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Boyfriend Has Been Married Before

"I Can't Get Over That My Boyfriend Has Been Married Before"

This question is from a Group Therapy post in our TrèsSugar Community. Add your advice in the comments!

I can't seem to get over the fact that my boyfriend has been married before. It's probably 4 years ago since he's been divorced. We've been dating for almost a year and he thinks that I'm the one and talks to me about marriage and children. I think he MAY BE the one for me too. He's a very loving, generous, smart boyfriend and I don't think there will be anyone else out there for me. I feel very lucky to have him! He is 40 and I am 24. We love each other a lot and get along well but this is really bothering the hell out of me.

He doesn't bring her up but we do talk about our past relationships from time to time if it affects the present. I guess I can't get over the fact that he said she was the love of his life and that the happiest time was when he got married and the saddest was when he got divorced. I feel like I would always be second best. How could I live up to someone who made him feel that way? Even when we talk randomly about the wedding he didn't want to go through all the traditional stuff again like at Hispanic weddings and he doesn't think diamonds are necessary for a wedding ring. And he admitted that his first marriage changed his views on all of this.

I imagine myself walking down the aisle and have him looking at me and being so happy but I keep imagining that he's probably thinking "I've done this before." I just wish it was a brand new feeling for both of us.

Plus, he's traveled to many places around the world when he was with her. We talk about traveling all the time and every time I point out to a country or a state I'd like to visit because I haven't really gone anywhere, he's been there and probably with his ex-wife. I feel like there's nothing left for us to go besides Antarctica.

We've talked about this issue several times and he has assured me that I'm his priority and there's no one else but me in his heart and he has no feelings for her. I don't know what to do. I feel like I'll never get over this.

Have a dilemma of your own? Post it anonymously to Group Therapy for advice, and check out what else is happening in the TrèsSugar Community.

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Bubbles12 Bubbles12 3 years
Mandana, You say judging like it's a bad thing! There go those women, using their brains to point out ugly problems when they should be minimizing and smiling. Most of us seem to be able to respond when we can relate. Now and then someone gets a little snippy (including -- ahem -- you) but we're women so you give the snippy a hot water bottle, and gentle 'really?' a pat, and move on. Or just ignore it. She's tired, she's doing God's own work helping women kind get smart. Insecurity is one thing but not the term to describe harming yourself or someone else to get attention, love or approval. There is a lot of that here. Everywhere actually. "Those who say it cannot be done should not interrupt the person doing it.” -- Chinese Proverb The day these blogs aren't necessary or are at least a lot less sad is the goal -- don't you think?
Mandana85 Mandana85 3 years
Too much judging here. I am really considering never coming back, as every time I check in here I see poor posters getting accused of being nosy, snoopy, low self-esteemed, insecure in their relationships, obsessive etc, and their significant other being accused of being abusers. Really. take the word "insecurities" away from this blog, and people would have nothing else to say. I think we all have insecurities in some shape and kind. Dunno...maybe I am just wrong :)
henna-red henna-red 3 years
Hi VioletBloom, I'm glad things are getting a little better. I just want to say, that a confident woman doesn't need to say to hereself that she's better than the other woman, the last woman, any woman. A confident woman looks at her behavior and judges herself by her own standards. She doesn't necessarily need to compare herself of feel like she's competing with the ex, or with anyone but herself. She never has to think that she's better or worse than anyone else, only that she's working and playing at being the best she she can be. :)
VioletBloom VioletBloom 3 years
Thanks for all the good advice everyone has given me. It has helped so far. At letya, I'm going through the same thing! But almost everyone has a lot of nice things to say and we should take it into consideration! I'm trying to just let it go. A lot of times when he mentioned he's gone to certain countries, I keep thinking it's with his ex-wife and I quickly try to distract myself so I won't let it bother me. I guess it's also my insecurity as well. I'm sure a confident woman wouldn't feel/think the way I do. She would probably think to herself "I'm so much better that her. She has nothing on me." @Biwife: There is nothing wrong with wanting a nice big wedding or big diamond ring or expensive things just as long as you can afford it and my boyfriend and I can. He even thinks the way I do. And just as long as you know those things are not the most important part of a relationship. Also, you and some advice givers should read the postings carefully. Many times I have seen you and others saying certain things that aren't even true. I have NEVER read my bfs texts, emails, talking to friends families about his ex wife. We talk about our past relationships when we got to know each other because the past did affect the present because we both had bad previous bad relationships. My bf even shows me texts and emails from people is they are interesting and let me plays with his phone when I'm bored since he has a lot of cool applications on there. So don't say that "I sucked the information" out of him" when I specifically said "He doesn't bring her up but we do talk about our past relationships from time to time if it affects the present."
letya letya 3 years
I'm in the EXACT same boat. My boyfriend is 37 and I am 22. We've been together for a little over 3 years now. He was was divorced about 2 years before I met him. He was with that woman for a total of about 9 years. 3 dating and about 6 married. When we were first friends and he told me about his ex he told me she was the love of his life (she divorced him) and he was REALLY depressed when I met him. I saw something in him and I knew that he wasn't this sad person that I was seeing. After being together for about a year he was a completely different person! He's so much happier today than 3 years ago. I find myself experiencing the same things you do. I feel like I will always be #2. I dream of the day when I will get married and I love him so much but I can't stop thinking that he's "been there and done that". He's never wanted to have children before and he says he wants to have them now that he's met me. (My baby craziness has rubbed off on him in 3 years). I just feel so sad that marriage won't be something new and exciting for the both of us. What does he care what our wedding is like? He's had one before and look how THAT turned out. If we do ever get married it's all going to be for me, and I want it to be for US. I wish he wasn't married before. It's kinda ruined my future wedding experience with him. I just don't know if this is a big enough issue to me to end a 3 years relationship that is going strong and has no signs of ending any time soon. The important part is to ask yourself whether or not this is a big issue for you and if you can handle or resolve these feelings and continue in the relationship. I try to "handle" my feelings but they often end up just being dormant in the back of my mind and they come out every now and then and I have a cry about it to myself and then put them back in my mind. Best of luck.
Bubbles12 Bubbles12 3 years
Bi, my bad for not getting the details right. I was a little confused, have to admit. Over the years I've just learned to shut my mouth about my romantic past. Even though my husband is my best friend, he's my romantic partner. I treat him like my girlfriend and go on about the guys from the past at my own peril. He does know what is relevant to us. Maybe still more than he wants to. My point is about those who make comparisons with partners from the past, particularly putting those who are long gone on a pedestal or never quite letting go and embracing complete the person in front of them. Men and women with Borderline Personality Disorder do this as a matter of course, for instance to keep their current partner destabilized.
BiWife BiWife 3 years
Bubbles, the OP specifically said that he NEVER brings up his ex-wife. All the details she has gleaned are from her grilling him. He is not volunteering this information, she's sucking it out of him, and likely out of his private emails, texts, etc to friends/family. Also, adults are able to talk about previous relationships without having to create animosity towards them. One can look at a prior relationship and say "that was awesome" while still admitting it wasn't perfect, hence why it didn't last. Just because someone can still admit that they were at one point in time madly in love with someone else doesn't mean they're being immature and trying to rub it in their new partner's face.
Bubbles12 Bubbles12 3 years
I can't believe no one else sees this, so let me throw my 2 cents in here. If what you're saying is accurate, you're being groomed for abuse and that starts with the abuser checking your level of self-confidence. 'Does she take small hits? Then she'll probably take more' They want someone who doesn't not trust her own responses and feels unconfident in the relationship and responds by trying harder to be pleasing. Subtle undermining comparisons like this are an excellent grooming tool of abusers. They start small and hey he's saying nice things about her right? Hard to get mad! But you should look very carefully at how stupid this behavior is in romance, it does exactly what you're feeling. What good does that do him if he wants you to be happy? If you were more confident, you'd be repelled, making a 'did you fart in public?' shocked face at those kinds of statements and telling him that was disrespectful and to knock it off. Immediately. Draw your line lady and make him toe it! The fact there is such a large age difference only strengthens my concern. You'd be an easy target. The way he talks about his ex-wife (did he really say she was the love of his life to you?!) and his former marital happiness are mean. Someone at his age who is respectful of romantic partners has shed this immature tendency ages ago. I'd bet green money this undermining is a clue to why he's divorced. Undermining comparisons are a *highly* effective controlling technique. Especially since they're usually subtle. There is a term for this: 'micro-inequities'. It's a way to harrass and bully in a very clever way. Ultimately it says 'You're less than'. It adds up to real abuse fast because the recipient doubts themselves and are more responsive to the demands and positioning of the abuser. And they say things that make you go "Did s/he really? No, they couldn't have meant it that way" but yes, it was and if it happens repeatedly, they meant it. It gets you running around trying to be better if you are vulnerable to that dynamic, and when we're young many of us are. It is done to make them the smart one in the relationship, the one who will tell you what is right and wrong. In other words, they want you to separate from your own judgment and perform like a puppet, for them. The self-confident hear those comments and are repelled. The unconfident will hear them and try harder. So if what you're saying it true and not an exaggeration, you need to make the 'did you fart?' face, tell him to stop with the comparisons to a great ex NOW as you deserve better. If he stops, you've just got a man who grew up a little. If it goes on, well, you're being groomed and trust me, you will not feel any better than you do now. You'll feel worse. No matter where he takes you or what he buys you. I'm rooting for you. If ANYONE makes you feel undermined you listen to yourself, OK? All that 'you're too sensitive' crap is just that. Listen to your gut when you feel worse around someone. And protect yourself.
bluestar bluestar 3 years
I would be more concerned with the age difference, honestly.
missmaryb missmaryb 3 years
Just wanted to add...if we all threw out our current relationship because our significant other had already had a relationship before ours, we'd all be alone :)
missmaryb missmaryb 3 years
I'm divorced and in his age range, so I'll give you my perspective. Yes, when I met my first husband, I was so in love. Yes, I thought it would last forever. Yes, we had a big, traditional wedding. Well, here I am, on my own. I gave myself time to heal. I waited a long while before dating again. When I started dating, I was 100% "better" and ready to find love again. I'm in a good place right now. I believe that you can fall in love more than once in your life, and the second time around can be better than the first, because now you are older and wiser. If I get married again, I don't want it to be about the wedding. The first wedding was for everyone else, the next one will be for me (and the lucky guy :)). As for your situation...if you date older men, there is a high likelihood that he will have been married. I would almost be more worried if he hadn't been already. Like, what's wrong with this guy that he's 40 and hasn't been able to commit? Also realize that not everyone is scarred forever by a first marriage. People can and do fall in love again and do not carry the past around forever. Yes, you'll be the second. But so what? You've had relationships before him, right? It's not like he's the first guy you've ever dated so you're coming into this a total relationship virgin. We all have a past that we bring with us into each new relationship. As for the wedding, please don't become so focused on the day that you forget about the rest of your life. Make it about love and commitment, not about rings and gowns. As for the traveling, so what if he's been places with his ex? It will be a whole new experience being there with you. Let's say he's been to Key West...go to Key Largo instead. He's been to LA? Go to San Fransisco. There must be a few cities he hasn't been to. Bottom line...treat this as YOUR relationship, not the remnants of his marriage. It's not. Good luck.
henna-red henna-red 3 years
"All you have to do for the moment..." And that is one of the keys. Learning to live in the moment, the now. Not in his past, or your past, or his ex's past, or in the future. The future never arrives, it's always now, always present. Live now, live what's happening now, respond to what's happening now, instead of lamenting the past, or creating road blocks for the future. Also, every couple with the age difference you two have, must learn to meet in the middle, learn to understand and facilitate each others disparate hopes, dreams, expectations.....He needs to understand how exciting you find the wedding. You need to understand that he loves you and wants to give you what you want, but if you want something that's impossible, (that brand new feeling for both of us is impossible,) then you will never find satisfaction, no matter what he is willing to do for you, or give to you. Want what's possible; it's the besty way to get what you want. :)
Helen-Danger Helen-Danger 3 years
With an older guy, you get baggage. With someone your own age there would be less. That is a tradeoff you have made. Never marry a man or plan an extended future with a man you don't love unconditionally and unreservedly. For you to love this man in that way, you will have to learn to love and appreciate his past and all it has taught him. That is part of who he is. If you can't love that about him, you can't love all of him. Take it slow and easy. Don't rush into anything. Don't get caught up in external stuff like marriage ceremonies and rings. Forever is a long time to be together, and a nice ring and memories of a giant ceremony can't make up for a bad, unhappy, or hasty match. Work on accepting yourself and him. As you do that, you may discover that his past no longer bothers you and that he really is the right guy for you after all. Or not. Regardless, all you have to do for the moment is learn and take your time.
luckyduckyy luckyduckyy 3 years
Okay, first of all, you need to get at the root of the problem. He is not the cause of all of this; it is you. You have to get past your fears and insecurities, all of which are perfectly natural for someone in your position. However, you have not gotten past them yet, and it seems as though you won't be able to without a third party (e.g. therapist or counselor). So I recommend you schedule an appointment with a therapist or counselor that deals specificially in relationship issues. Speak with that person, don't be shy (tell them everything on your mind), and then ask if it would be a good idea to do couples' counseling. Secondly, of course his first marriage changed all his views on a traditional wedding, diamond ring, etc. Before his first marriage, he was all wide-eyed and trusting of his future wife and of the relationship they were to have. He idealized the wedding, the ring, the bride, etc. Now that he's been burned in this past relationship, he views all those things in the context of that failed relationship. He once highly valued a traditional wedding; look where it got him- divorced. He's more realistic now, knowing that a flashy wedding and fancy ring aren't going to guarantee happiness and security. Also, what if the divorce took a huge financial toll on him? He probably invested a lot of money into the wedding and ring and travelling with his ex-wife, thinking that they would be together forever, and now he's realizing that all the money in the world can't guarantee a perfect relationship and all that jazz. So why should he bother spending so much money, when he can instead focus on the more important issues (like building a fantastic relationship)? Thirdly, so what if he thought he and his ex-wife would be together forever? He's a bit of a dreamer, and that's a good thing. Should he have been more realistic, and thought "Oh, we'll be together forever unless one of us loses interest"? You were not in the picture at that point, so you should not feel personally hurt by all of this. Maybe if he had met you before he met her, you would have been his wife and you two would have actually been together forever. However, that's not how it happened. He's much older than you, he met her probably when you were a little kid, and he loved her and subsequently fell out of love with her due to her divorcing him. Should he have waited for you, the not-yet-grown-woman he didn't even know at the time? Fourthly, his wedding day was the happiest day of his life UP UNTIL NOW. He was being honest with you. Don't be upset with him over that. Someday, if you two marry, that will become the happiest day of his life. And then if you have kids, that'll be another happy day for him and you as well. Don't think in absolute terms like "Oh, he said that was the happiest day of his life. How can I live up to that, knowing that'll always be the happiest day?" Well, that's not true. That won't forever be the happiest day. There will be more with you. And of course his divorce was the saddest day. Although he no longer loves his ex-wife, there was once a point where he loved her and was betrayed by her.That's a lot of pain to deal with, so naturally he would be so sad. And if so far, his divorce is the saddest day of his life, then that's great. I mean, it's sad, but that says a lot, like for instance- he hasn't experienced great trauma or the death of a loved one. Again, someday, other worse experiences will overshadow his once-saddest day ever. But until then, just be grateful he hasn't experienced much more sadness. Also, you need to get over your issues with being "second". Stop viewing it that way. He and his ex-wife are done and over with. They will not get back together ever, he loves you 100% and he loves her 0%, and he sees a future with you and not with her. View going on trips together as entirely new because you're doing them together. Even though he's been to, let's say, Ireland with her, he's never been there with you. He hasn't seen everything there is to see, and there is plenty more for you two to do together. He may have a bit of a hard time getting past the sadness associated with viewing places with you that he's seen with her, but that's also natural. It's a good thing, actually, if you two go there together to replace those bittersweet memories he could do without. It's not as though he wishes he could return to those times. He knows in his heart that all of that is over. But can you blame him for occasionally thinking about it? Think of yourself: you've probably dwelled on past relationships, wondering what went wrong, remembering the good and bad times, etc. Why isn't he allowed to do the same? He's probably thinking of all the things that went wrong in his past relationship, and is thinking of ways to be better this time around.
BiWife BiWife 3 years
Why do so many girls get so caught up in the wedding, the jewelry, etc? Is it really that important to check off a list of expensive purchases he needs to make in order for you to marry him?
VioletBloom VioletBloom 3 years
Thanks for the advice chibros. He is willing to do anything for me and spoils me. Even though he's been to many places, he doesn't mind going there again. We've traveled to almost 10 different places in such a short amount of time. It was all his planning to go to those places because I've only traveled to one place out of my hometown! He's willing to do whatever I want-big diamond, big wedding, whatever. I guess I just want him to be excited about it too and have it be a new experience for the both of us. I guess it really is "when young person that is starting life gets along with someone that has already achieved it"
chibros chibros 3 years
Talk to him again regarding it. Let him know how you feel and know what to do about it. Like you said, you think he's the only one for you, you should really have to get over it, accept the fact he has had an ex and so is you. There's nothing wrong with him be honest in discussions, just digest the facts BUT the way he treats you really matters on how you get over it, that is not doing anything because he has done it before, forgetting the person he is with has not tried it either. Talk to him regarding what you want, he should treat you the way you really deserve or wish. For instance, if you want to travel to a place and he's already being there, and so what, you've never being there, you guys should go there and refresh and give you your own the memories. If he wants a simple wedding and you feel you want to have a complete wedding with traditional and diamond thing (if affordable), then why not he treat you as you deserve. That he have had the experiences with his doesn't mean you should lack them, he should give you the chance to experience it as well, if not you'll always feel like that unless you're willing to happily compromise them (telling you he's already been there and changing the plan would ALWAYS make you feel the way you feel). He should sometimes be considerate. Talk with him, know the important things you would like to experience (maybe traditional wedding or so) and which ones you both have to compromise. Ofcourse you're his priority but that's not the issue, he's much older and needs to come down a bit (see things from your POV, give you some certain things you deserve), while you go up a bit (understand things from his POV, do some necessary compromise) so you guys meet at comfort zone. I don't blame him, not at all, he is acting exactly the way he should. Blame it on 'what it's usually is when young person that is starting life gets along with someone that has already achieved it'. If he can't give you those important experience, feelings, treatments you would love experiencing once in a lifetime, maybe you should rethink looking for someone that is still starting life as well to experience those things with, if they're that important to you. It takes communication, maturity and compromise to balance things the way it would be ok for you both. The way he treats you really assists in the whole situation.
VioletBloom VioletBloom 3 years
And I'd like to mention that with me he's okay 20 or so years of happiness with me but with his previous marriage I'm sure he thought eternity with her.
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