David* thought he'd married the woman of his dreams and then she turned into a monster, abusing him verbally and physically. He shares his story with Simply Her writer Sasha Gonzales.
"From the moment Esther* and I were introduced to each other by friends, we just clicked. She was like my other half - we shared the same interests and she treated me very well. We also had strong chemistry.
"In the beginning, when we got married, everything was fine between us. Esther wasn't the most patient or sweet-natured woman in the world, but she wasn't a terrible person. Together, we raised four children during our 13 years of marriage.
"Although we experienced problems like any married couple, I thought our relationship was strong enough to weather any storm and that we'd be together forever.
Signs of Trouble
"A few years ago, I noticed a drastic change in Esther. While she had never been particularly mean to our children, she started yelling and screaming at them - even smacking them on occasion if they talked back to her or made too much noise when she was resting. To me, this was completely unnecessary. but she said that they needed to be disciplined when they misbehaved.
"She also started coming home late on weekdays, and sometimes, not at all. Her excuse? She had to work overtime. Whenever I questioned her about it, she would scream all sorts of obscenities at me and call me every name under the sun, in English and Hokkien. I thought to myself: 'How could this be the woman I married?'
"Then Esther started physically abusing the kids for no reason. She would come home, tired or in a bad mood, and hit them if they so much as tried to talk to her. Whenever I attempted to intervene of calm her down, she would not only verbally abuse me, but also punch my chest and arms and scratch me. Her abuse often left me bleeding, yet I chose to stay with her.
Her Affair, My Anguish
"About three years ago, I started having suspicions that Esther was having an affair. I confronted her about it, begging her to come clean with me and to work with me to save the marriage. She refused to talk about it and instead, got mad at me for even bringing it up.
"One night, Esther came home from work and changed her clothes before heading out again. Before leaving the house, she locked the door to the master bedroom and took the spare key with her, so I couldn't get into the room. I called her all night and the next morning, but she didn't pick up. When she came home later in the afternoon, she stormed into the house, angry that I had called her so many times, and made straight for the master bedroom.
"When the kids and I entered the room a few minutes later, Esther was on the phone. One of our kids made a bit of noise and she started screaming at him. When I stepped in, she began pushing, punching and scratching me, but I did not retaliate. When I called the police, they told me they could not do anything as it was a private, domestic matter.
Bruised and Bleeding
"That fight was the last straw for me. Esther hit and scratched me so hard that I was bleeding through my shirt. When I looked in the mirror, my torso and arms were covered in bruises and scratches. I knew then that I had to walk away from the marriage. I went straight to the hospital so I could document my injuries and use it as proof in court that Esther had abused me.
"The next day, I applied for a Personal Protection Order against Esther. I had also hired a private investigator some months earlier, and he had photographic evidence that she was having an affair, with not one but a few different men.
"To see my sweet wife act like a monster was shocking and devastating , to say the least. But it wasn't just her behaviour that had changed. Her style of dressing went from modest to trashy, and she had even gotten a few tattoos.
"I blame the guys she was hanging out with. One of her boyfriends was a gangster, who I'm sure had some influence on her. When he caught my private investigator following him, he threatened to harm him if he did not leave.
"Esther and I are finalising our divorce. She doesn't want our children, aged between six and 12, so I will likely get full custody of them. Despite what they have been through, my children are trying to remain strong for me. They witnessed all the abuse that Esther unleashed on me and now, they just want to protect me.
"My friends know about the divorce and Esther's affairs, but they don't know that she abused me. The only people who know what happened - besides my kids - are my parents. I don't think I could ever tell my friends the truth as they might think I am weak or that I couldn't handle my wife. It's an ego thing, certainly. Which man would openly admit that his wife uses him as a punching bag? It took me a few years just to report the abuse.
"I'm quite a patient, tolerant and easy-going guy. I would have done everything in my power to make my marriage work - and I did forgive Esther for the initial verbal and physical abuse - but unfortunately, nothing could save it.
"Esther made me feel so small, so unloved and absolutely worthless. I love my kids a lot and there was no way I could continue subjecting them to that sort of treatment, either. Esther doesn't even bother visiting the kids anymore, she wants nothing more to do with us, which hurts me deeply.
"I'm coping much better these days with the help of my parents. The kids are happier too, now that they are away from their mum. I just want to see this divorce through so that we can put all the drama behind us and move on with our lives. The children and I deserve a future that is filled with kindness and love."
*Names have been changed
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