Q. I have a friend who is 30 and planning to get married for the third time. She has two children by different fathers and she has only known this man a few months. I tried to talk to her about waiting to get to know him better before marrying again. Now she is mad at me. Any suggestions?
A. A great gift that we can give ourselves is taking time to get to know who we are and how life events may have created unresolved issues. The people we choose to marry will fill a need often based on childhood beliefs that have never been challenged to see if they still fit.
As long as we go from one relationship to another we don’t slow down long enough to think about why we would be in our third marriage at the age of 30 or fifth marriage at the age of 45. Relationships have an addictive quality and one that is difficult, but not impossible to recover from.
Codependency is a deeply-rooted, compulsive behavior. It is born out of our sometimes moderately, sometimes extremely dysfunctional family systems. We attempted to use others as our sole source of identity, value, well being, and as a way of trying to restore our emotional losses.
Its as if we grab a person, quickly call it a relationship, fall in love and life will be better. Its really difficult for life to be better when we are still the same person. Nothing has changed except the name of the new person. Your personal issues are the same and trust that the honeymoon will be over at some point and you are still with you.
The issue of hitting bottom is a reality for all addictive processes. At what point does marriage number 2, 3 or 5 get your attention. When does it feel like you are powerless over the need to have a relationship at any cost. Sometimes that cost is what you are doing to your children.
You are powerless over your friends behavior. She is the only one who can slow this train down and it may have to wreck to get her attention.
Vicki L Mayfield, M.Ed., R.N., LMFT Marriage and Family Therapy Oklahoma City
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