I was in an abusive marriage for 8 years, and I have a real trust issue. I consider myself a really nice person: kind, romantic, and caring. I’ve been doing really badly out on the dating scene, though. I guess I come across as too needy, maybe too eager to please. How can I stop being too nice — and start picking nicer guys?
Dear Too Nice,
My first husband left me in 1985. He had financial problems, so he never gave me a penny; I took our two kids and we lived with my parents until I could get back on my feet. I eventually remarried, but things started going badly a couple of years ago: I got very sick, my husband lost his job, then he started gambling and he lost everything. I love him, but he shows no signs of changing. I know I should leave him, but my self-esteem is at an all-time low. Any advice?
How were you able to get over the anger and hurt of being left for another woman? My husband left me six months ago for a woman 15 years his junior, and I still can’t bear to talk to him. We were together for 10 years.
I am in a bitter divorce with a manipulative man who never showed much — if any — love for the 20 years we were married. He is controlling our finances to the point where I try to buy groceries for me and our two kids and my debit card is declined. I have a part-time job, but it doesn’t pay enough to cover basic necessities for the three of us; he earns over 100k a year. I have asked him not to draw our kids into our arguments, but he continues to do so. How can I protect my kids from our fights? Also, when they speak kindly of him, it’s like a knife in my heart; I’m starting to wonder why I’m fighting so hard for their rights if they’re going to take his side against me.
Don’t speak badly about your ex to your kids, no matter how tempting it may be to do so. They’re his kids too, and you will damage them and their relationship with their father if you bad-mouth him. Get your settlement, get your life back on track, start dating again if you want to. Eventually, both you and your kids will calm down after this huge upheaval, and all of you can get on with your lives. My motto: living well, being happy, and looking great is the best revenge!