“Can we talk for a second outside?” Phillip, my young-adults’ leader asked, pulling me aside.
“Sure,” I said, smiling wide. The evening was going well. I’d introduced my new boyfriend to the group and they seemed to like him. Phillip especially. He and my boyfriend had spent most of the night in animated conversation, bouncing off each other with their equally large, extroverted personalities.
His opinion held a lot of sway for me. If Phillip said “no” that day, I would’ve most likely broken it off with my boyfriend. I trusted his leadership and his wisdom more than my own.
He sat on the couch, complaining about an expensive business venture which had failed. His biggest failure to date. It had cost us thousands, a price which sat unspoken between us. Another elephant in the room of our marriage.
“If people had backed it more it would have worked! We need to move somewhere that people are more supportive of forward thinking ideas. This town is too stuck in its ways.”
Moving? Again? We’d only been in our new house a matter of months. “Why can’t this be enough? What you have here?” I asked.
“What do you mean?” he…
If you are experiencing domestic violence, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1–800–799–7233. All calls are toll-free and confidential. The hotline is available 24/7 in more than 170 languages.
I took an abuse check quiz after I left my marriage. I lied on half of the questions — “yes, my partner respects my thoughts and feelings” — and my score was still well over the bar for an abusive relationship. I took it again, answering more questions incorrectly. Still abusive.
I took another one. And another one. …
Ilooked up from my egg and bacon breakfast just in time to catch him entering the resort’s crowded restaurant. As if sensing my gaze, he immediately found my eyes across the room and smiled. Liquid-fire pulsed through my veins, temples to groin. I blushed. I shouldn’t be feeling like this, I thought. I’m married. Newly married even.
I held his gaze and smiled back.
My wedding day had been perfect. Now, barely a few months in, I realized it was the only perfect thing about this marriage. I’d expected a honeymoon period where everything was blissful and easy, but it…
My marriage was falling apart quicker than I’d expected, I’d only managed to save a few hundred dollars: it wasn’t going to be enough. How would I live on my own with my kids when I hadn’t been in regular work for years? One thing my husband and I had agreed on having children was that someone would stay at home.
“Do you want to get a house together?” I asked my friend. She had recently become a single mom and we sat side by side on my bed, talking about how we might survive financially. My husband wouldn’t be…
I sat in the car, my hand on the door handle.
“Come on, Mum” my littlest daughter clutched her soft toy dog and undid her seatbelt. “Look, it must be that one with the sign up.”
I sucked in a breath through my nose and looked at the car’s grey fabric ceiling, remembering a technique I learned somewhere to stop myself from crying.
Across the road with a real estate sign attached to the fence, was a rundown shack with clear signs of rust showing in the roof and a smashed-in front window. Except for the knee-high fence, it sat…
We often think about leaving for years before we actually walk out the door. I know that was the case for me. I first thought about leaving in Year One of my marriage. But it took me another decade, plus some, before I was ready to make the final call.
Here’s what kept me in and what I wish I’d known:
The longer you stay in a toxic relationship, the harder it gets to leave. After a while the “sunk cost fallacy” creeps into your thoughts and reasoning. …
It was meant to be
fairytales and red roses,
saying vows in front of
long plane trips, eating
board games around friends’ tables,
cider-induced laughter in
patching skinned elbows,
holding hands at graduation ceremonies,
paying off the mortgage,
the mountain bikes;
watching faces age in the mirror,
doing crosswords in matching
travelling the country in a motorhome.
It was meant to be different.
But this is how things are.
on the telephone,
texting swim-lesson schedules,
splitting school fees
down the middle;
smiles from a stranger six feet away, (never…
My head spun. I was still recovering from a health issue that had seen me in hospital for the week and now everyone was talking to me at once. My husband, toddler, and my oldest all wanted separate things. Wanted to be heard.
“Mum, mum, mum!”
I felt my brain snap. Heard an audible ping. I ripped off my top and screamed. It had finally happened. The stress had broken me. I ran to my room, still topless and screaming.
No-one followed. No-one came to check on me or ask if I was okay. When I emerged a few hours…
I swore with the pain, pushed him away, and rushed to the bathroom to tend to myself. It was the third bad tear this month during sex. Clearly I had an issue. “I think I’ll book a doctor’s appointment,” I called out to my husband. “Maybe it’s hormonal.”
He didn’t say anything. I knew he’d be annoyed about not finishing. I was annoyed too. The rips always hurt for days afterwards. Lately, I’d been satisfying myself when he was out, at least then I’d get to enjoy an orgasm without risking another injury. I never seemed to be able to…
Breaking the silence. Offering hope.