‘Insulting text that blew up my marriage’
I can define the moment when I knew I'd leave my husband.
It wasn't when he threw a glass of wine in my face while our baby was sitting in my lap. Or when he called me "pathetic and lazy" when I begged him, crying, to please let me sleep in just one morning.
It was at 9am on a Friday when he was standing in a towel in our bathroom.
He'd been out the night before for a friend's birthday, and had gone straight to the spare room to sleep. I'd been up since 5am with our two-year-old, as usual.
He'd jumped into the shower before he even came downstairs to say hi to us and by that stage we hadn't seen him since the previous morning.
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Any mum will know the organising it would take to be out of the picture for 24 hours - yet this guy just did it, no discussion, no responsibilities. It was a major issue in our marriage since our son had been born. The man wouldn't even agree to putting his events on a family calendar, let alone talk to me about what his plans were any night.
He felt that letting me know he was doing something was asking permission.
Idiot. It's called respect.
But no matter how many millions of times we argued about his lack of communication and involvement, nothing ever changed.
So when I heard his phone pinging repeatedly when he was showering, I wanted to see what was going on. By that stage, I suspected he'd been cheating on me. He was betraying me, but in an unexpected way.
I opened the group chat and saw a discussion with his mates about drinks that night. But my husband's last reply left me cold.
"Don't think I can make it tonight. SWMBO will say no."
What was SWMBO? I assumed it was me, and I assumed it was mean. I wasn't wrong.
"She Who Must Be Obeyed," he told me calmly when I asked him as soon as he stepped out of the shower.
I'll never forget that look of defiance on his face. No remorse. No apology. I felt like I'd been slapped across the face.
I put up with never knowing if he'd be home for dinner, never knowing if he'd be around for me to go out to have a haircut, or see my friends. I let him get away with it, because it involved too much arguing - it was easier to just ask my mum to help.
It was easier to co-parent with my mum than it was with the father of my child.
I'd made excuses for him. I'd heard this happened in a lot of marriages - that the dad is sometimes doesn't fully engage with the baby until later. But now it was two years, countless arguments, and yes, abuse.
I would have thought the least I deserved was a tiny bit of respect and loyalty when he's talking about me publicly.
Apparently not. And he even had a name for it - SWMBO.
I just wanted some communication. For him to choose us, sometimes. It wasn't asking much.
I was so embarrassed, because his friends had replied with 'lols' and laughing emojis. So they knew what it meant.
There was no coming back from that.
Like a lightning bolt, I finally recognised this man did not deserve us. Why should we wait around for him, watching as he came and went, like the place was a hotel?
I'd put up with this sh*t for too long. We deserved so much more - and would be better off on our own.
My toddler and I were out of there within a week. Since then, he's never forgiven me for "taking my son away" from him. The son whom he lived with, but barely saw.
This article originally appeared on Kidspot and was reproduced with permission
Originally published as 'Insulting text that blew up my marriage'