“We met in a nightclub in DC. I was 23 and an au pair in a foreign country. He quickly proceeded to give me chlamydia the first 3 months of dating. You’d think that would be a red flag but it wasn’t. He tried to blame me for the disease until I showed him my results of my STD testing I had done right before we started dating. Shortly after, I moved to New York to get away from him and two months later he called me and said ‘Hey, I have herpes did you give it to me? If not you should go get checked out.’ Just like that. No, ‘I am sorry I may have given you herpes and blamed you again even after you’ve already proven me wrong.’ Just blame. I still panicked because I was living in another state and wanted to be sure. When I went and got checked out, I remember I couldn’t afford it so the family I worked for told me to go to Planned Parenthood and use their credit card. It turned out I was clean. I was not even angry, I was scared for myself and worried about him if you can imagine that.
He cheated on me so many times I couldn’t keep up and all his friends covered for him. I found out because I would check his phone or Ipad periodically. Some of these girls were people I had met and realized he had been with both of us at the same time as if it was nothing. He actually had one of his exs living with him during our first Christmas together. It was just the three of us like some twisted family. He told me they weren’t actually ‘together’ at first but eventually she broke the news. She had such a hold on him. New Years Day, which is also my birthday, he chose her and cocaine over me. He blamed me for living with her because he’d say, ‘You CHOSE to move to New York and leave me alone.’ As if he was a child and couldn’t be by himself. And I still stayed even though I knew they were sleeping together. I loved him regardless. Saying this out loud makes me feel so stupid now.
In March, his mom died. I stopped my entire life to go and be there for him. I loved him so much it pained me he was hurting and he also guilted me like he always had. He said ‘My mom died and I’m all alone, can you please come help me?’ The ex who was living with him had left and gone back to Australia. She and I had a toxic, strange ‘friendship’ at this point where we would say things to manipulate one another and him. I called her after he told me about his mom’s passing and told her she needs to be there for him and she said ‘no I can’t, I just left, I don’t want to get back on a plane to be there.’ The other girl he was ‘in a relationship’ with straight up ignored him. But I didn’t. I felt alone in New York at the time as all my friends were still in Virginia and DC. It was a really hard transition for me and made it too easy to return to him.
The night before he had picked me up from the bus station with his friend and they were already drunk. They had gone to the bar right after picking me up. When we left he wouldn’t let me drive. I was scared of him so I did not push the matter. He said ‘I’m fine to drive, stop asking me if you can drive my car!’ He didn’t like when I drove.
As we were driving home he was going 93 miles per hour. I asked him, ‘Please slow down!.’ He said ‘It’s a deserted road, what’s your problem? Are you scared?!’ The police ended up pulling him over and he got arrested for a DUI and reckless driving. I sat in his car begging the police officer to let him go because it was his mother’s funeral the next day. The officer looked at me and said ‘If you love him why would you let him drive?’ I wanted to say ‘because he is drunk and bigger than me and who knows how he’d react.’ But all I mustered up was ‘he wouldn’t let me officer, please don’t arrest him, he will never forgive himself if he doesn’t make the funeral.’ The officer responded with ‘since he is a marine, we won’t hold him overnight but we need to take him to get processed and he will be released without bail. Come by at 1 a.m. and we will release him to you.’
The day of the funeral came and I played my part of the ‘perfect girlfriend.’ I smiled when people asked ‘When are you guys going to get married?’ I cringed inside at the very thought. I sat comforting his brother since he had been away at basic training when his mom died. He was broken and didn’t get to say goodbye. I cared about his family.
That same day he was texting the ex who ignored him who didn’t show up to the funeral. I didn’t know they were texting because I was too preoccupied with keeping my smile, shaking everyone’s hands and standing next to him making sure he didn’t crumble. We came home and he fell asleep and the ex started calling him. I picked up and asked ‘Why are you calling him?’ She said ‘I don’t have time to talk to you just check his phone.’ I checked his phone and the texts read the following:
Him: ‘My mom left me a lot of money.’
Him: ‘Now we can be together.’
Her: ‘What about HER (me), you’re lying.’
Him: ‘Let’s run away together.’
Her: ‘I have a kid.’
Him: ‘All three of us.’
I woke him up and asked him, ‘What the hell is this? I was with you all day, I’ve been with you since your mom’s passing and this woman hasn’t even sent her condolences but this is who you are texting?’ He said, ‘Why the hell are you going through my phone?’ I said, ‘Who cares, why are you texting her?’ He said it was nothing and I told him I was leaving for good.
At that point he got up and locked the bedroom door and started pushing me, ‘You’re not leaving, just get into bed!’ I pushed him back. We were screaming at each other, I was trying to leave but he kept grabbing me. He started punching me, so I pushed him off and ran to the door but he grabbed me again. I started picking up shoes and throwing them at him. I was screaming loudly and I wouldn’t back down because I wanted to leave. I finally opened the door and was able to push him out. He blocked the door with his leg and I slammed it on him and he started gushing blood. I managed to close the door. He kicked a hole in the door and I opened it because I was so ready to get out of there and he managed to pull me back in. I fell to the floor. He sat on my back; took his thumbs and pushed them into my eyes. I scratched his arms and he put me in a chokehold. By the grace of my higher power his brother walked into the apartment and heard the struggle and pulled him off of me. He picked up the desk chair and threw it right at me. His brother pulled me out of the room and told him to go to sleep and closed the door. I slept on the couch and his brother slept on the floor. I still didn’t leave.
The next day when he woke up I’m not sure what he remembered. He accused me and his brother of sleeping together. His brother quickly put him in his place and he dropped the subject. He took a shower and the two of them went to the mall before his brother had to go back to basic training. I stayed behind and showered and cleaned up the room and put make-up on because I had to take a bus back to New York. He came back from the mall and gave me a laptop. He would always buy gifts when he screwed up but this was the biggest gift so far. It came with an ‘I’m so sorry I don’t know what happened, why did you wake me, why did you provoke me, why did you go through my phone?’
I left for New York and I ignored him for two weeks and after multiple ‘I’m sorry’ texts he got me back again. I stayed with him until Thanksgiving against my better judgment. We finally broke up because he flew a girl in from Atlanta and it was the last straw. He decided to spend his first Thanksgiving without his mother with a stranger. I wish I could say that was where our story ended but it was not. I moved back to Virginia in January and he showed up where I lived and told me ‘We are back together now that you’re back in Virginia.’ I didn’t protest.
I stayed with him until March and the first time he checked my phone I finally had the strength to leave and never looked back. He tried to promise me everything yet again but I finally knew it was all a lie. Also my really good friend picked me up from his apartment and told me if I ever got back with him he would quit being friends with me. Talk about motivation!
For over a year after I couldn’t date anyone. I cut off all my hair because long hair was one of his favorite things. I hated my life and I had suicidal thoughts but my very good friend kept me on track with school and life in general. He would pick me up every weekend to stay at his house while he lived his normal life, just to physically keep an eye on me. I partied 4-5 days a week in a nightclub. I didn’t eat for days on end and when I did it was popcorn and Nutella washed down with wine.
Today I am doing really well. I was diagnosed with depression, anxiety and PTSD in 2018 after a mental breakdown. I see my therapist weekly. I have a really good tribe of strong women who surround me and I no longer isolate myself from people when I am going through a rough time. I am currently in a healthy, safe and kind relationship with my long term boyfriend. As for my career, I am a behavior technician by day and work with children who have special needs. I also run my own life coaching business for women who have gone through similar experiences in life who want to gain back their power. I am using my past to help others and that’s the best thing to come out of this.
Listen to that little voice inside. You are not crazy or stupid and you are not alone no matter what your abuser tells you. You have friends, families and even strangers who love and care for you and want to see you safe. If you don’t feel comfortable reaching out to people you know, there are so many places online you can contact and get yourself out of your situation safely. Always remember you are loved and valued.”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Fallon Orgill of Virginia. You can follow her on Instagram. Do you have a similar experience? We’d like to hear your important journey. Submit your own story here. Be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.
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