Dear all. I am new to this forum. I am so glad I found it. I have read others' stories, sometimes it feels like I am reading my own. I am so deeply sorry for everyone who has been in this situation, but it really does help to know that it is not just me, that I have not gone crazy, that there is actually something wrong in this relationship I put all my love and soul into. Here is my story.
I think it is really over this time, and I really cannot make sense of what has just happened to me.
I began my relationship with him just over a year ago, and the first couple of weeks seemed out of a fairy tale. I thought that, after so long searching, I had found the ONE. We could not get enough of each other and spent every day together. However, I had just accepted a job abroad and after just a couple of weeks, it was to become a long distance relationship.
After a few weeks, he came to see me, and the first problems began. I am quite a private person, and open up with time and believe in building trust little by little, not just giving it out front for people to crush. After only 4 -5 weeks of knowing him, he was pushing me to tell him more about my past relationships than I felt comfortable talking to him about at that point. He went into a sulk with me and just stopped talking to me, and I didn’t understand why. To this day, he accuses me of being secretive, when all I was doing was trying to build up trust before sharing all of my past with him. I never understood why he went into that first sulk, and it hurt me very much. But in the end, he made out that I was the bad person for not telling him everything he wanted to know. (it is only several months later that I found out that in the time he was accusing me of being secretive with him that he had hidden an even bigger secret from me, a decade long relationship which had been on and off, but at exactly the time he was saying I was being secretive, he had actually lied to me for several days during which he didn’t talk to me, supposedly because he was overwhelmed with work, but was actually staying at his exes, supposedly to break it off once and for all, but it really hurt when I found out later, and to him, it was totally justified to have spent two nights at her place even though he was already with me, and to have lied to me about it, because “we were not even properly together yet”, yet I was being too secretive!).
About a month and a half later, I went to see him overseas where he had moved for a few months (also a work commitment he had made before meeting me). I literally flew over 16 hours to be with him, and countless time zones. When I got there, he was just dragging me from one party/meeting/dinner to the other, never asking me whether I wanted to go, and I was exhausted. I thought we had an open relationship at that point, and I told him that I did not want to go to anymore gatherings with other people because I was exhausted, but he took it very badly and said I was shouting at him, which I don’t think I was, although I admit, that I was maybe stern.
For the first 6 months, we only saw each other for a week or two at a time, because of distance, and though things were fine between us, there always seemed to be that little thing that bugged him, and annoyed him about me, and I do not for the life of me understand why. For example, walking in the burning heat, I said I was hot and thirsty, not complaining, just stating facts, and he got upset with me. One evening he wanted to go and visit a monument, and I said because it was late, I thought we should go an other time, because I would not be able to take picture with the fading light, somehow, he said I shouted at him. I was at a loss. I thought I was just contributing my opinions to the decisions we were making together, but to him, he took this as aggression. I don’t understand, because I have this kind of conversation with people all the time, and nobody seems to take this kind of thing badly, but suddenly I was feeling I did not know how to communicate anymore.
After 6 months, I gave up my job abroad and moved in with him (a decision he now says I made unilaterally, and he never really wanted me to come, feels nice to know that after giving up so much!). It basically all went downhill from there. I admit, I may have been having adjusting problems, but he really did not make it easy for me. I was in a new place, where I knew nobody, had no job, only had the contents of one suitcase with me. To add to all this which I had to deal with on my own (because of zero compassion from him), I had to completely adapt to his way of living. If I ever tried to make a remark about something because I had a different way of doing it and I felt we should both get to do things our own way, not everything like one person wants it, he got angry with me and said I was controlling. It really did not feel like we were building a home together, but clearly that I was in HIS home, with HIS rules. He denies all of this, but this is how I felt. I even had to change the way I made tea for him because he didn’t like the way I did it, and had to anticipate his needs (like pack for him when he was going for a trip, wash his clothes, offer him a drink when he enters the room, act a certain way in the morning (still not figured out how) or else I would be told I had a negative attitude which was going to spoil his day) and when I didn’t succeed he made me feel like a failure for a girlfriend or a future wife, but he only told me his needs after I had failed to address them, he never told them to me in advance, so I was just left guessing, trying to anticipate what it was I should be doing so he would not get upset with me. I never said anything about all this and just adapted, because I had made the decision to go there and live my life with him, no matter the concessions and changes to my own life. Until one day, he told me how much he had changed his life for me! My life could not have been more different. From a career woman with friends and a lot of hobbies, I was now just sitting at home all day, completely alone in a place I knew no one, just waiting for him to come home at an unknown time, because he would call and say he’d be home in 5 minutes, and 2 hours later not be in yet (I don’t care when he comes in, but it was always this big mystery to me because he never told me correctly, and I just spent my time waiting around for him, not able to prepare dinner, as I didn’t know when he would actually come home, not able to do anything for myself either). Because he is always late, and this is a pattern, I tried to explain to him that it is a lack of respect to keep me guessing when he will turn up, that I don’t care when he comes, but that he can’t just have me waiting around for him all the time, to which he would say I was not at all flexible and was too uptight about life.
The situation was already difficult, but he would also get upset with me for no reason. The first altercation was one evening, we were going out to do shopping. It was already 9 pm and I was tired and hungry, but we needed to go get food. I got dressed up and opened the door to leave, when he decided it was time for him to sit down and play around with some gadget he had bought. I didn’t even object to that, but told him, that as I already had my coat on, I would wait for him outside. All hell let loose. It created a huge fight, he started accusing me of not letting him have time to relax after a day at work, that I should have sat down with him and kept him company while he was doing what he was doing. I was shocked, and I didn’t understand what had just hit me. Again, I was just supposed to guess what the correct behavior was. Somehow at the end of it, it ended up all being my fault, he said I had a bad character and I was a bad tempered person. Episodes like this became common, and most of the time, I just did not understand what had upset him so much. For example once we were talking about the way to arrange the terrace, and I gave some ideas, I was talking in a happy and cheerful way, and he just got so angry with me, telling me I didn’t understand anything, that we were not the owners, that we couldn’t do all the things I was saying. I didn’t understand WHY he got angry? I was only throwing around ideas. And I could not understand why I ended up being the one asking for forgiveness. Somehow now, months later, all he can remember is me being bad tempered, having moods, provoking him. He says that he does have a tendency towards anger, but before meeting me, he had managed to controle it, but I had brought it all back again. He keeps saying to me, as if to justify the fact that the anger problem is all my fault, "I was not angry at the beginning, it is only once I started loosing patience with your tempers and shouting". Can one person really create anger in an other person? Was it not always there and he kept it in controle when he didn't have to deal with an other person in his life with other opinions and an other way of living? I don't know, I'm too fresh out of this to make sense of it all.
After that, he began to be very critical of me. He denies it now. He says he was just trying to help me and give me constructive advice. The thing is, he said things so forcefully, never saying “I think ..” or “to me this should be..”, but more like “it’s like this…” or expressing things as if they were global truths rather than an opinion. He said things about my hair, about my weight, about my clothes, about the food I should or should not eat, about what sport I should do. I changed everything for him. It was awful, because I would look in the mirror and not even recognize myself, but I was willing to do that for him. Today he says he was just giving opinions and I didn’t have to follow them, but he does not realize how forcefully he said things, or the effect of telling a woman “I don’t like your naturally curly hair, I only like it when you straighten it”, “I don’t like the way you dress, and you should dress for me, your partner, not the way that makes you happy”. He said he was just being honest, but are there not ways of saying things?
I was trying to find a job. It was hard, because we were in a small place without many opportunities, I had an education from an other country, and I didn’t know how things worked in this new place. Instead of supporting me, he just shot down every single achievement I had accomplished and said I was unstable because I had had 3 different jobs in the past 10 years. Hello? Hasn’t he heard of changing job for career advancement? Also, I am still young, and I was still testing different options to see what it was I really wanted to spend my life doing. Is that so wrong? Nobody else thought it was. Employers in my country actually saw it as an added value to my profile, because I had acquired a lot of very different skills and outlooks. While I was looking for a job and trying to decide what to do, everything I told him about, he criticized. When I said something interested me, he said it was bad because of this or because of that. When I wanted to go out and do some volunteer work while I looked for a steady job, because I was going crazy staying alone in the house, he didn’t support it, and said “I know you, if you start that, then you won’t want to get a real job”. I just wanted to go out and meet people and do something while I was getting my life together. More recently, I have stopped telling him about job applications, because whatever the job, he will find something to criticize about it, and it really does not help me have the motivation I need to write good applications or do well at interviews. But he does not understand the effect he had on me with his criticism, and resents me not telling him every single job I apply for (which also makes no sense when I’m applying to hundreds of jobs I’ll be rejected for, I usually only tell anyone about the jos I get interviews for, because I do not want to get excited about something that may not even work out, especially with someone who has zero understanding or compassion).
Sometimes, I would get impatient with him, I admit. Because, whenever we needed to do something, he would go onto internet, and just spend hours, and leave me waiting for him to finish before we could get on with what he needed to do. He would always be late. Everything had to be done at the last minute. I really do not care about people's flexibility with time, but when it starts effecting me, I do. Sometimes we would have to go out and I had to get ready, but he would give me so little time to do so because he had been late for the things we were doing before, that I had to shower, wash my hair, style it, do makeup, in no time at all. And he did expect me to look beautiful, but it was like I would just have to snap my fingers and I'd look like that. I was always so stressed and exhausted by the time we got out, that I could not really enjoy the evening anymore. I did get impatient, and I did let him know. And he really did not like that. It felt like anything I may say would turn into a 3 hour lecture from him. He would keep me up till 4 am telling me how terrible I was. I would just be crying and apologizing, and he would just go on and on and on. It was so exhausting, especially when he kept me up so late laying down the law. Sometimes he got angry and would slam his fist on the table and start yelling at me. When he got angry, his whole body tensed up and I was frightened, though he never used violence. His face looked like it was smoking and there would be this saliva bubbling from either side of his mouth and his teeth were clenched. I hated him when he was like that. It's awful to say, but I really did. We fought every day, but there was no constructive dialogue possible, because when I tried to speak of my perspective, he would tell me I was accusing him of stuff (when I was just trying to tell him that a certain thing he had done had hurt me), that I was shouting at him and using sarcasm. There was never a right way to speak to him. However I phrased anything, he would find fault. He would say “if you had said it like this, it would have been completely reasonable, but because you said it like this, it was aggressive”. I tried to adapt my way of speaking, but it was always wrong. Even when I was speaking softly, he would say I was shouting at him and being aggressive towards him. It has always been so frustrating. Sometimes I would break down and cry, because there was no way I could phrase anything without him taking it badly, and I really began to question myself a lot. I told him I’d never had communication problems with anyone, and he would just say, that I surround myself with people who do not dare to tell me how badly I speak.
I was in a state of depression. But there was no support from him. He would just tell me he would continue to be blatantly honest with me, even if it hurts “because it’s a cruel world out there and you better just get used to it”. But precisely, because it is a cruel world out there, shouldn't I be able to find comfort and support in the home? And he was not an emotional person, and thought I had a problem for seeking his emotional support and validation. He would also say that I did not want to talk about our problems and resolve them and would say that if we couldn't talk about them it was because I was not able to communicate (my fault) and that my frustrations only came out when we were fighting. I was more and more silent, because he got so angry when I told him the truth about how I felt. And yes, sometimes when he was really being obnoxious to me and we got into a fight was actually the only time I had the courage to say what I felt, because when everything was calm, why would I ever want to trigger him off? I knew the slightest thing did..
He then began to tell me I had psychological problems and he would help me. I trusted him. I was devastated. I was already very low, and now I was being told I was psychologically unstable. His way of “helping” me though was sitting me down and telling me to tell him what was wrong with me for me to be destroying the relationship like that. He would not let me get up, he would keep on insisting that because I was bad tempered and I was breaking everything up, that I should look inside of me and find out why. I did not know what to say. I was often silent or sobbing, and that would just make him even angrier. What was I suppose to say? What was it he wanted to hear? I was going mad!
During all the time I lived with him, I lived under the illusion that at least, sex was good, but even that had its twisted moments. Like if we had a fight, I would get very upset and need time to recover. Whereas him, once he’d slammed me down with his words and lecturing, in a minute he was fine, and would want sex. I explained to him, that I could not have sex while I was feeling so awful and how could he want it when we had just been in such an intense fight, to which he answered something really terrible in my eyes “sex is like breathing and it’s a necessity, and it is totally independent on whether we fight or not”. Though I had had a number of partners before him, I had always had very loving and innocent kind of sex. There had always been a lot of romance and that is really what turns me on. I am not into all these kinky things, it may be stupid, but that’s just me. He would insist on doing really kinky stuff, and would not take no for an answer. He would keep bringing it up until I gave in, and never even taking into account that I was doing this for him and that rather than feel any pleasure in it, it was more of a turn off, and I felt physicaly sick whenever he started asking for these things. I am a little innocent, but I have done more daring things in the past and enjoyed them, I think it is just down to the way it is presented to me. I don’t think I like to feel I am doing something I have not really agreed to or have been pushed into doing. However much I tried to bring this up though, he just would not understand. In fact, the fact that I did certain things were a stepping stone for him to push me further, instead of understanding that I did it for him and was making a concession on my own values. It almost became a negotiation: "if I have "normal" sex with you sometimes, you have to have kinky sex with me the rest of the time". OK, but where is the romance and the feelings in that? Doesn't sex just happen and evolve according to how you are feeling that day, that moment, with the trust you build together? That's how it had always been with my pas partners. How does it become some sort of negotiation?
Finally, after yet and other argument for no reason, he left, slamming the door and leaving a note telling me to leave the key when I left. I was devastated, I was so hurt, and I felt so dead inside. I picked up the last strength I had left in me, packed and left.
Since then, he has come back, we have got back together, then something went wrong and he would not want to talk to me. Every time, it was him who said things like, “let’s just go separate ways”, and “I never want to speak to you ever again”. There was no way of having a fight which we could really talk about or resolve. His conclusion was always the same. Let's go seperate ways. It was so devastating. And yet, when I would oblige, he would come back and say I was giving him the silent treatment. A lot of the times, I was desperate not to lose him, and would write him email after email until he changed his mind. The problem with that, is that it put him into the position of power, because, I was the one crawling back to him, even though he was the one who had expressed the desire to break it off. Also, when he refers back to these episodes, in his head, it is always me who broke off communication. He always forgets that he asked me to, and after a number of times, well, what else could I do? And not once did he appologize for the hurt of telling me he did not want to see me again and that I was the most awful person he'd ever come across. It was as if he was the oh so big man daining to talk to me again and forgive me of all my sins. It was infuriating. But somehow I always let him do this to me.
When I walked out of the relationship, I did it for 2 reasons. One was because I had no strength left to stay and to listen to hours and hours of him lecturing me every single day, and spend my entire day crying. Two was because I thought that maybe if I walked out it would make him open his eyes to the way I had been feeling, because obviously expressing it was not getting me anywhere. I never really had the intention of leaving him. Not only am I very loyal, but this was the man I wanted to spend my life with and I loved him so very much, in spite of everything. For him, my walking out of the relationship has been an excuse for him to be able to demand anything he wants from me, because “even though I broke his heart, he took me back”. I suppose I deserve that, but not once has he tried to understand the reasons I left in the first place. I am, as always, the horrible person who broke up the relationship.
I love him still, I’ve tried everything to make it work. I’ve also had to build a wall around my heart though, because he keeps throwing it away, walking away, giving me the silent treatment, etc. When he does, he says, why shouldn’t he do it? after all, I walked out on him. When we don’t speak for a few days, because he has explicitly asked me to stop contacting him, he says it is me giving him the silent treatment. He does not take responsibility for anything. And yet, the way he sees everything, it’s me that has hurt him, it’s me who has blamed him, it’s me who does not trust him, it’s me who’s made his anger come out by provoking him, it’s me who does not know how to communicate, who does not understand anything.
I’ve read a lot about abuse. Sometimes, when I read someone else’s story, I feel like I am reading my own. But I have completely lost faith in my own perception. I have so much been told that I have got it all wrong, that what I am doing is projecting from my old relationships, that I have commitment issues, that I lack a male figure in my life and that is why I am messed up, that I am ungrateful and selfish, that I surround myself with people who adore me so that I do not have to hear the raw truth of how awful I am. I have been told I am controlling, abusive, hurtful, evil, that I have an inflated sense of self, that my own image of myself could not be further from the reality, that I have psychological problems etc. And yet no one has ever told me these things before. Not my friends and not my exes. And for the sake of honnesty, I do admit that I have got very angry in the past, I do have a temper at times and usually I do not stand for people walking all over me, but with him my behaviour was so much in check. I felt like a little girl dealing with a strict parent. I can completely admit the times I have been unreasonnable in my past, but never did I get close to that with him.
I have tried to look after him, to give him love. When he has come to see me, I have taken, care of him, taken him to nice places, I’ve introduced him to my friends and my family, I’ve looked after him when he was sick. I have been home almost every night for over a year to either be with him or speak to him on the phone. I have always told him how wonderful he was and shown interest in his career and the things he does. I was ready to give up everything I knew and start a life with him, one which would never be stable for me, because his job would involve a life of moving around. With my education and experience, I could get a job back home where I could have a very comfortable life financially, whereas even getting a job in his country was a real challenge and I could never hope to make enough money to be comfortable financially. But that was all ok. All he has ever said to me was that I have never done anything for him, that I had been awful with him from the start (he now will not even acknowledge the good times we had), that no one had ever hurt him the way I had (and yet, when I want to understand HOW I have hurt him so I can understand and do things differently, he is on the defensive telling me I am interrogating him, and he goes on and one about how much I have hurt him, how I will never listen to his perspective and how I will never understand him, but he never tells me WHAT I have done to hurt him, he just gets angry for me asking). He says I only see him when it is convenient for me, even though I thought we always arranged our meeting together, he accuses me of wanting to spend time with my family instead of him, when for the past year I have only seen my family very little because he is so demanding of my attention, even when I am with them, I spend most of the evening on the phone with him, so do not actually see them. Even during my only sibling's wedding, he accused me of not spending enough time with him? I mean, this is my only sister and it is the most important day of her life? How does he dare resent me spending it on her? Is it really right to expect to be the center of attention, even on that one day?
In spite of all this, I am completely broken. I do not know what to do. I cannot imagine life without him. When I said I loved him, I meant it. When I said I wanted to spend my life with him I really believed it from the depth of my heart and soul. I just cannot bring myself to believe that he has deceived me in spite of all the evidence on this site and in the many books I have read. It is just so much easier to believe that I have a problem, that it is all my fault, rather than to believe that my perfect wonderful dream man was just that, a dream.
And what if I am the one who is dysfunctional, as he says, and all that has happened is my own twisted mind just finding reasons to push the most wonderful man in the world away? And what if I am the evil person he has depicted me to be, and I have just justified my behavior by laying the blame on him? Yet the pain and the feelings I describe, I have lived them truly and deeply.. I just cannot make any sense of anything anymore. I don’t even see the point in my life right now, it’s all such a blur.
I know this forum is one one which to post one's stories and that discussions happen on the other forums. But if you have any thoughts, I would be so grateful for them. We have only been NC since Saturday, so it is all very raw and fresh, even though this is not a new experience for me, because it has already happened many times before. THank you all for reading. Thank you just for being there so I can share this huge burden weighing on my life.