In my mind, the fact that she looked happy and they were doing normal, every day couple things such as holidays, moving in together, getting a dog etc, I thought that maybe all of the abuse was in my head. I doubted my own experiences and the severity of the situation. Everything he said before, that I was overreacting, it was all in my head, I was a psycho, I need to calm down and so on all came flooding back as what I saw in front of me was so different to my own experiences with the very same person.

The truth was, taking a closer look made me see the cracks that were in their relationship, and the cracks were almost identical to my own experiences. The excuses she would give when he didn’t turn up for our son. The look on her face I’d see sometimes is a look I often saw on my own face – they definitely argued. The periods of time our son would go without seeing her – they were on/off just like we had been. The mismatch in the stories they both told me – I was being lied to by one of them. Now, don’t get me wrong, I talked to both of them if it was relevant to our son. But, their relationship was theirs. Just the same way I never spoke to him about my husband – I never asked and he never said a lot about his girlfriend.

They may have tried to hide the cracks in whatever ways they felt necessary, but sooner or later something would slip. I didn’t need to drive myself insane wondering what if. I knew exactly what the what if was. I had spent time and time again going back to him answering the what ifs in the most brutal ways possible. I didn’t need their relationship to validate my own experiences.

At times I’d even wonder, why her? Why was I not good enough to pour into and change for? It didn’t take me too long to figure out that he hadn’t changed at all – people like him rarely do. She was probably just more willing to put up with the things that I wouldn’t. So now when I ask myself whether my experiences were everything that I thought they were; I have every bruise, scar, memory, nightmare to remind me of exactly what I went through.

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