Thursday, January 9, 2014

The email that could've saved me

This is an email that my ex husband, Rob, sent his wife, Terri. I didn't see this email until a few months before I left Rob when Terri filed it as part of a court hearing between the two of them. When I saw it, I was literally disgusted and shocked. Rob and I had already met at this point and he was already filling me with stories about how the 18 years he spent with Terri were horrible because she was awful and mean and abusive and the list is endless. He portrayed himself to be an innocent victim of this woman. Soft spoken, kind Rob who had to live with an awful wife. Poor Rob. Except this email portrayed something far different. Clearly he wasn't quite the innocent victim in that marriage.

Had I known the dynamics of that relationship, had I known that he was apologizing to his wife for his horrible behavior...Well, first, he should not have been online finding a new girlfriend (me) when things were not resolved with his wife. Second, he should not have been pursuing me with a vengeance when things were so fresh. Had I known any of this, I would never have dated Rob.

When I finally started understanding the timing, it was just further confirmation that Rob was a complete liar and fraud and that this was his pattern for decades. Rob the Great (Alcoholic) wasn't a monster because I made him the monster (as he accused me of many times in our relationship). He was a monster and an alcoholic before me and he would be a monster and an alcoholic with the exact same personality after me, too. When Rob told me that I was his trigger for his alcoholism, well, truth was that Rob was an alcoholic because of him. Not me, not Terri, not work, not his daughters, not the death of his dad, not any other reason but because of the choices he made. It was seeing that email that led me to calling Terri in January 2012 after I had called the police and had a drunken screaming Rob removed from the home.

When I called Terri, I asked her one simple question: "He did this to you, too, didn't he?"

Her answer? "Yes."

I was the clueless girl when I met Rob. I thought his marriage was resolved. I thought his children were more settled in the divorce and separation. I thought Rob was "better" emotionally than he was. I thought Rob and Terri had been physically separated for many many months.

And then I had a thought... Maybe we ladies should pull public records of our new guy's divorce and read what the other side has to say. Or, if police were ever called out to the home, it might be worth reading those documents, too. Of course there are two sides and divorces are typically acrimonious because a relationship has failed. But we may learn some very interesting new truths and that can shed huge light on the character of the guy we're dating. Or it might even be worth chatting with the ex wife or the ex wife's friends. Can we ever be too careful about our new guy? No.

Lesson learned.