It is over. It was sudden. He had apparently been planning his removal from my life for quite some time. I have to say he was quite the actor but in the end his poor character won out. Lies upon lies were the end of him. I found out what he was planning. Did he think I had never been lied to before?
We had met online at Yahoo.com in June 2005. Eventually we met on July 4th, 2005 for a picnic at Champoeg Park. He seemed like a nice person, no visible quirks, humps, moles or missing teeth. We spent the next hour or so getting to know each other and I was pretty impressed. It is interesting in retrospect the things we hide from a new relationship. Over the next few weeks I was to find out he lived in a trailer—with his mother-but no mention of how long he had been divorced. He had two children-girls, going through college. He liked the outdoors, hiking, camping, bike riding, kayaking and had a job as an engineer for a local aircraft supply company. I was to find out over a two-year period that he was obsessed with being in peak physical condition. I was to find out when he moved in with me that his diet was filled with sugar. It was a good thing that he exercised a lot.
We dated over the summer, going to the movies, restaurants, the beach. It was strange that he never gave me a kiss goodnight and actually pushed me off once when I tried to hug him at the end of a date. Did I smell? Was I sexually unappealing? Date after date and he barely touched me. Eventually he DID kiss me. He spent the night, leaving early to return to his mom’s place.
At one point he told me his brother was moving back to the family farm and taking possession of the trailer along with his girlfriend. The mother was moving to a retirement community. That left RJ with no place to live. Oddly enough, he had never moved on after his divorce and never found or looked for a place of his own. I was to find out this was a pattern in his life, living off one person after another, inheriting his grandparents house, being in the military, living in an old trailer in Klamath Falls while attending college (where he remained a student for SIX years).
My mortgage was very steep and I asked him if he wanted to move in with me. In mid-September, 2005, he moved into my home with me and the two dogs I owned at the time. He turned out to be a fun and funny, generous, kind person. Our first year together was a very happy time for both of us. Note that on one of our early bike riding dates I had told him, when asked, that I did NOT want to play house. I would like to be married again. Nevertheless, we ended up “playing house.”
Over the two-year period I took on another dog. The house was getting smaller, three hyper Border Collies and two people. My time was taken up with work, the dogs, a new (unpaid) job as correspondent for a dog training magazine and a new hobby making jewelry. Unfortunately, with the regular meals, eating out, heavy desserts, I gained weight and became unusually tired, dizzy and swollen. I went to doctor after doctor trying to find out what was going on. Was it Multiple Sclerosis, cancer, a pituitary problem? I spent almost two thousand dollars trying to find out why I had no energy and couldn’t keep up with RJ and his desire for me to ski, bike, hike and dance. It was not until after he left that I was able to determine what had been going on.
It became apparent by a year and a half that RJ had no intention of marrying me. I was not good enough for him and he was letting me know in little ways, things he said, comments here and there, talking down to me like I was one of his overweight daughters or his obese ex-wife.
We talked about selling my house and moving out to the county. He let me know that he had absolutely no intention of buying a house together with me. “I’ve seen how you spend your money and it isn’t on your house.” I was being scrutinized and didn’t like it one bit. The pressure was building for me to be more perfect so I could continue to be RJ’s girlfriend. “Meeting someone online is NOT the way to go”, he said one day to me. I felt worthless. He must have been embarrassed to be seen in public with me. But I continued to cook his meals, wash his clothes and be wife-like in every way I could. (Update: June 30th, 2007 and he is back on the yahoo.com dating website.)
We started to look for houses in the country. It became apparent that the places he considered livable or buildable were dumps. Did I want to live in an old trailer in hilly county or in a swampy area? No way would I give up my new house on the edge of town for one of these places. Each place he showed me was worse that the one before but he found a reason to like it. I was getting the picture loud and clear. He wanted to spend very little and somehow get a big return in value. But finally he mentioned a location that I knew would be outstanding. We drove up to S Day Hill Road in Estacada. There stood our dream acreage with a small new trailer parked on it, the sewer and well already in. But RJ had never even been to the bank to get pre-approved. He couldn’t make an offer to the owner since he REALLY didn’t know what he could afford. That was around April. By early June he had been to a couple of mortgage brokers. There were several reasons he came up with why this ideal property was no longer good. It was too far, too expensive, too big. Was it because several of my friends lived in the Estacada area? He had no friends. Was he jealous of the time and support I may receive from them? Did he have financial problems or did he just not want the commitment of owning his own home?
By the second week of June it was apparent that he was now showing himself to be the man that his ex-wife had left. He was not crude or abusive but distant and kept talking down to me like I was stupid. The last straw was when he asked me to go hiking with him in Molalla. He was going to lead a hike the following weekend and wanted to scope out the area, although he had hiked there several times before. We took my dog, Levi. I had asked him three times how long the hike was. Each time he assured me the route was only three or four miles. Imagine my surprise when he drove to the trailhead and the sign said four miles ONE way. He had lied to me so I would hike with him. Not a good start. Halfway up the trail I was out of breath and finally stopped. “Why don’t you just leave me here and go up without me”, I said sarcastically. He merely said, “Okay”, and left me, taking my dog with him. For the next mile I slowly walked up the trail – alone, emotionally hurt, abandoned and somewhat shocked. The man who led BergeFreunde hikes had simply left his girlfriend alone in the woods on a strange trail. I continued up the trail, occasionally meeting other hikers. He had told me there was a “scree” up ahead on the trail. It was a large rock fall but at this time of year it was covered in snow. It was hard to tell which way the trail went. I slipped and slid across the rocks and snow and finally arrived on the other side where the snow had melted and it was only loose gravel. At that time I lost my balance and started to fall down the hill. But I finally regained my footing and continued on. Moments later it happened again. Since I didn’t know where I was going I was getting more upset and frustrated and finally turned around to hike back down to the truck alone. While crossing the snow I fell twice. I was getting more and more upset that my, at one time, wonderful boyfriend left me without a thought of my safety. Part way down the trail I broke down in tears and continued crying for about an hour, all the way down the trail to the truck. RJ finally returned and asked what happened. Perhaps one of the hikers had mentioned that I was crying? I hugged my dog fiercely and turned to RJ, “Well, that was fun!” I again said sarcastically. He drove us down the mountain, while I cried in the front seat. Finally, he stopped and asked what was wrong. He didn’t have a clue. He said he was sorry, he did lie and he only heard what he wanted to hear, thinking I’d just wait on the trail for an hour or so while he walked on ahead. Would he do the same with the BergeFreunde members?
The next few days a part of me wanted to discuss what was going on with us. But I really had reached the point where I didn’t care. He had showed how unfeeling he could be. I said after the hike that I was upset about being overweight. I have a sedentary job and it is hard to just get up one morning and hike eight miles after gaining weight. He arrogantly said he was heavy at one time but with diet and exercise he was down to his current weight. I thought about who had been feeding him nutritious meals in the last two years. I had helped him become fit and he had no concern for the impact the meals were having on me. I can’t drink wine or beer. I had told him that over and over, yet he brought home alcohol without a thought to what I had said. I told him I wanted to eat less and eat better but he immediately make extra chocolate chip cookies or bought me a huge ice cream cone.
Finally, after the hike, I quit fixing meals, quit eating things with sugar, and started walking more. I lost ten pounds easily. When I mentioned the weight loss to RJ he snidely remarked that was only because it was summer and I was outside more. So much for being supportive. It was becoming harder to like this man and to take his rude remarks. Finally, I “found out” (we women do have our ways) that he had been planning (with the advise of his mom) to leave me and was surrepticously packing up items here and there. Numerous times he asked if I was going to be out one particular night. I mean with all the stealth why didn’t he just come out and say to my face that he was leaving? In the end he showed he has no conflict resolution skills and simply wimped out. When forced in an email to give a reason he only said we had nothing in common and he was moving on. I took the time off work on June 11th to supervise his packing. When he had loaded the moving truck I asked for my house keys, spun on my heels with my back to him and calmly walked inside my (own) house. Who is the loser now?
To date I am eleven pounds on the way to the forty pounds that I want to lose to a goal of 118 pounds! I eat to survive now and not for fun. No one will EVER, EVER make fun of me for being overweight again.
Days after he left, my doctor determined I have the Epstein Barr virus. There was no way I would have been able to bike a century ride or hike 15 miles until this virus is under control. But if RJ had truly loved me he could have/would have said he would support me and do whatever was necessary for me to be healthy so we could enjoy the outdoors together. It turned out that when things weren’t perfect for him he did what he had done before, moved on to mooch off someone else.
Do I feel better now? As I write this it is June 23, 2007. I have set goals for my weight, my finances and my future. When God closes one door he opens another. Opportunities are always around us, good relationships are out there. I CHOOSE not to let this two-year event harden me or make me closed to the future with a passionate, loving, caring man. I am strong. I am a women. I am capable of being the slender, athletic female I have always been. I will be happy because I believe God would have it no other way. He will direct me and protect me.