Take a look at the link to hmcs document D187 for information regarding your Nisi/Absolute issue: www.nfm.org.uk/leaflets/decree-nisi.pdf
As the Petitioner you can apply for the Nisi to be made Absolute right now.
If you don't apply for the Absolute your wife, as the Respondent, can do so three months, six weeks and one day after the date the Nisi was pronounced. This figure sounds odd, but I believe it translates as six weeks and one day PLUS three months: i.e. three months after the date you were eligible to apply for the Absolute. If you were granted the Nisi five months ago, your wife is now likely to be eligible to apply for the Absolute.
Above are the MINIMUM periods of time that each party has to WAIT before they are eligible to apply for the Nisi to become Absolute.
If an application is not lodged within 12 months of the the decree nisi being granted and you subsequently want the court to make it Absolute, you have to submit a written explanation with your application. The explantion has to include: the reasons for the delay; a statement as to whether you and your wife have lived together (including any dates) since the decree nisi; and a statement as to whether any child has been born to your wife and if they are to be considered a child of the family.
I assume that if neither party ever applies for the Absolute, then the matter just sits with the court as a Decree Nisi.
Nobody on this site can, or should advise you whether or not to apply for the Absolute, because we are not you. We can offer support and acknowledge your pain.
Making decisions is very scary, because there is always the risk of getting it wrong, but I believe that everyone, deep down, knows what is right for them. They just have to stop and listen to their feelings!
I can empathise with some of what you say in your post. I lived with a control freak and bully for 27 years, because that was my only experience of relationships. I had an over critical mother, who would have left my dad had she not become pregnant with me and a father who was an emotional bully, so my self esteem was very low when I met my ex.
I literally 'woke up' one morning, 26 years later and began questioning the quality of my life and why this man had the right to treat me as he did. I went through HELL for three weeks, because every time I sat down, or closed my eyes, a showreel of my life played out before me; I saw nothing but pain, humiliation and unrealised dreams and could find very few 'happy' times.
It took me five months to make the decision to leave the marriage. I was scared stiff, because I had lived in the same house for 25 years and knew that I would be the one to leave. My life experience could be summed up as 'bin nowhere, done nowt'. I had no friends and my only family was a sibling who lived on the other side of the country.
I tried to leave several times, but my ex issued threats followed by promises that things would improve. When I look back at those times I feel that I was like a soldier in the trenches. Shells would explode in my trench and I'd climb the ladder to escape. I'd look over 'no man's land' and, just as I was about to make the dash, I would see shapes in the fog; these scared me to death, so I would climb back down and stay. I climbed the ladder HUNDREDS of times until one day I got to the top of the ladder and, looking back into the trench, saw that it was more horrible than 'no man's land' and, knowing that I would suffocate to death if I stayed there, I climbed out.
I was 50 years old when I left with what I was wearing at the time plus a knife, fork, spoon, cup, plate and a pan and I've never regretted it; even though it has been VERY hard to adjust to a new way of living.