I was isolated during my marriage. At first, I thought it was just because we were young newlyweds and in our own little “bubble” of love. I’d seen it happen with my friends before. I also lived far away from family and friends. Alex’s family were my friends and his life was my life. I spoke to my parents and sisters occasionally but I’d lived out West for years through college – only seeing my family once or twice a year. I didn’t think much of it.
But sometimes, during the fights, as I was staring in silence at the wall while he screamed and threw his fits about this or that, I’d see the situation from afar. Almost like a dream or a movie…
Allison sat stone still on the sofa. Her knees curled into her chest. Maybe if she was smaller, she thought, he would have a smaller target to fling his insults at. Besides, it helped her focus on being still and staring at that spot on the carpet while he yelled. Almost every fight now, she imagined herself very very small. A dot. Sitting in a hidden hole in the sofa or carpet watching the scenes play out. This distracted her from the name calling and criticism.
This time, he was mad that she had gone to get frozen yogurt with a friend who was in town for the weekend. Her first roommate from college and a dear friend for years. Allison hadn’t seen her in what seemed like forever, but it was probably a few months.
Alex didn’t like her spending money without him there. He thought it was a waste. Allison worked a steady 40 hr full-time job though. Alex was finishing up his last semester at school. They had plenty of money in savings and no debt (Alex was an accountant, so his obsession over money was useful sometimes). Allison knew one frozen yogurt wasn’t a big deal. She wasn’t sorry. This was stupid.
She just let him rage on as she nodded and apologized where prompted. She knew that the fastest way through this fight was to be silent and say she was sorry. Then they could just move on with their evening.
This fight (is it a fight when it’s just one person yelling?) was nothing compared to some of the other ones. In these short two to three months of marriage, Alex frequently flipped out when triggered by little things. If Allison was home for her lunch to eat and take a break, Alex wanted to have sex really quick before she got back to the office. If Allison even made a face as she might say no, Alex would throw his hands up and walk into the other room.
“It’s crazy to me that you were such a whore with those other guys before we met and now, for your own husband, you can’t do this one time.” He’d shout as he stomped away.
Of course, she felt bad – that’s not what she was doing at all. And why did he have to bring up sex with other people? She never thought about those people until he mentioned it! A few weeks ago, he had Allison write down on a piece of paper every guy she had ever kissed or done anything else sexual with. It was mortifying and really hard to do. She had forgotten most of those people easily. But, Alex warned her, if he found out about anyone that wasn’t on that list, he’d divorce her.
He had already made up a “document” once about a possible divorce. Alex made up a lot of “legal documents” he had Allison sign. This one said that if he ever found out she had, had sex with anyone other than him, he could divorce her and she would get nothing from him and she would leave the state.
She’d signed it, of course. She always signed them. No matter how crazy it was, it was better than a fight.
She sighed. This frozen yogurt thing was almost done. He was getting quiet. She said sorry softly one more time and went to get ready for bed. An hour or so later, he came in and laid next to her.
This one was over, on to the next day, she thought hopefully. “