Updated: Jun 25, 2019
Even with all the warning signs, we moved in together in early 1995. I really thought that once he felt more secure in our relationship, it would get better. He would see that I wasn’t like his ex-girlfriends and he would trust me.
I learned how to be a “female partner” in a relationship by watching my mom, like a lot of us do. My mom, and his mom, were stay-at-home moms. They took care of the family and household while the men made the money. Even though I worked full-time, I assumed ALL of the “housewife” duties. I was solely responsible for cooking, cleaning, etc., while also being responsible for contributing 50% of the money toward our living expenses (never mind that he made more than triple my salary at the time).
For the first several months we were living together, it didn’t occur to me that things were not even close to being equitable. He believed in keeping our money completely separate and that all bills must be split evenly, even though that left him with a LOT of leftover money, and me barely getting by after also paying daycare expenses. Since he had talked about us getting married and having a child or two together, I thought that when we got to that point, it would become “our” money. I didn’t really worry about it.
When I started seeing the unfairness of having to do all the household things and fund a full 50% of our lifestyle, I spoke up for myself. I thought we would have a rational conversation, but I was wrong. His attitude was that his mom did everything, so that’s what women are supposed to do. I reminded him that his mom did not have a job outside of the home, and that if he wanted me to do all the household things on my own, then I should quit my job and he could be the sole breadwinner. He told me how “unfair” that would be to put all the financial pressure on him. He didn’t see how it was unfair for me to have 100% of the household responsibilities, so I swallowed it down and continued to live this way.
During late summer in 1996, I found out I was pregnant with our first child. I was so scared to tell him, because our relationship was not very solid, but even I was unprepared for how angry he would be. He accused me of getting pregnant “on purpose” to trap him. He wanted me to not have the baby; he even threw in my face the fact that I’d had an abortion before I met him. This was beyond cruel, because the abortion was due to my getting pregnant via a date rape incident, and he knew that was the reason I didn’t go through with that pregnancy. I told him that our child was conceived in a relationship and I was having the baby, but that if he didn’t want to be a father, we should break up. He said that he didn’t want people at work thinking ill of him, so I even offered to let him tell people at work that he broke up with me because he found out the baby wasn’t his; I was even willing to put “unknown” on the birth certificate. He didn’t leave me, but he basically refused to speak to me for a couple of months. In fact, he didn’t accept me being pregnant until he found out the baby was a boy.
I thought that we would get married because of the baby, but he never even mentioned marriage. In fact, I’d noticed that within a few months of moving in together, he stopped talking about marriage altogether. I didn’t want to rock the boat, so I kept my mouth shut.
I had our son, and for a few months, things seemed like they were getting better. He was still good to my oldest son, and he started being nicer to me. I thought we would be okay. I didn’t have that “head over heels” in love feeling with him, but I thought we would be able to make the best of things. I assumed that feeling didn’t last anyway, so I wasn’t too worried.
How wrong I was.