Every time I saw him at the state library in Martin Place, Sydney; his face was always buried inside a classical fiction book. He had an air of sophistication with his glasses riding low on his nose and his dressing as though he lived in the 1920s. He was a tall, handsome and caramel colored guy. The first time we spoke I was captivated by the light brown of his eyes and his deep resounding bass.
We bonded over our mutual love of books and good coffee. He was different because he liked classics, he was a perfect gentleman always carrying my books, opening the door and pulling the chair out for me. He had a way of making me feel comfortable and he always looked at me as if I was the only girl in the room.
We started dating within two weeks of the meeting. He was attentive, sweet and caring. Every morning began with a sweet message from him and every day ended with a long call until we were both too tired to talk. It seemed we could not get enough of each other spending every possible hour together when I was not at work. He wanted to know where I was every minute and what I was doing. This was sweet to me, having someone lavish all this attention on me.
A few months into our relationship and the passion and attention were unchanged. If anything it had grown. Whenever I went somewhere without his knowledge he would fret and complain. All my friends loved him but it seemed he did not like most of my friends. Some were too out going for his liking and others were too quite. Anytime that I spent with anyone else was seen as time I should have been spending with him. He was always advising me on how I could do things better and on how I should dress, how I should talk and how to wear my hair. He liked long and wavy weaves so that is what I started wearing. He loved it when I wore tight, figure hugging clothes around him so that’s what I wore. He hated it when any guy would talk to me so I avoided all guys including my co-workers otherwise he would call me a whore or any other term that came to his mind. Later on, he would apologize and state that he loves me so much that the idea of another guy being close to me was torturous for him.
So slowly the sweet and caring guy was replaced with a controlling and jealous one. It seemed this new Joe would come out when he drunk, which he did often. He would spend hours insulting me; everything from my looks, my job, friends, family, cooking and even my character. I thought I needed to change, or rather he told me I needed to change. He made me believe it was my fault he was always insulting me and that I had changed from being the quite book worm he loved into a girl who spent too much time with everyone else.
Our relationship felt like a roller costar, I never knew how he was going to react to anything or anyone and slowly I began to spend less time with my friends and more time with him. I felt lonely even though he was there. I started to second guess everything I did and felt. The confidence I used to have had slowly been chipped away by the torrent of emotional and verbal abuse. All I wanted was the man I had fallen for to come back.
One day after another swearing episode and another apology I realized that he was never going to change, this was the real Joe and the guy I had met at the library was just a mirage. The next day l called a friend and told her everything. She gave me the strength to leave, she affirmed that little bit of assurance I had deep down that this was not my fault. I realized it was not crazy to want more than this. That’s the day I ended the relationship with him. With the support from my family and friends I never took him back even after all his apologies and promises to change. I had heard them all before.
You deserve better. It’s hard to face the reality of the situation and it’s even harder to get out but reach out to a friend. They will strengthen you when you are weak. Remember no matter what he says; the abuse is never your fault.