SOMETIMES it's not the what that is so bad, but the who did it — betrayal by someone close to us bites us harder than anything else. When that person is a lover it's worse, because they would have seen us at our most private, our most vulnerable, and then exploited that vulnerability.
We asked women, what's the worst thing a man you loved has done to you?
My husband slept with the nanny, a young girl barely out of her teens, then tried to blame me, stating that I wasn't providing all his needs. This little girl was 19, and was trying to make money to pay for school, so in a way he groomed her then betrayed not only my trust, but hers and her parents'. When the whole thing burst out, his family supported him and blamed the girl for the way she dressed in the house, and also blamed me for not being a good wife. That wasn't what caused the marriage to break down though, it was years later that I left, but that, added to every other disrespectful thing that happened in the years after, gave me the fuel that I needed to make plans to establish myself and leave.
I was dating a friend casually; he had always liked me but I wasn't interested in anything serious. I told him that and so we would just hang out, and he was a good guy with good morals, coming from a good family, etc. When we eventually slept together it was also more of a friendly favour thing — it was his first time and he wanted the experience. Everything changed when I missed my period, and it's like his entire persona changed. He started talking about what his parents would say, what his church people would think, and how he had disappointed God. Then he ghosted me, and said he couldn't deal with anything like that right now. I think all the stress of everything made me have a miscarriage, and I really thank God for that, truthfully. Many months later he sent me a message on Facebook, apologising, and asked what happened with the pregnancy. When he found out, he had the nerve to suggest that we return to the friendship we had before. He expected me to carry on, like he didn't treat me like trash.
I guess my boyfriend wanted to end things but didn't have the guts to tell me, so he had this girl send me all kinds of messages about him and her, including pictures of them together, in an attempt to make me be the one to break it off, so he could save face. This girl knew everything about me, and every insecurity I had, because he told her everything. I did break it off, but it was one of his friends who later told me what he had done. So instead of just being a man about it, and trust me, I would have been perfectly OK with him telling me the truth about how he felt, he created this elaborate scheme which hurt and embarrassed me, just because he wasn't enough of a man to just tell the truth.
I moved with my daughter to a three-bedroom house when she was a pre-teen, because we needed more space. We immediately met this man who said he was a government contractor and did a lot of work in the area. As a single mother, he would help me out a lot with things around the house and yard. Soon we were dating and he moved into my place, because he said it was easier to stay in Kingston, than travel back and forth to Portland where he had his house and property. He spent years living with us, up to the time my daughter was leaving high school. One day I saw a notice in the paper from a woman to a man with his name (his name is very uncommon), stating that as his wife she wasn't responsible for his debts and was seeking him for divorce proceedings. I asked him about it. He didn't lie — he had a wife and kids, and his wife had kicked him out years before, around the time he met me, and he basically moved in with me because he needed a place to stay. So basically the man I thought was my future was homeless and I was just a homeless shelter.