Post # 1
I wasn’t really, objectively. I’m sure I wasn’t. Logically, I know that I made an effort to be a “good” wife and to love my husband to the full extent of our vows. Obviously I wasn’t perfect, and snapped at times, and didn’t always keep up with the housework and put upon my ex-husband more than I should have, but I think that’s just what happens with every relationship, you need to learn how to work together and there will always be fights and bad moods no matter how hard you try to avoid them. We’re human!
It was a very bad relationship and I’m so glad it ended, and only wish it had ended sooner. Now I’m engaged to a wonderful man and I’m finding that every now and then, I break down and sob that I don’t want to make him unhappy and I don’t want to be a bad wife, and when he tries to reassure me that I won’t be, I just tell him that I already was. He is exceedingly patient and won’t accept that, but is this normal? I have this overwhelming sense of failure, sometimes over things that I couldn’t control. Just the fact that I got a divorce makes me feel like I failed as a wife and I’m going to fail again, and I know that’s ridiculous. I would never say to anyone that because she got divorced, it means she was a bad wife.
Does anyone else ever feel like that? If so, what do you do about it? I’m excited to be marrying Fiance, but didn’t expect this all to be dredged up like this.
Post # 3
@HappierKate: stop beating yourself up over this. i have been married before, twice and have never felt like i failed just because it didn’t work. sometimes things happen in a relationship where it is better for both parties to go their separate ways. if you keep telling yourself you are going to fail as a wife, you will. you need to tell yourself that you will be the best wife you can be. are you ready to be a wife again?
Post # 4
I’m very ready, I think. I’m looking forward to a lot of things. I’m looking forward to the gushy lovey stuff, but also to things as stupid as folding his laundry and cooking our dinners. I’m ready to adjust to another person, and though I know I sound pathetic from my first post I am able to control myself enough that I don’t break down like that when we’re having a fight. Though this is a recent thing so maybe I will, I know that when we fight I try very, very hard not to respond in a way that will make him feel like he’s being mean by being angry with me.
I’m ready to put my heart and soul into our marriage, and I certainly plan on being the best that I can be, but I just can’t shake this feeling. It came out of the blue, I haven’t felt like this in a really long time.
Post # 5
I do know what you mean. I know in my head that I was a pretty good wife (not perfect-but who is?). But in my heart I do sometimes feel as you described- and the ex and I have been done for 5 years and I’ve been re-married for a year and a half. I think part of it is me feeling that I failed at something that I really had always thought would succeed. But I know that my ex husband made the choice to cheat and leave me and that folding the laundry better whatever would not have changed that. It was, for the most part, out of my control, which is why it is super scary to do it again. I don’t have a good answer for you though because I do still struggle with it myself.
Post # 6
Oh no. Don’t do this.
Sometimes relationships don’t work out. I mean, half the time they don’t work out. And sometimes it is because someone did something wrong. But, many many many many times it’s because it wasn’t a good match.
Don’t allow yourself to feel down about what is already done and in the past. You’re moving on, you’ve learned a few things along the way. You’ve found a man that is hopefully a better partner for you. And he’s accepting that you have this history.
At some point, you have to let it go and allow yourself the luxury of moving on and living happily with your new love.
Try to forgive yourself. You deserve that much.
Post # 7
Poor thing! I know just how you feel – I am also divorced and now engaged to marry a wonderful man. Every now and then I recall the fights and name calling and abuse that took place in my first marriage and I can’t help but feel like “damaged goods” in some way, even though I know that I am not. I was terribly unhappy and I wasn’t the best wife or mother a lot of the time. I have to forgive myself for this. You should too.
Post # 8
I haven’t been married previously but I know how you feel. My last relationship was awful and failed because of things both of us messed up. Got with Fiance and he’s just so…adjusted, lol. He’s financially stable, emotionally stable, mentally healthy, great family background, educated…just an all around great guy. And then there was me with all of my problems – anxiety and depression in my past, divorced parents, unsure of everything. I was definitely scared of ruining our engagement and being a bad girlfriend/fiance/wife.
I think the best thing to do is look at the past relationship objectively – what you did right, and what you did wrong, and apply them appropriately. Life is learning. I make sure that with Fiance, I tell him all the time how proud I am of him, I support his accomplishments, I listen better, I step outside of the box now and then when we go out, I communicate more, my expectations are more realisitic – things that I wasn’t as good at in my previous relationship.
If you have a wonderful husband he SHOULD be making you want to be a better person for yourself, him, and your relationship. It’s not a bad thing. Just don’t be so hard on yourself 🙂 We all mess up in our relationships but we all bring wonderful things too, or else he wouldn’t want to be with you.
Post # 9
I voted no, but that doesn’t mean I was perfect. We were both young and I had no concept of “relationship maintenance.” Aside from generally withdrawing emotionally, i didn’t do anything explicitly “bad,” it’s just that by the time I realized that I wasn’t happy, I was SO unhappy that I couldn’t have stood one. more. day. of him. I had far more guilt about the WAY I left (literally overnight, with a half-hearted attempt at counseling) than about WHY I left. I still stand by the reasons I left.
I’m still not perfect at holding up my end of my current relationship, and neither is Fiance, but it took me a long time to stop being terrified of just waking up one day not being able to see myself loving that person. I’m still not sure I’m totally over that fear. If if I was capable of ignoring all of the red flags, the white flags, the black flags and thinking everything was fine until it wasn’t, that I’m somehow capable of doing it again.
I do feel like I’m far more aware of the precious nature of a loving relationship and I’m far more protective of that now than I was before. Live and learn, I guess, but try not to beat yourself up over it.
Post # 10
I’ve been married four months and have already felt this way. After we got married, it was like holy cow, do I know how to do this? I’ve never been married before and I found myself asking how do I be a wife? I became very worried about screwing it all up. My own parents are divorced and so I’ve always felt that I didn’t have a model for marriage. Their divorce impacted me very deeply and stopped me from finding a real relationship until I was well into my 30s. One night, recently – after we got married, I decided to ask Darling Husband: How can I be a good wife to you? We had a great conversation. And he asked me the reciprical question too. I had to really think about it, but finally, some instructions for both of us! Ha! But seriously, I think you’re feelings are normal and if you keep talking about it with your Fiance in positive productive ways, you’ll develop a great marriage together.
Post # 11
I feel guilty that I wasn’t as “good” to my ex husband as I am to my fiance. But having said that, my ex husband and I just weren’t compatable. We brought out the worst in eachother whereas with my fiance we bring out the best. I try not to dwell on it too much. I can’t say it was me, or him that cause me to be a “bad” wife, it was just “us”. Simply put, we just weren’t good for eachother.
Post # 12
Thank you everyone for the replies, I really appreciate each one. I don’t feel quite so bad anymore, it’s kind of nice to know I’m not alone. I’m glad I put up a poll!
@eeniebeans: I think the lack of control is part of the problem; I know that no amount of laundry or fighting nicely or compromising would have fixed the things that were out of my control but I want them to be able to. I don’t think I really realized that until I read your post. It’s like, as long as I can be a good wife then everything will be in my control and nothing will go wrong. It’s crazy, and I can’t believe I didn’t realize I was doing that until now.
@axeyourmakeupkit: That’s VERY true with me. Even if he had been perfect in every way, I think I would have been miserable with him. We weren’t a good match and nothing could fix that (except for realizing it before I married him).
@khf777: I seriously called myself a “used car” when I started dating my Fiance. In retrospect, I should have given myself more time to get over the divorce before I started dating him, but thankfully we’re doing okay now! I used to call myself that every day in my head, but I haven’t done it for over a year now, even just in my head. I hope that’s me slowly forgiving myself.
@harleyq: That’s very good advice. I try to learn from my mistakes and be more patient, but that’s been a little bit problematic for me because I’m still picking through what was a mistake and what was perfectly fine. My ex-husband would often fly off the handle for ridiculous reasons and I had a really warped idea of what was not acceptable on my part.
@bells219: I definitely feel like that, like I missed a million flags in a lot of ways so who’s to say I won’t miss them all over again? I’m more afraid that if I can stop loving someone, my Fiance will wake up one day and realize that he doesn’t love me anymore.
@JumpingJacks: That’s a really good idea. I think next time I start to dwell I’ll have a conversation like that with him instead of working myself up.
@butterfli_beauty: That’s really helpful, I hadn’t really thought about it but my ex and I really did bring out the worst in each other. My Fiance and I help eachother be better people. I guess that’s really a huge difference and I shouldn’t let the past paralyze me.
Post # 13
I have to be very honest that it has never once crossed my mind that I may not be a “good wife,” and not because I think I’ll be great, but because I don’t think of my relationship in those terms.
That being said, it sounds like your flaws are totally normal, human flaws and nothing totally ridiculous that you should feel as if you were the sole reason your relationship failed. Also, if you beat yourself up and hold yourself back so much, you may actually harm your current relationship more.
Post # 14
@HappierKate Being aware is the first step, I think. And as for your Fiance being capable of that- everyone is. But we hope that the person we love puts as much effort into being just as awesome of a human being as you are. Be good to eachother, no matter what, and that’s really the best you can do.
You’re not alone. Far from it.
Post # 15
@khf777: Yes – “damaged goods” is exactly how I feel about myself a lot of the time. Fortunately, with the help of people who truly love me, and one of them is my fiance, I realize that it was my ex who was damaged – totally broken actually. He treats our children, particularly our teenage daughter the way he treated me. It’s taken a long time to define him: Narcissistic personality disorder and passive-aggressive. It takes time to get past it and feel whole again.
Post # 16
Take a load off your shoulders! Here’s what “bad wives” do:
Cheat, lie, take drugs/abuse alcohol, nag maliciously, seek to destroy their spouse emotionally, intentionally seek to harm their spouse’s ego, disrespect or sabotage the family’s financial goals, withhold sex, do everything but love, honor, cherish etc, take advantage of their partner’s weaknesses and exploit them, manipulate their partners with malice, seek to control the other person…and so on. The rest of what people do is human. Living with another human being is extremely difficult, but love, patience and respect should rescue it from being impossible. Sharing a life with someone you love is a privilege. If both parties try to live by the Golden Rule – treat the other as you want to be treated – it’ll be fine 🙂