Post # 1
I just joined this site and am looking for some advice. I got engaged about 2 weeks ago. Although I was over the moon at first, that very suddenly turned into severe anxiety, doubt, and mild depression. My fiancé is wonderful and I do feel we are great together. The problem is that I’ve already been married, and that first experience was unfortunately horrific. My ex-husband had multiple affairs over the 10 years we were together, lied to me countless times, was extremely abusive, and took so much from me in the divorce. In the end, I realized that he has all the traits of a narcissistic sociopath. I’ve been in therapy for 3 years now working through the trauma. I had felt pretty good UNTIL a couple days after my recent engagement, when I just totally crashed. If people congratulate me or ask questions about it, I shut down the conversation immediately. My fiancé has asked questions about dates and what not, and I cannot talk about it without feeling intense panic. The worst part is that my fiancé will have to immigrate to the US eventually. He’s willing to restart his life, but god that freaks me out so much. I don’t know what to do. I love him. I trust him. I don’t want to hurt him. But I feel almost irreparably damaged by my experience. I know I’m not alone in this. Many people have faced similar challenges and have triumphed. If anyone could share their stories or words of wisdom, I would be so appreciative. I don’t want to live in this prison of fear forever. Thank you!
Post # 2
I think it is normal that an engagement would flare up your anxiety. Are you still in therapy? If so, I would make an appointement asap. If not, I would make an appointment asap. A good therapist will help you work through this. Remember, this too shall pass.
ps Congratulations on the engagement.
Post # 3
I agree that therapy would be extremely useful so you can work through your feelings and move forward in a healthy way. Also, tell your Fiance that you want to enjoy the engagement and not go full force into planning right now because that seems to exacerbate your anxiety. It’s okay to take time to relax and bask in just being engaged! You can start planning later.
Post # 4
Congratulations on having a loving SO and a whole/healthy partnership after so much turmoil. Have you spoken with your SO about what’s going on and how you are feeling? What has he said?
To be honest, in your position, given just the brief but intense amount that you shared, I don’t know that I would be willing to marry again. Relationship- great! Lifelong love- cool. Legal and financial entanglement with someone else after a decade of trauma in just such an institution – not so much.
I hope you can get the support you need from your therapist and from your SO and also, be open to finding non-traditional solutions that work well for you. Do you want to be married or do you want to want to be married? If you could have an extended engagement, would that work for you or help matters? (and would your SO be open to that)? Would putting some added legal protections in place (like a prenuptial agreement) help you?
I’m sorry you went through so much in your first marriage and for so long. In about 7 years, the various cells in our bodies have completely overturned so the trauma body that was built in/on/around you during your time together is likely still with you and is going to take time and support to heal.
Post # 5
I can relate to this. I went through similar things with my ex. For years, I said I would never get married.
i have been with my fiancé since April 2016. I was no where near marriage then. We got engaged two years ago and I thought I was good but not quite because we still had a couple issues to work through. We talked about all those things, changed the way we handle things and now I am ready. We are getting married in March. I needed to wait until I no longer was scared of marriage. I knew he was right for me, I just needed to trust it.
I have had the flu this past week. He has run my kids to all activities, picked up and dropped off to school and taken care of me.
Give yourself more time. Keep talking to your fiancé. Share your feelings and concerns. Stay in therapy. I can’t say you will ever forgive your ex, I certainly haven’t. But it does get better.
Post # 6
considering your past experience maybe if your fiance would be willing to sign a pre-nup that states that infidelity or abuse is a forfeiture on any and all marital property, and that the abuser/cheater would owe the victim spousal support for a period after divorce then at least you would have some legal protection against a repeat performance and maybe having legal protection would given you some feeling of emotional security as well. That’s my suggestion
Post # 7
You’ve raised some very good points. Honestly, I have been saying “I will never get married again” for the last few years. I have had occasional moments where I realize it would be totally different with my SO and I have made some comments in that direction. I think he took those (very small) comments as an indication that I was ready for the next step. It feels like being torn between two parts of myself: one part wants to move forward and marry my SO, but the other part is screaming at me. And you are smart to point out the physical effects of trauma in the body. I still feel this. Thank you so much for offering your perspective.
Post # 8
Yeah, I think it would ultimately be helpful to legally spell out the dealbreakers. Thank you
Post # 9
I really appreciate you sharing this. Part of my struggle is simply not knowing anyone personally who has experienced what I have. I feel “abnormal” and damaged. There’s shame in that, even though I know it is not my fault. And then I feel anger at my ex for doing so much damage. It’s the most challenging experience of my life, for sure.
Post # 10
yes, I work with my therapist every week. Sometimes it’s twice a week. It’s been a long road to even get to a functioning place.
Post # 11
Your feelings are perfectly normal. Make sure to talk these through with your therapist as soon as anxiety tries to take over your life.
Post # 12
I have experienced a lot of this. Ex boyfriend scammed me out of thousands of dollars, long story.
Here are some ways I coped with it:
1. Time, nothing heals like time.
2. Remember that you still have support systems outside of your career, so worst case scenario you get a divorce, you will still be fine. Promise yourself that you will never allow anyone to treat you poorly ever again now you know what abuse is.
3. Remember that you deserve happiness and a feeling of safety as much as anyone, and remember that there are people who are in genuinely good relationships and there’s no reason it couldn’t happen to you.
4. Realize you have C-PTSD, which develops after narcissistic abuse, and try to find a therapist who is great a TRAUMA work, not just a regular shrink.
5. Try to read up on C-PTSD, get some books on Amazon related to the subject.
Good luck! Pain is important when it comes to healing, you are starting to grieve. Your mind kindly waits until everything else feels safe before allowing someone to grieve. It may feel like a surge of negative emotions, but it’s a positive change.
Post # 13
I myself went thru this, I was 16 when I met my ex-husband within four years we had three children and he was extremely abusive he broke my nose he broke my ribs he had extra marital affairs and an actual whole other family I was unaware of. After 14 years of physical and mental abuse I left but that did not come without consequence. I was homeless with my three children while he hunted me down no matter where I went and caused problems for years after. I then went to therapy for over five years and Eventually met the man I’m with now who is amazing!
Real love is out there but not until you are completely ready! I still have issues do to my past but. I will never let the past ruin my future. Be strong you can and will be ok keep doing therapy and know not all men are pieces of [email protected]!
Post # 14
My couples therapist has mentioned that being cheated on has been shown to have PTSD effects. I would for sure make a therapy appointment to work through your feelings before making any decisions. I still struggle with trust issues despite my husband being nothing like my ex…its amazing how much one person can screw with you.
Post # 15
so much this! OP I’m a fan of these suggestions because considering other options outside of marriage for the time being might be more beneficial while you go through your healing process. In the event that you do marry, I also like creating a prenuptial agreement that protects you in terms of infidelity. My only concern is that if his citizenship is dependent on marriage, it narrows down your options. I don’t know what the immigration process is, but maybe looking into alternatives that don’t involve marriage visas might be beneficial in the meantime.
Another alternative would be to ask for a long engagement. It’s not bad to ask for more time, especially because you have healing to do. Your SO seems supportive of you (heck he’s willing to uproot his life and immigrate to the US), as a result, he should be willing/would be understanding of your request.
Last, I would recommend discussing the topic of this thread with your therapist. Are these concerns coming from a place of reluctance, fear, or fact? I can understand your hesitation in terms of getting remarried especially when your first marriage was an abusive horrible shit show of a situation.
You are still healing, and will continue to heal. Some days are harder than others. You aren’t obligated to discuss wedding plans and if it’s not something you’re ready to start planning, don’t force yourself to do so. You’re incredibly strong for being able to survive an abusive marriage and extremely resilient for being able to attend treatment to resolve the trauma caused by said marriage. Remember that.