It’s inevitable after a divorce that you spend a lot of time thinking about WHY you got divorced, ironically in my case, I spent more time thinking about why I got a divorce after the fact, than I spent thinking should I get a divorce beforehand. Through that time of self-introspection, I learned a lot about myself and can see (almost with 20/20 hindsight) what factors lead up to the divorce…which ones were preventable and which ones could be handled better.
As you know I got re-married in October, to someone who is my best friend, my soul-mate and the person I’m going to be with forever. (That sounds so cliche and pukey, I know! But the only way I know it’s going to be forever is if I keep up my end of the bargain…which, guess what..I didn’t do in my last marriage. I made a lot of mistakes, but I wanted to share with you 3 mistakes I won’t be making this time around.
1. Don’t Rush Into Things: I met my ex-husband online and we got married 2 weeks later. I know most of you are thinking um…DUH, of course that was doomed. But when you are young, vulnerable and looking for a happily- ever-after, anything can seem possible. Six months into the marriage, I knew that I had been wrong.
This time around, Peter and I dated for almost 3 years before we got married. He waited until the 6th date just to kiss me and we waited 20 months before moving in together. The time spent learning about each other, getting to know each other and slowly falling in love was one of the most special times of my life. There’s not a day that goes by that Peter and I don’t reminisce about something special or funny that happened in our relationship.
2. Don’t be a workaholic: Success is important to me. At times in my life it has been more important than my family, my friendships and my marriage. Towards the end of my marriage, I had a demanding job in Boston. I commuted 3 hours each way several times a week. (Which likely led to my unhappiness) I’d leave at 5am in the morning and not get home until after 8pm. On those days I didn’t see my kids and I barely talked to my husband. But I was so committed to my job…because I was good at it. It was the one thing I felt that I was actually good at. I wasn’t good at marriage. I wasn’t good at being a stay-at-home mom, but I was GREAT as an employee. So I dove head-first into my career and lost sight of what is really meaningful.
It wasn’t until after my divorce that I realized that something had to change. My career was NOT more important than my family and my kids. I suddenly wanted to be there in the morning to get them dressed and be the first one to ask them how their day went. So three months after my divorce, I quit my job and took the biggest risk a single mom could take and started my own business, at the time I was a social marketing consultant. Over time, I grew less and less fond of ‘making it big’ and took greater enjoyment in my personal time, my time with the family, which is why I am so damn grateful for the life I lead now and the career I have as a coupon blogger. It affords me the opportunity to be with the kids anytime I need, to work from home and to still be successful…albeit in a different kind of way.
3. Don’t underestimate the power of ‘date night’: A friend sent me this article and I couldn’t help but relate to it. It seems like young couples who venture into parenthood can sometimes lose themselves inside their new roles…this was the case for my ex-husband and I. After our children were born, there were no more date nights, sexy nights, getting dressed up nights. It was diaper changing, arguing over chores, stressful nights instead. It got to the point where resentment took over and the young, innocent fun we had as a childless couple was gone..and we became some depressed people caught in the hamster wheel of life.
But in all honesty, I didn’t see a need for ‘date night’ with my ex-husband. Why the hell would I want to spend anymore time than I had to with him? It wasn’t until I got divorced that I fully realized the need for a balanced life. A balanced life between “Chrystie time”, “Chrystie & Peter time”, & “Kid time”. Last week I wrote about my joint custody schedule, so you know that 50% of the time, the kids are with their father. This schedule, while depressing at first, gave me time to fully develop my relationship with Peter. I was able to go on weeknight dates, weekend getaways and have sex with him whenever and wherever I wanted when the kids weren’t around Let me tell you what…it has made all the difference. Even now, 3 years into our relationship with a child on the way, we’ve discussed how important it is for us to remain a ‘dating, sexy couple’. This will mean babysitters, date nights and expensive bottles of wine, but a marriage truly needs to be nurtured.
Now it’s your turn, what marriage mistakes won’t you be making again?
Each Thursday, I’ll be bringing you an article on divorce, if you have a specific topic that you’d like me to cover, please shoot me an email at email@example.com. All information I receive will be kept confidential.