Guest Author - Kathie LoMonaco
Why is it that the second-time around for our exes, the ‘new’ wife/ or significant other’ usually reaps all the rewards? The fruits of YOUR labor, not hers…read on….
Maybe you married young - and your partner (husband) was not mature enough to handle a committed relationship…..women are usually the ‘glue’ in a relationship - that is, they usually work at each aspect of the relationship in order for it to flow smoothly. If you remember that commercial from years ago -where it shows the woman having a family yet she can ‘bring home the bacon - and fry it up in a pan’ - but ‘never lets you forget you‘re a man‘…,words to this effect. So, in other words - we women, try to be everything - a great mother, good homemaker, good wife, sometimes ‘career-driven’ and yet we come home from work, more often than not, try to get a good meal to the table for our family while trying to find the time to nurture our relationship with our husbands as well. Whew, just reading that exhausts me! By the end of our busy day, many times we are just too exhausted to think about romance…
At some point, speaking from my own experience and perspective, something’s got to give; we women, much as we’d like to be or feel we are, are not perfect beings - and after years of marriage, raising children, going out to work and after all that still trying to find time for our husbands as well as ourselves, we can (and usually do) at some point experience burn-out, There is just not enough hours - or energy - in a day most times. My marriage lasted thirteen years. I raised one daughter and I went to work. I always tried to cook a nice meal when I got home from work. My daughter was, of course, my top priority. After cooking dinner and cleaning up, evenings were spent helping with homework, then a bath for my daughter before putting her to bed. Weekends were usually spent cleaning the house, doing laundry, grocery shopping and taking my daughter back and forth to gymnastics. Somewhere along the way, the husband/wife relationship was neglected - as well as finding the time to nurture myself. We women are usually famous for putting ourselves on a back burner and not finding the time - or being able to have the time, to nurture ourselves. After all, something has to suffer, usually it’s us or our relationship with our partner, or both.
These factors I’ve pointed out very possibly thrown into the mix along with maybe a husband (or wife) who lacked the maturity needed in a marriage - if he was young when you married - very well may have contributed to the demise of your relationship, I have always pondered why the second wife reaps the rewards from the efforts/work of the first wife. I do believe the first wife paved the way (for change).
Years ago, before my marriage, my first serious relationship led to an engagement, but it eventually failed. There was a lack of communication. I never felt that he had a pulse on my needs or feelings. There was little to no compromise - he was somewhat controlling - as well as a perfectionist. However, having said that - I must also say he was a very conscientious, responsible, hard working man. I knew he would make a great father and provider if we had married and had a family. As for a husband, the jury is still out on that since we never married. He was 21 and I was one month away from 20. I truly believe our lack of maturity may have doomed our relationship. It was a matter of bad timing - had we met later in life, I think we might have worked out.
This former fiance, I have recently learned, has been married to the same woman for over 25 years. I guess he learned the art of compromise. I truly believe his breakthrough came as a result of our breakup (although that happened years earlier) - I had run into his mother a year or two after our breakup and she made it painfully obvious to me that he was devastated by our breakup. He didn’t marry his current wife until he was about 36. He apparently chose to be more flexible in order to make his relationship work. How does that happen? Why does that happen so often? I know many women who suffered/struggled through (first) marriages and now see their former husbands doing things in their second marriage that they would never do for/with their first wives. That includes my own relationship with my former husband. He now shops with his wife - when he would rather have had his nails pulled out rather than go shopping with me during our marriage. He would have a temper tantrum the few times I did convince him to go shopping with me - right smack in the middle of the store! It was humiliating.
‘Second-marriage’ men seem to be open to doing all types of things, try new things, that they never would have gone along with during their first marriage(s). Why is that? Maybe they learned their lesson and are opening up, becoming flexible, the second time around. That’s what I think. They start learning that they must compromise, or lose out in the love/marriage department. They don’t want to leave their fate to chance - they start becoming ‘flexible’ in the marriage. They learn the ‘give and take’ of marriage. Unfortunately, they’ve learned too late to save the first marriage. But, I truly think they do not want to risk another bad marriage - which leads to (more) alimony and possibly child support, again, the second time around. The financial factor I believe is also added into the mix of why second marriages seem to be more successful.
Still and all, many a first wife has experienced the former husband’s new attitude toward the second wife. I say this because I have heard it from women over and over again. Why couldn’t he have been like that (with me) the first time around? I can only chalk it up to what I’ve just said. I can only give a woman’s perspective - a former wife’s perspective, if you will. Maybe he just wasn’t willing to compromise or be flexible the first time around. He was young - or I should say younger. Then, after the divorce, there was alimony and child support as well as a big chunk taken out of his paycheck. In some ways I believe a divorce is harder on a man. He had to move out of ‘their’ home - and if there are children - he is missing out on their daily lives, on his life with them - along with this comes the financial burden. Nobody ‘wins’.
In my case, I found that my divorce (my husband did not want to divorce, but I chose to) seemed to change my former husband for the better in his second marriage - he became more flexible and giving the second time around. His wife reaped the benefits of his experience, or I should say of our experience/marriage together.
Don’t get me wrong - I am not saying ALL former husbands fit this mold, I am coming from a former wife’s perspective - and also from what my women friends have told me. One of them, who is still with her (first) husband, told me he put her through so much in their earlier married years - they almost divorced - but she said she is finally able to say she’s glad she stuck with the marriage - as the second chapter - they are in Midlife - is a lot better than in the earlier years. She is a lot happier now. She said he’s finally compromising and doing (new) things with her that he said ‘no’ to years earlier. I call it maturing, like a fine bottle of wine. It could also be because the children are grown and out on their own which frees up a lot of your time, energy and finances. You are able to focus more on each other now.
As Forest Gump said “life is like a box of chocolates - you never know what you’re gonna get”. I believe everything happens for a reason. Our experiences are life’s lessons.