This is my story of my marriage to an abuser. This post was written in real time, when my divorce was finalized in December 2014. This post reflects my thoughts at the time, as I reflected on relationships and what I wanted.
Warning: descriptions of violence and abuse may be triggering.
For Part 1: Back to the Beginning
For Part 2: For Better or For Worse
For Part 3: Moving and More
For Part 4: Going Downhill
For Part 5: Changes.. and Hope?
For Part 6: An attempt at reconciliation
For Part 7: Here we go again..
For Part 8: Marriage and mayhem
For Part 9: To Grieve and to Grow
I never thought I was a “fairy-tale-ending” type of girl. I love reading them, but I never thought I would get one. You know, the type where she’s leaving or in trouble, and the guy wakes up, realizes he loves her and rushes to rescue her, the kind of story where it ends with the couple in each other’s arms, and you know they will live “happily ever after”.
I’ve never had someone love me like that.
And I just realized.. I want that kind of relationship. I am a closet romantic, though a lot of the big traditional romantic gestures leave me embarrassed and uncomfortable. But I want someone to come after me, no matter what I say, what I do.. to push through my walls and find out who I really am, and still want to be with me. I want that “wake up” moment.
You would think marriage would have provided some of that. But no, even during my marriage relationship, what I got was slammed doors and silence, with the occasional chocolate bar to buy my peace. To this day, I don’t enjoy chocolate bars as much, especially those that used to be my favorites. I didn’t get passion and pursuit.. I got ignored, and when not ignored, abused.
It makes me sad. It also makes me realize that I will never again settle for less.
I settled for less when I married. I understand that now. I settled for the appearance of religion rather than a man who truly shared my faith. I settled for convenience rather than commitment. I allowed him to just play house, rather than build a family, and a legacy. And I paid for it.
I made a mistake.
I ignored the warning signs — the aggression, the lack of financial stability, the “loans” I made him, got for him, the lack of ambition, the lack of plans for a future. I ignored the spiritual imbalance, the emotional immaturity that was obvious, and even the fact that I was already being taken advantage of. And I even dismissed the warnings I was given by family and friends before my wedding. For what? Because I was afraid of being alone. Of being a single unwed mother.. again.
They say if you can dream it, you can do it. But dreams do not always come true. Sometimes it’s because the dream isn’t a good one. Sometimes because it’s simply impossible. And sometimes.. sometimes it’s because you tried, and you failed. You made a mistake, took a wrong turn, had an error in judgement.
I made a mistake, but I don’t have to do it twice. In fact.. I did do it twice. So I’m a slow learner when it comes to this relationship thing. I can learn. And I will learn.
I’m no Disney princess. But I am a royal princess. And I think, if there’s a next time, and that’s a big IF!, I’ll wait and test if he’s a true prince. Then maybe I won’t end up with just the frog.
I still reflect on my relationship.
Every once in a while something comes across my path — a Facebook post, an email, a blog post — that makes me reflect on my former marriage. Even though I’m a year plus post divorce, I still evaluate and weigh my choices in that relationship.
I was reading a blog post “An open letter to a sh**ty husband” (excuse the language) by a divorced single father. He wasn’t deliberately cruel or violent like my ex. He was simply.. neglectful. Immature. A little selfish perhaps. Clueless. And his wife left. He wrote a series of blog posts that detailed the reasons why, in his opinion, she left.
Reading through those reasons, I found myself agreeing with some, though definitely not all. My ex wasn’t just neglectful, but intentionally hurtful. That’s a different story.
But to be honest, it wasn’t his abuse that made me leave. I didn’t leave my abusive husband because he was abusive. I didn’t leave because he physically attacked me. I didn’t leave because he was so controlling, that I couldn’t even get a driver’s licence, that I had to beg him to take me to medical appointments, and that I lived with neglected infections that have caused lifelong problems..
No I didn’t leave because of the violence.
I left, because it finally dawned on me that raising a family and running a household would be easier without him than with him. It would be easier to be a single parent of 5 young children, even with a special needs child, even with a newborn baby and toddler and preschooler, even with no job, no experience, no support… It would be easier to be without him than with him.
I left because living with him, not including the violence and tension and fear and walking on eggshells and everything, was so frustrating, so aggravating, so.. hard.. that doing it on my own was easier.
The truth is – it is easier.
It’s easier to raise 5 children on my own than to try to parent with a man who is so uninvolved in his children’s lives, he didn’t even know their birthdates. It’s easier to clean a house with 5 young children running rampant, and their ensuing chaos, than to try to clean a house with a man who is so oblivious that he would complain about the dirty dishes, while leaving his all over the house. Honestly, it’s easier to plan a fun day out with my kids by myself than it is to try to manage their disappointment because daddy, yet again, decided work was more important than our family.
Leaving my husband was easier than trying to make a life with a man who didn’t want it.
You can’t push on a rope.
It wasn’t the abuse that ended my marriage, really. I never really had a marriage to begin with.