Accept The Things You Can’t Change – Change The Things You Can! (Written July 2019)
Today I am going to share some lessons I’ve learnt about accepting the things you can’t change. In relation to marriage and toxic relationships. It’s something I had to learn as a young adult and something I am still learning in other areas of my life.
I think it’s important to share the things I learn during my life and speak about them as I know it can help others to learn to accept things as they are or to make the necessary changes to become happier.
Stuck in a Bad Marriage
My first marriage was at the age of 20. They say you settle down and gain weight due to happiness in marriage but for me, it was the opposite. I was far from happy in my first marriage and it contributed to me gaining weight.
As a 20-year-old, I found myself in love with a man who did not love me back. As much as he said he loved me and he thought he did, his actions showed otherwise.
Take for example our wedding night. You’d think rugby and movies would be the last thing to worry about but no, the main priority the night of our wedding for my first husband was to watch the rugby game in the hotel on sky tv.
I never once had an enjoyable “hotel stay” with my first husband, every single adventure we went on was stained by selfishness and neglect. Our wedding anniversary was the same. We were in the Island of Tonga on holiday and my husband went off to his cousins, leaving me alone for 24 hours wondering where he had gone.
And then there was the time we went to Australia and stayed in an apartment on the Gold Coast. Yet again my husband went out all night clubbing with his mates and doing whatsoever he pleased whilst I stayed in the room by myself waiting and wondering what he was doing.
Accept Things as They Are or Don’t!
My first husband was very selfish. I think it came down to his age. He wanted the best of two worlds. He wanted to be married to me, to have me clean his clothes, cook his food, support him with his assignments, work and pay for holidays and do the things a wife would do. However, at the same time, he wanted to be free to go out whenever he wanted.
This man I called my husband often stayed out at all hours of the night. He would go to his parents or visit his friends. Often he was out with friends playing x-box, chilling out and hanging with the boys! I really would not have minded if it was less regular but I was left alone more often than not and the neglect caused me to feel miserable and unhappy.
I couldn’t accept things as they were in my first marriage. I was so unhappy. When I pleaded for my husband to stay home, to spend some time with me or begged him to come home at a reasonable hour I was made to feel bad. I was made to feel guilty and “uncool” for not allowing my husband to go out and do as he pleased whenever he wanted.
Unhappy Marriage Signs
I really was unhappy in my marriage. I desperately loved this man but he was not willing to treat me with the respect I deserved. Often we would end up arguing and every day I was emotionally and verbally abused, labelled and called names. I was blamed for his actions. If I was more pretty, if I wore more makeup, if I didn’t look like a bulldog then he would go places with me instead.
I was constantly told my family did not love me and when I became really unwell with Dengue Fever, my husband left me in the room unable to eat or drink with no support. Luckily I was taken to my mum’s lounge and cared for my mum for six weeks. I’ll never forget the hurt I felt of being abandoned by my husband when I was so unwell.
My pleading for a normal marriage fell on deaf ears and often ended up in physical violence, shouting, arguing and crying. I was so unhappy and as much as I wanted and needed this man to change, he clearly was unwilling.
Signs of a Bad Marriage
If you want to know signs of a bad marriage then I am the poster girl for it. I had not one but two bad marriages before I finally found the right man to treat me with the love and respect I deserve. (and vice versa). Here are some of the signs of a bad marriage from my own experience.
- When your spouse stays out more nights than they come home.
- Having a spouse who blames you for his neglectful choices and actions.
- Being name called – I was always called a bulldog or a fat watermelon!
- Being told you are not good enough, cool enough or pretty enough.
- When your spouse tries to convince you that your family hate you. It was not true.
- Feeling frustrated and unhappy every day.
- When you are not equal and your spouse refuses to help.
- Having a spouse who puts you down and makes you feel worthless.
How to Get Out of a Toxic Marriage
Sadly in today’s world, some people will find themselves living in a toxic marriage. Marriage is special, it is important and should not be taken lightly. Whether you marry in a registry, on a beach or in a church, your vows are sacred and meaningful and marriage promises are meant to be for life.
Sadly if you find yourself in an abusive relationship, if you are being neglected, abused or mistreated in a way that is soul-destroying and toxic, you will have one of two choices. Stay or leave!
Whilst I personally believed marriage was important and I knew I would be judged and labelled for leaving my first husband, it was the only choice I had.
Leaving a bad marriage is never easy, it’s even harder when children are involved. (Which was the case in my second divorce) but if you’re in a relationship that is abusive and there are no kids and you’ve done all you can do then leave, run and stay away.
You may want to read my story of leaving my husband! Whether you have kids or not, staying in an unhealthy relationship is not good. Keep yourself and your kids safe!
If you’re planning to leave an abusive relationship, here are some tips for leaving abuse safely!
Ending a Toxic Marriage
As hard as it was for me to leave my first husband, I did it. I left and I never went back. It took around 6 attempts over a year but when I finally made that decision, I packed my things and moved away. I did not tell him where I had gone and as hard and as painful as things were, I stayed true to myself and ended my toxic marriage.
I’m so glad I ended my first marriage. It was painful and still haunts me to this day. I still have nightmares and my self-esteem is still rebuilding after all these years. I have PTSD and bad dreams and the memories of my past can come back and haunt me from time to time.
I’ve had counselling and have learnt techniques to help me cope when the awful memories come flooding back. What I did learn from my first marriage is that sometimes as much as you want someone to change or stop being abusive, often they will not.
I used to think, you have to stop being like this, you need to be kind, you must stop abusing me. My husband was not going to change or be kind or stop and the reality is he did not have to.
I finally came to realise that there are some things in life which are wrong and you may not be able to change. As hard as you may try some situations are what they are and my marriage was toxic!
When I finally accepted things were not going to change within the marriage, I had the strength to change my circumstances and leave. It wasn’t easy but was one of the best decisions I ever made.
Accept The Things You Can’t Change – Change The Things You Can!
About Angela Milnes
Angela Milnes is a Qualified Early Years Teacher who has specialised in Preschool and Kindergarten teaching. She has a wealth of experience teaching young children and is passionate about kids crafts and having fun as a family. Angela has also taught cooking skills and loves to share both family recipes and easy instant pot recipes here on The Inspiration Edit. Follow her on Pinterest!