My Story – Melissa

It all started with a fairly innocent search for a movie buddy. I had moved out to a new area and didn’t have many friends out there and since I lived across the street from the movie theatre, I figured that would be the perfect place and it was a public place so that made me feel safer. From the start he appeared to be a complete gentleman, respectful, and introverted like me. Our friendship had blossomed to more by winter and I was totally enamored with him. I spent all my free time with him, he worked remotely so he could work from my place and was there often. I cancelled plans with friends for him, and I thought that I had finally met The One. The following spring I found out that I was pregnant and that’s where things got rocky. He told me that he was married and demanded that I get an abortion. He offered to get me an apartment in a nicer area if I would get an abortion. I accepted his offer, knowing full well that I had no intention of getting an abortion. I was able to hide my continuing pregnancy until I was 5 months along when my belly was too obvious to hide. He went silent and disappeared for a while but he came back, to tell me that he was willing to be a father and raise this baby with me, only to tell me that he had decided to work things out with his wife. He flip flopped again and told me that he changed his mind and wanted to be with me. I wish I had just gave up on him then.

Instead our baby was born and he was still indecisive between wanting to be with our new baby daughter and wanting to get back with his wife. When our daughter was 2 months old he left, saying that he didn’t want to be a father. He came back again once the pandemic hit and suddenly wanted our daughter and I to move in with him. I was excited, thinking that maybe he’d finally come around. The first night that we’d moved in with him, it was like someone had flipped a switch. Our daughter had colic and he screamed at and called me hurtful names because I couldn’t get her quiet. Afterwards I went to the basement to calm myself, wondering what I’d gotten myself into. The next day he apologized, blaming stress from work and bought me an expensive seafood dinner to make up for it. But this became a continued pattern with him. He’d find something to nitpick like if he thought that I loaded the dishwasher the wrong way, added too much or not enough spice, cut the onions too big, etc. It would turn into this daily yelling and cussing tirade of insults from him. He suffered a heart attack around this time on our kitchen floor and I saved his life. When he called me from the hospital that night, he thanked me and I thought that he would treat me better now. He didn’t. Things only got worse and the pandemic made me feel even more isolated and alone. I tried telling my family about him but nobody believed me because the handful of times my family had met him, he seemed like such a nice guy. Little did they know that while he was kind and loving towards me in front of people, he was a monster to me at home, behind closed doors. I managed to get pregnant again while on the birth control pill. Meanwhile we lost our rental house and had to move 2 hours away to a rural property that he owned. I didn’t realize I was pregnant until I was almost 5 months along because I had monthly bleeding. We came into town for my oldest daughter’s(not his) birthday party at a restaurant and that’s when my family got a taste of how he really is. He blew up at and berated me for something that was beyond my control, in front of everyone while at the restaurant, grabbed my arm, and demanded that I go out to the truck because we were leaving, now. Instead I went to the women’s bathroom and when my female relatives came in there I told them about what I’d been going through. Everyone agreed that he had overreacted but still, no one seemed to understand how miserable I was. After a particularly nasty fight while 7 months pregnant, and he had left, I contacted a domestic violence shelter. They didn’t have space. I felt defeated. I ended up giving birth to our 2nd daughter and was unhappy. I put the kids in the stroller and went for a walk with the intention of calling the shelter again, to see if they had availability. They didn’t and I cried on the phone to them, until I noticed him following me in his truck. I felt hopeless. I felt so much anger towards him and wanted nothing to do with him but he would wake me up in the middle of the night to scream and berate me some more or demand sex.

Just when I thought that it couldn’t get any worse, I found out that I was again pregnant, only 2 months after having given birth. That pregnancy was especially hard on me with unrelenting morning sickness from morning to night. I took an early gender blood test and found out that this baby was a boy. He screamed at me and wanted to know why I’d do this to him, by having a boy because it meant we’d need a bigger house now, as if I had control over baby gender. I developed a pregnancy complication called subchorionic hematoma at 10 weeks pregnant. I was told to take it easy and I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. I had two babies at home and did all child-raising, cooking, cleaning, and had a terrible boyfriend at home. I couldn’t “take it easy” or rest. At 14 weeks I started hemorrhaging and it took him 2 hours to take me to the hospital. I had a miscarriage and laid there, alone in the hospital, half hoping that God would take me too so that I wouldn’t have to live in misery with this monster of a man anymore. On the other hand I didn’t want to leave behind my two babies with him. When I returned home from the hospital after surgery, he treated me so callously, mocking me for crying, and yelling at me for the dishes and housework being piled up for the 2 days that I’d been in the hospital. I had hit my breaking point. A month and a half later, I took the kids and some of our belongings and moved out. The shelters everywhere were still full. I had to live in hotels but it was better than living with him. I have my own apartment now and it’s such a relief to no longer deal with walking on eggshells and being screamed at and verbally and mentally abused every day. I am free!

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