Posted by: anniewilson | February 11, 2005

Good morning,

I have been reading some of the comments and I must answer a few people. Yeah, I did date Rick for 6 years. And we only had one fight in all of those years, the one where he pretended to be too tired to go out and then drove past me 5 minutes later. I didn’t see him for a long time after that. We lived in a relatively small town, Roanoke, Va., and we ran into each other often. One time we just ended up going home together and I forgave him. Other than that, we never fought.

Looking back, I think that was the biggest clue, if I had been looking. He wouldn’t fight. He wouldn’t complain, ever. To ask him, everything was always fine. I believed that. After we married, he left me when we had our first fight. We got back together, but I was always afraid to argue after that. And, of course, he NEVER did so we both went along keeping things inside. For me, that meant being constantly worried about what he might be thinking about. For him, it meant he just found another woman when he was annoyed.

While we dated, and for a small part of our marriage, he was truly in love with me. I could tell. At least that’s what I thought. He would tell me the right things. But at some point he learned that if he raised his voice, I got scared and shut up. I guess he knew how to shut a woman up pretty well. If all else failed, he could always start a fight. That would shut me up quickly because I didn’t want to get hit. Not with his hand, not with the car keys, and not with a flying end table. Right now, if my son raises his voice I get scared. I don’t want to be around any angry men, ever again.

I remember when my biggest fear was the day that one of us would have to bury the other. Today, I fear so many things that I am pretty much just stuck in panic mode. Why did I stay so long Uncle Enore? Because of just this situation. I am sick, alone, and I don’t know how much longer I can stay in my house. I don’t know what to do to pay the bills, everything is such a daunting task that I don’t know where to start. Imagine the women who still have small children. Mine are grown so I don’t have to worry too much about them but what happens to me? I sometimes think it doesn’t matter anymore.

It never occurred to me that this could ever happen. So, gay people, you want to get married? I think we should find a legal alternative for gays and straights alike that don’t really plan on staying together forever. Marriage implies that you WILL be together forever, people count on that, they lean on it. They believe that no matter how bad things get, they will never be alone. Then, when they are alone, they don’t know what to do or how to get along. There was no plan for this. If we had entered into something like Pair-riage, something we all know won’t be forever, then we would all be prepared to be alone when the time comes. But in a marriage, you shouldn’t have to prepare for that. I certainly didn’t.

Why do you stay after the first time you get hit? There are as many reasons as there are people who get hit. Mostly, it is just because the abuser hasn’t started hitting you until he or she has decided that they have somehow gotten you to a point where you WILL stay and take it. I don’t think they actually PLAN this, I think they are just good at it naturally.

Now, Rick wasn’t always abusive. That only happened when he was cheating on me. I have figured most of this out as I have reflected on our marriage over the past few months. When I stood in the way of him spending time with his mistresses, he would become very contemptuous toward me as though my very existence was standing in the way of his happiness. I never knew when he had met a new friend so I never understood what I had done wrong. But, it had to be me, right? That’s what I would think and then I would try harder and he would get more annoyed with me and things would get worse until he and his broad du jour broke up.

The fact that I was so sick during his latest rally made him terribly angry. He became more abusive than ever. I was not only THERE, now I was sick and required help. If that doesn’t annoy a husband who wants another woman, nothing will.

And what an awful feeling it is to be in this position. After being together for decades, every single thing you see, hear, taste or feel reminds you of the life that you had such a short time ago that you feel as though you could touch it. Like the abused child that loves their parents anyway, you wonder what you could have done differently. In your head, you know it isn’t your fault and you could assure a friend of this, but not so much yourself. It can be hard to be your own best friend. But that is what you have to try to do at times.

What would you tell your best friend if they were in your shoes? What would you say to the women on talk shows that are in similar situations? Can you take your own advice? It isn’t always that easy. How could we have prevented this? You have to talk to each other. That means pleasant chats and serious discussions. Let your spouse know when something bothers you. But do it in a loving way. The only time Rick ever complained was in a fight and afterwards, he would take it all back. I never knew if what he said was for effect or if it was really something that had been bothering him.
To meet him, you would see a laid back, quiet, nice guy. You would never recognize the man that he has the potential to become when he doesn’t get what he wants. But get it he always seemed to do. Whatever the cost, he always went after it. And, as always, Rick has gotten what he wanted.

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