Lovefraud received the following letter from a reader who posts as “WalkingInLight.” Part 2 will be posted tomorrow.
I am sharing my story with you to clarify it all in my own head and to see if I should be moving out of this relationship. The trouble is, I have been in this marriage for 20 years (minus some years of separation) and though I know it’s not normal, I have got used to it, and don’t know if it is bad enough to leave, even though I have no love, trust or respect for this man left. I feel he has killed it all. I am confused because we are not living in a hostile way to each other, so I don’t know if it would be more harmful to my children to leave. Here is my story. Sorry in advance for the length.
I met S in a church. I had just become a Christian and my life had turned around from a place of pain to a place of joy and peace. He was a friend of a friend. S was very withdrawn, but when he spoke he had great depth; that’s what attracted me to him. We started going out. He seemed really nice, very affectionate. But I remember he said to me one day, ”˜I haven’t been myself with you, and that’s going to change.’ I thought what a strange thing to say.
A year apart
Anyway, the relationship progressed and we got to a point where we discussed marriage. He said he didn’t want to make a mistake and wanted God to really show us if this was the right thing for us to do. He suggested we have a year apart to pray about it and get an answer. I know this sounds stupid, but at the time this did not seem that strange to me.
So we “split up,” but he wrote me letters and told me he loved me and when he saw me at afriend’s house, he used to kiss me, but we didn’t go out together. After a year we met up as arranged. I asked him what he felt we should do, thinking he’s had all this time to pray and think about it and surely he must have heard from God about what was right for us. He said, “I think we should carry on as before.” I was astounded, and totally shocked that he would say that to me. I said, “No, if you don’t know now, you never will. Let’s just finish this.”
I started seeing someone else, who treated me lovely. Someone who came and picked me up for church and sat with me, as opposed to sitting the furthest they possibly could from me (as S was doing). This new person ASKED me if he could attend my end of year collage display to see the work I had been doing, whereas S refused to go, even when I begged him to come. He said, “Why would I want to see that; it has no interest to me.”
Anyway, when S found out about me seeing the new person, he was suddenly signed off work suffering from depression, given medication and flew back to his home country for a break. There he wrote me a letter telling me he’d made a mistake, asking me to forgive him for not treating me right, and asking me to marry him, because he believed it was God’s will.
When I got the letter, I thought about it, and even though I liked the new man, I REALLY was in love with S, so I accepted his proposal. Before we married though, he asked me to have a HIV test because he was a virgin and I wasn’t. This I did, on my own, he never came with me for the test or the results.
We married within a few months. It actually pains me to look at my wedding photos; there are none on display in our house. Most of the pictures have him with his hands in his pockets. There are no intimate pictures of us together, not one tender moment.
On our wedding night I came out of the bathroom in a lovely nightie to find S watching the boxing. That may not sound strange but bearing in mind we had never had s*x together because of our faith, I was expecting a little more anticipation, lol. We had s*x that night, twice I think, but never again in 20 years have we had s*x more than once in a day. In fact in all our years together we probably wouldn’t have s*x more than 10 times a year, maybe less.
Two days after we got married he turned to me in bed and said, ”˜I have made a mistake.’ I remember not really feeling much. Our honeymoon was terrible, he has huge problems with s*x.
Brother and friend
We returned home; he went back to work. This is when it started to go very strange. His brother and best friend lived in the parallel road to us and they practically lived with us after we got back from our honeymoon, starting with the first night. The first meal I made my new husband was for them as well.
After a few weeks the best friend let slip that S had been having his lunch break from work with them for the hour, when I was in the next road on my own at home! The best friend used to come to the house even when S was at work and go into the kitchen and help himself to food. When I complained to S about this, I was told, “I wasn’t a Christian if I thought like that.”
That probably was the start of the verbal abuse, really. Whenever I had to say anything to him, it would just end up with him either calling me names, denying what he said/did, calling me a liar, saying I was ”˜twisting things’ (when he first said this to me, I thought, “what a strange thing to say, not realizing he was projecting his behaviour on to me).
I remember I used to ask him why he was shouting at me, or talking to me so nastily, when all I said was “XYZ.” He said, “It’s not what you say it’s the WAY you say it.” I remember sitting in the bathroom crying one night because I had to ask him something, and i was trying to think how to say it without upsetting him. I constantly tried to make him understand my intentions and explain misunderstanding in our communication. I was so frustrated i couldn’t make him understand. Little did I know he understood just fine.
He would get up in the morning at the weekend and leave, without saying where he was going or leave a note. The hardest part was his denial of the things he said or did, it really started to mess with my head. I felt he was driving me crazy. I started to doubt my own perception of reality. His anger was out of control. He never hit me, but he hit walls, windows, doors. He even punched in a windscreen when we were driving once. His face would change and his eyes would nearly pop out of his head glaring at me. Anyway, it all came to a head when we went on holiday with a group of people we knew and he basically ignored me. So on the Sunday night, I left and went home on my own. I moved out the next day.
Looking back on it, he really wasn’t bothered about my leaving. He rang my mum once to find out where I was, but never came to my work to talk to me, though his brother did. He actually went away to St. Lucia for 3 weeks. (When he told me about this trip later, he said he had stayed for most of this time with this Rasta he had met, who on the first night had given him a back massage. I couldn’t believe that because not only did he not want me to massage him, but he had asked me not to touch him in bed because he felt he couldn’t “fly.”)
When he was away (and before he left) he was doing a lot of drugs (hash) and while he was there he wrote me a post card and said he was coming back to make our marriage work and he really wanted to see me. This made me feel hopeful. When he got back, it took him about a further 2 weeks to contact me. He was hanging out with a friend.
We did, after 2 years, get back together. I still loved him and I thought maybe I blew it all out of proportion. Maybe other people wouldn’t have reacted the way I did. So we got back together.
At first everything was ok, probably because he was still smoking quite a bit of hash. We went to a counselor, and I thought it was good, but I had a “niggle” that we hadn’t really addressed the “issue,”
We had our first daughter. I was so happy. Though while I was in intense labour, he did something I really have trouble forgiving if I’m honest. The nurse advised me to take a bath, which I did. I put bubbles in it. When I got out the bath there was a notice to say “please clean bubbles out of bath.” I asked him if he would clean it, he refused. So I leaned over the bath and cleaned it out, my contractions were only a few minutes apart.
The day he collected us from the hospital he came in and I could tell he was angry. I asked him what was wrong and he denied being angry, I went home feeling very upset and confused.
“Huffing and puffing”
I loved being a mum, but I was very sad about my marriage. I was in a total confusion about it. I spent a lot of time talking to my friend about it, just to validate my experience. I was upset as well over his disinterest in our baby. I did nearly everything for her, and when I asked him to do something, he really didn’t like it.
I coined this phrase for him about the way he acted when he was asked to do something, “huffing and puffing.” He would really let you know he was unhappy about doing it and that you shouldn’t have asked. The aim being you wouldn’t ask in future.
When I saw my friend’s husband with his baby, I was shocked to see him doing things for her without being asked, just because he noticed, and he done them in a calm manner.
We had always planned to live in his home country, because he hated my country so much. I said to him, why don’t you go home and try and find us a place to buy or rent and go to Estate Agencies etc. He agreed. But what he actually did was go home for a week and go around with his friend and smoke hash. He came back having seen no agencies or houses.
Time carried on, we moved house. Now I want to point out that he was not showing his anger the whole time; that is what makes it so confusing.
There would be periods of time when everything was ok. But what I realized after a few years was his behaviour was on a cycle. He would be totally fine (issues of s*x, were always there) but the minute I had to ASK him something he didn’t want to do, or actually ASK him anything at all, or if I had to challenge something about his behaviour to me, he got nasty. Then the “the problem” that I’d gone to him with in the first place was no longer the problem, his RESPONSE was. Again I tried to explain this dynamic to him, but he would twist the conversation so much it was really confusing.
Lies three times
We had another child. We moved into a new house and my oldest child went to school.
About this time, I found strange numbers on our phone bill. I rang the phone company, they said they were “adult” (not gay, by the way). I asked S about them when he got home, he immediately flew into a temper and said “it wasn’t him,” “there was a misunderstanding with the phone company,” “SOMEONE else had done it.” I carried on asking him about it because I knew at this point he was a liar, from previous experiences. Eventually he admitted he had done it.
This is the “pattern” of how he responds to being asked if he has done “XYZ:” He always lies at least 3 times before admitting anything, and then he will always downplay what he has done.
When my middle daughter was 3, my friend said to me she thought S was verbally abusive. I looked it up on line and came across Patricia Evans’ books. I ordered them. Reading those books was like reading about my life. When i read about “crazy making” I was startled; that was exactly what I had called it myself, and I was amazed other people had gone through the same thing. I felt angry too, because I realized what had been going on, and all those times I had tried to explain things to him, thinking “If I can make him see what is happening here, he will change.”
I remember one night S came in from the garden and walked into the girls’ bedroom, where I was with our daughter. He wiped his feet on her carpet, then walked into the other room. I asked him why he had wiped his feet on the carpet and not on the doormat. He said he didn’t do it. I said that he did. This continued. I then started to doubt I had seen him do that, but just at that time my daughter said, “You did do that Daddy.” He quick as a flash said, “Well I only did it because I knew you would be angry with me if I left mud on the floor.”
Another time we were eating dinner and very unlike me, I left some food on my plate. He started ranting at me and called me “disgusting” in front of the children. I was really upset and when the children were in bed (I tried to keep all conversations like this till the kids were asleep) I said that he had upset me, and I thought he owed me an apology. He started shouting and said that I owed HIM the apology! I told him at this time our relationship was over and that I thought he was an abusive person.
He had been calling me “mental” for a long while in his outburst to me, even though I had asked him to stop it loads of times. When I said our relationship was over, he said I was mentally unbalanced and he would prove that in court. He would get the kids taken off me and move back to his home country, and I would never see them again. He is such an articulate speaker and so persuasive and can seem so rational that I totally believed he was capable of doing this.
I lost it and I lashed out at him. I slapped him several times until he caught my arms. He then started to write a notebook full of all his “evidence” to prove my instability. He usually carried it on his person, but one time I was able to find it and I saw what was inside.
It was “dated” and noted like it was a court of law, but the “evidence” was nonsense. He even wrote in there a comment I said to my youngest daughter about my friend’s daughter. This is the friend who he tried to convince my church I was in a lesbian relationship with. They actually called her in to ask if this was true, which of course it wasn’t. But the pastors asked her to stay away from me because it was upsetting my husband.
My friend knew I needed her support so she took no notice of this, even though it could have cost her her job, as she was at Bible college with her husband and was due to come back to work in that church. This friend was “banned” from my house by S.
Left and took the kids
I left again shortly after this. I took my stuff, the kids’ stuff and left his things, the bed, sofa, basically enough for him to be able to have a home still, though I did take the t.v. and video recorder. I rang him the next day to say the kids were fine and the following day i told him where we were. He came to visit the kids and brought over some plant pots I’d left behind (?). He told me the day before he’d gone out and brought himself a t.v. and video recorder. He seemed totally “not bothered.”
During that separation he lied a lot. He also told me strange things. He was doing a degree at the time and he shouted at me one time that I had caused him to fail his exams and he probably wouldn’t be able to finish his course. I later found out he hadn’t even got the results back and when he did he’d passed.
I also arranged later for him to have the girls on a specific date. He agreed to it, but I later found out he’d already booked a flight back home, so wouldn’t be in the country at that time.
I spoke to his father on the phone, and told him what had been going on. He told me that S had told them I was mentally ill and they believed him. He also asked me if I’d ever considered myself to be a husband beater. This was quiet ironic coming from the man who used to beat his son up and use a belt on him, and S’s own mother had thrown a saucepan fall of potatoes at his head!!