Editor’s note: This story was written by a Lovefraud reader whom we’ll call “Priscilla.”
I met a man in Canada on a popular dating website. I thought he was the “one” for me, and he had me quite convinced of this after 3 months of emails, texts and phone calls. So convinced was I, that when he “popped the question” over the phone one night to marry him, I told him yes.
This was the first guy I had ever had a long relationship with, and felt it was heaven on earth. I was in my early 20s, and had never dated before. He was my first real “boyfriend,” and I thought I had hit the jackpot of love. He had me so emotionally invested over the phone, that I felt I could not be without him — so marrying him was my only option.
My parents, who were watching all of this, knew how twisted he was making me emotionally, and had a healthy concern for me, being their only child. They tried to intervene, and I did what most young women in love do — side with my guy over my parents. How much could they know what was right? He was perfect!
Looking back, I wish I had listened. They knew something wasn’t right about him … and had I not been so twisted up emotionally, I would have known it too. For starters, I had never actually met him. He could have been anyone! He talked about going out with “friends.” Looking back, I now know they were not just “friends” but a girlfriend, who he was cheating on, with me. I didn’t know …
Engaged to be married
So, anyway, after about 6 months of “phone dating” we met in person. By then, we were “engaged” to be married. I was crazy about him. We met at my apartment, alone. No observers. He had made me feel so comfortable on the phone that I neglected several online dating rules. Had I followed them, could have prevented the whole mess I was about to get myself into.
I “ran away” with him to another city, where we very nearly eloped. Instead, we simply made vows to each other that we promised we would “make public” later when we got married. We decided not to consummate the “marriage” until after a public wedding, where we would make everything legal and let our families witness, but called each other husband and wife. It was a “secret” marriage. Until then, we would live out our marriage as being engaged. Funny thing was, here I was engaged to marry him — and I didn’t even have a ring! He promised me he would give me one “later” as he had “forgotten” it at home — which was in Canada. I was living in the USA.
One month later, I arranged to get time off my job to go “visit” him. My parents, in good intention, tried to stop me, by getting a therapist involved. My emotions at this point were an up and down battle. I felt my parents were against the relationship (they were). I felt caught between taking my fiance’s side and their side — not wanting there to be a battle — and basically, being given a choice between him, and them. I mistakenly chose him, thinking love would prevail. This is how I went to Canada — and how he convinced me that I should stay with him, there, instead of returning home to my parents in America.
Living in Canada
I did stay, and he gave me the ring at Niagara Falls in what seemed to be a “romantic” proposal. I moved in with him … only to find him living at home, in his parents’ condo, at age 33. He claimed he owned two houses that he was renting, and that he was staying with them to “save money.” He claimed a month before my arrival that he was in a “car accident” with his sports car. Upon my arrival, the only evidence of his “crash” was a supposedly injured back, which he had to constantly seek medical attention for.
He worked long hours, at a split shift job. I honestly rarely saw him but for the time we spent late at night when we slept together, and the 3 hours he had during the afternoon, most of which were usually spent at a doctors’ or shrinks’ — or so he said.
One month before the wedding, he blew up at me for not being a “good hostess” for a bridal shower his family threw for me — because I failed to see my guests to the door of his sister’s house and thank them profusely for each gift, due to him showing up in a bad mood from having been yelled at by his boss at work. I, being the loving fiance, felt that it was more important to see to his needs than my guests’ needs — and he felt otherwise. This resulted in the first act of domestic violence — a bottle being thrown at my head, and him telling me to leave.
Nowhere to go
I had nowhere to go. I had abandoned everything in America to go be with him in Canada! I took a walk with his mom, only to have her beg me not to marry her son. I should have listened to her — she was trying to warn me. I didn’t, because frankly, by that time, I was stuck in Canada with no job, no home, no car … no anything. I was completely dependent on him, and worse, emotionally dependent to the point of feeling I could not live life without him in it. Not a good position to be in …
A month later, I married him — or so I thought. We went to the registrar’s office to register our wedding, got some paperwork which we were told to sign, and that was it. We got married a couple weeks later, and left the papers in the hands of my in-laws and the priest to file. The in-laws did not file them, and the rabbi told us that he had given his copy to my in-laws. Turns out, neither the rabbi nor the witnesses had actually signed the papers and they were never filed, making the marriage invalid —unbeknownst to me until I later tried to file divorce.
Upon returning from the honeymoon to our own apartment that he moved us into the week before our wedding, I found out the man I was married to had a drug addiction. He was constantly hiding things from me. I couldn’t even look over his shoulder while he was on the computer, cause he would get angry. I felt he was hiding everything from me. Suddenly, I couldn’t trust him — or anything he told me.
We had huge arguments that were physically violent. I yelled at him in self-defense, but he got physical. He was much bigger than me — and he was a bully. I knew not to cross him, cause that meant me running from the house in fear of my life. We eventually separated. I went back to stay with his parents; he stayed at our apartment.
We were separated 3 days. I returned home to find a cigarette burn on our down comforter, which had been a wedding gift. I remember the sinking feeling that he hadn’t been alone while I was gone. I started having a very nagging feeling I was being cheated on. My husband smoked weed. A month later, I found out my non-smoking husband had started smoking cigarettes in addition to his weed.
The marriage continued to go downhill. The fights continued. With the fights, my self esteem got lower and lower. We moved to another apartment, and when summer came, he took up a job as a golf instructor … instructing women how to play golf. I got to be his “assistant” under the radar, because I was not a legal Canadian.
I was trying to become a permanent resident of Canada, but without the help of my husband, or a lawyer, I had no idea what I was doing. I was naive, and every time I asked for help, he shuffled it under the carpet, saying how he didn’t have time. In addition to this, I was powerless. A small-town country girl, I was thrown into big city life. I could not walk more than a couple of blocks from my home without fear of getting lost and not finding my way home — and with him gone, I was powerless.
I found myself without help. My sanity was fading fast, as I was placed in a position of second guessing myself, and pretty much everything around me, under his emotional control. I found out he was actually cheating on me — he said with prostitutes. I found evidence on the computer in his absence of him visiting both porn and dating websites, one of which was notorious for cheating spouses. I nearly lost it … as my grip on reality dissolved. I was caught between moral values, which my religion taught, and the truth. I was a victim.
In my emotional state, I had suicidal thoughts and didn’t know where to turn for help. I tried turning to my church, only to have my husband turn his back on the church and cut the ties, saying that the rabbi was speaking against him, and he didn’t appreciate it. The more I reached out for help, the more I got stabbed. I tried counseling, only to have my husband tell me after counseling we were through. I had served my purpose to him, now he wanted me gone.
Back to America
He succeeded in getting rid of me, by telling me I had to go back to America to get documents with which to complete my citizenship. I was to go “visit” my parents, and return with my papers. We were fighting, so it was to be a separation — our third, and it turned out, our last. The ticket secured for me was one way. I was promised a return ticket in two weeks. I took the flight back to my parents, knowing in my gut, that I probably wouldn’t be back. I begged him not to send me away … delusionally thinking I could somehow save my marriage.
Two weeks after I returned back home to my parents for a visit, my husband decided to tell me he had a girlfriend. He didn’t want me back. I completely lost it, and went to a hospital, still thinking I couldn’t live without him. After he found out I was in the hospital, he pretended to want me back. Promised me the world, if I would just leave the hospital.
It wasn’t that easy -— I was still an emotional wreck, and doctors put me on watch. The watch was just long enough for him to change his mind. When workers met to discuss my release, he informed them he was done with our marriage and I had no home to go back to!
I was placed in a treatment facility, and with the help of my family, was able to get my sanity back enough to want a divorce. When I went to seek a divorce, I found out that the marriage had been faked. The document that I thought to be my marriage certificate was in fact the document that was supposed to have been filed in court by my in-laws while my husband and I were on our honeymoon. All this time I thought I had been married, it was a lie.
Professional con artist
I was left with nothing to my name. My marriage had been a sham. He had lied to me. I found out that he had been imprisoned before I met him, for being a professional con artist. He had a girlfriend when he left me … I did some digging, and found her email. I sent her an email … only to find out he was lying to her as well … setting her up just as he set me up. I was a victim of marriage fraud.
He told me when we met that he had never been married. I find that believable, because after being married to him for 9 months, I found out I had never been married as well. I pity the poor woman he victimizes next, and pray she has more sense than I did.
I have moved on with my life. I have gotten back what was taken from me through hard work and counseling. My sanity is mostly restored, although I still suffer with PTSD from the events I went through with my fake husband. I am married, legally, and have been for two years. My husband is nothing like the first one, and treats me with only respect and love. This time, it is real. I am happy. There is life after love and marriage fraud, and I am living proof.