Leslie,* 49, Yonkers, NY
My husband and I were married for 13 years, though we separated at least seven times throughout our marriage. During our many separations he lived with friends, at church programs, and addiction recovery rehab ministries. Looking back, I realize I always welcomed him back home too soon each time.
He was diagnosed with an intimacy disorder, and a large part of it was an addiction to pornography. After years of struggling, and tens of thousands of dollars spent on 15 different counselors, I had no choice but to give up. I knew he loved me, but the selfishness of his addiction trumped his ability to be a better husband, and we had become roommates at best.
After a lot of soul-searching, we separated for good, and I filed for divorce a year later. He contested nothing, owning his problems and apologizing.
Two years later, while traveling on business, I was alone in my hotel suite, and I had a heart-to-heart with God. I asked him why the men I had been dating were all turning out to be dead ends: They looked great on paper, but nothing long-term was materializing. I found myself questioning my divorce. Did I move on too quickly? Just putting my feelings and worries out there helped, and from that moment on I felt as if a weight had been lifted. I figured whatever happened would be God’s plan.
Eerily, the very next day my ex-husband called asking me to please consider reconciliation. Honestly, though, I was hoping to find and fall in love with someone completely new. But I decided to follow what I considered to be a sign.
After a month of just talking, my ex-husband and I met again at the end of March 2015. We dated for a little more than a year, got engaged, and remarried in early June of this year.
It has been so different the second time around, mostly because I learned that I contributed to our marital issues, too. The first time around when we’d fight, I would get really angry, which would flame the fire. The counseling we both received during our time apart helped us realize that we have to handle our problems differently in order to achieve different results.