When I was at university, I found it hard to date, or meet people who I was romantically interested in.
So when I met Adam just after I had graduated, I was really excited. We met at a New Year’s Eve party and hit it off straight away.
He had never kissed anyone before, let alone been in a relationship, and I felt special to be his first. It was a whirlwind romance, and he told me he loved me just one month after we had met.
About six months into our relationship his mum threw him out of his house, and I told him he could move in with me.
He moved in and I was happy to see him every day, but his trouble at home had left him sad, angry, and depressed. We had arguments before, but as soon as he moved in, it got worse. He would shout in my face, throw things, push me out of the bed, and slam doors.
He became very jealous if I mentioned any exes, a close male friend, or even celebrities I fancied! He checked my messages online, and accused me of flirting with male friends I had.
I tried to break up with him, but he threatened me, telling me he’d share secrets I had told him with friends and family, and even threatened to kill himself.
This behaviour got worse and worse, but because I didn’t value myself and was scared of what he would do, we stayed together for five years.
During the five years, his reactions to us arguing had gone from shouting and throwing objects, to throwing me on the ground, kicking me in the stomach, and smashing my head against a mirror. He was arrested twice for assault against me, and served a year’s probation.
After two particularly bad arguments, he forced me to have sex with him. At the time I just thought he had pressured me into having sex with him while I was upset, but now I recognise that it would have been classed as rape.
Whenever the violence and control stopped, he would cry, apologise, and tell me he “couldn’t help it,” that he was “sorry,” and “didn’t want to hurt me.”
Eventually I realised that every moment we stayed together, I was risking my life. Things got progressively worse, not better. So I got the courage to leave. Before I did, I made sure I let some people I was close to know my plans and they made sure I wasn’t alone. I had spent so long not telling people about it – but when I did I got nothing but support.
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