The last three days I’ve been processing a very confusing and unbelievable situation.
I started dating somebody a couple months ago. I was incredibly trepidatious at first. My eagerness to love and to trust do not coincide. Though I want to find someone else to live my life with I’m also extremely cautious due to past relationships. This man, however, told me to give him the benefit of the doubt. He told me he didn’t know what had happened to me that made me so untrusting but it was really sad and he would never hurt me. He told me to give my heart to him and he would hold it gently in his hands. He told me he had been cheated on and would never do that to somebody because he knows how that feels. I eventually opened up to him and told him more than I’ve told anyone since Brett died.
The way this man looked at me flipped my world inside out. He would gaze into my eyes for literal minutes at a time with a huge smile on his face. My mom flew out to visit last week and I asked him if he wanted to meet her. I told him meeting my mom is a really big deal to me so don’t go into this decision lightly. If you do meet her it means to me that you’re all in, so think hard about it. He immediately answered asking me- what time should I be there?
He met my mother and I for dinner and we had a lovely time! Everybody was laughing and he experienced fondue for the first time. When we left the restaurant he and I walked alone for a minute to say goodbye and he told me with a serious look on his face and all the sincerity in his heart, “I miss you already.” Which is something he often did; we would hang out all day and after he would leave he would call me 20 minutes later and tell me how much he miss me already. I felt like I was living in a dream. I dared to think I had been lucky enough to find another incredible man.
I had been hesitant to talk about it with my friends and family. I got my hopes up in the past and they had been swiftly shot down. But this was the real deal. This was love.
Mind you he is an addict in recovery. He had been going through some personal stuff that was very intense and heavy to carry. Naturally, I was very worried that he was going to do something stupid and perhaps get loaded (as addicts it is so hard to see that drugs will make things worse despite all our previous endeavours into that abyss). We were supposed to hang out Wednesday night and he never showed up and his phone went straight to voicemail. By 5 on Thursday I was frantic. He doesn’t use social media because his ex-girlfriend had hacked into all the accounts. So I decided to go on the page he doesn’t use on Facebook and find the brother that he lives with. I planned on messaging his brother to see if he had heard anything from him. While looking for his brothers profile I saw a picture with a woman and him in it. I knew it was the ex-girlfriend because he showed me her page once and “how crazy she was because she won’t take down the pictures of us.” My stomach turned-this picture looked super recent. His beard and hair turns and length it currently is. I debated for half an hour. Am I crazy?? This couldn’t be recent. He loves me.
I was desperate for any information on his whereabouts, though. So I messaged her. Essentially I told her who I was and asked her if she knew what was going on and if perhaps wouldn’t mind talking to me. I told her he and I had been dating and I sent her a picture of the two of us together that past Friday from when we had dinner with my mother.
She promptly replied back: We have been living together for the last year. He is my boyfriend. I have a promise ring from him. I asked her if she wouldn’t mind calling me and a little while later after some quick questions between the two of us I got a phone call through Messenger on the FaceTime.
He was standing a few feet in front if her and walked away as she followed. At one point he turned around and squinted and looked at the phone and said who is that? She replied, it’s your girlfriend. He again turned and walked away refusing to look at either of us. Refusing to acknowledge either of us! She followed him around the house while we both spoke to him and he again turned around. I was shaking violently and crying. I told him I had been so worried that he was in trouble or had perhaps gotten high. So. Fucking. Worried. She said in front of him “he did in fact get high and is actually high right now.” I didn’t even recognize the man looking through the phone at me. His demeanor was dark and his face had lost all its shimmer. He started cursing at her to give him his keys.
“Look at what you did. She’s crying and you don’t even care!?” He managed to take the phone and again raised his voice to her, cursing. At which time I had to hang up because I vomited. I got physically sick. I immediately regretted hanging up, worried that something bad would happen to her. I messaged her after trying to call back and eventually about ten minutes later she messaged me back- he was gone. She had kicked him out.
At this point she and I have been speaking almost non-stop for the past 72 hours. Everything I knew about this sweet, charismatic, kind, playful, affectionate, romantic, loving, gentle, and attentive man…all had been a lie Literally every detail he had told me about himself was not true. He told me he was struggling to get out of debt because she had stolen his credit card. He told me he lived with his brother (he even invited me over-knowing I wouldn’t want to risk driving my car that far due to a check engine light). Every detail he told me about his family life was a lie. Every detail about his working life was a lie. Every detail about his past relationships was a lie. He told me he had never dated somebody with kids because he didn’t want to get too attached to them if it didn’t work and because he wanted kids of his own. turns out he’d been living with his girlfriend AND her child for over a year. And the girlfriend before her had children as well. He had a secret phone which he spoke to me on. He made certain I knew his security code which I said was unnecessary. He said he was an open book and wanted me to know that.
Part of his story was he had relapsed a couple months before and told me it was because he caught his ex (this woman who I’ve been speaking to…the woman he lived with) selling her body. The reality is he has been getting loaded for months and months and she had been supporting him financially and emotionally to try and help him have a life.
Most of the time when he was with me he would tell her he was with his sponsor or a friend who needed help. When he was with her he would tell me he was in meetings or picking up a day of extra work or with his brother trying to re-establish a healthy relationship (because, after all, they lived together).
How do I describe what this feels like? In such a short time he wrapped his teeth around my heart and sunk them in…deep. I trusted him more than I’ve trusted anyone in ten years. He told me I was the most amazing and beautiful and strong woman he had ever met. And for once hearing those words meant something.
When she confronted him he initially lied about it. Said I was crazy and that I’m a drug addict. Then he blamed HER for putting my sobriety at risk by doing this. Now, after talking to her for so many hours there is no way that we can deny the truth of the situation.
I feel like I have been emotionally and physically raped. This sick human wriggled and manipulated his way into my heart and into my body. he waited for weeks until I felt safe to let him do more than hold my hand or kiss me. He was patient and calculating. This man who knows me better than almost anyone…this man who I knew nothing about.
We hear, in recovery, a term ‘some are sicker than others.’ This is the sickest thing I’ve ever heard of. The way he treated me, the way he spoke to me, the way he listened to me, and the way he looked at me; they were all a bit of magic. Well, he is a magician alright. Armed with a hat full of illusions and deceit and the best tricks I’ve ever seen.
Neither of us had any clue and both of us were fully convinced he was absolutely, positively, unshakably, head over heels in love with both us. She spent a year of her life sleeping next to this man. A year giving her heart freely while he blindfolded reality and danced with other partners.
And do you know what? Despite the horrible heartache and the inability to breathe sometimes-I am so grateful! Twelve step programs, other alcoholics and addicts, and working a program have allowed me to build a beautiful life! And I have created an impossible to break bond with this woman. Without her the last few days I think this would have turned out quite different. Instead of tearing each other apart and down we have listened to each other and shared our broken hearts with one another and spoke in great honesty about our relationship with the same man. And it is is so painful.
This soulless creature has created even stronger Warriors out of us. Although our hearts are in pieces, our lives can build to even greater empires of strength and love and courage.
I let a relationship in the past tear me down, break me, and send me spiraling. That was yet another man not worthy of my light.
To my new friend, the “other woman,”, the newest brick to my Pillar of Strength: You are beautiful. You have probably saved my life-giving me a place to fall with your soft heart. You have a kindness and a propensity to help even in your most betrayed of times. I love you. Because you and I are capable of that. We are capable of anything. I’m on your team.