DEAR ABBY: Two weeks ago, my husband let it slip that he wants a divorce. Since we were married, his personality has changed completely. He is not the man I married.
I would like to pass along some tips for anyone considering marriage, and share some of the bright-red flags I chose to ignore.
-- If your parents or siblings have doubts about him, pay attention. Listen and check it out.
-- If your intended has nothing good to say about his ex, beware. This is a pattern. Divorce is rarely only one person's fault.
-- If his children have nothing to do with him, do not believe him if he says his ex brainwashed them against him. My stepchildren have told me it was because they hated him, and they have good reasons.
-- Look closely at his credit and job history. They are sure predictors of what your life will be like.
-- If he's over 30 and has no money, do not let him move in with you, and don't marry him until he's financially solvent. If he has any respect for you (and himself), he'll insist on it.
-- Be sure in your heart that you can live with him AS IS. You cannot change another person.
-- This is a biggie: Beware if he has no friends. It is not true that they all chose to side with his ex.
-- If your friends dislike him, pay attention. This is also true if he hates your friends.
-- If he has more than one DUI and still drinks, run!
-- If he is one personality at work or with others, and another person alone with you, run.
-- If he has nothing to do with his parents, investigate why. Don't take his word for it.
-- If he's an expert at everything and brags a lot, understand that he will turn off a lot of people, eventually maybe even you.
-- If he has sexual problems, go with him to a doctor before you marry him. Believe me, his problem will become your problem.
-- If he is emotionally or verbally abusive, it will only get worse. Yelling, name-calling and glowering are classic signs of an abuser.
-- If he is never wrong and never apologizes, everything will be "your fault" forever. And after years of hearing it, you may even start to accept the blame.
-- If he does something wrong and says, "That wouldn't have happened if you hadn't ( )," that's another sign of an abuser.
-- And if he's mean to children, pets or animals, recognize that he's pathological, and the next victim could be you.
I am now 100 percent disabled and in danger of losing everything. I was taken in by someone who came to regard me as a disposable item. I only hope my letter will save someone else from the heartbreak I'm experiencing. -- EYES WIDE OPEN IN MISSISSIPPI
DEAR EYES WIDE OPEN: Your letter is brimming with well-thought-out advice, and I hope my readers will heed it. Now I have some advice for you: Start asking around for the name of the best divorce lawyer you can find, and be prepared for a fight. I wish you luck.