He drove a fancy car.
His parents’ home had a swimming pool and a tennis court.
He didn’t play that card though, he didn’t behave like he had been born with a silver spoon in his mouth, and I liked it. I bought the fun, carefree, bad-boy attitude.
We were young, we fell in love, we worked hard, life moved fast. I whole-heartedly trusted him, his love, his opinions, his decisions, but also his restrictions – because I knew no different.
Watch: The signs of an abuser, told through the victim’s phone. Post continues below.
We purchased our first home just before we got married and at this point our finances became joint.
Ben* appeared to have a good comprehension of what was best in terms of financial decisions. After all, he had been around significant amounts of money his whole life.
All my purchases required approval by him and if not, I had to have a pretty good explanation. This applied to clothing, household purchases, dinners out – anything really.
I didn’t have access to our internet banking, home loan account or share portfolio. Consultations with banks and mortgage brokers upon the purchase of new homes involved me silently sitting there, being hospitable and signing on the dotted line.
I earned a significant salary and commission cheques were coming in monthly. I was told I was not to spend my commission cheques, despite them being additional funds to my salary.
Shares were purchased with joint funds without consultation – all in his name. Monetary gifts I received at Christmas or on birthdays were not allowed to be spent and were taken and ‘deposited’ by him.
I honestly believed this was him taking care of me, all in the best interest of us, and our goals as a couple.
I enjoyed my career and hesitated stepping away from it, but I knew a family is what we had both always wanted. I supported him in applying for promotions, working long hours and studying to further his career, while I raised and cared for our newborn at the time.
I believed in him and loved seeing him succeed. Admittedly, there was a part of me that was envious and longed for a return to my career. When the time came, I believed my return to work would be encouraged and supported by him.