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I read an article recently that touched on what past relationships with other people have taught you. The lessons can be positive or negative or both.

Do you still think about past relationships even if you are in a stable relationship now? Do you look back on past partners and think that what you learned was good, or has the experience made you cynical about being with someone and committing?

My lessons learned are:

When it is over, try to maintain your dignity and let go graciously. Don't humiliate yourself by pleading for them to come back. They won't.

That when someone truly loves you, they will walk over hot coals to be with you.

That often the most simple gestures and words will make you feel the most loved.

Having babies with the person you love is the most amazing gift you can be given.

If you hold onto someone too tightly it can suffocate them.

Your individuality is precious, don't lose yourself totally in another person.
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I've been cheated on so many times (No there is nothing wrong with me apart from the fact that they all said i was not "Manly" enough and too boring) so i learnt a valuable lesson from them which is you can give and love to everyone but in the end all you'll get is pain. I can start to understand why selfish people are selfish.
Those who have only experienced pain in relationships find it hard to picture a time when a relationship will be a positive addition to their lives.

I have learned that only by loving myself and believing I am lovable will others in turn love me.

There is nothing more attractive than someone who is happy in their own skin. I guess that's my main lesson over the years.
My girlfriend has taught me about about forgivness,and what it means to really and truly love someone unconditionally.I screwed up ROYALLY in the beginning of our relationship (not cheating) and through it all,she loved me.Before I met her I was engaged to a man who was poisoning my spirit,and she helped me find the strength I needed to leave.(even if it was after I'd already married him)She's also shown me that I'm a romantic at heart..and that it really is possible to go weak in the knees with just the thought of someone,and to know to your very core that in the entire world you've found the one person that completes you.
Okay,I'll stop gushing now..cos she's also taught me to know when to shut up Razzer

I've learned a lot from relationships gone wrong...but I've learned more from the one that's finally right.

From my "wrong" relationships I learned:

--The definition of abuse and how to recognize the warning signs

--There are ways to fight fair, and ways that are unfair

--You can't rescue people who don't want to be saved, and it's too costly to try

--Being a "good partner" doesn't mean being a doormat

--It's prudent to hold back a bit, emotionally, and keep things in perspective when you're an emotional will only help you later on

--There is a difference between sex and love, and you need to recognize which is which

--Sexual expression is OK as long as both people consent and nobody gets hurt

From my current one, I've learned:

--A relationship will only work out if the power balance is equal, or at least the inequities have been addressed in ways that make both parties comfortable

--Starting as friends is the ONLY way to go

--You have to be in a relationship where you can say ANYTHING you have to say, HONESTLY...or the relationship won't work

--Compromise is necessary from both people at times...knowing WHEN is KEY

--You need to be able to laugh in bed. When you're getting frisky and a beagle starts licking your face, it's FUNNY!

--Both people need to have friends and outside interests to keep them feeling fulfilled, and help them maintain individuality

--You get out of your relationship only as much as you put into it yourself...sow love, reap thoughtful, reap thoughtfulness...etc.
I can't seem to say this enough and it's tending to fall on deaf ears, but

pre-nuptial agreement

. I can't give better advice than that. Marriage and in some cases even unmarried relationships are legal contracts. If you agree on money and the future, get it in writing.

I'm involved in THE stupidest divorce in history because logical things aren't happening. I can't get my own stuff and he isn't grasping the reality of the money I laid out for him. So he has nearly all of our belongings, especially the ones with great value, and I have all the credit card bills for them. And if he'd balked at an agreement way back when, I should have taken that as a warning sign of what was to come.

All I want the agreement to say is that if the relationship ends, my stuff is mine, his stuff is his, joint assets are split 50/50, and joint debt is split 50/50. Sounds logical, right? Well, I left him over 8 months ago and I can't get him to agree with that. I've stopped trying, but it's amazing and sad to look at how much time and money I wasted trying to see the best in him.

PRE-NUPTIAL AGREEMENT even if you don't plan to get married. You have all kinds of insurance. This is insurance for "what if this person doesn't turn out to be who I think he is." If my ex were who I thought he were, 1) we might still be married, and 2) in the case of a split, he would want to be fair... maybe not generous, but at least fair and interested in the facts.

Sorry to go on, but I really hope others learn from my mistake.

well, each person is going to have their own experience, no duh. i won't comment too much on the pre-nup thing because i know the person i'm going to marry inside and out, and i would probably wait until i am absolutely sure and free of doubt about our future together.
it's just a matter of time now. and immigration hooey. heh.

i can't say i've had too many relationships, but the few i've had have been intense enough to leave me with some lessons.

first boyfriend was Joe. we were 17, we were high school seniors. shortly (very shortly) after we got together he received his acceptance letter from Boston University. he was all set to attend Pepperdine (here in southern california) when this happened. he came upon a benefactor (a family friend) who offered to pay for his education since his parents divorced and couldn't pay for his schooling without some financial hardship. in total, we were together for about a year and 8 months. he would spend summers and christmases at home and we'd make time to see each other. i was painfully aware of how much/little time we had together and it put a strain on us. i was very naive and insecure at the time and i was afraid that he'd leave me for someone. and then he did. but it wasn't planned that way. he did feel awful, for what it's worth. i kind of saw it coming. as a firm believer in karma, i wasn't terribly surprised when his then girlfriend of 2+ years left him for her english professor. she was a bit callous about it too. joe and i have been speaking on and off. we're friends now. in fact, i'm going to photograph his younger sister's wedding in a couple of weekends. it'll be the first time i see him in about 5 years. do i feel weird about it? nah. we started out as friends, so it would kind of suck to lose the friendship altogether, i think.

second relationship was with renee. i didn't expect to fall for a woman as hard i as i did, but there you go. i had a mad crush on her. what made me happy is that it wasn't unrequited. but she wasn't relationship material. i realised after about 2 months that she wanted a more open relationship than i was willing to give. so we went our separate ways, in so many words. to make a long story short, she cheated on me and we broke up shortly after.

i started talking to james when i was with renee. as so many people do, james and i struck up a friendship fairly quickly. it was restricted to electornic means, as he's in australia and i'm not. we poured our guts out to each other, sharing a hatred for long-distance relationships and a love for all things sarcastic and biting.
it's ironic that we agreed to never get together because of distance. a few days later we decided to take a risk anyway and we've never looked back since. our 2-year anniversary is in a few weeks, and he'll be here to celebrate it with me. Smiler
and i'll hopefully be moving to australia to be with him by early next year.

after my break-up with joe i took some time off. maybe two years or so. just time to grow and develop and get to know what it is i want. i can't stress enough how important Me time is. the more comfortable you are with yourself and your ability to decide for yourself, the better off you will be choosing someone who is compatible with you, and the less likely you are to lose yourself in someone else. (this is not bragging, just an example) my boyfriend says that one of the things he finds most attractive about me is my self-confidence. i'm comfortable enough with my life to share it with him.

When someone truly loves you, they will walk over hot coals to be with you.

either that or they'll spend thousands of dollars and fly thousands of miles to be with you. Wink
- don't ever confuse possessiveness with love. there isn't much worse than a partner who loses the plot everytime you speak to a member of the opposite sex.

- sexual compatibility is pretty much essential (i'm not being shallow here - i was married to a man who had NO sex drive and after a while there was no bond between us - he might as well have been a flat-mate, but it would have been easier to evict a flat-mate).

- don't try to make your partner more like yourself - i believe the erosion of differences can cause the loss of the sparks that make for an exciting and fulfilling relationship Wink

- it's as bad to be in a relationship where you are loved but don't love in return as to be the one doing the loving but not getting it returned.

- dont rush or give up!!! i fell in love with my partner a few months after we got together (after starting out as friends), but it took a further 18 months or so before he realised he loved me too. since then it's been awesome Smiler and we're both unbelievably happy. i'm so glad i stuck with him even though it hurt a lot at times when i really thought i wouldn't be loved back.
Originally posted by mabelle:
[qb]i won't comment too much on the pre-nup thing because i know the person i'm going to marry inside and out, and i would probably wait until i am absolutely sure and free of doubt about our future together.[/qb]
Again, I can only say that I was completely sure. I'm a very careful, practical person who tends to do research and get lots of facts. I'm logical more than emotional mostly, I'm normally a good judge of character, and see through people. But I was horribly fooled, and evidently on purpose. He was passing himself off as someone he was not... I think he was believing his own press, as they say, and I fell for the act.

I was so sure I knew him inside and out... goals, fears, beliefs, issues, flaws, positive traits. And I only knew half of him. Over time, I got to know both of him Smiler and ended up liking neither as they were both abusive. But I look back, and I think how sure I was that this was the right man, the perfect man, and I knew him like nobody else did. Now I know I do, but only because I'm the lucky person who got shown both sick sides.

I don't want to put anybody down or act like I don't believe that someone can know someone else because I do. I still believe in love and long-term relationships. But 50% of people are wrong about who they marry (at least once Smiler ), and I just want people to have thought every possibility through. You think through possibities of death and you get a will and life insurance, of accidents or poor health and you get health insurance, and you enter into a legal contract when you get married. Seriously, it is a legal contract, so why not have a 2nd legal contract! And it doesn't have to wring someone dry, it can just say what I wish mine said: my things are mine, his are his, and joint assets or debt are split 50/50. Most people wish they could have more than 50%... I WISH I could have that and my own things back, things I owned before I met him.

Consider the possibility that for whatever reason, it may not work out. Wouldn't you want both of you protected in that case? If you agree on things, put it in writing. If you don't need it, you can look back in 75 years and smile at how you agreed then and agree now. If you need it, you will be so awfully hurt and sad that you needed it and didn't have it. Same as insurance. You hope you never need it, but you get it anyway... and the day you need it, you are happy you have it. If you never need it, you say how great that I had it just in case and how lucky I am to have not needed it.

Sorry again to go on, but it's awful and painful to be so wrong about someone when you put so much love and good intention into it. It's like a bad soap opera where the bad guy is charming everybody. It's sick stuff and people get fooled, and hopefully my story is an extreme. But the stats are what they are, and with so many people having separations and divorce, I think when considering all future possibilities, consider that one too.

I know why nobody wants to and dismisses what I'm saying, but remember that you're mapping your future. I only wish someone had sat me down, asked me to look at things, and get a pre-nup. If he had balked, I'd know there were something off. And if he went for it, I wouldn't have a single problem right now with getting my things or having him help pay the debt he rang up in my name. I don't want anybody else to go through this, and I can only ask that instead of just dismissing what I'm saying because love is perfect and you know everything this person is now and you somehow know everything this person will ever be in the future that you just think about it quietly a bit. Everybody changes and evolves, and who knows who any of us will be in five years! What if...

Saying it out of love and care for you guys,
hey deb. mabelle's james here - we were having a discussion and she referred this thread to me, and i wanted to respond.

i can't speak for the situation in america; don't know much about the operation of family law in the US. i know a little bit about the Family Law Act in australia, though.

we hear a lot about pre-nups in show-biz weddings, and there's usually good reason for that. celebrity unions fail fairly readily but more importantly, it's often the case that one party brings a significantly higher earning capacity to the marriage and is fairly keen to take it with them when they leave. given the (increased?) likelihood of marriage failure and the predictability of litigation, it's not surprising that celebrities want to take extra steps to protect themselves - particularly when such huge amounts of money are at stake.

pre-nups have less application for us plebs (at least in australia). a pre-nup doesn't necessarily keep the parties out of the courts. it sounds like your ex is acting in bad faith, deb. there is nothing to prevent a party acting in bad faith from breaching a pre-nup and leaving the innocent party to institute expensive court proceedings for enforcement. even then, if the matter does get to court, there's no guarantee that a judge is going to determine that your application of the pre-nup is the correct application, particularly if property is acquired during the marriage.

mabelle and i plan to be married with a view to waiting a few years before purchasing property or having children. if for some (horrible) reason our marriage failed after, say, year three, the australian family court would look at our circumstances and say, "look, you've got no real property; you've got a second hand car; you've got a little bit of household furniture, and you've both got a reasonable earning capacity. split the property in half and get on with your lives." if, on the other hand, our marriage failed after we'd bought property and had kids, the court would take those factors into consideration and make a higher award in favor of the party looking after the kids on the basis of need. that's fair, and it makes sense - and, moreover, you wouldn't want to be left with inadequate means under a pre-nup if you had to take care of children.

i've got faith in family law principles and i think that they make greater provision for changing circumstances. the court is well placed to take in all of the facts at the time of separation and address the needs of the parties. a pre-nup may be made with good intentions, but it will always be blind to the changes that the future may bring.

moreover, the vast, vast majority of property disputes arising out of failed marriages are never litigated; something like ten percent actually make it to a final hearing in the australian system. very few people get everything they want when a marriage goes sour; but most people can sort something out.
Cool - I'm doing my own quesadillas too!

I hear what you're saying, and I like the sound of your courts in that they seem to possibly be based on facts and fairness. You don't get much of that in NY. Smiler

As for bad faith, that is what it is, but if I HAD the document, I could say HEY - try this stupid strategy, and when it fails, you're stuck anyway because I have a signed contract with you. Courts will take that seriously, and it will apply. Plus, my whole family are lawyers, so you'd betta believe the document will be awesome and the litigation would be nicely done.

I know it seems that prenups are for celebs marrying back woods people Smiler , but the reality is that like I said, it's really just insurance against "what if this person isn't who I think he/she is." If mine were who I thought we were and we split, he would not only want me to have my own things, he would help take care of me now that he makes more money than I do. But he's spent 8 months trying to get money from me and playing all kinds of unattractive games. Could a document have stopped that? Maybe! Can the document save someone else from that? Maybe! I sure hope so.

Divorce laws here in NY are very odd, but if you have things in writing, they are taken damn seriously. And again, I really just wish I had a doc that cleanly gave me my OWN possessions (instead of having to bargain for them) and made him 50% aka jointly responsible for debt no matter in whose name the debts are. He helped run them up on the promise that one day he'd make enough to help pay them off, I'd like to see him follow through on that. Instead, he's claiming that our marital agreement was that I pay all the bills forever and his money is for fun.

Can ya see why a nice legal document could have helped me and can help someone else? Smiler Someone switched the rules in the middle, didn't tell me, I got hurt because of it, and I just wish I could save even one more person from this. Pleb or not, it's something that didn't have to happen if we had put down on paper what we REALLY said way back when I picked up more of the bills than my share.


ps: Yes, you make good points that who knows what the future brings. 1) You can change the prenup and append it or redo it, stating that this document supercedes all previous ones. 2) I just want one that says my things are mine, his are his, and the debts and assets are split 50/50. The future could hold all kinds of things, and that would still be a very fair document. Smiler
i can see what you're saying, deb. i suppose my main point is that somebody who is acting in bad faith could subvert a pre-nup in the same way that they could subvert family law proceedings. a pre-nup gives some protection, but that protection will ultimately be limited if the other party is determined to have the matter litigated.

let's imagine a scenario where you bring a new car to the marriage and you want to take it with you when the marriage is over. further, let's say that your ex makes a claim on the car in a property settlement on the basis that he contributed to maintenance. again, my example is grounded in australian family law principles.

scenario one : no prenup. the matter goes before the family court who determine that the vast bulk of the car's value was accounted for by initial purchase, and the car should go to you. you're looking at solicitors fees for correspondence and preparation, and barrister's fees for a one to two day appearance.

scenario two : prenup. a clause in the prenup specifically states that you are to retain ownership of the car. your ex challenges the validity of the prenup on the basis that since it was made, he has made contributions towards the car's maintenance, and refuses to recognize your ownership. the court dismisses his argument, but the matter still requires a hearing. so again, you're looking at fees for correspondence and preparation, and a barrister's appearance on top of that.

does that make sense?

ps - pleb comment made with tongue planted firmly in cheek. Big Grin
Well,I have to say my divorce would have been ALOT easier had we had some sort of pre-nuptial agreement.I ended up walking away with everything that was originally mine (some only after MAJOR fighting) but I lost just about everything we had acquired together.He got the house,all the furniture we bought together,and even somethings I had paid for myself because he insisted they were "gifts"..which they were not.I had to argue tooth and nail to get the one thing I would NOT allow him to keep..the dog which we got when we first moved in together..the dog he wanted to take back a week after we had her..the dog who in truth means more to me than he ever did.A pre-nup would've save me so much grief and hassle.I'll never get married again,as I don't think MD recognises same sex unions..but if my girlfriend and I did make it legal,a pre-nup is definately something I'd bring up for discussion.But in the end,everyone has to do what they feel is best and what makes them comfortable.

Sounds like Brandi needs a trip to Vermont! Wink Brandi, surely your state would recognize a standard civil agreement? I thought any two people can be enjoined in any voluntary civil agreement, for any'd be more of a property thing, but heck, so is marriage!

Given my own experience, I agree some with Deb, and some with James. Would I have fared better with a pre-nup? Possibly, had I not been dealing with someone who in my personal opinion (disclaimer, my own opinion not based on any official diagnosis which may or may not exist) was mentally might have held water.

HOWEVER, my case falls more into the category of what James was saying, about having to spend thousands in legal fees for enforcement because my experience is one where my opposite party has DELIBERATELY shirked court orders in order to drive up my fees (out of spite). If I think about this too much, it could drive me nuts...but I've easily spent $35,000 in legal fees over the course of five that SHOULD have been spent on my kids' education, and that absolutely infuriates me. (Obviously though, there are significant other issues like protection, custody and harrassment present, or I would not have spent that kind of money to force payment of the mere $4,000 in debt we accumulated.)

SO. Is a pre-nup wise? Probably. But can agreements and orders only go SO far in protecting you? Yes, definitely, I'm proof. In my mind, better than a pre-nup is a $29 background check. You can find out about someone's credit and criminal records...often enough to tell you right there whether this is someone you should even become involved with. THAT'S what would have saved me.

With Jay, we mutually felt that to have a pre-nup was to build our marriage on the idea that it might fail. I offered to sign one for him, as he makes (and owns) significantly more than I do. He very generously refused. the end...divorce is just not an option for us because with the kids, there's too much at stake. And I realize that sounds silly, because nobody ever gets married thinking "I'm going to divorce your ass in two years." I guess it's just difficult to explain how I can feel this way after being burned once. I think I'm OK going without BECAUSE I've experienced that even with a court order or agreement in hand, you can still end up with the short end of the stick. So why not plan for the best.
respect thyself. always make changes to yourself for yourself.

trying to change people is a losing game. if you fall in love with a hint of something you see in someone you think you can bring out, forget it.
if you think they're so capable of changing - forget it. let them change themselves if they want to change. do not get involved with someone you want to change. then if they do change anyway - you won't have to have done the hard work. i've seen so so so many cases of it in good & bad

guys - if you divorce someone, misrepresent your income in the divorce court, and pay no child support whilst the divorce is waiting to go to court - i will hunt you down and kill you ok? Smiler
Ah the relief of being very happily married for 12 years........ Big Grin

I'd just hate to do the dating thing again, learning to trust someone is so difficult. I agree that finding out about each other as friend is probably the safest route.

There are no guarantees in life. Nobody can guarantee that my marriage will last but if I worried about what 'might' happen it would interfere with today.

Maybe it's foolish or whatever but I live a lot for the day with a bit for the future thrown in.

Back on topic....

Boyfriends have taught me that:

It doesn't matter that you have bought new underwear/had your hair done/bought a new dress to impress them because the majority of them will not notice.
Hey, I'm so glad this is staying an intelligent discussion!

James, you can easily write a sentence in the prenup that says that notwithstanding any contributions to gas, maintenance, and other repairs made by HUSBAND to the car owned/leased by WIFE, the WIFE will retain ownership of car (make, model, VIN) in the event that the relationshp is terminated. The WIFE owes no money to the HUSBAND for said contributions made to her car.

Same kind of thing for my company. I started my company before I met him. I had great clients before I met him. Business kept growing while I was with him. He takes credit for this and why? Because he stayed home, watched TV all day, and cooked dinner a few nights, which he claims allowed me the time to make the business successful. The business tanked while I was with him, but he doesn't take credit for that. In fact, he still thinks it brings in what it did in the year 2000 despite the economy, the industry, and other factors that make my income nearly zero monthly. He thinks I have major money and I'm lying to him about all kinds of things. So sad that he can't see past who he is to my true character.

Personally, I think that if he used the "housewife" defence in court, where he says he deserved part of my company because he was essentially a housewife, he will insult anyone who's ever actually BEEN a housewife. We have no kids. He stayed home all day, watched TV, and played guitar. I ripped my butt off 92 hours a day to make my company what it was AND support him. So I think he'll look pretty silly if he takes that one to court. If we'd had kids that he minded all day, he may have a point since raising young children is a full time job. But our cats and dog are low maintenance. Smiler

So a paragraph can be written stating that the company (insert company name) is the sole property of the WIFE, all shares are in her name alone, the HUSBAND is not an agent, consultant, or employee of the corporation nor does he work for it in any way, and in the event of the relationship termination, the WIFE retains full ownership of the company with no shares or compensation due to the HUSBAND. The HUSBAND waives all claims, past, present, and future, to any aspect of or compensation from WIFE's corporation.

Yes, my whole family are lawyers, and I write my own legal documents. I'm going to write my pre-nup (and have Dad check it), which will be the next time I move in with someone since I too will never get married again. But I will have an agreement because NOW I know that you never know FOR SURE. Even if I feel sure it'll last forever, we'll have an agreement. Costs us nothing! Smiler

When I wanted to marry him, I was sure I had Mr. Right forever. In my case, the $29 background check would not have helped me, but asking a few more questions and wanting the prenup WOULD have. Period. I know how the courts work, I know how the documents are written, and it hands-down would have helped me. As of now, the only thing I have on my side is that both sides have admitted that I have a $9,000 claim against him... which is sad since I calculated that I supported him to the tune of over $200,000 during our relationship... and evidently I'm only legally entitled to $9,000. So I'm probably going to have to file for bankruptcy since I can't pay the credit card debt and not only does he refuse to take responsibility for his spending, he's been trying to get money FROM me, yes even after he was told that I'm facing bankruptcy because I have and am worth NOTHING.

Bad faith city, Arizona. Smiler
Hmmm...Vermont you say Heidi? Smiler I don't know the laws in NJ (where she's from) either.But really,I have no desire to do anything legal.A ceremony just for the purpose of standing up and saying..Yes we love each other and that will never change...that would be nice,but something else my ex husband taught me(as I stay on topic) is that a piece of paper does not and cannot fix a relationship.If it's problematic before marriage,it's only gonna get worse after.

wow deb.

before i even read this last post of yours, i wanted to assure you that i in no way meant to dismiss or undermine your experience.
i'm sorry you've experienced all that hell.
and, like i said, some find pre-nups to be more beneficial than others. obviously, you'd find more solace in that and i commend you for standing your ground.

i guess, in general, one quick thing i'll say is, in light of all that goes on with such huge life-altering decisions like marriage or divorce or having kids, one thing i try to keep close at hand is the notion of following one's own heart. be intuitive. if you do that, no matter what happens, everything else will follow. i know james disagrees with me on this, but i think everything happens for a reason. and even if it seems things are headed for the worst after you've heeded the advice of your gut, have patience. things will eventually come around.

*eternal optimist* Razzer
Thanks, mabelle. And I don't need you to change... if you don't want one, don't get one! But man will I be sad if you're one of the 50% and you end up wishing you had one.

I think there is a misconception that a prenup greatly benefits ONE party... like the husband will get everything or the wife will clean the husband out, and ha ha. It doesn't have to be like that. It can be about equality and splitting things equally. Or it can be that in some areas, one person deserves more. Or it could be that if people split, one person promises to ____ for X months or until ______.

They can protect both people and they don't have to be one-sided. They can be changed as things change, and at least around here, they'd stand up in court. This isn't Los Angeles. Smiler Here in NY, contracts are taken damn seriously, and if I had one, this would have been over the day I said it's over.

Originally posted by Bsnifter:
[qb] a piece of paper does not and cannot fix a relationship.If it's problematic before marriage,it's only gonna get worse after.
... and ain't that the truth. (*sigh*)

Heidi mentioned the equal-power-balance thing. Sadly, I'm seeing that from the other side (as in learning this lesson from a bad relationship.) Just a f'r'instance: For legal reasons, I am unable to work in this country, but still every chance he gets, hubby whines that "he pays for everything" with the inference that I'm lazy and ungrateful and a bunch of other things I'm NOT... (in my previous relationship, by the way, I was the one who carried most of the financial burden for most of the time we were together.)

Anyway, to add my own "lesson learnt" - I'd say never marry someone who still bears major emotional scars from his previous marriage. Not only are you constantly on guard of your own flaws, you also end up being accused of things which it isn't in your nature to do.

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