So he’d wormed his way back into the house…my home was full of his shit, full of his kids’ shit. It never felt less like a big happy family or home but for some reason I was still there for him. The financial aspects of our life became more prominent after this. I was working full time but Tucker needed to be able to buy cattle for himself. Because of his “unfortunate and undeserved” incarceration, he could not get a checking account of his own and he convinced me we would have our own business…together. I had come to love riding and training horses during the year and half I’d spent with him and he made it all sound perfect. In hindsight of course, I was giving myself a good reason to stay. He painted the most grandiose pictures of me being able to train and sell the barrel horses and help him with the roping horses and he’d be able to broker cattle as well. All I needed to do to make this beautiful dream come true was to get a DBA and a business account at my bank.
Again, I should have taken this time to extricate myself instead I said, “Sure!” It didn’t happen as easy as all that; I mean I was sort of sane. As it turns out though, when you’re hanging with a conman, you get your shit conned.
Slowly but surely all his bills began to be paid from the farm account or from my personal checking account. His truck payment, all the kids’ rodeo fees, whatever. Most of my bills were being paid but not in the OCD manner in which I had previously done. Then he just took the business check book and began to sign my name to the checks to pay for things. I had no clue any longer what was coming in or going out and that’s exactly what he wanted anyway. He assured me he was taking care of every penny.
One day I happened to come home from work before Tucker got in from the barn and I got the mail before he did. There was a lovely letter from the district attorney. It seemed that there was a hot check to the feed store with my signature on it. I was furious. I was scared. I had NEVER had a hot check much less been in any more trouble than a speeding ticket. When Tucker got in, I was waiting with the letter in hand and cornered him in the garage away from the kids. He made out like I was overreacting.
“Don’t worry about it. We’ll pay it and it’ll go away, it’s fine.”
I was sputtering mad, “IT’S NOT FINE! I’ve never been in trouble before and THIS!!! I waved the letter in his face, “This is scary to me!”
He poo-pooed me as if I were acting like a child about the whole thing. He began to patronize me for arguing about something that was so inconsequential. He grabbed the letter from me and told me he’d take care of it and I needed to “calm down”, my two favorite words from another human being when I’m in full on meltdown mode. He stalked into the house and slammed the door.
I stayed behind in the stifling hot garage. I remember the sweat running down my back. I remember crying silent tears because I knew I was in trouble and I didn’t know how to gather the strength to get me and my kids out of it. I still loved him because I suppose he told me he loved me but I didn’t understand how I had lost control of my life so quickly. It just seemed to creep up on me and before I knew it, it was all spiraling out of control, all of it.
There was more than just the money. The sex and our sex life in general was increasingly more sordid and it had come to the point that the times I wanted to make love to him were fewer than the times that I would rather curl up in a ball and pretend that I was alone.
He wanted more and more “excitement” in our sex life and I continued to placate him in whatever way that he wanted. I’m not a Pollyanna. I was not a virgin obviously when we got together but I still had really sown most of my wild oats at a much younger age and wanted a committed, loving and safe relationship.
I wanted safe so badly that I gave it up to try and get it.
We went to swingers bars; we went to couples’ theaters. We had sex in public places, we had sex with people watching, he watched me with other women and he had me watch him with other women. It was awful most of the time and I often just had to be drunk to endure it. But like I said before, I would get through it and he would tell me how wonderful I was and I would beam with acceptance and bask in his “love”.
So as I sat in the garage crying, it was not just for my finances or my kids and I getting the short end of the stick, it was for my self-respect and the remains of my psyche. Why? Why? Why was I doing this? Why was I putting up with this? I wiped my tears and thought it through. He had moved in to my home, taken over my finances. His things, his kids, his bills all took precedence. My paycheck seemed to evaporate into thin air. My debit card was in his wallet most of the time. I was fucked.
I went back into the house, I asked him to come back to the bedroom with me. He thought he was about to get lucky….my way of “apologizing” for busting his balls earlier. Not so much, dickhead. I told him everything. I said I was done. I wasn’t going to worry every day about my life and where it was going. I wasn’t fighting about his kids or my kids or anything else anymore. I wasn’t doing anything in the bedroom or out of it ever again that I didn’t absolutely want to do. And after pouring out my heart about worrying about mine and my children’s futures and telling him how much we all needed stability and normality and that this was all slowly killing me, the only thing he said was, “I never FORCED you to do anything. Don’t act like I did.”
He would not leave it alone until I admitted that he hadn’t forced me. It was all that mattered to him was that he wasn’t taking the blame. I told him, “Fine. It’s all my fault. All of it. I’m just done.”
Then he snapped to and realized what was really going on. He was about to have to hand over the checkbook and the debit card, pack up his kids and his shit and get the fuck out. He went into damage control double time. He began to tear up and tell me how much he loved me. How he loved me like he’d never loved anyone in his life. He knew he’d been a dick and nothing in his life was ever worth it before I came along. He begged. He pleaded and it gratified my soul to see him beg me. It was shadenfreude, I couldn’t help but be thrilled watching his obvious torture. Truly. I had never been more delighted and satisfied to see and hear anything in my life.
Still in all though, the biggest problem as I look back was that I still did not see him for what he was, a brilliant grifter. I took his words to heart. I believed him and I believed in him. I opened my arms and closed my eyes and I drank those words in until I was stoned on them.