Long Term Ex Boyfriend and I did everything we were supposed to do.
I was at Prestigious Woman's College, and had done his masters at Ivy League. We spent weekends traveling up and down the coast, staying at cute bed and breakfasts, spending way too much money on fancy dinners, and visiting antique stores. We taught high school religious education, were involved in church activities, and volunteered our time.
Then I moved for grad school, so he moved, too.
Then things got sour, turned bad and before long, were abusive.
The plan was that I would move to where he was when I finished grad school. We bought a house there. I picked it, he bought it.
We set a date for when we'd get engaged and when we'd get married. I picked out my Tiffany ring, he bought it.
He started to get mad when I'd stay up later on the weekends with my girlfriends. Then it turned into, "don't wear your hair like that."
"That shirt makes you look like a whore."
"I don't like this friend, I don't want you seeing her/him anymore."
"You shouldn't paint your nails red, you aren't a hooker."
"You had two drinks? I thought we decided that one drink would be plenty when you went out with your friends."
"You don't need friends, you have me."
"Your job isn't a real job. I expect you to homeschool, keep the house, and keep me happy. That's what your real job will be."
"What about the $160,000 undergrad I have? And the grad school degree? Are those nothing?"
"They show me that you're going to be a good person."
"What about the career I've worked so hard for?"
"Your career isn't a serious career, sweetie."
"What about my parents' expectations of me?"
"They'll be happy you'll be off their 'payroll' and on mine."
"What about what I want?"
"You want me to be happy, and this is what I want. And it's what the Catholic Church wants, too."
"How can you say it's what the Catholic Church wants? Do you realize how delusional you are?"
"The Church says we should be a strong family. You should raise our children in a strong environment. We should be a model of the perfect traditional family."
My best friend said she never liked him, from the very beginning.
And as Nick's illness became worse, LTExB's behavior became increasingly worse as well. He didn't like I was taking care of someone else.
On Easter, Nick came over for dinner. Just the two of us. LTExB and I had had a huge fight the night before, and my eyes had been red all through Easter mass. He called again as Nick and I were finishing dessert. Nick asked if he should leave, I said no, I need you here. And he stayed, and after the call, he picked the shattered pieces of my body off the floor, put me on the couch, and sat there with me until I could breathe again.
Breaking up with LTExB was the hardest thing I'd ever had to do. It should have happened years earlier, when my best friend said she didn't like him. He could have happened numerous occasions before. But he had be pulled it and held so tight. I didn't know how to leave.