Q. Two years ago I met the man I’m in love with. We met online. At that time, both my parents were diagnosed with cancer, and being their only daughter, I took care of them, commuting to them almost daily. Meanwhile, my relationship grew over phone calls, e-mails, and texts. For nine months he called and was a wonderful source of support and encouragement. He lost a parent to cancer, so he knew what I was going through.
Our relationship grew as our conversations became daily, intimate, and thoughtful. Months later we met in person and it was truly love at first sight! I’ve been separated from my husband for a few years but I never brought any man home. I have a daughter so I am very careful and guard my private life from her.
With this man it was totally different. I felt he was the one, so within a month of meeting in person, he came home, met my daughter, and, shortly thereafter, met my parents and all my friends. From day one he was part of the family and circle of close friends. Everyone loved him and I was told I was very lucky. He indeed made me feel wonderful and loved.
By the third month he had a key to my house and started coming over every weekend. We seemed to get along nicely and about a year into the relationship he asked if he could move in. I was not sure if that was a good idea because even though I have been separated from my child’s father, I am still legally married. I explained this to him and he seemed to understand. Sometimes he would say that it was time I divorced so we could get married.
Six months ago, I discovered he had taken my bank card and used it on several occasions without my permission. On Mother’s Day, he took $200 and didn’t say anything, but later started an argument and left angry, leaving his house key behind. I found out about his “withdrawals” from my account later that week, which totaled about $500. I confronted him and all he could say was that “sometimes he did stupid things.” I was hurt and devastated but gave him the benefit of the doubt. Six months have gone by and he has not even made an attempt to pay me back.
Needless to say, things have not been going as smoothly as they were. I’ve caught him in a couple of lies, and when confronted, he snaps. I am hurt and disillusioned yet still considered having him move in. I thought perhaps he felt unloved, unappreciated, and was just reacting.
The holidays were up and down. He told me he loves me and wants a life with me. I thought we had settled everything but then he didn’t come over for Christmas.
When asked why, he simply texted, “have a nice life, really” and basically ended our relationship without explanation. I went to his house and had a face-to-face conversation. I thought we had again settled things, told him he could visit over New Year’s, and that we could start our lives with a clean slate. I even told him he could move in!
He texted on New Year’s Eve to tell me he was going to his friend’s house. I am aware he has lied to me and taken advantage but somehow I do love him very much. I had dated a lot in the past but I have never, not even with my husband, connected emotionally as I have with him. My daughter is also very attached to him, even when she has a wonderful relationship with her father. Needless to say, I am devastated and perplexed by his duplicity and mixed messages and don’t know what to do!
Confused and Devastated, Boston
A. Duplicity. Yes. This man is two things. He’s a guy who can talk about cancer, support you on the phone, and then charm your family and friends. He’s also a guy who will take your money, do “stupid things,” and then get passive-aggressive about his intentions. Unfortunately, you can’t delete half of him, and his ugly side has canceled out most of the good stuff.
It’s time to protect your family. Be disappointed, do some crying and television watching, and accept that this was a relationship that had some great moments but just didn’t work out. Your daughter will learn more by watching you do what’s best for you instead of seeing you scramble to try and keep this guy around.
It’s time to say, “Have a nice life, really.” Let this man be someone you dated before you started the hunt for someone better.
You’re searching for the “why” in this scenario; what you should be looking at is the “what would have happened if we ended up together.” A guy who lies, steals, doesn’t apologize, and then disappears should not be on your list of suitors. Who cares about the “why”? Be happy you dodged a bullet.
This guy did you a favor, really. Why you would want a man that has stolen and lied to you to MOVE IN WITH YOU AND YOUR DAUGHTER is beyond me. You’re letting your emotional attachment to him get the best of you.
Change the locks, don’t give him a key, and chalk the $500 up to an expensive lesson. This relationship is dead in the water. He used you, plain and simple.
This is a bit more then duplicity. He steals from you.
Write down all of the unacceptable things he has done to you. From stealing to ending it via text. Make a detailed list, review it, and ask yourself if you would be willing to enter a relationship with a man who would do these things? The answer is no.
You’re still married. Take care of that very long-overdue bit of business first and THEN go out looking.
Column is edited and reprinted from boston.com/loveletters. Meredith Goldstein can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.