Red Flags

I don't know where to start. I guess I have always had a pattern of falling to relationships with emotionally abusive people. We met in college our first week and started dating almost immediately. We were both eighteen. He was so clean cut and seemed so different from everyone I had dated. I should have seen the red flags. It started with jealousy. He wouldn't let me have any guy friends and went through my phone when I had talked to one. We broke up for a few weeks because of it, but he had already been my whole world that I didn't know how to be without him. I was a freshman who didn't know anyone but him.

He was angry at me for breaking up with him and took it out on me by yelling and throwing things. Once again I was ignoring the red flags. I guess I felt like I deserved it. Then one day when we were in his dorm we started making out, we had been sleeping together, but at the current moment, I wasn't in the mood. He continued to try and start something, and when I pushed him away and fought to get him off me he forced me down, and we did it anyway. I was clear...I had said no, I had fought back, but still, it wasn't enough. I felt sick but at the same time like it was my fault. Maybe he thought I was joking around I mean it couldn't possibly be rape if you are in a relationship. He would then go on to do this at least three more times in our time together.

Fast forward to the summer after sophomore year. I found out I was pregnant. We were still dating and what I believed to be happy. We had talked about marriage and getting engaged in our junior or senior year, so we decided to get married early. I loved him, and we were meant to be...or so I thought. The abuse started over something trivial like him spilling all of the leftovers to my favorite home-cooked meal (the only meal I could eat while pregnant without throwing up). I was upset and cried. He got mad and told me he wouldn't put up with me and was leaving. I told him to please not go, and he shoved me to the ground. He would then go on to push me to the floor at least a dozen other times. Most of them being when I was pregnant.

I figured shoving wasn't abuse, I mean it wasn't like he was hitting me...once again ignoring the red flags. As you can guess it progressed. He was drunk one night, and I woke him up because he had a significant deadline he was going to miss. He punched me in the chest and shoved me out of the room and locked me out. He then apologized for the first time. He said he couldn't believe that he had touched me like that and stupidly I trusted him. He would go on to drag me out of a car, bend my wrist back for touching his shoulder, chase me down the staircase, while I was holding our newborn daughter, yelling "fuck you!" and hitting walls.

I am now twenty-two with a daughter who is almost two years old. I filed for divorce over a month ago and am almost free. I have a full-time job as a teacher and am applying for graduate school. Sometimes it is hard. While I feel like I have the support of family and friends I still feel alone. He is still in the picture and is considering fighting me for 50/50 custody, which is very unlikely. I feel like despite how hard it has been I am happy that I am finally moving forward with my life and hopefully will be able to pick up the pieces.

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