Today I’d like to introduce you to Rhoda who writes the wonderful home decorating blog, Southern Hospitality. I connected with Rhoda when I was looking for a roommate for the BlogHer 2012 conference. In reading her blog I learned she was recently divorced and was blogging about starting over and all her hard work completely renovating the home she’d just bought.
Rhoda was remarried in 2005 after a whirlwind romance. She was married for six years and when her husband he left her in financial ruin. Looking back, she says there were warning signs while they were dating that the relationship would not work. Here’s Rhoda:
I have been married previously in my 30’s. So by this time I was late 40’s. I met this particular man online, on a Christian dating site. It actually went way too fast for how long it took us to get married. We got married in 2005 after dating for about nine months. There were definitely red flags during that time that I ignored and should not have. Looking back, I wish I had not ignored them because, of course, it just ended up being a horrible situation for me.
I guess it was too fast and if I had been honest with myself I probably felt that at the time. I saw the red flags. I saw issues going on and I ignored them, just went forward anyway. That was stupid because I had friends and family who tried to talk me out of marrying this guy. I wish I had listened to them.
I think I was looking for love and chose to suppress those things that I saw, thinking that everything would work out and be OK. I was just wanting to be loved and to be in a marriage again.
I just did not take enough time to really sort things out and look at things as they were. I’m not an idiot but sometimes we do things when we want to find love and we want someone to love us back. We just sometimes ignore things and I think that was what happened with me.
Some of my friends and family did try to warn me. They saw things too that they did not care for and I am afraid they were right. I certainly wish I had listened. However, I am still friends with them today. We are lifelong friends. Even in spite of the mess that I ended up in the divorce, they have been totally supportive.
The Divorce Coach Says
I have talked to many people who’ve said they ignored red flags while they were dating the person who became their spouse. I did too. And I agree with Rhoda, we don’t ignore the signs because we’re being stupid. My unscientific view is that we ignore the signs because we’re focused on a specific outcome and we have confidence in our own abilities to succeed. That applies to lots of situations – it’s one of the reasons why some of us stay so long in marriages that aren’t working and why we stay in jobs that aren’t a good fit.
Realizing that there were red flags that you chose to ignore is a powerful lesson for the future. Being alert to it can help you avoid repeating the behavior. What else can you do to protect yourself? How can you stay objective? I have two suggestions. The first is to practice honest, open communication. That means when your date does or says something that makes you bristle or creates that twinge of tension in your neck, you have to talk about it. That discussion will add to your understanding of your date’s values and how it impacts your compatibility. I’m convinced that honest communication is one of the traits of enduring relationships. How many marriages falter because “we don’t talk anymore?” It’s hard work and it takes practice and the best time to start is when you’re dating. If your date isn’t willing to discuss your concerns, that’s an even bigger red flag.
My other suggestion is to use your Personal Support System – those three or four confidantes whose judgement you trust and who have your back. Talk to them about an incident, ask them how they would interpret it, ask them if they think you should be concerned? Listen to their collective wisdom.
Were there any red flags in your relationship you ignored? Why did you ignore them? What helps you to stay objective now?
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