Throughout the duration of my less-than wonderful relationship with Dexter, we had our fair share of issues. I would imagine every couple does. But for whatever reason, I treated this particular issue as if it was a project. As if this behavior and habit could somehow be remedied with patience and kindness; character traits that I no longer calmly and quietly aspire to possess.
When Dexter and I would get into an argument, I would push his buttons and he would lose his temper. Our biggest issue was his inability to not curse, swear, or call me horrific and shocking names.
Bitch, stupid, whore, idiot, slut, fuck off, cunt, fuck you, go to hell; the verbal attacks would be loaded with creative arrangements of these words and expressions. They were persistent and they were endless.
I could always see it coming. The pressure would build up and I would brace myself for the explosion. Each time, as the violent words were being fired mercilessly in my direction, I would get exceedingly quiet and exceptionally still. “Dexter,” I would always begin in the most gently voice I could muster, “take a breathe, we’ve talked about this. You know you cannot say these things to me”. Historically, it took between an hour to two days for him to calm down. And I always somehow ended up apologizing. I don’t think I’ll ever fully understand that aspect of my relationship with him.
He once almost broke up with me because he wanted to be able to call me these names and words without consequence. “So you are prepared to tell your friends that we are no longer dating because I won’t let you call me a bitch?” I argued with him.
During the months and years that I “worked with him” on his “issue” I asked him why he thought it was ok to speak to me in such a way. He, of course, had no answer. “Would you ever say the horrible things you have said to me to your mother?” I persisted. “No? And why not?”
“Because she doesn’t deserve it!” he screamed.
Oh, but I did? Fucking asshole. What the hell was I doing in that relationship?
This brings me to the good part; the best thing I ever did. One day, I was driving us to dinner in my car (since the loser could never afford gas) when we somehow got on the subject of Nuvo, a sparkling liqueur that I really liked. For whatever reason, he was furious at my love for this drink since he had never witnessed me drink it in our year-plus of dating. “When did you drink that last?! Who bought it for you?!” he demanded furiously. “Dexter, what’s your problem?!” I demanded right back. I pushed buttons like a pro.
“My problem is that you were a fucking whore-slut before I knew you! You fucking disgusting cunt!”
I slammed my brakes. Hard. I didn’t check my mirror or have the slightest concern about the safety of this decision. We came to a screeching halt, right there in the middle of a popular road with a speed limit of 40 mph.
“GET OUT.” He stared at me, horrified. “GET OUT OF MY CAR. RIGHT. NOW.”
And so he did. He slammed the door hard and stood on the shoulder looking like he might punch a tree. And I drove off. I left.
Today, I drove past the very spot where I commanded Dexter get out of my car 14 months ago. It made me feel sick to my stomach. Absolutely sick. Why did I ever tolerate that? I am embarrassed that I ever allowed myself to be in that situation, let alone repeatedly. For years. Even after “the best thing I ever did”, I still “worked with him” on his angry explosions.
Everyone gets angry. Everyone fights. Now and then, everyone curses. I am not immune, I have cursed in arguments and have shouted. But I made it a point to never curse at him or call him names so that I could “set a positive example” about “how arguing should be done”.
GAG. Thinking about how I tolerated this treatment makes me want to vomit in my shoe.
Although I’m upset with myself. Everything is a learning experience and boy, have I learned from these experiences. Ladies, men, everyone–respect yourself enough to not tolerate, empathize, or stand for demeaning and belittling verbal abuse and assaults. I forgive myself for my young stupidity. But I will never repeat the past.