I remember reading this post about a girl who disclosed her abusive past and her weird sexual habit that may or may not be related to it. And the comment section just broke my heart. There is so much judgment from all sides of the story. Someone is judging the girl. Someone else is judging the boyfriend. Someone calls a commenter a "Yakety Sax of rape."
The comment that I found myself agreeing with though was:
You see those pictures of trees that are bent in weird angles because of something that happened to them when they were saplings? Well, they are perfectly fine, strong trees now, and no need to think they are weak just because they got bent went they were young...
If I were her friend, I would tell her she unfortunately should have kept her mouth shut. She should practice saying, "My childhood was really rough. I don't talk to my father/parents/family anymore." And then drop the conversation, unless it's with someone who can handle knowing it. And just because someone loves us, doesn't mean they can handle it.
Just because someone loves us, doesn't mean they can handle it. But of course about 200 other people claim that could never be a healthy relationship. I disagree.
The reason I decided to tell Abraham was because it was starting to affect the two of us moving forward together.
I stripped off all of my clothes and crawled into bed. I wanted to be naked when I told Abraham the truth. I wanted to be exposed. Nothing between us.
Abraham instead went into the kitchen and ate a late dinner. I waited. Eventually I heard him turn out the lights and lock the door.
"Mmm," he said as he saw me unclothed in bed.
Abraham stripped down and joined me. He turned on his side and gathered me in his arms.
"I have a story for you," I began. It was a nonchalant opening for what would come.
"A story!" he said playfully.
Abraham watched me. "It's not a good story, is it?" he pieced together.
"You're shaking," he observed.
I stopped. I was. From head to toe, my entire body was quivering like I had been dunked into icy water.
"I'd like to tell you about the boyfriend I lived with once."
Abraham was quiet. He was listening.
"He was an alcoholic. And not the kind of alcoholic people accuse each other of being in college. He was a real alcoholic. The kind who threw up and shook if he didn't drink enough of it. I grew to hate the sound of the aluminum-can pop top because I heard it 24 hours a day.
"We weren't supposed to live together. My apartment had a terrible leak in it, and water would fill buckets every time it rained. It was summertime, so it rained a lot. They kept trying to fix the leak, but the plaster would fall on the counter with a great splat and water would pour through. Every time. They decided to give me a new apartment.
"Then my grandfather died. Instead of picking out the new apartment, I was out of state burying him. My boyfriend worked with the leasing company and reserved me a larger apartment. And when I came in to sign the papers, they wouldn't let me sign without him. I cried to the leasing agent. I didn't want him on my lease. I told her that my boyfriend didn't live with me. He has his own apartment. He gets mail there. And I think if I had any other leasing agent, things would have been fine, but she told me I either had to have him sign the lease or I had to move out of the apartment complex entirely, giving me only three days to find somewhere to live. So I called him and asked him just to sign the damn papers. I wasn't even worried about it. I always paid my bills on time so this wouldn't affect him.
"He lied. About two weeks after he signed the papers, he told me he was being kicked out of his apartment by his landlord. I now know this was a lie. He had broached the subject of living together before and I turned him down. But he said his landlord found a new tenant, and he had to be out and he was already on my lease..."
"How long had you been together?" Abraham asked.
"About four months."
I took a deep breath. That was the easy part.
"He didn't have a driver's license because of all the DUIs he had gotten from driving drunk. I told him he couldn't take my car because if he got into an accident, I would be liable. It didn't stop him. I had to sleep with my car keys under my pillow, or else he'd take my car in the middle of the night. And if I didn't put my purse under the bed, he'd go in there and take money. One time I came home and found a basket with 50 DVDs I had had been pawned.
"And he drank. All the time. He would get delirious and angry when he drank. He used to spit on me, like he would collect spit and project it on me, and tell me he hated me."
Abraham gasped in horror. Like that had been the terrible part.
I told the story the only way I knew how, by telling it exactly how I had written it.
I told him this.
And then this.
As I was telling these three stories, I felt no emotional connection to them. I felt like I was reciting a script that had been written by a roomful of writers. This was a story that had been written for me; it was not my life.
As I finished the last story, my voice began to crack and tears slipped down my cheek. It was time for him to respond.
"That's a long time to keep a story like that," he said.
"It's not a story you tell just anyone."
He nodded in agreement.
He told me I was strong for getting out of the relationship and going into therapy and doing all of the work myself. He said he was confident that I had learned and moved on.
He said he wish he knew sooner. He would have just held me tighter all of this time.
I wept. I was so embarrassed that this was my story. I was embarrassed that there was even a story to tell him.
"I'm sorry I'm not perfect for you."
He then made a joke. I wish I could remember it. It was light but touched on what he just heard. The joke was perfect.
"I'm glad I can still make you laugh," he smiled.
"Do you still want to live with me?" I asked.
It was his turn to laugh. "Of course."
The following week I signed the new lease. My move-out date is in six months.