In the beginning or lets count the red flags, shall we?

There were many red flags that I ignored, or simply let slide. I accept responsibility for that. There were several times that I should have run. Shoulda woulda coulda. Crystal clear hindsight.

To start, he wasn’t clear about what he was looking for, even when asked. He said he needed more “friends”. He actually made quotation marks with his fingers in the air when he said that. That had me wondering what kind of friends was he talking about? Naked friends? Platonic friends? Girlfriends? But I didn’t ask exactly what kind of friends he meant. When I’m first getting to know people I’m very quiet, until I get a feel for them. The first few times that we hung out it was casual and platonic.  I spent the time listening mostly about his last relationship, which he said ended about a month and a half before. Through the course of the evening he talked about all three “situations” he’d been in. Because his last relationship had just ended, I thought he wouldn’t want to jump into dating right away. Via text he told me that “yes, I’ve only been with 3 women.” Making it sound like that’s the number of sexual partners/relationships that he’s had. That is far from the case.

The Exs

We went bowling the first time out. He told me about his exs that night. Meet #1, #2 and #3. No names, hes numbered them.

The Schizophrenic Ex #3

He told me his ex “P” (I won’t name anyone.) was schizophrenic, and off her medication. He’d tried to get her to go back on her meds, she just wouldn’t. He’d talked to her mother about getting her back on her medication, it didn’t help. She was fine while she was on it, but when she wasn’t he just couldn’t handle it. She had kicked him out of HIS bedroom, in his own house! He was sleeping in the basement. He’d heard a phone conversation through the heating vent of her making plans with the person she was cheating with. She’d put tracking software on his computer. When I asked him why he said it was “because she didn’t believe I was a sympol man.” (His spelling, not mine.) He’d had her removed from the house, by police, because she just wouldn’t move out. She cheated on him with her drug dealer. Their relationship had been over for months, she “just didn’t tell him.” She used him for money and for a place to stay. He was just a “tool”. Before he kicked her out he had cleaned out a spot in his (packed) garage, unknown to her, so that he could park his car in there. She was so crazy that he was afraid that if he parked his car in his driveway, she was sure to do something to it.

The One Who Pulled a Gun on Him #2

He didn’t have a whole lot to say about “T”. He said they’d been together for 5 years, it seemed this was his longest lasting “situation”. (He doesn’t have relationships, he has situations.) He co-signed for a car for her. His name is still on the title and she owes him $2,500. (Her name is still on his dry erase board in his living room for people who owe him money.) He checks every month to be sure that she’s made her payments. He knows where she lives because of the parking tickets the car gets. He offered to give me the car the first time we hung out, saying that if she didn’t make the payments he would go get it. Initially when he spoke about the car I thought he meant he got it for the most recent ex “P”, found out later that wasn’t the case. He didn’t call “T” crazy, but said that she did pull a gun on him. Why? “Because she thought I was going to marry her and I didn’t.” This is the only ex that he didn’t say cheated on him. His reason for breaking up with her, “She became too much like her dad.” Whatever that was supposed to mean. He supposedly still works with her father.

The One He Married #1

They dated in high school, and they got married soon after. The day of the wedding his mom went up to the hotel room that #1 “J” had, to get ready. “J” didn’t answer the door for well over a half hour. Not only did she cheat that day, but she had been cheating, and he still went through with the wedding. He was going to go on the honeymoon to South Carolina by himself but she insisted upon coming with. One of his favorite stories is telling people that he spent his whole honeymoon drinking strawberry moonshine in a hot tub, screaming at her to shut up. And he wants to go paint balling in the wedding dress, that he still has. “J” cheated on him again, during the marriage, with one of her college classmates, who was married with a family. He caught them in the act on more than one occasion and went so far as to confront the other man at his house, in front of his wife. “J” started the house on fire. She piled a bunch of phone books on top of the stove and started a fire in the kitchen before leaving. He slept in his car for something like 3 months, in the winter time, while they fixed the house. “J” also parked the Grand Marquis in middle of the back yard, with the keys locked inside. He loved that he drove the car, which he trashed (because she loved it so) to the divorce hearings, and she got to see how bad it looked.

So I had my doubts. It put me off how much he talked about #3, and that she was “crazy”. I thought we probably were not  in the same place, that he likely wasn’t ready for a relationship. Even still, I kept seeing him for the next month, usually at least once or twice a week. We talked every day, via text. I got texts every morning and every night from him. He was very consistent, and the attention was nice. Yet every time we were together he would say something about “P”. Every time. He always brought her up in conversation. She’s still texting him, he’s had to tell her to stop or he’ll change his phone number. She’s threatening him via text. About a month in, him and I became sexual. Two weeks later, at Christmas he’d told me that he’d gotten drunk and was texting “P”. He didn’t initiate it, but was responding to her, which he usually (supposedly) didn’t do. That, of course, made me feel like crap. His behavior towards me otherwise was very attentive, and affectionate. When my heat wasn’t working properly in the middle of winter at my apartment he asked if me and my daughter wanted to spend the night. I passed, and went and got a space heater instead.

Before him, I hadn’t dated anyone for a very long time. My youngest is 13 years old, and she had never seen me with someone for her entire life. I have various reasons for this. I’m super paranoid who I have around my children, platonic friends included. I don’t think you can be too careful nowadays. I’ve read too many news stories about the boyfriend/close family friend who beat/killed/raped/molested someones child. That is NOT going to be my kids, not if I can help it, and definitely not someone who I invited to be in my children’s lives. I have made bad relationship choices in the past, emotionally abusive and then physically abusive. I decided to focus on raising my kids by myself and trying to fix me. I made a decision a long time ago that I would not have any guy I date around my children unless the relationship is serious and has a future. I do background checks on anyone I consider, including looking them up on the sex offender registry. He passed all these checks, and I figured he would, because of his job as a corrections officer.

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