Maya Angeleau has a saying which is so eloquently simple yet full of truth and wisdom. It is “when someone shows you who they really are, you better believe them the first time”. I think this rings true with all of us, but at times we rationalize and reason a new truth into our lives. People want what they want and will do anything to have it. The warning signs are there when it is not a good idea, yet people will capriciously ignore them till it is entirely too late. I am so very guilty of this. My marriage is a case study and cautionary tale of lack of believing what is right in front of my face.

When we met, I was in college and he was working as an engineer. Obviously he had more money than I did. I held 2 jobs and was taking very good care of myself. Between the two jobs and school I had little to no time for him. Looking back I was content only seeing him once or twice a month. Yet, he is a convincing devil and I quit one of my jobs to bestow more time on him. Stupid idea. It put me financially beholden to him, which in retrospect was something he relished in. I was continuously getting into monetary binds. He was more than happy to play the hero and rescue me. It got to a point my self esteem started to depreciate and I felt I owed everything to him. He was my savoir and I was the grateful victim. During this time, I ignored all sorts of warning signs pertaining to him. I let him get away with behavior usually never ever sanctioned by me. I just turned a blind eye or explained away anything that looked jankey. After all. He was the one doing all the heavy lifting right? We argued all the time and I would always back down because I was afraid I would push him too far and loose him. Well ,finally the damn broke. He moved back to Texas and I was forced to once again take care of myself. Fortunately after I snapped out of the haze of foolishness I was rather proficient at it. Our breakup was ugly to say the least but on the other side of it I was a much happier person.

In the time we spent apart, I completed my degree and secured a fantastic job. I dated amazing men and some amazingly disappointing ones. I traveled and maintained a diverse circle of friends. I was extraordinarily joyful. Not to mention debt free. Then out of the blue.. He came back into my life. If I had a time machine I would have never answered the phone that day. How I WISH I had never answered the phone that day.

We started talking again and he apologized for all of the transgressions I suffered in the relationship. To be finally validated by him was intoxicating to me. He had a way of diminishing my self worth like no other. I have always had solid self esteem but he would find a small fissure and exploit it. The “new” him was the one I had always waited and hoped for. Unfortunately, this kinder gentler man was just a product of my imagination. The asshole had many more feats of prestidigitation to perform for me. In the time we were away from each other, his life went to hell. He married a horrible (now I think clever) woman who drained him financially and once he lost his job divorced him. At the time, my heart went out to him. He helped me.. It is my turn to help him. And this boys and girls is when my life took a turn for the 4 year worst..

ACT ONE: NEVER COMPLETELY SUPPORT A MAN: I started helping him out financially. I paid his rent and sent him money for incidentals. It was my intention that he would get on his feet in a couple of months and eventually he would pay me back. This was NOT the case. Soon helping him was causing financial issues for me. I started dipping into my savings and inheritance for him. I decided to get a SECOND job in order to keep assisting him. After all.. He helped me right? I would work retail at night and my job job during the day in order to keep up helping him. What the hell? I have TWO jobs and he can’t even find ONE. But I was so busy trying to prove my worth to him that I didn’t let this foolishness deter me. Finally the breaking point came and I suggested he move to the east coast and live with me so that he could get on his feet.

ACT TWO: DON’T BRING TRASH BACK INTO YOUR HOME: I sent him money to move in with me. DISASTER. He sat around all day, drank beer, ate all the food in the house, and was super depressed. Looking for work in North Carolina was difficult for him as he NEVER COMPLETED HIS DEGREE. I had NO idea.! I was always under the impression that to call yourself an engineer you had to complete an engineering DEGREE. So. Here I was supporting both of us for what now has reached over a year. My house is a complete mess with his junk everywhere, beer cans, and bottles of dip hidden throughout the house. He didn’t do any laundry or clean. The only thing interesting to him was watching the food network and cooking weird concoctions which were completely unpalatable . My mind was screaming get rid of him. Yet I ignored it. I was being validated as the wonderful woman I am.

ACT THREE: ALL MY FRIENDS ARE MARRIED WHY AREN’T WE: He kept trying to get me to marry him. By no means was it the romantic proposal all women dream of. It was the constant Chinese water torture of “let’s get married”, “we should get married”, “you know all my friends are married”… I did NOT want to marry this man. Yet. I rationalized away my fears. I talked myself into believing he was just depressed.. When his life balanced out, he would be fine. So. I agreed to marry him. At this time, he was STILL unemployed and I was reaching financial ruin. He might not have been working but he could make money disappear like Chris Angel MINDFREAK! Not many people know this. My MOTHER paid for my engagement and wedding rings! She didn’t want me to not have the rings I wanted or deserved. All of my other friends who were with gainfully employed men had nice rings and she didn’t not want me to be left out. So now my own MOTHER invested $13,000 into him hedging that he would eventually be able to provide for a wife and family. I started planning a lavish wedding which my MOTHER was also going to pay for. My friends and family were so excited. I felt like I was drowning. I wasn’t excited about getting married.. I was NOT excited about this man.

We did all the things engaged people do like registering for gifts, picking out venue, food, and so on and so on. Nothing brought me any joy connected to this wedding. NOTHING. As each day passed.. I disliked him a bit more. Finally he was offered a position working overseas, so he convinced me to fly out to Las Vegas for quickie nuptials. Luckily MOM had bought my dress a month prior. So on notice of about a week three of my best friends, a weird fat chick, my Aunt, and my Mom met us in Vegas to watch the biggest travesty of a wedding ever. In the video you can see Heather dragging me down the isle. It was if my feet were protesting. I laughed all the way through my wedding vows. Never changed my last name. Was completely pissed off during the reception dinner. As always.. MOM PAID FOR EVERYTHING! We were tight on money, but during our time in Vegas what cash I would give him, he gambled it away. So he was always asking me for more money. The next day he was so pressed to gamble he left me and my best friend in a hot car so that he could play roulette. We had no idea where he disappeared to. Finally when we entered the casino and saw him gambling, we were livid. I started to cry. I never cry. These would be the first of many many tears I would shed as a wife.

The job overseas didn’t pan out. His lies and deception unfold little by little as each month passes. To say I had no idea who he was is a gross understatement. He finally secured employment and moved back to Texas. I had just started grad school and couldn’t follow him. We are living in two different cities, and this TOTALLY worked for me. It did not work for him. To stave off the loneliness, he would go shopping. He is a hoarder. The apartment he lived in became jam packed with junk he has no need for. Two full cabinets of kitchen gadgets and spices, stacks of magazines knee high, weird science kits, five or six cases of beer… you name it. I was horrified. Yet again I explained it away. I thought he was depressed and once I moved to Texas, he would snap out of it. So, I lost credits and moved to Texas.

ACT FOUR: I HAVE TO DO EVERYTHING ALL OF THE TIME: The move itself was a clusterfuck. I had to do EVERYTHING. I boxed not only my possessions but his as well. I bought new furniture and the wedding gifts we received (all from my family and friends). I paid off the $3,000 back rent he owed on his storage in Virginia and got his worthless junk shipped to North Carolina. The day the U-Haul pulled out of my driveway I felt like I was going to the electric chair. All I wanted to do was turn around and go home. I had Willie with me so that was enough. One smile from him and I was ok for another day. We bickered and fought the entire two day hellish drive to Houston. Once here I was greeted by the filthiest apartment I have seen since college frat houses.

I into my life in Houston, but the bickering and excessive spending by him never relented. I was always happy when he was at work and miserable the moment he stepped foot into the apartment. I wanted to go home daily, hourly, minutely.. I stayed. My parents were married for 40 years, I knew things would be tough. However, my belief is eventually things will get better. Did they? NO! So what did I do to further fuck up my life? I bought a HOUSE with him.

ACT FIVE: THINGS ARE HORRIBLE LET’S MAKE THEM WORSE: If things weren’t bad enough, I let him pressure me into agreeing to buy a house. His credit was abysmal so everything had to go in my name. EVERYTHING. He would have never qualified for a mortgage without me. Then he decided we needed a Lowe’s credit card, Best Buy credit card, and a plethora of other ones. So, trying to keep the peace I got him everything he wanted. The house was new construction and charming. He complained constantly. He wanted to keep the dog on the porch all the time. In Houston it gets to 103 all the time. Plus, Willie was already 14 years old and accustomed to living INSIDE. He used my dog as a weapon against me. I have always though he was jealous of the dog. The fighting continued and intensified. We stopped sleeping in the same room. (only thing I was happy about) The house was Survivor Island. Oracle and Willie in one camp.. Hateful Jackass in the other. I think the stress of living with us killed my dog. He just kept deteriorating. Finally I decided to put him to sleep. And what did that asshole do? He WANTED to be there for me! Are you serious? YOU KILLED MY DOG with your inhumane treatment! There was no way in his last moments would I let my ex be in the same room with Willie. One again, my best friend came to the rescue and we put him to sleep together. Did the fighting stop? Nope. He just found other things to bitch about.

LAST SCENE: I FINALLY BELIEVED: I got a grip. His spending put us (mostly me) in a financial hole. He just wouldn’t stop. I took all the credit cards in my name and cut them up. I got a second job. I finished grad school. I started making plans for divorce. While I was busy fixing problems.. He laid on the couch watching Beverly Hills 90210 drinking beer. Now I am about to sell my townhouse and move home. And nothing can stop me. After all he showed me who he really was many many many times and I didn’t believe it the first, second, or third time. I believe it now. He is a man fully comfortable with letting his wife work herself to death to afford the lifestyle he wasn't exposed to before his nuptials. He is a man who has no problem taking money from a woman. He is a man who spends money as if there is no tomorrow. He is a man who is lives in a fantasy world with no repercussions for his action. He isn't a man. He is a child who wants to be taken care of. And I totally believe it.

Comments (3)

On October 10, 2009 at 12:07 AM , Admin said...

As women we need to learn how to trust and listen to our instincts more often, because they typically are correct. I sure hope you got out of debt.

On October 29, 2009 at 2:47 AM , Kim said...

I live by that Maya Angelou quote NOW, 20yrs later, because it certainly does take a lot of showin before there is some beleivin'

On December 19, 2009 at 9:53 AM , Anonymous said...

Thanks to all of you sharing you experiences and lessons learned, many women all over the world will be re evaluating their current situations. I am hoping my sister reads this and really starts to think about what her future might become...she has turned a blind eye to her b/f early warning signs...we all see right through him but her pride won't allow her to believe she chose to be with someone who needs that much support. Her response is that he is a "free spirit" living the "bachelor's life" did I mention he was 35?? Let's hope it's not too late.