Second and third marriages have a historically higher rate of divorce than first marriages do, by some estimates, 53% first marriages, 68% second marriages, and a whopping 73% third marriages. The more I speak with divorcees the more of a correlation I see that history, within marriages and other relationships does indeed repeat its self.
Bear with me as this blog is about to get strange, but it will all make sense in the end. A friend of mine, one night confided in me that her new post-divorce boyfriend only ever sits down on the toilet, never ever stands. She found this odd, as in abnormal, her ex-husband has always stood. When she asked her boyfriend why he sat, he said his Mother didn’t like boys making a mess, so had trained them to sit from toddlers, hence to him it was the norm, all he had ever done or known. This story highlights the fact that each individual has a different norm, that we are conditioned to think is correct, and there for familiar and comforting. Let’s take this analogy, if you grow up in a family that was to eat Nutella on their spaghetti, you would probably over time not only like this strange, mostly gross combination, but you would see spaghetti with red sauce, and think that was abnormal to you. You may hear other people tell you that Nutella and spaghetti is a disgusting bad for you combo, but as you spent your entire life eating it you would disagree.
This is what being in a bad relationship, or even being parented by a dysfunctional parent is like. We are conditioned to think these abnormal behaviors, are not only to be expected but we find comfort in them, which is very, very, detrimental to making good choices in a husband or a wife.
The chances of marry a narcissist increase greatly, if you were raised by a Mother or Father who were also narcissists. If your parents or parent, emotionally or physically abused you, the chances of marry someone with the same behavior, increases tenfold. If you marry someone who treats you a certain way repeatedly for years or decades, you are conditioned in the same way to feel comfort, in this abusive behavior, which makes you attracted or even worse seek out people who are indeed similar to your ex.
I speak to many people who are aware that they do this. They found themselves in an unhealthy cycle of dating people, who clearly are wrong for them on every level, just because they or their personas or behaviors seemed familiar.
If we as people really understood and took notice of the dynamics we had or have with parents and exes, we would be much better equipped to make better choices in future relationships and spouses. Just because we had become accustomed to Nutella with our spaghetti, doesn’t make it the right, or best way to eat spaghetti. We need to really take a long hard look at the patterns in our life, chances are if your relationship wasn’t happy or good with a certain type of person, your next relationship or marriage will surely be doomed, to also fail if you keep picking the same type of person to be with.
Being unfamiliar with someone’s behavior at the beginning of the relationship, doesn’t make it a bad match, maybe they are teaching you a better way to be, maybe you are really deserving of a healthy, kind honest relationship with a man who writes you poems, or a woman who loves to cook for you, after all. Perhaps, the drama, chaos, and abuse you may have put up with was never a healthy or happy union. OK not perhaps, definitely- those traits do not make a healthy union between anyone.
Until we can honestly say we have identified the mistakes made, the bad choices we all make, and actively want to be in better healthier unions, we will never find a happy second or third marriage. Which is also partly why I advise divorcees to spend at least the first year after divorce reassessing their past relationships, forgiving themselves and others and really working on learning to love and reconnect with yourself. So, when you are ready to reenter the dating world you can break the cycle of dysfunctional relationships, break the cycle of settling for less than you deserve. Removing yourself from, any toxic behaviors, is the only way to find a new happy love life. In my experience if you are self-aware, positive and patient, you can indeed find a much happier forever after, which is what we all deserve.