When I was working in Fort Lauderdale I had the opportunity to meet people from all walks of life. While my relationship with my ex was feigning, I found solace in making new friends at work. The job wasn’t in anyway glamorous. I was only making a few dollars over minimum wage and I was a front desk girl employed by a security company. But it was a way to escape arguing and negativity at home.
I had moved to South Florida to be close to E. He had a house already, but since he wanted to put it up for short-sale, we were supposed to find an apartment first. When I found a job sooner than expected, I had a week to move there. I grabbed my personal belongings and the pug puppy he had bought for me, and hit the road.
There was a tornado warning that day. And my knuckles were white as my car crept over the Skyway Bridge going no more than 45 mph. As soon as the skies cleared, so did my mind. I knew that I was taking an important step toward my future. This was the man I wanted to marry. Any arguments we had before, in my head, were a result of the distance. But I soon realized distance may be what was keeping us together.
While he worked long hours as a paramedic, I stayed at home with his family who also lived in the house. I had few friends in Miami and didn’t have many other options other than venturing out alone. His parents tried to be welcoming, but with a language barrier that was difficult. I felt alone and isolated most of the time. I made more phone calls to my family members than I ever had before.
Living in Hialeah proved to be a complete culture shock for me. And as a blonde white girl, I stuck out like a sore thumb. After being followed up after an afternoon jog, I was ready to get out. My lease in St. Pete was almost up and after much prodding, I convinced E to go apartment hunting. We eventually settled on one in Plantation and managed to move all of my belongings out of my old apartment four hours away and into the new one. It was a taxing day for both of us and neither of us were in good spirits. I chalked it up to exhaustion but little did I know this was only a sign of things to come.
I was determined to get into shape so that became my new hobby. After work I spent two hours working out. As I look back I realize it was probably a great distraction. When I was at home, E and I were constantly arguing. Usually, it was because he refused to grow up and clean up after himself. I did the cooking and most of the cleaning, along with working full-time and paying half of the bills. But it was also because he had stopped trying. All the adventure and romance had gone out the window.
Arguments also included his extreme jealousy. He was convinced I was cheating (I wasn’t) and when I did start making friends he got angry about the occasional Friday night out. His insecurity was fueled by the fact that I was keeping myself in shape and he was letting himself go. I would sometimes drive around for hours just to get peace and get away. This only made his suspicions worse. I was miserable and so was he. There were times I tried to reason with him. I tried to talk but he wouldn’t listen.
I knew in my heart it was over but there was still a part of me that loved him. So I stuck around hoping things would work out. Sure we had our good moments. But they were overshadowed by the bad. I remember vividly one night in particular.
We had gone out (a rare occasion) for ice cream. We came home and attempted to have sex. After he came, he looked at me and said “That was weird huh?”. I was crushed. This relationship was fading fast and I had no control over the outcome. I was a shell of my former independent, confident and carefree self. Instead, I was isolated from my family and isolated by a man who was in control of my living and financial situation. I had never expected to be here. But worse, I started to realize this was exactly where he wanted me.
…To Be Continued