Canuck, you made an interesting comment in response to my post yesterday.
I thought a lot about what you said about "red flags" in the early phase of our relationships (there are many) and what I might have done in response to these had I been congruent to myself. I''ve decided to write about some of them here, publicly:
(1) The first one was not just a red flag, it was a warning flare, siren, and alarm system too. When we met, she had literally (I mean a week ago) walked out of a relationship (year long) in which she''d been badly cheated on and controlled. She loved him but needed to leave for her sanity. So, we met. I had been in a long termer a year previously (my only other real long term relationship - 9 years) and was still probably not over it. So we jumped into this one...it certainly took me a while to trust her feelings for me were genuine as I always felt she knew deep down that she was rushing herself. Always felt I was "bending over backwards" to get her to see the value in me...and to some extent that set the tone for the whole relationship...always felt I was trying to give her more and more...never felt she was happy with that (if I''m brutally honest). If I''d been true to myself...(and I wasn''t because I too was looking for a warm blooded creature to help heal my previous wounds - BTW the previous girl also turned monster and left me - maybe I should change aftershaves), I guess I''d have said..."hey...hold your horses...if you ain''t in this 100% then get out now"...as it was, I grabbed on to what I had and refused to see this major red flag.
(2) The second red flag? I started to worry after a few months of knowing her more intimately that she didn''t seem very sensitive to my needs...she was very much a self-contained person and did not "connect" with me how I had hoped or expected. This saddened me...but again, I ignored it.
(3) Red flag 3...when we settled in the UK I became more aware that she was absolutely NOT content simply with "our family"...she NEEDED a career and an education (which I''m all for). Problem for me was not that she needed it...it was that it seemed to me to be her first priority...I felt it should have been the other way around. What should I have done to be true to this value I have? Tell her about it...speak up. Well, this time I did (couldn''t ignore it any longer...even if I said nothing, my behaviour betrayed how I felt)...I didn''t like her priorities. I spoke up...she left a few months later...here I am.
This helps me see that there were many flaws in our relationship and that I had my part to play in this by ignoring these flags.
There were lots for me too and I really had to ask myself why I was willing to brush those aside and continue. For me, it was her drinking. She was always a drinker and it always bothered me. Heck, she passed out in a snowbank at my company Christmas Party once. Before we got married and I still continued!! That says more about me than her BTW. Why was I willing to do that? What part of me did I give up to convince myself that was ok behaviour?
I do think this kind of self reflection is useful. I know it helps me heal. To figure out my role and my part. I''m desperate to learn and improve. Lots of this is her fault but I am not willing to be the victim or sit here and blame.
But remember that it''s early days for you. Be patient and kind to yourself.
Don''t beat yourself up about ignorning those flags, ever. Hindsight is a wonderful think, but we all make decisions based on who we are at the time, and at the time they were probably the right decisions.
I have to say that I''m astonished that you''ve got to the point of articulating all those flags or aspects of your relationship so quickly - I think it took me a number of months to start to figure things out.
I totally know what you mean about the ''bending over backwards'' thing. I did exactly the same, and I woudn''t do now. I''ve asked myself, ''why did I do that? why did I put my needs second?'' The answer was, simply, due to love, and I''m not going to be ashamed of that.
Thinking back to my own marriage, I can see these instances myself when I should have ''flagged'', i.e. times when I felt I was being manipulated, or that others were unduly criticised for apparent reason. I could go on... (but I won''t!)