I’ve apparently reached the age where some of my friends are already getting divorced and it’s super depressing. One of my friends has had a nightmare experience and it makes me worried that the same thing could happen to me.
My friend and her husband were together for a long time and seemed happy. They were together for 10 years and had started dating when they were around 20. They had a house and two children together. They both had decent jobs. Overall, life seemed good for them, at least from the outside looking in.
She lost her job and that was the start of the downfall. She tried everything to find a new job but apparently couldn’t get one. Her husband became resentful that she wasn’t contributing and they started fighting a lot more. Money is a huge source of stress and arguments in relationships, so this wasn’t particularly surprising.
They were struggling, but I thought it was normal marriage woes. They started to grow apart because of the constant fighting and they didn’t seem to be communicating well at all. She complained about it a lot, so they were definitely having a rough patch, but it didn’t seem to be anything serious. Everyone has ups and downs in a relationship and I was hoping that’s all it was and that things would get better for them.
Then he lost his mind and took things too far. The police were called numerous times because their fights had gotten so bad. One time, he locked her out of their house and refused to let her in when she came home. The police were involved numerous times. He verbally abused her in front of their children, telling her she was a horrible mother and calling her names. He told the kids that it was her fault these things were happening, and he was constantly putting them in the middle. Then he took it to an even more serious level when he choked her during an argument. That was the last straw and they separated shortly after.
It’s been a few years since they divorced and he still makes her life a living hell. He’s tried to gain full custody of their children just to spite her—and so he doesn’t have to pay child support. He’s taken her to court for almost every possession they had and for any other reason he can think of just to make her life difficult. He put all of their debt in her name and refused to help her pay bills for her and their kids. He’s even called social services on her for abusing their children, which was totally untrue and unfounded (but it’s pretty much the worst thing you can do to a parent). And this is only a small sampling of everything he’s done. It doesn’t stop. He also married another woman only about a year after the divorce, and she causes problems too.
Looking back, there were no glaring red flags. They fought a lot when they were dating and were on and off for a while. She eventually pressured him to marry her or leave, so they got married. Maybe that was the first sign, but many of my other friends have done that and their relationships haven’t ended badly. Nothing pointed to him becoming emotionally and physically abusive one day.
I might not know the whole story. In all fairness, I’m only getting one side of the story. I don’t know what his point of view is. Maybe she exaggerated some things or has left out the bad things she’s done to him in return. Or he could’ve been abusive in the past and she was hiding it, so maybe it wasn’t as unexpected as it seems.
It shows that you never truly know a person. People can surprise us no matter how well we think we know them, and they can show their ugly sides when life gets hard. If my partner and I fight sometimes, does it mean he could randomly snap one day too? I think I know my husband, but my friend thought the same thing about hers.
Now I worry that my husband will do the same. I get paranoid now whenever we have any bumps in the road. I question every imperfection in my marriage because I don’t want to end up like my friend. She now has PTSD from all the things he put her through—she can’t even be in the same room with her ex without having an anxiety attack and breaking down. She has also been left alone to raise her kids and it’s hard being a single parent. I don’t want that for myself.
I can’t live in fear of all the possibilities of how life can go wrong. I trust my husband because he hasn’t given me any reason not to. I also need to trust my instincts, which are telling me that I’m probably just being crazy (as I tend to be a lot of the time). There are endless bad things that can potentially happen, but living in the moment and enjoying the good things is more important than being fearful of what could be. That’s what I have to keep reminding myself.
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