The logical place to begin any narrative is at the beginning, but what date or event defines the beginning of this particular story? I guess I will begin with the start of my relationship with M and fill in the history as it applies.
Full disclosure here: I was in a very unhappy, verbally abusive marriage of almost 8 years when M and I met. I was convinced that my husband was having an affair and wanted me out of the house so he could begin his “real life,” you know, the one where I wasn’t there screwing everything up for him. D was verbally abusive on a daily basis, both to me and to my 12-year-old son. He was spending long hours on the computer watching porn. We were done. I was a mess of anger, self-loathing, sadness, regret, despair and hopelessness.
M came to work for the company I worked for. We did not work at the same location, but became acquainted on the phone and at company meetings. I thought he was handsome, but he made no overtures and neither did I.
After about 6 months we ended up working in the same room in the same office building. D was calling my cell phone an average of four times a day to confirm that I really was at work and to ask what I was doing and when I would be ready for him to pick me up from work – I rode my bike to work, but he drove me home with my bike in the back of his truck. It’s another instance of control that I will try to remember to relate fully.
Anyway. M started to ask questions about D – why does he call so much? Why do you sound so strange when you talk to him? (ie fearful, short answers, hoping that none of the men in the office spoke loud enough to be heard on the phone, etc.) He began to ask about my relationship and to express outrage that I would let myself be treated so badly. He told me that I was smart, talented, funny and worth so much more than the jerk I was married to.
Then he began to tell me about his recent divorce and why he thought it had happened – he convinced me that his ex had intimacy issues – she would never share how she was feeling and it left him always guessing and insecure. He said that he asked her constantly what she was thinking and begged her to share her innermost feelings, but she never would, just clammed up and wouldn’t speak at all. He said that he just wanted to have a relationship with a woman who would speak her own mind and express her own opinions, not be emotionally needy, expecting him to read her mind.
We began to exchange e-mails, exploring relationships and what we wanted from a Real Mate. Here’s an early one from him (unfortunately I did not save my response to any of his notes, more’s the pity!) –
One of the most significant things you may ever know about me is that I was raised having to guess about the feelings the people around me had and the deeper the silence meant stronger disapproval. As a result I have a pathological fear that no news is bad news. If I have to guess how you feel, and yes I do unless you look me in the eye and say so, then I will assume the worst.
At the time, I thought Great! Here’s a man who actually wants to know what I feel and think! The man at home had no desire to know anything about me and I felt very isolated and unloved. Yet here was this man, who appeared to be ideal, sharing his thoughts as if we were friends (of which I had exactly zero, as none of them met with D’s approval) and maybe even equals. I was intrigued, to say the least.
June 14, 2012 at 2:15 pm
Never pity the guy whose girlfriend/wife doesn’t share her feelings. There’s a pretty good reason why she doesn’t, and it’s usually because HE has made her feel like her feelings are stupid, illogical, or wrong. How can a person feel wrong? Just the idea is preposterous! (I’ll keep reading…)
December 28, 2012 at 10:22 pm
Were there no signs that M would become what he did, or did you jsut want to get away from D?
December 29, 2012 at 10:41 am
While I did want to get away from D, there were no Red Flags at first from M. He acted the part of the caring, wise, older man in every way. I heard about his temper from others, but he could always explain away any doubts I had and then paint the perfect picture of our future.
I was stupid and took him at his word.
I absolutely take full responsibility for where I have ended up. If I had been wiser, trusted my gut instincts, I would have broken up with him and taken another path at about month six. I would not have learned so much about myself and relationships, however, nor would I now be able to see the broken parts of myself that need to be attended to. I would not have a very clear understanding of what domestic violence is and the many forms it takes.
March 11, 2016 at 7:56 pm
Your story and your response above hit the nail on the head! I, too, should have left at month 4. I told him he seemed a little controlling (I forget what he did, there was so much) and he blew up! I blamed myself for being overly sensitive when my gut told me to get out. I hadn’t had a successful relationship, ever, so I figured I needed to look in the mirror. After all, here was this man who was perfect for me in every way, just flawed enough to be endearing, being open and honest (ha!). I had to give him a break, right?
We’re there signs? Yes. But I was too broken to see them. I’m going to keep reading. Thank you for sharing your story. I hope it helps others
March 14, 2016 at 8:05 am
Oh, yes – they are masters at appearing “perfect” and convincing us WE are to blame for all the odd little things they do. After all, if you have a history of failed relationships, well, the common denominator was YOU, right? Must mean YOU need to work on yourself, but don’t worry, he’ll be right there to “help” you see clearly. Not.
Welcome. I wish you were able to read this blog and think, “Wow! She’s totally nuts! People don’t do that to the ones they love…”