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I got married when I was 25 to a man I thought the world of and whom I was deeply in love with.

Shortly after we were married, he became abusive and very neglectful. I put up with it (making all the usual excuses) until one very bad incident of physical abuse (after two years of marriage) when I realized very quickly I had to get out.

The divorce is done and I'm free of him. However, the guilt and shame follow me like a disease. I thought these feelings would go away after a while. I tried everything I could to save that marriage, but it was doomed. I gave up on ever being valued or loved, I gave up on children because I couldn't bring them into that lifestyle, travelling, everything and I would've stayed if he hadn't become violent - that's how much I valued my marriage and vows. I'm angry with myself for not seeing the signs and getting away from him before we got married.

Now, I've met a fabulous man, who loves me and treats me well. He knows of my past, and he has never been married. He wants to propose to me - even wanted me to look at rings so that he knew what I liked. I love him so much, but I'm so scared of making a mistake again. I can't be twice divorced.

I also feel like a big fraud - how can I have a wedding and wear a wedding dress and profess my love to someone when I've already done it and it failed so miserably?
 

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Where is all your guilt coming from? It's natural to feel disappointed and even devestated when a marriage fails, but you left your abusive marriage in order to survive, yet you sound like you are filled with shame and guilt.

You also say you feel like a fraud and that you "can't be twice divorced". I would work with a therapist (psychologist) BEFORE you get engaged to figure out why you are so self-judgemental. Maybe your parents were critical. Maybe you are a perfectionist or black and white thinker. Whatever is making you feel so down on yourself, you need to work it out before you tie the knot again.

When you learn self-compassion, you see things more realistically and clearly. People don't make the best decisions when they are operating out of fear, guilt, shame, and self-loathing. When you are in a better place, you can then figure out if Mr. Wonderful is truly wonderful.
 

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Gracie:

You need to get a more mature attitude about life. You have black and white thinking about marriage, and life is full of grays.

Good for you for getting out of an abusive marriage. Take what you learned about yourself, and love this man totally! Just because this is your second marriage does not mean that you are damaged goods with no right to a happy life.

My first marriage (I was convinced that he was my one and only soul mate) lasted for 3 years, and my current marriage is now going on 34 years. Thank goodness my husband did not judge me for being married before. Love this man with all your heart, make him feel special, and your marriage will last the rest of your life.

There is no such thing as a single soul mate. If you two love each other, you will become soul mates through meeting each other's needs. Your souls will become entwined by facing the trials of life together.
 

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Gracie:

This is very hard I know. You need to talk to your new man about your feelings of doubt. Not in him. In yourself. Look deep down. Do you feel you deserved this treatment? Do you feel you could have changed ("helped" is sometimes the word abused women use) him? Do you feel you "gave up" on him? These are all common feelings and you would do yourself a world of good with therapy or a strong support system to help you move on. Obviously this is something you are still dealing with. Give yourself the time you deserve but be open and honest with your new partner. You may find that expressing this fear to him will allow him the chance to reassure you and in turn make you more comfortable with the relationship and the next step.

Best of luck to you.
 
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