To say that my ex-husband and I had a volatile marriage would have been a grand-daddy of an understatement. Toward the end of our 15-year relationship, we barely spoke to each other, but the years leading up to that were filled with arguments about just about anything _ money, time, … shoe polish…. anything at all.
But in the beginning of our relationship, my ex, let’s call him Tom never argued with me about a thing. He fact, he spent a lot of time telling me how much we had in common and how we wanted the same things… marriage, children, a family. It warmed my heart. He was good at sharing with me in a school-boy, inept way, just how much he loved me… One night he called me from a payphone on the street and shouted for all to hear “I love this woman!” No man had ever done that before. He was becoming hard to ignore, so I didn’t. I told him I loved him too.
Oh there were signs in the beginning that he had problems. Most of our mutual friends, we worked at the same newspaper, didn’t really like him. They tolerated him and liked him despite him. His roommate even went so far as to put towels all over his livingroom furniture because he didn’t want Tom’s skin to touch his upholstery. He was rude to the women in the office also. Often swearing at them or calling them names, always in a sort of playful way that made people uncomfortable to say anything to him but they didn’t laugh either. He didn’t have a lot of respect for people in general, well except for me. Around me he was different. He was sweet. But to just about everyone else, Tom as a blow hard.
There was also the issue of his girlfriend. When he first asked me out, it was a “friend thing”… not really a date because he had a longterm girlfriend. We both knew it was a bunch of BS… but that is how it started. He would tell me that his girlfriend didn’t understand him. That she was mean to him and rude. That she called him names and didn’t respect him. I was horrified. Why did he stay with her… well, because she was alone and needed him and he couldn’t be so cruel to her to break it off. He was trying to protect her. Can you believe I feel for that crap. I thought he must be a good guy to do so much for another woman, one who apparently treated him like garbage.
But when our “friendship” quickly escalated, I was started to feel differently and I told him so. And I was surprised by what I got in return… We were together in bed after our first night together. I was so happy and fulfilled. I was in his arms, enjoying our moment and he said to me, “We should do this again.”… ummm. I let out a little laugh… but I was suddenly anxious. Well, yes, we should… what did you have in mind?
“Well, we could get together like this from time to time,” he said. “You know I have a girlfriend.”
Wow, I wasn’t expecting that and man did I feel stupid and used. And I had no idea how to handle it. I was too inexperience, young and insecure to do what I should have done … kick him out of my house.. or say what I should have said… You suck, get out.
Instead, I told him that I wanted more than that and I quickly changed the subject and hurried him out of my house with some silly excuse.
Fast forward past three years of on and off dating, moving in together and similar kinds of conversations about anything to do with commitment and sharing…
I’m nine months pregnant, sitting in a rocking chair, arguing with my husband about something stupid. He suddenly charges acrossed the room and grabs my throat and pins me back against the new glider rocker given to me by my grandmother and I am struggling to get free.