Fotolia

10 Ways My Second Marriage Is Way Different Than My First

By
Share
Ad failed to load

When I was 17, my boyfriend at the time — a senior — proposed after we'd been together just over a year. It may sound extreme, because it was, and even as it happened I knew the hurdles we'd face growing up together. Our marriage didn't last and, now that I've been with my current partner for 13 years, it's extremely obvious that there are more than a few ways my second marriage is way different than my first; ways that undoubtable contribute to the reason why my husband and I are still together.

When I think back, my family and I gathered around the dinner table on Thanksgiving, the thing I remember most is the look on everyone's face when my then-fiancé and I told them we planned to marry immediately after my graduation. There was silence, all but the clanking of utensils on plates, and utter disappointment with my decision to take this path instead of that my peers were headed towards.

The truth is, and the thing none of them knew at the time, was all I'd been battling. My mom had decided to go back to school 40 minutes away, so she and my younger brother were moving from my beloved home to a small apartment near the college. Me, being the creative dreamer rarely satisfied by a classroom setting, spent most of my school days writing in notebooks rather than learning so my grades were barely above passing and definitely not college-worthy. I applied to some schools. only to be rejected and felt as though everyone was moving forward somehow, leaving me behind. I had no direction, no plan, and no hope for my future. My boyfriend/fiancé understood these things and even though he, a year older, attended his first year of college, he'd found a full-time job to work so that he and I could create our own kind of hope, together. Sounds great, right? In the very beginning, it was, or at least I convinced myself it was. What I thought I had was security, stability, and all the things I lacked in my childhood.

Ad failed to load

The reality, of course, was that it was a facade. The security vanished when the honeymoon phases ended and real life set in. My husband worked, sure, but I had a hard time getting a job with no experience and awful grades. Our finances plummeted quick (the cause of more than a few fights) and that stability I so desperately needed vanished when our relationship was tested by infidelity and mistrust. I see now it was merely our ages deciding too many adult things. We were both immature and unknowing of how to resolve conflict without an all-out war. We separated for a time and, eventually, started "dating" again until moving back in together. I found a great job and it seemed as though we were on the mend, for good this time. It wasn't easy, but better.

However, as we grew and found the maturity we'd been lacking in years prior, it became clear our paths had gone in two different directions. It's true those years are meant for self-discovery and yet, we'd been married, separated, and back together for nearly four years and just as my friends graduated college. We lived many lifetimes through the course of the relationship, but there came a day when everything shifted. I can't pinpoint what, exactly; I just knew we weren't meant for the long haul. We amicably split, for good this time, I took advantage of that self-discovery period I'd missed out on previously. I needed to know who I was, without him.

Sometime later, I met my now-husband. While I wasn't exactly ready to fall back into another relationship (and we had our testing moments as well), it all felt different this time around. I'd grown up a lot and knew what would work, and what wouldn't. This marriage has been different than my first in so many ways but none more than knowing myself now, better than I did at 17.

Ad failed to load

I Know Myself Better

GIPHY

The old adage of "live and learn" certainly applies. At 17, I didn't know who I was. It's not to say everyone doesn't, it's just that I didn't. Not a damn clue, actually. I had a vague idea of what I wanted to do, the kind of woman I wanted to be, but not an inkling of how to get there. This definitely affected my relationship with my husband. How could we be unified as individuals coming together if I wasn't whole yet? (The answer, of course, is that we couldn't.)

Now, I have the answers to all these things. I'm more confident and secure in myself. This reflects and benefits every relationship I have now—not only my husband.

I'm Better At Comprimise

GIPHY

Being that I was incredibly immature (I say it with 20/20 vision now, but didn't realize it then), I was selfish. There were things I wouldn't budge on or give up in order for our marriage to work and likewise, my partner was the same. I do believe this sort of thing came with age and experience and while I'm happy to be where I am now, I like to think it's because of all the times I learned from the fall-out where compromise lacked.

I Don't Want To Change My Partner

GIPHY

I've always been a "fixer." This stems from childhood, and me simply seeing the broken things in people (a kindred spirit, maybe) and thinking I can be the one to heal the wounds or change the habits. Not only was this a dangerous way to live and believe, it caused a lot of heartache. In my late teens years, there was too many things I wanted to change within my partner and I'm sure he could say the same about me. None of it was in the best interest of our relationship and I se that now.

This time-around, while there are always going to be things my partner and I disagree on or things we annoy one another with, I love the person he is at the core. I don't want to fix or change him in any way. If I did, and was successful, our relationship wouldn't be as great as it is.

Ad failed to load

My Expectations Are Realistic This Time Around

GIPHY

My bar was set incredibly high way back when. I had an image of the white picket fence-type scenario, hoping it would rewrite my bad childhood memories or give me something "real" to cling to. There are times now (especially with my OCD and need for order) I still catch myself expecting too much of my partner, seeing that it only sets him up to fail. It's not fair.

What I've learned in our 13 years together is that it's really my bar to set in the first place. We're two different people with two different ways of doing things. The point is, it gets done somehow. I've come to accept this and we're better for it.

I'm More Open When It Comes To Boundaries

GIPHY

My whole life, I've been a closed book. No one could know a thing about me unless I let them and even then, I protected those bits with everything I had. I still do, I guess. However, being married at 18, I hadn't yet set boundaries on things like going out with friends or saying "yes" when I meant "no." I thought marriage was a journey I was supposed to do whatever, whenever, all the time, and no matter what. Yes, I'm talking about sex and romance and connection and, mostly, lack thereof and how complex it becomes when you've suffered trauma but feel compelled to partake at times, just because you're married.

It's more complicated than simply being open to your spouse when, all your life, you've hidden so many thing from everyone. In my second try, I vowed to be more open about these things so that, when those times came, we'd know how to handle with the utmost respect and compassion to me, my emotions, and my body. Thankfully, my husband is more than understanding and really, just wants me to be happy. Whatever that means.

I Know How To Communicate My Feelings Better

GIPHY

I remember all the times I'd stomp out of the house with no resolution only to have the same damn argument an hour later. The problem was, I didn't always articulate the way I was feeling properly. This left my partner confused, and sometimes angry. I don't blame him and, well, he was no better.

Part of being 18, or 19, means finding newer, better ways to communicate so your voice is heard and so you can understand each other better and live "happily ever after." Lack of communication was one of the biggest reasons that relationship fell a apart so now, I make it priority.

Ad failed to load

I'm Better At Forgiveness

GIPHY

I had a lot of resentment floating around for a long time because I didn't know how to let it go. It didn't matter who was wrong or right. Once I met and married my second husband, I saw how insignificant things from my past had become so it became easier to let them go and really, forgive both my first husband for his mistakes, and mine as well.

I Practice Conflict Resolution

GIPHY

While communication is a must, I've learned there are good ways to deal with an argument and really, really bad ways. For four years, I spent most of my time acting out the bad ways. It showed in our relationship. We were rarely on the same page, couldn't find a common ground, and most of that time, I hadn't matured like I thought I had.

Now, when there's a disagreement we work through it. Like adults who love each other.

I'm Not Afraid To Be Myself

GIPHY

I'm pretty weird. I say that in all honesty. My Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), is confusing to most, and I'm typically the girl tripping over nothing, mumbling quietly, or saying the wrong thing at the wrong time. I'm OK with me, but I never know how others perceive me and my actions.

Way back then, I was insecure. I hid a lot of who I was in that marriage, fear of him judging me. It took a long time and a lot of self-discovery and reflection to understand these things make me who I am—the good and the bad.

Ad failed to load

I've Learned From Past Mistakes And Differences

GIPHY

Of course I made a ton of mistakes as a teen. After all, inevitable failure is part of growing up. In my case, I had to grow up a lot faster because I chose the path of marriage over anything else. It took trial and error (mostly error) but I got through it. I'm not ashamed of the time I had with my then-husband and I sincerely wish him the best. However, I know who I am now, what I want, and where I'm going.

This marriage now — as we approach 10 years married in October — has shown me making all those mistakes back then (and learning from them) helped me become the woman I am today. How can I be mad at that? (Hint: I'm not. At all.)

Ad failed to load
Must Reads

10 Reasons Why I Won't Apologize For Giving My Toddler A Pacifier

My first child had no interest in a pacifier. I tried a couple times to get him to take one, but he always spat them out and gave me an incredulous, judgmental look. But my second? It was love at first suckle. And after a while, the incredulous, judg…
By Jamie Kenney

Being A Dog Parent Prepared Me For Having A Baby, Really

I’ve always wanted kids; I was never as sure about raising a puppy. Then I spent six months living with someone who brought home an eight-week-old golden retriever puppy, and I see no way to make it out of that experience claiming not to love dogs. I…
By Heather Caplan

20 Of The Most Popular Unisex Names Of All Time, That You'll Be Hearing More Of For Sure

You might think of unisex names as a fairly recent trend, but the truth is these versatile monikers have been commonly used throughout history (well, some more commonly than others). That's why the team over at Names.org recently compiled a list of t…
By Jacqueline Burt Cote

How To Have A Date Night With No Babysitter, Because It's Easier Than You Think

After having children, many couples feel that their love lives immediately go out the window, but it's so important to make your romantic life a priority so both you and your partner can be the best versions of yourselves you can be. As we all know, …
By Abi Berwager Schreier

9 Ways Baby No. 3 Made My Family Feel Complete

My husband and I decided to have another baby right after we got married and, well, we had no idea what we were getting into. I got pregnant right away, endured a high-risk pregnancy, and, before I knew it, my third baby had arrived. Together, we emb…
By Steph Montgomery

8 Stereotypes About New Dads That Are *Totally* True

Much like new mothers, new fathers have a lot on their plate. Parenting can be scary and complex, especially at first and regardless of your gender. People want to do right by their kids, after all. And since all new parents are a hot mess, dads are …
By Priscilla Blossom

8 Differences Between Being Pregnant In Your 20s Vs 30s, According To Science

Whether you're planning a pregnancy, or just thinking about your future family, it's typical to think about things like child-spacing, how many kids you want, and when to start trying to conceive. When making your pro/con list, you might also conside…
By Steph Montgomery

16 Moms Share Remedies For Their Most Intense Chocolate Cravings During Pregnancy

For better or worse, pregnancy is usually synonymous with odd cravings. Sure, there are the stereotypical combos like pickles and ice cream that plague gestating women the world over, but there are other mind-boggling combinations, too, including but…
By Candace Ganger

Putting Sunscreen On Your Kid Doesn't Have To Be A Fight — Here's How To Do It

I am almost translucent, so me and sunscreen are basically besties at this point. Even though my children are beautifully deep brown thanks to my husband's genetics, I still slather them like biscuits being buttered because I refuse to take risks wit…
By Cat Bowen

7 Things A Mom Really Means When She Says She Doesn't Want Anything On Mother's Day

Every year my family asks me what I want for Mother's Day, and every single year I tell them the same thing: Nothing. So, by now, they know that when I say "nothing" I absolutely do not mean "nothing." In fact, there are more than a few things a mom …
By Candace Ganger

19 Moms Share The Way They Cured Their Pregnancy Comfort Food Cravings

I was obnoxiously sick during the first trimester with, "lucky" for me, both of my pregnancies. For the first three months I lived on saltines, lemonade, and fresh bread. Once I was able to eat, however, all I wanted was savory and sweet comfort food…
By Dina Leygerman

8 Fascinating Facts About Babies Born In May, The Luckiest Month Of All

The height of all things fresh and springy, May is an excellent month to have a baby. It's a time of growth, graduations, and outdoor celebrations. And these fascinating facts about May babies will give you more reasons than ever to appreciate childr…
By Lindsay E. Mack

I Used To Judge Formula-Feeding Moms — Until I Became One

The other patrons in the hip Brooklyn restaurant probably couldn’t care less what I was feeding my baby, but I’ll always remember the shame I felt as I quickly mixed up his bottle of formula in front of them. I admitted to my childless friend that I …
By Katherine Martinelli

7 White Lies It’s Necessary To Tell To Keep Your Relationship Healthy

Telling lots of lies typically isn't associated with a healthy, strong, lasting relationship, and that's still certainly true, but not all lies are exactly the same. Though you've probably heard from someone at least once or twice that the lie they t…
By Lauren Schumacker

The Skinny Jeans That Saved Me Postpartum

Accepting my post-pregnancy body is hands-down one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done. It’s something that I still work on every single day. During my first pregnancy, I was 20 years old, so I managed to bounce back quickly. In fact, I dropp…
By Allison Cooper

7 Ways Your Baby Is Trying To Say They Feel Safe

In those first weeks of new motherhood, it can feel like you need an interpreter for your newborn. With their limited means of communication, figuring out what message your baby is trying to get across to you can be a challenge. With time, however, y…
By Kimmie Fink

Here's Why Dogs Are Obsessed With Babies' Poop, According To Science

Most family dogs seem to understand babies, and they're more than happy to make friends with the newest member of the pack. It's adorable... for the most part and until you go to change your little one's diaper. Suddenly, you're wondering why dogs ar…
By Lindsay E. Mack

6 Signs You're Meant To Have A Big Age Gap Between Kids

There's a five year age difference between my two children, to the day. Their age gap wasn't planned but, for a variety of reasons, works well for our family. And since I was so focused on having a second baby, I totally overlooked the signs that wou…
By Candace Ganger

Here's How To Introduce Your Pet To Your Baby & Make Everything As Calm As Possible

Our home, which we lovingly refer to as “the funny farm,” is filled with four-legged family members. We have two crazy beagles and two cat jerks, and boy are they loved and spoiled. (As they should be.) But we are now finally having a baby of our own…
By Abi Berwager Schreier

Here's The Right Birth Method For You, According To Your Zodiac Sign

If you're pregnant, you've probably given childbirth some serious thought. Some moms-to-be prepare a meticulous birth plan, while others are comfortable just going with the flow. And me? Well, I made a plan... but that plan was useless when faced wit…
By Steph Montgomery

My Dog Knew I Was Pregnant Before My Family Did

Growing up, I was 100 percent sure I'd be a mom one day. To a dog, that is. My baby plans came later. And once my husband and I were sure we wanted both a dog and a baby, we'd add to our joint dog-and-baby name list over Sunday brunch or on date nigh…
By Melissa Mills
)}