“He can cut the grass for you and you can cook the dinner”, she said. These were the words of my Health Visitor. As time went by, her words became a self-fulfilling prophecy, except … he never cut the grass and I always cooked the dinner. We lived in separate houses, but I spent much of my spare time at his, not only cooking but, cleaning, shopping and caring for his two children, a girl and a boy. I, too, had a boy and a girl of roughly the same age.
He didn’t work; I did, and my wages lined his pockets. He was a liar too and a good one at that. He was saving for our ‘future’, he declared. I didn’t want a future with him but I was too scared to express my thoughts. He was unkind to me, and also to the four children. His daughter, every time she asked for something as simple as a cup of tea, was responded to with the words, “And what have you done for me today, child?” *Rose at twelve years old was too scared to say anything knowing her reply would never be good enough. I witnessed him demanding the same question of his younger son, and my innocent children. I felt a failure as a mother, unable to defend them. I was always wary of his response to me if I did, and of his subsequent attack.
He was determined to make a future for us; a future I was terrified of but couldn’t find a way to escape. I’d moved in, leaving my own home standing empty with a ‘For Sale’ placard planted in the ground outside. He wanted marriage; I didn’t. He ruled the roost. I bought my own unwanted engagement ring – even the tiny diamond put me into debt. He didn’t care. I was completely under his control and he was a bully.
I woke beside him one morning and somehow, reality hit me. I didn’t want any of this. It had been the story of my life, constantly the victim. When he was in the shower, I phoned my best friend and poured my heart out. She listened in horror and told me to meet her at my home; she’d arrived before me. I appeared with tears of terror and desperation running down my face. She pulled the ‘for sale’ sign out and threw it on the ground and a minute later, was on the phone to the estate agent telling them that the sale was off. My tears of fear turned to tears of relief. By then, I was an emotional wreck and she arranged for the children and I to go to stay with my Mum. We were there for six weeks as I slowly healed. I couldn’t face my ‘fiancé’ so my Mum, who had provided us with sanctuary, made the call. I could hear the fury in his voice as he demanded I returned to him. Mum, in no uncertain terms, told him I wouldn’t be doing that. What for? For him to cut the grass, and for me to cook the dinner!?
13 thoughts on “The Engagement – 1989”
I’m glad you had your mum and best friend! He sounds like a bit of an asshole!
Thanks for your comment, Carol Anne. He wasn’t a very nice man at all. I’m just glad I got out in time and without too much damage done to me in the long run. I did get over it reasonably quickly once I was at my lovely Mum’s. I lost my Mum six-years-ago now and miss her dreadfully. Hope you are well and doing okay. X
So sorry for the loss of your dear mum Ellie, I am doing well most of the time at least anyway, thanks XX
Awful. Just how did he end up with his children? I raised my kids after my divorce, but I know how unusual it is for fathers to have full custody. A judge had to be convinced it was the right thing for them. Very glad you got out in time.
Thanks, Mick. I ended up with his children because the man was a liar and convinced the judge that his ex wasn’t capable of bringing the children up because she wasn’t entirely sane (she had mental health issues but was in no way insane). He accused of her being the one who was the liar!!
I’ve had experiences of a judge not seeing the truth – my son is divorced and his ex-wife and her mother lied outright in court saying the ex blamed my son of domestic abuse which definitely wasn’t true. Even though they had to take the oath (as is usual in court), they had no respect for the law or honesty about this! My son only sees my grandchildren every fortnight – totally unfair. There’s much more to that story, but I won’t go into it here X
That’s awful for your son. I suppose he at least gets to see his children occasionally – I have heard of cases when the father is completely banned from seeing them. Are they very young, still? I’m only thinking here that they’ll eventually be of an age when they make up their own minds when and where they see him.
Hi Mick. For some reason, WordPress won’t let me respond to more than one comment from each person. I don’t remember having that issue when I’ve posted things previously. So, I’m leaving this reply to your first comment and hope you’ll see it. Very strange. My youngest grandchildren (my son’s children) are nine and seven now. The older one, a girl, is already pretty wise about the situation and I’ve no doubt that she’ll see things as they really as, and more so as she gets older. The younger boy is beginning to see the truth too. My heart breaks for my son in hardly being able to see his children. X
That’s odd, I don’t think I have that problem with WordPress.
They’re still pretty young, then. But perhaps they’ll pressure their mother to let them see more of their father.
I’m glad you came to your senses! I’ve seen so many awesome women get stuck in this situation but go through with it and get damaged beyond repair. And it was so painful to watch these women just die inside but they thought they could change these men.
I’m also extremely glad and very relieved, even after all these years, that I didn’t go through with this relationship any further. It very nearly broke me. I’ll never get bitten like that again. Perhaps, I’m even a bit cynical about relationships now but I know that I’m more than happy living on my own, having my own independence, safety and my own space which is very important to me. Maybe even, once bitten, twice shy. Ellie
I understand. I was never taken seriously by women. I was more like someone who just helped them get by until they found someone they really liked. And the desperacy of trying to keep a relationship caused me to hold on to women who I really should have easily walked away from. So I can understand.
I loved this. I recognized the terror immediately. So glad you got out. Thank you so much for sharing.
Thank you so much, nwaami. I’m sorry you’ve experienced that fear yourself also. I was very lucky to have escaped that ‘relationship’. It could have been so much worse if I’d gone ahead with the marriage he wanted (and I definitely didn’t). Thanks again, Ellie