My husband attacked me because dinner wasn't ready when he got home from work

Tracey Folly

*This is a work of nonfiction based on actual events I experienced firsthand; used with permission.

It's hard to admit you were in an abusive relationship until it's over.

I choose to share stories about my past relationships because I want to let other people in the same situation know they aren't alone. From personal experience, I know many women hide the abuse they suffer from their partners or spouses. I was one of those women.

I spent five years of my life married to an abusive man. During those five years, I worked hard to conceal my abuse from friends, family, and coworkers. I believe some people had their suspicions. Mostly, everyone kept quiet.

There's one incident I told no one until now.

It was an ordinary night. I arrived home from work and began cooking dinner. After setting a pot of water on the stovetop to boil, I poured a box of pasta into the pot.

My husband walked into the kitchen before the pasta could come to a boil. He was home from work early. "Where's dinner?" he asked. "What's taking so long? I want to eat now."

From the tone of his voice, I could tell I was in trouble.

"It's not done yet," I replied. "I just got home from work, too. I'm cooking as fast as I can."

We exchanged angry words that I can't remember. What I remember is what he did next.

He picked up the pot of water and uncooked pasta and threw it on the kitchen floor. It landed at my feet, soaking through my shoes and socks.

I sobbed and screamed. The water wasn't hot enough to burn my skin, but it didn't feel good, either. Besides, I had an idea what would happen next.

My husband pushed me onto my knees on the dirty floor and pressed my face into the puddle of wet pasta, and then he mopped it with my hair. It didn't last long. Perhaps a few seconds.

I staggered to my feet. My face and clothes were wet. Uncooked pasta clung to my curly hair. I can't remember what we ate for dinner that night, but it wasn't pasta.

I cleaned the floor and went to bed.

The following day, I woke up early, got dressed, and went to work as usual. I had to pretend it was just an ordinary day. In some ways, it was. My married life was a succession of incidents just like this one.

If anyone suspected anything was different the morning after the pasta incident, they didn't say a word. I thought I saw pitying looks from some of my coworkers, but that could have been my imagination.

It's hard to do the right thing when you think someone you know is in an abusive relationship. What if you're the one in an abusive relationship? Don't you owe it to yourself to do the right thing? The only way to fix an abusive relationship is by leaving it.

While leaving an abusive relationship may seem hard, it's easier than staying. It just doesn't feel that way until you actually get the strength to leave. However, I can attest that leaving is better than staying.

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Writing about relationships online since 2009.

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