Hi all. Happy Monday. I wanted talk about this. Out of everything that I share with you this is by far going to be one of the hardest topics to be open and transparent about. Mainly because I am still battling the inner fear and shame I have towards myself. How did I let this marriage continue? Why didn’t I walk away sooner? Why in the first place did I legally bound myself to this person? All of these questions that those of who have been in this situation know too well. My one disclaimer and question for you before you ask this is if you know my ex-husband, personally, I pray that you no longer have contact with him. My family and myself no longer associate with him and neither should you. For his privacy, I ask that you do not bother him. I said in my previous post we are all entitled to our privacy and the same goes for him. This is NOT a stake to him - this is not a post intending to shun his reputation, or hinder his life. I hope he is happy. I hope he is okay. I know I am; my life is better now than when we were together so by the glory of God above, I hope he finds peace within himself one day as well. What this post is going to do: tell you about my experience. Share with you what should have been my warning signs. And overall, I just want to get this off my chest. It’s been a long time and today is the day I tell you the truth.
I met my husband when I was 15 years old. He was 5 years older, 20 at the time. He had no interest in me. I thought he was cute. I met him in the Azores. He was mysterious, older, rebellious, had a cigarette in his mouth every single time he talked. But when he lit up and smiled, my God, so did I. I saw him again when I was 17 and he was 22. I was “healthy” this month (back context: at the time I was struggling with bulimia, more so purging, and I was a junior in HS, about to enter my senior year. My entire HS experience deserves its own blog post, so for the sake of time and energy…. prior to visiting the Azores for this trip, I promised my mom I would “get better” so we could go. I could go back to my “happy place” (which note, that is no longer the case after a traumatic moment in 2012) but atlas, I felt better with Abby. I felt okay. I felt like a 17 year old girl). Anyways, we spent time together when I was there for ~2 weeks. He was, interesting. He was adventurous. He was the unknown. He pulled me in and I followed him. I remember the day I left to go back to the states and it felt weird. I wanted to be with him. I wanted to know more about him.
Oh God, if I only I could have predicted the future —- Now I’ll stop right there to say if there was a magic time machine where I could go back and re-do everything in my life, I wouldn’t. Frankly I would go through the experiences my life has brought me through over and over again. I don’t believe that things happen randomly. Everything happens for a reason. I was dealt the cards because I was and am strong enough to handle them. Let’s proceed. I’m going to fast forward some of the nitty-gritty.
Since he wasn’t a citizen at the time the only way he could come to the U.S. was on a travel visa which lasted for 3 months. So he came my senior year of high school from September - end of November 2012. In the beginning he was okay. He was polite. Nice. But, he had this dark side. He was severely jealous of anything that moved. If we were at the store and someone looked at me, we would have a fight. If he saw me talking to someone, especially a male, he’d freak out. He limited the friends I had and who I could talk to. Now may I mind you, this is 3 months of my relationship with this human. It was so reckless. When I say there were warning and red lights at the beginning, there were. But no, me being who I am an wanting to take the “I believe in you, I can help you through this “ route, only bit me in the face. In February I turned 18 and by that time he went back to the Azores for 3 months. He invited me to go see him, so I did. I was sicker than ever at the time, this is when anorexia came knocking on my door. I felt so vulnerable and hurt. Each time I suffered (when it was indirectly related to him) he had this manipulative way of making me think he would take care of me. He had this destructive way of talking me back into his arms. He was someone who didn’t take no for an answer. And I wanted to see him again. I wanted to see what he was like in his home environment.
Not to go all PSYCH 101 on you, but please put into context this brief picture I am going to paint for you: my ex husband came from poverty. He was born into a family with very little. He started working at a young age. He doesn’t have a formal education. He wasn’t taught to express his emotions in a healthy way. Instead, his self-destructive habits were dominant and he learned to face the world using manipulative, controlling methods to get what he wanted and the responses he wanted out of people. I left the Azores in March 2012 and the exact reason why we got married is literally my biggest secret as it has to do with the moment in the Azores where I was abused - no, not by him, by someone else. That MOMENT is one that I’ll share for my book the day it is published (no lie… give me 3-4 years and you can read all about it). For the time being NOTE that there WAS an exhaustive, miserable, challenging, defeating moment when I turned 18 years old and I saw no way out. I needed someone, anyone to save me. I overdosed, yet again, and there he was… so I asked him to marry me. Yes, you read that right. Now re-read it. I asked him to marry me. Back to the states we go.
Here we are June 2012. Married. We put a ring on it. May I mind you my first ring was cheap and flimsy, but nonetheless till’ death do us part. It was at that moment where I saw him for who he was. Angry. Aggressive. Possessive. Controlling. Raging. Scary. Really scary. The day is clear as blue, the very first time he went to hit me. We were on the bed and he was demanding me for my cell phone. I said “no, it ‘s mine and I’m not giving it to you” so he went to punch me in the face and by centimeters, I dodged it. At that exact moment I FREAKED OUT and started SCREAMING. I called my parents to come to my room. Within the next 10 minutes, he was kicked out. Gone. Bye. See you NEVER
… Nope right? Because then we wouldn’t be here. Honestly, I can’t take myself back that moment. I was wondering if I had plastered on my head somewhere “Hi. I’m a female. Please hit me” because this is the second time within months where a male has gone to punch me in the face. I was…. hurt. I didn’t know what to feel. I didn’t start college when I should have. I should have started school in August 2012 and didn’t. Mainly due to treatment, I was in treatment at the time but also because when life hits hard, it really hurts. I remember working part time and spending the remainder of my time in bed, crying. Of course the normal routine happened, he called and called, even after I blocked his number he found other means to contact me. Thankfully my father can be feisty so one day he stopped calling. Now it’s November 2012 and I thought about my life path once again. What were my goals? Visit California and get my ass to college. UMass Boston, here I come. Completely last minute.. Let’s do this. I went to college starting January 2013 and before I knew it life became pretty messy. Me and my best friend planned a trip to LA, but prior to this trip I had to finish some business; I had to go see my husband to present him with our divorce papers. This was my first attempt. When we saw each other I fell into his trap, yet again. He was apologetic and wanted one more chance. In my mind I saw at is well, we are MARRIED, so I might as well try again… please take note that just about everyone in my life told me this would be a bad idea. Regardless, we started over in September 2013. Things were okay. I was very ill at this time. My memory fades but it began when my weight gain started. I didn’t want to be touched, I didn’t want HIM to touch me. But, he gave me no choice. Again and again despite me saying no, I was forced. And if I didn’t? It would be a fight from hell. Day in and day out. I remember his words so clearly, “you’re my wife and you have one job. TO PLEASE ME. Be a woman for God’s sake.” I kept these parts of my marriage to myself. Deep down I knew this couldn’t be okay… I said no, doesn’t that count for something? This continued. It worsened. Every month he became angrier, irritated, at any moment it was like waiting for a flame to explode.
I don’t know why I didn’t leave sooner. I don’t know why I didn’t have the courage to say stop. And after time and time again, I realize that I am not to blame. Those who are in the same place as I was - it isn’t easy to leave. My ex-husband would NOT let me leave without threatening me. It was a cycle: an explosive moment, a fight, me having a panic attack and surrendering, him reassuring me it would never happen again and that he loved me. This wasn’t healthy. It wasn’t okay. There were so many times during our relationship where he threw beer bottles, hit walls, did anything and everything he could in his power to scare me. Finally, the day came where I had to stick up to him and say “I am leaving you. I am moving to California.” This part wasn’t easy, either! He kicked, screamed, and begged me not to. I had to detach myself from this man. He told me he would kill himself. I had to accept his response and realize his actions based on my decisions are HIS. This is a perfect example of a manipulative relationship - the person threatening to end their life if you leave, and this was NOT the first time. The part I’m still struggling to grasp is we were never friends. We didn’t even like each other. We just… well we just co-existed. I realized early, early on that I never loved him. And I slept with that feeling each day. I knew one day we would end. I hoped it was sooner than later. I waited for my way out and then I left.
Our divorce took so long to process because he refused to cooperate. He flat out refused. We had to threaten him a few times and alas, he sent in his portion of the divorce papers. Now that this part of my life is officially closed, it feels like the weight of the world is off of my shoulders. Not only did this man hurt me, he hurt my family. He hurt those close to me. His alcoholism hindered his well-being and no one felt safe to be around him anymore.
If you are struggling, let me be the first to say that I feel for you. I never thought I would get out of that relationship and LOOK I DID. Through therapy 3x a week, my family and friend’s support, and promising myself that I needed to leave him for ME, not for anyone else, but for my sanity and my safety. It isn’t okay to be raped. When you say NO your partner should respect that. You shouldn’t have to cry during sex because of how pressured you feel. Or because you have so much hatred towards the person pinning you down. If you find yourself in a similar situation, please reach out to someone. Anyone. Talk to a local professional. But please, do not let yourself suffer for the pleasure of someone else.