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Wedded Bliss?

The day that I married for the second time had to have been one of the most unusual events of my life. Glennys didnít go to the wedding, which was fine with me. Stuart and his daughter came to the registry office where we were married, but Anida, Stuartís wife, refused to attend in protest. Stuart gave Anidaís apologies and said that she had to work, but I could read between the lines and knew that Anida was merely responding to all of the lies that Glennys had spread. I would never, ever, for as long as I lived, forgive Anida for what I saw as a flagrant lack of decorum by refusing to attend her brother-in-lawís wedding.

When the wedding ceremony ended, we went back to the house and Jon ordered a pizza. After we ate the pizza, we then went to a go-carting place in Reading. That evening we went to a restaurant for dinner, thus ending what I considered to be a rather unhappy wedding day.

One would have thought that our wedding night would have been consummated, especially considering the fact that I had denied Jon any sexual privileges while I had been living with Wendy, but that wasnít the case. We had been married for well over six seeks before Jon had expressed any sexual interest in me at all.

The sexual encounter however was one of my more unpleasant moments. Although I weighed in at just over 120 pounds, as soon as I got my clothes off, Jonís only comment to me was, íYouíve got just a little bit of fat on your stomach that you need to get rid of before you will be just perfect.í

Jon may have thought that he was giving me compliment, but I didnít see it that way at all. I really couldnít believe my ears. If anything, I was actually a little bit underweight and Jon was telling me in the middle of a sexual approach that I had some fat on my stomach that I needed to get rid of. That had to have been one of the most insensitive pre-coital comments that I had ever heard in my entire life. I had heard stories where men had told women after sex that they were fat, but I had never in my life heard of a man saying such a thing to a woman beforehand. But of course, I had not yet realised that being a sadist, Jon needed to harm me before he could derive any pleasure in the sexual act.

The severe depression that I had entered into had caused me to lose all interest in sex, and Jonís negative comment about my body squelched any positive feelings that I may have had. I wasnít interested in performing for my new husband at all. Therefore, after he had thrust himself into and out of my body for several minutes, he lost interest, turned over, and went to sleep. There was no ejaculation on that night or any other night that Jon attempted to take his conjugal rights. I cannot say that I was overly concerned about Jonís lack of sexual desire because, thanks to the events of the previous year and a half, I had lost just about every bit of sex drive that may have existed within my psyche. Sex with Jon was probably something that I desired least in my marriage.

Years later I would read a newspaper article about Kinsey, the famed sex master of the 1950ís. He hadnít consummated his wedding vows for the first several months of his marriage. It later transpired that he was bi-sexual, and some speculate that he was actually homosexual. In addition, many of his theories with regard to human sexuality were suspect, as he had been known to come up with some really damaging theories. One such premise was that children had sexual urges, which did nothing but to equip paedophiles with they ammunition needed to carry out their nefarious activities.

I wasnít the only person who Jon didnít desire sexually. He confided to me that the last time that he had engaged in sexual relations with Kim was the night that their aborted child had been conceived. At the time of this declaration, I took it to mean that Jon didnít desire Kim as a partner and mate, and erroneously assumed that because he wanted to have sex with me that he must therefore desire me. It never once occurred to me that if Jon would lose interest in Kim that he would lose interest in me. In addition, he was just as obsessed with Kimís weight as he was mine.

Jon told me on numerous occasions that Kim was fat, and in particular, she had a fat ass. Jon made it perfectly clear to me that he didnít like the little bit of fat around my stomach. Jon led me to believe that his previous lovers had been slim and if they failed to meet his rigid weight restrictions, he would put them on a diet and monitor all the food that they put in their mouths. I didnít know it yet, but if a womanís body didnít measure up to Jonís very strict requirements, he would not think twice about trading her in for a newer model.

Jon had a fascination with skinny bodies that only an experienced psychologist would be able to analyse. Jon claimed that he was a homophobe, but the simple fact is that he was repulsed by the curvaciousness of a womanís body and preferred a woman who was underweight, flat-chested and flat-bottomed. One cannot therefore discount the possibility that if one observed the body of a sexual partner that Jon preferred, it was either the body of a man or a young person, either in the form of girls or boys.

For the entire duration of our marriage, Jon only attempted to have sex with me on a handful of occasions. All sexual encounters, except for the first one, were rejected by me. Jon complained that I would not have sex with him, but the simple fact of the matter is that if he did in fact desired me sexually, he would have been nicer to me. Actions speak louder than words, and Jon didnít act like a person who was sexually attracted to me. In retrospect, I should count myself lucky that I rejected his advances. Although I didnít know it at the time, Jon put my health seriously at risk on the few occasions that he did force himself on me.

Within a couple of weeks of marriage, Jon decided that he wanted me to go to a slimming club to lose the pounds that I had gained while I was had been living at Wendyís. He agreed to pay for the slimming club and to pay me for every pound that I lost. It was so important to Jon that he had a skinny wife that this was to be one of the few times in our marriage that he had ever paid for anything for me. With a few weeks I had lost all of the weight that I had gained and then some, but it wasnít to last. Events that were to transpire would ensure that it would be incredibly difficult for me to maintain any kind of normal weight.

Jon decided that he wanted us to socialise with his family even though they had never expressed an interest in socialising with us. Jon therefore made a date for us all to go out to dinner together. He never asked me what I wanted and just assumed that I would go along with what he wanted. I tried my best to play happy families for Jonís sake, but the fact of the matter was that I had never forgiven Anida for not coming to our wedding. She may have though that she had given a good enough excuse by saying that she had to work, but I personally felt that she could have taken the day off to go to our wedding. If Anida didnít care enough about me to go to my wedding, then I didnít care enough about her to go to dinner with her.

When we arrived at the restaurant, Anida tried to make conversation, but practically the first words out of her mouth were to speak about a family member. She then made a point of saying that if there were any disputes in the family with regard to this particular person, when she would take that personís side. It seemed to me that Anida was sending a clear message that she was taking Glennysíes side in the whole situation, even though it was nothing to do with her.

Of all people, I would have hoped that Anida would have been more sympathetic to me because she knew all too well just how selfish Glennys could be. It was Glennys who made Stuart and Anida homeless, and even Anida said that she didnít think that Stuart had ever forgiven his mother for doing such a thing. For reasons known only to Anida, she decided that she would rally round Glennys and support her in her attempts to split us up.

To be honest, I didnít care to have any contact with Anida because I was very upset about the fact that she had displayed a passive-aggressive personality and refused to attend my wedding. Jon, however, took it badly. He was very upset about Anidaís attitude. Jon wanted us to be invited to the house, but Anida made it perfectly clear that I wasnít welcome. This upset Jon and must inevitably have put an even greater strain on his very fragile state of mental health.

All Jon wanted to do was play happy families with a family that definitely wasnít happy. Again, I was blamed for the fact that I wasnít welcome at Jonís brotherís home. I was such an easy target and if the entire fault was placed on me, Jon would not have to look at the psychodynamics of a family that was just as dysfunctional as my own.

A couple of weeks after Jon and I were married, we received call from an acquaintance, asking if we would like some kittens. I was elated, as I had always loved animals. I believed that if we had pets, it would bring us closer together as a couple and help us to appear more normal.

When I asked Jon if we could have the kittens, he responded negatively.

I was very upset and said, ĎOkay, then I just phone Anne and tell her that you donít want them.í

That was all I had to say. Jon didnít mind if I knew that he was a total asshole, but he didnít want anyone else to know. In the blink of an eye Jon changed his mind and said that we could have the kittens.

On the way to collect the kittens, we went to a pet store and purchased the supplies that we would need for the new members of our family. When we arrived at the home of the woman who was giving away the kittens, we selected two beautiful female tabby cats, who we named Tiggy and Cleo. We didnít know it when we selected them, but they were very ill with fleas and cat flu. It would take a long time and much expense before they would achieve normal health. For a while I was very concerned about Cleo, who was the runt of the litter.

My two little kittens brought me more love and happiness than one could possibly imagine. There is no doubt in my mind that they kept me from losing my mind during the more turbulent periods of my marriage. I had been propelled into an austere lifestyle that was totally alien to me. My cats were the only things in this world that gave me a sense of stability, which is what I so desperately needed. The life that I had entered into was of such a bizarre nature that if it hadnít been for those two creatures, who must have been sent by God, I may have had a total psychotic breakdown, a breakdown so severe that I would never have had the strength within me to recover.

I had been living off of my savings since leaving the Air Force, and that savings had dwindled at an ever alarming rate. Upon leaving the military, I had $20,000 in savings, $10,000 in a bond, a life insurance policy and annuities. Little by little, I had to cash in my life insurance policy, annuities, and bond, and the money that was in savings account had decreased dramatically. Therefore, by the time that I had actually married, almost all of the money that I had saved during my 15 years in the military had vanished.

Although Jon provided a roof over my head and kept the refrigerator stocked with food that he liked, he only gave me money on three occasions. The first time was early on in the marriage when he gave me money to buy some clothes, which I desperately needed. The second time was a little over a year later when he grudgingly contributed £200 to a car for me to buy, and the third and last time was when he gave me £50 to buy a new blouse for an interview with British Airways. Other than that, financially I was on my own.

While the Home Office stipulated that Jon must provide for me, he didnít see any reason why he should have to follow that ruling any more than he had followed any of the laws that had been broken since I had known him.

Since my funds had dwindled considerably, the only thing left for me to do was to get a job. There was one slight problem, however, as the Home Office hadnít yet given me permission to work. Nevertheless, when I saw a sign on a shop door asking for a Saturday receptionist, I applied for the job and got it. My pay was £3.35 per hour, but something was better than nothing. Jon, however, wasnít pleased. He didnít want me doing anything that he considered menial labour. He would prefer that I had no money at all than to work as a receptionist at a double glazing firm.

When Jon and I had been married a few weeks, I received a letter from my first husband. In it, he was asking for money to send my son to a private school. In the letter, my ex-husband noted that Aaron was very sensitive and he didnít want him to go to a regular school, which wasnít in a very nice area. There was no question whatsoever about me giving Aaron the money because I had always given him money for his education.

Merely out of a desire to share a part of my life with my new husband, I showed the letter to Jon and was totally unprepared for his response. Jon became very angry and even abusive. He said that he didnít want me to send the money because Aaron was Ďsoftí and it would do him good to be toughened up. With regard to my ex husband, Jon said that Ďthe gravy train is over.í I had not twigged onto it yet, but Jon wanted to be the only person living on my gravy train.

I couldnít understand why Jon was reading the letter in such a way, because I had merely showed him the letter for his own personal information. I hadnít asked Jon for any money because I intended to use my savings, which is what I had done since leaving the military. I suppose that it was at that point in our marriage that I realised I couldnít speak to Jon about matters relating to my son. From that point on, I never once brought up the subject of my son because I felt that anything that I said would be met with derision.

Although I never said one word to Jon about this, it didnít go unnoticed that Glennys was being given just about everything she wanted in a silver platter while my son, who had never done anything to anybody, was being made to suffer. Nevertheless, even though I knew that I could never approach Jon about any financial matters, I still tried to make a go of my marriage.

One evening, I was feeling particularly playful and began teasing Jon in a sexual manner. Our sex life was particularly non-existent and I thought that it was time to change the tone. Although I wasnít particularly interested in sex for the sake of sex, I knew that sex was something that most men liked, and therefore endeavoured to make Jon happy in that aspect of our life together.

As I walked up the stairs, laughing and teasing, enticing my husband further and further, his only comment to me was, ĎWhatís this?í, poking at my stomach and hips, ĎIíve got a lumpy wife. I married a marsupial!í

Although Jon made his rather insensitive comment in a teasing matter, it nonetheless hurt. At that, I abandoned my leisure pursuit. I have always been sensitive about my weight and didnít appreciate people drawing attention to the fact that I have never been skin and bone, and probably never will be. That was the last time in our marriage that I ever initiated a sexual act with my second husband. I wanted a man who loved me and adored me, not someone who called me names and attacked my body.

One Friday evening while Jon was still working at Mercury, he didnít come home until well past 7.00 pm. The dinner that I had prepared for him had long since gone cold and was therefore not worth eating. I had tried to phone his work repeatedly, wondering where he was and why he hadnít even bothered to phone.

At about 7:30, Jon finally pulled into the driveway. I was clearly upset that he had kept me and dinner waiting, and asked him where he had been. Jon was initially not forthcoming, but finally told me that he had stayed late at work speaking to one of his colleagues. He then went on to relate to me all of the political details of the department that he was working in. Jonís excuse seemed plausible enough, so I didnít question him further and allowed myself to forget all about the incident.

Even though Glennys was out of the house, she was still by no means out of our lives. Jon spent an inordinate amount of time fixing up her new accommodation, or that his what he told me. On his days off, he would leave the house early in the morning and often would not return until late in the evening. Because I hated Glennys so much, I was loathe to phone her house to speak to Jon. Actually, it was to Jonís advantage to have Glennys and me hating each other because he could pit one against the other and create the family tension that he so enjoyed. He was able to tell me that he was at his motherís house, knowing fully well that I would never dream to phoning her to verify his stories, and then go somewhere else that he only knows about.

I would only phone Glennys when I was desperate, worrying where on earth my husband could be. Inevitably, on the few occasions that I did ring, Glennys would tell me that Jon wasnít there. Of course I didnít believer her. She had given me no reason to trust one word that she had ever said. Glennys had done nothing to help me, and in fact did everything in her power to drive a wedge between Jon and me from the day that I met her. I naturally assumed that Glennys was lying to me in an attempt to cause arguments and split us up.

In retrospect, Jon was a very astute individual and played one of the oldest war games there is, divide and conquer. If he was successful in ensuring that the significant people in his life were quarrelling, then they would be less inclined to get together and compare notes. All Jon had to do was to make a few derogatory comments about one individual to the other, and the seeds of hostility and contempt would be planted, thereby making it extremely difficult to maintain a cohesive union.

After a couple of months of having a husband who I believed spent every spare minute at his motherís house, I decided it was time to say something. I was unhappy that I never saw Jon. Even though I was a married woman, I may as well have been single because we never did anything as a couple. Jon promised me by that Christmas he would be finished fixing up his motherís home and I would then have him all to myself. I only had to wait until Christmas, and then I would have a proper husband. That is what I hoped for, anyway.

Not long after we married, to my chagrin, I noticed that Jon would wake up at 3:00am each morning. It was at this time that I hadnít yet put two and two together and realised that many of the phone calls made to both Kim and me were also made in the early hours of the morning.

When Jon woke up, he had no regard for the needs of anyone other than himself. He would turn on the lights and the television with absolutely no thought to the fact that I was sleeping next to him. Naturally, with the lights on and the television blaring, I would wake up and become quite annoyed.

I couldnít cope with the sleep deprivation. I had been subjected to similar psychological tactics during my first marriage and I wasnít going to put with them in my second. Therefore, when Jon woke me up in the middle of the night by turning on the lights and television, I became extremely irate and insisted that he turn them off. Jon became very upset about the fact that this was one of the few occasions when I would assert myself and grudgingly went downstairs. I really didnít care what he did just as long as he didnít bother me. To be honest, I wasnít overly concerned about what Jon got up to in those early morning hours, but never in my wildest dreams did I ever imagine that he could have engaged in any sinister acts, which is what I was to learn that he was doing.

I had always known that Jon was a nail biter because it is a little difficult to hide such a problem. Jon told me that he had been a nail biter since early childhood. Jonís father was aware of the problem and actually tried to get him to stop. Whenever his father would see Jon biting his nails, he would throw a shoe at him in an attempt to deter him. Although this technique wasnít particularly effective, at least he cared enough to actually try to do something about it.

One thing that I had never noticed, however, was the intensity with which Jon bit his nails. After he had bitten them to the quick, he would start on his toes. When there were no more toe nails to bite, Jon took a knife and started carving up his hands and feet. It was just too much for me to bear, to sit there and watch my husband mutilate himself. I would therefore watch television and try to ignore that fact that my husband was sitting in the living room mutilating himself. I didnít at that time realise that psychologists now know that nail biting is a symptom of a much deeper psychological disorder.

Jonís three-month contract with Mercury was soon coming to an end because it was announced that the department that Jon had been working in would be moving to London. Jon needed to get another job and therefore accepted a position at Racal in Basingstoke. He accepted a position as a network controller and would have to work 12-hour shifts because the company was responsible for providing communication support 24 hours a day. I didnít necessarily want Jon to work on a 24-hour shift schedule because, in addition to the fact that it would put a strain on our married life together, it would also affect his circadian rhythm. On the few occasions that I brought up the subject of Jon getting a regular job with more social hours so that we spend more time together, he made it perfectly clear to me that he would not earn as much money, which is what he really wanted in this world.

Before Jon took the job at Racal, however, he made a point of telling my driving instructor and her partner that he had been given the opportunity to go to London with Mercury, but he didnít want to go. What Jon told these people was an out and out lie, and I told him so. When Jon finished his spiel, I pointed out that Jon couldnít go to London with Mercury because he hadnít been offered a job with them. It really upset me that Jon was making up stories to tell people when he really had no reason to.

I suppose that Jon was just as angry at me for correcting his lie as I was at him for telling a lie in the first place. What I didnít realise, however, was the fact that Jon didnít really see what he had done as a lie. At the most, he probably thought that he was embellishing the story to add flavour to it. Jon had honed the skill of little white lies to the point that they had become a part of his personality. The only thing that bothered Jon about his penchant for telling tales was the fact that I couldnít lie as easily as he could. Even though I knew that Jon had no qualms whatsoever about telling bold face lies, I still hadnít twigged on to the fact that he would lie to and about me just as easily as anything else.

Jon made a point of exaggerating every penny that he spent on the house. He told me that the mortgage was over £500 when in fact it was only about £250. He told me that he had spent about £500 on food for Christmas when he never spent anywhere close to that. He informed me that he spent several hundred pounds on a necklace for me, when in fact I saw a similar one at a shop for £70 at the most.

My entire life was spent feeling guilty about all of the money that Jon spent on me. If that was so, then why did I have to go eighteen months without any new underwear? Why did I wear the same shoes day after day because I didnít have any money to buy new ones? Why had I become so obsessed with money that if I saw a coin on the street, I would stop and pick it up? Why, why, why?

When Jon settled into his job at Racal, he found that it wasnít to his liking. Although Jon made a point of getting out of the Army because he didnít like the lifestyle, the very thing that he missed the most about the Army was the lifestyle. Because of Jonís personality, he wasnít necessarily well thought of. He wasnít invited to social events and his colleagues didnít invite him to lunch. It obviously hurt Jon a great deal that he was excluded by his peers and I hurt for him. I didnít like to see Jon in so much pain and told him so. I was very sorry for Jon that he didnít fit in at work. I know all too well what it feels like not to fit in.

Within a few weeks of being married, I received a knock on the door. It was the local milkman, wanting to know if we wanted to receive milk every day. I thought it would be nice to have the milk delivered to the house, thus ensuring that we always had fresh milk. I therefore agreed to have the milk delivered on a daily basis. Instead of Jon being pleased that we were settling in to family life by having milk delivered to our house, he became enraged that I had dared to make any decisions regarding the house without consulting him.

Jon took a similar attitude when I decided to employ a window cleaner to come and clean the windows once a month. I thought it would be nice to have clean windows all year round and therefore agreed to pay a man £3 a month to come and clean them. Again, Jon threw a tantrum because I had dared to make any household decisions without speaking to him. I have never, ever seen Jon clean one window in the house and can only assume that he would rather have dirty windows than pay someone to clean them.

Jon was such a control freak that he didnít want me to purchase any cleaning supplies without consulting him. I bought some products from the local Kleeneze agent, and instead of Jon being pleased that I had taken an interest in the house, he flew off the handle once again. I had become accustomed to Jonís emotional outbursts over the most inconsequential of things.

Because I had been used to looking after myself and making my own decisions from a very early age, I didnít think much of his rages and did pretty much what I wanted to do anyway. I therefore ignored a very crucial piece of information about Jonís personality. He had to be in complete control and simply couldnít handle it if he wasnít the all-empowered overlord.

In early November the letter arrived from the Home Office, stating that I was allowed to stay in England for a year. I wasnít allowed to claim any benefits, but I was allowed to work. When Jon came home for lunch, he read the letter and focused primarily on the part of the letter that said I was allowed to work.

At that precise moment, Jon changed completely. He started yelling at me and told me to get out and get a job. I had no idea what I was supposed to do, so I went downtown and started registering with the agencies in Basingstoke. I had few, if any, transferable skills, but I did know how to type. Typing, I would come to realise, would be my salvation.

On Jonís birthday, I decided to get him some Caura jewellery, which I was selling. I had selected a set of cuff links and a tie clip, and presented them to him on his birthday. I was totally unprepared for Jonís response. He was deeply offended that I had the gaul to purchase products for him that I sold. Jon made it quite clear to me that under no circumstances did he want me to give him products that I sold. Jon merely put the items in a straw tray in his bedroom and never once wore them.

When Christmas came, I made a special effort to get Jon something really nice. I went to the local department store and purchased him a multicoloured pullover for £40, which was practically all of the money that I had earned from one of my temp jobs. I wanted to please him and make up for his disappointing birthday, but it was never to be. Jon made no secret of the fact that he didnít like his gift. He didnít like the colour or the pattern. It was a lovely sweater that I had taken a great deal of care and attention to select, yet Jon didnít like this present either. What I didnít yet realise was that I could buy anything for Jon and he still would not like it.

Amazingly, Jon and I were invited to a New Yearís party by an acquaintance whose husband worked at Sony. When I asked Jon if we could go, he agreed. I also asked my driving instructor is she and her partner would like to attend, and she agreed as well. On New Yearís Eve, my driving instructor phoned and said that she and her partner wanted to have a quiet night in and didnít want to go to the party. I then phoned Jon from my work and told him that it would be just the two of us at the party. I couldnít believe my ears when he told me that he didnít want to go either. What I found to be particularly upsetting was the fact that Jon had promised me that we could go to the party, but when the big day came, he backed out.

When I asked Jon why he didnít want to go to the party, he said it was because he was depressed because we hadnít been getting along lately. He felt that if we went to the party everyone would laugh and make fun of us. I couldnít understand why Jon was being so paranoid and why he thought people would make fun of us. Sadly, I didnít pursue the issue. Maybe I would have learned much more about my husbandís psychological makeup if I had asked him why he thought everyone would laugh at us.

The evening I went home in a severe state of despondence. I had my heart set on going to that New Yearís party because I wanted to meet people and hopefully make some friends. It was pointless trying to speak to Jon about it because his mind was made up. I therefore endeavoured to make the best of a bad situation and proceeded with fixing dinner for our evening at home.

Some time during the course of the evening, Jon decided that he wanted sex. He must have been crazy to expect me to want to sleep with him after he had refused to take me to a party that I really wanted to go to. I made it perfectly clear to Jon that I didnít desire sexual relations with him, and fled the room to escape his advances. Jon chased me up the stairs and pounced on me. I struggled to get away from him, yet he still managed to get my T-shirt and bra off.

Undressed and on the floor, Jon started sucking one the nipples of my bare breasts, which I found to be utterly revolting. As I lay on the floor under the desk, I pushed myself away from him. In the process of the struggle, Jonís head was knocked on the wooden corner of the desk and he reeled backwards from the pain.

At that very instant, the phone rang. It was Colette. She had saved me from inevitable marital rape. I suppose that I was so grateful to Colette from saving me from being sexually ravaged by my husband and tormentor; I made plans to go visit her the following month even though I really couldnít afford it.

Out of danger, I push the unpleasant incident out of my mind, which was the only way that I could deal with what was happening. I didnít want to think about it. I didnít want to contemplate the uneasy realisation that the only time my husband could become sexually excited was when he was harming me either physically or mentally. And especially, I denied to myself the fact that Kim had accused Jon of raping her in practically the same way that I had almost been raped.

The following day I asked Jon to take me to a psychic fayre that was behind held on New Yearís day. When I arrived, I selected a man to give me a reading who looked somewhat down to earth. Before he shuffled and dealt the cards, I poured my heart out to him about the events of the previous night, omitting the attempted rape.

The reader dealt the cards and laid out a spread that I will call the relationship spread.

When the reader looked at Jonís side of the spread, he noted, ĎHe has had an appalling childhood, and sadly , things are going to get much, much worse.í

ĎHeís going to get another woman!í, the reader announced in almost shock as I was feeling. ĎHe would never do that,í I replied in disbelief.

I truly and honestly believed that Jon would never betray me in such a way. I was special, or at least I thought I was. Many years later, when reading perjured court documents that Jon had written, I was to discover that as early as March 1994, he was spending nights in hotel rooms with other women, and then had the nerve to say that I was the woman he was with!

With regard to me, the reader relayed, ĎYou are going to get involved with something to do with schools and hospitals.í

The reader ended the reading by saying, ĎYou will get so much more in return for all of the sacrifices that you have had to make.í

I had no idea what sacrifices that he was referring to. I had already made plenty of sacrifices and naturally assumed that he was referring to the ones that I had made in the past. I had no idea that things could get any worse than they already were. I really didnít have a clue.

I didnít dispute anything that the reader told me because I suppose, in my heart, I knew the marriage was over before it had really even begun.

Jon had never given up his desire for double-glazing, he just put in on hold for a while. Therefore, when a double-glazing salesman phoned to make an appointment, Jon made the appointment without consulting me. One evening a Zenith double-glazing salesman came to our home and sold Jon double-glazing for the entire house at a price of £5,000, which was about £3,000 less than what Brackenwood wanted for exactly the same job.

In February, the double-glazing was installed. Although I originally protested to Jon spending all that money on a house that I didnít want to live in anyway, I was quite pleased with the outcome. I was, however, somewhat disturbed about Jonís activities during the day.

The first thing that Jon tried to do was to put my kittens under the cupboards in the kitchen. This tactic he no doubt picked up from his mother, who had a habit of locking children in closets. Horrified at what I witnessed, I stopped Jon from locking the kittens up in a small hole in the kitchen and took them up to my room where they could stay.

That afternoon when the workmen were almost finished, Jon started asking me questions about my trip to Germany to visit my friend, Colette. He wanted to know what the weather was like, how the flight was, that sort of thing. As Jon robotically asked me one question after another, I realised that he was asking me the intimate details of my trip not because he was interested, but because he wanted to go to work and make up stories to tell his colleagues.

I was incensed that Jon should use me in the elaborate fantasy world he was conjuring up. I told Jon, ĎOh, I see, you are only asking me questions to make it seem like you care, but really you donít give a damn.í

Jon became agitated at what I had said to him because he knew it was true. Then, unexpectedly, he said, ĎIím going to take the job!í

ĎWhat job?í, I asked. What job are you talking about?í

It took a while to get it out of Jon, but he was intending to take a job in Russia, which he had spoken to me about some months before. Initially, when Jon had broached the subject to accepting a job that would take him out of the country for many months of the year, I balked. Times had changed, however, and I wasnít particularly bothered about what he did anymore.

I wanted so desperately for us to be a normal family that I asked Jon if we could have a party. Jon didnít want to have a party, but grudging agreed because he wasnít able to come up with an adequate excuse for us not to have one. I came up with a list of people who I knew who I would like to get to invite. Jon didnít invite any of his friends and I didnít pressure him, since he never wanted the party in the first place.

On the day of the party, everyone phoned and let me know that they would not be coming for one reason or another. Since no one wanted to come, we decided to cancel the party and left a note on the door of the one remaining couple who hadnít yet declined the invitation. I took this as a major rejection and felt that people didnít want to come because they didnít like me as a person. It was at that point that I vowed that I would never, ever again endure such a humiliation.

That evening Jon and I decided to help ourselves to the food and drink that had been purchased. As we drank more and more port, we became embroiled in an argument. Quite to my surprise, Jon took one of his treasured plates that I was supposed to wash, dry and stack in a certain order, and hurled it at me, smashing against the wall.

I honestly couldnít believe what was happening. There was no reason whatsoever for Jon to lose control of himself and throw dishes at me.

I couldnít cope with what I was experiencing. My mother had thrown shoes at me whenever we argued. My first husband threw glasses and silverware at me literally if he came home from work in a bad mood. It seemed that I was reliving the horrors of my childhood and first marriage all over again. I have never maliciously thrown an object at another person, so I didnít understand why my mother, my first husband, and then my second husband would engage in such aggressive acts.

In response to witnessing a dish smash against the wall right next to my head, I ran upstairs into the bedroom in tears. In my bedroom I was shielded from the brutality of my marriage.

As if on queue, my sister rang, thus saving me from what was to come. During the conversation that ensued, I tearfully told her what had just transpired. My sister generously told me that I could stay with her if I liked. She, apparently, was the only person in my family who was concerned one bit about my welfare.

It should worth noting that on the night that Kim had accused Jon of raping her, they both had consumed a bottle of port.

One of Jonís favourite pass-times was going for drives. Because I didnít have access to a car and Jon would not allow me to drive his car, if I wanted to go somewhere I had to walk, take the bus, or take the train. When I initially came to England, Jon would take me to the appointments that I needed to go to in connection with the beauty business that I was trying to set up. As time went on, however, he became increasingly resentful of everything that I asked of him. Jon would drop me off at the places I needed to go to in order to give a make-up party or a colour analysis presentation, but more often than not, he was late picking me up with no explanation of what had kept him so long. I would frequently have to fend for myself out in the middle of nowhere, sometimes without access to a phone, waiting for him to collect me. Whenever Jon would arrive from wherever it was that he had been, he was often in an extremely aggressive mood, hurling insults at me when I had done nothing that I knew of to elicit such verbal abuse.

Sometimes when I was in the car with Jon, he would undergo a hideous personality change similar to that described in the tale of ĎDr Jekell and Mr Hydeí. Jon would grab hold onto the steering wheel and emit the most grotesque pants, as he sped down the road at maximum speed.

During these occasions, I would watch in horror, tears streaming down my face, begging him to stop the car and let me out, which he never did. Jon would always drive at full speed until we arrived home, at which time I would jump out of the car and run into the house, often into the safety of my room. Most of the times that Jon would undergo his hideous personality changes, he would not follow me into the house, but would back out of the driveway, and speed off. I was so grateful to be away from him when he was in his crazed maniacal states that I never bothered to ask him where he had been, and usually he never told me. Those absences, which were initially hours, then days, and then weeks, had taken on sinister overtones that I had absolutely no knowledge of.

Never before in my life can I ever recall being subjected to such insanity. When I tried to tell people that my husband would sometimes go crazy behind the wheel, they didnít take me seriously and supposed that I was being melodramatic. Surely, the people who I confided in would not believe what I was trying to tell them if they had not experienced it for themselves. It wasnít normal for a person to lose his sanity when driving. I can only imagine that the people who I confided in supposed that I must be making up stories because it wasnít rational for a sane person to engage in such activities. The problem, was, however, that Jon was not sane.

Knowing full well that no one could possibly understand what I was going through unless they witnessed it for themselves, I didnít try to elaborate on Jonís behaviour. This failure to be more specific about those episodes when he would temporarily lose his mind were as much a part of the fact that I was not able to put into words exactly what he would do. They best way for me to describe Jonís actions would be to mimic him, but that was something that I simply could not bring myself to do.

Many people believed that I was just making up stories when Jon would go berserk when he was driving. I can only suppose that those individuals failed to consider the many cases of road rage each year, where the victims are often harmed or even killed by the antics of other drivers.

I found it very distressing, trying to explain to someone what my husband would do while he was driving a car. It was too much for me even to think about so I pushed all those horrible incidents, along with many others, out of my mind.

I was very good at forgetting. I had successfully managed to almost completely forget about all the abuse, neglect and trauma that I endured as a child, even though I could never erase from my mind some of the more treacherous incidents that happened when I was an adolescent. I also convinced myself that my first marriage was just one awful mistake, and tried to minimise the devastating effect that his physically harming me and stealing my child had on me. Somehow, I managed to make myself forget it all, but Jonís behaviour had the effect of bringing most of those memories, little by little, back with the greatest clarity.

It didnít take me long to realise that Jon would lose control of himself anytime I asked him to give me a lift anywhere. Therefore, common sense dictated that if I didnít want to witness my husbandís insanity, I should therefore not get in a car with him. I therefore stopped asking Jon to give me a ride anywhere. If I couldnít get where I needed to go by walking, bus or train, then I simply didnít go. My sphere of existence, therefore, was extremely limited. I donít think that I left Basingstoke city limits for a couple of years because I subconsciously avoided getting into a car with Jon at all costs.

Again, I was made responsible for my husbandís fits of road rage. Because he made it seem as though he only lost control of himself when he was with me, most people who didnít really know him thought he was just the sweetest, nicest thing. Jon did nothing to dissuade people from believing that my neurosis was all in my mind. Jon had nothing to gain and everything to lose if people were to suspect that my increasingly odd behaviour was merely a reaction to what I was having to endure at home and with my husband.

In the Spring of 1995 I went into the room where Jon kept his computer to look for some paper so I could write a letter. I found an A4 pad of paper and briefly noted the contents of the page. As I took a closer look, however, I noted that each line was filled completely full with names of women, their vital statistics, and their telephone number. I was outraged that Jon should have a page full of the names of women, probably prostitutes, who he may or may not have called.

I picked up the phone and called Jonís work.

ĎIím just sitting here with a piece of paper that is completely full of the names, vital statistics and telephone numbers of women. What are you doing with that?í, I challenged my husband.

ĎLook at the numbers. Is there a Ď1í in the number?í, asked Jon.

I scanned the sheet and noted that none of them had a 1 as the second digit. ĎNo, they donít have a Ď1í at the beginning,í I responded. I then let the mater drop, and changed the subject to a more tasteful topic of conversation.

The reason why Jon asked me this was because British Telecom had recently changed all of the telephone numbers by adding a Ď1í to the beginning of each number. If the Ď1í was missing that meant that it was an old sheet of paper. Since Jon had been able to Ďproveí that the sheet of paper was possibly older than I thought, I let the matter drop. It was easier for me to believe that Jon had written that list before we had become a couple than for me to believe what I knew deep, down inside to be true. I couldnít grapple with the fact that my husband was the sort of person who would solicit prostitutes, so I didnít.

It is worth noting that when we initially began dating, Jon told me that when he was going out with Kim, he jokingly suggested that they both participate in a Ďthree in a bedí type sexual scenario. The plan was that the couple would hire a prostate as the third person in the sex game.

Jon told me that Kim had become obsessed with finding a third sexual partner and even read contact magazines to seek out the perfect partner. I wanted to believe that Kim would engage in such activities because I really didnít want to know that Jon was the instigator in such a proposition.

To be perfectly honest, I have only met about one or two women in my life who are so sexually aggressive that they would read contact magazines. To this day, I have never met a woman who would go out and pay for sex. In my opinion, it is usually the men who engage in such practices. If I had been thinking clearly, I would have been able to deduce that it wasnít Kim, but Jon, who wanted a three in a bed sex romp.

Jon had become convinced that he had food allergies, which is not an unusual condition for many. What was odd, however, was the fact that he would intentionally eat the very foods that would bring out an allergic reaction. (It is now believed that some forms of obsessive-compulsive disorders are actually exacerbated by food allergies.) Even though Jon knew that he was allergic to diary products and monosodium glutamate, he decided to pay £250 for an allergy testing kit that had been advertised in one of his health magazines.

When the kit arrived, Jon drove all over Basingstoke and found a clinic that would take a sample of his blood. The sample was then sent abroad to be analysed, and a few days later Jon received a listing. The listing was comprised of several pages, which detailed the foods that he could and couldnít eat.

Personally, I was very upset that Jon would spend that much money on what was quite obviously a scam. He could have had an allergy test performed free of charge at any one of the many health food stores. If the problem was serious enough, I have no doubt that that National Health Service would have looked into the problem, again, free of charge. I felt that Jon was just throwing his money away when he should have been spending it on our marriage.

Jon spending large sums of money on himself in one day was nothing new, however. He periodically went out and spent many hundreds of pounds on things for himself while I was made to do without. Only on the very rarest of occasions did Jon ever purchase anything for me personally or us as a couple. Even when Jon ostensibly bought things for us as a couple, they were in fact his. This fact was made resoundingly clear to me when I was later forced to flee the family home with only a few of my possessions.

The next thing that Jon did was to decide that he wanted to go on a fast. I have been on fasts before when I wanted to lose weight quickly, and they are no fun. Aside from the fact that fasts never work in the long run, are extremely unhealthy, disturb the bodyís highly complex chemical composition, and tend to use up muscle instead of fat.

I told Jon that I didnít want him going on a fast because my life would be hell if he did. Jon assured me that the fast would not affect his personality one iota and proceeded with his plan against my wishes. True to my prediction, Jonís fast was harder on me than it was on him.

One morning Jon decided to give me a lift to my temporary job in Hook.

Jon looked at the fuel meter and commented, ĎThe petrol tank is almost on empty.í

I was surprised that Jon should be out of gas so soon because I had just given Jon £10 the day before for gas. ĎI donít understand how that can be because I just gave you money yesterday for gas.í I replied. I had no idea in the world what was to happen next.

Jon became enraged that I should contradict him. He grabbed me by the nape of the neck and shoved my face in very close proximity to the fuel meter.

ĎLook at it!í, Jon snarled at me. ĎI said we were almost out of petrol!, he snapped.

After having been assaulted by my own husband, I arrived at work visibly shaken. As an American, living in the very insular, jealous, threatened town Basingstoke, it was difficult enough for me to try and hang onto a job. Jonís violent behaviour certainly didnít help my employability because I often would go to work clearly upset from the unreasonable behaviour that he would exhibit at home. It is no wonder that I had been dismissed from so many menial jobs. Half the time I would arrive at work, clearly distressed from a litany of abuse that I had been subject to just prior to walking in the door. With no friends or family to confide in, I would pour my heart out to strange people I met at work, who clearly didnít give a damn about me or my problems. Some of the people who I confided in were sympathetic, but nonetheless couldnít offer me a job. They wanted someone who could stay focused on what she was being paid to do, not some hapless victim of domestic violence who couldnít keep her home life in order.

At the time of that particular domestic violent, I had no idea of what Jon where Jon was going or what he was doing to use so much petrol and be away from home for such long periods of time. Jon would never tell me about his obscene little pastime. I would not find out about his secret life for a couple of years.

Because Jon made such an issue of every bill that came into the house, I tried to make sure that I didnít talk on the phone too much. Therefore, one spring morning in 1995, I opened the phone bill and was shocked to see that £600 worth of calls had been made. Many of the calls had been made to a place, Tuvalu, which I had never heard of. I was terrified that Jon would think that I had run up the phone bill, so I showed it to him as soon as I opened it. Jon told me that he would phone British Telecom and query the bill. To my amazement, Jon didnít hit the roof as I had envisaged.

I was so thrilled that I wasnít being blamed for the sizeable phone bill that I didnít even give it a second thought. I just naturally assumed that those calls had been made in error. What I didnít know was that Tuvalu is merely an exchange that adult chat lines use to route their calls through. It would be more than a year before I would discover that little known fact.

After Jon had the double-glazing installed in the house, he stopped seeing to any home improvements in at all, except for the garden, that is. In fact, quite often I would come home after having worked all day long to have Jon criticise me for not changing my clothes and helping him with the garden. Normally, when I finished work, I was so exhausted that I just wanted to rest, which Jon never took into consideration.

One home repair that particularly disturbed me was the fact that the boiler wasnít working properly. In order to get a hot shower, I had to go to the boiler closet, push a little red button, wait a while for the water to heat up, and then take my shower.

What concerned me was the fact that I didnít know what to do if the override switch shouldnít work. I still had nightmares of that six-week spell where the only way that I could clean myself was to wash out of a bucket. I wasnít looking forward to going through that again anytime soon. The problem turned out to be the heating element, which cost about £20 and took all of 20 minutes to repair. It took Jon over a year to fix that problem and he only repaired it after a major row when he was worried that he had gone too far and I might actually walk out on him.

One of the most worthwhile moments in my life was when someone actually thought enough of me to pay me for my work. One morning I opened an envelope that had been sent to me to find that I had been paid £14 for a piece I had written on critical reading.

I had originally written the piece as a competition entry to Quattros magazine. Even though I didnít win the competition, the judges asked if they could publish my article in an upcoming edition of their magazine. Of course I agreed.

I was so pleased to have been published in any magazine at all, the money was insignificant. I would have done if for free just to see my name in print. The following year I wrote a piece called ĎGentle Whispersí correlating trees to past or parallel lives. The judge of the competition said that it was a good piece and suggested that I submit it to Prediction magazine, which I did. ĎGentle Whispersí was published in August 1996.

When I proudly showed Jon my cheque for £14 as payment for my first published piece, he looked at me and derisively replied, ĎWhoopee.í

Instead of being happy for me that I achieved something, he ridiculed me. That was the fist and last time that I shared any of my literary successes with Jon.

I worked ceaselessly to get the feeling of satisfaction and achievement that could only be derived from finding that people were going to pay me for my writing ability. I could very well have concentrated my efforts in the world of business, working tirelessly to acquire a high profile, powerful job that might be more financially rewarding, but that is not what I wanted. Even though the average writer gets paid about the same as a cleaner, that is what I wanted to do. Every night, after I had worked all day, fixed dinner and washed dishes and cleaned the house, I set about plying my trade, writing about subjects that I knew something about.

I was working on a piece about the perceptiveness and intuition of animals, and I used my pets as the star characters. Jon played a very minor role in the plot of the story. Quite possibly, Jonís name was mentioned in one or two sentences, merely as an interlude to the main characters of my tale, my cats. I had the piece typed into Word for Windows and it was displayed prominently on the screen of Jonís 486 Gateway computer, which, by the way, was the computer that Kim had purchased for him. Because I had nothing to hide, I left the article on the screen while I left the room to go to the bathroom. Also, just by coincidence, Jon came home from work and entered the computer room.

When Jon scanned the story and noticed his very minor role, instead of being pleased that I thought enough of him to include him in my work, Jon became irate.

Jon looked me in the eye and barked, ĎDonít you ever write about me! I think we need to think about getting a divorce.í

I was totally speechless. I had no idea that Jon was so unhappy that he wanted a divorce. I didnít know what to say about Jonís declaration, so I said nothing. I didnít want a divorce and hoped that Jon was just letting off steam.

Because I was working all of those temporary jobs, trying my best to earn enough money to pay my way in the household and get my beauty business off the ground, I was exhausted at the end of each day. The hourly rate I commanded was so low that I worked my temporary agency job from Monday to Friday and then went to my Saturday job working as a receptionist, and then later a sales assistant. I spent virtually all of my energy trying to get to and from the various jobs all over Basingstoke and I no longer had time to go to the gym and work out. I suppose that under the circumstances I had put on a few pounds, but I was by no means fat.

Jon, however, had an entirely different opinion. He came home from work one day while I was sitting in the living room eating a salad. Without any provocation whatsoever, Jon stood at the doorway, looked me straight in the eye, and said, ĎKrystal, you are a compulsive eater. You are an obese, grossly overweight sexual turnoff!í Jon then turned around and left the room just as abruptly as he entered.

Well, what could I say to that? Again, I was dumbfounded. I had done nothing whatsoever to elicit such an aggressive attack on my body and couldnít understand what prompted Jon to behave in such a fashion. I did know one thing though. That was the last time that man was ever going to sleep in my bed and make love to me, not that he ever had made love to me.

Because Jon left school at 16, he had only four ĎO-levelsí to his name, which wasnít going to get him very far in life. Because he wasnít able to get taken on as an apprentice, he was forced to join the Army as a boy soldier. His plight wasnít uncommon, as I have spoken to many men in the armed forces who enlisted only because they couldnít find suitable employment in the civilJon world. I suppose that in addition to the feelings of inferiority that Jon had about his upbringing, he also felt inadequate about his academic qualifications.

Some people who Jon worked with had enrolled in Open University courses and Jon decided that he would like to do the same. Jon told me that he would like to get a Bachelorís degree in a scientific discipline. He therefore enrolled in the course and paid the fees. He wasnít, however, able to attend any of the tutorial sessions or complete any of the course work, which is what the Open University is supposed to be all about.

When the semester finished, Jon had completed one assignment, if that. I suggested to him that since he wasnít completing the work, maybe it would be wise to drop the course and save himself the expense of further tuition. Jon would have none of that. He insisted on enrolling in a second semester even though he hadnít completed the course work for the previous term. The Open University naturally accepted his money because, after all, first and foremost they are in the business of making money and generating a profit.

Because I was for the most part working six days a week, I wasnít home most of the time to see what Jon got up to. Although Jon quite often had the day off, I would come home to find him sitting in the living room, watching television, with the house a mess. Whenever I would ask Jon what he had done all day, he would just shrug his holders as if to say that he hadnít done anything at all. After a while I stopped asking Jon what he did all day because he wouldnít tell me even is he had done something.

While Jon insisted that I work and contribute financially to the household, he never bothered to get me a National Insurance number to ensure that my pay was taxed appropriately. Because I was new to England, I had no idea in the world how to go about getting such a number. AnglJon Windows wrote me repeatedly, asking me to provide a National Insurance number. I didnít know what I was supposed to do, so I wrote back a letter that was perceived as being stroppy. My manager then phoned Jon and spoke to him about it. Finally, Jon took me to the council to fill out the appropriate forms. Jon was very angry with me because he had to go out of his way to do something that he should have done the very day I received the letter from the Home Office that stated that I was allowed to work. I know that Jon was embarrassed by me, but he never once stopped to think that I was embarrassed that I didnít have a National Insurance number and didnít know how to go about getting one.

* * *

This was just one more area in which my husband enabled me to recreate many of my childhood traumas. My mother was embarrassed by her children and neglected many of our needs. She never attended school functions or showed the slightest bit of interest in our progress, unless, of course, if we made a bad grade or got into trouble. The only time my mother ever showed even the slightest bit of maternal instinct was when she was shamed into it. Yet my brother, sister and me were always made to feel guilty for any small, insignificant thing that she could bring herself to do for us.

* * *

My first husband still wanted the money for AdrJon and wasnít particularly interested in my personal problems. I dutifully sent him a cheque for $200 from my ever-dwindling American checking account each and every month. If, for any reason, the cheque arrived late, my first husband would be on the phone to me, demanding his money. I never discussed any of my own financial difficulties with Jon, although he never hesitated to tell me in quite explicit detail every penny that he spent on me, his house, or his family.

Although I had faithfully sent my ex-husband his money every month, unknown to me, he had gone behind my back and turned me in to the authorities for non-payment of child support. He wasnít working and had no intention of doing so, and I suppose he thought he would milk the United States government for every penny of benefit that he could get out of them. Since I wasnít around to defend myself, I was an easy target. My first husband took full advantage of the opportunity and told the authorities that I hadnít been giving him money.

I had no idea of any of this until I received a letter from the Internal Revenue Service, stating that they were garnishing my tax rebate because I hadnít paid my child support payments. I simply couldnít believe what I was reading. I had made all kinds of personal sacrifices to ensure that my first husband had received his money, and he turned around and betrayed the mother of his son by committing such a despicable act.

This wasnít the first time I had had problems with the IRS. When we first separated, my first husband refused to file a joint tax return with me. I was therefore left with no alternative but to file the return myself, honestly stating the fact that I was the sole breadwinner of the family. My first husband also filed a return, stating that he was the breadwinner of the family, and received the rebate that I should have got. Somehow, the IRS decided that I hadnít paid enough money in taxes and accordingly garnished any rebates that I had been entitled to for years before they decided I didnít owe them any more money.

I knew from personal experience that it is no good trying to argue with the IRS. They are going to get their money and will target the individual who is least likely to make a fuss, which unfortunately, was me. Living in England, practically penniless, I was in no position to argue. Regardless of how I felt personally, I was left with no other alternative but to accept their verdict.

There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that my first ex-husband acted in self-righteous indignation. He acted the way he did only because he was angry with me for leaving him, and no other reason. My sonís feelings didnít play into the equation. He was just a pawn in a horrible, nasty game that was intended to harm me just a little bit more. If Aaronís father was truly acting in his sonís best interests, he would not have kept him from me all those years and then turned me in to the authorities the first opportunity that came along.

In one fell swoop, I was placed in a category with all of the other child support dodgers, many of whom were just like myself, people who had fallen on hard times and were too impoverished to look after themselves, much less anyone else.

The sad thing is that it wasnít I who was hurt the worst in this whole nasty mess. I had already been damaged by years of abuse from my parents and then my two husbands. It was Aaron who would be the one to ultimately suffer because he had been deprived of a mother and was brought up to believe that she had just abandoned him. Aaron would never know that his fatherís violence had driven me away and the United States Air Force would not permit me to take him to Germany with me. Aaron would never know that one of the only reasons why I had even bothered to marry a second time was so I could have a stable home-life and he could come visit me. And ultimately, Aaron would never know that the only reason why I didnít invite him to England to visit me was because it was bad enough that I had to live with a monster. I didnít want to subject my son to one.

I wasnít able to earn any money selling cosmetics because they were too expensive for the modest means of the typical Basingstoke woman. I didnít want to give up on establishing my own beauty business, however, so decided to switch to a brand of cosmetics that was more affordable Ė Avon. Because Jon had been so opposed to all of my other ventures, I didnít want him to know about Avon. I therefore surreptitiously began selling Avon to the people on Mansfield Road and Baird Avenue. I had a nice little business going until one Saturday, when I was working at Aaron Windows, a friend came over to the house and told Jon that I had been selling Avon. When I got home from work, Jon and our friend confronted me with the good news. Inwardly, Jon was seething but didnít allow his anger to show.

Just to make a point, Jon took a lipstick, opened the lid, and snapped the lipstick in two. I was very upset about what Jon had done and knew that he did it on purpose. Once again, Jon donned the look of innocence that had become his trademark and I was powerless to contradict his insistence that the lipstick had suddenly broken when he opened it.

I couldnít be angry with our friend for spilling the beans because I had never explicitly asked him not to say anything to Jon. For me though, the evening was ruined.

We decided to go over to the pub where Wendy worked and picked her up at the end of her shift. I was so upset about everything that was going on in our marriage that I poured my heart out to Wendy while we were in the ladies room. Wendy offered no words of consolation and did not appear to be very sympathetic. I later heard through the grapevine that Wendy had told several people that Ďshe couldnít stand meí.

When Jon and I left the pub, he asked, ĎWhat did you say to Wendy?í

ĎNothingí, was my reply. I didnít want to elaborate to Jon all of the problems in our marriage and didnít feel that Jon would do anything about what upsetting me. Jon didnít say a word when I told him that I had said nothing to Wendy in the bathroom and I thought that the matter had been dropped. I later found out that Jon could hear every word I said to Wendy while we were in the ladies room. Why then, did he say nothing when he clearly knew how much anguish I was in?

Wendyís boyfriend also informed me that Jon told him that he always took me to work and picked me up at the end of each day. That was a totally false statement, which Jon fabricated in an attempt to appear to be a good husband. The fact of the matter is that Jon had long since stopped giving me lifts anywhere. Although I was expected to work to pay my own way in the house, it was my responsibility to get to the various jobs that I had been given. After taking trains, buses, and then walking, sometimes I didnít get home from my many menial jobs until well past 7:00 when I finished at 5:00! I wonder how many other lies Jon told in an attempt to make it seem as if I was the one causing all of the problems in our marriage.

After the meeting, it was decided that we would pick a Chinese dinner and go over to Wendyís house to eat. While at Wendyís, someone decided to put a pornographic video on. I donít know how it was decided because I had no say in the matter, but I was clearly very uncomfortable with the situation. I made it known that I wasnít interested in watching the video and said that it was boring. The other three, however, overruled my wishes and watched it in its entirety. I must say, however, that was the first and last time that I was subjected to a blue movie while visiting friends. When the video was over, I suggested that Jon and I go home.

In the car on the way home, the only thing that Jon said to me was, ĎI think that they wanted us to have sex with them.í

Perhaps the two men had planned all along to have an exciting sexual encounter, but they never asked me what I would like. I am sure that I put a damper on the whole evening by not wanting to have any part of the four in a bed romps that they had cooked up. My husband may have wanted me to participate in an orgy, but I didnít! I didnít even want to have sex with my own husband, let alone anyone else. I let the incident pass, as I had let all the other incidents pass.

While I was selling Avon, I met a woman on Baird Avenue who had given psychic fayres in the past. In the autumn of 1995, this woman suggested that we put on a psychic fayre of our own. I wanted to keep the fayre a secret because by that time I was working for a very pious man at Barclays Mercantile. I was rightly afraid that if the people I worked with found out that I read Tarot cards, I could lose my job, and I needed the money from that job desperately. I turned down other work, to include modelling jobs, just to work at Barclays only because it was the steadiest income that I had been able to find thus far.

The psychic fayre didnít turn out as anticipated because too few people showed up for readings. It was therefore decided that we would not have any more readings at that venue. Because of the womanís ill health, I have never participated in another psychic fayre with her.

When I came home that evening from my one and only psychic fayre, Jon asked me where I had been all day. I told him that I hadnít been anywhere because I didnít think he would approve of me getting involved in a psychic fayre, considering the fact that he didnít approve of anything else I did.

When Jon wasnít satisfied with my response, he looked at me and asked, ĎIs your stomach getting bigger!í

Well, what could I say. My husbandís maid concern in the life was how much I weighed and how big my stomach was.

In the Autumn of 1995 Anglian Windows moved to Chineham Business Park. Since I would be required to take two buses to get to work, I told my boss that I would not be working for him when the company moved.

With nothing to do on Saturdays and missing the money, I was offered and accepted a Saturday job at Country Casuals. It was at Country Casuals that I was introduced to a different class of people. Prior to that time, the majority of the people who I met were quite common, which instilled in me a negative opinion of the British people. My work at County Casuals, however, changed my view of British people. I would come to realise that not all people in the England were horrible and viscous.

One woman who I met, Gill, was a management consultant who had an American boyfriend. Randy, her boyfriend, had also been in the United States Air Force, which gave us a common core of experience. One Saturday evening, Gill, Randy, Jon and I all went out for a meal. Although I thought that evening went well, I suppose that Jon was embarrassed by me because I didnít project the right image.

A month or so later, I phoned Gill and made arrangements for us to go out for drinks. I thought the evening went rather well and Gill was kind enough to drive me home afterwards. When she pulled up in front of the house, we sat in the car and talked a while. For some reason I didnít invite Gill into the house. When I entered the house through the back door and walked into the kitchen, Jon walked out of the living room with a dish-towel in his hand.

ĎHello,í Jon said.

ĎHi,í was my reply.

When Jon realised that I didnít have a clue as to what he had been up to whilst I had been away, he went on to say, ĎI was worried that you would come in and catch me playing with myself.í

I was horrified at what my husband had been engaged in when I had gone out for an innocent drink. Through the living room door, I could see that Jon had been watching a pornographic video and had obviously been masturbating himself.

It was just too much for me to deal with. I couldnít believe what my husband was doing, so I didnít. I ran upstairs and went directly to bed. I pretended to myself that it wasnít happening, that my husband wasnít downstairs, watching pornographic videos, ejaculating into a kitchen towel that I used to wipe my dishes and hands with.

That was the last time I ever invited anyone into my home. I didnít want any of my friends or family to unsuspectingly walk into the house and catch my husband engaging in an obscene act. It was bad enough I had to witness such incidents, I didnít want anyone else to.

One Sunday afternoon I was upstairs in my bedroom. Jon charged into the bedroom, ripped my clothes off, threw me onto the bed, and began to have sexual intercourse with me without my consent. I hated every moment of the act.

Jon then tried to kiss me and shoved his tongue into my mouth. I turned my head from side to side so that Jon would not be able to invade my mouth as well as my private parts. The kisses that he tried to give me were anything but loving and tender. He shoved his tongue inside my mouth and moved it around my cheeks. I pulled my head away from him and closed my lips tightly, hoping that he would not be able to Ďkissí me any more.

Jon wasnít kissing me for my benefit at all. It was solely for his sexual gratification, and nothing else. I later learned that men need to have oral stimulation during the sex act because it intensifies their erotic sensations. To be perfectly honest, the thought of any man shoving his tongue down my mouth just so he can get a better erection makes me physically ill. I want to be kissed because a man has feelings for me, not so he can get some kind of thrill.

I resisted Jonís advances. I took one look at his paunch and was totally repulsed. Jon spent all those years telling me how fat I was, that my stomach was big and disgusting, calling me a grossly overweight sexual turnoff, saying Ďsuckie, suckieí to me, and monitoring every morsel of food that I put in my mouth. The fact of the matter is that Jonís body on top of me in a sexual stance made me want to regurgitate. Here was this somewhat portly man, with an obvious protruding belly, trying to shove his sexual appendage in my body in one of the most loveless, unromantic acts I had ever experienced.

I was enraged that this man who had hurt me so much and called me a grossly overweight sexual turnoff was in the process of sexually assaulting me.

ĎNo woman will ever have you!í, I spat at Jon over and over.

I just wanted Jon to get off of me and stop doing what he was doing. One minute Jon would be telling me how fat I was or what a sexual turnoff I was, and the next he would be raping me. It just didnít make sense. What is even odder is that I probably weighed no more than ten stones, so I was not obese by any stretch of the imagination.

Although I had made it perfectly clear to Jon that I didnít desire him sexually, he relentlessly shoved his sexual organ in and out of my body against my wishes.

Finally, when Jon tired of my obvious disgust, he dismounted, picked up his clothes, and left the room.

Jon didnít ejaculate inside of me on that occasion or any other occasion during the course of our marriage. Fortunately, there was never any exchange of bodily fluids during the duration of our marriage. Although I didnít know it at the time, every time he touched me in a sexual way, he was putting my physical health in jeopardy.

After the rape, Jon and I carried on as normal, with the exception that I was much more wary of him. I would be careful not to be undressed around him for fear that he would call me insulting names or try to have sexual intercourse with me. I would make sure that I retired to my bed early so I would not have to come up with a polite excuse about why I did not want to enjoy any sexual activities with him.

Jon finally tired of saying Ďsuckie, suckieí to me because it didnít have its desired effect. He had hoped that he could use negative reinforcements to get me to starve myself and become waif-like, but it actually had the opposite effect. I just gained more and more weight and became bigger and bigger. I can only suppose that on a subconscious level I gained the weight so that Jon would be repulsed by me and would not want me erotically.

Ever morning when getting ready for work, Jon had the opportunity to see my unclothed body. On almost every occasion, he would make a point of sticking his stomach out as far as he could, walking around the room, pretending to be a really fat person. It hurt me greatly that Jon would behave in such a way, and I tried to ignore it. I tried to ignore almost all of the hateful, insensitive things that my husband said for the sole purpose of humiliation.

One morning when Jon was in a particularly good mood, he offered me a lift into work. His car stalled in the middle of town, which meant that I had to walk the rest of the way to work and Jon had to walk home to make arrangements for the car to be towed. That evening when I arrived home, Jon mentioned that he felt that everyone was giving him dirty looks and thought he must be a real thug. I thought it was odd that Jon was exhibiting signs of clear paranoia. I couldnít understand what prompted Jon to have such feelings.

* * *

In retrospect, if I had the thoughtfulness of mind to delve into all of the subtle little comments that had been directed my way over the years, I probably would have had a more simplistic life that was significantly more gratifying. Perhaps because I learned to ignore all of the abuse and insults that had been hurled my way, I learned how not to pick up on other important clues in the process. Because I couldnít bear to listen to people say hateful, nasty things, I suppose that I learned how not to listen. I couldnít be hurt if I couldnít hear what was being said, and couldnít see what was being done.

I could have saved myself a great deal of heartache in my first marriage if I had been more attuned to the subtle nuances inherent in all relationships. When I was 18, my first husband broke down in tears one evening at Shakeyís Pizza. Although I was concerned to find a grown man in tears while eating a pizza, I couldnít bring myself to ask him whatever was the matter to cause him so much anguish. Shortly thereafter, I entered into what was to be my first disastrous marriage. My new husband asked me to stay with him for two years so that he would have a chance to sort out the problems he had with himself. I assured him that I would because couldnít imagine whatever in the world could be wrong that would cause me to want to leave. Had I bothered to delve into the matter further, I could have saved myself years of abuse, pain and self-hatred.

* * *

In early 1996, I happened to come across Glennys while I was walking in the town centre. We usually tried to ignore each other, but on this particular occasion, Glennys stopped me, told me how happy she was, and invited me over to her house for tea. As far as I was concerned, it was too little, too late. It would have been far better if she had welcomed me into her home when she first met me, not two years on.

Glennys was living in a two-bedroom bungalow courtesy of the Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council, which was a five-minute walk from her precious church. The benefits that she received from the English government, which were considerable, were topped up by Jon because he wanted to make sure that she didnít have to do without. In addition, if Glennys for some reason didnít receive the money that she had blackmailed out of her son, she would phone Stuart, Jonís brother and tell him all about it. Jon would eventually be forced to give Glennys the money out of guilt and embarrassment.

While Jon was spending all his money on himself and his mother, I was made to do without, which upset me greatly. I would have liked to have started a family, but the circumstances that prevailed meant that it simply wasnít possible. If Jon wasnít prepared to take care of his wife, then what assurance did I have that he would take care of any of his children?

I was working six days a week at really menial jobs while Jon and his mother were living a life of luxury. Quite frankly, I was deeply offended that Glennys even dared invite me to her home for tea after all that she had done to harm me.

Not surprisingly, because of the way that my marriage was turning out, I developed a nasty case of dermatitis on my left shin. It itched a lot and bled a little, but didnít cause me any pain. I therefore didnít seek any medical attention. I didnít know at that time that one of the side effects of the birth control pill is skin infections, which I certainly had my fair share of. I was also to learn years later that stressful conditions trigger skin flare-ups, such as psoriases, eczema and dermatitis. I, if anybody, had more than my fair share of stress.

Jon never said a great deal about the infection on my shin that would not go away. One day during an argument, Jon commented that I would not go see the doctor about my leg, which indicated that the condition hadnít gone unnoticed. Since Jon expected perfection in a woman, it should have come as no surprise to learn that my husband found my case of dermatitis to be repelling.

In retrospect, even if my conscious mind hadnít been made aware of the gravity of the situation I was in, my body knew fully well. If anything, I am grateful that my body reacted to the situation by succumbing to all manner of ailments. If I had remained healthy and attractive during that period in my life, Jon would have put my health at further risk by subjecting me to the numerous sexually transmitted diseases that affect our society today.

It seems funny to think that Jon didnít want to kiss me because I had a cold sore, and he didnít want to sleep with me because I had a nasty case of dermatitis. The lifestyle that he led could have passed far more serious diseases to me, such as AIDES or syphilis. Jon didnít have a care in the world how he put my health in jeopardy each and every time he sexually approached me.

I had been working six days a week, selling Avon, teaching classes and doing just about anything else that needed to be done so that I could get up enough money to buy my own car and start up my own mobile beauty therapy business. In early 1996 I had saved up enough money and began to search for a car to purchase, without the support of Jon.

I asked Jon to go with me to look at a car that was being sold for £500, and he refused. Since Jon wasnít interested in helping, I asked Wendy and her partner if they would help me. This incensed Jon even more because although he didnít want to help me get a car, he didnít want anyone else to help me either.

We went around to several car dealerships in the area and couldnít find anything that was within my budget. Jon was so enraged that when we got home, he looked in the Free Ads and found a Ford Fiesta for £750. The following Friday, Jon arranged to pick it up with Wendyís partner. I later heard that when Jon drove to Reading to collect the car, he drove like a bat out of hell, presumably in an attempt to frighten his passenger, who had been kind enough to go and collect my car with him.

When Jon did get the car home, he locked it in the garage and parked his car in front of it, thereby making it very difficult for me to use. If I wanted to drive my car, I would have to ask Jon if he would move his. This quite often took an hour or more from the time that I had initially asked. By the time that Jon would get around to moving his car, I often lost interest in driving it for the day.

The first Saturday after I got my car, I asked Jon if he would go for a drive with me to help me get my driving skills up to par. The drive was a disaster from beginning to end. Aside from the fact that I wasnít accustomed to driving on the left side of the road, every time I asked Jon a question, his standard sarcastic reply was, ĎDonít you know that?!í

To be honest, I was nervous enough as it was, and I needed someone who would be a bit more supportive. Jon took me around the countryside of Hampshire and criticised every move I made. By the end of the drive I was an emotional wreck, and for reasons known only to Jon, he became enraged over the slightest little things.

When I pulled into the driveway of our home and parked the car, Jon jumped out of my car, jumped into his car, and sped off to places unknown. Several hours later he returned. He didnít offer an explanation as to where he had been and I didnít ask. I was just happy to have some peace, which is something that I never seemed to get whenever Jon was around.

Jonís disappearances were nothing new and I had long given up asking him where he had been for hours, then days, then weeks on end. I suppose I was happy just to be on my own and not have someone around criticising me. I didnít want to ask too many questions about his whereabouts. Jon would typically start a fight with me early in the morning, which would then give him an excuse to leave, and he wouldnít return until late in the evening. Sometimes Jon would come back with stories, telling me that he had been at the gym or shopping, but I had stopped caring precisely where he had been long ago.

One evening Jon picked me up from my beauty therapy course in my car. He told me that he wanted me to go to the chip shop and buy some chips for dinner. I was quite annoyed by his cavalier attitude. The only thing that Jon did for me was to put a roof over my head and food in the refrigerator. If I wanted anything else, had to pay for it myself. To top it all off, I even had to pay him £40 each week rent, which he never once thanked me for.

I wasnít going to buy Jon any chips because, if anything, I felt that he should be buying me chips. I told him that no, I wasnít buying chips. When Jon realised that I couldnít be so easily manipulated, he became enraged and threw a fit while driving my old, dilapidated car. I suppose that I should have acceded to his wishes and bought him the chips just for a quite life, but quite franking, I was tired of Jonís money-grubbing ways.

One day Jon lay on the bed and reflected on how much money we earned as a couple. His £20,000 plus a year salary added to my £10,000 that I got temping at all those menial jobs meant that we were a £30,000 family.

ĎWhoopee,í I thought, ĎItís such a shame that I donít get any of the benefit from all of this money our family is earning.í I didnít even get to keep my own money because I had to make sure I gave money to my husband each week.

One morning when we were getting ready for work, Jon told me that he had £40 worth of Marcs & Spencers vouchers that he was willing to sell me for £30. If Jon didnít want the vouchers, he should have just given them to me, but I was so used to getting absolutely nothing from him that I dutifully gave my husband £30 for the vouchers and was actually pleased.

Jon had conditioned me into giving him money. He made a point of exaggerating in great detail how much it cost to run the house so I would be obliged to give him money. Quite often he would ask me if I would go to the bank and withdraw money, and then he would write me a cheque for the amount that I had withdrawn. I just assumed that Jon needed the cash for whatever reason and innocently did as he asked. I trusted my husband. It wasnít until several years later, when Jon submitted a libellous affidavit to the courts, that I realised that he had catalogued all of the cheques into an Excel spreadsheet and said that he had Ďgivení me the money, presumably as an allowance of some sort. The fact that I never questioned Jonís tactics was to be my downfall.

One Saturday when I came home from work, I was to learn that Jon had been in a car accident in Hook. Evidently, his car had been parked, but some woman hit his car. Since the woman was a lawyer, she made it her business to know the law inside and out, especially when it came to suiting her own needs.

Jon was so angry with this woman because she insisted on doing everything by the book. Among other names, Jon called her a Ďfucking bitchí. In the past when I was driving, people had hit my car and I never thought ill of them because I knew that what happened was just an accident.

I couldnít comprehend why Jon had so much hostility against a woman who he didnít even know, but then again, I have never heard him say anything nice about any woman. Case in point, when Princess Dianaís divorce settlement was publicised on the television, Jon called her a Ďfucking bitchí as well. I couldnít understand why Jon had such negative feelings about Princess DJona any more than I could understand the feelings about the woman lawyer who hit his car. I never thought to ask Jon why he hated the lady lawyer who hit his any more than I thought to ask him what was he doing in Hook in the first place.

One day the television was on and Hugh Grant was highlighted in the news. He had been picked up by the police for purchasing the services of the now famous prostitute, Divine Brown. Naturally, this put a terrible strain on his relationship with longstanding girlfriend, Liz Hurley, but she stood by him through the incident nevertheless.

Again, I was completely surprised by Jonís reaction to the news clip. Jon brandished the media for exposing Hugh Grantís infidelity and said that he was just a decent guy who was being massacred by the press. Jon refused to see how hurt and upset Liz Hurley may have been by Hugh Grantís infidelity, and made it seem as if Hugh was the one who was being hard done by.

I didnít agree with Jonís attitude on the subject, but didnít bother to reply. If I had made any attempts to try to get my husband to see my point of view, he would have hurled derisive insults at me. I had already learned that hard lesson and tended to keep my opinions to myself.

In the Spring of 1996, the series ĎBand of Goldí was premiering on television. I was intrigued by the series because it was about the life that prostitutes lead, a part of life that I had very little knowledge of. As I sat in the living room with Jon, watching the show, I tried to make a playful joke.

ĎWould you like me to sell my body to earn a little extra money?í, I asked my husband in jest.

ĎYou?!í, Jon retorted, ĎYou wouldnít earn any money!í

ĎWhy do you say that?í, I asked, quite surprised that Jon would respond in such a way.

ĎHave you seen a prostitute?í, was Jonís only reply.

I had never met a prostitute and wasnít able to carry on with the conversation. The evening had been ruined, though. Jon didnít have to go right out and say it, but he meant to harm me with the things he had said.

About a week later, when we were watching television, I sneezed and got a stitch in my side, which had been happening a lot. Instead of Jon being a bit sympathetic, he looked at me and said, ĎYou are really out of shape.í

I was very hurt by Jonís insensitive comment because the fact of the matter was that I walked at least 45 minutes every day after having worked hard all day. I may have been exhausted by my heavy workload, but I wasnít necessarily out of shape. I honestly didnít know how Jon could stand there and tell me that I was out of shape. It was he who had forced me into the position where I had to work so much that I didnít have the energy to get any exercise after work.

It was only a matter of a week or so after Jon told me that I was out of shape that he asked me if I would buy him a new dryer, which we needed.

I didnít see why I should have to buy Jon a dryer on top of all the money that I was giving him and asked, ĎWhy canít you buy the dryer with the money that I give you each week?í

I was totally unprepared for Jonís response. Jon threw one of his many temper tantrums and totally flipped out. We then got into a heated argument and before I knew what was happening, Jon ran up to me, tackled me, and threw me onto the floor. I found myself flat on my back and pinned down so that I couldnít move. I was then forced to witness the most grotesque grunts and groans emitting from this hideous beast who moments before had been my husband.

In response to the assault that I had just experienced in my own home, I screamed bloody murder. The only reason why Jon let me out of his grip was because I was yelling so loudly that the whole neighbourhood could hear. Jon didnít mind if I knew what a sadistic bastard he was, he just didnít want anyone else to know. To shut me up, Jon got off of me.

I told Jon that I wanted him to give me £10,000 so that I could go back to the States and start a new life for myself. Jon, as always, feigned poverty. His philosophy was take, take, take, and he had no intention of giving me a dime.

I was so upset about what Jon had done that I began feverishly making plans to go back to the states and get that monster out of my life. Towards the end of the day, however, my resolve started to waiver. Tempers had calmed and we agreed that we both would put £200 a month into our joint checking account. All of the household bills would be paid from that account, or that was the plan, anyway.

The following day I went directly to the bank and set up a standing order for £200 to go into the account each month. I kept my end of the agreement, but Jon never put one penny into that account, which thereby negated the compromise that we were supposed to have made.

Even though Jon didnít keep his end of the bargain by contributing to the funds in the joint account, he didnít mind writing cheques from it. I found this to be particularly upsetting for two reasons: firstly, he hadnít put any money into the account when he agreed that he would; and secondly, he had no idea how much money was in the account and could unknowingly write a hot cheque any time.

When I realised that Jon had been writing cheques from the joint account, I told him that since he wasnít putting any money into the account when we agreed that we both would, I felt it best if I write all of the cheques so that we didnít become overdrawn. I thought it was a sensible solution to the problem. Years later, in an affidavit, Jon made mention of the account. He said that although we had a joint account, I had sole use of it. This comment was made for no other purpose but to slur my character.