When I talk about leaving The Hubby, I talk about it in a really nonchalent way. Mostly because I don’t know how else to talk about it. Leaving him was the hardest decision I ever had to make. It was a decision well overdue. He almost destroyed me. Almost, but not completely.
He had gone to the war zone and one of the last things we had fought about was the fact that I was now going to do everything that he was going to do. If he cheated, I’d cheat. If he hit me, I’d hit him right back. If he went out spending money on hookers and drugs, I’d do exactly the same. If that was the way he wanted to play it, that’s exactly how we would fucking play it. He said to me – “Yeah but you can’t go to a war zone!”
He left for six months out there and while he was gone, I made my arrangements to go too. I organised to do a secondment through work that allowed me to go and work out there for three months. Except I didn’t stay out there for three months. I didn’t leave for over six months. In fact, it may even have been longer than that.
I met Big Love while I was out there. That made my mind up really. That was what I needed to really leave The Hubby and mean it. I needed something else to play with, to look forward to, and Big Love was the perfect distraction – hot, great body, tall, great sense of humour, no filter between brain and mouth, and gave me sex that I could only dream of. God I really fucking miss that about him.
When I came home, I went straight to where I worked and handed in my month’s notice. I was leaving. Fuck it. I called my Mama and told her my plans. Luckily I had holiday to take so they allowed me to use all of my holiday as my notice period and I wouldn’t need to go back to work. We arranged a date two weeks later where Mama and her boyfriend would come over with a big white van, pack up my shit and leave.
I didn’t pack of course. I partied the entire time I was there. I had the place to myself so I did pretty much whatever the fuck I wanted. I packed up little bits and pieces in boxes ready to go but the majority of it I left for when my mama came. I don’t know if I just couldn’t be bothered to do it or if it was too painful but there was always something else more important I needed to do.
We were down in the cellar grabbing my stuff when the first wave of tears happened. I hadn’t actually cried since I had returned to my marital home. I wasn’t sad to be leaving. I had already made my decision and made peace with it months ago when I was still in the war zone. I didn’t need to cry anymore. But when I pulled that wedding dress from that box without realising what it was, I had a meltdown. I just cried. My Mama hugged me in her arms and I let rip; great sobbing waves of pain that I couldn’t stop. He really had well and truly broken me – my heart, my body and my mind.
Even as I was packing I kept asking myself if I was making the right decision. Was I right to leave him? All the other wives told me that when he returned from the war zone (it was his first tour), he would be a different person. He would be a grown up person. He would have changed and it would make our relationship better.
I didn’t wait around to find out.
There had been a message waiting on the voicemail the whole two weeks I was there pretending to pack my stuff. I listened to the first few minutes of it and then stopped. I couldn’t listen to it. It was from him. He thought I was still at home when he had been out in the war zone for a few weeks. He had called not realising that I was already on my way out there too. I listened to that just before I left. Everyone had gone out for the day and I was at home, sorting shit out. I listened to the message and I fell to my knees. It was all the words I had been waiting for him to say; words that should have come years sooner. It was too late. Too much had happened. I had proved him wrong. I had gone to that war zone, been blown up, scared myself shitless and I still survived. I didn’t need him anymore. If I could survive that, I could survive anything. So what was I waiting for? Why was I still with him? Of course it was the right decision. Marrying him was the wrong decision. Walking away was the best decision I ever made.
He was sorry. He was sorry for all the things he had done to me. He was sorry for the way that he had hurt me and for making me cry. He had seen things over there that he never wanted to see again; things that had put things into perspective for him, and he knew that I was the best thing to ever happen to him. He didn’t want me to leave him, he wanted me to stay and give him the chance to prove he had changed.
After four years and two weeks of packing all my stuff up, he had said all the things I’d wanted him to say all along. I went to bed that night; our bed, and I cried myself to sleep with great heaving sobs I couldn’t quieten. How could I leave him? He was my husband. I married him. I loved him. Did I? Was it love? Maybe he had just beaten me down so far, I couldn’t see my life without him in it anymore. I couldn’t imagine my life without him controlling everything I did, wore, spent, said.
I still left. After that message and the wedding dress and packing my entire life into the back of a transit van, I still left. There was nothing of me left to give him. I was never going to be ready to have his children. He was never going to stop beating me up or cheating on me. He was never going to stop controlling my life, or mentally destroying me every day with his cruel words and harsh jibes. I made the right decision walking away from him and although sometimes I look back and wonder what if, I don’t regret it. I don’t regret any of it. Because of him I saw the most incredible sights. I went to the most incredible of places. I met the most incredible people. I don’t regret a single day of it because it has moulded me into a person I quite like now. I wish I hadn’t given him more of me than I needed to have done, but it’s finished with now. Well, apart from that divorce we can’t seem to come to an agreement on. We’ve been separated for almost longer than we were together and yet we still can’t completely finish things. It’s a joke. Lesson learned – married too young, too fast.
When he got back to our marital home after being in the war zone for what ended being almost eight months, he trashed the place. He had accused me of spending more money out of our joint bank account than I should have done, and leaving the place in a state with laundry on the floor in the kitchen and dishes still in the sink. Yes, there was laundry – the laundry HE left before he went away months earlier. I wasn’t his punchbag anymore and I didn’t need to do his laundry. So I didn’t. I didn’t do his laundry. I didn’t wash up the final cup I used before I left. I didn’t make the bed. I left it as he would have left it for me. Petty perhaps, but fuck him.
According to the other wives, anything left that could have remotely reminded him of me was thrown out of the kitchen window onto the grass lawn outside, ready for anyone to delve through and grab what they wanted. Books, furniture, bedding, clothes… Nice. Letting everyone else pick through the fragments of our marriage. They did that most of the way through anyway. It was hard not to get everyone else involved when they heard or saw him physically attacking me time and time again.
Leaving him was the right decision but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t a tough one. It also doesn’t mean that I don’t think about the way that must have felt for him. I know that it must have been a shock. It must have hurt to go back to our home after so long at war to find all my stuff gone. He knew I was going of course – I did tell him. He didn’t want to hear it and I’m not sure he believed it, but it’s not as if he didn’t know it was coming… Even though he did try to blame me for the demise of our marriage.
So there you have it. A little moment back in time.
The day I ran out of my abusive marriage.