Dear Carolyn: My amazing, wonderful fiance made what he has referred to as “a very bad decision” and got married at 20, while he was still in college. He was divorced by 23, and not amicably. We met and began dating a few years later, and he was very open about it from the get-go. Throughout our four-year relationship, the fact that he was briefly married has barely registered as a blip on my radar; people make mistakes.
But suddenly, now that we are engaged and beginning to plan our wedding, I can’t seem to stop dwelling on the fact that he once publicly promised to spend his life with someone else. I don’t doubt his commitment to me, or that this is a well-thought-out decision. I know I need to take a step back and recognize that it’s water under the bridge. Any advice on how to do so would be really appreciated!
The Second Wife
Are you able to step into your past a bit, to rummage around for an experience that can help inform your understanding of your fiance? Specifically, I’m thinking of a past relationship in which life with that person was the only future you could envision. I don’t see a huge difference between “publicly promised” and privately felt, except perhaps in the timing (say, if you were still in high school when you felt that way) or degree of impulse control.
Either way, your life was this person … until it wasn’t.
Now your life is with your fiance, and you’re both fully in this moment — despite your past loves and his.
Or, because of them. This depends on what he learned from it all, but I could argue his nuptial oops enables him to be more present for you than he might have been without one.