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The Top 6 Things I Learned From My Failed Marriage

Photograph by Twenty20

People don’t walk down the aisle expecting to end up going separate ways. If they did, that would be clinically insane. With that said, sometimes things don’t go the way we planned or hoped, and that goes for marriage. We could have a billion good intentions and truly believe in our heart of hearts that this marriage will work out and then … it doesn’t.

The vows have been said. Families have been made. Bonds have been created.

And broken. And frayed. And destroyed.

What happens when it doesn’t work out? What happens when the love is gone and you have to start over?

You live. You learn. You move on. You grow. You love again—and often, even more than you did before.

That may be hard to believe if you’re in the middle of watching your marriage disintegrate, but it is so true! Here are the top six things I learned from my failed marriage, and they have served me all for the better.

1. Don't give into the fear of being alone

I can’t tell you how many times I have heard people—especially women—say that being alone is impossible. I used to feel the same way, until I became happy with me and the life I made for myself. Now, I don’t want to be alone, but I'm still happy despite that.

If you’re jumping into a marriage or rushing because the idea of being alone unnerves you, you’re not truly happy with yourself and your life. No one should make a partnership choice based on fear and insecurity. It will never last if you do. Even if you're the last single person among your friends, wait, wait, wait and wait.

2. Expect the lows to come

When you’re in the middle of that early, oxytocin-filled love, you can’t imagine your Boo-Boo Bunny to ever disappoint you. Low points don’t exist in your narrative.

They need to.

Expect lows and when they come, don’t be shocked. Just remember your commitment to the other person and decide together how to work through them. And, when you commit to someone, ask yourself if you lost all of your comforts and lifestyle, if this person would be worth drudging through the muck with?

If the answer is yes, you’re prepared to do the work.

Good marriages don’t require heavy lifting. They do, however, require regular upkeep and maintenance. Be ready to maintain “the house” of your marriage.

3. Embrace your dealbreakers and be ready to wait

Do you know what your true dealbreakers are? As long as they’re not 100 items long, know them and own them.

Then, don’t compromise as you’re dating. If you're impatient and compromise with your non-negotiables, you'll be facing a bad situation at some point. Rushing and being “sloppy” in choosing a partner will only result in a situation that will eventually go sour. Been there, done that … have the T-shirt.

Be ready to be patient for the right one. Yes, waiting sucks. We all know this, but if you embrace the wait and own what you really need in someone, you will thank me down the line, I promise.

The couple that stops having fun together, starts signing divorce papers together.

4. Prepare for the boredom—then, get creative

The excitement will fade in a relationship at some point. This is normal. Nothing is wrong with either one of you, and if you marry someone, be prepared for it to happen. The question then becomes, “How do you get the excitement back?” Or, do you just let it be all together?

No, no, no, no.

The couple that stops having fun together, starts signing divorce papers together.

Remember what I said in No. 2? Keep your “house” in order. Get creative. Be willing to try new things together. Be willing to get uncomfortable. Be willing to go the distance. If the two of you are willing to experiment and change things up whether it’s a new activity, hobby or sexual behavior, your marriage will thrive because of that.

Back in the olden days, people didn’t live as long, so they didn’t need to get as creative. So, simply put: Get ready to think, act and be on your toes to keep the passion flowing.

If you don’t do this or the other person refuses to get creative, you will be in deep doo-doo.

5. Never compromise on your values

Do you vote opposite parties? OK.

Do you think differently on every single topic? Not OK.

If you find yourself with someone that never agrees with you on values and how to treat others, chances are the two of you will end up fighting with each other in the long term. I compromised too much and ended up with someone who did not understand me, which only led to problems. Just don’t do it!

6. Don't underestimate your value just because someone else doesn't like what you're selling

No matter what, there will always be someone who doesn’t find what you have to offer valuable. That’s OK.

You may find that even someone who wanted you may suddenly, not anymore. Do not let this determine your worth.

There will always be someone who doesn’t like what you’re selling. So what! The good news is, there will always be someone who loves exactly what you have to offer.

Moral of this story: Set your price high. Don’t ever forget how valuable you are and how lovable you are.

Do not let someone else’s judgment be the deciding factor in how you feel about yourself and how you view your bottom line value. Period. If you let other people determine your worth, you will never have self-love or self-esteem, and that's dangerous.

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