When You Marry the Wrong Person

We all know someone a little bonkers. At school, they were the kids we avoided because even at a young age we knew they were a little inappropriate and strange. These kids seemed to live by another set of rules or standards. They didn’t seem to understand how life works on planet earth and had their own ideas about how to behave and treat people.  Whether they were born that way or became that way from ineffective parenting is irrelevant, the lift as they say, did not go to the top floor. Fast forward a decade or two. These socially awkward children are now adults. They have figured out how to function in mainstream society and how to keep the appearance that they are a normal, functional members of society. Some of them are so skilled, their charismatic character fools everyone. Fast forward a few years. You are now dating this person. On several occasions you thought to yourself, “Wow, that was a weird/hectic/unexpected/surprising response” and because you were in love, chose not to investigate further. At other times you may have thought, “OMG, who is this person?” and because you so wanted it to work out, swept it under the carpet.  Fast forward a year or two. You are now married to this person. More and more often you are noticing behaviour that is completely disrespectful to you and others. Too often this person blind sides you with a vicious backlash or gob-smackingly inconsiderate insensitivity. Slowly you are getting a sinking feeling in your heart and stomach that this person is not who you thought they were. And you would be right. So what now?

First, stop picking up what they are putting down. That’s a card players term that is handy in life. If someone puts crappy cards on the table, you don’t have to pick them up. You have to recognize that your hand is decent and not get tricked into playing the game of picking up someone else’s bad hand. It takes enormous restraint and self management not to get pulled into the drama. Not to engage in their bad play. Part of the problem is that if you include yourself in the bad behaviour, you become part of the problem too instead of being part of the solution.

Second, find yourself some emotional support. When we spend considerable time with someone who is high maintenance, they can literally suck the life and joy out of us. Emotional support might come in the form of a friend, a hobby or spiritual practice. We all need someone/something positively energizing to offset the negativity and to counterbalance the exhaustion. You will need to keep yourself afloat until such time as you are apart from this person, or they have addressed their issues.

Third, help your partner to help themselves. If you have already invested so much of yourself into this person and your marriage, it’s worth trying to turn things around. For even the most badly damaged person, when someone sees and recognizes their potential and helps them to see their own light, they can be inspired to become a better person. Love them for who they are. Love them into becoming the right person for you. Sure, it will take tons of empathy and patience, kindness and tenderness, it can be relentless. The amount of love and compassion you will have to muster up in order for somebody broken to love themselves again, is usually only reserved for mothers. Love them with all your heart. Help them to see how and where they are not collaborating. Encourage them when they make an effort to get it right. Set the example for how-we treat-each-other in this relationship. When you marry the wrong person, do your very best to make it work. ..And if, only if after you have given it your all and that doesn’t work..

Four. Love them from afar. Even if a relationship ends it does not mean it has to get ugly and cruel because the partner we chose was unable to meet our needs.  Honouring the journey you had together; feeling sincere gratitude for all the good you did get from your relationship and then saying thank you as you leave is the next step. You will experience severe grief, as with any loss. Be kind to yourself, treat yourself well. The loss of the dream, fantasy and hope that this was something to believe in has ended bitterly. Walking away is not a cowardly thing to do. Loving yourself enough not to endure a lifetime of drama and loving your partner enough not to be the person who continues to play foul games will offer you both a better chance at real love. Real love is when you genuinely wish someone happiness, whether we’re a part of it or not.