I really needed a do-over too.

I was married to my first husband for about 20 years. We had three kids. And by the time the marriage ended, I had already moved on emotionally, as many women do. When we split, I was hopeful and giddy about meeting a great guy.

Then I started dating. And it was an immediate disaster. I fell for a guy really hard. I was convinced he was “the one” I’d been looking for after all my years of loneliness. We hung out for months. He was funny, smart, gorgeous, and great to talk to. One night I asked if we were officially dating. That was apparently the wrong question. He ghosted me. And I went into full-on sobbing mode. And then I had a heart attack. I was only 42.

Fast forward a few years. I ran into another beautiful man at a class reunion. He told me how he’d had a crush on me all through high school. So we started hanging out too. I traveled three hours to see him (he never offered to come to see me). At lunch one day he mentioned “his girlfriend.”

Seriously. I almost shit myself. That was the end of that.

Needless to say, I made lots of mistakes while I was dating.

But not the worst mistake. That debacle was yet to come.

I went on a Match.com date with a guy who I thought was great. Within a few months, he was talking marriage. It was a fun whirlwind of a romance. After 11 months of dating, we got married.

We were happy for about six months. It started to fall apart when he started stalking me on Facebook. He got super pissed when I commented on a male friend’s posts. He was convinced I was “a disrespectful wife” when I went out in mixed groups of men and women while he was out-of-town. And once, when I had a pic taken with a famous country singing duo, he accused me of “celebrity humping.”

My DO-OVER looks like this!

Happy Family

My second marriage ended like this.

Wedding portait in trash

Needless to say, there was a big problem with insecurity and jealousy.

We also had loads of fights about beer. He lied about how much he drank. It got to the point where I was counting empties in the recycling bin. I went to Al Anon and thought I could save the marriage by letting him do his thing while I did mine.

And that’s when he left. Yes, he left me. After 18 months of marriage.

 

He left the day I quit my job. His intention was to screw me over as much as possible - he knew he was going to leave but didn’t tell me until after I’d quit. And then I lost my house and most of my worldly possessions.

All at once, it was the end of a marriage, the sale of the home I’d been in for 11 years with my kids, and freakouts about money, my career, and where I could afford to live.

He left right before Christmas.

I spent the next year crying. I went to therapy. I went to divorce support groups.

And then I found out he’d been cheating on me. That was the final nail in the coffin. I finally understood why he was so suspicious of me. He simply projected his bad behavior onto me. He knew he was cheating, so he assumed I was too.

So, after that discovery of betrayal, I cried some more.

And by the time I discovered his cheating, time had passed and I was in a new relationship with a man I’d met on Match.com.

I thought he was wonderful.

But the first few years of dating were very rough because we each brought emotional baggage to the relationship.

Although it was tough, we stuck it out. Now, we say how grateful we are that we each did our internal work. We were both willing to examine our issues while we continued to date.

 

It felt like a roller coaster - exhilaration, anxiety, smiles, tears, horrible worries, and wonderful plans for the future.

There were many days I didn’t know if I could handle the anxiety. My PTSD was being triggered constantly. If he commented about the looks of another woman, I was convinced he was also a cheating liar.

 

If he went out-of-town, I was convinced he’d do something inappropriate with another woman. And when we went to the beach together I was certain he was spending all day checking out hot chicks in bikinis.

It sucked. And I knew I could not keep stewing in horrible emotions. Being an anxious mess was not part of the plan.

I knew long-lasting love with a new best friend was my goal.

But I wasn’t able to get what I wanted until I changed some things.

So I did things differently in my new relationship, even as I was dealing with PTSD and triggers. And now I do have long-lasting love and a new best friend. I’m happier in a relationship than I have ever been.

 

And you can get there too.

The only thing you don’t have yet are certain skills. And you can learn them.

That’s why I created my program, “Love After Divorce.” I help people get what I have now without making the same mistakes I did!

Find out more on the “coaching”page.

Relationship coach

about
Dawn Ziegerer