Although I do and always will class myself as a feminist I can't deny that being spoiled and looked after was appealing to me. I feel I've always been able to handle myself - ironically even more so now but the addition of someone who clearly cared made a huge difference. Work became more stressful so post shift drinking sessions were mandatory, my grotty flat above the pub slowly became his home too and before I knew it I was cooking dinners, making his pack lunch, doing washing and burning myself out trying to keep up with everything. Yet none of this mattered because ultimately I was being treated like a princess, I met his friends who he raved about me too and all the locals seemed to like him. Life was hectic but happy.
Unfortunately, sometimes the good doesn't last and it didn't take too long for his charming character to take a more sinister turn. So having booked the weekend off to go and meet his family for the first time I was excited. It was rare to have one of those so called weekends in the pub game so rather than go straight up to bed on that Friday night I spent what was meant to be an hour or so drinking with one of my favourite locals Steve. Well long story short I ended up going up to my bed at 5am. Being extra careful not to wake my caring, doting boyfriend I tiptoed through the door but instead of finding him fast asleep he paced the floor of my bedroom like a wild animal. "Where the fuck have you been" were the words that came out of his mouth, and in shock - I laughed. I genuinely thought he couldn't seriously be acting this way. I explained I'd been downstairs, I knew it was late but I'd just wanted to have a bit of banter and drink! I can't remember everything that followed but I do remember crying - rather hysterically, I remember trying to get out of the flat and I remember being held against the door with his hand around my throat. Fast forward 3 hours and I'm in his mums car on the way to their house for the weekend, playing happy families in true Oscar deserving style.
I blamed myself completely, my actions were out of order and I should think myself lucky for having such an understanding boyfriend. I was still drunk, having had a 'supervised' bath I'd packed a suitcase when all I wanted to do was run away. I vowed to sort out my behaviour and not corrupt my lovely man’s mood again. The weekend was perfect, we laughed and drank and there was no hint of a row. He convinced me this would never happen again and he told me he loved me and just worried, that was all. Of course I believed him. Why wouldn't I?
A mere week later, history repeated itself. Yet this time I hadn't gone awol downstairs, I laid in bed desperate to get some shut eye. I wasn't in the mood to be intimate due to the bickering we had started so I turned over and closed my eyes. I was branded all the names under the sun, he had expected sex and given the fact I wasn't responding to his advances he called me a slag - ironically so. I was a c**t, a fat slut and a horrible person. Again I cried, I wanted to get out. He was clever with his actions, he had grabbed me in such a way that I couldn't get up. I genuinely still can't get the phrase "you're not going anywhere" out of my head. The next day the same rapport occurred. He said sorry, told me he had never been like this before and it was me who had bought it out in him. I apologized, of course.
I spent the months that followed following the same pattern. My personality shrunk and I was completely blind to what was happening. I had my opportunity to get out when I left the pub and moved back home. But I was in love, I visited him at his flat on weekends - I was convinced that we had just spent too much time together and that if we only saw one another at weekends it would be different, special. Obviously that was another lie and it didn't take long before the same old story emerged. My self-esteem was non-existent, he begged me to move in and ashamedly I was close to giving in.