seems so far... its been one disaster after another...

I love what you wrote. I am in a difficult relationship myself and I am at that point where ether I will 'go with the flow' and become second wife or we will go separate ways. I can't say, we both went a really long way since the beginning of our relationship but there are issues, some of which you mentioned in your story, that really get me worried.

yes you have learned alot. Know there is help for you. Try searching addicted to love

I'm not married but I realized that I become 2nd ... how hurt it will be.<br />
Your story is still helpful.<br />
Thank you.

Your story is pretty amazing, and I agree with your list, but especially the part where you take them as they are. If you can't love the person they are, but only the person they could be someday if only they'd change, you're in for some heartbreak.

Made me think of the red flags my dh has given me. Is it really worth it? happiness and life only goes around once, why waste it on someone who cant find it themselves? I am proud of your great sense.

I'm not married but this is still helpful. thankyou!


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So lets be friends forever!!<br />
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Yours forever<br />
Miss lucy.

Thank you, Mystic ... it's a heckuva road but some of us must travel for the benefit of all, eh? *hugs* back

Wow GF you are alot like me!! Just longer winded LMAO *GRINS* Great Job, don't stop helping in this area, you are right on the money with the advice, and the perceptions you have, can help so many! *HUGS* CindySue (Mystic)

I believe now that you have gone through the bad and realize all the flags, you know how to handle this "new" guy. Thank you for shareing your story. It takes a strong woman to leave a bad relationship, and an even stronger to talk about it.

ye i elieve that at one time u were in love deeply with this person, u sure gave up alot for him i believe yr one strong survivor interesting story sounds like it came right out of a novel maybe you should take up righting. i enjoyed it very much thanks for the intertainment

You have had some amazing experiences, good and bad... and you've shared such wisdom here. Thank you. It is appreciated, as are you!

why thank you kind, dodo ... that's quite a compliment!

Thank you for sharing your account of the trials and tribulations that you have gone through. There is an awful lot of wisdom and practical insight here, and I think I shall read your story a few more times, which isn't something I've felt compelled to do with an EP story before. I think your summary advice is very wise and sensible. But most of all, I think it is a testament to your character and who you are - that you have the capacity to both bring healing to wounded people, but to also know when it is time to leave. Personally, I think that it's high time you had an experience with a good man who didn't come with the tag "renovator's delight". Best of luck :)

thank you, ladies! it's not an easy story to share due to my pride and also i'm sure i left out tons and tons of minute details that add up to BIG stuff but ... in the end ... regardless how badly your heart is broken, regardless how terribly the relationship was, regardless how you treated one another, regardless any of it, there is always something very important to be extracted from it and applied later. the most important thing is that you can't give up on 'love.' you simply can't say, 'well i've been hurt and now i'm closing myself off.' so many people do this. we, as humans, also seem to make our new mate suffer for the sins of the previous mate. this is unacceptable! they are an entirely different person and should be treated as you wish to be treated until they prove themselves unworthy! i was able to keep friendships with each of my ex's ... all but 'joe #1' as his mistress and he married 30 days (state requirement) after our divorce was final and now have a family. she's always been very jealous of me for whatever reason ... perhaps because no one from his side of the family went to their wedding? otherwise he and i would be friends - i'm convinced. his family still send me cards, calls me, etc. they told me on our wedding day that if anything happ'd between he and i that they'd keep me and send him off again. well they kept true to it, however, in recent years i've slipped away from them lil by lil hoping to give him and his new bride a chance with his family and allowing her not to have to live under my shadow - that's simply not fair no matter what she did or did not do. i guess the bottom line of relationships - any type, kind etc. is that you treat them how you wish to be treated - PERIOD! again, i hope by sharing this it helps someone in their own situation.

Thank you for sharing this with us. Its a very comprehensive list, learned from experience, of warning signs. Thank you.

I LOVE this story, and the profound wisdom you shared with us! I also find you an amazing person by the fact that reguardless of the hardships you've endured through these relationships, you STILL had possitive things to say about the situation and the MEN. It leaves room for the understanding that these men were not completely bad people, they just made bad mistakes. Sometimes it's easy for us to bad-mouth our EX'S. You seem to have found the "silver lining at the end of the dark clouds" with each of your experiences! A possitive growth for your own life and well-being through these complex times! I commend you!