Editor’s note: A Lovefraud reader whom we’ll call “Linette” sent the following email. This article refers to spiritual concepts. Please read Lovefraud’s statement on Spiritual Recovery.
I had been out of a different type of abusive marriage for about a year when a friend of mine sent me an ad from one of those local singles sites that she thought I should look at. I was at work and not busy at the time so I went over to the link “just for fun.”
At the top of the list of “ads” in big bold letters was the title, “JESUS IS LORD.” “How bold!” I thought, “to be able to not be ashamed of Jesus!” In my mind I thought it was not a good idea to meet a man online, but well, I kept thinking about that post. What if I wrote him back and it could be a “friend” online to talk to about my Spiritual faith (which means more to me than anything). We talked back and forth on email several times after that and then he asked me to call him. What harm would it do I thought?
So I did and he was SO happy, OVERJOYED to hear from me! He had been praying for so long for someone like me, he said! He told me the horrible story of his wife leaving him 5 notes, one for him and 4 for the kids and moving to another state. He realized he hadn’t been perfect and he must have done something he didn’t know about, he said! After all, a man should be the “priest of his house” and he had failed to keep his marriage together. You get the idea anyway now, SO much hurt he had been through.
Then the letters started coming, beautiful love letters like I had never seen before! We met and he had arranged to have flowers on our table on the first date! He said boldly, “I hate to interrupt but I just have to tell you how BEAUTIFUL you are!”
At first I was sort of suspicious that he came on so strong and backed off, even called off our plans to meet again, but I had bought him a birthday present and he came by to get it on the way to meet someone else he had made friends with online. He looked SO good when he came to the door and his voice sounded golden when he talked. He LOVED the present he said and would cherish it always.
Taking my chance
What was I doing? I wondered if I was “missing my chance” with this man! After all, all he had done was be wonderful, a little controlling after sending me “Linette’s calendar” complete with the next month filled up, but how romantic that was, I thought! How nice that he already KNOWS he wants to be with me, that he can’t resist me.
So, we dated a couple more times. He brought me flowers almost daily to work and took me out constantly, writing love letters that would put the most famous poet to shame. He even showed me a letter he had written called, “My prayer for a bride.” How sweet, it matched me almost perfectly! He told me of all the “signs” that God had given him to let him know “I was the ‘ONE'” and kept marveling at how blessed he was to find me! We danced every night in my apartment as I rested my head on his shoulder and fell in love. I could never meet a more wonderful man I thought.
So VERY soon, only 3 weeks after we met, he arranged a picnic in the park for my birthday and took out a beautiful ring for a present. It was my birthstone and very pretty. He said when I saw the ring box, “You didn’t think that was an engagement ring did you?” I felt foolish and said, “Oh no of course not.” Several minutes later he pulled out another box and it WAS an engagement ring.
I was SHOCKED. He said he couldn’t live without me, that we could wait as long as I wanted and he would understand if I said no, but was praying that I would say yes. On Valentine’s Day he took me to the most romantic place I had ever been to and I said, “Yes.”
I thought I LOVED this man. He kept saying how God brought us together and SHOWERED me with attention and affection, everything a woman wants to hear. We waited about 4 more months as he kept hurrying me to go ahead and do it so we could be together all the time. We got married on top of a mountain, a Bible park 2 hours away. My church that he had started attending brought a whole van load full of people, and it was a storybook wedding and honeymoon.
He didn’t have enough money to pay for the honeymoon he said but he would soon and he wanted it to be “special.” I spent the money I had gotten from my ex to buy our house since he promised he would pay it back in NO TIME. He said he made very good money, just had a run of bad luck from his divorce paying off all of HER credit cards. He took the debt because he wanted “out of it,” he said. Embarrassed, I spent almost $3,000 (almost all I had) on our honeymoon when I had planned on paying my bills off with it.
Okay, fast forward, honeymoon was FULL of promises of many more times like this, the whole rest of our life would be a “honeymoon.” I was the angel God had sent to earth to be with him, he said.
Honeymoon is over
SHORTLY after the honeymoon I found out he was pretty much impotent and also in bankruptcy. He swore it was “nothing” and that he would do whatever he could to fix it. Oh yeah, it got better. He had my income now as well and was able to buy MORE motorcycles and even a small airplane because he had plenty of time now that I took care of EVERYTHING inside and outside of the house. He wanted me to ride the motorcycle with him but I had had a bad wreck on one when he was trying to teach me. I now even look back and wonder if he was hoping something WOULD happen to me. He wouldn’t have cared, that’s for sure. I soon found that he cared nothing about ANYONE including his own 4 children.
But every time I would get upset at something he said or did and cried, he would end up apologizing. OH how he loved me and we just needed to let “God anoint our marriage and repair it.” It was always my fault, of course. He lied many times and took out loans that I knew nothing about.
We soon started traveling separately on vacations because he needed that “time on the motorcycle to spend with God.” He would plan several trips a year by himself for weeks to get “out on the road with God.” I was afraid to ride now, and he put me down for it. He said he had thought I had liked motorcycles when I met him and it was my fault we didn’t take vacations together.
Much more that I could go into but this is how I “woke up.” My mother passed away one year, actually a little over a year ago. I had been spending a lot of time at the nursing home with her for the past few months, with my husband NEVER at my side. I would get home and he would be watching TV, had always gotten mad when I interrupted his television watching even during a commercial. I just cried and hurt and said goodbye to my Mom. He attended the funeral with me like a “good husband” for looks. After all, he couldn’t have people at my church thinking he was anything less than the perfect husband.
After the funeral, a girlfriend of mine was planning a trip to the beach. She said if I would to go that I would only have to pay for my meals. I jumped at the chance of a whole 7 days being out of the “bondage” of my lonely, loveless, sexless marriage. I noticed on the trip that the people who went with us were kind to me, they actually asked ME what I wanted to do and where I wanted to eat, etc. I didn’t even know how to answer. I hadn’t been asked in so long. One afternoon I was walking down the beach and it “hit” me. If I lived to be 90 like my mother had, wait if I lived 6 more MONTHS I did not want to live like I was. I made the decision right then and there. I was getting out.
When I returned home I figured out a plan to get my things when he was at work and I told him I was going to spend the night with my sister. I sent him an email that he read at work saying I would not be back and more. I was honest and said I had realized I couldn’t live like that any longer but not unkind with my words.
That’s when the real battle began. The first site he sent me was a “quickie divorce” site. Then next one was an email on the church prayer chain asking people to pray for him, that his wife of eleven years had left him—Anonymous.
I couldn’t believe he was so uncaring that he never even asked if I could reconsider or get counseling. I would get an email one time and it would be full of CRAZY talk, accusations and put-downs and then the next one would be how he wanted to work things out fairly. He quoted a lot of scripture to make me feel guilty. It was messy but good friends of mine helped me stand my ground.
He didn’t have the money to pay a lawyer so we finally agreed on a settlement after some months of pain and threats and insults. I couldn’t do the “no contact” thing until it was all settled. But I did set limits.
He actually asked me once to meet him for a “Last Supper” at his house the night before the divorce. HUH? That’s SICK. Of course I didn’t go. He insisted on showing up at the hearing even though he didn’t really need to just to make everything uncomfortable.
Order of protection
The emails, calls and texts kept coming, likes on social media, told to my church friends and BIG displays of “brokenness” in church services were thankfully seen through by most people including my pastor. He followed me after work one day and I got up the nerve to go and seek an order of protection against him. I was afraid everywhere I went.
One time I went out to eat with a friend after church and he was sitting in a lawn chair next to my car when I returned. He said he wanted to walk our dog and that we could do it the “easy way or the hard way.” I got in my car and left, heart pounding. STILL I doubted myself. Was he the one in the right here? Had I been exaggerating how bad things were in my mind? Back and forth I went STILL trying to figure everything out.
I obtained a six-month restraining order because I had all the emails and he admitted following me that day. It runs out at the end of this month. He feared going to jail so he quit going to our church and I have not heard from him since the hearing for the order of protection. I think he fooled the judge some. He is GOOD just like other sociopaths are, at sounding truthful and getting sympathy.
I am trying hard to recover. My Dad passed away at the first of April, a little over a year after my Mom. I feel some days as if I can’t go on. I am on an anti-depressant but for the first time in my “Christian life,” I have been doubting God, myself and almost everyone else I meet.
I know I have come a long way but I think I expect too much. Although I have friends who have been great, they don’t REALLY understand how it is to have been deceived by someone who is nothing like they seem to be, to find out their whole marriage is a lie, that that person never really existed.
Thank you Donna for all you have taught me even though you don’t know me. I was a counselor and thought I had a really healthy outlook on life and was discerning, but he TOTALLY fooled me. I am embarrassed and have a LOT of self-doubt problems now. BUT I will make it. I know that too. And I don’t regret getting away or the “no-contact” order. I urge others to follow your steps to healing, forgive themselves and GOD and move on.