I haven’t really talked about my ex, aside from my first post.
I like to play off the significance of the relationship, but really, we were together for almost five years. We moved across the country together, lived together for two and a half years. He was with me when my grandmother died, when I was having issues with my father. We went to weddings together, camping, all that stuff that love sick things couples do.
We fought, like most couples. We had some pretty fair rules for fighting at the beginning, no name calling, nothing physical. Photos of us were frequently commented on by our friends with, “Relationship goals!”
I was a total idiot with how completely and utterly unabashedly in love with him I was.
Constantly told by family members how I bent over backwards for him, meal prepping, cooking dinner, doing laundry, cleaning the house. It was only until the last six months of our relationship I started asking for him to chip in more. By that point, he had moved to the guest bedroom and was living there all the time. I had recently been diagnosed with a mental illness that came as a pretty harsh blow and naturally because I spent so much time taking care of him, he didn’t know how to take care of me, and at times just refused.
We were also separated from our families, I had difficulty making friends when we first got here but I continued to lie to family and friends that everything was fine.
I have a ridiculous amount of pride, even writing this post is difficult for me, so admitting that he and I had problems was not something I was comfortable with.
*Trigger warning for domestic violence and abuse below the cut. *
Probably a year after we moved here I noticed the change in his drinking and a spike in my anxiety. I would stay in alone, he would come home ghostfaced, stumbling over his shoes and I would cry from being alone. I don’t know how it started, slowly but surely we started getting more aggressive towards each other. He would be drunk, and I would yell at him not to leave me alone for days at a time. He’d pass out, I’d cry myself to sleep or hurt myself. It escalated when I started to yell at him and not let him pass out when he came home, he would grab me and shove me away.
I remember the first time I shoved him, he was struggling to keep his eyes open as a told him how miserable I was. My palm connected to his shoulder and with half-lidded eyes he slammed me against the wall so hard and so quickly I couldn’t catch a breath to yelp as his fingers dug into my arm.
He told me in confidence that he used to be aggressive with his brother when he was younger, quick to anger, quick to react with violence, but he remembered the fear in his brothers face and he promised himself he would never do anything like that again.
I guess I was the exception.
He choked me until I passed out twice. The first time, I remember begging him not to kill me, all I could picture was my parents faces and how much they trusted him to take care of me as I blacked out. That night we had a brawl. Waking up the next morning I looked like I had gotten out of a cage match, and all he had was a few scratches on his arm. I remember cleaning my blood off the floor, splattered like a pig’s throat had been slit in the hallway but it was the blood I had spit out when he pounded at my jaw and face. I remember he didn’t fight like any brawl I’d ever been in. He pounded like he was trying to beat the silence into me. I remember being completely helpless, I couldn’t even cry out, I could barely breathe, his entire weight on top of me as he connected his fist against my face again and again.
When I finally got away from him I slid my body into the kitchen and grabbed a knife and told him I would fucking kill him if he touched me again. He was so fueled with rage, and I was so venomous that I had allowed this to happen to me.
He passed out on the couch and I pushed my furniture against my bedroom door and called the domestic violence hotline. Even at that point I excused his behaviour. He was depressed. He had anxiety.
He was an abusive piece of shit who didn’t know how to handle his emotions.
No, I guess I always tended to leave that part out.
The second time he choked me it was because I had yelled at him begging for help around the house. I was frustrated that I did everything. Meal prepped, shopped, cooked, did the dishes, cleaned the house, did his fucking laundry. Nothing seemed to get through to him, and his response was that he didn’t respond to yelling but I had tried to ask for help for months in a calm manner. Trying to make it about partnership, and shared responsibility. Nothing helped.
I passed out and woke up on the floor, gasping for air. He had stormed out of the room. Sometimes I wonder if he thought in that moment he finally killed me.
Just before Christmas he gave me a goose egg so big sometimes it still hurts when it gets bitter cold. I was driving and made a sassy quip he didn’t like so I punched me in the side of the head while I was driving. I pulled the car over and told him to get the fuck out of my car. He passed out in the snow and got picked up by a passing truck driver.
While he never broke any bones, he gave me two black eyes. The elaborate stories I told to cover my tracks impress even me at times, but it still makes the blood drain from my limbs. I remember a close friend making an offhanded joke that he “knew my ex couldn’t have done it because his hands were so big he would have annihilated my face.”
I choked back my tears and laughed at his joke.
He took a photo of my black eye once, to remind him never to do it again.
Two months later he gave me another one.
Spat on me and told me that I killed his child because I had an abortion at 23 because he was too shy to buy condoms and I had to switch birth control due to it giving me extreme abdominal pains. He told me he was afraid that I would murder our children if we had any because I was depressed. He told me I was pathetic and weak.
The only evidence I had against him was my tear soaked journal entries like I was crying over a boy who didn’t pay attention to me in junior high.
*Part of my therapy post break-up was writing about everything he did to me because I refused to have any evidence of it while it was happening.*
I begged him to go to counselling with me. He went. Twice.
We talked about everything but the physical abuse. He was so afraid of being charged for assault and I was so convinced that my mental illness had driven him to beating me.
I was convinced I was so pathetic.
Our entire breakup was instigated by his parents. They told him that they would disown him if he didn’t break up with me. He told them about my mental illness, but left out his abuse, his drinking, any responsibility he had in the matter.
I calmly told my parents both sides and although it killed them, they supported our decision to stay together.
It got better, for a little while. Eventually he fell back into old habits and I could never really stop being afraid of him.
We mutually decided to end it. I told him I needed to focus on my mental health and so did he. We were cordial to each other for a while. Until I found out he told everyone we broke up because I wanted to fuck other people.
I went on meds, went to a psychoanalyst and then proceeded to rapidly go off my meds and dive my way to the bottom of a bottle five nights a week when I found out he got a new girlfriend two months after our breakup.
Two weeks before they were ‘official’ he told me he had some of my mail and we agreed to meet up, he also had free movie tickets and asked me if I wanted to go. I spent most of the coffee meetup hiding my tears. During the movie he couldn’t help but put his arms around me, telling me how much he missed this and by the end of the night we were making out in my car, bound towards his new basement apartment where we promptly had sex.
As we lay there, he held me, told me he realized now how much I did for him, how good I was to him. He told me about the girl he had been seeing and I told him that I was serious about wanting to get back together in a year. I was working on myself and he should too. He told me she was boring, she wasn’t exciting in bed.
I left his apartment elated. I had a goal to work towards. The man I had so frequently pictured as my husband still wanted me.
Flash forward to a week later.
He was confused. He didn’t think any of it was a good idea.
I turned spiteful, jealous. He and his new girl became official.
He and I don’t really talk anymore. I think I remind him of his bad decisions, but occasionally I’ll text him if I plan on going to his local watering hole, as it used to be mine. Any time I call him, he always returns my calls.
In August we’ll have been separated a year. Some weird, bottomless part of me still loves him, as much as I’ve tried to detach from those feelings. I’ve told people in passing that I’ll never love anyone as much as I loved him, but I think I’m afraid to. Afraid of being all consumed by those feelings again.
I’m not drinking as much as I used to. I know I need to talk to a professional about what I went through in our relationship in order to really get over it, and I’m working on it. Slowly, but surely.
*Edit: Also, important to note I just finished reading this.