I opened my front door, excited to see my new wife, Sonia.
I'd just done a 14-hour shift as a chef and was dog-tired, but knew her knockout smile would energise me.
But I quickly worked out there was no chance of that – she was in a foul mood.
"You're late," she spat. "You're sleeping with your boss, aren't you?"
It came completely out of nowhere.
"Of course not," I said. "I only have eyes for you."
We'd only been married a few weeks and I was smitten with her.
After that, though, glimpses of Sonia's unhinged personality started seeping through.
She became jealous of every woman I went near.
"You're cheating on me," she'd rage.
My denials fell on deaf ears. Then she began turning up at my work to try to catch me out.
Why doesn't she trust me? I thought, frustrated.
A few months later, my mum died of cancer.
Sonia couldn't come to the funeral, so I went without her and turned off my phone during the service.
Back home the next day, Sonia started up again with the accusations.
She thought I'd slept with my first wife, who'd attended Mum's funeral.
I couldn't believe it!
"Sonia, I've got enough to deal with," I snapped.
In time, her controlling behaviour took its toll and I became a shell of my former self.
My friends and family knew what she was like.
"You need to leave her, Stuart," my best mate Trevor begged.
But I was so wrapped up in the relationship, I couldn't see it was toxic.
I was constantly walking on eggshells around her.
It was exhausting.
Then one day after a huge argument, I'd had enough.
"Get out!" I barked. "I'm not putting up with this anymore."
I expected her to put up a fight, but she accepted it.
Eventually, I moved into a house-share hoping for a fresh start.
There I met Stacey, 28, who was new to the area.
"Let's go for a drink sometime," I said, wanting to be friendly.
In the meantime, I was still in touch with Sonia. She met Stacey but I could tell she was jealous.
Time passed and Christmas was approaching.
I saw the grotty house Sonia was living in and felt sorry for her, so asked her to come to mine for Christmas.
Even though we weren't together, I still loved her as a friend.
"I can cook us a festive dinner," I told Sonia.
"That'd be lovely," she beamed.
As I helped Sonia put up her Christmas tree, we drank mulled wine and listened to festive songs.
Sonia even invited Stacey round to join us for dinner.
Two days before Christmas, Sonia was over at mine and I wanted to get presents and do a food shop.
I had cash flow problems, so Sonia lent me some money.
"I'll be back in a couple of hours," I smiled.
The town centre was buzzing with shoppers and, unsurprisingly, the queues were ridiculous.
My phone buzzed. It was Sonia texting me.
Where are you?
Glancing at my watch, I realised I'd been in town for four hours.
I had dozens of missed calls and texts from her.
You've been gone ages, one message read.
Just leaving, see you soon, I replied, as I hopped on the bus.
Back home, I heaved six bags of shopping through the front door and spotted Sonia holding an empty bottle of wine.
My heart sank as I realised Stacey was cowering in the corner of the couch.
"Do you think Stuart's an idiot?" Sonia raged to her.
I glanced at Stacey.
"No," she said.
Suddenly, Sonia lunged at Stacey and punched her in the face.
I dropped my bags and got in between them, managing to push Stacey out of the room.
But as I shut the living room door, I felt a sharp sensation in my back.
Then I felt it again, and again.
Sonia stabbed me five times with a kitchen knife, so hard that the handle snapped.
Sensing she'd then go after Stacey, I staggered into the hallway and trapped Sonia in the bedroom, holding on to the door handle so she couldn't escape.
My blood was gushing everywhere.
"Get the police," I shouted to Stacey.
All I could focus on was making sure Sonia couldn't escape the room.
Minutes later, officers and an ambos arrived.
Paramedics stripped off my T-shirt, exposing my bloody wounds underneath.
I pointed at the bedroom door and Sonia was arrested.
The presents and food I'd bought lay strewn on the floor, covered in blood.
The merriment of Christmas was over.
I'd been looking forward to a hearty festive dinner.
Instead I'd been carved up like a turkey.
At hospital, the doctor told me I had a collapsed lung.
"It's life-threatening," he warned.
A drain was inserted into my chest to remove fluid.
I stayed in hospital for the next five days.
On Christmas Day, I ate hospital food instead of the homemade turkey roast I'd planned.
On the third day, Stacey came to see me. Her face was bruised from where Sonia had hit her.
"I'm so sorry she hurt you," I said, gingerly hugging her.
She told me she had a fractured cheekbone. Sonia was in jail on remand.
When I was allowed home, I found my hallway still covered in blood.
For the first time in a decade, I felt safe knowing Sonia couldn't hurt me. But it didn't last long.
I received a letter from her.
Please drop the charges, you know I love you, her scrawled note read.
Realising this was my chance to escape her clutches, I showed the note to police.
In time, Sonia Simpson, 54, pleaded guilty to battery for punching Stacey.
But she denied attacking me, so I was forced to give evidence at her trial later that year.
Officers revealed that she told them I'd deserved it.
Thankfully, Sonia was convicted of causing grievous bodily harm with intent and perverting the course of justice.
She was jailed for 14 years and given an extra four years on licence.
You never realise you're in a controlling relationship at the time.
Sonia's attack has left me scarred for life, but I'm lucky she didn't kill me.
Thankfully, Stacey has been so supportive and we've since started dating.
I'm living proof that men can be victims in abusive relationships, too.
Now, as Stacey and I get ready to celebrate Christmas together, I'm just grateful that horrific one wasn't my last.