The idea for this book came about during a conversation I had with a former therapist when we were talking about how prevalent the rationalization process was among women we knew. This led to her sharing a story with me about a friend of hers who had recently called to tell her all about a new relationship and how she had found “the one.” After politely listening to her friend speak almost exclusively in superlatives (based on four weeks of dating), she said, “Congratulations. I think you have just met your future ex-husband.” I was so enthralled by the phrase that I began to work on a project that would evolve into this book.
I am often asked to summarize the essence of How to Recognize Your Future Ex-Husband and my answer is always the same: understanding the rationalization process.
It is my personal belief that the “R” word is responsible for so many of our choices when it comes to romantic relationships (and life in general). We need to make sense of what we do and why we do it. But where it becomes sticky is when we absolutely know that we are heading down the wrong path but continue to do so despite our internal GPS telling us otherwise.
For many years I had been in pursuit of partnership prior to getting married almost a decade ago. While I am not a trained therapist, I have worked with many gifted professionals throughout most of my life who have helped me to understand why I accumulated so many disappointing relationships. To me, this is analogous to being a good cook who has acquired her culinary acumen simply by spending a great deal of time in the kitchen.
This writing project forced me to look back at the many years I spent pining over men who would never have been a true “fit” and how really terrible my life would be today if any of those relationships had led to marriage. I recount many of them in the book and here is my speculation of how each of the significant ones would have turned out.
David: we would have married after college. I would have become pregnant too soon and he would have become a depressed dentist.
Nicky: he would have convinced me to move to Beirut. I would have become pregnant too soon and he would have had a minimum of five mistresses after the first three months.
Jake: the passion would have lasted until my first missed period. I would have become pregnant too soon and he would have decided to go back to school for oceanography– in Indonesia.
Arthur: is explained in the book.
Ironically, I married a wonderful man when it was too late to get pregnant.
I hope this book promotes better discrimination between behaviors that are meaningful and predictive and those that are not. Consider using it to illuminate whatever path you have chosen to get you there as safely and soundly as possible.