I have read Crazy Love five, maybe six times now - I suppose it is therapeutic to read a story that feels like my own. It is uncanny how much Conor reminds me of my soon to be ex-husband, my college sweetheart and the man currently serving time for felony domestic violence against me.
The emotions you described falling in love with Conor were near identical to mine. I was drawn initially to my husband's scrap and hard luck story. My soon to be ex was the first in his family to go to college. He paid for books by doing odd jobs for professors. He was sending himself to graduate school when we met.
He also had come from an extremely abusive family. Everyone else in his life had abandoned him. I was sure I could show him true love. I promised I would never leave him.
After the violence started, I researched my situation. I thought perhaps if I became an expert, perhaps if I just understood the situation well enough, I could fix it. Like your ex, my husband never apologized, never sent flowers, and we never discussed the violence. And like you, I finally gave my husband an ultimatum; I would leave if he got physical again.
During that conversation I got my first apology (in addition to veiled death threats and promises to kidnap our children). After my ultimatum I decided the knife incident that followed didn't count (because, well, no one actually go stabbed) and decided the box of shoes he threw at me didn't count because he missed.
Watching my young child's face as he threw the box at me though, I knew it had to stop. The next time was the last time. Three incidents in three months following the ultimatum. Ten years of marriage.
I have tried to reconcile how a woman with an MBA that successfully runs a department could drive home each night wondering if her husband would kill her. I can't yet.I cringed when the detective interviewing me after the final incident commented - "you are so different than other victims." I also cringe when I see other women with their spouses, feeling equally different from them.
I am still torn with emotions, wondering how I can feel destroyed by my husband, while still remembering how much I love him.
I purchased and read your book several months ago, just after the final incident. I related to your story, your life, in a meaningful way. I am so appreciative that you shared your difficult past. I am trying to come to grips with who I am now. Your story gives me hope. Thank you.