Women is...: Fear of Failure

Fear of Failure

Marriage takes hard work. Women who�ve been through it before accept this and put in real effort. They also choose their partners more carefully. "I�m much more aware of what I�m getting into," says Heather, who�s getting married for the second time this fall. "I was in love with the idea of marriage and not focused on who I was marrying," she says of her short, unhappy first marriage in her mid-20s.

But just as divorce can teach you about marriage, it can also make you frightened of failing again. "Most people enter first marriages filled with romantic delusions and by the time they get to a second marriage, they�ve been hurt," says Dr. Dorree Lynn, a Washington, D.C. therapist who counsels people in second marriages and has been married twice herself. "Even though they think they�ve chosen more wisely this time, unconsciously one or the other is really frightened." Admitting to such fears and talking about them often helps couples.

But never-married women who hook up with a divorced man often find themselves without the wisdom gained by experience. "You think you can change the world," Wilkins-Hubley says, speaking from experience. Especially when younger women marry into a family with stepchildren, it can prove a radical lifestyle change. "I see a lot of [these women] not accepting the family," she says. Add to that their husband�s fear of losing his relationship with his children, and these women face many personal struggles.