Wednesday, January 13, 2016

How I knew it was time to go

There are many listicles out there giving readers "20 Signs You Are Dating a Narcissist" or "10 Ways to Know You are Being Abused." I can say with certainty that I read essentially all of them over the last three years, yet I wasn't really to fully accept them until I started to create my own list.

One night in June 2015, I stayed in a hotel after I'd discovered what I believed was my husband having an affair (which turned out to be true, even though he never admitted it). That night, I stayed up, alone, in my hotel room, writing out every reason I could think of to leave him, and every reason I could think of to stay.

I came up with 29 compelling reasons to divorce him and only one reason to stay ("1. I love him").

Here's the incomplete list of reasons I decided to leave. I urge anyone in a similar situation to come up with their own lists...and let me know in the comments if any of these hit home for you:

  1. He lied to me time and time again, while looking me in the eyes, sometimes while crying. He is an excellent liar, and does it with no remorse.
  2. He ignores me over and over again because he's out with other women
  3. He tried to gaslight me and make me feel crazy and guilty for asking questions about the other woman (which would have worked, if I hadn’t snooped.) I CAN NEVER TRUST HIM, EVER AGAIN.
  4. Things have started to get more physical. When we got into the first argument over the other woman, and I told him I didn’t want to be with him, I asked him to please pay me for his cell phone, since I had been paying for it and he had been using it to have an affair. He said he wasn’t going to pay a penny because the divorce wasn’t his idea. So I said “Ok, I’m going to turn your phone off right now then.” As I sat at the computer to do that, he threatened to throw the monitor. “It’s expensive,” he said. I told him to do it, and he’d go to jail, because I would call the police for abuse. I really thought he might do it. The following week, we weren’t fighting, and things were ok, but I was sitting on the couch. He took his lighter and flicked it three times in my crotch. I yelled and told him to stop and it wasn’t funny. He got angry at me for that, because “How did I burn you?! You can’t even feel it! You’re being a child!” A few minutes later, I was laying watching tv, and he threw his passport at me, hard, hitting me in the face on my cheekbone, just under my eye. I flipped out at him, and he swore it was an accident, and was angry that I was angry. THIS IS HOW PHYSICAL ABUSE STARTS. IT ESCALATES.
  5. The sex is not just terrible and unfulfilling, but actually physically painful. And then he tells me how many women he’s been with, and how none of them have ever cared about coming, and no one else has ever complained before, and sex should be all about the journey and I shouldn’t have to come every time (except that I come never--or when I DO take charge and come, he can’t stay hard and completely checks out).
  6. We only have sex when he declares it. He'll exclaim things like "Suck my dick," and then get angry if I say no or call him out on how ridiculous it is for him to do that. He doesn’t respond to my advances, denies me, calls me a pervert or a nymphomaniac. And when he wants it, it doesn’t matter if I’m turned on or not. He enters me without turning me on, even when I tell him not to or pull away. He refuses to do anything I like, and then turns it against me saying that I should be “all about giving” and I should just let him do what he wants because it turns HIM on even if I don’t like it or it doesn’t turn me on.
  7. I can’t talk to him. I can’t share my feelings with him. My feelings are always viewed as an attack on him, no matter how gently I word things, and how careful I am with his feelings. He then attacks me back. This is the worst when I am crying, being so vulnerable, pouring my heart out, and he calls me “immature” and a “baby.”
  8. My friends and family all hate him. Also, he says that I can hang out with my friends, but when I try to, he then can’t believe that I’m not inviting him, that I would leave him alone, that I don’t want to make him a part of my life...which brings me to:
  9. He actually uses my own direct words against me, but not well. When I complain that I feel like I’m not part of his life, he will then use those exact words later that day or the next day, but against me, and completely out of context. It’s clear he’s just making shit up to try to get to me, but it doesn’t even fit the situation.
  10. He doesn’t want to actually share his life with me. He sees his life as HIS life, and I’m not a part of that. We are only allowed to have “our” life, but that doesn’t involve him sharing any part of HIS life with me (wouldn’t take me on set, won’t introduce me to colleagues or friends, wouldn’t let me mention why he was here when I was applying to auditions for him).
  11. The entire time we were together he applied to exactly zero jobs, neither acting or otherwise. He claims he’s depressed, yet he had no sympathy for my own depression but expects me to have it for him.
  12. He wants to have free reign to hang out with and make new single, female friends. It’s a huge source of contention. I WILL NEVER BE COMFORTABLE WITH THAT, yet when I express my discomfort, he calls me a "crazy, jealous bitch" and reminds me how much he "hates jealousy."
  13. He has not contributed financially, to anything, EVER. The only thing he paid for was my gym bootcamp.
  14. He believes that if I’m strong or in control, he is “my bitch” and he gives me attitude accordingly. This is the hallmark of an abuser. HE DOES NOT SEE US AS 50/50. HE SEES THAT HE MUST BE IN CONTROL, OTHERWISE HE IS “WEAK.”
  15. He does not know how to be physically gentle or comforting. He tells me he hates holding hands. He never kisses me passionately (and never has). At most he gives a peck. When I literally ask him to hold me, he won’t. Being with him in person is physically not much different than being 3000 miles away.
  16. He continues to call me “immature” and “insecure” and says I’m just “afraid of being alone.” He continually brings up my weight and how I should be exercising and how I’m just “bitter about fit, healthy people.”
  17. He beats our dog for the tiniest of things, as "punishment," to the point that the dog pees when he sees him come near him. I could never, ever have a child with him, and I think his animal abuse is absolutely appalling and disgusting.
  18. He will always do whatever he pleases, regardless of how it affects me. He will leave and come into my life when he pleases, despite how his leaving affects me and our life "together." He would be (and is) a father who leaves his children.
  19. I feel constantly stressed, tired, drained around him. He disrupts my sleep (literally, he comes in and shakes me awake, just to wake me up, and then laughs and leaves the room).
  20. He is violent in his sleep and hurts me.
  21. He says he wants nothing to do with my friends or family, doesn’t give a “flying fuck” what they think, said he would watch my best friend die and walk away from her if she needed help.
  22. He went from never giving me gifts on occasions (birthday, Christmas, anniversary--never) to giving me gifts he got for free to giving me gifts which are just awful or ones that HE wanted and then took for himself.
  23. He’s not willing to go to therapy. He thinks it’s stupid. “We should just be adults.” And the one time I did get him to go to therapy, he used it to prove that he was right and I was wrong. Didn't view it as a team effort--still viewed it as a way for him to "win."
  24. I’m getting physical symptoms from the stress of being with him. Acne, new rosacea, loss of appetite, actually retching and vomiting from stress. I lost 30 lbs because I can't eat.
  25. He is not nice. He is hyper critical of everyone. He makes rude comments to everyone. He treats waiters terribly. I’m constantly apologizing for him and embarrassed by him.
  26. I need a “safe space to grow.” He is not safe and is not interested in becoming safe.
  27. He blames me for everything. No matter what, it’s my fault. He will not take any responsibility for anything.
  28. I get nothing out of the relationship--no physical needs being met, no emotional needs being met, no financial help, we disagree on spiritual matters...I'm not being supported in any way.
  29. I deserve to have the love I give be returned. I deserve a real partner and a real marriage.


  1. I can relate to so much of your list! Like you, I read all those articles but it really hit home when I made my own list. #15 was similar to my situation... My ex traveled for work every other week, and I used to think that his travel weeks and his home weeks weren't all that different.

    1. Yep, I started to realize that I didn't look forward to seeing him fact, I dreaded it. I knew that it was going to be tense and I was going to be on eggshells the whole time, and any fantasy I had of us having some sweet, passionate reunion was not at all grounded in the reality of what it was really going to be like. And I realized I preferred being alone, because I wasn't so tense and scared to set him off.