I woke up and went to see my bff, Cathy* and her new baby, still in the hospital. I told Cathy and her hub about a free concert only a few hours away. I mentioned that Dirk*, my husband, wanted to go, but we had our kids and no one to watch them. He was already at home, content with missing it, as we both would’ve been. My sister really wanted to go, as did I, and we were both already practically downtown. The rain had stopped, so, we went for it. We sang and danced in the crowd, as they put on a good show and sounded better than I would’ve expected. To be expected, when I got home, Dirk was upset. He wanted to go. He was upset to miss it. I knew he had wanted to go. Frankly, I needed a break from him. I wanted to go with my sister, not my husband. He didn’t understand it. He was much more upset than I would’ve imagined.
We’d been spending so much time together in the three months before. All of our spare time, in fact. We were trying to reconnect and better our marriage. We started seeing a therapist. We were talking it out. Before 2014, we had become disconnected. We could both do better. We both wanted better. I broke his heart by talking to and eventually falling for another guy. (A single friend who I spoke to often, who had recently come onto me) Dirk was upset — rightfully so. I didn’t want that other guy, I wanted what that other guy offered me. I wanted my husband to offer it, though. I wanted my husband interested in me. I wanted my husband to talk to me, to want to talk to me, the way the other guy did. I wanted my husband to want me the way the other guy did.
Dirk had become disconnected from his entire life, not just me. He was disinterested; he stopped putting in the energy we, his family, deserved. He woke up late almost every day in a hurry to get to work. No time to talk, no time to help with our four kids. I had been asking, begging really, for the previous 7 years for him to wake up a little earlier to help and to be more involved. He never wanted to. He never did. He would come home from work, eat dinner, and retreat to the TV. He’d do the household chores that he wanted to do: yardwork. Sure, he was around when the toilet needed to be unclogged or when an appliance stopped working. But it was up to me to deal with the kids and to figure out our life. He was unhappy. He’d say goodnight to the kids, and plop down in front of the TV, where he’d stay until after I had gone to sleep. I knew he would watch porn, as he had been for our entire relationship (which I hated). I’d ask him to come to bed with me, he’d refuse. I’d retreated to bribing him with sex if he would just come to bed with me. He still refused. I was easy. All I needed was conversation, which would lead to goofing around, which would turn into messing around, which would turn into sex. Every time. He didn’t want to talk. He didn’t want to put in the work to get the sex. He would come into the bedroom after I had been sleeping, for hours, and try to have sex with me. There were many times I’d been woken up by his touch, and even him being on top of me, trying to have sex with me, asleep. It scared me. It upset me. In what world was that ok, to him?! He would always talk his way out of it. Reassure me that he thought I was awake, and that I was simply being quiet….
When he found out about that other guy, in early January, I knew it upset and broke him. It would’ve done the same to me. I told him, on repeat, that I didn’t want that other guy, that I was sorry. I wanted to be better connected to him, my husband. I chose my husband. He would tell me if I was sorry, I needed to prove it. I needed to have sex with him to show that I chose him. He held that over me as much as he could. It felt wrong and sad. What choice did I have? If I didn’t have sex with him, it meant that I wanted the other guy, which I didn’t. He didn’t care about me, he cared about sex, about getting off. It’s the only thing that made him feel better. I was no longer comfortable having sex with him. I stopped. We agreed, in therapy, that we’d go back to basics; we’d start trying to be friends, again, no sex.
That seemed to be working. We started going on dates. He started talking to me. We started having fun again. Trying to reconnect was working! He actually agreed that we could get a sitter, we could get out of the house, even if it cost money. We went to ballgames, went to dinner, went to concerts, he planned a romantic night away for Valentine’s Day! (First time ever!!) We even planned a romantic vacation to Puerto Rico for May, 2014. We had been together for 15 years, married for 13, and had yet to have vacationed alone; not even a honeymoon. I was stoked. He seemed happy, too. Even though it was an awful time for us both, that other guy had actually opened our eyes, and we were getting stronger and back to “us,” except a better version.
The first weekend of April 2014 was a good weekend. Saturday I went to see Cathy, my bff, the brand new mom. I saw that concert with my sister. He expressed his disappointment about missing the concert, I apologized, we moved on. Sunday was my brother’s birthday and we spent the day having fun with my family. He had a good weekend, and he and we seemed happy.
That night, April 6, we talked. We goofed around. We messed around. I told him that messing around was all I was comfortable with, and we discussed keeping the momentum going, each night, until it felt right, and I was comfortable again having sex. He understood and said he’d respect my decision and even agreed with it. It would be better for us long term. We rolled over and started falling asleep. No less than ten minutes later, he was up, out of bed, yelling at me, telling me it was unfair to him. Saying he deserved to have sex, and we needed to have sex. He said there was no reason why we shouldn’t have sex, and he needed to have sex. ..Um, hello?! Didn’t we just have a discussion about the reasons we shouldn’t?! I was blindsided. He was acting like a child. When he finally stopped degrading and yelling at me, I looked at him, hurt and offended. I jumped out of bed and acted like a child as well, ripping off my clothes. Reminding him that even though we had just spent time discussing AND agreeing not to have sex, since he needed it, then of course he should have sex. I was so over the top, and absurd, that I figured he’d see my tantrum for what it was. I was trying to point out his immaturity and snap him out of it. I got back into bed, visibly irritated, laid on my stomach, pulled up my blanket and proceeded to fall back asleep. He only took that as an invitation. He scooted over to me and started touching me. I was shocked. I shook my body, side to side, to get him to stop, until he was no longer touching. He stopped for a second, and then proceeded. I told him to stop. He got on top of me. I knew there was no stopping him, and wondered what would happen if I tried to fight him off of me. I laid there, stuck. I asked him to get off of me. I started crying, afraid, and asked him, again, to stop and to get off of me. He didn’t listen. When he started talking to himself, is when I was the most afraid. Before he had sex with me, he started saying, “I should stop.. I should stop.. I want it, but not like this. I shouldn’t, not like this.. I should stop.. I should stop..” then finally, “fuck it.” That’s the last time he spoke, and had sex with me. I was crying more, now, telling him no and to stop. He wasn’t hurting me; it wasn’t a brutal attack. Yet, still, he was raping me. He didn’t last long. To top it off, he pulled out and came all over my back. I laid there, stunned, still crying. He climbed off me and went into our bathroom. I grabbed my clothes and ran out of the room. I went upstairs to a corner bathroom, surrounded by my kids bedrooms. I knew he didn’t want to wake up our kids. I stepped into the shower, the somewhere I now felt safe to cry and break down. I didn’t feel safe around him. I didn’t know him. I felt violated and alone. When he started knocking on the door, I fell silent. I didn’t want to let him hear me cry. I asked him to go away, to leave me alone. He refused. He stood there knocking on the bathroom door; trying to talk to me, trying to, either, ease his way into the bathroom, or me out. He stopped knocking after a while.
When I finally came out of the bathroom, he was sitting, waiting. He never apologized. I remember waiting to hear an “I’m sorry” that never came. He knew I was upset, yet, he was there, waiting for me to comfort him, because he felt badly over what had just happened. He said that I “should not only make him feel better, but I should WANT to make him feel better. A good wife would, anyway.” I went to the couch and tried to fall asleep. I didn’t want to talk. I wanted to forget. I wanted to sleep. I needed to process what had happened. I wasn’t angry. I didn’t yell. I didn’t cry. I went numb. He wouldn’t leave my side. It was probably 3am, by then. He wanted me back in our bed. I finally was able to ignore him, and I fell asleep. A few hours later, I was awake getting the kids to school. He decided it was a good day to work from home, and never left. I told him that we needed to start going to another therapist. One better equipped to handle this kind of situation. We found a sex addiction counselor right away. He made the appointment for a few days later.
I don’t remember the next few days. I don’t remember the next few weeks. It all became a blur. I spent all my energy holding it together for my kids during the day. Night would come and I would want to be alone, and asleep; on the couch. In the upstairs’ playroom sofa, by the kids, was where I felt safe. I waited for him to show me how to react. He didn’t show me that he cared about what he’d done to me. He showed me that he cared about what he’d done to himself. He said he would call a lawyer and we could get divorced. I looked at him like he was crazy. He hadn’t apologized or even tried to smooth things over with me, but he was ready to run, like a true coward. I should’ve let him call the lawyer, April 7, like he wanted. Instead, I was the one reassuring him, that it was just a hiccup, and we would get past this. He questioned how. How could I ever forgive him and move on? I had no clue, but it was no on me to be the strong one, apparently. He became the crybaby, so I couldn’t.
I placed my emotions in a box, and got rid of them. It was on me, to make things better. They never got better. For the rest of 2014, we went through patches of him moving back into his parents’ house and back into ours. We started a sex addict group, together, once a week. We had individual therapy and a couples session, once a week. It never worked. When my therapist stopped tipped toeing, and made the breakthrough that my husband had raped me, I knew it was over. I couldn’t be married to someone who was capable of doing that, much less to his wife. He was supposed to love me and protect me. He failed. During therapy, he would complain that the ordeal was taking too long. He didn’t want to put in the work that it would take to get us back to healthy. I would say, even if it took 5years of therapy, it would be worth it, if it would give us 50 years of happy. He disagreed. He wanted and deserved to be connected to his wife, and I was taking too long. He owed me nothing, and that’s what I got. After 9 months, and him reminding me that “he’d be happy with or without me” I took the kids and moved out. After I found him in our bed with someone new, 3 months later (even though he agreed to break up with his new girlfriend, only if I wanted him back..) I filed for divorce.
I don’t talk about this often. Few know about it. I feel a huge sense of shame over it. I still feel strange saying, or even thinking, that it was rape. To me, in my mind, rape is a brutal. it’s not done by your husband. It’s not done by someone who “loves you.” That’s where I was wrong. I think I do a good job of not thinking about it. But, every year, so far, the beginning of April comes, and I still find myself in the fetal position, on the carpet, not being able to breathe. Wondering how unloveable I could be, wondering what I could’ve done differently, what I could’ve said differently. Wondering how he could’ve hurt me, so deeply. Thinking, if I would’ve just skipped the concert, (which he later told me; taking sex from me was payback for not allowing him to attend) or if I only could’ve been a better wife, or mother; if I only would’ve spoken up sooner; if I would’ve fought him off of me; if I were better at this or that; if things would’ve been different, it wouldn’t have happened. I still can’t answer any of those, maybe eventually. Until then, I lay, every April 6, and the days surrounding it, broken.