I was sitting in one of my favorite restaurants when the owner (whom I’d chatted with many times) stopped at the table to share about his upcoming marriage. He’d met his soon-to-be wife just three months earlier, and was madly in love. They were both in their forties with children from previous marriages, so theirs would be a complicated union. But he was 100% positive that this was the most amazing relationship ever! Whoa, I thought. This is not going to be pretty.
Six months later, same restaurant, same guy, but now he looked absolutely beaten down. Within one month of their five star wedding, trouble blossomed. I won’t get into all the gory details, but the net of the story is that their marriage turned out to be incredibly short, and the battle through divorce court long and costly.
If you want a real chance at happiness the second (or third, or fourth) time around, inject a little pessimism in your plans. Talk about what would happen if . . . (you didn’t agree about money, your step kids didn’t get along with each other or with you, you felt insecure, one of you lost your job, your sex life began to wane). Talk about the built-in issues and emotional baggage you each bring to the relationship.
These forward looking, slightly pessimistic, conversations enable you to emotionally prepare for the inevitable road bumps. You also get the opportunity to preview one another’s style of conflict resolution.
Failures That Are Worth It
The old saying is that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Relationship failures really understand that. My husband and I are better partners for the mistakes we’ve made in the past. We are deeply grateful that we gave one another the chance. With healthy paranoia, ego correction, curiosity, and a small dose of pessimism, we’ve made it almost fourteen years and love each other more than ever. Cultivate these qualities in your self, look for them in your dates, and the failures you’ve had in the past may just turn out to be your best assets.
About the author: Nina Atwood, M.Ed., LPC, is a nationally known psychotherapist, author of five self-help books, and frequent expert media guest. Read the transformational book that will change your life and your relationships with men: Temptations of the Single Girl: The Ten Dating Traps You Must Avoid. To successfully date online, get Nina’s $0.99 cent eBook Internet Dating for the Savvy Single. Get loads of free advice and Love Strategies at www.singlescoach.com.