I have never told anyone the extent of my relationship with Nick before. And I'm afraid to. But it has been years since I've been in that relationship and maybe it should be shared. So another woman might see it, and realize just as I had to, that she needs to get out.
The manipulation started out small. Dressing in a way he liked more, acting a way he liked, doing things he liked. They all started with small suggestions, then grew to "Do it this way now." After 2 years he had wrapped me around his finger. And I didn't even know it. I figured I was being a good girlfriend.
Eventually I moved in with him. And everything changed. I became his servant. I had to do his laundry, make his lunch, and clean his house. If I didn't do it right he yelled. He belittled me in such a way I felt like I deserved it. I should be better, because I loved him. He started to convince me that I shouldn't see my family. That they wanted to turn me against him. He told me to never tell them where I lived, and I didn't. I rarely saw them for the next two years.
The first time he hit me, I was stunned. No one had hit me like that before. I had been in plenty of fights before, I've been hit. But never by some one who was supposed to love me. He would always tell me he wanted to marry me, that he had the ring but wanted to wait until the time was right. He wanted to wait until I was ready to be a wife. And every time I messed up, he would throw it in my face how I wasn't ready.
I eventually started pulling away from friends as well, and stayed home when I wasn't working to take care of him. I fell into a depression that I didn't understand. I thought that I should have been happy.
One day, a mutual friend of ours told me he had cheated on me. When I confronted him about it, he made no attempt to hide it. I couldn't believe it. And from that day, everything changed. Every time I went some where I would get texts "where are you? Who are you with? When will you be home?" He would try to control what I did, who I was with, and how long I was gone. I had to make elaborate lies to have lunch with my dad. I even had a secret cell phone so I could text my family.
After he cheated on me, I couldn't live with it anymore. The disgust, betrayal, and fear. About a month after he cheated on me, I reconnected with Andy at a coworkers party. I knew right off the bat, Nick was threatened by him. I gave Andy my second cell phone number and we began texting. Andy helped me see the problems in my relationship. That it wasn't healthy. That it was dangerous.
I began meeting with my dad to see if they would let me move back in. I was trying to figure out how to leave Nick without being hurt by him. I knew it would have to be a secret. (My heart is racing even thinking about this day.) My best friend and I had it planned, for weeks, but I was always too scared to do it. That he was going to find out and stop me. Finally, one day Nick was leaving for work and said I love you, but I couldn't say it back. I couldn't let him kiss me. That was the last time he ever hit me.
That day, my friend came over and we cleared out everything I owned in 4 hours. I felt free. I laughed and sang my heart out to my favorite song on the drive to my parents house. But then I realized I had unfinished business with Nick. I had my dad follow me and I met him at a gas station. I gave him his ring back, and told him I had moved out, it was LIBERATING, but terrifying. I cried myself to sleep that first week. I missed Nick, scared that I had made the worst mistake of my life. Scared to admit that I was now alone.
Andy saved my life. He gave me the courage to leave. He gave me a reason to leave. I was WORTH more. Over the following months we hung out a lot. He helped me see my own self worth, helped me trust others again, and to know what real love looked like. My husband saved my life by helping me save myself. My husband is my hero.
I've never fully shared this story with any one. I never told my parents why I had to leave Nick, I never told anyone that I was physically abused.
I had a nightmare last night that made me feel compelled to write this. To expose this monster who still frightens me.