Why do people think that if a woman isn’t being physically abused in her marriage, then she doesn’t have a valid reason to want to end it?
Several months ago, I went to the beauty salon to get my hair done. As usual, the stylist (who also happens to be my soon-to-be-ex-husband’s cousin) began asking how my husband and children were doing. I told her things weren’t all that great between us, and we may even be headed towards divorce. Her next question was, “Well, what’s the problem…is he cheating on you?” I told her that I didn’t have proof, but I suspected he was, especially since he’d cheated on me before we got married. She says, “Well, is he beating on you?” I responded, “No, he’s not.” She then said something along the lines of, “Well, if you don’t have proof that he’s cheating on you, and he ain’t beating on you, it sounds like YOU just want out.” Her comment really irked me. It wasn’t even what she said, as much as it was the nonchalant way in which she said it- like there aren’t other reasons important enough to end a marriage.
First of all, my grandparents raised me, and they were married for over thirty years. No matter how much they fought (and they did) or argued (they definitely did…a lot) they stayed married until the day my grandpa died in 1998 from lung cancer. I had always told myself, that’s what I wanted…a marriage that lasted throughout all the obstacles that we would face. And in a perfect world, that would have happened. However, I realized that staying married just because I didn’t want to become another statistic (married for less than five years, and already divorced) just wasn’t working for me. My health, my sanity, my happiness…I wasn’t willing to compromise those things just so I could say I was married.
Secondly, just because a woman isn’t walking around with black eyes and/or visible bruises on her, doesn’t mean she’s not being abused. I wanted to tell the hair stylist that there are so many other different types of abuse- verbal, mental, emotional- all of which can hurt worse than any fist to the face. In my case, infidelity was an issue, even before we ever said, “I do.” There was no trust, there was resentment…I was always going to think he was cheating on me, no matter what. As long as there is no trust in a marriage- or any relationship- you’re both just wasting time..and life is entirely too short for my time to be wasted any more than it has already been. Neglect also played a big part. Lately, I’d started to feel like his friends and everybody else got more of his time and attention than I did. It was when he started making me feel disposable, useless, unwanted, un-needed, that I had finally had enough. No, he wasn’t beating me like Sophia told Mister to beat Celie in The Color Purple, but sometimes his words could cut like a knife. The last argument we had…the one that led to me saying, “I’m DONE,” he kept walking up on me, like he wanted to be a fool and hit me. He didn’t, but I’m not sticking around to let a man beat my ass. It don’t get that good. I’ve been in more than enough verbal, mental, and emotional relationships with men to know that eventually, things will become physical.
Nobody knows what goes on in your marriage but you, your spouse, and God. From the outside looking in, people may think your husband is the coolest, most down-to-earth, friendliest man alive; but, they don’t live with him..you do. They don’t know how he treats you behind closed doors, how he talks down to you, makes you feel worthless and useless…like he couldn’t care less if you stayed or left. So, never let anybody make you feel that as long as he’s not beating you, you’re being silly to talk about wanting to leave your husband. The main people with so much to say, wouldn’t think twice about walking away if they were being treated the same way. Tell the outsiders to get themselves a life, and let you live yours.