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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
There Are Other Fish in the Sea. When you are giving advice which do you believe is true? That there is more than one "love" of a life and that when you divorce you are opening yourself up to healthier relationships, or do you primarily think that relationships outside a marraige only look good but reality is much different.

The high divorce rate of second and third marriages (The High Failure Rate of Second and Third Marriages | Psychology Today) seem to suggest that as much as we'd like to believe that there is someone out there who is "better" than our spouse it is patently false.

What are your thoughts and what is your criteria for advising someone one way or the other? Personal stories welcome to get a feel for the poster. Also what are your thoughts on "just being alone" for a while? The article above also suggests that children are a stabilizing force in marriages. When is it better for the kids to get out of the marriage and when is it better to show them how to work through tough times?
 

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This is a tough question and you will get many different answers that will appear to conflict with one another.

Taking religion out of the debate for the sake of this discussion.

Here is what I have found in my short time upon the earth (37 year old male, active duty military for 17 years)

1. The grass is NEVER greener on the other side. I have HUNDREDS of stories from my time in the military watching countless sailors ditch their spouses for others, only for it to be a disaster.
2. There is no such thing as "love of your life". Any person can fill this role. It all depends on the people involved.

I personally don't believe in divorce unless adultery has taken place.

There are two things that kill most marriages:

1. Selfishness
2. Expectations

The root of all evil in marriages derives from those two sources in one form or another.

Most 2nd and 3rd marriages fail because the 1st marriage wasn't ended properly and the baggage was just carried in to subsequent relationships and the person never worked on themselves to address why the 1st marriage failed. Also, once you have been married and divorced you are "damaged goods". You have shown, even though that it may not have been your desire to get divorced, that you cannot carry through a commitment. Futures spouses will see this as a green light to hit the exit button easier.

Children are not stabilizing factors in most marriages. Often children are just pawns and meal tickets to get a better divorce settlement. These are the innocent victims of our American adversarial divorce process. You will find that people who "stay for the kids" are more miserable than those who pull the plug.
 

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The older I get, the more I realize that in life in general, not only is the grass not as green as it looks, sometimes it isn't even grass.

I've only been married this one time, so I have no direct comparisons to make, but I'm sure that if I decided to trade up to the next model year, all I'd do is gain a new and different set of issues.
 

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I think grass always looks greener on the other side until you are standing on it and then you realize its the same grass that you were standing in, only you werent nurturing and caring for your own grass!
 

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There Are Other Fish in the Sea. When you are giving advice which do you believe is true? That there is more than one "love" of a life and that when you divorce you are opening yourself up to healthier relationships, or do you primarily think that relationships outside a marraige only look good but reality is much different.

The high divorce rate of second and third marriages (The High Failure Rate of Second and Third Marriages | Psychology Today) seem to suggest that as much as we'd like to believe that there is someone out there who is "better" than our spouse it is patently false.

What are your thoughts and what is your criteria for advising someone one way or the other? Personal stories welcome to get a feel for the poster. Also what are your thoughts on "just being alone" for a while? The article above also suggests that children are a stabilizing force in marriages. When is it better for the kids to get out of the marriage and when is it better to show them how to work through tough times?
I wouldn't ever divorce - nor encourage another person to divorce (male or female) - because they/I had found a new person who they/I believe is their soul mate/love of their life. I would encourage them to stick it out with their present spouse, especially where there are children. For me, I am not looking for a new man, and never will, even if my husband divorced me/died. I will never marry again. Period.

Where there is abuse in the marriage, I would tell the abused spouse (m/f) to get out, and get clear, and spend some time alone and get some counseling and fully heal before remarrying. In the case of adultery, the cheated upon spouse should do the same. (I don't really care too much what the cheater does to suit him/herself. They made their bed .. etc.)

I am in a second marriage that defies those odds btw. We have been married 13 years, together for almost 14 years. Our first marriages were considerably shorter than our second marriage. We are pretty solid, even though we are far from perfect. We also have a blended family and have raised one to adulthood, and the other two not far behind, with no glitches so far. Is it easy? Uh, no - but then nothing worth having ever is. :)

We both divorced first spouses for adultery, btw. We did not meet until after our divorces, so we did not break up each other's homes/families. I would hate to be responsible for that, and I am glad to say I never will be in that role. :) That's really all there is to it, imo: you say your vows, and you resolve that you won't cheat.

Cheaters suck.

Just had to get that out of my system.
 

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I didn't answer all of your questions. My mother was one who 'stayed for the sake of the kids'. I can't say I appreciated it. My dad was violent and abusive. Because she stayed for me and my siblings, I got to see my dad knock her down. I didn't need to see that. Living with my dad - who was also emotionally absent - really warped my view of men, and I screwed up a lot in the bf's I chose - "looking for love in all the wrong places" and all that. In retrospect, although I know my mum did what she did out of love for the kids, I wish she hadn't. It's one of the reasons that I encouraged a friend of mine to leave her abusive husband (she did), because her daughters were seeing it, and I would have hated them to turn into the kind of person I was in my late teens/20s, because it really f-d me up.

Another point I missed before - between my exh and second husband, I was alone for 2 years. I had some flirations, but I truly thought I would not marry again. I was mid-30s and it didn't seem like I would ever trust a man again, nor open up to one. Then I met my h, and that all changed. I was very, very fortunate in so many ways. I got the family I had always wanted (his 2, and then our 1), and literally my whole life changed. I mean, it really did. LOL. But that time alone, it helped me a lot to reflect on how many mistakes I had made, and not to fall back into another bad relationship. Time alone is good imo.
 

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I am in my second marriage....

I believe I took the time to assess my contributions/behaviors that led to that dissolution.

However, that doesn't mean that I don't have to do my work in my current marriage. I don't know if you've ever read anything by Dr. Harley, but I believe in the directional sense of being a 'buyer' when it comes to relationships.

My ex- husband was, unfortunately a renter.

Both of the adages are based on relativity to the situation you currently find yourself in. Most people asking that question are most likely not in a good place at the time.

Is the grass greener for me? Yes- but with the caveat that I love my husband in my thoughts, words, and actions. I need to do my work.

Do we have issues to discuss- of course! Do I screw up some times? Does he? Yes. But we CHOOSE to make amends...to do the next right thing...

When I found myself single again, I was surprised by all the other fish in the sea...

But the key is doing the work (in yourself as well as in the relationships you develop) to have the discernment on which fish is a keeper.
 

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The grass is only greener where you water it. I have several friends in unhappy marriages. Some have cheated, some cheated on and all constantly focus on the negative i encourage all of them to focus on the positive and work on their marriages. At least if it ends you will know you did everything you could to fix it.
 

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We have so many smart wise posters here.I think people, who leave for another are in lust not love.This wont help a relationship survive.I think so many
people forget that there's no perfect person.Making a marriage work is give and take.I think one big factor is,time never stands still,things change.

We only wish it would and then we could always go back to
each fun time weve had with that other mate.I don't think many people have a realistic view of real life.Getting older is not always
easy to accept.If I only had a time machine,to pop back when I
was 20yrs old.lol
 

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There Are Other Fish in the Sea. When you are giving advice which do you believe is true? That there is more than one "love" of a life and that when you divorce you are opening yourself up to healthier relationships, or do you primarily think that relationships outside a marraige only look good but reality is much different.

The high divorce rate of second and third marriages (The High Failure Rate of Second and Third Marriages | Psychology Today) seem to suggest that as much as we'd like to believe that there is someone out there who is "better" than our spouse it is patently false.

What are your thoughts and what is your criteria for advising someone one way or the other? Personal stories welcome to get a feel for the poster. Also what are your thoughts on "just being alone" for a while? The article above also suggests that children are a stabilizing force in marriages. When is it better for the kids to get out of the marriage and when is it better to show them how to work through tough times?
when there is a "grass is greener" conversation. I always give the advice that, "if that lawn looks so green and full of rainbows, flowers, and sunshine, chances are that you should stop looking and water your own grass and plant your own flowers", speech.

I am a believer that one can accomplish much if one simply stop coveting what they desire in what they see in someone else's yard (so to speak) and simply create what they are after in their own "yard".

I do believe that most people that have the grass is greener or more fish in the sea attitude towards life and relationships are fooling them selves and have little knowledge that they are in control of their cognitive out look on life and have the power to make their own life the one they desire.

I am not one to suggest divorce unless the circumstances are dire and it is the safest option. I also believe that if one had tried everything to make a relationship work and still have no desired effects then there is at least the chance that they will find that partner out there that is willing to work as hard if not harder. It is not a matter of some one out there being "better" than the current spouse but there is a chance there is someone out there "willing" to try.

But like I said I am the supporter of working things out and not the believer that the grass is greener. Just think more people should try to water their own lawn and hopefully there "better half" will come around and help keep the yard weeded and watered.
 

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I feel if a couple jumps too soon, too quick and finds they are both decent people but terribly incompatible... that YES... the GRASS can be much greener ... The younger you are.. the more you have going for you, the better off you may be..with age comes so many people with emotional baggage/ betrayal...so many vow to never go down the marital road again, vulnerability is off limits, not worth the risk.

I never questioned the grass in my own marriage... I do not believe I could find a man who loves me as much as my husband.

But my mother & Father were a match made in hell... and frankly, I smiled during that divorce, I remember a lot of fights.... my dad went on to marry her best friend... they were so on the same page/wavelength, they fit like a GLOVE... even though I didn't care for her too much back then.

Yeah... it happens, nothing could have stopped them getting together. I was a casualty of that... but still ... I seen it was FOR THE BEST... better for 2 people to go on & find lasting love & happiness, than 4 people say in dead apathetic un-compatible marriages, children grow up with the idea Marriage is UGLY -when Mom & Dad doesn't talk, laugh, show a playful enjoyment of each other.. This is also no good.

That is just my view.
 

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I believe your question to be good, but your conclusion to be flawed. I don't believe that there is only one person in the world that I can love. There are over 7 billion people in the world and I won't meet most of them, so if only one person of my generation was meant for me then chances are I would never even meet them. Same is true if you confine it to the US. I don't know how many people that I have met, but probably not 300 million, which is the US population. I would venture to say that I could find many people who could be a good match. So the conclusion is flawed.

However, your point is better made in the question "is the grass greener?". All successful relationships are built on the premise that the relationship has to mean more to you that your own personal desires. We all have good days and bad days, but we have to be willing to be flexible in a relationship. The Marine Corps motto is Semper Fidelis (always faithful), but in marriage you have to not only be faithful, but you also have to be flexible (Semper Gumby).

The core of your argument is valid and what people need to understand. People are way to quick to jump on an emotion and discard a relationship that is fixable, IF, they will put their egos aside and work as hard to fix it as they are to complain. Don't get me wrong, there are times to cut your losses. No person should live through an abusive relationship, physically or mentally. Most everything else can be repaired if the offender is contrite and the offended is emotionally capable of moving onward. In my case, while I was the offended party, you can't heal it by yourself, it takes two people. My second marriage was much more successful and I contribute this mainly to a change in my selection criteria.

When we are young we believe the Harlequin romance view or love, which is unfortunately fiction. The chances of you having that same butterfly feeling every time you see this person is unrealistic. Too many people think that stimulus is love and when it fades that they are no longer in love. Love is much more than that and can last us a lifetime. Too many people are quick to throw the relationship away. They fail to realize that they have a major contribution to the failure of the marriage. You can get rid of your spouse, but unless you fix your shortcomings, it is to no avail as you will just repeat them in the next relationship.
 

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I think we are all human with human shortcomings and that people often jump from the frying pan into the fire when they assume they are "trading up". The children- the literal "one flesh" products of the marriage- are the ones that are "rent asunder" by divorce.

I'm glad my husband never sought out advice or support from someplace like TAM because the typical "flirt with other women" advice around here to men in struggling marriages would certainly have been the end of our marriage!
 

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Lots of good and interesting questions. My initial thoughts without looking at anyone else’s answers:

I don’t think the Grass is Always Greener, even if it appears to be. Real life makes marriage tough. It is work, and the fantasy of others can take away the motivation to do that work.

That being said, I don’t think there is a single love for my life. I believe this not because there is someone out there that is necessarily better for me than my spouse, but because to think that leads to laziness. Marriage is work. Keeping those feelings alive is work. Life and kids and work, and in-laws, and school and life all get in the way after you marry. If you think your spouse is your soulmate, it becomes easier to not do the hard work needed to keep things good.

I think there is value in being alone for a time, including living on your own. Some don’t need it, but I think most gain valuable lessons in learning to be happy on their own.

Kids are a tough one. I teach my kids so much through my actions, not just my words. Teaching them to work through problems is a valuable lesson. But when the actions of a spouse are consistently teaching disrespect, I think staying for the kids becomes harmful. The danger of teaching a child the wrong way to have a relationship is too great, but I recognize others disagree.
 

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I think there's no easy answer. It just depends on each couple. I know some people who are fantastically happy in their second marriages, in a way they never were in their first. And these are long-term, 30+ year second marriages. Of course, they have their problems like any other couple, but for them definitely the grass was greener.

I'm trying to think of people who have divorced and regretted it. I can only think of two couples I know, both with guys who left their wives for mistresses. Wives didn't want the divorces. One wishes it hadn't happened, but the other is happier with a new guy (her husband was a huge ass anyway. I say that objectively, I've known them for years). He's not happier now though!

So, yeah, I dunno. If there was an easy rule, life would be easier. But I don't think there is.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I am in my second marriage....

I believe I took the time to assess my contributions/behaviors that led to that dissolution.

However, that doesn't mean that I don't have to do my work in my current marriage. I don't know if you've ever read anything by Dr. Harley, but I believe in the directional sense of being a 'buyer' when it comes to relationships.

My ex- husband was, unfortunately a renter.

Both of the adages are based on relativity to the situation you currently find yourself in. Most people asking that question are most likely not in a good place at the time.

Is the grass greener for me? Yes- but with the caveat that I love my husband in my thoughts, words, and actions. I need to do my work.

Do we have issues to discuss- of course! Do I screw up some times? Does he? Yes. But we CHOOSE to make amends...to do the next right thing...

When I found myself single again, I was surprised by all the other fish in the sea...

But the key is doing the work (in yourself as well as in the relationships you develop) to have the discernment on which fish is a keeper.
The bolded part of your post really interested me. When you were single you were surprised by the number of fish in the sea. But I take it that the thought of there being other fish wasn't part of your thought process before?

I feel if a couple jumps too soon, too quick and finds they are both decent people but terribly incompatible... that YES... the GRASS can be much greener ... The younger you are.. the more you have going for you, the better off you may be..with age comes so many people with emotional baggage/ betrayal...so many vow to never go down the marital road again, vulnerability is off limits, not worth the risk.

I never questioned the grass in my own marriage... I do not believe I could find a man who loves me as much as my husband.

But my mother & Father were a match made in hell... and frankly, I smiled during that divorce, I remember a lot of fights.... my dad went on to marry her best friend... they were so on the same page/wavelength, they fit like a GLOVE... even though I didn't care for her too much back then.

Yeah... it happens, nothing could have stopped them getting together. I was a casualty of that... but still ... I seen it was FOR THE BEST... better for 2 people to go on & find lasting love & happiness, than 4 people say in dead apathetic un-compatible marriages, children grow up with the idea Marriage is UGLY -when Mom & Dad doesn't talk, laugh, show a playful enjoyment of each other.. This is also no good.

That is just my view.
It is true that often times this happens, especially when you are young, that you are simply incompatible...but I also think that because the "love" feelings of the young (i.e. intensely passionate) mean that alot of damage is done before they come to a place of mutual understanding that they aren't meant to be.

I believe your question to be good, but your conclusion to be flawed. I don't believe that there is only one person in the world that I can love. There are over 7 billion people in the world and I won't meet most of them, so if only one person of my generation was meant for me then chances are I would never even meet them. Same is true if you confine it to the US. I don't know how many people that I have met, but probably not 300 million, which is the US population. I would venture to say that I could find many people who could be a good match. So the conclusion is flawed.

However, your point is better made in the question "is the grass greener?". All successful relationships are built on the premise that the relationship has to mean more to you that your own personal desires. We all have good days and bad days, but we have to be willing to be flexible in a relationship. The Marine Corps motto is Semper Fidelis (always faithful), but in marriage you have to not only be faithful, but you also have to be flexible (Semper Gumby).

The core of your argument is valid and what people need to understand. People are way to quick to jump on an emotion and discard a relationship that is fixable, IF, they will put their egos aside and work as hard to fix it as they are to complain. Don't get me wrong, there are times to cut your losses. No person should live through an abusive relationship, physically or mentally. Most everything else can be repaired if the offender is contrite and the offended is emotionally capable of moving onward. In my case, while I was the offended party, you can't heal it by yourself, it takes two people. My second marriage was much more successful and I contribute this mainly to a change in my selection criteria.

When we are young we believe the Harlequin romance view or love, which is unfortunately fiction. The chances of you having that same butterfly feeling every time you see this person is unrealistic. Too many people think that stimulus is love and when it fades that they are no longer in love. Love is much more than that and can last us a lifetime. Too many people are quick to throw the relationship away. They fail to realize that they have a major contribution to the failure of the marriage. You can get rid of your spouse, but unless you fix your shortcomings, it is to no avail as you will just repeat them in the next relationship.
I don't know what conclusion I was trying to draw really, except to say that I think people often confuse "other fish in the sea" with "greener pastures". I think we all know that what you say is true. There are many other people we could be compatible with, but the actuality of finding those people (who often have their own baggage to deal with) is quite difficult. I have seen friends and family (even myself!) say that other people would be lucky to have me or would accept me the way that I am. But really is that true or accurate?

I think we are all human with human shortcomings and that people often jump from the frying pan into the fire when they assume they are "trading up". The children- the literal "one flesh" products of the marriage- are the ones that are "rent asunder" by divorce.
I'm glad my husband never sought out advice or support from someplace like TAM because the typical "flirt with other women" advice around here to men in struggling marriages would certainly have been the end of our marriage!
I agree with you but I am not just talking about EA or PAs with someone other than your significant other. I also mean how we talk ourselves into an "I deserve better" mentality and assume that the spouse is incapable of giving it to us and further that we will be lucky enough to find that mysterious person.

Lots of good and interesting questions. My initial thoughts without looking at anyone else’s answers:

I don’t think the Grass is Always Greener, even if it appears to be. Real life makes marriage tough. It is work, and the fantasy of others can take away the motivation to do that work.

That being said, I don’t think there is a single love for my life. I believe this not because there is someone out there that is necessarily better for me than my spouse, but because to think that leads to laziness. Marriage is work. Keeping those feelings alive is work. Life and kids and work, and in-laws, and school and life all get in the way after you marry. If you think your spouse is your soulmate, it becomes easier to not do the hard work needed to keep things good.
I think there is value in being alone for a time, including living on your own. Some don’t need it, but I think most gain valuable lessons in learning to be happy on their own.

Kids are a tough one. I teach my kids so much through my actions, not just my words. Teaching them to work through problems is a valuable lesson. But when the actions of a spouse are consistently teaching disrespect, I think staying for the kids becomes harmful. The danger of teaching a child the wrong way to have a relationship is too great, but I recognize others disagree.
Ooooh to the bolded. That is really a new way to approach it. I think I might have to chew on those words before I respond at length.
 

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There Are Other Fish in the Sea. When you are giving advice which do you believe is true? That there is more than one "love" of a life and that when you divorce you are opening yourself up to healthier relationships, or do you primarily think that relationships outside a marraige only look good but reality is much different.

The high divorce rate of second and third marriages (The High Failure Rate of Second and Third Marriages | Psychology Today) seem to suggest that as much as we'd like to believe that there is someone out there who is "better" than our spouse it is patently false.

What are your thoughts and what is your criteria for advising someone one way or the other? Personal stories welcome to get a feel for the poster. Also what are your thoughts on "just being alone" for a while? The article above also suggests that children are a stabilizing force in marriages. When is it better for the kids to get out of the marriage and when is it better to show them how to work through tough times?
The high rate of divorce in second or subsequent marriages is not because there are not better people out there. it is because those that are entering it do so without first learning the lessons from their first marriage. Not taking responsibility for their divorce and the big one is not learning how to blend families together successfully.

People often rush into new relationships, intro kids way too soon and generally do little in the way of planning how to do this.

As for more fish in the sea or grass being greener I can say from personal experience that both of these sayings are true in my life.
Was in a LTR, divorced and did a huge amount of introspection. Met Mr Wonderful and he is by far a much better match for me than my ex (who is still my friend and amicable).
 

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There are plenty of fish in the sea. But none of them are going to fill you up if you have a hole in your gut.

I think the high rate of 2nd and 3rd divorces is probably due to too many people jumping into marriage again before getting right with themselves. Finding someone else to "make" them whole.

Make sure that's water you're pouring and not vinegar.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by AWorkInProgress
I am in my second marriage....

I believe I took the time to assess my contributions/behaviors that led to that dissolution.

However, that doesn't mean that I don't have to do my work in my current marriage. I don't know if you've ever read anything by Dr. Harley, but I believe in the directional sense of being a 'buyer' when it comes to relationships.

My ex- husband was, unfortunately a renter.

Both of the adages are based on relativity to the situation you currently find yourself in. Most people asking that question are most likely not in a good place at the time.

Is the grass greener for me? Yes- but with the caveat that I love my husband in my thoughts, words, and actions. I need to do my work.

Do we have issues to discuss- of course! Do I screw up some times? Does he? Yes. But we CHOOSE to make amends...to do the next right thing...

When I found myself single again, I was surprised by all the other fish in the sea...

But the key is doing the work (in yourself as well as in the relationships you develop) to have the discernment on which fish is a keeper.

Response form Fledgling:
The bolded part of your post really interested me. When you were single you were surprised by the number of fish in the sea. But I take it that the thought of there being other fish wasn't part of your thought process before?



My first marriage lasted for over 14 years. I hadn't had a line in the water since my college days.
 
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