“I am called a liar because I did not agree to have sex in the way that my wife wanted and she threatened to hurt me if I didn’t go along with it. So I tried even though it made me feel gross and uncomfortable. Then she criticized me for not being more enthusiastic.
I then went through a depression. After I found out that she started cheating on me. She blamed me for that as well. Said I wasn’t meeting her needs. I made some bad choices. In an attempt to escape all the pain I dove into a mobile game. I spent thousands of family dollars.
I then started thinking about suicide constantly. So much that I was hospitalized for it. When I was in the hospital she told me I could not come home. I was not allowed to see my son when I got out. I went to therapy.
She and my therapist tried to have me diagnosed with all kinds of disorders. My ex is a medical doctor so she knew the exact right words to say to my therapist. I followed all of their guidelines because she told me that was the only way to possibly save a 12 year marriage and see my son regularly. I took all the medicines they suggested. I worked to repair everything while having every single action scrutinized. Then after a few months I was allowed back home. She continued to have extramarital interactions with other men. I had not at this time consented to an open marriage but she told me that she would resent me and punish me if I did not consent.
My depression got to be too much and I again thought that suicide was the best option to alleviate all of my pain. At this point I had still not recognized that the coercion was a sexual consent violation. I knew it was abuse but had not explored it more.
So after my second near miss with suicide, I was again kicked out of the home. This time would prove to be the final time. She began to suggest at every opportunity that everythinng that happened was all because of my actions. I will admit to the things I have done wrong… Some times I would feel like it had to have been all my fault. I accepted the way she treated me for years. I was stuck in this thought cycle. Then I met the person who would save my life.
I started EMDR therapy and throughout the next few months I dove deep down the rabbit hole in an effort to find some strength to deal with everything. At the same time, I was only allowed to see my son for a total of 20 hours from January through April. I could have done something through the courts but she kept telling me that there was a chance at reconciliation. She knew at this point that I had issues with insecure attachments and she was seemingly trying to take advantage and exploit that. Because I believed that all of my value was in her approval. I worked to jump through every hoop. She would agree to meet up for coffee or for couples therapy telling me we could discuss working on reconciliation only to show up and tell me that I was mistaken.
I always had this feeling that I was in danger with her, but I could never pull it into my full awareness. My therapy was going better. I was still homeless, living off of the generosity of friends. I felt like it would be good to get into more social situations.
I reached out to a local church and joined a local chapter of PFLAG and a social group that met once a month. She was angry I joined PFLAG even though she had shown zero interest in it prior to me joining. I left PFLAG at her insistence because I wanted to stay in her good graces. Mind you, this was all during the time she would tell me that there was a chance to reconcile so I had to behave. I was reaching out to anyone I could to get help and a handle. I poured through book after book on boundaries, relationships… . depression, empathy and compassion. I was damn determined to fix whatever she said was wrong with me. Which was pretty much everything. I got my old job back but was still homeless. My car was vandalized, I was mugged walking home. I ate on average 3 times a week. I had lost almost of of our mutual friends. Her entire family shut me out. Her dad physically threatened me more than once. I was traumatized by the police for attempting to see my son. Every thing I owned was kept from me
But I carried on trying to get better because thats what she told me I had to do.
I was still not aware of what it meant to be sexually abused through coercion for years at this point. And then the stories on the news started coming out. At first I was concerned for all of those coming forth. How scared they must have felt in that moment. Then I thought about the countless others who have those stories that we never hear about. As each story was published, I began to feel more and more sick. More and more angry. More and more afraid.
Then it hit me. I was at work on lunch. I was mortified. How could this be? How could someone who was so respected for her stance on consent have done this? I tried to rationalize it. I tried to excuse it. But it felt like bile in my throat. I held on for weeks. I even thought that if I told her how I felt she could help me understand. She just called me a liar. She is now punishing me for even suggesting it by trying to keep my son from me even more.
So here I sit. Pouring this all out to a bunch of strangers because the one person that was supposed to be my shelter from the storm was the storm itself.