Today, I’m starting a new series and would like to introduce you to Jenni. Jenni contacted me after she read about Since My Divorce in the Graying of Divorce article in the Denver Post and she agreed to share her story. Since she lives close by, we met for coffee. It wasn’t an easy interview for Jenni – there were a lot of tears. She’s had a difficult few years but now she feels she’s finally getting her life on track.
Jenni was just twenty when she had a whirlwind romance and moved to California with her soon-to-be husband, just four weeks after meeting him. She became a mom at twenty-three, was working, putting her husband through school and had a second child. After almost fifteen years of marriage, she’d had enough and filed for divorce.
Jenni’s husband was emotionally controlling. Jenni admits she made some poor choices beginning with a series of extramarital affairs that compounded the issues. Here’s Jenni:
I was doing anything and everything to numb myself from the unhappiness of the marriage and the relationship that was in front of me day-to-day. Yeah, we had sex but it wasn’t being touched in a way I like to be touched. It wasn’t being talked to in a way I liked being talked to. It wasn’t nice. It wasn’t sensual or what I imagine a healthy relationship is supposed to be like.
So, I had a series of extramarital affairs and as a result of the affairs, I was sexually assaulted. I don’t blame myself for the assault because someone roofied me but that was my breaking point.
I was raped and he broke my tailbone. I had bruises on me and it wasn’t a good situation at all. I would consider it my nervous breakdown at thirty-one. I was miserable in my marriage and I had to hide the fact that someone hurt me terribly.
I didn’t want my husband to know because if I’d copped to the assault, I would have had to cop to the extramarital affairs I’d been having. I was good at covering my tracks but it was horrible to lead a double life. I would never recommend it to anybody.
I don’t know how I got through. I was completely numb. The weekend after the assault, I put my kids with babysitters and went and got high all weekend. I freebased cocaine all weekend long. I didn’t say anything the whole time. I would just sit and cry because I didn’t know how to process everything that was happening.
We were living in a small town and word started to get around about what had happened. I didn’t want my husband to find out so I won’t say I made up a story but I did mislead him into thinking I wanted to work on our marriage and that a fresh start in another state was what we needed.
He actually found out about the assault when we had the moving truck in front of our house. He knew that something had been wrong but he didn’t know what had happened and I wasn’t talking to him. He’s actually never been angry with me about it but he acted like it happened to him which makes me angry.
I had girlfriends who knew what had happened and everybody just watched me take a downhill turn mentally and emotionally. I became a shell of myself. I didn’t know what I wanted but I was beyond miserable. I was ready to kill myself.
Affairs are pretty common. Most of the women who I’ve interviewed who have dealt with infidelity, talked about their spouses’ extramarital affairs. Some couples are able to work through infidelity and rebuild their marriages. Evvy’s husband’s affair was one of several during their forty-year marriage but this time it can be a deal breaker. T did a heartbreakingly honestly series on her blog telling about her own extramarital affair. Regardless of who has the affair, an affair is almost always an indicator that something is wrong with the marriage.
Jenni, her husband and two children did move and shortly afterwards her husband admitted her to a treatment center. That’s where we’ll pick the story up next time. And if you were reading this and wondering why Jenni didn’t leave, a few more posts and I think you will understand.
Photo Credit: wstryder at Flickr