Thus when I found myself married at a young age what I felt to be the most important thing was keeping my marriage together. I fought really hard towards that goal and put up with a difficult relationship, an abusive relationship, with the attitude that if we all went to church, prayed together, talked things through, then everything that was wrong could be made right.
There were things that could not be made right no matter how much I tried however. Things that I couldn't see or was too immature to know how to handle.
I'm not sure how people successfully navigated through unsuitable relationships back in the days where girls married at 14 (or younger) and were expected to raise their children to be strong and successful. How did these young girls overcome their own immaturity? Perhaps the societal norms of their days and what was expected of them was simple and they didn't expect much out of life, nor their relationships, it is sad that this is still the state of things in some areas of the world.
We live in a world that expects a lot from life and from our relationships and that leads to discontent.
But discontent was not a motivating factor for me when I was a young mother, I found joy in other things, for me I knew quite early on that I was in over my head and I didn't know how to escape. I made the unenviable choice to work on my relationship as much as possible, but to do things that would allow me the ability to escape if I needed to. In essence, I wasn't in a relationship out of love but out of fear. Certainly I loved my husband, but I hadn't come into the relationship as a fully realized person and I didn't decide to be married based off a mutual understanding of love and trust, I was married because I wanted to do the right thing for my children, I wanted them to have a good home.
So I was locked into this dynamic and yet fighting with all of my being to improve my situation. I went to school, I was lucky because attending school meant that I received grant money which we desperately needed because we were very poor. It was also useful because I was able to get out of the house and have some time to myself, I could escape into an inner world and there find a voice.
My inner voice told me something was wrong, that I needed to find a way out. I tied to talk things through with my husband, there were times I was suspicious of him, he had had an affair when we were first married and I thought that what was wrong was that he didn't really love me, I thought he would be happier without me. I was tired of the many things that I felt he did to keep us poor, spending money unwisely and unwise business practices. I was tired of the deception, always feeling like there was something he was hiding. I thought that I could fix it by trying harder, being more devout, getting us all to go to church, going to therapy and talking until I was blue in the face but nothing seemed to work.
At first I tried to escape by getting into a relationship(ish) with another guy. That was not good, I felt too much guilt and I felt uneasy with the speed with which the other guy wanted to marry me. I broke that off, it lasted a month.
That was trying to escape and I didn't like that way out, it made me weaker as a person.
I reconciled with my husband and went back to trying to break things off in the "right" way.
Then he became more violent, then I found out what he had truly been hiding and that was the last straw.
I packed his things, I put them out for him to take them away and I stood firm as he begged and pleaded with me to take him back, that was one of the most difficult things that I have ever done. Though unfortunately I did not have the resolve at that time to keep him from residing in some form or other in my home for the next few years, I was financially dependent on him and this had all happened right at the down turn in the economy so it was difficult to find work. I hated myself for my weakness, I wasn't protecting myself or my children and that caused me a lot of pain.
I had found a relationship with someone who lived on the other side of the world, he talked me through many things and became a good friend. We were really close and I went to see him (in Australia), we became engaged and then I went home. In this relationship I also felt trapped, and I felt like that was ridiculous because he lived so far away from me. I went to see him again to see if I could work out the dilemma I felt for myself, we had fun together but when I returned home again I felt something was wrong. It felt like the balance of power was out of control, he told me what I should do with my ex-husband and although I agreed I felt weak and unable to do what I knew was right so I felt continually in the wrong. I hated my weakness, I hated feeling out of control and I eventually broke it off.
Ironically I had found someone that loved and supported me over here, I met him at my work place and he was a really kind, though insecure guy. I had broken things off with my long distance relationship and then started up a relationship with this guy, but there was a struggle going on with one guy pleading for me to continue my relationship with him and then the other doing the same and then having the messy dependence on my ex-husband. It was all too much, it made me emotionally and physically sick, so eventually I ended everything with every guy in my life (as much as possible) and though my ex still came around causing me grief I had hardened my heart to his emotional abuse (mostly) and decided to move on.
So I did, I moved on. I dated several people and eventually found someone I admired and loved. We started a relationship, I moved my little family to his condo and we got married, BUT I was in school and wasn't really fully available because of that. There was a constant group text going with my MBA group and when I got off of work, I went to school, when I got done with school I came home and studied. I tired as much as I could to talk to my husband and get to know him but he was very private and paranoid. The situation really wasn't ideal for resolving misunderstandings because of the heavy pressure and exhaustion I felt so eventually we cracked. He cracked by accusing me of cheating, I felt that was so ironic because I had no inclination to cheat on him, I loved him, plus I had no time whatsoever to cheat. But nothing I did or said could convince him otherwise and our marriage ended.
It's been about a year now since he packed everything up and left, about 7 months since the divorce was finalized. I was devastated, I felt so empty inside, heartbroken and numb. I gathered up my pride and my things and did what I could to stave off the pain, unwisely I started dating again hoping to stem the loneliness. A mechanic friend helped me find an old beater car that has served me pretty well this past year, I lucked into a good deal on a condo that I was just able to afford, so I packed up my family and we left what had become a home full of ghosts for me.
There was one man who stepped into this painful and lonely world and did things for me that I could not, who brightened my day and helped me establish my home as it is now. He was not entirely truthful with me at the beginning however which has made me a bit uneasy and uncertain. I am happier because of his kindness but undecided about the long term.
I have never had the amount of stability that I have now, financially and emotionally. Yet I know that I need to be able to make the decisions in my relationships rather than be forced into them by circumstance or else I will never feel easy with myself or my situation, that is what I have learned. I need time to myself to think, I need time with my children to establish bonds that have been weak, I need enough money in the bank that I am not afraid of losing my home or of being dependent on someone else. I never want to make the mistake of not making a firm decision before moving on to a new relationship again though, that has never been good.
This is my understanding from the relationships that I have had and the life I have lived.