Editor’s note: The following story was submitted by the Lovefraud reader who posts as “stillinshock.”
I was going through a horrendous divorce with a man I had a child with when the predator struck. I was in a vulnerable position, scared to death by the man I was divorcing who was threatening to take my children, my home, my freedom and my life.
My spath was a retired cop. Swooped in playing the knight in shining armor (boy, I am sure he could smell the blood in the water). He was friendly, charming, and could tell stories and entertain for hours. EVERYONE liked him.
I wasn’t looking to date ”¦ I was going through a divorce, but he came highly recommended by mutual friends, and I started to think along the lines of “maybe this is my reward for going through hell. Finally, a good guy, and he can help keep me and the kids safe!”
I was so scared for my children at the time ”¦ I now recognize that thinking as a major vulnerability on my part. I really didn’t know what hit me.
He swooped in and my life became even more chaotic. I was in shock and dealing with PTSD from the man I was divorcing, and spath took advantage of that.
He pretended to support me and be there for me, but looking back, I now realize everything was always about him. If something went good, he took the credit; it didn’t matter who or why. I remember him taking credit for things I had done, because everything always had to be about him. I just let it go because I really didn’t need the ego praise for the things and apparently he did, and it seemed a small price to pay to have someone helping me through the divorce.
I remember once he got me flowers and a birthday card for my birthday, and even though I hugged him and thanked him, he pouted for DAYS that I didn’t make a big enough deal over it. After all, he had gone out of his way to remember my birthday and apparently I should have fallen to my knees in gratefulness.
I didn’t meet his family for quite a while. He had told me his mother was psychotic and tried to choke him to death. He told me his sister was too snobby to want anything to do with “working people.” I had no reason to not believe him at this point.
He even talked me into shelling out $8,000 to buy him a camper to live in so he could get away from his psycho mother (Much later I did meet his mother and she was very nice. She was the one who told me he had been married 3 times ”¦ he always told me he had only had one wife before me). Obviously, he did not want me to meet his family too soon because they would have messed up the false stories he was telling to me.
Everything was a lie
Everything about our life together was a lie; one that I believed for the longest time (2 to 3 years) because he would build on small truths that he had hard evidence for (he was a cop, he had a hero’s medal for his part in 9-11, he guarded celebrities, he did detail for the President, he was the youngest ever police chief in his state) ”¦ he had some proof of most of those.
But a lot was exaggerated or just plain false. He was great at telling stories. He made everyone laugh. Everyone liked him. People would think “What a rascal!” “What a great guy” “He’s so much fun to be around!”
He was fun to be around unless you were living with him. Then he would be angry and irritable, condescending and fault-finding. He would pout and withhold affection if he didn’t get his way.
Life was always chaotic with him. He would start projects and not finish them. He would come up with different ways to make money, borrow the money from family members (2 were my young son and my elderly parents ”¦ this is making me ill as I write it ”¦ he only paid them back partially what he owed and that is only because I made him pay it back while we were still together).
Loving in public
He would be loving in public but when we got home, he would put a pillow between us as we slept at night (supposedly for his PTSD ”¦ now I realize he despised me and only used me for my money and for power and control over another.
Also I was his “front” ”¦ his “happy” family, which made it unlikely that most people would believe he was on Craigslist and adult sites hiring hookers, watching cable porn and calling sex lines, trading pictures of his junk with others on the internet (I did not know any of this until 3 years into the relationship ”¦ one time he forgot to delete his history. Whoops!)
I found him on several dating sites. I did a lot of digging and also found emails and phone calls to escorts. Of course he lied about it all. He got angry, he threw stuff at me, he told me I HAD to trust him if this was going to work, he told me he was lonely and just looking ”¦ he said he never actually would have gone through with any of it, blah blah blah lie lie lie.
He swore on his love for God and his dad, whom he supposedly adored. Now I realize he doesn’t even believe in God, but gee, being a God-fearing man sure makes you look good to others!
Sex with hookers
He tried to coerce and manipulate me into swinging, having 3-somes, and having sex with another man while he watched. He would start sex with me and then just as I was really getting into it, he would stop and make me agree to a 3-some or to have sex with another woman or to have sex with another man while he watched ”¦ anything that was way out of my comfort zone ”¦ and he wouldn’t continue until I agreed.
He would say this was just fantasy and he got hot thinking about it, and so I would agree thinking we were just playing fantasy, but days later he would bring home a swingers magazine and try to get me to go through the pages and find a couple to swing with.
When I would say we were just fantasizing at the time, he would get angry and tell me that I promised him! I am glad that I held to my standards and never did any of those things I was highly uncomfortable with, but it is so embarrassing to think I put up with this for so long.
Anyway, the sex dwindled to nothing between us, he complained his hernia hurt, and I was trying to be a good wife and why would I put my husband through pain just to have my sexual needs fulfilled? Although every time I asked him to get his hernia fixed, he would complain it cost too much.
I believed him at the time. Years later, after we split, several different people came up to me to let me know he was using my camper to entertain underage hookers, and he also had a deal with a local hotel for reduced hourly rates.
The entire time I thought he had very little interest in real sex because of his hernia, he was having it with hookers and easy pick-ups. Of course, now I am glad we didn’t have much sex because after I found out all this, I was scared to death until I got my STD testing.
Oh, and by the way, not that this matters, but I was extremely attractive, and had quite a few men after me. In fact, once I found out about him and told a male friend ”¦ his comment was “if he can’t be satisfied with you, what the hell does he want?”
I am only adding this in because I did have other options, and I was sought after, and I believe that is part of why he chose me and tried to destroy me. Our entire relationship was about him trying to destroy my mind, my soul, my finances (he did succeed on that part), and my spirit.
Ruined my finances
The finances. I had a perfect credit score (830) before him. I had bought and paid off several homes, paid cash for cars, had $40K saved in the bank. I was comfortable. He went through that money.
I felt bad for him in the beginning and paid off his child support ($1500). I bought him that camper.
I invested in some of his business dealings. I believed him. I had a good heart. I was so naive. His truck would break down and he abandoned it. Someone would buy something from us and then quit making payments and he let it go. I would try to get the payments out of them, but some of his dealings turned out to be a bit shady.
And he would just get more money from me, his mother, my mom, my son. He was so believable with the stories he told, the bad luck that happened to him, such a good guy! With a good heart ”¦who just tried to take care of everybody! Gag!
So he got a job down south making good money. He left me and the kids in a dump with way too much work to do to sell it, but I had my life savings invested in it. He told me that he was good at building and he would fix it up and make it beautiful. In actuality, he destroyed it by starting several big projects that he never finished.
Found him on Craigslist
The idea was he was going to have me and the kids move down after we got the house sold ”¦ but that is when I found him on Craigslist.
I was in shock. I lost 20 pounds in 2 months. I thought he was a good guy, a good family man. Why? Why did I think he was such a good family man when he left so many others? I mean, he always had excuses “she stole from my friend, it was mutual and we just agreed that we had nothing in interest, she was a psycho that went crazy on me.” I believed it all.
His credit was bad from a business venture with a woman he dated before me. Apparently “she was embezzling from the company.” I believed him, but now I doubt he was being truthful. Just another lie ”¦ one of thousands.
So I signed for his business truck, and I also allowed him to use my credit card. Dumb dumb dumb! But at this point I still had faith in him, and he did work this job for almost a year and was making good money.
However, after I found him on dating sites and Craigslist, I insisted he go to counseling. He decided he would rather split up with me than go to counseling.
During this time, he ran my credit card up to the max. He still owed $12K on his truck, and $14K on my card. I went on food stamps. I was broke. I ended up having to file bankruptcy (on his bills only though, because I have NEVER lived outside my means.)
So I am going to try to rebuild. Bad credit, a dump of a home, a car that breaks down every other week, no good job, depression, PTSD, and no trust in anyone these days.
I have a lot to rebuild. But I have faith in me. I will do it.