Getting Through a Starter Marriage

Starting Over in Love

At this point, society should consider doing away with the “till death do we part” line in wedding vows. This phrase indicates that one should remain in a hopeless marriage out of obligation, not love. Nowadays, this vow is often broken since 50% of first marriages end in divorce. Instead, our wedding vows should state “in hopes that our love stays strong and we never part” or a similar statement. So many marriages end in divorce that we now refer to someone’s first marriage as their “starter marriage” or “practice marriage,” indicating there will be a second and, perhaps, a third union. If you are one of these divorcees of a starter marriage, you may be wondering how you get through it and what your next steps should be?! To make it as easy as possible, here is what you can try to do to move on with your life and learn from your first marriage:

1. Separate Everything

Leave with no strings attached to your ex. You must separate all assets physically to even begin to break your emotional ties as well. Make sure you have divided the following accounts and items fairly:

• Bank Accounts
• Investment Accounts
• Vehicle Titles
• Mortgage/Rental Property
• Furniture
• Pets

2. Share Your New Identity

Let everyone know that you are divorced and, thus, single now so that your identity is not as a married person still. This will help you move on socially.

• Notify your work and/or school about your newly unmarried status.
• Notify the insurance companies and banks as well.
• Post your status on Facebook.
• Tell all your friends and family.

3. Reflect and Get Therapy

Talk to a professional about this life-changing experience. Make sure to reflect on these aspects of your marriage honestly:

• Why it ended
• What did you do (or what could you have done) to prevent a divorce
• Why you got married in the first place
• How you won’t repeat the same mistakes in future relationships
• List what you desire from a new partner. Then, list what you will give to a new partner.

4. Relieve Stress

No matter how easy/difficult or long/short the divorce process, you will likely experience intense stress. Take out your tension in a productive, positive way:

• Go to the gym regularly
• Swim in a pool or soak in a Jacuzzi often
• Walk/jog around your neighborhood
• Get regular massages, acupuncture treatments, manicures, etc.
• Draw, paint, crochet, knit or try another relaxing pastime
• Play a sport
• Go on a trip out of town to get away.

5. Move Out and Move On

Let go of your first marriage completely so you can start your next relationship with a healthy beginning. It doesn’t matter if you were dumped or if you initiated the breakup, stop living in the past and start looking towards your future:

• Put old wedding photos and mementos in storage
• Move or redesign your home so it feels new
• Un-friend your ex and his family/friends on Facebook
• Get a makeover so you can look physically refreshed
• Update your wardrobe
• Start dating again!

6. Get Remarried

If/when you reach this step, do not rush it. Make sure you know this person is “the one” without a doubt—live together first, travel together first, make love first, share a credit card or bank account first. Basically, do all the things a married couple will do to make sure you are compatible as living partners before you invest in another marriage. Though divorce is always an option, it is a painful and expensive one that can be avoided if you get to know your lover over time before tying the knot.

Ideally before getting married, one should “sow their wild oats,” date different kinds of people, finish their education, and travel before settling down. When one or more of these things are not done, first marriages are more likely to end. Younger couples often divorce because they do not know themselves or their partners well enough before getting married. So, try not be in a rush to get married because the older you are and the longer you wait to get married, the more likely the marriage will last forever.

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