When I was dating my first husband I was completely in love. I was in love with him. I was in love with life. I was in love with the promise of the future. My dream was to have a nice home, a romantic partnership and lots of children. What I did not plan out was how to obtain it, manage it and retain it.
When we first married my husband had enlisted in the military. We were financially stable for a young couple. Within five years we had a son and a daughter and a home we could afford. When his enlistment ended he got a civilian job and we both worked and we got by. We had a romantic relationship but we had next to no communication regarding our finances or our future. In that major department, we had total malfunction. It eventually spiraled out of control.
The more I tried to maintain the home and finances, the more he found me a nag. He did everything in his power to avoid planning for our future. He seemed to make this issue my problem. He began to spend all of his time and effort making new friends (male and female) and leaving me to care for the kids and figure things out. Needless to say I eventually, after 11 years of marriage, became a divorced mom.
As I entered the single world I was shocked that other men found me attractive. I was so worried that no other man would want me. After all, I’m just a big nag. I know it now but I didn’t know then that along with losing my husband I had slowly lost my self-esteem. At that time I did not know what a narcissist was. I did not know what a sociopath was. I did not know that I had been married to a man who robbed me of my self-esteem for his own selfish agenda.
The realization that I was attractive and desirable when I had little self-esteem became a disadvantage. It made me vulnerable. I made a bad choice in entering another relationship. My children even warned me but they were children and I didn’t heed their advice. I rebounded into another long-term marriage that again ended badly. I wasn’t ready for a relationship. I wasn’t strong enough. I didn’t have my act together. I realize after the fact that nothing had really changed in regard to my strengths and weaknesses. Again I am a divorced mom.
It’s been over a year since the end of my marriage and I thought that maybe I was ready to start dating. After just a few dates, it’s safe to say that my radar is on high alert. It’s very clear to me that I’m not ready for a new relationship.
The pattern of falling victim to another control freak is emerging. I’m beginning to recognize my weaknesses. Thank goodness I have caught myself in time. With this empowering knowledge, I have identified the areas in which I need to make myself an expert before I enter a relationship with another man.
5 Things I’ve Identified That I Need to Consider Before Dating Again
1. First and foremost is financial stability. To quote Beyonce, “I depend on me if I want it.” When my children were little I thought I needed to remarry to provide them with a stable home and security. I was wrong. Depending on someone else for income enslaves you. I will not be a slave to a relationship.
2. Number two, but also of equal importance, is my children’s feelings. I admit I led with my heart with my rebound marriage. My children had objections and they all turned out to be true. Ignoring how your children feel about your new man is foolish and dangerous. But mostly it is selfish. I need to listen to that “Good” voice inside my head and ignore that Devilish one that thinks with her hoo ha instead of her head.
3. Number three and one of my biggest mistakes in life was not working the job I love. I always worked the job that was at hand or available or what “he” needed me to do. I heard this quote recently and it hit home. “Choose a job you love and you will never work a day in your life.” That’s what I am now in the process of achieving. I’m almost there and I’m never looking back. Never again will I allow anyone, especially someone that is supposed to be my number one fan talk me out of or into something as vital as how I make a living or essentially how I spend the majority of my day.
4. Number four was a huge obstacle in my marriage and that was our home. I don’t need a palace but I need stability. My ex-husband was a house flipper. Unfortunately, we had to live in the houses while he renovated them. We lived like gypsies. His motto, “don’t get attached to sticks and bricks.” I understood that and I took it for the team but it took its toll. I am a woman who needs to nest. Your home is your castle. It is a reflection of you. It is a sanctuary for your downtime. It is for peace and family. I now am in charge of my homeland security.
5. The fifth and final piece of my life puzzle is my own self-worth and inner happiness. There were situations in my past that I fundamentally disapproved of and could not control. I faced having to choose between the salvation of my marriage and my own salvation. In the end, I lost both. I will never allow that to happen again. I know the difference between right and wrong. I used to suffer from panic attacks when I listened to the devil on my shoulder. In bed, I tossed and turned with endless anxiety. Now I choose to listen to the good side and now I sleep at night.
In each of these area finances, children, career, home and self-esteem we have constant battles and choices. Most of us have a conscience. It’s the little voice of that devil and angel that sit on each of our shoulders. You know what’s right and what’s best for you. The truth of the matter is that you may have to give up your relationship to do what’s right for yourself.
For me, my relationship is gone and my marriage is over. For now my relationship is myself and I. I’m okay with that. My future is bright. There’s hope and endless opportunity. I have the pieces of the puzzle. I have to work at it. I have to put them all in the places that fit.
I will have my act together before I get a new guy. Even then, my conscience will be my best friend.