Editor’s note: Lovefraud received the following story from a reader who posts as “Lillian.”
I met him online. Dated casually for a year, during which time I met his sister who grows fruit & is married to a well-known doctor. I met his other sister who is a judge. I got to know his 21-year-old son who was graduating from college & gave him a job for a summer. I met his ex-wife. I met a childhood friend of his. He showed me portfolios of the homes he built or remodeled, I met a couple of his clients, & he drove me past a few homes.
The next year we dated regularly & traveled all over the world. France, Greece, The Caribbean, Hawaii, San Diego, Seattle, NYC. We were amazingly compatible. He looked after me, he was kind, considerate, & he wanted to be with me more often than not.
I thought I had gotten to know him & we bought a house together & everything changed. He stopped working; he did not contribute anything towards the mortgage, utilities or even buy groceries. We had opened a joint account but I came to realize I was the only one with my paycheck going into it. He took care of the finances, as I was busy traveling for work. We had a joint credit card that I also paid out of the account & he used it liberally for all sorts of purposes.
After having $400K in the bank when we met, I suddenly was told by him that we didn’t have enough to cover the credit card. He was siphoning money off & stowing it away. I confronted him & asked him to pay or sell the house or leave. He either flat out refused or talked me out of it with promises to fix things. I didn’t know it at the time but he had decided to leave & was merely controlling his exit.
I came home from a business trip to find that he was bidding on a sailboat. He bought the boat & traveled to San Diego where it was moored in August & stayed until October refurbishing things & stocking it for a club sale from San Diego to Cabo in October. I went down before he left on the sail. I then met him in October when they arrived in Cabo. Where upon asking when he was coming back home he informed me he was going to live on the boat in Mexico & I could spend my weekends flying down there to stay with him. I told him unequivocally no.
He managed to cling on long distance until Christmas when he came home & our relationship was clearly strained. In February I received a call from a widow of a prominent surgeon who found our phone number in the white pages under his name & told me how she had been seeing him & how much fun they were having. He had told her we had broken up. I was supposed to go down there in three more days.
My company had just been sold & I was laid off. I was unemployed, had very little in the bank & he had found a new meal ticket while trying to keep me on the hook. I wanted to go down & talk to him & he wouldn’t allow it. He told me he would have me thrown in a Mexican jail if I approached the boat.
I called a moving service & paid to have most of his belongings moved back to his yard. He kept his house intact. I didn’t know it but he was on his way here & showed up the next morning with a mutual sailing friend & his ex-wife. I refused to let him in & had changed the locks. I left out the back gate & spent the day with friends. I came back & it was as if the house had been ransacked; the remaining large pieces of furniture were gone, as well as many of my things.
I had taken a sleeping pill, which he knew I used & he decided to have the police do a welfare check on me. I didn’t hear them that I knew of, but I woke up to see a uniformed police or fireman looking in my bedroom window. He asked me to let him in & I got up & declined, asking that they go away. I heard something coming through the windows in the living room & went to stop the person. It was the psychopath & my ex husband.
The sleeping pill was in full effect. To this day I can’t tell you what time it was. I went to stop the person coming in the window by throwing or swinging a bottle in his direction & pushing on them. The police came in & tackled me. Took my pants down & injected me with a sedative. My ex & the spath sent me off with the police to the mental hospital where they wouldn’t let me out for a week. They both kept calling the hospital & insisting they wanted to talk to them about how crazy I was & have me committed. I did not give my permission for the hospital to talk to them so they couldn’t.
Meanwhile the spath cleaned out my remaining money in the bank account & closed it, telling them I had defrauded him. I didn’t have my purse, I was barefoot in jeans & a camisole, I didn’t know what day it was when I woke up in the hospital. I didn’t have my phone so I couldn’t call anyone.
I was released without any money not a dime in the bank; even if I had had my ATM card it wouldn’t have worked. He shut off all the utilities & collected the deposits he had made with my money. I didn’t have lights, a phone, television & he had even turned off my newspaper which I had just paid up for the next 12 months & collected the reimbursement of the fee. He managed to take everything else he possibly could. The house looked like it had been burglarized at this point. I had not a dime & was sitting in the dark. He never contributed a dime to the mortgage & I never ever had any contact with him again.
I cashed out my retirement account & managed to get everything turned on while detoxing from whatever it was they gave me in the hospital. It was not easy & one night I drove myself to the hospital because I thought I was having a heart attack from the withdrawal. I used all of my retirement money to try & keep the house & live, pay my bills etc. When he filed a suit to force a sale in the worst real estate economy in decades, I stopped paying the mortgage.
I was completely traumatized by the home invasion & incarceration in the hospital & was still out of work. I had gone through almost all of my retirement. He was also asking for half of the proceeds if any. We had done every deposit & payment electronically & I had the records for three years that showed my money going in & my money going out. The judge was lazy & ruled in his favor for 50% saying I didn’t have enough proof. If itemized bank statements weren’t enough proof then I don’t know what would be.
It was the first time I’d seen him in almost two years. It was like he didn’t know me. After the hearing I walked out of the courtroom & waited for him & his lawyer to walk out. Five minutes went by so I went in & they were sitting chit chatting with judge.
He insisted that the court pick the agent event though this was my fourth house in my town & I knew who was good & who wasn’t. We got a very weak brand new guy who set the price too high. After two years I fired him regardless of the court order said & within three months we had two short sale offers. He refused to sign the paperwork. I went back to court & got an order to sign on his behalf. By that time they were foreclosing & I lost the house. 30 days later they had a sale.
I lost my entire life’s work savings, apparently paid for a sailboat I don’t own. I lost my retirement & I still can’t find work after 25 years of a very successful career. I am almost homeless & have lost my kids to my ex husband. The six-year relationship devastated me, ruined my life, my career & wiped me out emotionally, financially & mentally. I will never be the same & spend a lot of time trying to figure out how to start over again.
EPILOGUE: Lillian wrote this story several years ago. Although she is now working again, she never recovered what was taken from her and the psychopath was never held accountable. Believe it or not, what he did was legal.