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Second Marriage Advice Article

For a Successful Second Marriage...Leave the Past in the Past
By Susie and Otto Collins

Nobody wants to repeat their mistakes of the past.

If your first marriage ended in divorce, you probably want to learn from your past and not feel "doomed to repeat history."

Perhaps your ex cheated. Maybe you were the one who had an affair instead. Or there could've been other relationship habits that drove the two of you irrevocably apart.

Whatever happened to contribute to your first marriage ending, we're betting that you don't want to go through the same pain, loss and upheaval in this new marriage.

Because of a desire to learn from mistakes in previous relationships, people sometimes end up making the majority of their decisions from a past-orientation.

This might take the shape of frequently comparing the current spouse to the past one. It could also involve a constant comparing of behaviors, words or situations.

Even if the comparing that you are doing between your past and your present marriages is "in favor" or more positive about your current marriage, we recommend that you stop!

Ultimately, we suggest that you learn from the past but don't live in it.

Here's why....

Every person, relationship and even every moment in time is unique.  Even you are changing and growing all of the time.

You simply cannot accurately use a past relationship (especially one involving a different person) to judge your present one.

There might be signs of infidelity, for example, that were present in your first marriage that you are now "on the lookout" for in this relationship.

We want you to ask yourself if scrutinizing your current mate for signals that look like those displayed by your ex is moving the two of you closer together or further apart.

How is your underlying suspiciousness affecting trust in your present marriage?

Other than the fact that your ex cheated, do you have any reasons to suspect that your current mate is having an affair?

These are important considerations to make if you find yourself attempting to use the past as a way to judge the present.

We are not, on the other hand, recommending that you dismiss or ignore real evidence in your current marriage that requires clarification or follow up information.

Stay awake and aware.

If you need to be "on the lookout" for something in your present relationship, look for disconnection and distance. These don't necessarily mean that your partner is cheating.

But they do let you know that it's time to pay closer attention to your marriage and to possibly make some changes.

Judi is fearful that her husband Karl is having an affair-- or that he will have one soon. You see, Judi's first husband Paul cheated with many women.

At the time of their divorce, Judi was unsure about
exactly how many affairs Paul had over the course of their 15 year marriage.

For the majority of her marriage to Paul, Judi did not suspect a thing. Even when she found out about an affair, she kept taking Paul back and continued to believe that he would change for the better.

Now, with Karl, Judi cannot seem to erase the doubts in her mind that she kept ignoring with Paul.

When she married Karl, Judi promised herself that she would not allow this husband to take advantage of her and flaunt their marriage vows in her face the way that Paul did.

Make completions.
Sometimes people spend a lot of their time and energy facing backwards. There are aspects of their former marriage that still feel unresolved.

This usually means that they cannot live fully in the
present relationship.

Check in with yourself about your marriage that ended. Do you feel like you need to make completions about that past relationship?

There might be things you really need to say to your ex. You may have questions that are still bothering you and that you'd like to have answered.

To make a completion, you may ask your ex to talk with you in person or by phone. Or you might be able to write down what you want to say in a letter and then choose whether or not you'd like to mail it.

Sometimes completions are more symbolic in nature and they don't actually involve interacting with your ex.

Listen to what you need to do so that you can more fully release the past. It can move you and your current spouse closer together if you share with him or her your plan for the completion and also why it is
so important to you to resolve these issues with your ex.

Judi is finally honest with herself and with Karl. She admits that she does not fully trust him and that she keeps watching him for signs that he's cheating.

Karl knows about Judi's painful experience with Paul, so he can understand why she feels this way-- even if he thinks it is unfair to him.

Karl encourages Judi to make completions about her past marriage in whatever way she needs to. Judi appreciates Karl's support and she begins to seek help from a relationship coach.

With her coach's help, Judi is eventually able to make peace with her past and to release it.

Judi can now be more present with Karl rather than reading everything Karl does from the perspective of her memories of Paul.

To make your second marriage as successful as it can be, learn how to let go of the past and be present. Pay attention to what's going on in this relationship.

If you feel like your history is repeating itself, take a deep breath and a deeper look at what you think you are seeing before communicating or taking action about it. Ask yourself if you are viewing this situation from a present- or a past- orientation.


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Contact Info
Relationship Coaches Susie and Otto Collins, PO Box 14544, Columbus, OH 43214
Contact Susie or Otto about Relationship Coaching by calling (614) 568-8282.
For all other inquiries, contact us by email.

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