When I finally began to consider telling my own parents about my increasingly cruel and despondent partner, I worried that he had also prepped them for my meltdown. There was plenty of time and space for them to communicate without my knowing about it. My husband had proven himself adept at spinning the story before I even know one existed. And I just couldn’t handle a lecture from my own parents like the one I’d received from my mother-in-law. I considered them all I had, and I didn’t want to add any information to the situation that would counter that.
I told my dad first, very measured, that I was afraid I had made a mistake in getting married. We were at our favorite steakhouse, our first one-on-one meal since before the wedding, and I was getting worse at hiding my emotions. I stoically but tearfully described everything that had been bothering me since the wedding. I had spent most of the day studying the notes I’d been taking, so I was ready and armed with truth. I spoke with the cadence and measure of an attorney, backing up every claim with some vague sense of proof.
My dad set down his fork, set down his knife, looked at me, and said. “Leave him.”
And that’s when I finally realized that I was right to want to leave him, I was stupid to try to stay with him, and it may in fact be dangerous. Leaving was hard, right, and noble. And it was going to be awful.