“If you had told me, at the age of 24, that would be sitting in my living room with my best friend who had secretly started kindling a relationship with my husband and was about to put me in a situation that would change my life forever, I would have laughed in your face. But here I am today, newly divorced, picking up the scattered pieces from abuse, selling my house and closing down my little business. I’ll never forget the struggle and hustle in my journey to get to where I am now.
It all started when my husband and I met when I was 18 years old. I was still in high school completing my senior year. We started off as friends and then our relationship blossomed from best friends to falling head over heels. We dated for two years and then finally tied the knot on the 7th of March 2015 after a lengthy engagement to save for our wedding and first home together.
I remember on the day of my wedding, I wanted everything to be so perfect and to be the fairy tale I had dreamed of since being a little girl. I remember bright and early in the morning, sitting in a chair at the hairdressing salon, I started developing this overwhelming feeling of worry and concern. To escape these thoughts, I went for a stroll across the road to the lake. As I was strolling quietly along the lake, I started to doubt deep down in my heart and mind if I was making the right decision at such a young age, getting married at 22 and giving someone unconditional love for the rest of my life.
When it was time to walk down the aisle, my hands started shaking. I was grasping onto this beautiful bouquet for dear life. But I pushed through the tears. I married a man I believed, from memories and adventures together growing up together, that he wanted to provide me unconditional love and give me that happily-ever-after I had always desired.
At first, it felt amazing to be loved, happy, and to have someone achieving common goals with me, but little did people know that our marriage began to unravel and spiral as abuse, unfaithfulness, and neglect started to commence. Sometimes I would use my voice to speak up for my needs, voice my opinions, or advocate to try and save my marriage. As time passed, more and more passionate arguments rose up about his partying, drinking, reckless driving, money usage, and use of substances. Unfortunately, after these arguments had finished, I was often left dealing with many tears, swallowing my pride, meltdowns, and even sometimes turning to a bottle of liquor to ease the pain slumped on the floor.
I remember begging my husband to attend marriage counseling with me. He had finally caved in and after so many countless sessions of expressing my feelings and fighting back tears, I started to develop remorse for my husband and the actions he was condoning. I constantly had a voice playing in my head over and over again saying, ‘How can you continue to love this man, when he continues to hurt you?’ Soon enough, it became too much and just before my 25th birthday, filled with hurt, heartbreak, and pain, I stood in front of my husband and used all of the energy and strength left inside of me to end the marriage.
A few weeks after my 25th birthday, my best friend pulled into the driveway of my home as I was packing different contents of my house. I started bawling my eyes out, sharing my pain and stories. Little did l know that while I was venting all of my pain and hurt to my best friend, she was texting all of this to my husband and kindling the start of a secret relationship with him that over time, I would soon find out about.
As the day passed and it became very late at night, l heard a large ‘bang’ and the door slammed wide open. The first thing I noticed was he seemed agitated and upset about the news and stories I was sharing with my close friends and family. As he became more agitated and upset, I asked him, ‘Please leave or I will call the police.’ A scuffle broke out. He opened the door and threw me outside the front of our house in my long sleeve shirt and panties into the freezing cold. When he finally let me back into the house, our neighbors had run over and wanted to call the police. I begged them not to and reassured them I was fine. I was afraid of what was going to happen next.
When he finally went to bed, I sat there, cold, alone, and numb until the sun broke through. After he had left for work, I put my brave face on, picked myself up, and carried myself back over to the neighbor’s house, pleading and begging them to help me fix the door and other broken items around the house from his anger the night before. I was able to hold it together that day, up until the point that I drove myself to hospital. Photos of the scratches, bruises, and marks were taken of me.
At that point in my life, I had felt so powerless and worthless, like a failure. I knew, deep down, something had to change. I had to change because there was no way he was coming back.
When I finally sold my house and closed my business, I sat on the driveway, crying. I believed I would never be able to heal. I packed and left for Dubbo, Australia all by myself, far away from my friends and family, broken-hearted, with some personal belongings just to remove myself from civilization as much as possible.
When I was living in Dubbo, I worked my heart out to keep myself so busy, just so I could not feel any of the pain and hurt that was building up inside of me. Sometimes I even skipped meals and starved myself, working 10 to 12-hour days just so l could pay rent and prove to myself I could live by myself and have some sort of comfortable life without relying on anyone. A few months had passed and as continued to embark on my adventure in Dubbo, I was told my best friend was going to get married. For some time, she had been kindling a relationship with my husband behind my back and sharing all of my personal details and events with him. To this day, I still wish I never heard those words. To be honest, I don’t know what hurt the most, heartbreak from a broken marriage or losing your best friend to the man you are still married to.
My health started to deteriorate and the constant pain inside of my stomach had gotten worse. I flew back to Sydney and had a procedure performed on me. I was diagnosed with Stage 1 endometriosis and a blockage in one of my fallopian tubes. I tried to so hard during my recovery stage to climb out of bed with stitches in my tummy just to go see the marriage counselor and sign my divorce papers to start this draining and tiring process.
As time had passed, l continue to feel pain, numbness, and heartbreak. I had lost everything and had no direction in life. When l called my mom asking and begging for help, she told me, ‘Take one day at a time and to build the momentum to be strong to pick yourself up again.’
That was one of the best pieces of advice I had received in my life. From that moment, I found the energy and determination to start loving myself and change my life by breaking down my goals into little tasks and chapters.
I packed up and moved to Sydney, feeling grateful, relieved, and happy I was back home, close to friends and family to cherish and nourish the love and support I needed. I was brave enough to take those steps and leave the dysfunctional relationship I was in and learn from others.
My life has changed for the best. When l look back on the past, I’m proud to say I was able to survive the pain and heartbreak. To each and every person who reads this, you are not a failure. You are stronger than you think you are and if you believe in yourself, anything is possible. I am now working towards starting my own business again, building an ambassador portfolio, and have started dating an incredible person who adores me for who I am.”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Natasha Rogers of Australia. Do you have a similar experience? We’d like to hear your important journey. Submit your own story here, and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories.
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