We Were Married, but...

I was on top of him.
I’d just come.
He wasn’t inside me.
I was reaching for the condoms when he forced himself inside me, holding me down by the hips.
I closed my eyes and waited for him to finish.
Something was wrong.
I was no longer enjoying this.
I was no longer present.
I didn't try to stop it.
I dissociated and for the next few days, I waited impatiently for my period to arrive.

Or maybe I didn’t wait impatiently for my period to arrive.
Maybe, I took one of the emergency contraception pills I managed to get from my doctor as a backup plan, in case our choice of contraception ever failed us.
We were following the natural family planning method, which meant that there were days when we had to use extra protection, and in our case, that was in the form of condoms.
Maybe pumping into my system the hormones that were in the pill alleviated that worry.

Maybe, he had already been inside me.
We'd been taking risks by starting sex without protection in periods that were semi-safe during my menstrual cycle, and then switching to condoms for him to finish inside me.
It was something that required mutual agreement and we'd developed a way to communicate that agreement before we took the risk.

I don’t remember the details.
It was many years ago, just as our marriage was coming to end.
Just before he would expose me to a horrendous divorce process, during which he had the upper hand and managed to steer it in the direction he wanted to steer it in, leaving me in a position where I was unable to challenge the false accusations he was making against me.
Maybe, I was too distracted by the events of the divorce that I didn’t have time to process what had happened in bed a few months earlier.

Maybe, I had gotten used to it.
That wasn’t the only time he’d done that.
There was another incident that I remember from around the same period leading up to our divorce.
And another one from our honeymoon.

Maybe it’s because I’d internalized the idea that I should make myself available for my husband’s pleasure, that he had some entitlement to my body.
I forced myself to try to find ways to enjoy being intimate with him, even when I wasn't interested and didn't want to.
Even when I knew our marriage was toxic and had to come to an end.
I had to somehow prioritize his pleasure, even if I was uncomfortable with what was happening, even when I knew something was not right.

No one would believe me after all.
Everything would be held against me: we were married, we were in the middle of having sex, I was on top (therefore, I should have been in more control physically?), I was enjoying the sex preceding it, I had come, I didn’t try to stop it, it was nearly a decade ago, and there are too many maybes.
But I’m certain about one crucial thing that was missing: consent.
I had not given him consent to continue the way he did.
I waited for him to finish.
I wanted it to end as soon possible, so that I could deal with the worry.
I didn't even have time to consider the fact that I was experiencing dissociation, that I was not 'present' for the remainder of that sex, and that it was only for him.
Not only was there no consent with regard to what sex we would be having, but there was also no consent with regard to the risk-taking, which I admit I sometimes took as well. He had neither, but still continued.

It was a long time ago.
I only recently managed to find the language I needed to label the problem.
He did not have my consent.
Yes, we were married.
Yes, up until that point we had been having consensual sex.
Yes, I had been enjoying it.
Yes, I had come.
Yes, I didn’t try to stop it.
Yes, it happened nearly a decade ago.
Yes, there are too many maybes.
But he did not have my consent for those particular details.
He did not.
But I’m still unable to talk about all of this and the effect it’s had on me and my relationship with my body (which I felt I betrayed me).
Especially, because it's intertwined with a marriage that was really toxic for me, and a divorce that nearly cost me my life, as it caused me to slip into the worst anxiety and depression I'd ever experienced, the damage of which I’m still trying to undo till this day.

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