"....... for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust" Psalm 103:14

The woman who wouldn't settle


I am the woman who wouldn't settle.

Now.

But I wasn't always that woman.

The wounds of rejection
Thinking I was doing pretty well after my husband walked out, all things considered, and thinking I knew better than all the best advice about how long to wait before dating, I entered a toxic relationship 18 months after my marriage ended. It was my second post-separation relationship, but honestly I wasn't ready for either of them. The enormous stabbing pain of rejection revealed in me a woman who was prepared to settle. A woman who didn't think she was worth more.

In reality, my wounds were still gaping, ugly, painful and oozing. I was incapable of understanding that the man I'd met was quite possibly even more wounded than me. The fact that he dissolved into tears suddenly during our first date, as we shared about our respective marital messes, only tinkled those alarm bells. Their pathetic efforts to chime their warning were quickly quietened by my desperate need to be with someone, to have my pain anaesthetised by the euphoria of that initial, exhilarating attraction, and the heady intoxication of having someone attracted to me.

I was sure this man would be fine, I liked him, he liked me, I wanted to continue seeing him. I was confident it was just a little hiccup, not surprising given the circumstances we'd both come through so recently (SO RECENTLY........ uuhhh, hint???). And anyway, I was also sure that I would be able to rescue him and he'd want to be with me forever. And yada, yada, yada. Looking back it's amazing how convincing I was in my delusions.

And so I settled. For a man who was charismatic, but oh, so wounded and messy.

The many ways I settled
I settled for a man who had knowingly ruined his marriage with emotional and physical unfaithfulness, and had not fought hard for his beautiful wife who, in her extreme distress and sense of betrayal, decided she couldn't bear to remain in the situation any longer.

I settled for a man who had told his wife he wouldn't stop his behaviour, that he needed to "find himself" in these extra-marital liaisons; a man who let his wife go, who agreed when she filed for divorce.

I settled for a man who, on the other hand, was so conflicted about what he'd done to his ex-wife, that he was like a dog with a bone, unable to leave it be, even though their divorce was done and dusted.

I settled for a man who expected me to understand that his struggle with the cognitive dissonance of having wronged his wife, and wronged God, but still not wanting to return to his marriage, meant that sometimes he didn't want me around.

I settled for a man who would allow his ex-wife to call when she felt the same conflict about having ended their marriage and was wondering if they should "try again".

I settled for a man who told me that his marriage would only be completely "history" when and if his ex-wife remarried. And until then he was treading water, unable to commit to anything.

I settled for a man who would metaphorically throw me out, and then reel me in, depending on his capacity to ignore the clamour in his heart about the tragic destruction of his marriage.

I settled for a man who told me that he wanted me to travel with him, because he'd realised that he would struggle with the loneliness of travelling alone for six weeks. The needy woman in me settled, and agreed to go along.

I settled for a man who, the day we returned from this trip, told me he "needed some time" so that he could visit his children, and once again consider reconciliation with his ex-wife.

I settled for a man who continued his pattern of emotional unfaithfulness throughout our relationship, even after I discovered his online liaisons.

I settled for a man who eventually told me he was a "commitment-phobe" and therefore unable to give to our relationship what was right and good. But could we still be "friends"? (At this stage, I finally stopped settling............).

I settled, because I was broken and messy. Because I was lonely and hurting and needy, and my heart was bruised and bloodied. Because my husband had left me, so obviously I didn't deserve more. Because at the time, in my wounded state, I believed that even this tumultuous, soul-destroying relationship was better than being alone.

I settled for all of that, for almost a year.

Two halves don't make a whole
Eventually I managed to hear the still, small voice of God over the desperate need to be in this relationship, any relationship. I recognised the lies of the enemy of my soul, and I heard the gentle reassurance of my faithful God, that His grace was sufficient for me. I heard Him describe His everlasting arms. I heard Him whisper that if I would just trust Him, and allow Him to heal my wounded heart, I would no longer need (or want) to settle.

I wrenched myself away from this toxic relationship, and hid, shaking, in the shadow of His wings, licking the new wounds that had been inflicted on top of the existing ones. It took a while, a couple of minor relapses, and some straight-shooting from my trusted counsellor - "This man is emotionally unfaithful. Do you really want to settle for that?" - to finally get him completely out of my life.

And more importantly, I learned to recognise the very many ways I had settled, and I did not want to settle anymore.

2 comments

  1. I have no idea what it would be like to be so hurt and so lonely that you would choose to settle for someone like that and overlook so many faults Sue. I'm so glad you've left that woman behind in the dust and you've become who you were meant to be - through God's strength and your own. It's also lovely to see you having a happy ending - not every woman is so fortunate and far too many settle when they should have rested in God and waited on his timing and his plan.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Leanne. I don't think I have completely left those parts of myself behind, I always need to be vigilant for the ways I can fall into sin because of my particular weaknesses, as well as the circumstances in which I may find myself and the temptations before me. I am most definitely NOT yet who God intends me to be, but by His grace and in His strength alone I am on the way. What I do know is that God hates the heartache and hurt that I have experienced (sometimes at the hands of others) and He despises the pain I have had to endure. But He is not a passive bystander, and He works all of my wounds for my good and for His glory, if I allow Him to xx

      Delete

I'd love to hear your thoughts on this post. Please feel free to leave a comment!