And Now, the Rest of the Story

So for 13 years, I was married to a man with an addiction, and it was after my mother died, that I decided to move on. Divorce was considered taboo in my family, and now that both my parents had passed away, well, there was nothing stopping me from finally moving on to greener pastures. I had a wonderful son from this marriage, who was only five-years-old when I decided to leave. He was my main concern, but I knew at the end of the day, this was not a healthy environment for him to grow up in.

The time was before Internet dating, and I was fortunate enough to have some friends introduce me to another friend of theirs’…someone they had known their whole lives. That being said, how could I go wrong. He was funny, didn’t drink, smoke or do drugs. He seemed very nice, but as time went on, there were some red flags. He was a bit controlling, overly jealous and he had no real love for my son. Regardless, once again, I thought this was the best I could do, and definitely an improvement over the last.

But, this marriage was filled with emotional and verbal abuse. Both my son and I were victims of it. In addition, he sexually assaulted me throughout our marriage–blackmailing me to have sex with him. If it wasn’t blackmail, it was put downs or insinuations that I was having affairs and that’s why I didn’t want to have sex. I, unfortunately, did not recognize what was going on until my daughter brought home information from her health class at school and said, “Dad does every single one of these things,” as she pointed to the characteristics of verbal abuse. I literally thought everything was my fault, and I kept trying harder and harder to please him so that he wouldn’t get mad. I covered for my son–taking the garbage out if he forgot so that my husband wouldn’t yell at him. We sought out numerous counselors, all of which told him and me that HE was the problem. He would agree, say he wanted to change, but nothing changed. Then one night he accused me of having sex with my son. He accused me in front of our 12-year-old daughter, and I said, “That’s it–get out,” and I never looked back at my decision.

Yes, we had a daughter, who is actually now 17. She’s amazing–actually both of my children are. Given the circumstances that they have had to grow up in, they have beat the odds and have turned out to be just about perfect. People tell me all the time what a great job I have done and that I am a wonderful mother. I would like to take all the credit, but somehow I think it’s God’s way of giving me sunshine through the darkness.

So, that’s my story. I have now been officially divorced from my second husband for about three years. He had a girlfriend before our divorce was even final, and he’s still with her today. I often wonder if she has to deal with the same treatment that I did. I, on the other hand, have not dated at all. I’ve been busy raising my daughter, but I’ve also been scared. Scared that I don’t even know what a healthy relationship looks like. Scared that I’m not attractive to the opposite sex. Scared that I will settle again.

My daughter will be leaving for college in two weeks, and now for the first time, literally, in my entire life, I will be alone. It’s my time now to figure out who I am, what I want and then get it and become what I aspire to be.