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Charles' personal story

Shorthand version. At 29, I met what I thought was the perfect woman, we fell in love etc etc etc.

After about 6 months, whilst we were taking precautions, she became pregnant however she decided she would terminate. I felt a great deal of guilt in that situation and she went on for a month about how the whole episode was my fault. I took all the blame, the guilt was real.

We moved in together. All my family lived interstate, I had a busy working life and didnt get out a great deal because of that, so she effectively had me a little isolated.

She would demand sex almost every day. When I was a little tired and not quite up to it, there would be an hour of, you're useless, not a real man etc. Unfortunately, at the time I was drained and still felt guilt over the termination and thought I owed her a great deal for putting her through all that.

Eventually the tirades turned physical. I remember more clearly than others a time when she slapped me and then repeatedly kicked my shins with these particularly hard toes shoes. Eventually I'd had enough of it that day and pushed her down onto the bed directly behind her. I was extremely angry, so locked myself in the bathroom. She left the house.

Later I'd pieced together that she had gone to her parents home and told them I had physically attacked her.

It continued like this for awhile, maybe a year, similar episodes. Until over a few months I'd slowly started to overcome my shame and talk to my friends about it all. They were the ones that I drew strength from to one day turn around and say enough and walk away.

That time trapped in that relationship though is still extremely hard for me to explain. I still cannot entirely fathom how I'd let someone have that power over me to not just deal with it or walk away sooner. I know a lot was to do with guilt and a lot was to do with not feeling worthy of the relationship. I am also a bit of a perfectionist, which really doesn't help either.

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