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A Tale of Three Marriages: Is There Happiness to Be Found?

By Linda Ward November 26, 2022 Family

I married two men who didn’t deserve me. My first marriage was with a man I loved beyond words. He was kindhearted and gentle with me. We planned a future and had two children together. The boys were high-spirited and wonderful, and a handful for me to manage.

The responsibility of raising them often fell upon me, as he often traveled for work. All the parent-teacher conferences alone, the ball parks in the summer, and the decisions that I needed to make for them to grow into responsible and moral men, fell on me.

My 23-Year Marriage Fell Apart

This man, their dad, didn’t deserve my naive devotion and love. He didn’t deserve my heart of kindness that overflowed to him consistently.

He lied to me. I’m not sure when it began, but he says it started about two years into our 23-year marriage. Of course, that could be a lie too. I’m also not sure how often he was unfaithful with men, but it doesn’t matter. He didn’t deserve me.

Seeking Love and Marriage

Incredibly discombobulated, I married another man who didn’t deserve me. He sweet-talked me and gave me a vision of life with love. His family story was that he was the result of a botched abortion. His mom raised him this way, as a bother who she never wanted.

In hindsight, the poor guy probably didn’t have much of a chance for self-esteem and to be kindhearted after his own mother told him she wanted to abort him, but the abortion didn’t take. I found myself living in a glass prison where I did nothing right, he demanded I stay in the house all day while he worked.

If he suspected I was out in the yard, I paid for it with his anger and words. Berating me and verbally abusing me was his pastime, to the point where I lost who I was.

Giving Up on Marriage

I then became single for 10 years. A reset was in order. I wanted to move ahead in life, happier. I needed to learn some life lessons that were heart wrenching.

First, that no one has the right to lie, abuse, and make me feel like I don’t count. No one.

I needed to grow a backbone and take care of myself instead of being so caring of everyone to the point of worthlessness.

I needed to find my own independence from a man’s wealth, without anyone taking care of me, except me.

Even though I wanted to be connected to someone, I had to learn it’s OK not to be.

These lessons came with lots of mistakes and failures. I even had several dates with men in those 10 years, that carried on where they left off. Until I didn’t.

What? Another Marriage?

I married a man who deserved me. Yes, another marriage, as my heart sought to connect with true love at least once in my life. This man, who has had his own heartaches in life, is kind to a default. He is devoted to me, his wife.

He loves me when sometimes I’m crabby and unlovable. He can make me laugh over silly happenings and is a truly good man.

I found what my heart wanted all along. To love and be loved. The journey to this point was full of heart break. The journey here has been worth it.

Let’s Have a Conversation:

Can you relate to this story? Have you had your heart burned and hurt so much it’s broken? Have you given up on love and marriage? If you have been brave and married again, how is it going?

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I can relate to the 2 failed marriages but I haven’t tried for number 3. My first marriage lasted 27 years and we have 2 daughters. My second marriage was on the rebound with my high school sweetheart. It only lasted 2 years and turned out that he wasn’t who I thought he would be. After these 2 marriages I don’t know if I can trust myself or anyone else to open my heart and love again.
I enjoyed your article and plan to read your book.

Linda Ward

Thanks Jan. It’s a choice to not open up for love again, and only you can make that choice. Sometimes being single is a perfect choice!

Gaye Snyder

This is my story, nearly word for word. The only difference is I lost my beloved husband less than three months ago. Not until him did I ever feel loved.

Linda Ward

Hi Gaye, Im sorry that you lost your husband so recently. I hope you can find much joy in memories of the love you shared. L.


I can definitely relate but I quit trying after 2 abusive marriages. Afraid to try again and get it wrong.

Linda Ward

Hi Judy, it’s a gamble to trust again…and yes, it could go wrong. But then again, it could go right. Follow your heart, and enjoy life whatever your choice is…single or attached. 💙


This article was very timely for me and resonated with me on many levels.


I can totally relate. I was married to a passover aggressive narcissist. Therapists words. He cheated and got remarried. I don’t trust very .uch after that. I thought I finally found the guy of my dreams but the whole time he was cheating with his ex.And coming around me. I was so crazy about him I allowed thi ridiculous behavior. Maybe because I waS lonely. I finally told him several times I was done. He of course didn’t believe me. So I started dating someone else. He seems to only want sex. I know this isn’t what I want I told him that also. He doesn’t want a relationship. I just want a companion. I don’t think I’ll stay but I’m wondering if we can at least be friends? I give people way to many chances and I think this might be another example

Linda Ward

Sounds like love has brought a lot of pain. I understand completely. Please consider talking with a coach or therapist regarding the current relationship–him only wanting sex while you want companionship. A coach will help you with your question of giving too many chances to men and finding true happiness with or without a relationship.

Elisabeth Hazlett

Hi Susan, thank you for sharing your story. Though not easy (because setting boundaries usually is not), you may want to stop interacting with this person. It sounds like he values himself only. You deserve more than crumbs. It’s not always an easy lesson to learn. (Been there, doing that.) Best wishes!

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The Author

Linda Ward is a Writer and Life Coach living in Minnesota. She specializes in helping mature women find everyday happiness and a satisfying life. She zeroes in on life after divorce, retirement transitions, and finding courage no matter what the circumstances. Her inspiring new eBook is called, Crazy Simple Steps to Feeling Happier. Linda’s Professional background is Social Work and Counseling.

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