How You See Marriage Differently By Your Third One

April 6, 2018  |  
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Gettyimages.com/Bride and groom, confetti on heads and shoulders, portrait

When you get married for the first time, it is this magical event. It feels like your entire life lead up to this. You think about all the stars that had to align in order for this to occur. You think of how you and your partner were once mere star dust, plummeting towards earth, on your journey to find one another…You are two halves that become whole together. Now by the second time you get married, you may have some of those same thoughts, but you believe that your first hubby was just a part of your journey to finding your second one—and he is actually your soul mate. By the third marriage you’ve probably thrown the concept of a soul mate out entirely, and you laugh at the things you thought about your first marriage. How could you not? You felt so certain about something you turned out to be so wrong about. Such is life. Here is how people think differently by their third marriage.

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You’ve accepted your flaws

You are done trying to change certain flaws in yourself that, clearly, you cannot change. So you’ll only be with someone who fully accepts those about you. He can’t get mad when they come out. He can’t disappear. And he can’t think you’re going to change them because, well, you already tried that for two marriages.

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You only marry someone you fully accept

You, also, will not marry anyone who you do not fully accept. You’ve learned from hard experience that if there is a characteristic in a person that regularly makes your blood boil, it will eventually boil over into divorce. You’ve learned that you can only tolerate some things for so long, and that marriage is longer than that.

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Your career is more settled

You don’t have to factor your career into your partner choice as much anymore. Things like schedules, and simply how your partner used to inspire you to work harder, don’t come into play. You’re established. Things are more on autopilot. Your career doesn’t consume your life the way it used to, and so, your partner doesn’t need to really be as big a part of it as husband one and two did.

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You communicate like a pro

You don’t sit on anything. If you sense an issue come up, you address it right away. Nothing goes unsaid. Nobody swallows their feelings. You don’t mind looking a little ugly in the name of speaking your truth. You’ve learned that pretending to get along is never the answer. In fact, it’s a sickness that infects everything. You need to release tension like gas—the moment it arises.

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You’re better at picking battles

While you are great at stating your needs, thoughts, and feelings, you can also accept when some battles aren’t worth picking. You can call out that there is a difference of opinions, but perhaps you won’t push to have things your way on some things the way you did in marriage one and two.

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And letting some things roll off your back

You’re just…chiller. You’re more relaxed. You have no more anger to give regarding things like towels left on the floor or tardiness. You aren’t ignoring your anger over these things; you literally don’t have it anymore. You realize life is too long and, ironically, too short to spend emotions on silly things like that that are not personal attacks.

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You’re an expert at conflict resolution

You’re very good at conflict resolution. You don’t need a therapist; you are a therapist at this point. I mean—basically. You spent enough time in couple’s therapy with your first two husbands that you have the language and tools to use when conflict arises.

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You set and respect boundaries better

Don’t want certain friends of his coming over? No problem. You just tell him. He has some boundaries like that that you need to respect, too. You no longer pretend that you both need to be deeply involved in, or even like, every single aspect of each other’s lives.

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Your marriage isn’t your life

You see your third marriage as one of many special experiences you’ll have in this life but it isn’t your life. The first one was. The second one seemed like a second shot at that. By the third one you realize you shouldn’t put so much pressure on it.

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You take things one day at a time

In marriage number one and two, you were always thinking about forever and the future. You were quick to panic if things felt off, or your connection felt strained. Now, you take things one day at a time. You don’t jump to conclusions. You’ve even come to see how sometimes, if you just wait, life has a way of working things out for you. If your partner, for example, is distracted by work for a month, you understand that it’s a phase. You don’t march the two of you into couple’s counseling.

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You’re humble

You won’t be one to talk about how perfect your marriage is and how deep your bond is. You understand how silly that would sound, since you’re onto your third marriage. You’re humble. You understand you were lucky to find number three. You don’t claim to be any sort of prodigy in love or marriage.

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You’re part of a select group

You and your partner are a part of the select third-marriage-friend-group. You have to be. You don’t have much of a choice. Your married friends who are still with their original spouses may have made an effort with your new partner on your second marriage, but by your third one, they’re over it. You sort of have to befriend other couples who are on their third marriages (or at least second).

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You’re not really building a future

You probably already had kids, have moved as many times as you want to, and have an established career. So you aren’t planning a future with your spouse now: you’re just enjoying the lives you’ve already built.

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This one’s for you

All you care is that this person makes you happy—you and only you. It doesn’t matter if he’d make a good dad because your kids are grown now. It doesn’t matter if your parents like him—they may have already passed. If your friends like him, that’s great, but most of them are so busy with their own lives they’ll barely see him.

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You don’t have forever

You’re older now. You really just want someone who you can have fun with for your precious years left on earth. Things are…simpler. You put up with less BS because you can hear the clock ticking.

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