Why I Ignored Red Flags And Married Him Anyway

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By Sandi Langlois, - January 27, 2017

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All of these red flags were present when we got engaged, but I ignored them. Not recognizing how much worse it would get, I thought that the good would outweigh the bad overall and we’d continue to be happy. We had good times and I certainly loved him, but the relationship wasn’t healthy for either of us.

 

Looking back, I never should have married him. Of course, I was instantly attracted to him, so it was easy to overlook his faults. Blonde hair, piercing blue eyes, and a great body are great camouflage for poor social skills. But, nobody is perfect, least of all me, so I excused a lot of his less desirable qualities in the name of protecting our love and ignored the red flags. I was certainly still infatuated with him, and not wanting to lose him, I put up with some behaviors that really embarrass me to admit to today. 

Compatibility never factored into my equation and it probably should have been at the top of the list. Truthfully, when I got engaged at 22 there was no list, I just thought love was enough to carry us through any challenges. That is “Pollyanna thinking” and it will eventually lead to both parties’ relationship dissatisfaction and eventually divorce.

He was my biggest critic.

I was a little more sensitive back then, especially about my weight. I’ve always struggled with disordered eating to some degree, but it took over my life during those first few years together. He was a fit athlete and to him, I was in need of his help to be my best self. I was always the busty girl with the books and smartass comments. I never played sports in school so athletics didn’t come easy, but I went to the gym daily and tried to transform myself into something he’d find attractive.

Soon, I was consumed with an eating disorder to gain his approval and stuck in a cycle of blame and self-hatred. The thinner I was, the more praise I got from not just him, but everyone around me. I was miserable, desperate for his approval, and stuck with the feeling that if I could just lose 10 more pounds, I would have the life and the relationship that I always wanted.

He was convinced a “black cloud” followed him and was consistently negative and blamed others for his problems, me especially. Negativity is contagious, people. You cannot live a full and rich life with a perfectionist who obsesses over all that is wrong in their life, rather than appreciating all the good. I found myself constantly bending over backward to ensure that things were just the way he liked them to avoid conflict.

I hid my true self and tried to be what he wanted me to be. We usually ate what he wanted to eat, went on the vacation he wanted to go on and worked towards goals that satisfied him, without much thought to what I wanted. If he wasn’t happy, he’d make sure everyone was miserable so it didn’t make a lot of sense to fight for what I wanted…he’d just ruin it anyway.

Everyone thought he was an asshole. I thought they just didn’t understand him. When he wouldn’t smile back or say hi to anyone at a party, I’d always be ready with the excuses:

He’s the strong, silent type.

You have to get to know him before he’ll open up.

He’s really just reserved in public.

He rarely said “thank you” when he received a gift so I often took over, thanking the person and telling them how great the gift was. He just didn’t seem to understand the value of being polite and it really bothered me. I am a people pleaser by nature, I want to be liked. He saw that as a weakness in my character. Now I realize being likable is an asset. 

He wanted me to do EVERYTHING for him, his way and at his convenience.

He often made demands that were unreasonable or excruciatingly particular in nature. Compromise was a dirty word. If it was something he wanted, he had no problem asking me to drive 6 hours or spend $200 in overnight shipping fees to get him a particular kind of protein powder and the boots he forgot to pack for his business trip. Once he woke me up at 4:30 am to find his socks, which were in the dryer. After I found the socks, he wanted me to make him breakfast and pack his lunch. When I protested, he threw a picture frame across the room at me and the glass hit the wall right behind my head! I became more of a mother to him than a wife and I found myself spending more time each day taking care of his needs than my own.

He didn’t have my back with family and friends.

In fact, he would frequently throw me under the bus with his parents. While I always defended him publicly, even when I disagreed with him, he was quick to publicly criticize me. When we had an argument, he would run to his mother or father to complain or get sympathy, spilling all the details of our private life edited to portray him in the best possible light. 

All of these red flags were present when we got engaged, but I ignored them. Not recognizing how much worse it would get, I thought that the good would outweigh the bad overall and we’d continue to be happy. We had good times and I certainly loved him, but the relationship wasn’t healthy for either of us.

I sacrificed so much, I resented him, and he was more in love with the idea of me than the real person. In hindsight, it’s easy to see that I don’t think he really knew me at all. I loved him too much to walk away, even though it was probably for my own good. Sometimes we forget that when you’re in love and especially when it’s new, you feel like that love can conquer anything and you’re filled with the instinct to fight for it, red flags be damned.

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