My soon to be husband was having a myriad of land issues, courtesy of his brothers. It appeared that they had stolen, bartered and borrowed money off land that he owned for years. His plan was for me to help him untangle his legal issues, pay for my own wedding, pay to remodel his cabin/shack, bring my car and personal possessions to his “home” and become his personal assistant/nurse/caregiver. Of course, I would do all of this because I loved him more than life itself, I loved him more than I loved my life.
I began to help him with his land issues, and found out that the land he claimed he owned, he didn’t own at all. What had been more than 40 acres, now dwindled down to 20 acres that was actually owned by him. I learned this after spending many, many hours at the tax assessor’s office, looking through deeds, writing letters, and setting a court date for him to reclaim land that he no longer owned.
All this time, I was cooking, cleaning, running errands, and helping a disabled man get around town. His offering to me? “I tell you that I love you.” Of course, I would still rant about the environment, physical and emotional, that he’d brought me into. I was sinking into a depression. I had no friends, family or acquaintances in his small community. And, the devaluation began: “I like women who look like Lena Horne.” Or, “I like a woman like Alicia Keys.” At one point I asked him, “If that’s what you like, why am I here?” He claimed because he loved me; I now know it was because he wanted to use me.
I became exhausted. I stopped tending to my needs, and focused more on his needs. Almost no one came to visit him, almost no one called him with one exception. A woman who lived in Dallas kept calling him. She never gave up, even after he told her “I’m getting married.” He denied that they’d had a relationship. And, I believe he would speak with her while he sat out in his van, smoking weed. I think there had been an ongoing ‘phone sex’ relationship with that woman for years. She was his narcissistic supply. Now he wanted to discard her.
I soon began to plan my exit. I had no job, no means of generating income, except some online teaching that I’d started doing, and no happiness. He would sit and watch TV, and expected me to sit and watch him. He didn’t talk; I was not to know his secrets. I often wondered how many abortions has he had? Or, how many young girls had he broken and abandoned?
He had many cousins in the community. Only one visited him regularly. And this cousin’s visits increased after my arrival. His cousin’s lasciviousness drove me into the tiny bedroom during every visit. I wanted nothing to do with him.
Why did I marry him? I had hope. I had hope that he would get physically better, that he could raise the money to build a real house, that we might be able to build a life together. So, I married him. Then I learned that he’d had a stroke 10 years earlier, and that he had recovered as much as he ever would. I learned that he was almost hopelessly impotent, and even the strongest dose of Viagra only helped minimally. I learned that he would never give me anything. Very little affection, no cards, no flowers, no gifts, no appreciation. Even when my birthday came around, I got nothing but a begrudging “happy birthday.”
I had traveled halfway around the world to face hardship. I had moved and shipped my things to a place that was moldy, dirty, broken down, and useless. I had come to a man who could not give, did not know how to love, and would destroy me. I knew I had to leave. He was taking, taking, taking. He was giving nothing but hardship and more heartache.
He had lost his looks, his physical strength and health, his mobility, his teeth, and his money. Now he wanted to take everything I had from me. I could not allow that to happen.