Since I was a little girl I have feared the dark, especially in my bedroom at night. I knew with certainty that a monster of untold evil and viciousness was under my bed, or hiding in the deep corners of the room, where light could not seep. Or worse, hiding behind the dresses in my closet. I knew that as soon as I drifted off to sleep he would reach up his scabby, blood-encrusted hand and jerk me under the bed, where I would be swept down into a hell full of fiery brimstone. The nuns in my Catholic school excelled at planting such images in our tiny heads. It took fifty years, but finally, in July 2007, that monster I had dreaded for so long finally arrived, through the portal of Match.con (not a typo).
I have touched briefly on this previously, but I cannot state strongly enough my cautions against using Match.com. Of course, we all know someone or sometwo or somethree for whom this matching service has worked out wonderfully. The flip side is the wormy underbelly of the con artists who prey on divorcees and widows on this site. Just about every daily talk show from Oprah to Ricki Lake has featured this topic, so at least I have the comfort of knowing I wasn’t the only unsuspecting female blindsided. We’ve all heard the expression “Suspend Disbelief”. If you insist on trawling Match.con I suggest you do so with the attitude of “Suspending Belief”. Trust nothing you are told, not a single word or gesture, because these men shape shift and gladly become whatever you wish for. My mom’s words, “Careful what you wish for honey, cause you might just get it” flipped through my head countless times over the past 3 years.
Do you want a man who spends hours listening to your every word, wish, and want? This will be your guy. They are clever at morphing into whatever you desire. They must; their entire financial future rides on how much bullshit they get you to believe. Want romance, candles, flowers, and the whole gangbang? This will be your guy.
This will be the most agreeable gentleman who has ever crossed your rose-strewn path. You will spend many hours smugly congratulating yourself on your amazing romantic luck. You will travel, laugh, and generally have a blast, until the day when the last vestiges of doubt have been wiped from your mind and heart and you begin to cautiously allow him access to your finances, possibly even get tricked into adding his name to the deed on your house.
That’s the moment when the charming façade drops and you see the pond scum for what he truly is, a con artist and an opportunist, who slides through life profiting from what others have earned. In my case he turned into a raging alcoholic who loved to threaten and browbeat women and children. My pond scum’s favorite instruments of torture were his guns, numbering over two dozen. His favorite pastime was to drink until he was barely standing and brandish them about while threatening to shoot me and my son.
I’m a spunky woman and not one to take crap, so the first time this happened, Easter Sunday 2011, I immediately went to the police, who advised me to stay elsewhere that evening and consult an attorney the next morning, which I did. For some strange karmic reason I have yet to understand this lawyer’s advice was to return to the marital residence post-haste, otherwise it could be construed as abandonment of homestead, and I could conceivably lose everything I possessed… money, inheritance, and my home, in a divorce action. He also wrongly told me that I had no case against this piece of shit unless he actually stabbed, shot at, strangled, smothered, or beat me until I required medical treatment; mere threats did not constitute abuse. At the advice of this inept counsel I lived the next ten months in a dark world of fear and intimidation, my will and personality slowing slipping away. This blog was the only thing that kept me sane; I tried to find humor in the tiniest things in an effort to scramble up to the sun for the briefest moment. When I re-read posts from those months, it’s difficult to believe what my life was like and that I was able to conjure up a smile from anywhere.
After seven months of living in this hell of suspended animation, I finally decided that no amount of money was worth the price of continuing this charade and scheduled an appointment with a divorce mediator for February 22, 2012. That appointment was never destined to occur, and what followed opened the door to my freedom and regaining my life.
I’d survived those last weeks by laying low and doing everything in my power to keep the monster I’d allowed into my closet from noticing my presence. I managed nicely until the evening of February 20. Seemingly that was the day my luck ran out. The glimmer of fear I felt grew as he became drunker and drunker and did not fall into his customary nap to sleep it off. I was on full alert, because this was when the monster was at his most dangerous.
to be continued…