As I scroll through Facebook, I’ll occasionally run into memes that throw my mind into my past. It’s really not so bad because it makes me 1,000 times more thankful that my husband is so different from my ex. When I was married to my ex (I still cringe at the thought of being married to him for six years of my life), I never realized that I was being emotionally abused. He cheated on my three times over that period of time…. three times I could prove anyway. Do you know how many times besides those that I tried to prove things he did? I don’t either… but it was a lot, and it was emotional abuse.
I once found gay porn on his phone and confronted him. He turned it around on me and said he was trying to get ideas to spice things up because I didn’t feel wanted in that way (go figure). I let him see his phone, and he deleted the history right in front of me and tried to say the video descriptions were so small on his phone that he clicked on the wrong things. HAHAHA! Compulsive liars will tell the stupidest lies to your face like it’s the complete truth even when you know it’s a lie. So according to him, he was doing something for me, and I was trying to accuse him (aka I was in the wrong). This happened so many times with different things. Texts to guys I thought were inappropriate. Accounts on odd websites. Video calls. You name it. I thought I was going crazy for a long time and felt compelled to check everything, like I was his keeper. I would tell him certain things didn’t look good. He moved a male youth kid into our house without even asking my permission. I was the crazy one for trying to stop “innocent situations” because he had moved past his issues. I was blamed for everything. Every problem was my fault. For anyone wondering why I didn’t say something sooner, hindsight is 20/20.
The funny thing… even after I learned he had molested a boy at camp (surprisingly not the one that lived with us), it still took me a year and a half to see things clearly. It took me that long to accept he had a pattern, he could have done something to my son, and I had been emotionally abused for a long time. It took people being brutally honest with me. It took me studying psychology at a master’s level. It took prayer.
No one knew about the abuse, so I prayed for a week about whether or not to report it and chose to do so after knowing that long. A month later, nothing had happened and on a Friday night at a local restaurant, my waiter told me my ex had posted a picture with a guy saying, “This is what love feels like.” I called my ex and ripped him a new one because he had had my son around the guy on July 4th and lied to me about it saying he wasn’t a love interest. That was the most upset I had been throughout the entire process. After I calmed down, he said the guy was 20 (my ex was 30). Of course, another month later, I learned he was 17, but that’s not the point. The Monday after that Friday night, the police finally interrogated my ex while at work. Of course, my ex thought I had reported it after learning he had a boyfriend and told his boyfriend that I was jealous and just didn’t want to see him happy. lol! I really think it was just God’s confirmation that I did the right thing in reporting it. My ex told the police that the boy initiated it, but that was still illegal. The boy claimed nothing happened to police (when he had told me the truth leading to my divorce). As a former victim myself, I understand why he lied, but I wish for him that he had faced it rather than bury it. Fortunately, my ex went to jail based on his own confession. It was only for a year. How is it that sexual abuse sentences are shorter than drug and theft charges? Sexual abuse affects people for generations. I will never understand the system of law.
I believe there are too many hurtful truths to pull from this. The theme I feel while writing it is ‘regret’. I regret not reporting it sooner. I regret not divorcing him sooner. Yet… I have to believe that everything worked out how it was supposed to. So I suppose the hurtful truth is this: “Regret is part of being human, but you don’t have to have a great past to have a great present and future.”