Meet “Ron”. “Ron” was a 68 year old retired San Francisco firefighter. He is also my ex-boyfriend. I met “Ron” in 2012. At first, I was apprehensive about him but he was persistent in his pursuit to capture my heart. He showered me with compliments and gifts. He called me cutie pie, baby and would constantly tell me how “fine” I was. He uttered the words “I love you” after knowing me for only a month. I recall thinking his infatuation was too good to be true, but his words also came with his promises of a wonderful life filled with travel, love and affection. He was so sweet, after only a few months he swept me off my feet. Unfortunately, I quickly learned that this was merely a facade with words he said to all the women he manipulated. “Cutie pie”, “baby”, “fine” and “I love you” was something he had said to all the girls.
Looking back there were a mine field of red flags, however “Ron” had a way with showering me with such kindness in the beginning that it was easy to overlook the flaws. And when I say flaws, I mean some serious issues that no woman should have to deal with ever in their life.
My experience is not unique.
“Ron” is a good guy. I think he has a good side to him. He’s been married twice like most people in America. Both divorces ended due to his infidelity. He was the cheater but “it wasn’t his fault” or so he claimed. Red flag number one. He was also in a long term relationship with a woman who he referred to as “Mo”. I think because she brought so much havoc and “mo” trouble in to everyone’s life than one can imagine. She certainly brought trouble in to my life. In her defense, “Ron” brought the insanity out in her. I later found her story with “Ron” was nothing short of tragic. Worse was what he did to his first wife. Sadly she was one of the sweetest women I ever met and in my opinion did not deserve what he did to her. No woman deserves the kind of treatment myself and I’m sure many others have endured.
“Ron’s” past consisted of drunken behavior. He was an alcoholic/addict who had arrests for driving under the influence under his belt. He stopped drinking while we were together after humiliating me with his drunken behavior. He also had an infatuation with young women in their twenties and was known to engage in sexual acts with many prostitutes. I later learned he had been on house arrest for engaging in these acts. Of course, I can’t say for sure since this was merely hear say.
“Ron” had a volatile temper and exhibited many mood swings that were enough to turn a sane person in to a psychotic nut. I should know. After three years with this man, I lost my confidence, my self esteem, my self respect, my identity and I felt like I was losing my mind. I really believed I might be crazy. My biggest regret….I only wish I had known these things before I allowed this man to capture my heart.
“Ron” was a pack rat. He had junk all over his condo, which was located in a well to do area of San Francisco. You would have never known it. His condo belonged on an episode of Hoarders. He had so much clutter and he even had old plastic bottles filled with water all over the place. Maybe it was his age.
Two years after I moved in with him he finally opened a carton of lemonade that had been in the refrigerator and had an expiration date of 2010. It had been expired for four years yet he refused to throw it out insisting it was still good. The lemonade was so spoiled when he finally opened the carton to have a glass, he had no choice but to throw it out. What a surprise. Mind you he had vilified me for wanting to throw it the year prior.
“Ron” had odd sleeping habits. He was up all night and slept all day. When I say all day….I mean all day. Often times “Ron” would arise from his slumber at six in the afternoon. Two or three was early for him. He also liked to conserve water. He was a dedicated California resident who only bathed once a month and always on a Thursday. I firmly believe he deserved accolades for being the most conservative California resident during a drought. However, if you ask me he should’ve opened up one of his plastic bottles of old tap water and taken a bath.
At times he had white crust around his ears that was creamy and had the appearance of cradle cap. At times he smelled so bad I would want to vomit. His solution was wipes (he was the poster child for cottonelle wipes) and he would also use lots of cologne. I often wondered if he was European but was inclined to believe he might be crazy. He led me to believe he was suffering from dementia. In my experience when “Ron” would shower it was His cue for wanting to be intimate.
“Ron” was wonderful in the beginning. He took me on trips, showered me with gifts, he catered to my every whim and treated me like a queen. He always held my hand and opened my door. But that stopped and he would throw the door in my face. He portrayed himself as a family man. An attribute that was merely a facade. He was also lots of fun. We went dancing and even took salsa lessons. He would hum in my ear every time we danced. He was a terrible salsa dancer but no worries….he would always blame me for his shortcoming and would become extremely verbally abusive.
All his positive attributes stopped three months after moving in with him. That’s when the “real” “Ron” emerged. The trouble only got worse when a his 27 year old Latina Stripper “friend” continued to call and text at all hours of the day including when we were on vacation. Harassment that continued the entire duration of our relationship. “Ron” also began to withhold any contact with me intimately. We went from having an active intimate life to a periodic one, provided it was on his terms. “Ron” had a penile implant. I suspect many of his issues might have stemmed from this creating his own insecurities however, I’ll never know. I will share that on occasion I would wake up in the middle of the night and catch him naked in the bathroom engaging in questionable acts or even plucking his pubic hairs. I found myself in such disbelief that I would run back to bed and keep quiet.
“Ron” did crazy things such as pluck his facial hair while watching tv. He often had a scowl on his face and would pluck to the point he would cause sores on his face. He would often file his feet over the couch. This odd behavior caused me to believe either he was crazy but he convinced me I was crazy for thinking this behavior was odd.
He was very private about everything. He caused me to believe he had many secrets. Especially, since I wasn’t allowed to ask him even simple questions like “how was your day?” I wasn’t allowed to say “have a great day” and God forbid I wasn’t allowed to express how he made me feel. I wasn’t allowed to ask any questions….period!!! He would explode and punish me for days calling me names, accusing me of being suspicious and rejecting me to the point I couldn’t breathe. I would cry for days. Rejection can cause so much pain and anguish.
When I was diagnosed with cancer, I got zero emotional support from “Ron”. He was extremely un-empathetic and lacked any ounce of compassion. He would insult me and make me feel so bad about myself that more often than not I found myself in the bathroom on my knees crying from the pain this man would cause. Somehow in the midst of it all he managed to blame me for his behavior and would punish me for days by ignoring me and giving me the silent treatment. In my experience, I’m not sure what was worse, chemo or “Ron”. This man made fighting cancer the hardest journey of my entire life.
I posted the following post on Facebook after my first treatment. The following five treatments were not much different. In the end he admitted he had treated me poorly because I was no longer attractive. In my defense, when you’re in a fight against cancer, it’s rather hard to remain the beautiful person you once were. Hair loss doesn’t help. I take solace in knowing God is a just God and my abuser will get his in the end.
Ron showered me with love, trips, gifts, fancy dinners, compliments, concerts…..everything and anything. It was short lived and it came at a very painful price. I now know that this is not just my experience, it’s been the experience of many women who have found themselves involved with their “Ron”. While my story may seem tragic I know I’m Not alone. There are many “Ron’s” out there and I feel they dont deserve to have any women in their life. In fact, they should be locked up and throw away the key.
If you happen to be approached by any man who exhibits any of these behaviors, my advice is run and never look back. Do not make the same mistake that I made getting involved with a man like this. It’s hard to get away once he’s got you under his spell. I can assure you the life you have today will be no more. Happiness, joy, self respect, confidence and love for yourself will be a thing of the past. You will find yourself questioning your own sanity, when clearly the one with the mental issues is your knight in shining armor. However, if you don’t heed my advice and find yourself in a crazy relationship I will warn you..don’t bother reaching out to anyone because no one will believe you. “Ron” had two personalities. The one I dealt with at home and the other who was sweet and loving around his friends. Friends, family, doctors and church begged me to leave him but I resisted their warnings hopeful for the man I initially met to return. Finally one day, I snapped and saw this man for he really was. I was heartbroken, humiliated and felt like there’s no way out.
On May 16th, 2015 with the help of the Deacon and sisters from my church, I packed up and left this emotionally abusive man. I left this relationship with a broken heart along with a diagnosis of anxiety, severe depression and PTSD caused from this crazy relationship. You might ask “PTSD?!” It’s a result of the war zone I found myself in. The sad part is I really cared for this man.
Healing from this relationship has taken three years. Counseling was inevitable and it’s taken a lot of strength and determination to come out on the other side. The pain and scars left behind from a three year nightmare has taken a long time to heal. Occasionally I still experience flashbacks. Three years ago I found myself broken hearted and on my knees praying for strength to get through this. I am happy to say I made it.
I’m sharing my story tonight because May 16th was the anniversary of leaving my abuser. On May 16th, I was blessed to be given the opportunity to fly to Maui where I’m spending time with my cousin. I couldn’t put my finger on why this trip fell in to place. It was crazy how it all happened. My friend who owns a condo here offered her condo to me for a week for free. The dates she had available were May 16-24. I accepted her offer not even knowing how I would pay for my flight. My brother and sister in law used their air miles to buy me a ticket. Everything happens for a reason. I knew there was a reason I was coming back to Maui. I love Maui however, Maui is also reminder of the time I shared with my ex. We spent many weeks here together. Today I found an old blog and noticed that May 16th was the day I broke free from my abuser. Three years have passed. I suspect my trip here is somewhat of a Re-birth for me. I no longer have to look behind me. I can finally move forward and what better place to be to begin my new life than to start my new beginning in Maui on vacation with my cousin who is also my best friend.
I don’t particularly enjoy sharing the details of my past relationship. After three years, I’m still so embarrassed. I take comfort knowing there’s a term for what I went through. It’s called “gaslighting”. Gaslighting is a term where someone uses manipulation to cause you to question your own sanity. My “Ron” did just that. Today I’m free from that relationship as well as that toxic environment. Slowly but surely I’ve gotten my confidence back but more importantly my sanity back. Like so many women, I never thought this would happen to me. What I’ve learned is even the smartest and most intelligent women can find themselves in a relationship such as mine. I still ask myself “what was I thinking? How did I allow this to happen to me?” I still have flashbacks and I’m no longer the woman I once was but I’m happy to report I’m a new woman in progress.
Today I’m hopeful again. I’m eager to laugh and have fun again and I believe my knight in shining armor is out there and more importantly I know that when I find him I will never allow him to manipulate me to the point where I lose myself.
Life happens. Today I’m on vacation in Maui. I am waking up to the sound of the ocean and the cool breeze coming in through my lanai. I have no plans other than to spend the day at the farmers market then the beach taking in all that healing spirit Maui has to offer. Life is good again. I heard a quote once that said “I may not be everything I want to be, but thank god I’m not where I used to be!” Truth!! I’m not close to being who I want to be. Thank god I’m Not where I used to be!!
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I remembered reading this ages ago and as it is relevant to my post today I’ve put a link to it, hope that is okay 🙂
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Absolutely. Thank you
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Thank you for sharing Charlie. I found myself reflecting on this ordeal today. Looking back I’m so thankful I’m no longer with this man. I don’t often talk about how I left. That in itself is another story however the steps I took required a lot of courage not to mention compromising my integrity. I was so broke at that time. I didn’t have the money to leave but one morning after a crazy night with that man I found an envelope full of money in his coat pocket. There was $3000 in that envelope. I took it. That day I went and got new tires on my car, got a uhaul hitch installed on my car. I rented a uhaul trailer and I bought my friend from Washington an airline ticket to fly to San Francisco to drive home to Washington with me. I went back to the condo later that day and packed my things. The only thing I said to that man was “my moms sick. I’m leaving”. I was so scared about him finding out about the money. I was scared what he would do to me. I didn’t back down. He left. That night he returned from being gone all day as I packed. He had discovered the money and threatened me. He gave me until the following morning to return it. I was shaking in complete fear. I looked at him and said “I don’t know what you’re talking about. He left in an angry outburst. That night my heart was beating so fast from fear I couldn’t breathe. That was the beginning of my anxiety attacks. The next morning I left. I won’t go in to much more detail other than say it was through the grace of god I managed to escape. I’m sharing because I want anyone who might read my story that finds themselves in the same situation to be encouraged. Scary as it may seem, there’s always a way out. I suffer from anxiety and PTSD and still have occasional nightmares and even triggers but today I’m safe. Thank god. Thank you again for sharing.
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That’s a phenomenal story and I felt quite shocked. It’s the stuff TV dramas are made of and I can’t begin to imagine how deep you had to dig to carry on. I think many of us would have capitulated when he came back the first time. Of course, as you say, even if you are brave enough to get out, the damage can mean it’s never really over and I think that’s what gets missed sometimes. You’re very brave to share and I hope it gives someone somewhere the courage to do the same. 🙏
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Thank you for that Charlie. And you’re right. I couldn’t make this up even if I tried. Life has been something straight out of a tv drama. Despite the shame I still feel I felt it was important to be honest in the hopes of giving someone else the courage to say “Enough”
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