Editor’s note: The following letter was sent by the Lovefraud reader “Philip.” Names have been changed.
My very long story starts in December of 2004. My first wife, Lee, was terminally ill, and I was the only one that took care of her. I also had two teens, and they were not any help at all. My mother in-law had moved from out of state in order to give me some help. She was more trouble at the time than help. None of Lee’s family other than her biological mother came to help. As a matter of fact, they all pretty much kept their distance since she got sick. So, I took care of Lee, by myself, for about five years or more. I ended up having a breakdown. I was told that this was “Care giver burn out”. I gave myself excuses in order to defend my coming actions to myself.
I had a cardiac episode about two months before I left. I was in ICU for most of the week, and was told I would be sent to a bigger hospital for a card overt. I was terrified about this. I asked what it was, and the nurse told me that it is when they use the “paddles” to try to get my heart back into rhythm.
My heart ended up converting on its own the morning I was to go for the card overt.
So, I was scheduled for a stress test. I passed with flying colors. The doctor asked if I had any stress in my life. Stress? Who me? Excuse #1: He told me I had to get away from this stress, or this could happen again, and the possibility of stroke would be great.
Excuse #2: We needed a visiting nurse, and a program that would help my wife. My health insurance did not cover it. I made too much money to get help, and not enough to pay for it myself. I was told that if we were separated, my wife could get this help. She and I talked about this, and although neither of us liked the idea, we were headed in that direction.
One night, after a very bad day at work, I came home, and the first thing out of everyone’s mouth when I walked through the door was “what’s for dinner?” By this time my mother in-law had moved out and gotten her own place. She was never at the house anymore.
Time to move out
The house was a mess; the laundry needed doing, and then this. I snapped. I hit a depression that was unbearable. I was having a breakdown.
The next day I moved out. I knew a girl that had a spare room, so I moved there.
Big mistake. A lot of things went down, that I won’t go into detail about. I went to my doctor, and he prescribed Paxil. I was having trouble with it after taking it for a few months, so his P.A. changed me to Effexor. I still loved my first wife, and still do today. She filed for the divorce. Again, neither one of us wanted it, but felt that was the only way to get her the help she needed. I look back on all of this and my heart breaks. Pam forgave me of all this mess, and my children also forgave me. It took YEARS for me to forgive myself.
New life begins
I tell this story, to lead up to how “Jennifer” got her hands on me.
I met Jennifer on yahoo personals. We hit it off very well. She was beautiful. She liked all the same things I did. She seemed to share the same political views that I did, and much more that we seemed to have in common.
After chatting for about three weeks we ended up meeting for coffee, and hit it right off. This was in December 2005.
It wasn’t long before she was coming to my house and we were having some of the greatest sex I had ever had in my life. We also would go out and do some fun things together. During the course of the “after sex conversation” Jennifer told me that she was bipolar. I didn’t know much about it, except that a friend of mine suffered from it, and she would get depressed. Jennifer was “self aware” and on medication. I didn’t think much of it. I was not getting serious with her, as I had responsibilities at home. Before this, I had moved closer to work, so “home” was now an hour away. With Lee and I being separated, and our intimacy having been long gone years ago, I didn’t have a problem with having sex with Jennifer. I was truthful with my wife. I have a big problem with lying, and HAD to tell Lee the truth. Besides, Jennifer and I weren’t serious, I told myself. I was so blinded by my own feelings and hurts, that I wasn’t seeing how bad the things were that I was doing.
Experimenting with depression medications
In February 2006 I asked my doctor to help get me off of the Effexor. It had eventually had the effect over me similar to Xanax. No high or relaxation, but I couldn’t feel anything emotionally.
I was on the maximum dose of 225 mg. She told me no problem, and took away 75 mg. She never replaced it with anything, and told me it was fine. She was an M.D., and not a psychiatrist.
Within two days I was suicidal. I was scared. Jennifer had told me that she had 10 years working in mental health, so I sought her out. I took her and her children out to eat at Subway. I made sure that the kids sat in the booth behind us, with my back to them, so I could talk with Jennifer. She told me I should go to the hospital, so I did.
Checked into mental health unit; checked out of job
I was checked into the mental health unit. I was there for a week. My boss was pissed. I was a very important part of the “team” and was letting them down by being gone. I was eventually let go for “budgetary concerns” within the department.
I found out while I was in the unit that my M.D. should have NEVER prescribed the anti-depressants, and should have referred me to a shrink.
When I got out, this was when the game started. Jennifer basically “pounced” on me. She made herself everything I ever needed or wanted. I was a mess, and couldn’t believe that this wonderful woman wanted to take care of me, much less bring me “into” hers and her children’s life. Now Jennifer was separated from her first husband. I asked her how long they had been separated, and if there was a chance of getting back together. The things she said about her ex were horrible. I felt so bad for her and the kids. I was being reeled in. (I finally ended up getting to know him. He was a good man, that had been played by this woman.)
She had me, hook line and sinker. At the time her and her kids were living in housing. She didn’t have much money, so I didn’t have a problem “helping out” once in a while. She knew that I would, and always seemed to mention to me the money problems, and the things she and her kids needed from time to time.
I was still going “home” to take care of things for my family. I always told Lee what was going on, and she wanted to meet this Jennifer. I know, kind of weird, but Lee and I had that kind of relationship. I think that she wanted to check this woman out to make sure she was on the up and up. She loved me, and wanted me to be happy. At least this is what I had thought at the time.
First meets second
So, I loaded up the car with Jennifer and the kids, and went home with them. I took the kids outside, and Lee and Jennifer chatted for a couple hours. Jennifer had won Lee over. At least that was what I thought, because this is how they both acted. When Lee had to eventually go into a nursing home, Jennifer would go visit her during the day, while I was at work. She played board games with her, and rubbed her feet for her. She seemed like a godsend for everyone.
I was still having trouble with the Effexor, as I never got off of it. In the unit they decided that I was better off staying on it.
Under a bipolar spell
Jennifer wanted me to move into her apartment with her, and by this time I was all for it. She was an angel sent by God. While living with her I saw her bipolar rear its ugly head. She would have bouts of anger. It didn’t last long, and I was able to help her get past it. I really didn’t have any concerns about it. After a time we decided to buy a house together. Truth be told, since I was on the Effexor, and very agreeable to most anything she said, I think it was really her idea. Since I was unemployed at the time I had lots of time to look for a house. Jennifer and I had a blast looking at houses. Some of them were empty, and we were able to get into them and look around. In August 2006 we found a house that was an old church that had been converted into a house. It needed LOTS of work, but Jennifer assured me that she was very good at carpentry and drywall. I was good at carpentry, electrical, and plumbing, But I had a bad back, and told her it would be slow going. We were capable of fixing the house up.
We made an offer of 10k. I had this money in a 401k, and figured I would take it out and pay cash.
New house: my money, her name
Here is the part that was alarming, and would have made anyone else run away fast. Prehistory: When Jennifer left her first husband she went to a battered woman’s shelter. He mother, who herself was a sociopath, held the mortgage on the house. She told Jennifer that if she didn’t get back with “Justin” she was going to foreclose on the house, which she did.
We got to the closing on our house, and when I was putting pen to paper to sign the papers, Jennifer snatched the papers out from under my pen and stated “I am not moving unless my name is the only name on this deed.” I was stunned, and so was the lawyer. Being on the Effexor I could not even form a response to this. All I could think of was, if I got up and walked out, they would sue me for breach of contract, and take my 10k, the only money I had at the time, other than unemployment.
I relented, and she signed the papers. We then got the key, and started to clean the house out. We were so excited to get the water going, and the electricity on, so we could start spending the night there. In my mind I was buying this house not only to live with Jennifer and the kids, but it was back in the kids’ old school district and near their dad and grandparents, who I thought they needed to be near.
At that time, when we first moved in, the divorce between Lee and I became final. It was in August. Lee and I still celebrated our anniversary in October, and I was on the phone with her every day. We both said, that in our hearts we would always be husband and wife.
With both of our divorces being final, we ended up getting married in December 2006.
No wedding, just the magistrate, and no family in attendance but her kids.
It was after we were married that things between us started to change. The sex was still great, and she was still loving, but she started to get sarcastic with me, and cut me down from time to time. Now, after we got married is when she told me that she also suffered from borderline personality disorder. I had no idea what this was, and looked on the web to see what it was. I was astonished. It still didn’t really bother me, you know, the Effexor. Also, I never saw any signs of it, and figured it was her meds that took care of it. I have horrible back problems, and am on pain meds. I figured that her meds “fixed” things, like my pain meds and Effexor did. Boy was I wrong!
The next year, 2007, my daughter had my first grandbaby. I was able to get Lee to the hospital for this, and we have pictures of her holding her grandbaby.
First wife dies, daughter move in
Three weeks later Lee died. My children were devastated, and so was I. Her death brought everything that I had done to the surface. The guilt was unbearable, but I had to hold it together for MY kids. Before Lee died, but when we knew she was close, Jennifer visited her, and supposedly told her not to worry about me and the kids, that she would take care of us.
My daughter, her baby, and her fiancé moved in with Jennifer and me. The fiancé was to get a job, and they were to stay until they got on their feet. My daughter had postpartum depression, and of course depression because of the death of her mother. They moved in at the beginning of May 2007. By June the fiancé moved with his parents to Florida. My daughter was on the phone with him every day. He had his own bag of crap, and was playing her heart. Braking up with her every other day.
One day, in August, I was out. Jennifer went out to the store, and left the kids home with my daughter. She fell asleep, as she was exhausted. From my experience depression makes you sleep, a lot!
Daughter out; Son in
Jennifer got home to find her eleven year old daughter playing with a candle and a lighter on the sidewalk. I arrived about ten minutes later. Jennifer was furious, and was in the middle of kicking my daughter out of the house. She told her to make arrangements and that she had a week. I tried to intervene, but to no avail. She played the “this is my house” card, and you can leave too. This was a theme that would be played out many times during our marriage.
Well my daughter moved out, and a few weeks later my son moved in. It was Jennifer’s idea. My son was also suffering from depression. He had no clue he was, but Jennifer and I could see it. Jennifer talked him into going for counseling, and made him an appointment. She was taking him to his appointment, but supposedly went to the wrong office, in another little town near us. My son had no clue that was what happened until she realized it. Again, she was furious, and blamed my son, as he “should have known where his appointment was.”
Again, an adult child of mine was given notice to move. And again, the “my house” card was played. I felt like a neutered dog. I could do nothing. Jennifer knew that I was livid, Effexor be damned.
It was at this time that she started to lavish me with the attention that she used to first snag me. Life went on, we had ups and downs. She was still manipulative, and I was oblivious.
In 2010 I started to go to counseling. I wanted off of this Effexor, so that I wouldn’t feel so numb all of the time.
So the shrinks P.A. Took 75mg away, and replaced it with Citalopram, the generic for Celexa. I started to feel normal again, and eventually got off the Effexor completely. Jennifer was beside herself, because once off the Effexor I grew a pair. I was the man of the house, and she wasn’t having it.
Step-daughter stealing and selling meds
To make matters worse, her oldest daughter, 16 years old, started to steal my pain meds. I noticed them disappearing. I told Jennifer, and she didn’t want to hear it. She said I was either forgetful, or giving them away to someone. So, I bought a combination safe. I am not really good at remembering combinations, so I kept it in my wallet. I think that one day while I was in the shower, my step-daughter got into my wallet, and copied it down. Keep in mind, this child has been stealing from family members for years. She would deny it, even when caught red handed. The apple doesn’t fall very far from the tree.
She ended up stealing 15 days worth of Oxycontin, and half a bottle of Percocet out of my safe. I had to take half the dose of everything, and was going thru serious withdrawal. Jennifer still stuck by her daughter, even when we found an Oxycontin in the top of a decorative candle in her daughter’s room. Sue accused me of setting her daughter up.
One day she said to me “I don’t want to hear another word about your meds again… One more word and you are out of here”.
Her daughter heard her say this, as Jennifer was yelling at the top of her lungs. I went up to our bedroom a little while later, and my safe was open. Nothing was taken, but this was her daughter’s way of trying to get me out of the house I guess. Her daughter and I started to argue. Jennifer got so upset that she went into our room and cut herself with a razor blade. You know the inside of the forearms. Her daughter flipped out! It was nothing serious, just enough to draw blood. Another manipulation.
A few days later, she got busted at school with a few of my Percocet. I was so relieved. We had to take her to court, and she got probation and restriction to her home. While talking with the probation officer, she was still trying to tell her little story, something like this, “Philip left his meds out on the kitchen table! There were a couple left on the end table!” and on and on. When she was done, the officer said, “Well that was a nice little story, but I don’t believe a word of it. First off, no matter where these pills were, they were not yours to take. Secondly, every student that has been caught with these pills has pointed the finger at you as being the person they got them from.”
Jennifer started to bawl, hysterically. Now I am not sure if she was crying because her image as a mother was being tarnished, or, she was crying because she thought that it was appropriate for the situation.
We ended up having to go thru all kinds of family counseling, and my step-daughter ended up cutting herself and going into a psych hospital.
All this time, my wife NEVER apologized for all the crap she did while she was trying to blame me for this.
We ended up splitting up for a few days. I came up to my family’s house and she stayed home. Within a day she was begging me to come home.
We are both Christians; well at least I know I am. I quoted a bible verse that said “Be still, and know I am God”.
Basically I was saying, relax, don’t do anything, things will work out.
She couldn’t relax, and ended up putting a deposit on a rental house in a town close by. She told me that I ought to have my house, since it was bought with my retirement money.
I have no clue what was going thru her mind, but I knew that this was a crock. I ended up coming home, big mistake; I should have let her move. We worked things out, and said, it won’t be long, and our daughter would move out when she was 18. She had that number in her head as to when the children had to leave.
While her daughter was in the hospital, things were so nice and quiet.
Step-daughter kicked out
When she got done with all of that, she only had one more year of school. After she graduated she turned 18. The money that Jennifer got from social security for her stopped. I could tell that she was antsy about not having that money. A month or two later she kicked her daughter out of the house, under the excuse that she had been dating a boy behind her mother’s back. Dang, the girl was 18, right?
Again, life was quiet, for a while. Jennifer started to gaslight me.
More health issues
I was already having some small memory troubles, and she took advantage of that, and played it up. I was also having issues with vision etc. I got an MRI, and they found a small cyst behind my left eye. It was causing ocular seizures, where everything would get really bright, colors more enhanced, and a split second of “where am I and where am I going”. Medication helped a lot with that, but she was still gas-lighting me.
She was also on a big devaluing campaign with me. The things she would say blew my mind. Everything she did that was unacceptable she blamed on herself being mentally ill. By this time I was seeing a shrink at the VA.
Ok, this has been a very long story, and I will get to the present day.
October 2012 I got my social security disability, as I can no longer work due to my injuries, and the things going on with the cyst. I hate not working, it really sucks. So, we needed a roof on the house, and I got one put on with the back pay you get.
Things getting worse in the house
At that time she started another campaign. This one was to turn the remaining two kids against me. She started by arguing with me whenever they were around. It didn’t get too serious, as Christmas was coming up, and I was always very generous at that time of year.
Her son and I were very close, and did lots of things together and enjoyed each other’s company.
After the holidays it started up again in full force; however she stopped once she found out that the kids were to go to NYC with the band and show choir. Once I had paid that, it started up again with a vengeance. I have no clue what she was saying to them when I wasn’t around, but you could feel the chill in the air.
The end of May 2013 I had a collision with a deer. Where we live, in the country, it is a very common occurrence.
My Saturn Vue was totaled. I was already suffering a depression again, due to the treatment by Jennifer, and the cold shoulder from the kids, who I still love very much.
The Vue was under both our names, and when we got the insurance check, she seemed to want the money. I got 1200 dollars more than what I paid for the Vue, and she wanted the difference for some reason. I am a car guy, and I love shopping for a car. I figured that it would be two weeks at the most that I would have a car.
She made this process so miserable that it took me to the beginning of August to get a car. It was one I didn’t even want, but my wife saw it, seemed to like it, so I bought it to shut her up. It didn’t work.
She was still arguing in full force in from if the kids. One day in August she just piped up and said “I want you out of this house! If I have to move someone else in to get you out I will!”
We had been thru the “get out” thing before, and I refused, as usual. However, this crap of hers was affecting the kids, so I told her I would go to my daughter’s overnight, so as to bring her some stuff for her kids. During all of this time she was packing stuff up that belonged to me, screaming that I didn’t do anything around the house. By this time I was not just depressed, but physically ill. I could only eat poached eggs and yogurt. I had to get a scope down my stomach in Erie at the VA, and she wouldn’t go with me. I had an appointment with my shrink that she wanted to go to with me. I had no problem with that.
She didn’t go, because she conveniently scheduled a doctor’s appointment for her son at the same time.
Divorce papers filed
She then filed divorce papers, and told me that it was because I was sick, and wouldn’t get help! I was dumbfounded and pissed!
To this day, thru all the legal stuff we are going through, it is still her reason for the divorce. She seems to think that I should just leave, and get nothing out of the house except what is directly mine.
I know that I will be MUCH better off without her, but I do understand that she is my addiction. It is very easy to be on guard against her when I am away from her. We had mediation this week, and I just broke down crying, because I still love the woman that she pretended to be. The mediator was just supposed to mediate. No legal advice or anything. When she got done with him, he was giving her advice right in front of me. He didn’t want to hear anything about my offer to her about the house, and basically told me that if I didn’t take the offer that she and he had worked up, I would have to pay Spousal support.
I am so mad that I am beside myself. I am having trouble showing her for who she really is. The only light at the end of the tunnel is that the Law Master who is presiding over this divorce has already seen her as a liar.
The deal is that she gives me 10k for the house, which is what I had offered her back in August. The catch is, she will give me $1,000 upfront, and that she will make a good faith effort every year to get a mortgage, and in the mean time I get $1,000 a year! I was not in my right mind at the time, as I was just bawling like a baby at the finality of it all. I know that I did nothing to deserve this. She even told the mediator that I was a WONDERFUL attentive husband! Go figure. You can’t fix crazy. I am filing against the agreement, and filing against the mediator with the Pa bar association.
I have done some bad things against my first wife thru all of this. I am ashamed of what went down with Pam, and sometimes feel this is my comeuppance.
Fighting against a sociopath
How do you fight against a sociopath during a divorce? She has been able to play the sympathy card, even though she has admitted to why she is divorcing me, and that I was a wonderful husband.
If any of you have any advice, I sure could use it. Please don’t judge me. It has been a long hard road. Oh, and I have been there for my kids, helping them whenever I could. We are closer than ever.