Friday, January 8

January 7th: Better late than never

So I sort of fell into bed last night without writing. Darn BCS National Championship game. I am a woman who has a real love for football, whether I even like either team playing. I'm always sad when the final game in college football is played for the season. I wasn't really routing for either team last night, but I was really sad to see the QB from Texas get hurt. (And yes, I know his name, but remember I don't use names in this blog!). And the poor freshman who had to come in and replace him. Talk about pressure. Props to him for coming together in the third quarter.

So enough about football. Yesterday was all in all a good day. I had a good project to work on at the office. I actually got to use some of my brain matter and the day flew by nicely. I was excited to go over to my friends' house, the ever so funny Mags. She always lightens the mood with her office stories and general banter about life.

I felt like I was getting a little old when I was so tired that I just wanted the game to end so I could go home. That was a long drive home on the coldest night of the year. Little did I know that I when I got home and innocently checked my email that I would be greeted by correspondence from the man who nearly ruined my life. We'll call him DB, or dirt bag.

A synopsis on DB: We met in January 2009. A few meetings for coffee here and there. He seemed charming, shared a love for music, was highly intelligent, well traveled, and very polite. He loved wine, good restaurants, was religious, had a good relationship with his parents, had friends, loved sports, and was mildly funny. He seemed like a good guy. My friends approved, he brought me flowers, showered me with gifts, and was happy with taking things slow. DB seemed perfect. And with much of the rest of my world crumbling about me, he was a rock in a time when I needed it. Looking back now, I see many of the flaws I should have caught. He was jealous a little too early; he glossed over too many important questions that I brushed off as being coy. When he surprised me with a vacation just a couple of months in, I was thrilled. I should have been more suspect. We began to fight, he got more jealous, but he was putting up with all my life crises, so I thought this was ok. In the midst of all of this my roommate moved out. And one of my very oldest friends, Scott, moved to my city. Scott and I had been friends for twenty years. We would NEVER be romantically involved. Being that he'd already dated not one, but two of my best friends, I knew things about him that I shouldn't have. Scott decided he would move in with me. Needless to say, in the middle of our romantic vacation, DB decided to let me know that if that were to happen, we were through. So, because I was so broken down, after the death of two members of my immediate family, and my ex-boyfriend all in the first 4 months of the year, I relented. I let DB move in with me. And then the bottom slowly began to crack. Things in my life were still pretty chaotic. DB would always come through with just the right thing to keep me hanging on. He paid to have my demo recorded in the late spring. It of course coincided with the day of my ex-boyfriend, turned dear friend's wedding. It was "the only day the studio was available." That, much like most things that he told me, was a lie. Then my birthday rolled around. I was starting to have some weird feelings about DB. Certain stories would come up that just didn't add up. I loved him, but deep down had concerns. He surprised me with a scavenger hunt for my actual birthday. I ended up at the spot of our first date. When I got there, my stomach dropped. I realized that he was going to propose. There I stood while he got down on his knee and recited his well-rehearsed speech. Any stranger would have thought it so sweet. It felt forced, but then again, what do you tell a man when he's gone to such trouble and you think you love him. You say yes. Yet when I said that little word, I could feel my heart screaming inside.

And then the bottom completely fell out. I came home one afternoon soon after the engagement. I'd told DB that I wanted to be engaged for eighteen months since our relationship was still very new. He would try to get me to move the wedding up. We'd even gotten a realtor and had begun looking at houses. My friends all still seemed happy for me, but I could tell that several of them weren't over the moon. I got home from work one day and DB was acting odd. He had fallen and hit his head earlier in the week and had a mild concussion. I thought it was due to that. He became very angry and proceeded to storm out of the house. I noticed he had been drinking, and begged him to calm down. He left anyway. I called his father, a policeman, and drove out to find him. When I got home, he was sitting on the porch. He immediately charged at the car. The window was down, and he grabbed my arm through the door. I flung the door open and bolted for the house. I slammed the door and locked it. I frantically called his father again, and he said he'd be there in less than 5 minutes. DB began pounding on the door. And then he broke it off the hinges. And I went into survival mode. I threw all my weight into the door. And even after he broke a huge hole in the door and was trying to rip me through it, I fought. His dad got there just in time. He took me inside and calmed me down. I had to bolt my door back on the frame using 2x4s from the garage. My dog escaped during the ordeal, and thankfully I found her. I was scared, alone, and shaken to my core.

That's when the light went off. I began to piece all the lies together.

DB came crawling to our door the next day and apologized. I didn't really know what to do at this point because I was so scared of him. I knew if I tried to kick him out, he'd try to kill me. And so I did the unthinkable. I lived with him for another 3 weeks while I dug through his life and discovered that the man I lived with and was engaged to was a complete fraud. I listened to the still, small voice of wisdom inside of me and did a thorough background check on DB. It turns out that wasn't even his real name. It had been changed, along with that of his entire family. And then I found his marriage certificate. It turned out that his ex-girlfriend was actually his ex-wife. And she went to my church. So, doing what any brave woman in this situation would do, I called her. And she actually called me back. And we met for coffee. In my heart, I knew what would come next. She had never changed her name after the divorce. I prayed that I wasn't right, but when she arrived, she came with the photos of the small child. And I wept. He had verbally and emotionally abused his wife and left her when she was pregnant. And he had nothing to do with the baby. And as I sat in shock across the table, and she produced copies of all the court documents, I became more and more terrified of my safety. She unraveled all of his lies. He lied about his family, his schooling, his jobs, his cars; his entire life story was an ENTIRE lie. And I felt like a fool.

And so I hatched an escape plan. I contacted my mom, my landlord, and three very close friends. I planned my speech. I arranged for several people to be there. I packed a bag while he wasn't home, and I took enough things to a friend's house where he would never know I'd be. I arranged for a new door to be installed, and I had a friend keep my dog. I had to live in the same house with this evil stranger for 10 more days until my new door could be installed. I had no way of protecting my belongings or getting the locks changed before then. Those were some of the worst days of my life.

The day came for me to tell him. I went home like most days. I went in the house. I told him we needed to talk and then I told him that I knew about the wife and child. I unraveled his web of stories piece by piece. And then I took off my engagement ring and threw it in his face. I told him to gather a few things and leave. I explained that I would pack any of his other belongings in boxes and leave them on the curb. His friends or family could come get them, but that if he ever came near my property I would have him arrested. My landlord was there to back me up. It didn't hurt that he's 6' 5" and weighs at least 250. He went into a frenzy and proceeded to attempt to swallow an entire bottle of aspirin and half a bottle of vodka. And he drove off. He left owing me money, my pride, my tender heart, and any love I had left. I decided that the money wasn't worth it if I wanted to recapture any of the other things he took from me.

And so after many letters and calls, I changed my numbers, addresses, websites; everything that could be revamped, was. My mail is now forwarded to my new location, and he's thankfully not been able to track me down. It's been 5 1/2 months since I walked out the door. Things have gotten a little easier everyday. He's the main reason that my 2009 was such a disaster. That and losing so many people I loved. I wake up every morning and thank God that I read all those Nancy Drew books as a child and that I had enough sense to listen to my reservations and actually dig into his past. My mom tells me that I saved myself, but I know it was divine intervention.

It will take me a long time to trust someone again. I don't know if I'll ever date a complete stranger. I like knowing where people come from after all that I went through. I do know that I have never been happier than when the final seconds of 2009 ticked away. I'm just glad that after all this time, I can finally write about my experience. I sincerely hope that if anyone reads this and is spared a similar fate, I'll be glad that I shared my story.

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