Tonight, I’ve decided to tell a bit of my story. It’s not one I’ve shared, but something that I feel I will be able to use to minister to others. I will leave things out because it’s been a little while now and the fresh wounds are starting to close a bit.
I should have heeded the warnings. I knew he had issues with this, but I didn’t realize at the time, just how serious it was and just how damaging it would be. My first clue was when he told me of the time he flashed someone in a video rental store and ran out. He said it was a mistake. I believed him.
He knew terms of things that I’d never even heard of and I chalked it up to being a preacher’s kid and unassuming. He said that those sayings were all common and that most people had heard of them. I believed him.
….After this time, he seemed to draw closer to God. He was baptized, he went to Bible studies and men’s groups. He seemed like he had changed….
We ended up getting married and within our first year, the cops came to the door. Someone accused him of flashing them through our upstairs bedroom window. I insisted that he would never do such a thing. I didn’t believe my husband when he denied it, but I never told him I didn’t. This was when I knew without a doubt that this was a much bigger issue. The FIRST YEAR of marriage. What had I gotten myself into?
After that incident, the timeline gets foggy. Things unfolded, one right after another. I found a picture he had taken of “himself” on the new digital camera that I purchased for our anniversary. He had stored it on our desktop computer and thought he had deleted it. He did not. I printed it out, hung it up on the front door for him to see when he got home from his 2nd job at night. Needless to say, he was shocked and speechless, his manhood on the front door for anyone to see.
Another time, I glanced at the history on our computer and saw sites that I knew were not appropriate, but I didn’t say anything. I then checked his email and found a series of explicit messages to someone he never met in person, rather online through a Facebook game. Those words will be forever burned in my brain. He spoke to her of things he wanted to do to her and lamented of the things I wouldn’t do. I was broken. I wasn’t enough for him. I was nothing.
Our marriage was never the same after this. My self-worth was gone. He made it very clear through his actions, that I wasn’t anything worth looking at or spending time with. Sure, he pretended, but I knew better. I was not the woman that he desired. To him, I was just an object created to satisfy whatever was in his sick mind. Only I refused to be that object. I refused to go along with what he had probably seen in the porn that had manifested into his mind.
For the next number of years, I lived in this farce of a marriage. Unloved. Just a pawn in his game to make him look like a decent human being. I was the thing that made his life appear normal to those on the outside. Our friends and our family had no idea the lie that we lived. Our children had no idea. I was afraid to tell anyone. I felt very alone in my struggle and carried that lack of worth with me. In all honesty, I still do. In my heart, I still feel quite worthless. It wasn’t until just a few years ago, I found out that many more women had been going through similar battles in their marriages. Some fell apart, some weathered the storms. I knew deep down, that I wasn’t going to weather this one. He was too far gone. He wasn’t serious about getting help, even though he did go.
Just a couple of years ago, this all came to a head. His car wouldn’t start one cold morning, so I had him take our van to work instead, while I stayed home with the kids. I decided to try and get it started later on and upon entering his car, found a huge mess. I cleaned it all up for him and during that process, what I found under the front seat horrified me. A used condom and a receipt for flowers, time stamped at almost 2:30 in the morning, at a location that was not in a good part of town. Nowhere near his night job and nowhere near our house. I approached him after he came home. He claimed the flowers were for his mother and that the used condom was because he “took care of himself”. It didn’t add up.
I brewed about this for another month or so. I told a couple of friends what I had found and asked for prayers as to what I should do. My one friend decided to do a little digging and found that he had a screen name that he used to open up different accounts looking for threesomes, lunchtime fun, and so on. She found profiles, one of which had a picture of MY SON in it with him. I was furious. It all kept unfolding. From there, the nightmare escalated quickly.
I made the biggest and hardest decision of my life. I told him to get out. He had warnings. I did tell him that if it kept happening, I would be gone. He chose this. He likes to say that I was the one that didn’t want him anymore. Well, in a sense he’s right. I didn’t want him because he wasn’t who I thought he was. He claimed to be someone that would love me for the rest of my life. He lied. As months went by, I found out more about his deception. Remember the Ashley Madison scandal? His name was on that site. It all kept coming, unfolding like a Dateline Exclusive. Just when I thought I had heard everything, something else surfaced.
I’m not saying I did everything perfectly. By no means did I even come close, but I didn’t actively choose to hurt him over and over again. I made many mistakes, I tried to fix them and I grew from them. He did not. He is now unemployed and on his second girlfriend in less than six months’ time. His life is an absolute mess.
I’ve been a single mom now for nearly two years. Longer if you count those years that he really wasn’t much of a presence to me. We’re doing okay and we certainly have our struggles. The latest one…my son was just baptized this past Sunday, but his dad didn’t come. This will stick with my sweet boy for the rest of his life. My promise to my kids is that I would protect them from the hurt that I felt at the hands of their dad. This one was out of my control, but I am there to soften the blow.
I’ll share more…there are so many facets involved that can’t possibly be contained in one blog post. Some of the courageous things I’ve had to do….you’ll be hearing about those soon.
All the best,