Someone I know but have lost touch with could very well be in this situation. When I was allowed visits I saw early little things like yelling, swearing, gentle little punches (I guess those “little things” were not so little.) I asked her not to marry him, to wait, but what good would that have done? Some abusers are able to wait and wait and wait. Understand, I just wonder. She still “occasionally” answers emails, but I no longer know where she lives.
The first time he hit me we were at a restaurant with “friends”. He had been throwing a fit all day long leading up to it, most likely because I dared to make plans, which were supposed to be without him (a girls night out). He reached up and smacked me in the face, in front of my “friends”/then coworkers. When I moved my chair away from him he yelled, “NOW YOU DON’T WANT TO SIT BY ME?!?” To which I replied, “You just hit me! No I don’t want to sit by you.” There’s a lot of woulda shoulda coulda moments, that’s definitely one of them. Shoulda got up and left. Shoulda called the police right there. Shoulda moved out right then.