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Anonymous' personal story

I don't know where to start. I guess my story is one where I carry a lot of guilt and I have always had generally low self esteem ever since I was a child. I'm 51 now. After 4 years into my current relationship I am now heavily mentally affected by the way I have allowed myself to be treated. It's caused me to do things I can hardly believe I was capable of.

I'll get to the point. I was married for 20 years. Legally I still am, so that makes it 24 years. No children. I made a foolish decision at a time when I was not coping well with my ex-wife's demeanour towards me. We had always been close. Very close. Very loving. But during the 6 years leading into 4 years ago I think she was going through her own difficult times and this made for a constantly tense and unpleasant atmosphere at home and this eroded my commitment to our life together.

I always travelled with my work, I had never given any thought to betraying my wife. But by the end of 2003 things were just terrible at home. I deliberately chose work assignments that would take me away for longer periods, just to get away from the terrible home environment. Then one time I met some men who liked to go out often and have fun in bars where there were girls looking for opportunity. I enjoyed the evenings out but still did not do anything than talk, dance and drink. But I was having fun and my thoughts – only my thoughts – turned to going further than just having a dance. I could not stop thinking about it. The excitement hooked me. It changed everything.

My relationship at home collapsed and on my next trip out I met my current partner. The fun, the intimacy and the sex was invigorating, intoxicating. Like nothing I'd ever known. But her expectations from me were more than just to enjoy happy and fun and close times together. She needed me to provide and support her and her family. She wanted things. Often moderately and sometimes very expensive things. And money. I loved her and I wanted and did spontaneously shower her with attention, gifts, money and support as I think anyone wants to do for their loved ones.

But her desire for such things accelerated and went very soon beyond my spending power. I became trapped in a cycle of requests for things that I would need to delay or defer or somehow have to explain why it had to be later and not now. She did not respond well to this. She knew I loved her. But she would react aggressively, saying things to hurt my feelings to the core. She would compare me unfavourably to past lovers. Contact ex-es to talk about me or ask them for money. Criticise the things I did. Tell me I was mean and stingy. A bad man. Evil.

If I refused to give in to her demands she would threaten to go sleep with other men. One time she confessed to doing so after we had such an argument. She would accuse me of going with other girls, constant accusation of wrongdoing that never happened. Threats to do the same in return. She monitored me, wanting to know what was in every e-mail, text message, every time I picked up my phone she would want to know why.

When I was at work she would constantly message me and expect immediate responses or get angry, abusive and threatening if I was otherwise occupied. This controlling, manipulative behaviour drove me into the ground. I cried heavily every day. Every day for 4 years I have cried at some point. Sometimes all day. I never was doing anything wrong (as far as our relationship went). But always there was the lingering guilt I should never have been in the relationship in the first place.

Sometimes the fights escalated to a terrible level. She and I would drink most evenings to relax. Too often, particularly if we were out at night she would become jealous and snap into an aggressive tirade of hurtful abuse. We would leave whatever establishment we were at and go home. Sometimes once behind closed doors she would then snap and start physically pushing me around. Punching me. I would be begging her to stop. She would break things. Throw things around. Punch and push, insult, push, punch. Drive me so I would cower in the corner begging her to stop.

Once she took an knife and threatened to cut or stab me. There were a handful of times when she went so far that I eventually snapped and lashed out at her in response. For me this was a desperate act – a last resort to try bring her under control and stop the constant abusive attack. I am so deeply ashamed of every time I lost control and lashed out. But every time it happened I was being driven to the point of insanity I wanted to escape but there was nowhere to go. All would go quiet, she would cry for a while and I would sit somewhere away from her, shaking, crying, feeling terrible regret and shame.

She would come to me later with ‘I'm sorry, forgive me’ and we would cuddle and cry together and get close. She would laugh and say I love you, as if it were all some silly game. I remember times when I have sat tight when she turned on the attacks, grit my teeth, waiting for her to burn out, telling myself ‘don't let her do this to you, don't let her get to you, don't get angry, don't get angry’.

This is the point. I just don't want the fights at all. There is just no need for it. Nothing to fight about. I'm a generous, kind hearted man. All I wanted, all the time was to show her that I care, that I love her and I want everything to be lovely. The magic. I crave the magic. But she has driven me into behaviours I can not believe I was capable of. I have been suicidal about this. Desperate.

She has gone now. Her most recent gift demand was way way beyond my ability to pay. She attacked me when I refused to buy the second new car; she held me hostage in my own apartment on threats of killing herself and smashing my place up. She attacked me again this morning. This time I fled and I called the police. She's gone now.

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