Friend to Friend–> The Hardest Part for ME to Overcome When Getting Remarried!

For me personally… the hardest part of getting married again was learning how in the world to be vulnerable.

This is kind of a random topic to write about but it really was something that I struggled with in the first few years of marriage so maybe it is for others too!  I would love to hear from others that have gone through a divorce/big breakup and going into their next big relationship if this is something they struggle/struggled with too.

Quick timeline of events:

Brooke was born 08/15/2012

Photo 1 22

I started the divorce process and moved back to Utah 7/31/13

Met Andrew 4/26/2016

Married Andrew and became a step-mom to Knox 7/08/2016

Andrewjanaewedding 0007

Skye was born 12/08/2017

Screen Shot 2020 02 17 at 3 32 06 PM

And Beck was born 11/04/2020

IMG 8441 jpeg0BD951F6 EB13 47FA 9A2D 4B25E57B98B9

Long story short, a lot of changes happened since 2012!

So let’s chat about what the hardest part of getting remarried was for me—> My brain needed a lot of work and counseling to dismiss the thoughts that popped up in my head in the first two years of marriage to Andrew:

“The real me, the uncomfortable, the messy, the deepest parts of who I am, my real emotions, my truest thoughts weren’t good enough the first time around in marriage so why in the world would they be good enough the second time around?!  Put up walls and don’t show weakness because I can’t possibly lose Andrew.”

And that story I made up is so incorrect and goodness gracious Andrew loves me for who I am in each moment but it was something I made up, believed, had to overcome and toss. It was a story that made me cry just typing again in this post all this time later because it was a story that really scared me.  I had to learn to trust that I was enough and trust the idea that marriage can work all while learning how to be vulnerable again.  Putting up walls and just showing the comfortable sides of me feels a lot easier but that is not the best thing for a relationship and what truly connects one to others.

It really was a shock to my system when I realized how hard it was for me to be vulnerable a few months into marriage and be 100% me and open about everything because I thought the years of counseling/work before getting married again fixed me… It wasn’t until I was in a marriage that I realized how hard it was to be vulnerable because up until that point I had mastered being alone or relationships that weren’t very serious with all of the walls I could ever want to build.

I’m not sure if anyone can relate to these feelings but I guess I just wanted to share them.  Andrew has treated me like gold since day #1 and would never hurt me but my personal struggle to trust and truly realize that has been REAL.  Relationships can be hard.  Letting your walls down and letting others in makes my chest hurt still sometimes because rejection is painful.  Learning that YOU ARE ENOUGH just the way you are is a struggle for me and others.  It takes a lot of work to not let your mind go down a tunnel of ‘what-ifs’ and stop the negative thoughts and replace them with positive ones.  It took investing in counseling (best money I’ve ever spent… I did counseling alone and we did counseling sessions together:) to learn to rewire my brain to take down those walls and be me without fear or losing him.

But it sure does feel amazing (and like I took off a 500 lb backpack) to be able let Andrew in on all of my thoughts/feelings/emotions/rawness.  The connection has been so much stronger and I am so grateful for how patient he is with me.

So 3, 2, 1… publish a blog post about a subject that makes me feel very vulnerable in hopes that it can help others seek out the help needed to learn to be vulnerable again the second time around.

————————————————————————————————-

Time for a very broad question—> What have been some of the hardest parts for you adjusting to marriage (if you are married) or a new relationship?  

Those of you in a second marriage (or a second big relationship), what was the hardest part for you?

Have you had any stories in your head that you have made up and had to toss?

You May Also Like

37 comments

Reply

Thanks for sharing and I’m so glad you’re investing in therapy. We are all works in progress.

Reply

Thank you Jaimi and that is so important to remember, we are all works in progress!

Reply

Thanks so much for this post. I know it will be helpful to so many women. It’s very hard to overcome the fear of losing something so good (i.e., your marriage to Andrew) when you’ve gone through a loss already. Even if you know rationally that they are two completely different marriages, it’s hard not to trick yourself into thinking you need to behave a certain way to “protect” against another bad outcome – even though there is nothing you could’ve done differently the first time around!! A marriage that isn’t working (for whatever reason/cause) won’t magically stay together just because you hide a certain part of yourself, but it’s so, so hard to avoid blaming yourself anyway. I’ve really enjoyed reading your blog posts over the years, especially since you met Andrew, and I often come to your blog for a pick-me-up due to your positive attitude in the face of life’s daily challenges (blending a family is not easy…ask me how I know). One thing I especially love hearing about is how you all spend quality time together in the outdoors when you’re together (which can be so healing) and how you make so many efforts to make the transitions between houses easy and positive for your kids. Please do more of these posts!!

Reply

Hey Liz, I just shook my head YES as I read your comment. Thank you for sharing. And your kind words, mean the world to me. Thank you for taking the time to write me this. It means a lot. I sure will, thanks for the encouragement. Hope your day is a beautiful one!

Reply

Great post! Honestly, by the time I got married (at 31 allllmooossssttttt 32) I had lived alone for a long time and so the hardest part for me was just not having MY space, to style however I wanted, and to do whatever I wanted in (i.e. watch the bachelorette) and cook whatever I wanted to eat, etc. Giving up some control of my days and the things I did was just really hard because I was used to having total control of my house (i.e. heat the minute it goes below 65), my money (and very expensive trips to Target), and my TV, and… MY MY MY! The transition into “ours” took me a while, and of course having kids took this to a whole new level. But I am fortunate to have married someone who has a very similar upbringing to mine which means we general agree on a lot of basic rules/ways of living, and also someone as independent as I am, which means we both understand the other person has hobbies, friends, things that they want to do alone. But it was hard to give up some of the general indulgence of my single girl life.

Reply

Arianna, I can see how that must be incredibly challenging! SUCH a big change and I definitely relate with you (ohhhhh those trips to Target ha). You and your husband sound amazing and like the perfect team. Hope you are having a beautiful day!

Reply

It’s interesting. Prior to my partner of almost 7 years I hadn’t dated anyone seriously. I think the biggest adjustment with me was learning how to be with someone. I was so used to doing whatever I wanted without being accountable to anyone other than myself. I think I also realized I had a good one when I was willing to give up some of my free time and choosing him over other things I loved in my life lol.

Reply

Absolutely! That is a huge change and I think we can all relate on that… blending lives together is tricky. You and your partner are doing amazing and River is so lucky to get to be with you guys on all of your adventures!

Reply

I started my second marriage at an older age, but I had the same challenge of learning to be vulnerable. I had to unlearn all the defenses—some I wasn’t even aware of—but after five years, I can honestly say it’s been doable and definitely worth the effort.

Reply

‘Unlearn all the defenses’… YES YES YES! That is so me too. Thanks for sharing, I hope you are having a beautiful day!

Reply

Thank you Janae for being so brave and sharing something so vulnerable. I began reading your blog in May 2013 when my distance running was really picking up. At the time I was 19 and in a relationship that wasn’t the best for me. It was several more years before I felt ready to leave the relationship in pursuit of a better life. Your example helped me redefine a healthy relationship with running, food, myself, and eventually your blog and writing was a consistent part of my life through a few bad heartbreaks. You made me think that I could be a marathon runner at 19, even when other people in my life didn’t think I could do it. And I did! Looking back after 8 years of reading I realized that in a way I grew up with you. I’ve watched you evolve and change and be vulnerable and you’ve showed us all that personal evolution is okay, and furthermore, it’s important. Thank you for being there for us Janae! I still read daily and this is something I think about a lot. I live a few thousand miles away from you but I know that if we had met in person, we’d be fast friends. Much love and thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Reply

Thanks for sharing and opening up! Vulnerability is HARD, and learning all over is, I think, harder.

You asked about stories I have made up about myself over the years and had to learn how to toss aside–woah, friend, there are a LOT. And they go something like this:
You are never good enough.
You are not smart enough.
You will only be loved if your body looks a certain way.
Those new friends? They’re being nice now just so they can hurt you bad when you least expect it.
If you make a mistake, everything is over–the job, the friendship, the relationship. Everything.

…and that’s the tip of the iceberg. I think over the years I have had to learn how to let go of those stories and create new ones bit by bit. And with how my professional identity has drastically shifted over the last few years, that last one–if I make a mistake–has come up for me all over again, in really new ways. It’s sort of taken me aback, and it’s a work in progress, and it is taking so much reflection and checking myself. And with a big project I have been working on, it’s taken a LOT of inner work to not let “this is challenging” become “I will screw this up and I will disappoint my bosses and they’re going to fire me.”

And in the middle of it all, there’s this: at the start of 2021, even when so many things were still really rough and where I had to have Tom tell me again and again (and AGAIN) that he loves me no matter what, no matter my job title, no matter–anything!–somehow, I had this voice inside me, this tiny little whisper, that told me to shuffle my way towards joy. To find the small things like using my Christmas money to get a class pass for yoga (which then became a studio membership once I got my last job), and in the summer when I found a HUGE deal on a barre class package at a studio I love, letting myself pay for one class a week because it makes me smile and it’s something I do just for me. And some other little things–time to curl up with a book, an array of fancy-smelling epsom salts to make soaking in a hot tub fun, whatever. Just–all the little things that bring me joy. I knew, the more and more that I did this, that if I empower the joyful things that it’s easier to let the insecurities and the made up stories to be there but with less attention given to them. And I found myself feeling almost all the time lately like I am wrapped in the warmest light. Are things perfect? Nope. Tom and I are GREAT. And I have landed in a job I don’t want to lose because I really have a chance to learn and grow, and I need to *check myself* to not conflate a challenge with a chance to make a mistake and a chance to re-ignite a stupid old story. But do I find joy where I go? Yes! It’s everywhere!

This was my year to find it again. And in finding joy, finding ME. And to let the stupid voices and stories get duller and dimmer and quieter. And even though I still have so much worry and so much fear, I can breathe. And I feel warmth everywhere I go. And I feel like it’s possible to choose myself, and my marriage, and my friendships, exactly as they are. Broken and whole and imperfect and complete and every amazing thing this whole world of emotion has to offer. And it’s all ok. Exactly as it is!!

Reply

Oh Jenae, I feel this so hard! I started reading your blog shortly after you moved back to Utah at about the same time my own marriage ended. I didn’t meet my new partner until about a year and a half after you met Andrew and I used to wonder how you could be ready for a new marriage so quickly. I’m glad to know I’m not the only one who struggles to be vulnerable after being hurt

One of my big challenges has been to stop expecting the bad things that happened in my first marriage to happen in this relationship. From little things like forgetting to pick up something from the store to big things like forgetting to pay rent, I still brace myself for an incident. A couple of weeks ago I realized how unfair that is to my partner and I’m working hard to give him the benefit of the doubt.

Thanks so much for sharing. I’m so glad you have Andrew in your life!

Reply

My biggest struggle in life is everything you just described. I really want to be good enough! My poor husband.. I’ll take something he says as a rejection, even though he is talking about something else. he’s like you really think that poorly of me and I’m like no way! I’m that insecure sometimes, so worried I’m not enough. I’m newly married, 4 months, and he is so wonderful. Never been married before but I’ve had my heart broken pretty bad. It is tough to be vulnerable all the time. When I’m really tired or worn down/ overwhelmed I struggle the most.

Thank you for sharing!!
Melissa

Reply

Janae, thank you for opening up about this topic! I’ve loved your blog for years now and I’ve wondered how in the world you’ve juggled everything.
I’m older, in my second marriage, and the hardest part I’ve found is dividing my time between my new husband and my children. I want everyone to feel cared for and loved. It’s SO hard to be a “newlywed” and have kids who need me. I don’t want anyone to feel like I’m neglecting them.
I’ve always wondered how you manage things with the other parents, what Knox calls you and what Brooke calls Andrew and does that confuse Skye?
Thanks so much for sharing your life with us!!!!

Reply

I love that you share this, being vulnerable is so hard when you’ve felt like you’ve lived life in defense mode. Not only are you lucky to have such a great husband in Andrew, but he’s lucky to have someone like you who wants to have the best possible relationship. <3

Reply

This post came at exactly the right time for me. I was literally in tears last night over fear of a new relationship that I am in after many years of intentionally being single. Recognizing that I am vulnerable and how to manage that and all the emotions that come with it has been a struggle. I of course want this relationship to work and I am trying to rationalize and emotionalize (not a real word) all at the same time. Hearing that others have experienced the same thing feels very supportive. Thank you for this post and to everyone who is replying! I feel like the universe just handed me a whole dose of support.

Reply

All of this!
I was married for almost 20 years and my true self wasn’t wanted/enough/whatever.
We probably would have divorced earlier but both came from families where that just isn’t a thing except in cases of infidelity or abuse.

When I started getting serious with the man I’m with now (ok- still) I would get scared to share my true self. But we’ve worked hard to build this relationship on honesty, and that means we both share who we really are and what we really think.
Even when it’s hard.

Reply

I love this post and the comments (especially Kristie’s above!) You went through such a hard time, but think how many people you’re helping now. Glad you’re in such a good space! I think ALL marriage is hard- there’s an adjustment period for everyone. But we can all help each other! Thanks for sharing.

Reply

I just want to tell you how much I enjoy reading these kinds of posts, Janae! I have been reading your blog since you STARTED blogging and while I love all the running content and seeing beautiful photos of the kids, I really do appreciate the honest, true-to-life blogs. THANK YOU!

Reply

This post really hit home for me as I would say its been the thing that I’ve struggled with most in my relationship/in life. I’ve never been married before, but infidelity was something that has happened in my life, both in my parents relationship and to me once a few years ago. It wasn’t until my current relationship that I realized just how heavily this impacted me, because I was so terrified of my current partner being unfaithful as well, even though he’s never given me any reason to think that he would and loves me so much. I realized that I was constantly holding this fear, waiting for the shoe to drop for him to realize that I’m not that great or get bored of me, or for someone more enticing to come along. He and I have talked about this A LOT and shed many tears about it, but we’re working through it, both together and by myself in therapy and I do think that its working. I’ve been spending a lot more time focusing on the things that bring me joy, being present (rather than fixating on the idea that someday in the future things will be bad) and opening up. Its really helpful to know that other people struggle with this and its so enlightening to see that even if I think someone has achieved the pinnacle of beauty, fitness, kindness and achievement in their lives, we really never know what people are going through on their own and may even be struggling the same as you. Turns out we’re all human :) Thank you for opening up on this!

Reply

Without going into details, yes, I totally get how you felt / feel, and I am so happy you married someone who allows you to work through (and toss!) those feelings <3

Reply

Very timely post–you’re not the only one that struggles with vulnerability. I struggle daily and will put up walls because I figure it’s easier to do that than get hurt or show weakness. Still working at it and glad to see your realizations which help put things into perspective.
Enjoy the holiday! When I saw the dates you listed for every event, I still can’t believe I’ve been following you since even before your divorce–time flies by but your posts always makes me happy and hopeful for happiness in my own life.

Reply

Thank you for sharing your experience! As someone who is remarried, it definitely hit home for me. I haven’t thought much about it in awhile, as I have now been married to my husband for 12 years. Thinking back, it definitely took me a little while to fully immerse myself into our relationship. I think subconsciously I maintained some level of self-preservation in case I lost him. I also struggled with feelings of shame, was convinced that I didn’t deserve him because I felt so damaged. I think it actually took a good 2 years of being loved as I am, and treated with respect, for those feelings to pass and for me to believe that I was a person worthy of his love. Now I look back on our 12 yrs together vs the 5 years I was with my former husband and I can so clearly see how toxic my first marriage was. I count my blessings every single day that I had the courage to end that relationship, otherwise I wouldn’t have found my true soul mate.
I learned a lot about myself in therapy, but the most important lesson was that I am enough. I think that you have to enter a new relationship truly believing that. You can’t be vulnerable with someone without knowing that you are a gift to them, scars and all, as much as they are a gift to you!
I wish you so much happiness, Janae!

Reply

This is such a beautiful comment. ❤️

Reply

😊

Reply

This is related,but sort of not. Its because your phrase about “not want to show weakness “resonated with me.
When positive, optimistic, easy/breezy to be around people are not one of those things, and are either neutral or feeling normal human emotions, those around them respond differently because they are so used to the pleasure they get being around the above mentioned traits. That is hard because it almost seems as though we are the burden, the nag, or weak, when truth is us feeling human emotions made someone else uncomfortable (or a least act a little different) and that is not our responsibility to bear.

Reply

Yes!! I needed to hear this today. 💖 I cried reading because this is so deeply relatable and true. Especially this part…

“The real me, the uncomfortable, the messy, the deepest parts of who I am, my real emotions, my truest thoughts weren’t good enough the first time around in marriage so why in the world would they be good enough the second time around?! Put up walls and don’t show weakness because I can’t possibly lose Andrew.”

You both give me hope that I may find a similarly treasuring relationship. Thank you for sharing Janae. I come to your website to feel good things, and that includes the good hard things. I’m impressed with how you’ve grown over the years. I know it’s not “easy,” and you do a wonderful job.

Reply

First of all, I have to say how beautiful your wedding photo is. Secondly, I really love this post. Just as your vulnerability connects you to Andrew, it also connects you to your readers. I appreciate your openness so very much, and I know it is not easy to do. Thank you, Janae.

I really struggle with vulnerability too. The first few years of marriage for me were really difficult because I resisted being open with my husband. I did not feel lovable, so I could not trust that my husband would love me if I was honest about who I really am. It took lots of pushing and pulling (emotionally), lots of talking, counselling, and personal growth for me to get to the point of being honest about who I am. We have each grown individually and as a couple. Our relationship is much stronger for it, as you shared, and I am so thankful. I ultimately learned that there is no closeness without vulnerability, and the more vulnerable I am, the more confidence I have that I am lovable. It is like building a vulnerability muscle. :)

Beautiful post, Janae. I love that you shared your heart with us. 💕

Reply

Almost 6 years into my second marriage and I still have so much work to do with being vulnerable. It can be so painful and terrifying to truly be seen by another person–so rewarding though. Thank you for sharing. I feel like I’m in the trenches of trying to be more vulnerable and it is so hard and uncomfortable. Luckily I married a truly wonderful person who loves me.

Reply

Reading since Brooke was born from Spain when I was running half’s and PR’ing and came for the running. Married now, love your journey, love your family, love the routine of starting my day with you celebrating beauty and joy around us. Now Married when I didn’t think I would be, and struggling to find the me in this relationship. I love this post, I love the brutal honestly of balancing self preservation and heartbreak avoidance with the joy that a healthy relationship can bring.

Reply

I love my second partner, and we’ve been together for nearly a decade. I feel treasured. But in the deepest part of my heart there is a nugget of myself with a wall of self preservation around it. I can not imagine feeling sure enough, safe enough, dare I say (with no judgement to anyone else here) naive enough to ever let anyway back in there. In my soul I feel like a part of the carefree girl I was, who was so sure that it was “us” and not “I’s”, is gone forever. And I know I have to ensure that in the end, come what may, I have enough of me protected to be okay. Because after the first time I almost had nothing left, I clawed my way back, and I will never let me get so close to the edge again. And this is my deepest secret and I’ve never told a single soul.

Reply

Thank you for sharing your secret with us. I think it is perfectly okay to do what you feel you need to do to maintain who you are and your sense of safety. We need to love ourselves first, and I love that you have found a way to honour your needs. Sending you the warmest of thoughts. :-)

Reply

Friend, I want to give you the biggest hug right now. I am always here if you want to email… I understand what you are saying so so much. That edge is terrifying, you are not alone and you are absolutely incredible to get through what has happened to you in the past. Thinking about you.

Reply

Much needed post!
I’m just beginning to explore this in my own life and your openness is so helpful. I realised recently that I think people love me /like me because I give/am a helper and my therapist is helping me understand that I am loved for who I am not what I do.
Sending love and light to you and your family!

Reply

I divorced 5 years ago, after an 18 year relationship that started abroad when I was 18. He moved on very quickly and we live in his country, away from my own family and it’s hard. I have those walls and have not been able to let anyone connect with me that way because why would they- I do ot see myself as someone that anyone would take seriously. It is definitely very lonely and I am managing alone but still dealing with parts of our realtionship that I was so blind and naive about.

Thank you for your honesty. Life is really hard sometimes.

Reply

Thank you for this post Janae. My husband left me in 2015, with two teen daughters. I met a wonderful man in 2017 and he asked me to marry him just this past July!! The hardest part for me is that I have been on my own for so long with my girls, that I have no idea how to let a man into our lives. I compare my girls and I to Gilmore Girls. Lol!! The girls and I are so close and have so many traditions that it is hard to bring this man and his FOUR boys into it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *