33 Things I Learned From Being Married 3 Times

Randy and I had our 17th wedding anniversary this year and I am thrilled that this marriage didn’t tank like the first two did.

I have learned a few things from my multiple marriages and now I would like to impart this wisdom to you.

Disclaimer: Please don’t read any of my blog posts and expect expert advice. I am not an expert. Just opinionated. Also, reading my blog posts have caused shortness of breath, temporary blindness, palpitations and the desire to throw mushy peas to a small group of people that I just made up.Β 

1. Some people will judge you if you’ve been married multiple times.

2. Fuck those people.

3. Not literally.

4. Unless you really want to. It’s not my business.

5. Ending a marriage doesn’t mean all your problems will disappear. The only problem that will be solved is being in a bad marriage.

6. You will probably lose some friends.

7. Two failed marriages doesn’t have to mean you’re bad at marriage.

8. Ending a relationship, even shitty ones, is painful.

9. You don’t have to explain to anyone why you feel bad about leaving a situation that you hated.

10. People will talk about your failed marriages behind your back.

11. Their opinions are not your business.

12. Staying in a bad marriage because you don’t want to look like a failure is kind of dumb.

13. By ‘kind of’ I mean ‘extremely’.

14. Your kids will be fine. Just love them and be there for them. They want you to be happy.

15. Being financially dependent on another person is an uncomfortable place to be if you have a rocky marriage.

16. Even a good marriage is not hearts and flowers and baby angels riding on unicorns every day.

17. Some days the heart stops beating, the flowers die, the baby angels grow fangs and the unicorn kicks you.

18. It’s okay to have days like that.

19. It’s not okay to have years like that.

20. You don’t have to be miserable all the time.

21. You deserve to be accepted for who you are.

22. Maybe in some cases, opposites do attract…but having common interests goes a long way toward a happy marriage.

23. Trust is king.

24. Knowing your spouse always has your back is royalty as well.

25. Laughing at shit that doesn’t matter eliminates at least half the fights.

26. Fighting fair is important. No using insecurities against each other. No pitting the kids against each other.

27. If you’re being a dick about somethingΒ (and we all know when we’re being dicks)Β then own up to it and say you’re sorry.

28. Don’t keep score. There’s no prize for that, other than resentment and heartache.

29. Recognize when you have to be the strong one and give your spouse a chance to wallow if they need it.

30. Don’t always try to be the strong one.

31. Respect each other’s boundaries.

32. Don’t get your panties wadded up over stupid shit. Accept that there will always be differences and learn to work around them.

33. Stop touching the thermostat, it’s perfect where it is.

So, there you have it. 33 things I learned from being a serial marryer. I just made up the word marryer. It’s valid.

I spent a lot of time being embarrassed by my Junior Elizabeth Taylor status, but I’ve decided to give that up. I am where I am. I get to claim my past without excuses or explanations. I’m of the opinion that if you want to judge a person’s life…perhaps you should open up all your closet doors as well.

It’s only fair.

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  • Well stated. My last relationship ended before it came to marriage and for that I am happy. Just remember, the third time is the charm and your hubs seems like a good guy from what I’ve gathered from this blog and Twitter.

    (In the future, all marriage counselors will have to understand blogs and Twitter)

  • This is fantastic. I’ve been kicked by a few unicorns lately, but overall I can’t complain. (Most of my problems are self-inflicted)

  • All of that is so true! I’m so glad you found each other, you two are obviously a great match. I don’t think I’ll ever be going for a marriage number 3 though. For the last two years and for the first time in my life, I’ve been living truly alone. Though initially it was horribly lonely, and still is at times, I’ve come to realise that I like my own space and doing what I please, when I please. I’ve never had that before.
    I can cook and eat what I want and don’t have to consider anyone else, I spent decades being my last husband’s personal chef and he behaved like a 2 year old if I didn’t cook what he wanted, which was invariable curry. I really don’t miss dealing with that!
    I love that my sleep is mostly undisturbed. After 15 years of sleep deprivation living with someone who snored like a pneumatic drill, being able to sleep is a joy I can’t describe. I really can’t say I want to share my sleeping space with anyone but my cat now!
    I suppose if Mr Wonderful appeared in my life I might change my mind, but somehow I doubt it. He’d have to be pretty amazing!

    • You know..this is a whole different topic..there is also nothing wrong with being single. At least I suspect as much. I haven’t been single since age 15.

      I am so glad to read this. I’m glad you’ve found a comfortable place to be. πŸ™‚

      • Yep, I guess it is really a whole new topic. It’s taken me a long time to find a little peace, but I have and I think that’s enough for now. The friend thing really rings true, haven’t seen or heard from most of them since the split, but that wasn’t terribly surprising to me. If they can be bought at a bar by my ex then they were never really friends in the first place.

        • Nope…they were not. That’s still a hard thing to have to face..it feels bad until you get your head around the fact that the defect is with THEM and not YOU.

  • Yes, and yes, and 31 more times yes. My beautiful sister has had three failed marriages. The fact that she sucks at picking men who will treat her the way she deserves to be treated is no reflection on her wonderfulness as a person. And as someone whose first marriage is coming to a close, thanks for the reassurance that I’m not making the worst mistake of my life by staying somewhere I no longer wish to be.

    • I think it’s simple, really. If you are unhappy more than you are happy then a change needs to be made. I’m sorry your sister has had it rough..it’s not easy. I mean, it’s really not easy and other people make it so much more hard. Support is what we all need..not judgment.

      Good luck on moving on. Things will even out before you know it. πŸ™‚

  • Looks like we have something in common. πŸ™‚ Being married three times says nothing about who you are as a person. Anyone who thinks it does isn’t worth the effort.

  • This is my favorite and oh-so-true:

    “6. You will probably lose some friends.”

    No matter how delicate you are, no matter how much you tiptoe around things, you will lose some friends. Some you will lose because they will take his/her side. Some you will lose because they feel divorce is just wrong. Some you will lose because they think you didn’t work hard enough. Some you will lose because the situation just becomes awkward. Be prepared, in other words.

    Great post.

    • Yeah, and it’s always a surprise who it will be..it’s hard to not take it personally, but you really shouldn’t…their problem, not yours.

      And Thank you!!!!

  • I love these, and they are so true–excellent advice for anyone, at any number of marriage(s)!

    You should be allowed to add a couple more letters after your MD. I think honorary degrees from the school of GUYS, I’VE DONE THIS A LOT, should totally be real. For example, I have pretty much earned a doctorate in the school of ‘dealing with high school drama”. My diploma got lost in the mail, though, so my girls refer to me as the High Priestess of High School Nonsense, which works pretty well. So, I’m Stef, HPHSN


    Kidding aside…I love your advice!

      • I know. I keep reminding myself that my personal Hard Knocks schooling someday will equal the Best Wisdom Ever. My kids are too young to believe it yet, but there are moments when they glimpse it. I live for those.

  • This is so unlike me (sincerity ahead!): I LOVE this list. I almost started crying, because so much of it is true. I was going to list my favorites, but so many are…I’ve only been married once (so far…) and divorced once (well…almost!) and I find the judgement from other people to be the hardest thing. You (along with many good friends, refer to #6, the friends who remain that is) make me feel good about myself after so many years of feeling bad. Thank you.

    • Wow..you are right..that really IS NOT like you…but that’s cool. I’m glad this made you feel a little better. People are judgmental fuck heads and should be disregarded. Except the ones that aren’t.

      I had a family member (mother’s sister) who I hadn’t seen in years. My son (16 now) was a baby and when we arrived at the family event, she completely ignored us. She didn’t even mention the baby. All because I got married. Again. I was never close to her, but it was really a hard smack to the face. That is one of many stories..and every time I was shocked and hurt by the behavior. I was still me.

      I have since ceased to care about that shit. I don’t need people like that to be a part of my life anyway.

  • Also married 3 times. But divorced 3 as well. Lots of truth in your list.

    I’ve discovered that I really like being single and most of my true friends accept that. There are others, though, that consider multiple divorces a personality flaw.

  • Thank you for that, it’s hilarious. And as words go, marryer is much more cheerful than matrimonist.

  • Well said! The last paragraph is particularly precise. lol. Love your writing, Michelle. I’ve been married once, hesitate to do it again, but who knows? Life is a funny thing and we never know what’s around the corner. I’m glad you’re with the right one and that you are loved for who you are because clearly, you’re a wonderful person. Peace

  • I loved this and I’m not even legally married, just with the same man for 7 years.

    Your honesty and openness is beautiful. And people who judge you suck, because you should be celebrating for identifying and leaving a bar situation, not remaning in one to save face. Fuck that.

  • We can open up my closet doors. Yarn will fall out. There’s a reason there’s a hashtag, “knittingischeaperthantherapy”.

    I think it would be lovely if people wouldn’t judge each other at all…..you seem very wise. πŸ™‚

    (and YAY for no captcha !)

  • Michelle, seriously — you had some great points and real truths in this post. My first marriage was relatively easy to leave — I mean, it truly fucked me up and I still don’t trust many people because of all the shit — but I never felt like I was doing the wrong thing by leaving because The Loser was such a….well, loser! But when you are married to a good guy — but just not the RIGHT guy — that puts a whole new, guilt-ridden layer of crap icing on the cake. Add money issues, age issues, fear of the unknown and judgmental parents and in-laws to the mix and it becomes nearly paralyzing. It gives me heartache and a headache.

    • I can’t even imagine. I left both marriages because they were horrible. My first husband forgot to stop dating and my second husband had the mask of a sweet, down to earth good guy..but when he took it off…wow. He’s dead now.

  • One of my students has been married 4 times. I asked her what she’d learned – she said
    “Husbands are disposable..”
    I’ve just got married to a man I’ve lived with for more than 20 years, it’s the paperwork thing, but we’re very much OK with this.. My 1st husband was 18 when I met him, and I was 17.. When I left him I was 35 and he was 18.


  • As a person with one failed marriage I could strongly relate to this list. Especially number 9, unfortunately I still feel the need to justify to people why I left.

    Will be working on that!

    Hope that the third ones the charm πŸ™‚

    – Jawa

  • I’m a serial marrier also and agree whole heartedly with your sage words of wisdom here. We’ve all lived through judgement and pain surrounding relationship baggage but I’ve always believed it’s that very thing that has made me do resilient, resourceful and helped to build my character! Judgers suck big hairy donkey balls. Life is FULL of misfortunes that TEACH us. I say that makes us wiser for it. Congrats on a successful #3!

  • Because I am usually late to the party (ok, and because I only became aware of your blog this morning), I wanted to comment on this post, as well…

    I, too, am on my third marriage. We celebrated our tenth anniversary last December. The first one lasted less than three years; the second just over thirteen.

    Thanks for posting this, because it makes me feel a whole lot less a freak. You further back up my theory that life is too short to be miserable. Congratulations on your 17th anniversary! πŸ˜€

    • I think we are more common than we know. It took me a while, but I decided it was just silly to feel embarrassed by my life. Personally, I think it’s freakish to stay in a marriage if you’re miserable…

      I’m glad you liked it!

  • I’m glad you found the one to make you happy. I found the one when I was 20 and nearly 29 yrs later – he still makes me happy – most of the time !!
    I have always said – if you unhappy more than 50% of the time – GET OUT !!! He makes me happy about 80-90% of the time so I can’t complain about that – now if he would just listen ……………….. LOL
    I think it takes a brave person to get out of a marriage that isn’t working – staying together for the kids is just an easy out not to do anything about the status quo. Bugger what anyone else says – they aren’t the ones living your life !!! It’s like people who say you should have a baby or another baby – are they going to pay for it or look after it – no they aren’t – so just shut up then !!!
    Well said – it’s a great list !
    Have the best day !

  • Well, good for you! I’m happy you found a keeper!

    My brother just got married for the 3rd time. I hope he’s learned those lessons too. I’m on my first marriage and don’t think I would want to do this all again if it never worked out πŸ™‚

    By the way, the thermostat is NOT fine where it is! πŸ™‚

  • I’ve been married three times myself and yes, spent plenty of time feeling ashamed of it and, like you, not anymore. It is what it is and I am who I am. This post had me laughing (especially 1 through 4) and nodding my head to every word. Loved it! Thanks!

  • Needed this one today, too. I’ve been married and divorced twice, and thought I was happily on my way to marriage number 3. We’ve had a few bad days; not sure if it’s okay to just throw away the relationship. I am at a loss right now, b/c I can’t make him want to work it out. But, yes, excellent advice!

  • Hey Michelle! I saw that you won the Boost Blog Traffic contest. So nice to see somebody I’m familiar with on that list. Congrats, you deserve it!

  • I could probably come up with something witty about decluttering my first husband, but I won’t!

    I’m the fourth wife of my second husband. We had some very serious conversations about why the first three didn’t take. Fortunately, he was honest about his part in the fails (“I’m an a$$hole.”). My problem with my first was picking out of desperation and insecurity — he picked me to piss off his dad.

    My first marriage legally lasted 12 years, but was really ended before we got to our 10th anniversary. I’ve been married the second time for over 18 years and the funny thing is that, while I can still remember vividly the times my first hurt, disrespected and violated trust, I can never seem to remember the stupid sh*t my current husband and I get pissed at each other about.

    That says something, doesn’t.

    • It really does. I know I am able to let go of stuff in this marriage that I wasn’t able to in my previous ones, but it’s because the marriage is strong and good. I feel very fortunate.

  • I love this list post,
    How encouraging, for where I was living in an unhappy marriage, was no escape for eighteen years, judgment would be banning you from any social status and you certainly would have no friends left.
    I did escape finally to another country where I live now and am happy and free. Wonderful post, never thought a list post could be like that.

  • I. Love. This! <– Says a second soon-to-be-divorcee. This will be shared on social media because it rocks. And because I love the mental finger flip. Good on ya, lady. <3

  • Been a long time! This is a great one. I’ll be doing my 3rd post on marriage soon, I’ll include a link to this, because I think it’s priceless! Still on my first, and I know better than to say never… so…

    Love your What not to wear over 50, less than 2 years, so, I ‘ll be sure get the wear out of my Bitterness before that πŸ˜‰

    If you’re think, who the hoot is this, the may ring the bell.

    Time for me to finish my wine and go to bed. Night.

  • Been married twice. Not looking for a 3rd. Happy to be single too. I lost more friends when i was married. They all hated him. Glad i finally saw it too. Love your blog.

    • Thank you so much!

      I didn’t want to get married a third time, but my husband really wanted a marriage…21 years later, we’re still good. πŸ™‚

  • When people meet us, they are jealous. They love our relationship. They wish they had it…and it’s my 3rd marriage. Oh wellsies. Let ’em talk πŸ™‚

By Michelle


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