Hi, my name is Matthew, this is my story of domestic violence. I am a 40-year-old father of two and twice married. My first marriage ended as a result of my wife’s death. We had two sons between us when she died, so I became a single dad/widower. Pressure from family members coupled with my need for companionship made me remarry. Now, I wish I never did.
I married my second wife four years after my wife passed on. I tried dating a couple of times before then but they never worked out. This was because I was pretty much absorbed in myself and taking care of the boys to really commit to any woman. I was also scared of putting myself out there but when I met Monica, things were kind of different.
Monica was a single mom who had her child when she was a teenager. Her daughter and my sons attended the same school. It was during one of my school runs for the boys that I met her and we gelled somehow. Everything seemed perfect with us, or so I thought because looking back made me realise what an idiot I was. I should have spotted the warning signs.
Things quickly went from good to bad after Monica and I got married. My new wife was excessively controlling and demanding but it was her aggressive nature that shook me the most. Whenever anything went wrong, she’d blame me. Anyway, my life turned into a living nightmare within a year of being married.
She was also hostile to my sons and took every opportunity to belittle me. When in a temper, she often hit me and once slapped me full on the face. Sometimes, I justified her actions by telling myself I was a bad husband, withdrawn and a weakling because that was what she kept saying.
She always wanted sex and complained that I wasn’t giving her enough. She would berate me saying I was impotent and not man enough. No matter what I tried, It was never good enough. I did as she pleased just so I could become a good husband for her. The more I tried to please her, the more she demanded and forced more out of me. With time, I found myself without a will of my own and was always doing her bidding.
Domestic violence and divorce
I tried to talk to a few close friends and relatives about my wife’s behaviour but all I got from the little I told was, “What are you doing to make her behave that way?” I felt abandoned and judged by everyone. My kids were my only friends but I couldn’t saddle them with my woes, so I kept to myself.
Then in a twist of fate, five years into our marriage, my wife said she was leaving, just like that. I wasn’t even given an option, she had it all planned out. She gave up on me and left. I think she had been sleeping with other men and decided I wasn’t worth the trouble any more. She took most of my valuables from the house but I didn’t care at the time. I was just glad it was over. It was the worst time of my life.
Everyone said the breakup was my fault and somehow I accepted. I never told anyone what really happened, I just allowed them to assume and judge.
Shortly after she left, I lost my job and my life began to spiral downwards. I went through depression and nothing made sense anymore. I couldn’t even be there for my kids when they needed me, I was absorbed in self-pity. Finally, I found the courage to talk to a counsellor as I had lost most of my close friends whom I could talk to.
Talking to an expert helped me through the most difficult part of my struggles. The counsellor helped me see what I went through was domestic violence. It’s funny that I didn’t think of it that way before. I was living in a naive cloud and had no words to describe my confusion.
She made me see that my children needed me even though I felt pretty useless. That was the major thing that got me through and I eventually realised that my marital challenge, as well as the domestic violence, was not all my fault.
I became more involved with my children, opened up to them and shared my struggles with them. I was overwhelmed by the love and support I got from my teenage sons. Their love gave me strength. I also became more involved in the community and that gave me a purpose.
There are still so many confused thoughts especially the nagging feeling that somehow, I am the one to blame. Even though the doubt about my husband qualities still lingers and will probably never go away, I take solace in the fact that I’m a good dad, raising my kids right.
I haven’t dated again since then. The only love I have is for my kids and I’m content with their love for me.
In retrospection, I believe I was caught up in guilt over the death of my late wife. I felt I could have done more to have prevented her death even though I knew I did my best. It was this guilt that made me bend over severally to accommodate Monica. I know she sensed it and took advantage of me.
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