What makes the second time better?

JamieAugust 3, 2009

Finedreams, on MrGreenLawn's thread, has gotten me thinking. (No mean feat).

So if you make an imperfect choice for first marriage, having waited till mid-thirties and presumably maturity to marry in the first place, what makes you able to be happy/successful the second time?

I always wanted my parents to divorce and try to get a chance at happiness. What I discovered is that my dad, who remarried, is about as happy as ever, which is pretty happy but not out-there joyous, and my mom is still unhappy, a condition which is not due to being unmarried. She was smart to stay single, he was smart to remarry.

I don't imagine a scenario wherein I do so much better the second time and achieve dramatic pleasure, nor do I see being single, like I was until age 34, as heaven on earth.

Does that mean I made a good choice of mates? If so, then is being thrilled to the teeth unecessary for a good marriage?

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You want answers. There aren't any. To some degree our partners changes us. They contribute to determining who we are and who we become. All anyone can do is attempt to be the best they can be and to be as smart as they can at the time. Hopefully, we move in positive directions and attract complimentary friends and prospective mates.

Sometimes do well and sometimes we blow it. Or, in mrgreenlawn's case as I see it, sometimes we're hornswoggled.

"After a while you get to recognize the signs, and if you get it wrong you'll get it right next time. Next time." -- Jerry Rafferty

    Bookmark   August 3, 2009 at 1:27PM
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Asolo said it well. And not only do our experiences with our partners change and mold us, so can our experiences with family members, friends, even coworkers. Sometimes those changes are for good, sometimes they are negative.

There are no guarantees. We are the variable. Two people having the same experiences won't necessarily have the same type of relationships. A wise/successful person will learn from their mistakes, but many keep repeating the same mistakes.

Being in "mad love" is wonderful, but people who are infatuated may mistake that for same, and believe me, infatuation doesn't last. I love my husband dearly, but after 15 years, I wouldn't say that I was "thrilled to the teeth". That level of emotion would be impossible to sustain forever, I think. Does that mean that I'm not happily married? Absolutely not. Love changes/evolves over time. We mature (hopefully). With new love, your mate is your whole world. Over time, necessarily, other things are added to the mix: work, children, etc. The hope is that you will remember that the two of you are a unit/team and shared experiences as well as unshared ones will not work to separate you, but to bring you closer together. And again, each of us has the power/capability to decide how our experiences will change our attitudes and feelings. Even negative experiences can strengthen a relationship if we learn to rely on each other. Communication, compromise and compassion are key.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2009 at 9:00AM
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there is no answer...BTW 2nd marriages are more likely to end in divorce than 1st ones, so i do not know if 2nd marriages are better, not according to statistics.

at the same time some people are happier in 2nd marriages because they either have learned from mistakes and try harder, they chose better partners based on more life experience, they are older and know better etc

I don't think if people h ve poor first marriages they always be happier 2nd time, maybe they won't, but it does not mean they should spend life of misery.

of course crazy " love feeling"won't be there forever and won't hold the marriage together but if there is no warmth and no affection and you never want to hug your spouse then yes there is a problem and I'd rather be single.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2009 at 4:11PM
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sometimes people are so invested in making sure that it is clear that the first time wasn't "their" fault that they try super hard to make the second one work.

I've yet to meet an ex who wasn't crazy, according to the other ex and new spouse. Admitting fault is just too much for some to bear.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2009 at 5:42PM
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Around here, we don't let ex's go. We just seem to collect more family members. LOL! DD is divorced from her kid's father and remarried. They are still friends and we all spend holiday's together. Her ex even picks up my step grandkids from school as a favor about once a month. The step sisters often spend the night together at our ex SIL's house.

Heck, when my GD had eye surgery 3 hours away, they all drove down together and shared a hotel room. Our ex SIL and our new SIL like each other. Our ex SIL works for us, just as he has for many years.

In fact, our ex SIL quit dating someone who couldn't get over the fact that we were still in his life.

I call my ex once in awhile. I spoke to him before he had heart surgery to wish him well. When he and his "new" wife (of now 30+ years) come to town, we have a family gathering and invite them to dinner. He's even trimmed a bush or two for me while they are in town. (He's very good at it.) We have a child together and share grandchildren. I have never talked down about him to our child. After all, *I* chose him to be the father of our child. Talking trash about him only reflects on me.

Everything that attracted us to our first spouses is still there. There's just other things that we couldn't live with.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2009 at 6:15PM
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I like your attitude Golddust, you really are gold.

If only everyone had your outlook on life.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2009 at 1:09AM
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"I've yet to meet an ex who wasn't crazy, according to the other ex and new spouse."

It is almost always true. LOL My exspouse is actually fine, he is not crazy and is a good father. we are also friends, last summer i stayed at his house with his new wife and kids there when i visited home town. My X also stayed in my house, we are on very friendly terms, but I wouldn't want to be married to him, LOL we weren't a good match.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2009 at 2:09PM
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My ex and I made a horrible pair. It was a very young marriage as there was an ... uh, impending baby. We make good friends though. That baby was the only biological child either of us ever had. But I've known him since I was 13 and we certainly had a unique experience together that not too many people have had.

My DD and her ex decided they were "better friends than lovers." It was mutual. I still hear them say, "I love you" to each other. Right in front of the "new" DH, who doesn't seem to mind. My DD says, "*He* is the father of my two children. What is not to love about that?" He *is* a very good father and a great human being. So is her new DH.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2009 at 3:46PM
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I think one of the key ingredients to the success of our second marriage is mutual respect and admiration. We *really* like each other, after 26 years. He still thinks I'm hot and tells me so. (shhh!)

We have easy going temperaments. We don't demand things from each other, we ask for a favor. Like yesterday. The phone rang. DH: "Could you do me a *huge* favor?", "I can try," I answered. "Could you pick me up some lunch and bring it to me? I'm starving and can not get away." (We own our own business and a key employee is on vacation.)

Heck, he works only 10 minutes away and the Thai place is between here and there and it's the first time he has ever asked me to do that. Didn't seem to me like it was a huge thing to ask. LOL. I'm constantly asking him if he'll grab milk, etc. on his way home. He does it willingly and best of all, pleasantly. "No problem."

Today I dropped by the business to see if he needed a volunteer to help him get things out. He was fine but "thanks for asking." It's the tiny things, it's consideration, thoughtfulness and ignoring each others weaknesses.

Interesting, we never exchange gifts and he has never given me flowers. A handmade card or a short letter means way more to me than material gifts or flowers that die. We put our money towards mutually agreed upon things.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2009 at 4:42PM
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Golddust, I loved your post. This is a second marriage for me and a third for my DH. While his track record is not good, I know this one is going to work for several reasons.

Our first marriages occurred when we were very young (18). Young people are immature, impetuous, and often selfish. I hope that along the way we have learned some lessons (many of them the hard way). This time around, both of us cherish the friendship we have and continue to cultivate it.

I think I have a linebacker's shoulders, but he always tells me how sexy they are. Of course, he's crazy, but I'll indulge him.

Golddust mentioned not demanding things from each other and she's right on about that. When you start taking each other for granted, you come to expect that you have the right to dictate to each other. In a great relationship you will be able to expect that each of you will want to do things for each other, but never, never take that for granted.

"It's the tiny things, it's consideration, thoughtfulness and ignoring each others weaknesses." Truer words were never spoken.

DH and I also rarely exchange gifts. It took me a few years to convince him that I really did not need that overt display of affection. The most wonderful gift he ever gave me is his love. And he tells me and shows me every day of our lives that he still loves me. What more could I ever want?

My first marriage ended after 12 years. DH and I have now been married for 14 years. Occasionally I will overhear him say that I am his third wife and I say, "Honey, I'm your last wife. When I'm done with you there ain't gonna be enough of you left for another wife."

    Bookmark   August 5, 2009 at 5:19PM
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I think when one is young, there are a lot of unrealistic expectations. Having been around the block, I now know "when to hold 'em and when to fold 'em." I know that a fight or disagreement does not mean we don't love each other. I know that life and love is nothing like in the movies or in a book. I know that there is no such thing as the Perfect Man (or woman) and if you end up with somebody you can pretty much stand and who can stand you and maybe you are great friends - well, you are ahead of the game.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2009 at 3:05AM
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I'm still on my first marriage (30+ years), so I hope it's okay if I post here.

First, there is a lot of wisdom in these posts! And a lot of humor, too. Which says a lot about those who have posted.

Though this may sound a bit crazy to some of you, I feel that DH and I are on our 'second' marriage. (The 'first' one lasted about ten years.) As in, our eyes are wide open now, we're not young anymore, not so idealistic, not naive, have no illusions. In short, we've come to terms with reality -- about life and each other.

Though the initial 'honeymoon' stage of any relationship -- when we can only see good things in the other, can't see the things that are not so good -- is wonderful, euphoric, cloud-nine level, no, that cannot last. Sooner or later (as others here have said), we have to come back down to earth.

IMHO, that is when many marriage problems start -- and build, unless they're honestly faced and dealt with. Of course, it seems to me that in most cases when a marriage ends in divorce, ONE partner was willing to do all that, was willing to go the second mile, while the other one wasn't. I have seen this clearly in relatives' and friends' situations.

Though DH and I don't have that euphoric 'honeymoon' relationship anymore, yet (perhaps it's a paradox) our physical relationship has only grown better and better and better throughout the years. And still, from time to time, one of us will utter one of our early 'magic catch-phrases' and both of us will remember what it was that drew us to each other and why we love each other so.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2009 at 10:10PM
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