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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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Toni Stritzke

Me to a tee!
I was single for 15 years after my cheating, abusive husband walked out.
Those 15 years were the best thing that ever happened to me.
Yes, I was hard up, and lonely at times but I learned to look after myself and build a successful life alone.
And! I learned that alone is okay. Not the big horror I’d always thought it to be.
Now I’ve been remarried for 12 years and he’s a good man. It’s worth it to keep an open mind about being part of a couple (with all the hard work that that entails) but know that you are fine on your own too!


That’s 53 years ago I married my husband. Sorry for the typo


I married the love of my life t3 years ago and he gets more wonderful daily. I am one of the lucky ones. I’ve been told my example made marriage look too easy. My daughter married young seeking what her father and I had…her first husband was addicted to cocaine…her second husband chose to come out of the closet after fathering my 3 beautiful grand children. She was in love with the idea of love and feels incomplete without a man. Fortunately number 3 is a winner! My granddaughter married 2 years ago and recently filed for divorce sharing the reality of being married to her abusive husband. It is so very sad that she can’t see herself as the prize in her life. She also feels incomplete without a man…says she’s in love with one guy today and another tomorrow. She tells me “this guy is different” and moons over him until the next one comes along. I don’t know how to help her see that, like the book from the 60’s…MEN ARE JUST DESSERT…and that SHE is the main course in ner life. Alas. I see such sorrow in her future!

Linda Ward

Dear Sarah,
It’s so hard to watch granddaughters make mistakes! I would recommend her to a life coach. She would receive guidance on how to find value in herself, and from that place to make better choices about men. As grandma’s we may not be able to work on these issues like a therapist or coach. Wishing her the best!


Oh my gosh! Your story is so much like mine. First marriage was 21 yrs when I finally found out he had been having multiple relationships with men. Devastated our family. I had 2 teenage boys on my own. I was in crisis and fell into a manipulative marriage just a couple years after the divorce. I attribute that bad decision to anti-depressants. He cheated on me as well so I left the marriage. Once on my own again (boys on their own) I dated a bit but was contacted by a fellow I knew in high school. He told me I was his great love and would never hurt me. Well, I was incredibly happy with this man and loved him deeply, until after being married 4.5 years, he told me he wanted a separation because he had fallen in love with a woman he met 5 months ago. All men thought I had no value and deserved nothing. I fought the last one for 50%. I didn’t get quite that much but enough to purchase a small condo for myself. I am not the least interested in dating. I am happy on my own. I could never trust a man again. The peace and quiet is wonderful, so is doing what I want when I want – I even travelled to Italy this past fall with 2 girlfriends and had so much fun.

Linda Ward

We do have similar stories! I’m so glad to read that you are happy on your own. Peace and quiet, joy and appreciation of life make everyday worth living!

Pauline chadwick

I relate totally to your story and husband no 3 for me is everything I could wish for ladies don’t stand for the crap get out you can live the life you deserve!

Linda Ward

You said it Pauline…don’t stand for being treated like crap. My wish for women is that they begin to know they are more than how they have been abused and treated in the past and that they find value in themselves. This brings courage to make good choices and joy in everyday living.

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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