A U.K. woman donated a kidney to her dying husband and, in return, he dumped her for another woman. Now she regrets saving his life and wants the kidney back. True story! It got us thinking about some of the biggest relationship regrets and lessons we had learnt. We put the question to our readers and here’s what they said.
Our readers confess: relationship regrets
It takes a lot of guts to be brutally honest, which is why we’ve allowed our readers to remain anonymous.
Biggest regret: Not leaving on my honeymoon night
“After a six-month whirlwind romance, my boyfriend and I decided to get married. On our honeymoon night in Bali, my new husband went down to the hotel bar for what I thought was to bring back a bottle of wine. Instead, he brought back another woman and insisted we have a threesome. I was so stunned, I didn’t know what to do. He told me if I didn’t go along with it, I could leave with what I was wearing, but he was keeping my money and my passport.
“I got blind-drunk, went along with it and in the morning he acted like everything was normal. I just blacked it out and tried to pretend it didn’t happen. I stayed with him for another three years and never told anyone what happened. I should have left him that night.
Lesson learnt: Get to know the person properly before you say I do.
Psychotherapist Barton Goldsmith Ph.D recommends not getting engaged before you’ve been dating for six months and waiting another year until you get married. “I usually find the people that are disappointed in those they forge a relationship with didn’t ask enough questions or didn’t really listen to the answers.” Perhaps consider marriage counselling prior to saying “I do”, or read Monica Leahey’s 1001 Questions To Ask Before You Get Married, which may save you from making an epic mistake.
Biggest regret: Being a 40-year old virgin
“I’m a Christian and didn’t believe in sex before marriage, so my husband and I waited to consummate our relationship. On our honeymoon night, we got back to the hotel, we were kissing and, next minute, he’s pulling out a pair of latex gloves. I shrieked, ‘What are those for?’ thinking he’s some weirdo who is about to strangle me and doesn’t want to leave any fingerprints, and he says, like it’s the most normal thing on the planet, ‘I don’t like to get my fingers icky!’ Of course, this was a complete turn-off so we didn’t do the deed. When it came to trying again, the gloves came out and I’d go completely dry, so we never managed to get past that. I was brought up to believe that marriage is for life, so I stayed with him despite being miserable. I was 20 years old when I married him and 20 years later I was still a virgin.”
Lesson learnt: Don’t let your convictions outweigh your common sense.
There’s nothing wrong with standing up for what you believe in, but when it affects your mental state or health and happiness, it’s time to seek professional help. Taking marriage vows seriously due to religious or other reasons is honourable, but in some cases, if the commitment and promises are not being upheld by both partners, it is time to put yourself first and consider other options.
Biggest regret: Marrying someone I didn’t like anymore
“A small part of me had known for ages — years — that I didn’t like him anymore. He was my first boyfriend. I had low self-esteem and I had no family in the country, and we survived a serious car accident together, so I married him. We separated six months later. I had recurring dreams for years that it was before the wedding and I said, ‘No, I don’t want to do this.’ I was swept up in everything already being organised. It just swept me along and I wasn’t strong enough to stand up and stop it.”
Lesson learnt: Trust your gut.
Let your intuition be your guide and listen to the small voice inside your head called your gut instinct, instead of brushing it aside.
Biggest regret: Being too trusting
“I let my husband do everything — in particular, handle our finances — so when he brought home papers for me to sign so we could finally start building our dream home, I didn’t even think twice. I grabbed a pen and scribbled my signature. What I didn’t realise then was he had just made me the director of his porn company. It was only years later when I left him that he used that to blackmail me to stay with him.”
Lesson learnt: Always read the fine print.
When it comes to any contract, read the fine fine print, even if the person handing you the contract is someone you love and trust.
Biggest regret: Staying in a violent relationship
“Everything was perfect in our relationship, or so I thought until the night my he tried to strangle me. It was over a silly little argument. I woke up and my he had his hands around my throat trying to choke me. He let go just before I blacked out. I spent the rest of the night in the foetal position on the floor crying and planning my escape. The next morning, he was crying and begging me not to leave. He promised it wouldn’t happen again. Of course, I was stupid enough to believe it and three months later it happened again. This went on for almost 10 years. It took him forcing me into a car while he was drunk and spending three months in hospital to wake up and realise I might not survive a next time.”
Lesson learnt: Chances are if he hits you once, it will happen again.
Domestic violence happens in cycles. Lenore Walker’s Battered Women outlines the stages an abuser goes through. If he hits you once, it’s likely to happen again. According to an article by ABC News in 2012, 30 per cent of all murders stem from domestic violence, and those numbers are on the rise in some Australian states. Get out while you still can.
Break unhealthy love habits >>
Biggest regret: Being too clingy, needy and jealous
“I couldn’t believe my luck when I met my partner. He was perfect in every way — so perfect I often wondered what he saw in me. I know now that I scared him away by being too clingy and needy, but I was just so afraid of losing him. I would check his text messages, accuse him of having affairs if he was 10 minutes late home and what I’m even more ashamed of is getting jealous of him spending time with his mum. I ended up driving him away. I could see it happening, but just couldn’t stop the way I was acting.”
Lesson learnt: Give each other space.
The constant need for approval or attention can be draining, particularly for those who enjoy having their own space. You will find he appreciates you more if you give him room to do his own thing. Just because you’re in a relationship, doesn’t mean you have to live in each other’s pockets.
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