There was a story that got peddled at our wedding, one that is still being told today. One of the firemen, or maybe it was the best man, someone at the wedding pulled an accident report from when I was in a boating accident, back when I was with my ex. There were six of us that day and the boat clipped a piling and flipped. All of us were fine, but we couldn’t swim to the shore with the undertow so the FD had to be called. The accident report stated that my new husband was part of the rescue squad that pulled me out of the water. The more detailed the story became the more I remembered about that day, but I didn’t remember my husband. I remembered being pulled out and then there was a fireman in my face asking me questions, I remember thinking stupid thoughts like “don’t talk, he’s stranger danger” while in shock. The story was put out there that I had met my husband before we met online and it was like two strangers passing in the night, but it wasn’t true. I didn’t find out until I talked to the Fire Chief when trying to turn in his jacket that it wasn’t my husband, the form had been altered, it was a man named Eric who pulled me out. I gave my husband credit for this lie, let him be a hero, and the entire time he knew the story was a lie. This would be a red flag seen too late.
The Window Honeymoon
There was no time or money for us to take a honeymoon, we had an upcoming court date and then we were moving. We got married on Saturday, March 10, 2007, and crashed hard that night. I remember us hitting the bed and both of us looking at each other without words asking if it was okay that we skip the consummation until after we had gotten some sleep. The entire week had been draining. My husband knew what I needed and pulled me to him. There we curled up together and slept for hours. We would have slept in, but our doorbell sounded at 6am.
My ex was standing on our doorstep with my children in their pajamas who were yawning and looked like they had just gotten out of bed. Now, normally we met at the police department and normally it happened at 6pm. This was not the plan, but my ex said he didn’t want us to have to come out to get the kids that evening while we were on our honeymoon, and he had some stuff to do in town so it was no big deal to drop them off. I am pretty sure the neighbors saw my eyes roll as he spoke. I took my children from him with my new husband standing to my right smoking a cigarette and giving my ex a look that said he was not amused.
This was all done purposely for my ex to throw a monkey wrench into my wedding weekend. It had started with my son’s shoes and that failed to ruin things, then it was not allowing us to have alone time. I told the kids to say goodbye to him and thanked him for saving us the trip. I had to be the adult even when I wanted to sneer and be derisive. I knew if I angered him it would just go back to me living on eggshells and my husband constantly stepping in and I didn’t want that. I had always wanted to stand up for myself but now was not the time or place and it would never be the time if the kids were present. We were supposed to pretend everything was okay, that there was no fear, hatred, or anything toward the other person. Some days were harder than others to hide what I saw when I looked at him.
Some days, when it was really hard, I could still see him forcing himself onto me. I dissociated this one time where I could see it happening, but I wasn’t there. He knew it too so he would lean in and tell me that the reason my son had autism was because I was a bad person. He claimed that only bad people had kids like him. He would have said and done anything to hurt me and he did, over and over again, and when I saw him I was reminded of that. I was reminded of all the things he did and reminded that I was a coward who should have left the second it had started getting bad.
We brought the kids inside and fed them breakfast. We didn’t have plans because we had planned to spend the day with each other doing nothing but each other. After the kids ate breakfast, we got them dressed for the day, they wanted to ride their bikes. We opened the garage, put on their helmets and knee pads, and let them ride around the cul-de-sac. My ex had been successful in ruining any intimacy. I never wanted to have sex after any interaction with him. Sometimes seeing him renewed the trauma in me. To put it bluntly, whenever his face was visible I was as dry as the Sahara.
As the kids rode their bikes, my husband drank a cup of coffee in the kitchen, and I opened the blinds so we could always see the kids. I used to sit outside and watch them like a hawk, but I was told to give them a little breathing room. They would always be in my line of sight, even if they didn’t know they were. My husband claimed I was paranoid, that no one was going to hurt the kids and they weren’t going to get hurt. I just shook my head at him. This time instead of leaving me be he took my hand and led me upstairs and continued to talk about how I had to let them grow. That when we were that age we had adventures, but they wouldn’t have those if I was hovering over them. I watched out of the bedroom window to see them giggling and riding their bikes. It was the only joy I felt at the moment after having seen my ex and now my husband was standing behind me whispering in my ear.
His hand slid into my pants, and I tried to pull his hand out. “Shh, we’re married now,” he tried to make it into a joke. He knew exactly how disgusting I felt when my ex came around, my husband was aware of what I was feeling at the moment.
“I’m watching the kids,” I explained and tried to pull his hand away again.
“So, you watch the kids while I watch how easily I can slide into you as you stand right here,” he continued. I didn’t want to have sex, I sure wasn’t going to do it while looking at my kids, but he persisted. The more I didn’t want to the thicker the guilt trips became until finally I stopped fighting and surrendered. He had reminded me of everything he had done for me and that he had just given me his last name. He laid it on so thick I felt like I owed him, I was his whore. I stared at the wall instead of out the window and let him do whatever he wanted to me and made no sound at all, not a moan, not a word, nothing. He was claiming ownership and I had given in.
A couple weeks went by and we hadn’t touched each other. I was still in my head from that day at the window and I think he knew that was too much or he had gone too far because he didn’t push or even try for more. Wasn’t the way to start wedded bliss, but it happened and we couldn’t go back and change it. My husband and I went to my ex and talked to him about the kids, his wife wasn’t working, it was a recent change, and we needed to head down to Texas to find a house so I asked if it would be okay if she watched the kids for a couple extra days over their weekend. My kids and her kids always got along, and even though she had married my ex, I could trust her with my kids.
He said it was fine and called her and told her what we were doing. Then my husband and I packed up what we needed and on a Thursday morning, we left the comfort of our home for Texas.
Weekend In Texas
Texas was not a place I ever wanted to live, and this trip down there echoed reasons why, but we will get to that. My husband had driven the whole way down, which took about 15 hours, I talked to him, we sang along with the radio, and I gave him a little curbside service. This was the honeymoon we should have had, not a view of a wall after seeing the monster in my nightmares. When we rolled in we went and checked ourselves into the hotel my parents had gotten for us. It was part of a wedding present since we didn’t have time for much else.
The night was spent in actual bliss, and then storms rolled through and it went from hot, which we were packed for to cold, which I never thought was possible. The next morning we jaunted to the car so that we didn’t freeze and then we headed to the base to get some clothes out of the PX. We didn’t have the extra money to spend, but we were freezing so we put it on his credit card. When we got to the gate we went to get a pass and that is where everything started going wrong.
Security was up so everyone wanting a pass had to go into this building and we had to wait to get processed. When they got done with us we got called to the desk and they asked who drove us onto the base. My inner lawyer jumped into overdrive and knew you don’t answer a question if you don’t know why they are asking it. I took my husband’s hand and looked at him as I asked “Why do you ask?” I was terrified this was going to be like the night in the ER and I was about to find out I had another warrant. I had been good, but that didn’t mean anything.
Then the woman said “Your husband’s license is suspended,” and I kept looking at my husband who seemed confused by this information. They couldn’t give him any further details, but if we wanted the pass to get on the base then I was the only one allowed to drive on base, legally I was the only one allowed to drive anywhere. We took the pass and I drove us onto the base with my land nav husband leading me on where to go. We got to the PX and got warmer clothes as it started to rain again. Then we drove around the base and got an idea of its size and where my husband would be working. Even drove out of a gate we would come to use a lot, we pulled over, and I had my way with my husband in the passenger seat, just the way newlyweds were supposed to be. Although, he had issues with sex of any kind in a vehicle. He would object after the fact or if he was driving he wouldn’t pull over. We grabbed food for lunch and cleaned up at the hotel and then went to look at houses.
It must be a trust thing because where I am from if you want to see a rental they will lend you the key or meet you at the house, but where we were I had to surrender my driver’s license, pay a fee, sign a blood oath (okay, it wasn’t signed in blood), and then I had one hour per key to return them. It made looking at the houses a bit rushed and chaotic, but like always, when looking at real estate with my husband he made it fun. There was so much playfulness and laughter, there was so much love and friendship. He was the man I had met again, before any of the bad. After two days of having the best time, we found a home. We put in the application and the deposit and within an hour they declined us.
I drove back to find out what was going on to learn that when we moved into our new house Lori had taken over the trailer, but didn’t pay any of the bills. The Sherriff’s department had evicted her and the realty company had reported the damage from the tent stake still implanted in the wall to the credit agencies. I called and talked to the company and they agreed to waive the remaining rent that Lori hadn’t paid, they would leave that part on her and not us since I had given them notice before we moved. But, we had to pay for the damage my husband had caused. They claimed it was $800 to patch a hole in the wall. I know what you are thinking, $800? I said the same thing and had I been there I would have fixed it myself, but we had no choice but to pay or we wouldn’t have a home to move into when we arrived. My husband called his dad to ask to borrow the money, but he said no. I called my parents and told them what had happened, my mom asked about the damage and I lied. I told her it happened when we were moving, she adored him so much that I didn’t want her to think badly of my new husband. She seemed hesitant but put it on a credit card so I could pay her back monthly. Once she had the receipt that the damages were paid for, she faxed it to the rental company, and it was enough that they let us sign the lease.
I have to admit, I wasn’t a fan of things popping up like they were, but my husband and I made a great team and we would get through everything… well almost everything.
“so often victims end up unnecessarily prolonging their abuse because they buy into the notion that their abuser must be coming from a wounded place and that only patient love and tolerance (and lots of misguided therapy) will help them heal.”― George K. Simon
We went back to the hotel that night excited that we had successfully completed everything we needed to do and the next day we were heading back to the kids. We also knew that when we got back we had the hearing for child support, but since this was a make-shift honeymoon we were not going to let it get us down. We would wait and hear what the referee (judge) stated before we got worked up about it.
The entire car ride home my husband was the best. He let me pick the radio station, he rubbed my shoulders, gushed with pride over me, and kept apologizing that I had to do all the driving because of something he had done. I told him it was fine, and it was. He needed me and I loved the feeling of that, but he was going a bit overboard with the love bombing, enough that even I was questioning it then. I thought he knew why his license was suspended and just didn’t want to tell me without a layer of sugarcoating, Instead, I would learn he was about to use me, to step on me, so he wouldn’t be blamed for what he was about to do.
I met his ex, Melissa, on the morning of court, she was amazing. They had made her come even though she was having contractions from the baby boy she was getting ready to have. That made her a rock star in my book, but even more so I actually got to know her as they went down the docket. It seemed we were going to be the last called, and the more I got to know her the more I noticed she was a lot like me. She was strong, and I used to be. She was beautiful, and I knew I could have beautiful moments. She was intelligent and I had that too. We both had the same brown hair you will realize is a thing for my husband. Girls who match his mother…
Getting to know her and talking to her, she wasn’t anything like what he had described to me. He had stated that she wouldn’t let him see his child, but she was offering to let us go see her right then. He told me that she carried a grudge, but she was happy and content and didn’t show one sign of anything other than friendliness. She and I exchanged phone numbers and I promised her we would come out and see his daughter as soon as we could because he wanted to go home. She told me a story about them and how amazing he was as a father to her oldest daughter, but it was a story close to the one I was living. My husband stepped outside the courtroom with her and they talked, leaving me alone in the courtroom. To this day I have no idea what he said to her, but when he came back in and sat down he said “she’s not fighting for support.”
We already knew this, but I didn’t say anything.
My husband got called up and they went to the front of the courtroom. The referee went through the math, it was bad, so he gave him 12 days of visitation on the child support calculator since he had been deployed for 12 months. It equaled out to one day a month. He still got hit with $900 a month in child support. When we left my car was near the courthouse and hers was across the squared town center. I offered to let her ride with us over to her car. Having had kids, I fully understood her pain as she continued having contractions. We gave her the short ride to her car and said goodbye.
Then we headed the hour and a half drive back home. Took my husband nearly a half-hour before he said anything, and when he did he said “I want to terminate my rights. Would that stop the child support?” My heart sank. I know some people aren’t meant to be parents, but he had begged her to have his child, this flesh and blood baby girl who should have been allowed to get to know him.
“Narcissistic fathers leave their daughters with deep doubts about whether a man can love them, since the first important man in their life was so in love with himself that he had no love left for them. ”Dr. Regina Marcon
I had enough knowledge of the law that I explained to him that it would erase the child support, but Melissa would have to agree to it, someone would have to be willing to adopt the child with Melissa, and I explained that he may never get to see her or know her. I asked, “Is that something you are ready to live with?”
He said yes, without hesitation. He continued explaining how he didn’t know her and she was better off without him. I couldn’t begin to put myself in his shoes. When it came to my children I would have walked through fire, when it came to his he would stand on the sidelines and let the house burn. I asked him to think about it for a day before we made any moves.
That night he called his dad, as we sat out on the porch with the stars twinkling over us I heard the reason he was doing so much sucking up. He told his dad “I can’t afford the support, I can’t afford to take care of my wife and her kids and take care of my own.”
I heard his dad tell him not to do this, his dad gave him that same speech I would hear about blood being blood, but my husband was set in his ways and he was about to throw me under the bus.
“It’s either my wife or my child and I choose my wife and her kids.” He would from that point on say: It was my fault he lost his daughter. He didn’t want to discuss me going to work or visitation with her. He said his job in the Army kept him too busy, he said she deserved better, he stated she should be with the only dad she knew, he expressed a lot of things in an attempt (I believed) to convince himself this was what he wanted. This entire situation fractured my faith; he wanted his child and the responsibility gone plus he wanted/needed a person to blame. I was that person, and because I loved him because the bonding had begun, I kept my mouth shut. I was supposed to be the supportive wife, but nothing about this felt good. I couldn’t make him be a parent to his daughter, but if he was going to walk away I thought maybe Melissa might let me stay in touch so that if he changed his mind or something happened to her we would know. I envisioned sending gifts as Santa and playdates when I came into town, but that’s not what happened at all. Melissa and I would stay in touch, until… that comes later.
A few weeks went by and my husband had Melissa on board and his daughter would be adopted by a man who… let’s just say he’s worse than my ex. My husband’s father called one day and I answered the phone. We had a short conversation about the whole thing. I told him I agreed with him that my husband shouldn’t give her up. I felt like he would regret it and his dad was saying she was family and you don’t discard family. My father-in-law hadn’t been able to get my husband to go to the doctor, so I didn’t have much hope in him convincing my husband to think this over. I did the math and with the move, my exes new job, my child support was going to increase so he really didn’t have to let her go, and I did everything I could to try and tell him he could do this and be this person for her, I promised to be his back up and love her as if she was my own, but when the day came, he stood in front of the judge and said the words “I don’t want her.”
The judge talked to all parties, and the state ordered a no-contact order. Stating that he couldn’t have contact with Melissa or her children until after his child reached her 18th birthday. That put me right where I didn’t want to be, in the middle.