It’s not easy to write this. I don’t think I’ve actually told anyone the full story of what I went through. My family members, friends and even my therapist at the time, only caught a glimpse of what my life was like. After years of finding my self-worth, I now feel comfortable enough to share my story.
Let me start by saying I thought I was in love. I thought this person, who I fought my entire family on marrying, was someone who would cherish me. Someone who I thought would treat me with kindness and respect, but I was wrong. Call me naive or gullible, but at the time I truly didn’t see him for what he was; a liar, a narcissist, and my abuser.
My ex husband wasn’t physically abusive but he was emotionally, mentally, and sexually. He made me feel trapped and alone while he drained out so much of my life. I had so many dreams and aspirations before I met him. But once we were married everything wilted away to fit his needs.
For the first year of our marriage we lived in my parents basement. He showed me parts of his true self early on but I chose to ignore it. He would often tell me not to spend my own money and not go out with friends. He would say things like, “Just stay with me. We don’t spend enough time together”. This wasn’t true but I had convinced myself that he just loved me too much and there was nothing wrong with that.
That’s why when he told me he got us our own condo, without consulting me first, I took it as an act of love. Yes, I was partly upset, but I was young, in love and thrilled to finally have a place of our own.
After we moved out, everything went downhill from there. He not only started to refuse to speak to my family but he also tried to convince me that they didn’t care about me at all. “Don’t you see how they treat you? They don’t care about you”. He would say and I would let it sink in.
He soon started body shaming me on and off throughout our marriage. He would tell me that I needed to lose weight. A few times he would actually try to force me on to a scale and laugh. He thought it was some kind of joke but I wasn’t laughing, I was crying inside.
He later would become more aggressive in bed too. He wanted to do a certain sexual act and when I told him no he still did it anyway. I remember running to the bathroom pissed off the first time it happened and told him I was bleeding. He said it wouldn’t happen again but it did.
My ex husband wasn’t a good guy. I can go on and on about how we once agreed on having children. But the minute we started trying, he would slip on a contraceptive and laugh when I found out about it. I could talk about the time I criticized how fast he was driving and he purposely started to swvie and make shorts stops all the way home just to scare me. I could talk about the multiple times he pinned down my head just so I couldn’t see who he was texting. I could talk about the times he would randomly ask me what I would do if he ever hit me. A question I now look back on as him testing the waters on what he might do, if I had stayed longer.
Everything in our marriage was a joke to him. While he laughed I spent the majority of the time crying and feeling ashamed that I couldn’t fix anything. Everything was always my fault. He said “ You think too much. Maybe something is wrong with you? Maybe you should take a nap”. He blamed me for almost everything in our marriage yet, I still would defend him from my friends because I loved.
That love I had for him became stressful and detrimental to health. I would often become sick because of him; visiting the hospital multiple times a year. I was unaware at the time of just how much a person can have an effect on your physical health. I usually couldn’t sleep most nights, I had full on panic attacks and would cry on my way home from work on most days. I was wrack and he knew it. Looking back on it I think I tried to convince myself that he would change, but he couldn’t.
After years of neglect, gaslighting, body shaming, silent treatments, blaming me, emotional, mental and sexual abuse, I felt completely alone. The damage was done. The one person who I loved the most didn’t love me back and I finally started to realize it.
I’m not proud to say that I wanted to commit suicide but I did. One night, I had made a plan to finally end my life. It was a night my husband didn’t come home from being with his friends. 3am in the morning and I found myself writing a letter to him and my family. But just before I could leave the house to carry out my plan he came home.
“Your home?” I said and he replied “This is what you wanted right? I’m home”. He was there, yes, but he still felt cold and distant. I prayed a lot that night feeling sorry for myself that I could even consider what I was going to do.
The next day was the hardest truth I ever had to face. We sat down at our table and finally discussed how we felt about our marriage. He told me that he had been cheating on me with 3 different women, that he had been spying on my emails and text messages and that he’s been drinking and gambling. As you can imagine I was shocked but still wanted to work through our issues. I asked if we could go to marriage consulting but he rejected the idea and I crumbled inside. My marriage is over, I thought. So I knew what I needed to do next.
With the help of my friends and family, who all held my hand through the process, I filed for divorced. He was shocked of course and didn’t want me to do it. But I wasn’t going to back down. Not this time. While he tried intimating me during the process; saying how I couldn’t afford a lawyer and that he was going to follow me whenever I left the house, somehow I remained strong and made it through it.
The day I got my divorce I was filled with all sorts of mixed emotions. Sad that my marriage had come to this but thrilled that I could finally live again. It took me some time to heal but with the help of my therapist and the support of my family and friends, I realized what a healthy relationship should look like. I realized what it means to have boundaries and most of all I realized that I am stronger without him.