I know when you are in the middle of a nasty divorce after a bad marriage, “tying the knot” may appear more like wrapping a noose around your neck.
But please don’t give up on love altogether. We have all misjudged people before. WE HAVE ALL made mistakes.
The first job of anyone in this situation is self-forgiveness. Yes, I remember clearly how angry I felt towards my soon-to-be ex, but even more so towards myself. My intuition had been quite clear from the start: “This is NOT the man for you!” But me, in my infinite stubbornness, thought that he would improve or I would somehow make our marriage work. Now I believe, if you are thinking you are going to “make” your marriage work, you are WRONG!
First accept what you do have control over and what you don’t. This means letting go of the illusion that you can control any other person’s behavior except your own. Too many of us spend our lives trying to control those around us, and not enough time focused on what we do control about ourselves and our daily choices. Let go of the notion that you have control over your marriage or your spouse. For if you should succeed in “making” your spouse do anything, you’ll probably regret it later.
I have a much softer view of marriage now. I only imagine a partner who wants to be with me more than anything in the world, someone who swears that I am the best thing that ever happened to him. This is the new relationship I found after my own traumatic divorce.
However, this did not come about through mind control. It came to me one day after a few years of living alone, learning to love myself unconditionally, and deciding NO ONE would ever treat me with anything but respect again.
Decide against “making” your next marriage work. Decide instead to choose someone who treats you with respect and appreciation from the start. Life’s too short to stay in a crappy marriage and if you’re in one now, you certainly know it!
To quote Dr. Phil, “We teach people how to treat us. If we disrespect ourselves and our own needs, so will everyone else in our lives.”
The first step is in changing the way you treat yourself. If you feel angry or frustrated, this is an important message from within telling you that you no longer want to be around those who choose not to treat you with love and respect.
In relationships, you get what you are, and if you have changed and gained even the smallest degree of self love and respect, you will no longer be able to tolerate being spoken down to or treated badly. Be glad of these changes, and get away from those that don’t understand where you are headed now.
Don’t try to control others and don’t let them control you anymore. Just leave and move on to a whole new life full of self-love and appreciation.
I did back in 2001. It wasn’t easy, but it WAS the most important decision I ever made to improve my life.
While I was putting together our latest Boomers’ Blog Carnival yesterday, I happened to begin reading one of my journals from my early thirties (I’m 56 now). There I was reminded of how BAD I was at choosing appropriate love partners in my twenties and thirties. BTW, my forties weren’t great either!
What did I finally learn to change this disturbing trend in my life? In one word, an unwavering new sense of self-love and SELF-RESPECT. My standards were so low for so long when it came to expecting to be treated well by others. I let far too many people walk all over me, without a clue of how badly I was treating myself!
To change this bad habit you need to stop and think about what you expect from those who care about you. How do you expect to be treated? Begin from how you treat yourself. Do you love yourself and respect your own judgment? Or do you constantly criticize and second-guess yourself? One book I found extremely helpful in this regard is: How To Be An Adult in Relationships by David Richo.
Spend time reflecting on how you have been treating yourself all of your life, and where those behavior patterns came from. Learn what it feels like to finally love and accept yourself, and then you will be so much closer to believing in love again, and finding it this time!