Challenges, Interview, Stepfamilies, Writing, Yourself

Healing Came to Me Over Time — An Interview with Pat Bubash

Have you ever wondered what makes some second marriages so successful, while others are not so much? Well, today, we are talking to Patricia Bubash M.Ed., author of Successful Second Marriages. Her book delves deeply into that very topic and focuses on the stories of couples who were very successful in their second marriages.

First of all, I would like to ask if you would mind answering the survey now live on the Facebook page: I am considering a change in my book title and wanted to get your opinion.

Now, on with the interview. I think you will enjoy this one!

Interview with Pat Bubash: Introduction

So, Pat, you and I have been chatting for a little while and I feel like I have gotten to know you, even though haven’t officially “met.” 

First, four fun facts about you. Go! 

Tea or coffee?   Both, more cold tea than hot

Cats or dogs?   Have had both pets, probably dogs more

Introvert or exrovert?   Extrovert who needs quiet time for reflection, reading, regrouping.

Mac or PC?  PC

Your book is on second marriages, but not just any second marriages  — successful second marriages. We talk about second marriage quite a bit on this blog. What drew you to this particular topic?
What drew me was that I did NOT have a successful marriage.  In my work as a school counselor, talking with kids and their parents. step parents, even grandparents, I was interested in those who were, successfully, in second marriages.  Curious as to “why” they had met with success, and me (who so much wanted a successful second marriage) did not.

I found the book very interesting. I absolutely loved hearing the details of these couple’s lives. You have a way of telling stories that is very lively and fascinating. Have you always loved writing? 

I have.  I remember (I can’t remember the name of someone I met yesterday!) my fifth grade teacher who when I asked for the spelling of the word, continental, proudly exclaimed, “That is the five dollar word”.   I was always a reader, a communicator via long letters.   I continue to send lots of cards, valuing the written communication over texts, etc.  Funny, but I have tried to journal, and it doesn’t seem to work for me.  When I type or write, the words seem to come, flow.

Pat’s Early Story

Pat, I hear you.  I think that is a sign of a true writer, that writing comes more easily than even speaking. So, would you mind talking a bit about your own experiences with divorce and then second marriage?

My first marriage was, probably, doomed from the beginning but I thought I was a very mature 16 and a half(that half is very important).  My dad was in the Navy, we moved around quite a bit.  I think military kids grow up faster- have to acclimate more than their peers who stay in one place.  I met my husband when he was in the Navy, stationed on Guam, as was my dad.  I was in my last year of high school- we snuck off to get married, and finally, my parents signed for me.  I came back to his home town, St.Louis, MO. finished high school, no babies for 2 and 1/2 years.
We managed to keep the marriage intact, after three daughters, for 15 years.  It was his choice to end the marriage- he had a job that took him away for weeks at a time.  I loved being a mother, following my mom’s example of a stay at home mom, but my young husband, found a different life style.  Fortunately, I included in my mom duties, taking college classes, so when the divorce became final, I, also received a college degree along with a divorce decree.

Pat, you were a smart cookie to pursue your education alongside motherhood, and it served you well but how ironic, too, that you you received a “college degree aong with a divorce degree.” Talk about bittersweet!  What was next for you?

I had to learn how to date again, live as a single mom of three.  It was, actually, a good time in my life.  I got a job teaching.  I lived in the same house the girls had been growing up in prior to their dad’s departure, and I had wonderful friends, church family.
I knew I wanted to marry again:  I like having a home, family, family gatherings, the whole pizzazz, probably because I missed all that in my childhood.  Five years later my colleagues insisted that I should go out with a new h.s. teacher.  It was like the Brady Bunch personified- both of us were teachers, each divorced (him twice), each with three children close in age. It was a match-  but I was also aware that he had fidelity issues in both marriages.  He was honest about this, we discussed it at length, our plans for the future, and one year later we married.  Always, always listen to your gut:  The day we stood in front of the minister (in my house- I was much more financially sound than he was-his previous marriages had cost him, jobs and money), my gut said, “Don’t do this”.  Should have listened.
 It took only two years, and he slipped, not badly, but a red flag that cost him his job.  I felt that I had to stand by him because I had made a commitment for life. (I felt the same way the first time- but I didn’t have a voice, he left, for the West Coast).  We stayed married.  I even gave up my secure job, my home, friends,  young adult children and went with him for teaching jobs in the Dominican Republic.  A year later we returned to the states where I decided to go to a job in Haiti, he was to follow, but four months later, I received divorce papers.  We were married four years.  I stayed in Haiti for two years working at a private international school.  I never saw him again.

Healing Came Over Time

Wow, so disappointing for you. It’s interesting that you mention “listening to your gut.” I think we often know what we are getting into — at some deep level — but we don’t trust ourselves enough to listen. It must have been so painful to deal with all of this. 

Healing is so necessary after such trauma. How did you cope and heal from your divorce?

I think the toughest part was the year and a half that we were separated.  That was his choice.  He left one day without telling me that he didn’t plan to be part of the family any longer, that he wasn’t going to be in our house again.  He would call me, refused to see his daughters.  This went on for over a year, and, then I filed papers.  I thought that would wake him up, make him realize his mistake in leaving us.  It only made him angry, because he had his own time line in place for when the papers were to be filed.

Healing for me came over time, and in the pleasure of being a mom.  I thoroughly enjoyed that period of motherhood.  I taught in the same school where they attended, three miles from our house.  We lived in a very supportive neighborhood, and, I felt cared for.  After a year or so I began to go to dances with a best friend, and learning how to date again, meet people.  It, actually, became a pleasant time in my life.  And, I wanted to marry again, but I was not going to marry the first person who was willing either.   That is why it was such a tough tough time when my second marriage failed.

Often a divorced person feels like a failure – i didn’t feel that way in my first marriage.  He failed me.  But I did the second time.  i was embarrassed at having made such a poor decision by trusting someone who did not deserve my trust.  That one really took some work.

I can relate so much to that, Pat. It is hard to swallow our own mistakes but we make decisions from where we are at the time. After our marriage ends, we are different people than we were before.

In my book, I talk about acknowledging the good that comes out of bad situations. Can you touch on this idea in your own life?

I grew – I accomplished many more goals than I ever would have had I stayed in my first marriage.   As the years went by in our marriage, my first husband found some pleasure in making me feel less sure of myself= he knew I lacked some confidence in my abilities.  He did not anticipate nor encourage my finishing college (he and his siblings had GED’s), or that I would continue to work on my education, that I would keep our house, maintain it, survive without him.  It was kind of like this:  “I don’t want you, but I don’t want anyone else to want you”.

The Book: Successful Second Marriages

Now, unto the book itself. I am interested in hearing your insights about how couples are able to forge a new partnership after the demise of their first marriage. Can you tell me a couple of actions that most successful couples seemed to do, in order to make their second marriage work? 
The one most frequent comment was that they took time to know themselves better.  As one husband told me, “I wasn’t going to go through divorce again.  It was too painful”.   So they did not rush out to find a new partner.  They wanted to be sure they were ready to enter marriage again.  Most of them did feel that they wanted to remarry- when it was time.
I noted that most of them had been supportive of his/her spouse in some way with children, aging parents or losses from death.  They were the others shoulder:   not planning it, but three spouses had adult children who had died. Two had aging parents to be looked after- one wife even had her new father in law come live with them after only four months of marriage.
What I saw was that they were beginning with “stuff” that didn’t exist in the first marriage. There were some health issues (couples were older this second time) and the aging parents. There were older children who could or could not be less delighted at their parents’ remarriage.  As they were more mature, they realized, the marriage was not always going to go smoothly and flow.  But they also knew that it was important, to have compassion, stand by this person. Maybe they saw it as a last ditch effort (unlike me, although I really had not planned to marry a third time) to have a successful marriage. They knew, the pain of a failed marriage.  They had a common experience with loss, hurt, a planned future that ended.

Was there one couple that stood out for you, out of all the ones you interviewed?

The one couple remains with me always.  He had asked her to marry him, but she wasn’t at the point where it was comfortable. So, they had talked about living in a duplex, each one having a side.  Her eldest adult son died unexpectedly.  She went into a deep depression, and he told her, ” I want to marry you.” She then replied, “But I will be crying all the time.”  His response was,  “Then I will hold you all the time while you cry”.  I get emotional every time I read this.  And, they have a wonderful marriage- he supports her in all her endeavors, even to housing 3 Golden Retrievers used as therapy dogs in Children’s Hospital.

What Is Next From Ms. Bubash?

Okay, Pat, one more question for you. It has been a joy getting to know you better. Now, can you tell us what projects you have on the go these days? Any new books on the horizon?
I have lots of projects in my mind!!!  I get distracted by life:  volunteering, traveling, being with friends, responding to HARO, but I do have a book in Word. It is called, Marriage Blisters:  Spousal Behaviors that Drive you to Distraction.

I only need too do some editing.  But how can I even say that, “ONLY”, and, then, I think I am going to take it directly to “ebooks”.  As I said, lots of things in my mind!

Thanks, Pat, for taking the time to talk with us today. I look forward to your next project! 

Please give Pat Bubash some comment love below.


Patricia Bubash received her Masters Degree in Education with an emphasis in Counseling from the University of Missouri, St.Louis. For more than 30 years she worked as a counselor, and, also, facilitated classes at the local community college on issues of parent concerns, advocacy. Her work with families was the catalyst for authoring her book, Successful Second Marriages: This is a book to inspire, encourage, and provide hope for those who choose to remarry. Mrs.Bubash has been a guest on several blog talk radio shows:  January Jones Success Stories, Janet Pfeiffer, Anger 911.Radio, Child Centered Divorce Network and Dare to be Authentic.

She is a member of Better Marriages presenting on the topic of relationships at the July 2015 conference.  She contributes articles promoting positive relationships: www.hopeafterdivorce, www.fizzniche, . Her passions include volunteering in elementary schools, and the St.Louis USO, writing and traveling. Mrs.Bubash is a Licensed Professional Counselor, and a Stephen Minister.


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