Sometimes we pick the wrong partner due to inexperience and youth, or because someone’s true colours show up later.
Alice admits to being the personification of the cliché “Love is blind.”
When Alice was quite young she married a Vietnam veteran who had Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and he self-medicated with marijuana.
In the era of anti-war protests, this couple’s friends were other veterans and their wives. Her husband’s war buddies also were stoners. Alice said that she was too young and meek to make a stand that this was unacceptable to her.
When the group gift at their sons’ first birthday party was a bag of pot, that was a wakeup call for Alice that this situation was out of control. They divorced after three years of marriage. She now warns others not to think you can change or fix someone after marriage.
Alice and her young son moved across country where she got a job at a university. She developed an acute medical condition which required surgery. Then her mother and close friend died while she was recovering which added to her misery. Alice’s child support was minimal and she struggled financially as a single parent.
Henry, a professor in her department, reached out to Alice in her vulnerable state.
Henry helped her financially and emotionally as she was trying to cope. Henry became Alice’s mentor, lifeline and then husband. He excelled in the caretaker role – helping Alice get through her medical crisis and mourning.
When Alice felt better, this couple adopted a toddler. Alice metamorphosed from a victim into a strong person and an equal partner in the marriage. She voiced her opinions. Henry did not want to step out of his role as caretaker and advisor. He did not like sharing his power and became a “bully” to Alice and the children.
He was emotionally and physically abusive. She got another divorce.
Alice felt that she was a good judge of character and had learned quite a few life lessons from her two marriages.
A charming, caring man who oozed charisma entered into Alice’s life. She fell in love (or lust) and allowed him to move in with them.
When Alice and her sons were away visiting family, her boyfriend stole all that was of value in her home. He disappeared before their return.
Her suspicion that this charmer may be a sociopath was confirmed when the police contacted her. The con man had a string of crimes and there was a warrant for his arrest. His police record showed past convictions for theft and assaults.
Alice moved house and changed her phone number as a precaution. Alice suggests doing a police check on a new beau to make sure they do not have a criminal record.
Alice finally learned to take it slowly when dating and not to rush into marriage. She met a kind man and took her time getting to know him. They have been wed over a decade and are very happy. Once Alice made it past the five year mark, she started to relax and knew this relationship would last.
Alice shared these bits of wisdom.
- Do not marry so young and do not go along with someone’s vices.
- When one is going through a trauma – do not get married in the middle of it. Wait until you are back on your feet and can properly assess your feelings. Marrying your rescuer or caretaker can backfire once you have recovered.
- When someone comes on too strongly or quickly – this is a red flag. When one’s self-worth has taken a beating during an abusive marriage this contributes to being extra susceptible to flattery and being taken in by a sociopath.
Wendi Schuller is a published author who has conducted classes on various subjects. She draws upon her knowledge as a nurse, Neuro-Linguistic Programmer (NLP), and hypnotherapist, providing a blueprint to guide women through this difficult transition. Schuller hired an attorney for a court divorce, but decided to go the collaborative route instead and has worked with a mediator post-divorce.
Author of The Woman’s Holistic Guide to Divorce