It’s time again for “Dear Wendy Updates,” a feature where people I’ve given advice to in the past let us know whether they followed the advice and how they’re doing today. After the jump, we hear from “Baggage Claim” whose letter appeared in a “Your Turn” column late last month month. She was the 21-year-old military woman who’d just ended a whirlwind marriage that went from bad to worse really quickly. And while she was relieved to close that dramatic chapter of her life, she wrote: “I don’t know how I can move past these angry feelings and finally feel a full sense of closure […]. I feel like I can’t trust my judgment on men anymore seeing as I was completely blindsided in my last relationship. So what would be the best way to approach dating as well as moving on from all the baggage of my marriage? After the jump, see how you advice has helped her and how she’s doing today.
Thank you so much for posting my letter on your site! Most of the reader comments were so helpful and touching, and being an avid reader of your site I was elated to see my letter posted. As it usually goes in updates, there was more to the story than I was able to articulate in my letter, and given some of the comments I figured it would be better to clear a few things up. First of all, when my ex and I met I was still moving forward from getting burned in a previous relationship three months prior, and therefore I was on the rebound. Granted, I take full responsibility for not being completely healed before I jumped into another relationship, but he seemed so genuine and devoted to me it was nice to be wanted and feel a sense of security.
I whole-heartedly agree that you should at least live with someone for a year before marrying them, and I have always believed in that, but being in the military is a completely different world for relationships than it is as a civilian. I’m not saying people shouldn’t take responsibility for their mistakes, I’ve taken full responsibility for rushing into a marriage with a man I barely knew, and have suffered the repercussions and humiliation that comes with the failure of that marriage, but you would be shocked to know that 70% of the people I’ve met in the military are either unhappy in their marriage, separated, or divorced. Not saying that this is an excuse in any way for my personal situation, but the military does force people to choose the decision to get married too soon by either not allowing them to be stationed near their significant other if they are both enlisted or by a couple not being able to afford a normal living situation unless they are making marriage pay.
Also, before my ex and I were married he seemed to be the most mature, caring, wonderful person I had ever known. He NEVER had crazy outbursts, or temper tantrums before then; he always seemed level-headed and understanding. However, a week after we were married we had an insignificant argument about something (so insignificant I can’t even remember what caused it) and he proceeded to cry hysterically, refused to let me leave the room to get some space, and punched himself in the head repeatedly. This was obviously the beginning of the end, but since I had never seen this behavior before I felt obligated to try and make it work. After a few months of marriage I eventually called him out on the way he was acting by saying it seemed that he had been holding back and hiding his problems from me while we were dating. His exact response was, “Would you have married me otherwise?” That is how I knew he had deliberately hidden these things from me.
Now, to my own personal update: I have begun seeing my therapist again and she has been amazing at helping me move past my anger and resentment towards him and towards myself. She also suggested writing letters or emails to him and not sending them, and honestly that has been very therapeutic. Also, yelling my feelings out loud in the privacy of my room has also helped — some of my neighbors think I’m a little crazy but oh well! Haha. I am slowly but surely making progress and letting go of the pain and frustration, and therapy has also helped me with my confidence level. I have started dating a little bit — nothing serious just having fun and meeting new people and it has helped a lot as well. I plan on continuing moving forward and not living in regret, because I have learned and grown so much from this experience; it has definitely made me a better, stronger person. Thank you so much again for the help from your wonderful readers!
Thank you for the update. I’m really happy to hear that you’re doing well and that therapy is helping you so much. Here’s to happier, more functional relationships in the future!
If you’re someone I’ve given advice to in the past, I’d love to hear from you, too. Email me at email@example.com with a link to the original post, and let me know whether you followed the advice and how you’re doing now.