Honestly not sure if I'm in the right place for all of this but here goes. I've been struggling with depression for about 10 years now and things have only gotten worse and worse. Five (almost six) years ago, I met a wonderful man who I love more than anything. Everything was great for the first year or so, then things started getting rocky. The second year we were together, we were riding in the car and he was fucked up on Xanax, and something I said annoyed or pissed him off (can't remember what it was) and he popped me in the face/head (don't remember exact spot). It freaked me out and he got so panicked, and then didn't remember it the next morning (at that time, he would take multiple Xanax at once). Unfortunately, after I believe several months to a year later, it started up again and would happen occasionally (sometimes more regularly if we were fighting more that week). He would do it, and then panic and apologize, and eventually he stopped panicking and apologies were delayed, until finally he stopped apologizing altogether (and when he did/does, it's a very seldom occurrence). December 2017, we got pregnant. We were in a relatively good place together despite not having a stable home (we were living in hotels while we worked and when we were off we'd stay with his parents). Money was tight, but we had tried for a few months and eventually given up and left it up to fate. I miscarried and he blamed himself (he'd honestly been an ass for the most part, and had hit me once or twice during the 6 week pregnancy). January 2018, I had an emergency D&C, and ended up getting pregnant again just a few weeks later. In September, we had our beautiful baby boy. He's two now and is the light of my life. Everything was great for a while, but of course it didn't last forever. After a few months, things started getting bad again. He started accusing me of cheating and being unfaithful (the way he did early on in the relationship and periodically throughout), he'd hit me sometimes or kick me out (never for very long, essentially just for a walk around the apartment complex). We got engaged in 2019, and things were still rough. We'd be excited about the engagement, but we didn't talk a whole lot about the wedding or anything else (he didn't seem very interested or rushed). And we fought all the time, and he would take the ring back. He'd kick me out for real, and I'd stay with a couple of friends from work (girls). Then the last time he kicked me out, I went to stay with the girls I'd stayed with several times already. They'd made comments before about how I was going to grow up and end up being bitter (it was a girl my age and her mom - I worked with both). And they'd keep telling me to leave him and that I deserved better. It wasn't the first time I'd heard that from people - several people had told me that over the years. But I love him and felt (still feel) like maybe if I could just convince him to go to counseling, either alone or with me or both, maybe we could work things out - especially since we have a child together, and he's got one from a previous relationship as well. So, I got irritated more than I already had been with these people telling me that I'd grow up to be bitter and to just leave him already, and instead of staying with them that night I ended up staying with a good friend of mine who we also worked with (guy). We drank and talked a lot about what was going on. Instead of telling me to leave him, he just told me I needed to think long and hard and decide what was best for me and what was best for my kid. We went inside, watched tv, and I crashed on the couch. My boyfriend called and begged me to come home, was in tears, and had a complete breakdown. I almost didn't go back (I was set on staying gone, at least for a while, because I knew if things were good when I got back, it wouldn't be for very long), but I agreed to come home and have dinner and talk about things. The night went on, and he found out I stayed with my guy friend instead of the girls I told him I'd be staying with. Shit hit the fan and he was livid - I'd lied to him, and he thought I cheated on him - said even if I didn't do anything it felt like being cheated on. From then, things got worse. I was being "punished" for something I didn't even do (other than stay the night with another guy - yes I realize that wasn't the best idea, but nothing happened and to this day he doesn't fully believe me). I've been pissed on, spit on, had shit in my mouth, hit, etc.
Fast forward to more recently, we moved back home (his hometown, the place I feel most at home) and at first things seemed to go pretty well, it was a fresh start. Then in October 2019, things were brought back up, and he still believed I cheated. So punishments essentially continued. One night, he had a couple friends over and one of them seemed nice and relatively attractive. Unfortunately, by this point I was exhausted by how my relationship had gone, and while I loved him, I needed to be done. I couldn't take any more abuse, or yelling and fighting, or name-calling, or any of it. His friend came by one night that my boyfriend and I were fighting, and he went to bed without me and locked the door. I stayed up all night talking to and eventually confiding in his friend - and then things got flirty, and then we kissed. And it had been so long since I'd been kissed, and even though things had sucked for so long, this whole situation is my biggest regret and I don't know that I'll ever forgive myself for it. Shortly after, my boyfriend and I were fighting again and I was ready to leave - so I provoked him and egged the fight on. Finally I told him he could have the ring back, and I took our kid and a suitcase with me (most times when I was kicked out and had to find someone to stay with, I had our kid with me). I picked up his friend, who I had been seeing and sleeping with since that night, and we drove down to New Orleans and spent a few days there before coming back so I could go to work. I lied to my boyfriend about everything for a while, and every day I was gone he'd call and beg me to come home and completely break down, crying and all (and he didn't/doesn't show vulnerability hardly ever), but when we were on the way back home, he called and asked me to be honest with him, if there was another guy. He's not stupid (actually one of the smartest people I've ever met) and he knew something wasn't right and that something was going on. He was livid and we fought some, and eventually agreed to meet (I'd come home to the apartment after work that night) so we could calmly and rationally talk. He had started therapy by himself to try to start working on things. He said he was going to try to forgive me, and that he wanted us to try to work things out for us and for our family. He was so amazing that night - drew me a bubble bath, shaved my legs, washed my hair, rubbed my back and feet, and was so attentive, sweet, caring, and truly took care of me and whatever I needed that night. I was so stupid though, and couldn't help but think that I was going to get my hopes up only for things to go back to how they were - only worse, now I'd actually cheated - and that this great and wonderful time would never be able to last. So instead of truly appreciating it, I kept him at arms' length, put my walls up, and kept pushing him away. I was set on staying with his friend, and only agreed to come home and work on things so that as soon as things got bad, I could leave again and it wouldn't be my fault that time... Instead, things stayed relatively good, and he was putting in so much effort to fix things. He went out of town one weekend for work - he'd call and facetime to check in (understandably, he didn't trust me again yet, not fully) and when we got off the phone, I let his friend come over and cheated again, in our house, in our bed. That was the last time I saw his friend - I stopped seeing him and let him know I needed to try to fix things and keep my family together. Couple weeks went by, and my boyfriend started asking questions again, feeling like he was missing information and that not all the information he got was true. I finally told him about the last time his friend came over, and that sealed things. It made everything so much worse than it's ever been before. I threw everything away and I screwed everything up. So for the last year now, I've been punished on/off (usually in a gross/painful/etc way - pissing on me, in my mouth/anus/etc, being constantly reminded that I'm a "cheating whore" and "worthless" and an "unfit mother", among other things.
And now it's been a year and things are at their worst... Lately, I've mostly slept in my car (even when the temperature drops below freezing - still better than the nights I'm told I'm not allowed to sleep in the car, but instead to sleep outside somewhere). And he's wanted me to find a girl to join us in bed for quite some time, and I haven't been able to. So instead, the last couple of weeks, he's had me find strangers on Tinder who are not my type who I do not find attractive, and beg them to fuck me in the ass... Fortunately, the first two ghosted me and did not come over. Then, he found someone who was willing to come by. He came over yesterday morning. (Not racist by any stretch of the imagination) He was a large black man, terribly unfriendly/rude/borderline mean look on his face. We all went to the bedroom, and I blew my boyfriend while this guy came up behind me and fucked me in the ass. And - no exaggeration, complete truth - this man was HUGE. It was thicker than a zucchini or cucumber, and long enough that you'd need at least two hands to jerk him off... It hurt more than anything I've ever felt or been through. I'd agreed to this to try to make my boyfriend happy, maybe get really lucky and get to start fresh and/or be forgiven after this. The guy took complete advantage of me and the situation, especially when he was told I'd cheated and that this was the real reason why we were doing this. This complete stranger showed zero mercy after that, going at it (all holes). I tried to ask my boyfriend to make it stop and he wouldn't... Finally the guy left and I was so dazed the rest of the day. There are videos, which are expected to be posted to an OnlyFans account I was told to make, as well as whatever porn site we can post it to and make money. I hardly slept last night, and finally fell asleep in the recliner around 6AM.
The worst part of this is that I never actually said no. I agreed to all of it beforehand, and didn't make an effort to stop it from happening while it was going on. I actually thanked the guy for "teaching me a lesson" on his way out (I thought my boyfriend would appreciate the enthusiasm...). So it feels like I was raped, taken advantage of, sexually assaulted, etc. I feel disgusting, I feel dirty, I feel like I'll never be clean again. I feel worthless and like complete trash. I haven't been handling things very well today and I don't know what to do.
I love my boyfriend so much (too much). I want our family to stay together - I don't want to lose any time with my kid, and I don't want to lose my step-son. I don't want to lose the family that we've created together. But I can't go on living like this and I know he can't either - I know he does love me and he's trying but he's miserable. I know things are hard on him too right now - I should have never betrayed him and his trust and cheated with his friend. It was a shitty thing to do and I'll always regret that. But I can't live with the punishments and the bullshit. It's been a year... I just wish he'd go to counseling with me - and I wish one of us had insurance and that we could afford to go see someone... I just don't know what else to do.
Thank you for coming to Asking Jude for advice. I want to express how sorry I am that you are in such terrible circumstances. It must have taken a lot of courage to discuss what happened, so thank you for opening up to Asking Jude and trusting us with this information. It is unimaginable how difficult it must be to choose a course of action, especially with children involved. I am also in no position to tell you which decision you should make; I believe that, based on the information you provided, you know what is best for you. Since this decision is entirely yours to make, take plenty of time to decide what would you think would help you in this situation.
One thing I will say with certainty is that abuse should never occur in any type of relationship. Beating you, kicking you out of your home, insulting you with vile names, being punished with excretions, and ignoring your pleas for help during your sexual encounter with the stranger are all examples of abuse that should never have happened in the first place (see here for different types of domestic abuse: https://www.doorwaysva.org/our-work/education-advocacy/the-facts-about-domestic-violence/types-of-domestic-violence/). You are an adult and not his child, so he has no right to “punish” you for any decision you make. Thus, remember that none of the violence he exhibits towards you is your fault. I strongly recommend checking out the following link that talks about the cycle of abuse: https://www.healthline.com/health/relationships/cycle-of-abuse#the-cycle
Given your long history with him, your son, and your step-son, this is an incredibly difficult decision to make. I recommend giving yourself the same advice you would give to a loved one going through this. It can be easy to develop a blindspot as to how we should approach a situation if we only see things from our own perspective. Thus, imagining someone dear to us in a similar circumstance can help us see things more clearly. Here are some questions you can ask yourself: what do you think would be best for them in the long-run? What environment would be best for them and their kids? What words of encouragement would you offer them to help them make this decision? I also recommend visiting this link that can help you determine if you want to leave or stay with him: https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/loving-bravely/202008/should-i-stay-or-should-i-go-relationship-uncertainty%3famp
If you can, spend more time with special people in your life (aside from your fiancé). I know that your relationship with him is constantly giving you a lot of stress, so spending time with trusted friends and family can help remind you that you are not alone. For example, you could go to the park and spend a day with your sons. Or, you could visit a close family member and share a meal. If you do not feel comfortable seeing others right now, you could also spend a relaxing day by yourself. Here are some things you can do to alleviate some stress: https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/click-here-happiness/201812/self-care-12-ways-take-better-care-yourself%3famp
Lastly, here are some resources pertaining to domestic abuse that you may choose to utilize:
I want you to know that Asking Jude supports you during this difficult time. We hear you, we believe you, and we want you to be safe. Please let us know if there is more advice we can offer you.
Sending love and support,
A peer counselor who studies human psychology will get back to you. I assume I am older than you. It's pretty obvious to me that if you talk to a psychiatrist and share with him or her what you have shared in your 'ask,' here, at Asking Jude, the psychiatrist would say that you have to start therapy. That's obvious to me. Good luck to you...