I’ve been dating the most amazing man for two years. He treats me better than I’ve ever been treated.
I was married for nine years previously and have two kids with my ex-husband.
Yet my current boyfriend makes me question if I could ever have really loved anyone before. I look forward to everything we’ve planned for our future.
We've talked casually about marriage in the past, but nothing serious. Tones have changed though, in recent weeks. I feel he’s going to pop the question soon.
I brushed off the conversation that gave me that feeling as I’m unsure how to respond if he asks.
Had I never married my abusive, narcissistic ex – who’s in my life and tries to control me because of our kids - I'd say yes, in a heartbeat.
However, because I did marry my ex 15 years ago, I cannot trust myself to make the correct decision.
I’m terrified of marriage and of making the wrong choice. After all, my ex was a wolf in sheep's clothing.
Do I go with my gut answer of yes, or tell myself that fairy-tales don't exist and keep my original divorcee vow of never making another mistake like marriage again?
Uncertain and Afraid
You’re not alone. Many “second-timers” worry if they’re getting into a union they’ll eventually regret, as they did with an unhappy first marriage.
But you’re not the same person. Hopefully, older and wiser, you’d now recognize a disguised “wolf.”
But the person you need to look at closely is yourself.
You want to see a confident, independent woman who doesn’t need this person to “complete” you, but loves and trusts him as a companion, lover, friend, and partner.
You want to feel that whatever reasons you fell for your ex long ago, aren’t at all similar to the reasons you fell for this man.
And that the dynamics of your relationship are completely different from your past marriage.
If you can see those positives, just say YES.
My husband is a self-confessed contrarian. Our discussions feel like I’m being cross-examined, at every turn.
He used to fly into rages but has gotten his demons more under control.
After having lived this way for many years, I admit I fear being assertive when I need to be and do things in a passive aggressive manner in order to get by.
What hurts is, even though he’s trying, I cannot connect with him very well because I no longer express my feelings properly to him.
How I feel, simple recounts of my day, many things, are still often shot down, not heard, corrected, criticized. So much so, that after all this time, I appear to no longer have the skill to express myself verbally.
What do I do to improve this? How do I become more assertive with him?
There are tried and true courses on public speaking which many people have taken to feel more comfortable and be more assertive in their careers, or even just generally in public.
Look for one in your locale, tell your husband whatever you want about it (e.g. it’s for work, or to combat social shyness,) so he doesn’t mock you or put down the idea.
Such a course can help you find your voice.
But having the confidence to use it likely requires your seeing a therapist. It’s likely that there’s something in your background that moved you to allow this demeaning treatment to continue.
FEEDBACK Regarding the overweight woman who dislikes when family members bring her rich foods for the holidays (Nov. 10):
Reader – “I’ve known many people who are diet-conscious and/or attending weight control groups, and not one has ever boycotted the food that people bring to holiday get-togethers.
“They either make something for themselves or exercise portion control if eating other people’s food.
“Part of any weight-loss diet is learning to change your habits, not change the habits of other people!”
Ellie – When someone’s made the resolution to finally get control over unhealthy eating habits and weight issues, close family should be the first to be helpful and encouraging.
Her relatives know she attends a weight-loss support group, to help combat her difficulties with decadent desserts. Yet they insist on bringing them to her home.
She’s being pro-active for her health to say she appreciates their kindness but prefers they bring flowers, fruit, and salads for the meal.
Tip of the day:
A new year brings new beginnings, so seize the positive energy.