“I met my ex-husband when I was 21 on a dating app. There were lots of good things about him; he was attractive, he was fun, he was charming. It all seemed great, but there started to be little things like him making comments about my weight, not liking body hair or resenting how much time I spent with my friends. I viewed it as him caring about me and not so much as criticism. But the more time we spent together, the more critical he became and there kept being a higher bar to keep him happy. Then we got engaged and that's when things started to get really bad. We had a lot of fights and came close to calling the wedding off, but I was mortified at the idea. Little did I know I'd become a single mom of a three week old baby.
I got pregnant right away and had a miscarriage. The night of my miscarriage he went to play soccer and have drinks and stay out with friends. I got pregnant again and when I was 27 weeks I went to the bathroom and I started pouring blood. I was admitted to the hospital and stayed there for a month. While I was there he was very angry at me. He’d say ‘no one is here to take care of me.’ He kept blaming me, saying it was my fault. It was very upsetting. His biggest concern at the hospital was what my parents would order him for dinner to eat that night. When they told me I could go home, I didn't want to.
I ended up back in the hospital with more bleeding, but I was happy to be there because I wasn't going home to him expecting me to do all this stuff for him when I was supposed to be on bed rest. I did not enjoy a moment of my pregnancy. The day I was going to get induced, my water broke and I called him and he said ‘I'm going to go to sleep and I will come when I get up in the morning.’ I was freaking out, I didn't want to be alone.
My parents came, but he wasn't there until well into the induction process. He came as I was having contractions and he needed to write an out-of-office note. The nurse was rolling her eyes at my mom as I’m having contractions and telling him what to write. Then our daughter was born.
She was 4 pounds and as soon as she was born, he didn't think that anybody should hold her (this was pre-Covid-19). He sent me texts like, ‘stop having our daughter passed around like a football. What's wrong with you, what are you thinking, what kind of mother are you?’
I was having trouble breastfeeding and he said, ‘I refuse to see my daughter have formula.’ He would remind me what the lactation consultant said, which doesn't help when you’re stressed. We stayed at the hospital for a week, but he slept at home because he needed his beauty sleep. When I got home, he did not want my family or my friends over, he wanted nobody around. He also did not want me to leave the house. I went against everything he said because I needed my family and I needed to get out. There was one night when she was two-weeks-old and I just wanted to grab a coffee with my friend and leave her with him for half-an-hour and he was like, ‘if she cries or is upset, I'm not letting you know. This is your fault for leaving.’
I went out with my friend, I bawled my eyes out and I was like, I can't do this. I didn't want my daughter to grow up and see that this is how a woman should be treated. I spoke to my parents and they were extremely supportive. At three weeks postpartum, I told him that I wanted a separation. He told his family I lost my mind and that I had postpartum psychosis.
Everybody in his family thought I had gone crazy. I didn't go crazy, it was the most sane and strongest I had ever felt.
When you separate with a newborn, there needs to be a parenting agreement before anyone can leave the marital home. I offered him a lot, but nothing was good enough, so I ended up being stuck in our home until she was four months old. One night, I had enough and I pushed his buttons. It was stupid things that the average person wouldn’t care about like I ate his leftovers and I used his expensive cream. I had been sleeping in the guest room, but that night I got back into the king size marital bed and I was like, ‘I'm sleeping here.’ That night, he forced himself on me and sexually assaulted me. I called my lawyer and they spoke to all the partners at the firm and they told me to leave the house regardless of the parenting agreement - it was an issue of safety. My best friend and her husband came and I packed up my whole life in three hours. I took everything I could take and that was it, I was gone.
We had four years of tumultuous legal battles and we finally came to an agreement a year and a half ago. A few months after that he got a job in another country. He comes back infrequently and we actually get along fine now, which is shocking. It's taken a lot on my end - patience and forgiveness. My daughter is the best thing in the world, so I don't regret meeting him, but I know I deserve a lot more for myself and hopefully one day I'll find it.”