Question: Dear Luise: My boyfriend and I are having a tough time of it because we have both been married before and have the scars to prove it. We both have trust issues and have been terribly hurt. How in the world are we supposed to try for “happily ever after” with our combined track records? We care enough not to give up but we don’t have any idea how to proceed. Can you give us any pointers? Leila
Answer: Dear Leila: The side of the situation that you are describing is valid and tough to cope with but there is another side. You are older, wiser, and more able to discern and produce results than you were before. Don’t think you haven’t learned anything because both of you have.
Most of us start out with a pie-in-the-sky idea of romance. Not everyone, of course, but a whole heck of a lot of us. I, for one, thought, even after college, that when a few words were said over me and mine, everything would be lov-er-ly. I really did. I didn’t know the work that would have to be done and I had no idea what I was even dealing with in needing to grow up along the way, myself.
Be very, very open with each other about your histories. Work at seeing that the past doesn’t have to repeat itself and that you have a say in how you deal with your mutual fears, wounds and terrors. You aren’t his former mate with a different face and his isn’t yours.
Congratulate each other on being willing to love again, scared or not. If you need guidance, seek it out and use it. Battered people are often deeper, gentler, more understanding and more reliable. See the value in each other.
Lessons come and lesson go. Relationships offer some of the toughest ones. Open your hearts up wide and be grateful for each other. Blessings, Luise