I HAVE been with my new man for almost two years now’, stated a reader, after divorcing a bullying and violent husband some five years ago. “This new man is a complete opposite of my ex; considerate, kind and patient. He tells me I am the best thing that has happened to him – except that he is a heavy drinker and I supposed he must be on drugs.
Lately, he wants me to go out with him only and not with my friends whom, he said were unmarried and irresponsible. We don’t live together as I’m not ready for a repeat of the last experience I had with my ex. Most of the members in my family think I’m on a death wish going out with a low-life like him. But he seems to have a hold on me. I’ve threatened to leave him because of his drinking, but he scares me when he always threatens: “If I can’t have you – no one will…’
The problem with this poor, troubled reader is that after leaving a bad relationship, she jumped right into the fire of another turbulent relationship without touching the proverbial frying pan. And that about describes the
life of the average victim of domestic violence – they are constantly escaping from it. When Betty’s husband died suddenly after almost 15 years of marriage, she said she heaved a sigh of relief.
“Our regular spats were an open-book in the neiqhbourhood’; she recalls, “He was a control freak, always nagging me for making mama’s boys of our two sons and criticising everything 1 did, in spite of the fact that he wasn’t that much of a husband and provider, he was also a womanizer. When my business started thriving, I was giving him a great thought when he had his heart attack and died.
He’d complained of severe headache in the morning and when he didn’t feel better, I took him to our regular clinic where he was treated. The doctor said I should leave him to have enough rest and for him to be effectively monitored. I was to come back for him in the evening but when I got there, 1 met his corpse – he’d suffered a massive heart attack. It was all so weird and unnatural that I didn’t know how to take it. He might be a lousy husband but I certainly didn’t wish him dead!
“I continued with my business which started thriving beyond my wildest dreams. I met Ebby at a friend’s. Like me, his wife died some few years ago and we struck a relationship. He told me I was the most amazing woman he’d ever met. In a short while, he confessed he was falling in love with me. Within six months, we were married.
Here was a nice, decent and fun man who was crazy about me and my teenage boys, and ready to take us on. The friend I knew him through was very skeptical when I agreed to marry him, but didn’t discourage me.
Things were rosy for a while until he started discouraging me from going to my friends’ parties and homes. “You’re a responsibly married woman now’~ he said. “Most of your friends are single and nothing short of trollops!” I was amazed, filled with a sense of dejavu! Have I married another monster? How could a fifty- some-thing-year-old man behave like a jealous teenager? Where was the generous charmer who said he worshipped the ground I walked on? What have I done to myself by agreeing to marry this stranger?
“He was always quick to apologize whenever we had any disagreement and would shower me with cash gifts. We were in my office one day when one of my workers needed my attention in the factory. When I came back, Ebby handed me the day’s mail that was brought in for me. All the envelopes of the letters had their tops ripped off. Who opened my letters? I yelled, ready to challenge the messenger who brought them in, “I did” said Ebby brazenly. ‘We’re married now. We shouldn’t have secrets between us.
I couldn’t believe what I was hearing! I yelled at him that this had nothing to do with secrets, the letters were mine and he had no right opening them. He apologized as he was always ready to do and peace was temporarily restored. Only, most of the phone-calls in the house seemed to come through when he was with me in the house.
Instinctively, I checked the telephone plug one day and realized it’s been pulled out. I connected it again, hoping the first time was a mistake, only to discover that the phone was plugged back as soon as he came in. When I confronted him, he said he didn’t want me getting any funny calls that would upset me!
“That did it! Frustration of the past months took over and I raved and ranted at him. He yelled back that he wouldn’t stand for me receiving any calls from my lovers. My two sons came out from their rooms on the defensive.
They’d witnessed a bit of violence between us and they’d warned him against hitting me. Then slap! His open palm cracked across my cheek.
Before I knew it, I’d returned the slap, encouraged by my sons’ presence. All hell broke loose as my boys joined in and shouts and accusations filled the air. There were pushes and shoves. In no time, my boys had decked Ebby and things became wild with arms flailing, punches and wild sobs as all four of us got caught up in the brawl.
“By now, all our neighbours had come out to watch. Shame, faced, Ebby walked off in a huff, threatening to kill the three us if we weren’t gone by the time he came back. I took my kids with a few valuables and fled to my office where we slept for the night. Needless to say, that was yet another marriage lost to violence.”