When I started the daunting task of writing about “Husband #1” I thought I could tell it in two parts. I’m realizing now that it might be a little more in order to share the best (or maybe better termed, the worst) stories.
After FT and I were married and returned from our glorious honeymoon in North Carolina (in February), he went back to work and I got a job as a quality control inspector for a popular (in the US) denim jeans manufacturing plant. I was “Inspector E”. After inspecting thousands of pairs of jeans for messed up rivets, crooked seams, fabric irregularities, etc. you would think I could find any little thing wrong with clothes when shopping. Nope. Still need my friend Chicago L to point these things out to me.
We finally had saved enough money to move out of his parents home and into our own apartment. FT had found a new job, in a much larger city. We rented an apartment in the popular part of the city, with the mall just down the street. We had our hand-me-down furniture, the black and hot pink TV, and I had slowly started building back my wardrobe after almost everything I had was ruined on the highway. The apartment wasn’t terrible, except for the recurrent nightmare I had the entire time we lived there. The nightmare was always the same. A man, wearing a navy work shirt (the kind with a stitched name tag), would stand at the bedroom doorway. I would “wake up” and see him standing there watching us sleep, and then he would go out the front door. I was never sure if it was a dream or it really happened. I would get up, check the locks, etc. but nothing would be out of place.
(Not our actual couch, but was almost exactly the same)
FT was also a huge fan of Camaros. He had bought a used black IROC with T-tops just before we had gotten married. It had an overheating problem. Apparently the fan wouldn’t kick on when the motor reached a certain temperature like it was supposed to. Did we go have it repaired? Of course not! He wired it so that we could turn the fan on with a switch, bypassing the thermostat. He also had wired a kill switch that had a special key to deactivate it. So you had to turn off the kill switch to turn on the motor. I guess this was fortuitous as one night someone did actually try to steal the car. They had busted the steering column to hot wire the car. However, with the kill switch activated, they were not able to get it started. With the column busted we could no longer start the car with a key. So now, I had to deactivate the kill switch and then hot wire the car to drive it anywhere. Did we get the steering column fixed? Of course not! I started the car with a pair of pliers every day. Believe me it wasn’t as sexy as Angelina Jolie in Gone in 60 Seconds.
(Not the actual car)
This was all fine and good until one night I had been visiting my aunt and uncle and was on my way home rather late. I noticed a car following very closely behind me….and then there were the flashing red and blue lights! I was being stopped, but I didn’t know why because I wasn’t speeding and everything was up to date on the car. Maybe I had a tail light out. I pulled over in the next strip mall shopping center. I was rolling down the window when suddenly there was a spotlight on me and a cop on a bullhorn who stated very loudly and clearly for me to put my hands up where he can see them! In a matter of minutes I was surrounded by several more cop cars all with their lights on. Seemed a little overkill for a tail light. I was then told to keep my hands where they could see them and slowly get out of the car. I was opening the door from the outside so they could see my hands when I hear a man say “It’s not her! It’s not her!” Luckily, another uncle, who was a cop in this city, happened to be one of the many that showed up on the scene. Apparently a couple, driving a black sports car with T-tops, had robbed a Radio Shack in the area and my car fit the description. Lucky for me my uncle showed up. I’m not sure how I would have explained the busted column and pliers in the floorboard.
Shortly after moving into our apartment our mail started arriving. As I had not gotten a new job yet, I was home to check the mail. I didn’t feel comfortable opening mail that was specifically addressed to FT, until I started seeing things like “FINAL NOTICE” and “IMMEDIATE ATTENTION REQUIRED”. When I opened the letters I found that FT rather enjoyed shopping with credit cards, but like the apartment he had been evicted from, he chose whatever payment amount he felt was appropriate and usually waited to make any payment until the threats of collection came. Then he would make a minimum payment and the process would start all over again. He was doing this with multiple credit cards and small loans. As I was married to him, I now felt it was partially my responsibility to eliminate the debt.
I got a job with a temp agency. I was sent to various secretarial and receptionist type jobs. I endured calls from men within the companies asking anything from how old I was, was I married, to what color underwear was I wearing that day.
I managed to make arrangements with all of FT’s creditors for minimum payments each month that we could afford….barely. I mean, I still had to collect the change from the ashtray to pay for a couple gallons of gas.
Eventually, I got the job at the aircraft overhaul shop, slowly paid off FT’s debt, even more slowly rebuilt our credit, and my boss there got me back into college. [Read how I went back to college here] Besides working 40 hours per week, taking 6-9 credit hours per semester, I also taught Jazzercise, 10 classes per week. You would think with all of my time occupied each day there would be no question of my fidelity. However, the mileage was frequently checked on my car. If I was not home by the exact time he thought it should take me to get home after work, school, or Jazzercise he would be waiting for me and the questions would commence. “Where were you?” “Why did it take you so long to get home?” “Who were you talking to?” “Did you go anywhere else?” Inevitably a fight would ensue. Whatever hopes I had of studying or sleeping would be shattered.
It only got worse as I continued to finish college with plans of going to medical school. More on that next time.
Have you ever been in a relationship so toxic? Have you found yourself the accused when you had committed no crime? Were you sabotaged anytime you were doing something to better yourself or situation? How long do you deal with it? What is the breaking point? When do you reach the point to either give up or get out?
Until next time…