Editor’s note: Lovefraud received the following letter from a reader who we’ll call “Nora.” The names in this letter have been changed.
One Saturday, in October 2009, I married someone I thought was the man of my dreams. When this man came into my life last year, I had suffered several losses and was very vulnerable. I thought I had finally met an honorable, loving, understanding, romantic, Christian man. We laughed together, planned our future together, and seemed like the perfect couple. I should have remembered when something seems too good to be true, it probably is. Although I didn’t expect everything would always be rosy, soon after we were married, I discovered that everything I thought I knew about this man was based on lies. He is the complete opposite of who I thought he was and has no concept of the truth or of being in a committed, loving relationship.
From my research since leaving him, I believe this man is a sociopath, and nothing, or no one, is going to change him. He initially presents himself to be a charismatic, romantic, faithful man, but soon the real man begins to emerge – a cheating, abusive, pathological liar. When I started questioning inconsistencies in his stories, he turned everything around to try and make me feel guilty for doubting him, and that worked in the beginning. Even though I was confused as to why I was no longer feeling love from this man, I tried to convince myself that everything would work itself out. When I started to realize this man had duped me, I also started to realize he was incapable of truth or love. The fact that we recited our wedding vows in the presence of God and family meant nothing to him. Everyone, including myself, asks the same question. Why did he marry me so quickly and what did he hope to gain? I don’t think there’s an answer to this question that makes sense.
Met on a dating site
I joined a dating website in July 2009 for the same reasons that most women like me do. I was having another birthday that month and decided I wanted to meet someone to enjoy life with, as I had been living as a single woman for over five years and hadn’t dated until the last year. Since I hadn’t met anyone the usual ways, I thought this would be a good way to pick someone who matched what I was looking for in a man. It didn’t take long to get winks from lots of men, but one man’s profile stood out from the others. We are both over 50 years old, but he is several years younger than me, and I often joked that my first husband was the same age as me and my second husband older, so I was looking for a younger man the next time.
We met for our first date a few weeks later at a public garden near my home. When I got out of my car, he met me with a dozen red roses, the first of many to come. At first, he was very quiet but told me later it was because I took his breath away and he hadn’t expected me to have that affect on him. We went to dinner that night at a nearby restaurant. The evening was perfect and he was everything I had hoped for. We agreed on just about everything and the next two months seemed as if we had been together forever – that we were who the other had been hoping to find.
My mom’s advice was not to rush into anything but he convinced me we should get married, and no one tried to talk me out of getting married so soon because they tell me now I seemed happier than I had been in a long time. I never once felt alarm or noticed anything that appeared to be red flags. If I had taken my mom’s advice and waited, the truth would have eventually come out before making the biggest mistake of my life.
Soon after we started dating, “Gabe” booked tickets for a day trip excursion out-of-state. When we started talking marriage, it was decided we would get married in an outdoor wedding gazebo with the fall leaves as a backdrop on the same day as the planned trip. We left on Friday, the day before the excursion and wedding ceremony, to obtain our marriage license that he applied for online. He was anxious the entire trip, worrying that we wouldn’t get to the license office before they closed. Our children were meeting us the next day for the wedding ceremony and he said he didn’t want anything to upset our plans. Once we got the license, he relaxed, and the planned excursion the next day and the wedding ceremony that night are still wonderful memories and always will be as are the days leading up to that date.
The next day, we returned home and it was decided we would start moving my furniture and belongings to live in his house. My new husband, appearing to show concern, kept asking me if I was sure that’s what I wanted to do because his house is miles away from everything I am used to. I know now that his “concern” was how he was going to keep me from discovering the truth about his numerous lies. I told him I loved living away from the big city and didn’t mind the longer drive to visit with my children or get to my job. I had been renting my condo for over five years, so he said we would keep it until the first of the year, and then purchase it and rent it out.
Discovering the lies
Turns out, Gabe had not been divorced for three years as he told me. His divorce was final one month before our first date, making him ineligible to remarry sooner than 60 days. No wonder he was a wreck about getting the marriage license. He had lied on the marriage license application stating his last divorce was May 2006.
Gabe started to “disappear” and have lame excuses when he returned. He had said he would help pay my rent and car payments to help me with the expenses of two households, but he never gave me a penny. I discovered he was talking to other women online, but didn’t say anything at first. One night I asked who one of them was. He said a friend of his for over 20 years. Turns out, she was someone he had hooked up with in late 2007. He told this woman he was divorced and had an affair with her for several months before she became suspicious and called it off.
The real man
The last week I was there, the real Gabe emerged. I discovered he had changed all of the passwords on the computer and blocked me from using it, but this time, I wasn’t backing down. I knew he was hiding things from me and let him know that’s why I had checked the computer history. I found out he hadn’t paid any of the bills he claimed to have paid for the past two months.Gabe then told me our marriage was a mistake, we wanted different things in life, he realized he never loved me and to pack my things and get out of “his” house.
At first, I refused, thinking we could work it out, but after talking to my mom, something she said clicked in my head, and I suddenly realized what I had to do and started packing.
The day before moving, Gabe and his son moved my furniture to the downstairs garage. I rented a 16-foot truck, and my daughter, son and I loaded my belongings in it and moved out on what should have been our two-month anniversary, back to the condo I was lucky to still have.
Since leaving him, I have found out the truth about so many of his lies. He isn’t a military hero as he claims. He doesn’t have a Purple Heart Award or a Bronze Medal. He uses a fabricated DD214 and Bachelor of Science diploma as credentials. He never went to college to earn a computer science degree. The university he claims to have received his degree from never heard of him.
The ring – he made a big deal about giving me “his mother’s ring.” He told me he had never felt about anyone the way he did about me, and I was so special, he wanted me to wear it. Turns out, it isn’t even his mother’s ring. He tries to guilt me into returning the ring, saying it’s a family heirloom, and he will pay for a divorce if I return it. Like I’m going to believe another lie of his? There are too many lies to list, but they also include some really insignificant ones that do nothing other than to inflate his image.
I started profiles as his wife in hopes of warning other women about him and not to date him. I made it so anyone searching his name would find my profiles about him instead. He’s been seen dating and I’ve had him bumped from two dating websites after informing them he’s not single as he claims, but still married.
Who found my profiles were other women from his past who he lied to. They have let me know how thankful they are that I exposed him and that it has helped them to understand what they couldn’t before now. We have become informed by sharing and comparing our stories. We’re able to laugh at how he uses the same stories and calls us all “Pretty Lady” and “Bella Principesa.” Our “support group” has drawn us together and we now focus on hopefully sharing our knowledge with others.
I can’t get him to divorce me, but that’s one of his MO’s. He tells everyone his wives are the ones who cheated on him and divorced him after leaving him with their debts. He’s the only one who did the cheating. He’s the one who is financially irresponsible and has filed for bankruptcy – a fact he dropped on me after we were married. He had shown me a meticulously kept check register that turned out to be a fake. He refuses to pay for a divorce, so for now, other women are safe from him.
After leaving him and realizing he had not been truthful about his sexual encounters, I went to my doctor to be tested. Thankfully, only one STD test came back positive and it was treated with antibiotics. When I informed him he might need to get tested since he was having sex with other women, his only response was I got infected from improper feminine hygiene. He says ignorant things like that to try and upset me, but I know the truth, and I can hold my head high knowing I did nothing wrong other than to love him and trust him without really knowing anything about him.
I hope others will see there’s no shame in this happening, but I also hope they will read my story and others like it and think as many times as it takes to really get to know a person before making a bad decision while thinking something like this, or worse, can’t happen to them.