Well, the year is almost up and I decided to come back and check in. The year has been painful, but I made a few discoveries about myself and humanity that kept me battling through. I discovered friends I never knew I had and will forever hold a place in my heart. Without them, I would have crumbled many months ago so they have my eternal gratitude. They saved my life.
First up, I went through with the divorce. The alternative didn't bear thinking about. I have a 12 year old daughter so I predicated my decision on how I would advise her in the same situation and ultimately, I would never advise anyone to stay in a relationship as physically or emotionally abusive as the one I was in. There is no amount of love in the world that could justify the mistreatment endured by myself and my children.
Some background. It seems only appropriate that I share with you the truth behind how my relationship began. It started with a lie. And not just a small fib, but a monumental, never going to trust again, complete obliteration of the truth, lie. We met in a nightclub. Yes, very cliche. I was coming out of a four month hibernation period after my daughter's father had walked out on us 2 weeks before her first Christmas. Some friends had cajoled me out with them. And so we were introduced. He was 38, I was 22. He was attentive and flattering, and I was smitten. We exchanged contact information as he was returning home the next day, only visiting on a short business trip to the UK where I was living at the time. A week later, I emailed him. We went through the usual getting to know you questions via email for a few days. "Are you married?" I asked. "No, but I do live with my ex-girlfriend and her two sons. She's going through a rough patch and trying to find somewhere to move to, so I'm helping her out." How sweet, right? The emails turned into lengthy phone calls, a la The Truth About Cats and Dogs, remember the all night phone call? We vacationed in Hawaii the week after 9/11. And that's where my bubble was burst. An email. From his wife. Not his ex-girlfriend.
I'll cut the story short, but suffice it to say the remaining time on the island was strained and full of more lies. We're separated. We've been married 5 years, the 4 year old is actually mine, but the 11 year olds dad is no longer in the picture. I couldn't just abandon them. etc etc.
I returned home to the UK where I received flowers and gifts and promises. Oh the promises. I can't tell you how many promises. By now I had already set things in motion to move to the States. Sold furniture, handed in my notice, got court orders of custody and support for my daughter, too late to change my plans. So I packed up my 20 month old, two suitcases full of clothes, $600 in my wallet and travelled 3000 miles to start a new life. He would be free, he claimed, when I arrived. He promised.