In this story, Vesper (not her real name) met her boyfriend in another State. They had a fast beginning to their relationship when she fell deeply for him. He love-bombed her with affection, attention, gifts, and false promises of a blissful future. Filled with hope and a desire for a beautiful relationship, she moved out of State with him. He lied, gaslit, minimized, and controlled her in many ways. As she began recognizing the signs of how he was harming her, she took an act of faith and let him leave so she could find a community that would love her as she deserved. She is now running on the path of healing and freedom. We are so proud of you, Vesper.
My last abusive relationship happened after a friend introduced me to a guy she met through online dating. She thought his profile was cute and we would be cute together.
This guy and I met for dinner, and we talked for three hours. It was a wonderful first date, but he said he was planning to move back to California in the fall. I remember thinking I should not fall for him since he is moving.
A few days later, he called me and wanted to have dinner again. We had a wonderful second date, so things were going well. At the end of the date, he said he wanted me to meet his family. It was Mother’s Day that next weekend and he said his relatives would be there. Not sure, I told him I would let him know. After thinking about it, I figured it wouldn’t hurt to meet again with so many people present. It was during the day, so it felt safe.
I went to the family celebration and really liked his mom and family. He asked me to dinner again that Sunday. He said he was falling for me and really wanted me to know he was serious. Before dinner, I went to the restroom and when I got back there was a little velvet box on my place setting. It was a beautiful ring with my birthstone and diamonds!
After that date, we talked about our dreams and goals and things seemed to be clicking, yet going very fast. In less than a month, I was falling for this guy. We prayed together and he was very affectionate with me. He wanted me to move with him to California to build our life together there. After another week of dating, we agreed to cohabitate and share expenses.
Originally, I hesitated since I had never heard of the town we were moving to and didn’t even know where it was on the map. I kept an open mind because I wanted a relationship. I kept praying for God to give me immediate signs to go forward or get out. As I look back, I was receiving mixed signals: Positive from God, yet negative from him.
After he moved into my place, he wanted to start reducing expenses. He asked me to cancel my fitness club membership. Reluctantly, I agreed because I knew we were trying to save money to move.
During the workdays, we never talked. I was okay with no communication during the day since I was working too. When he would get home, we would have dinner together and pray. Over time though, I found I was making meals like a homemaker and doing domestic chores while he was not doing anything. I didn’t see that coming, but he rationalized combining expenses if I made his meals and did the housework.
My chosen work didn’t make sense to him and he wasn’t impressed at all. I would tell him about my day and how I didn’t win the new business I was pitching. Telling him that was a mistake. He used that as leverage to get me to quit the progress I was making and building upon. He said he didn’t understand PR, so he couldn’t help me.
All I wanted from him was moral support, but when I showed him my portfolio of the successful campaigns I led and the companies and firms I worked for, he said that was all in the past. He didn’t want me to continue my PR business, so I slowly let go of those efforts to appease him and build the relationship.
On July 1st, I received a notice to renew my 12-month lease at my apartment complex. He told me not to sign it. He was ready to move and wanted me to move to California with him. He said he knew a lot of people there, and he would introduce me. We found a house to lease beginning on October 1, but my lease ended in August. He suggested we live with his mom through September.
I felt apprehensive about moving in with his mom. When I told him I needed to think about it, he slammed the door and drove off so fast you could hear the car wheels screeching out of the parking lot. He asked me to dinner the next day and apologized. We talked about his dramatic reaction and the move. I agreed that in order to save money, we could move temporarily to his mom’s house.
While we were packing, he showed me a photo album of all the girls from his past. I was shocked he kept photos of what looked like partying and womanizing. He said I was jealous, but I was more concerned for the girls I saw in those photos. I thought, “maybe he would want to leave the album in storage and focus on us”.
Before we moved, I visited a designer friend because I wanted her advice. She asked me to lean back into this beautiful white designer chair and select a number from the remote control. She put the earphones over my ears and a sleeping mask across my eyes and said, “Let me know what sound you hear.” I picked a number and heard ocean waves and birds in the background. This randomly selected sound, we believed, was God guiding me to move with him to California.
As I look back, there were red flags I noticed but set aside as he was so convincing and affectionate. I stayed with him for over a year. He was a Christian and he would ask to pray together, which gave me hope and built my trust. During these moments, I really felt like I was falling back in love, but it never lasted. He always revealed his true self.
He assured me he was a loyal person and asked me to have faith in him. He said we could get a tracker if I didn’t believe him and I could check in with him to see where he was at any time of the day. “It will be like you’re right there with me.” I laughed it off, but he was serious. He downloaded an app to track his location.
Once we moved, he sold his vehicle and started driving my car. This left me home alone without a car. He had the tracker on his phone, so I felt good about him driving my car and being alone. Over time though, he turned the tracker off. This started the gaslighting phase. When I wouldn’t see his car and become concerned, he would blame the technology and say I was insecure, mistaken, or lying.
The first week we were in our new home, he introduced me to one of his couple friends. I realized he lied about them too. He said they owned a restaurant in the area and he would do something with them business-wise. When we visited them, I learned they neither owned a restaurant nor had a house. Later, he said they were saving money for a house, while they lived in the apartment. I liked the couple, but the little lies kept building.
During the second week of living there, he talked about getting a limo and partying on Halloween. He said all the friends I had met would be there and maybe more girls too. I said, “I don’t want to go out partying.” He became angry and said he was still going because these were his friends.
Then, he asked his work friend to move in with us to share expenses. His friend drank all day and did not want to work. This became a major problem, so I asked him to tell his friend he had to stop drinking or move back to Minnesota. When his friend wouldn’t leave, I told him to call the police to ask him to leave. His friend eventually moved out, but now the stress between us was even higher.
He was still making party plans for Halloween. He knew I did not want to go and I told him I didn’t want him to go either. He said, “I’m afraid you are going to end up in the hospital, or I’m going to jail, or both.” That night there was a knock at the door and when he answered it, the three police officers that removed his friend the night before were there again. They told him to put his hands behind his back. I looked at him and said, “What’s going on?” All he said was, “Don’t post bail for me.”
Suddenly, I was all alone in this house. I had my car, but I didn’t know the area or anyone. I called his mom and she confirmed she paid his charges last year. Again, I was shocked because I never knew he had a DUI. He never mentioned it and I didn’t think to ask.
I didn’t move back to Minnesota because I co-signed the lease and I took that seriously. Instead, I joined a local bible study group because I needed friends outside of my boyfriend. And I needed God first.
While he was in jail, I purchased a mailing address because I needed a secure address for mail at a minimum. This expense was something I could afford on my own and was the best decision I made, besides letting him go and finding my studio.
God guided him out the door in 2015 and me to my studio where I could write and slowly heal.