‘I portrayed him as a violent husband, so that I could divorce him’

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When I first met Timothy, I knew I had found the man I was looking for. He clearly felt the same — we were engaged within three months, married within six, and I was pregnant by the end of our first year together.

To the outside world, although it happened quite quickly, everything looked perfect — we had everything other people wanted. But by the end of our first year of marriage, I got sick of people commenting on how great I had it. Because this really wasn’t the case at all.

Timothy was lovely — kind, considerate, thoughtful. I always got breakfast in bed, coffee brought to me without asking and sweet, thoughtful presents for no reason.

I also got phone calls at all hours and extreme jealousy about the relationship I was building with our three-month-old baby — the constant attention really began to wear on my nerves. I couldn’t go anywhere without him insisting he tag along. It wasn’t done in an aggressive, possessive way (I was allowed to do whatever I wanted), but he simply had to be there with me every minute that he wasn’t at work.

I began to long for my carefree single days. Being a mother was one thing (my three-month-old baby was less clingy than my husband!) but I couldn’t stand being a wife any longer.

Everybody loved Timothy, and I didn’t want to be the one who was looked upon as the “ungrateful one who walked out on the perfect marriage.” So I decided I had to make Timothy look less perfect.

I wasn’t quite sure how to do it, and the idea really came to me at the last minute — not something I planned. Or something I’m proud of.

One night I fell on the curb taking the bins out in the dark, and an ugly black bruise on my arm was the result. The following day, my friends wanted to know how I’d hurt myself, and the answer was out of my mouth before I could stop it.

“Oh, you know,” I said, pretending to be evasive. “I walked into a door.”

As soon as I’d lied, it all seemed so simple, and soon I was doing it all the time. A naturally clumsy person, I often had bruises, and I always made sure my friends saw them, before putting on my evasive act. After a few months, two of my best friends sat me down and demanded to know what was going on. I wouldn’t tell them but my silence, and the months of evasion, had done enough.

My best friend rang my husband and accused him outright of physical violence. Of course, he denied it, and angrily wanted me to explain what I had been telling my friends. I simply told him they were jumping to conclusions that I couldn’t talk them out of.

But Timothy was really angry. He kept pestering me to lay down the truth and clear his name — but every time he saw my friends they were rude and hostile, and he was soon over it. We separated and my friends never suspected that my husband wouldn’t hurt a fly.

I have since remarried and had more children. My new husband is lovely — and distant when I need him to be. Personal space is a healthy part of our relationship.

I heard that my best friend ran into Timothy and his new wife a few months ago — she told his wife to be careful of Timothy’s temper. I felt awful when I heard that: Timothy had never done anything besides want to be with me. And he has no idea that I actually led my friends to believe he was physically violent so I could get out of the marriage.


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