The writer of this story has chosen to stay Anonymous, but is known to Mamamia.
We were the picture perfect couple, so bright and shiny on the outside, the ones everyone wanted to be like. It looked like we had it all, the car, the home, the life. He was the successful sports person, overcoming feats no one thought possible and I was the rock that stood beside him. The one who was always there, supporting him, praising him. But behind closed doors, things are not always what they seem.
I thought he was the love of my life, till death do us part, through sickness and in health. We said these vows in front of hundreds of our friends and family. I thought we would travel the world, have children, support each other as we built our empire. How little did I know that once I had served my purpose I would get kicked to the kerb and replaced by a newer version that could give him the next leg up in life.
My world came crashing down two years ago today. I thought the man I had married was kind, caring, generous, selfless. However this was all a rouse, a wolf in sheep’s clothing. It has taken me a long time to come to terms with what has happened and what I endured over the almost five years of our marriage.
It all started when I was 18, the world was my oyster, I had a great job, lots of friends, a loving supportive family and was having the time of my life. Then I met him. He swept me off my feet, filled me with compliments, showered me with gifts and affection, made me feel safe and loved. Our whirlwind romance continued for the next 18 months when we got engaged. He pulled out all the stops. I felt like the luckiest woman alive. Our wedding then followed, an extravagant affair, the party of the year. 300 of our closest family and friends laughed, danced and drank the night away. There were emotional speeches, and endless array of kisses and laughter and to top it off I was spoilt with my own fireworks display (lucky right!). We were going to have the greatest love story ever. I was on an emotional high that felt like a drug cocktail as potent as cocaine, heroin, and ecstasy, all rolled into one dose.
Over the next few years we travelled, moved, built houses, bought cars and he continued to thrive and flourish in his sporting career. Everyone thought we were perfect. I, on the other hand, was living in a state of anxiety, depression and hopelessness.
It was only gradual at first, one red flag, then two. The love-bombing and idealisation phase of our relationship was over. The gaslighting and devaluation had begun.
He had started to withdraw, sometimes affection, sometimes compliments, but mainly time (which he knew was a trigger for me). He would start to blame me, we would fight, he would get nasty, say things he knew would cut deep. He would accuse me of having no life, of having no friends when this was the road map he had drawn for me over the past five years. He had alienated me from my friends and family, always giving reasons why I should cut them off or saying things like “why do you care, they don’t do anything for us”.
His interest in his perception to the outside world and the image he displayed became the most important thing. While to the public he would praise me as his rock, would thank me for always supporting him, things were not as they seemed. He had me hook, line and sinker. I was his, I craved his love and affection, he had made me so emotionally reliant on him that my happiness was drawn from his success. My friends were really his friends. I had lost all sense of self.
Then the infidelity started. Sneakily at first but over time he didn’t even try to hide it. When I would question messages, photos, fake online profiles he would say I was crazy, that I was making things up, I was overreacting (another trigger point for me). We would fight, he would apologise then drip feed me compliments to keep me coming back. He knew just the things to break me but knew just the things to keep me running back. To have the person, who you love more than anything, make you feel so low is the most hurtful and painful thing someone can endure.