How Great Thou Part

My friend texted me today. She asked me how leaving a relationship could possibly be as painful as it is? How could she feel so desperate? How could she feel such darkness? How could she feel such a combination of both love and hatred?

I texted her back. I said that part of it is because the end of a relationship is much like grief. What complicates it is that grief is combined with the unwanted knowledge that this person didn’t love us enough to stay.

Then I thought about it a little bit more.

The truth is I left my marriage for the first time after eight years. I don’t remember the same kind of fear even with two small children. I remember feeling stronger. I remember feeling less pain and more moxie that I would not put up with being mistreated.

I think the reason it all feels worse now is I stayed too long and ignored too many red flags. The sooner you get out of a bad situation the better off you are. The sooner you leave, the stronger you are. The sooner you leave, the healthier you are. The longer you put up with red flags, the more diminished and unhealthy you become for putting up with an unhealthy relationship for so long.

10 Huge Relationship Red Flags:

1. Keeping secrets from family and friends about your spouse’s behavior for fear they would dislike them.

2. Convincing yourself that staying in the relationship is better for your children.

3. Listening to words or empty promises rather than believing the actions of your spouse.

4. Losing parts or all of yourself in order to rescue, fix or satisfy your spouse and keep the relationship together.

5. Taking too much responsibility for the relationship and allowing the other person to not take enough.

6. Ignoring changes in yourself such as, weight gain or health issues. These are signs that unhappiness and/or stress have gone on for so long they have manifested physically not just emotionally.

7. Making excuses for continued bad behavior instead of realizing that only extremely selfish or unhealthy people are willing to hurt the ones they love over and over again.

8. Staying with someone who isn’t self-responsible enough to correct their own bad behavior and forces you into taking on the role of being their parent.

9. Continually putting aside what is important to you because the implication would be that you are a nag when in reality the other person is getting everything that they want.

10. Staying in a relationship with a person who isn’t confident enough to feel your pain or take happiness in your joy.

11. Ignoring continued signs of internal unhappiness in yourself (tears, complaining) that are a result of being ignored, mistreated, disrespected, or bullied by your spouse.

12. Failing to recognize that someone who truly loves you would never cause repeated tears and pain. Those are the actions of someone who is selfish and/or needs to control you, not love you.

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