I have been married four times. This is what I learned about love and forgiveness.


Diana Cannon Ragsdale Headshot

Diana Cannon Ragsdale

  • Diana Cannon Ragsdale has been divorced three times and married for the fourth time.

  • She said she first married a Mormon temple and fled her father’s house.

  • Here is her story told by Heather Marcou.

This said essay is based on a conversation with Diana Cannon Ragsdale. Edited for length and clarity.

Finding yourself is not easy divorced 3 times by age 51, especially if you are a woman, and especially if you are a woman Utah.. But you can get over it.I did, and I documented it My book..

I was born in Salt Lake City to a rich heritage as a pioneer of Mormon and many dysfunctional families. My parents shook violently between the church and the party scene with drinking, smoking and exchanging sexual partners.

In 1966, my mother left my father and became another woman. We, her six children, were left with the impression that she had memory weakness. Suddenly she left.

Two years later, my father remarried and chose a woman I already knew. Her mother’s sister became a stepmother from her aunt. And as a family, we returned to church.

I had to get out of the house. So I married an unloved person in the temple.

My marriage ended for a variety of reasons

My first marriage happened early — it was too early. He was engaged at the age of 19, and in retrospect he was trying to escape from his traumatic family life.

We were married for six years and had three children before the relationship broke down. Why couldn’t it be done when it was an exit strategy rather than a marriage?

My second marriage — now it was love. I was a single mother with three kids back in college, and here was this guy who replied to my love and reassured me in a stable manner. But one night when I was 34, my child’s trauma came back and bothered me.

I remember that night forever. My dad was at my house, drinking scotch with his second husband and smoking at the kitchen table. This was something that no one else was allowed to do. But I didn’t or couldn’t set the boundaries with my dad. After too much scotch whiskey and burning my table when I missed the ashtray, my dad told me I wasn’t his biological child.

The emotional fallout from then was devastating, and my husband couldn’t support me through it. I was a shipwreck, he didn’t know what to do, and our relationship couldn’t be restored. Eventually, my second marriage ended in unfaithfulness 16 years later.

I’m a member of society and love to have a partner, so I remarried a few years later. Once again, I was in love, but something was always a little off. I always felt that I couldn’t be completely honest with this man about the degree of trauma in my childhood. I was afraid he wouldn’t receive it. Unfortunately, that feeling may have been the red flag I missed. He wasn’t honest with me either. He lived a double life and was fooling me.

I forgive myself

I was in my 50s alone and had three divorces behind me. It was devastating and I was full of guilt and shame. Since then, I have discovered that neither of them needs to be carried. I had to learn to forgive myself and everyone who betrayed me. I had to learn to be considerate of myself.

Then I was able to find love again.

I am now having my fourth marriage with a man I truly love. I told him everything about my life early in our relationship. I put all the cards on the table and asked him if he was confident he would like to continue dating me. He was enough to marry me in due course.

We share life and family and together we are making a new family history.

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