I guess I should have known by the way he’d sing the lyrics of Shaggy’s song, “It Wasn’t Me,” every time it came on the radio … like the song was made just for him. But I didn’t.
I guess I should have known by the way he would come home late and then leave early and occasionally smell like perfume. But there was an excuse for that. I’m just crazy, according to him. He had a way of making me doubt myself.
I suppose I should have known just based simply on the fact that he’d cheated on me before when we were younger, but I was naive and thought he loved me. I thought he’d changed. I wanted to believe that he did. Survival mode, I guess, because the truth would be completely unbearable.
I guess I should have known when he stopped showing interest in me. Three times a week became twice a week and just kept dwindling down until it became maybe once or twice a month, just enough to appease me, I suppose. He even stopped telling me I was pretty. Maybe he didn’t necessarily stop; maybe he just never started. I hadn’t stopped taking care of myself. I hadn’t put on any weight. I was just too busy raising my children to really notice. It hurt my feelings, but life went on and I had a family to take care of. I chalked it up to bad days, bad weeks, bad months, bad years, until I eventually stopped noticing at all.
I should have known when he would hardly touch me at all but I’d come downstairs to find him watching porn frequently. My heart shattered, but I stayed. After all, I’m just crazy and not pretty so maybe I deserve this. That’s actually what I thought. I deserved it.
I guess I should have known by the way he’d shower immediately after he came home. There was always an excuse for that. Again, I believed every single word.
I should have known when I sat on the bed in my OB/GYN’s office and was questioned as to whether or not I or my husband had other partners when I had developed one too many infections for it to be normal. I called him, questioned him yet again, but same story. I should have known since he was the only man I’d ever been with in my entire life. But I loved him. We had children, a house, pets, friends; we went to church. We’d built a life together, or so I thought. I chose to ignore the obvious.
It took me more than eight years of marriage to finally see the truth of the person he was but another two years after the fact to finally find the me that I’d lost along the way. I can remember the day I looked into the mirror, and for the first time in my adult life I realized, “I’m not ugly.” I felt ashamed that I’d let someone so cold and uncaring convince me otherwise. I deserved love. I deserved respect. I deserved a husband who could be faithful. I deserved to feel beautiful in my own skin. I should have known that … but I didn’t. Now I do.
If you’re in a relationship like this, please know that you are worth so much more. You might think the world will end if you leave, but I promise you it really won’t. I’ve been there, I lived like this, and I can honestly say that leaving this kind of situation takes the weight of the world off of your shoulders.
Related post: Why I Won’t Get Divorced