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My partner was a very volatile man — in Quebec, we call that passion — who loved his beer a little too much, liked to control everything, was stubborn as hell and also had a raging streak of jealousy. For 10 years, he wore me down with emotional abuse and financial control until I didn't know who I was any more.

But by God, I loved him. I craved his affection more than anything. As much as he could be a monster, he also had moments of extreme kindness and gentleness, acts of showing how much he cared, and tender minutes where my world was right. Psychologists might say I suffered from Battered Woman's Syndrome.

Eventually, though, his behavior got the better of me. I had a new child and knew, deep down, this relationship wasn't good for my girl. I had an older child, too. She'd told me long ago how unhappy she was. I left.

I ached. I missed what my partner and I used to have. I missed being loved. I missed having someone in my life. I missed everything that used to be.

My ex-partner's world fell apart. He was shocked and stunned, left with an empty home and a dog. He waffled between anger and deep sadness, and he tried to cope. He yelled a lot. He drank a lot. He cried a lot.

I was never bitter or angry or resentful of what my partner did to me. Why should I be? I had as much blame to shoulder for staying as he did for acting badly. I chose to let him abuse me. I can't finger-point at all — it takes two to tango.

I've come to realize that I never fell out of love with my partner. I've also come to realize that loving someone and living with them are two separate things. A couple doesn't have to live together to be together. Love doesn't care who lives where — and that sometimes, being together too much creates situations that are unbearable.

My partner has come to realize he's treated me very badly. My leaving was a wake-up call. By no means has the great miracle of my disappearance changed him forever, but he has eliminated many of his bad behaviors. He's working on it.

We manage quite well as two independent people. We're happy, each in our own world. We're each still struggling a little with the emotional aspects of being alone — we talk every day on the phone for companionship. Sometimes we end up together for an afternoon or a night now and then. It's lonely to be alone.

But we've grown and we've matured. We've learned from our past, and we respect what each other has learned. We've changed for the better, and we're still changing.

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3 comments

  • Comment Link Guest Thursday, 03 March 2011 13:08 posted by Guest

    It's Hard To Walk Away From Emotional Abuse - Response : I know how it feels. It sounds so familiar! And it seems like all you need is make that "scary" decision. SO, for what it is worth, you need to GRANT YOURSELF a PERMISSION to leave this man. Nobody else can grant that permission - only you. Believe me, I know how it feels to be stuck in a bad, abusive relationship. And I am trying to get all my strength right now to do just that - GRANT MYSELF this PERMISSION to leave him. You have made your case, based on what I read. So, just go for it. Please do not make a mistake of postponing this - you have to do this with a resolve and be strong. You don't have to face him, confront him, explain or justify anything to him. Your relationship is waaay past this point. All you need to do is call the lawyer. Save yourself and your children. The first step is the hardest. But once you do it - you will be in a different situation, where you need to make decisions for yourself and for your children - all by yourself. And that is both challenging and re-assuring. You will gain strength and confidence from that. You will be a much better woman and parent after this.

    Please do not procrastinate! And G-d bless you and your kids!

  • Comment Link Wednesday Thursday, 03 March 2011 08:02 posted by Wednesday

    You clearly want to leave: Can you name one concrete reason why you want to stay? Your kids loving him...sure, that happens, kids do tend to love their parents. But if he's not an involved parent, and you're not getting anything you need out of this relationship, then it's time to make yourself heard in it. And if that doesn't work, go.

    There's nothing so scary in the big old world out there.

  • Comment Link Guest Wednesday, 02 March 2011 08:48 posted by Guest

    It's Hard To Walk Away From Emotional Abuse - Response: Upon reading this blog I realised that it's like I wrote it myself....except, I can't seem to scrape the courage together to actually leave. I am unhappy as hell, there is no intimacy, no good words, nothing....so why am I holding on?

    I have two small boys (7,3) that love their father to bits, and yes! I do love him too but feel that I am losing myself to the point of no return. What am I to do? Do I stay or do I go? Will my kids be ok? Will I be ok? Will I be alone forever, or will I finally find a person that will treat me the way I was supposed to have been treated? What is best: Rather the devil you know, or the devil you dont? These are just some of the questions whizzing through my head. What happened to the pretty, out-going, lovable person I used to be? All I do lately is sleep, work, complain and fight (with my spouse mostly, who normally instigate the fight anyway).

    Why did he change so? He used to be loving, helpful, supportive...this all flew out the door some years ago. This year we will be married for 11 years, together for almost 14. I am turning 35 this year and realised that half my live has passed and I cant really say what I have accomplished, what my dreams are and what I am interested in anymore. I have lost my identity and cant seem to find it again. Talking about it with my spouse doesn't help, according to him I brought this upon myself. Did I?

    According to him I always let people walk over me, especially work - but isnt he doing just that by manipulating me, belittling me, telling me that I am a bad mother, bad wife, bad house-wife, bad cook who puts no effort into the supper I prepare for him and as of late....non existant lover.

    According to him I alienate all our friends, but upon asking them about it, they have a totally different story. Some even tell me that they cant believe I have lasted this long and that they would have left ages ago and that they tolerate him because of their love for me. So why blame me then?

    I sometimes feel that everything goes great when we do it his way, but dont even think of stepping off the narrow line he has placed for us, and all hell breaks loose. I cant even remember when last we have shared a bed....he sleeps on the couch. Most nights he stays up late and fall asleep in front the TV, other nights he prefers to sleep on the couch as this is the only room with a fan and we live in extremely hot climate. Are these valid reasons or is it something more?

    Why am I so weak, why am I so scared?

    Oh and then there are the drinking binges. He has never hit me or the children, but that doesnt mean we do not get spat at if we wake him, make a noise, bother him, ask him anaything etc.

    The weekend past was one of the worst I have expereinced in some time. We went away with friends whom I love dearly. On Saturday night (after the men already consumed a lot of alcohol while braaiing) we went to a local pub in the town we were visiting. The men went first and was to inform us whether there was actually anything going on at the establishment as we (the ladies) didnt feel like going through the whole dress-up and make-up scenario if we didnt have to. The place was packed and we decided to join up with them (my friend and I). Upon our arrival there was about 50 people in the small pub, mostly men. The first thing a man I dont know from Adam's tell me....I hear you charge 500 per night! WHAT! Apparently my husband told all and sundry that he had organised himself and his friend (my friends' husband) some girls for the night and that was our going rate, my word! I set the men straight immediately and was fuming....who is he to 'sell' us off and tell strangers we are hookers? RESPECT? The other two men in our party handled their alcohol, paced themselves and was in fine spirits when we left.....not my husband. He drank as if it was the last alcohol in the word, spent more money that we could afford, decided that he wasn't going home with us but would rather go and braai with people he had just met. So, It was decided the rest of us should go and leave him there if that is what he wanted. Upon leaving he came running out the pub so we backed up and what do I see???? he pulled his pants down in front of a well lit, full establishment and all was on display....I wanted to melt into my shoes, my friend's wife was in the car and saw the same thing all the rest of us did. Where is his self-respect? His respect for me?

    The next morning he 'obviously' couldnt remember anything and was 'so sorry' for all he had apparently done...not good enough, he embarrased me (like he had done a million times before, mostly under the influence) and now he expects all to be fine and dandy....I think not. Today is Wednesday and we have not spoken to each other for 3 days now, not because of me, because of him just yelling at me as soon as I try and open my mouth (I just walk away).

    Last night I got home and had to drop the domestic at her house. He asked me to drop some paint we had left over at our previous place of residence. I dropped the domestic and stopped at our old house, which is located right next door to the friends we had gone away with, so I decided to quickly stop in for a cold drink and just to say Hi!. He was swimming with the kids anyway when I left so I was sure he wouldn't even miss me.... I then stopped at the petrol station which took about 30 minutes just to get petrol as the place was filled to capacity before the major price hike in fuel that was to kick in at midnight. Car now filled I stopped off at the shop for the normal bread, milk and sigarettes (routine I follow every day) and went home. My word....I get home and there is sits on the couch with a moody face. So I politely asked what was wrong...BIG MISTAKE. So the yelling started, He had to work in 45deg heat the whole day while I was in an air-conditioned office and then dare to leave the kids with him for more than an hour to look after, he's tired blah-blah-blah. My friend, if you didnt want to look after the kids you could have taken the maid home, dropped the paint, filled the car and stopped at the shops, I wouldnt have mind looking after my little angels and what are you going on about anyway? I end up taking them with to the shop EVERY NIGHT as they cry when I leave and I feel so sorry for them that I rather take them with. This is ONE NIGHT you had to look after your own kids for little over ONE HOUR. So sorry we are an inconvenience to you.

    People, I need advise. What do I do? Do I soldier on? Do I leave? WHAT?