Editor’s note: Lovefraud received the following story from a reader whom we’ll call Evelyn19. Names have been changed.
I came to North from Florida as a traveling RN. Needless to say, traveling for work gives me financial stability and independence but it can be lonely. After moving into a month to month apartment in June and realizing that all the windows had been nailed shut and the place didn’t have air-conditioning let alone a ceiling fan, I had to find someplace that was cool. I left work at 8 pm on a Tuesday in a town I’m not from, so the options are limited of where to go. So you guessed it! I go to the closest bar for a few drinks and contemplation of how to go back to my apartment with out feeling like a dog trapped in a hot car.
I sit at the corner of the bar, closest to the door so I can bounce if I don’t like the atmosphere or the company. In the middle of my first glass of wine a guy sits down next to me. I always wear a brimmed hat and a hoodie when I go out at night by myself so as not to draw attention to the fact I’m a woman and I’m in shape. Also the hat allows me to scope out the situations around me without the appearance of me actually looking.
The guy next to me politely orders a gin and tonic from the bartender. They briefly engage in a conversation, long enough for me to over hear that this new customer is well-spoken and thoughtful. I eye him up from my peripheral vision to see that he’s dressed very classy and stylish in long khakis, a buttoned-down plaid shirt, a blinging gold watch, and a ring on his finger to indicate his commitment to someone.
I finish my glass of wine and ask for the check but before I can leave the stranger next to me asks me to stay. Says he needs some company tonight. Says he got in an argument with his boyfriend and needs to let him cool off. Finding out that he was gay, I immediately let my guard down as I knew he had no interest in my womanly charms. He bought me a drink, told me his heart was broken over what he was going through, still wanted to marry this man that bought him the ring. I listened and gave the best advice I could for not knowing this stranger nor his partner.
After my third glass of wine that was purchased for me, I started heading for the door, honestly stating I had consumed enough for the night and I was heading home. He paid his bill and insisted we go to a bar that had karaoke. It would be fun and take our minds off things. During our walk I learned about the 7-year relationship that he was in, his old lovable dog, and I discovered that I worked at the same hospital on the same floor with his mother, who was also a nurse. So many coincidences. I felt safe enough to divulge more of my self and my life to him.
When I told him about my apartment window dilemma, he immediately offered his services. This friendship was fate! After singing at the bar we walked to his car for a box of tools he said we’re in the back. I did not want him to drive as we both had enough to drink and the walk back to my place was only a few minutes, but he insisted.
Even at midnight the apartment was hot as an oven and he immediately took off all his clothes except his signature Andrew Kevintian underwear. He was so confident, so unashamed of his tan body. “I don’t want to ruin my clothes,” he said. I thought it was strange but knowing he was gay and how sweltering the apartment was I didn’t feel uncomfortable. He took all the nails out of the windows and opened them despite their wooden protests to budge.
I truly thanked him for doing this for a complete stranger like me and again stated it was my bedtime. “I have to take a shower before I can leave,” he said. Not an unusual request, until he asked me to join him, to which I refused becoming embarrassed but then thinking it was a playful joke.
When he was done, I again stated that I needed to go to bed and we would get together in the future. “Can I stay here tonight? I don’t want to drive anywhere drunk.” That was actually a reasonable request so I agreed. But something happened. He leaned in and kissed me, so softly and sensually I was taken aback. “Aren’t you gay?” I asked in surprise. “I’m just really confused,” he said.
He proceeded to tell me how emotionally abusive and controlling his partner was and that he knew from tracking him via Google Maps and looking into his emails that Kevin had been cheating on him for a while. I truly felt sad for the man I just met. How could someone do this to such a sweet wonderful guy!
Needless to say, we had sex, which was mutually fulfilling and I fell asleep soon after. I woke up at 8 am still a little hung over, surprised that Justin was still in bed next to me. He was softly snoring and that’s when my alarm bells started ringing. What had happened? How could I let a stranger come home with me and I sleep with him? I’m 36 years old, I’m intelligent and street smart, I don’t even know this guy, what did I do?
I looked in his wallet and his license confirmed who he was and there was even a receipt for an engagement ring. I saw 2 new notifications on his phone, which I assumed was what had woke me in the first place, to see that his mom Deborah and his boyfriend Kevin had sent messages asking where he was. My heart stopped racing and the alarm bells faded. “I just made him trade teams!” I thought to myself, impishly.
I quietly packed up my laundry and left after leaving a goodbye and hope to see you soon note to Justin. I spent the next 6 hours doing laundry, running errands, and purchasing supplies for the new place, still running over the events of the previous night in my mind and chugging Gatorade to rehydrate myself from my binge.
When I got back at 3 pm, Justin was still in my bed, sleeping. The alarm bells started again. Why was he still here? It’s Wednesday, doesn’t he have to be at work? Doesn’t he have things he needs to do? “Hey,” I said softly. “Don’t you have to get up and go to work?” “No, I’m taking some time off because of my relationship. I’ve just been really sad, but you changed all of that. You’re the most amazing woman I’ve ever met, besides my mom.”
Even though the bells in my head had been droned out by the charm of his words, I still convinced him that he had to leave because I had to get my apartment and myself ready for work the next morning. The schedule of a nurse is all over the place so it’s rare to find someone that has free time that coincides with yours so even though our time together was a treat, I felt he had overstayed.
He slowly and deliberately got dressed and gathered up his things, all the while telling me how wonderful our time together was, how beautiful I was, and that he wanted to see me tonight. I felt a sense of overwhelming relief when I finally shut and locked the door behind me. As I headed to the bathroom, that’s when the text bombardments started.
Over the next 22 months, Justin convinced me to move in with him and purchase a dog that I loved in order to use it to hold me hostage in this situation. He abused alcohol, bought painkillers from friends, convinced his Dr. to prescribe him Suboxone and Valium, which he traded for other drugs but when he started using meth, I left with whatever I could fit in my car.
He has cheated on me God knows how many times while I was working, but badgered me for the length of our relationship that I have been the one cheating. Every day he pleaded with me to keep paying the bills because he was going to get a job. He has stolen my credit cards and ran them up, changed every password for every account I have ranging from email to Pandora so that he had access to them. He put Spyware on my phone to keep track of my location, view my search history, and read my text messages. He isolated me by deleting and blocking my friend’s on my phone and telling people I was having mental breakdowns. He physically assaulted me repeatedly and purposely sleep deprived me in order to better gaslight me and try to get me fired from my job. Now he has even admitted himself for substance abuse to the hospital I work at so he can get closer to me and avoid going to jail.
I’ve started over but the psychological damage is going to be the hardest to repair. I am embarrassed, humiliated, and ashamed of what I allowed to happen to me for so long, how I enabled him unknowingly to do these things to me, and how many friends I lost communication with.
Learning about sociopathic behavior has given me the confidence to speak about my abuse and relate to others. I want to get this out in the open because this happened, I didn’t make this up, I didn’t ask for it, and I sure as hell didn’t deserve it. The only thing that I’m guilty of is loving someone, believing that they can change, and almost sacrificing my life for their diseased body and mind, which is not repairable.