With all the "emotional abuse" headlines today with the trials that have
all over the news. Things like Johnny Depp and Amber Heard among others, narcissistic abuse, emotional and mental abuse, and domestic violence have become more 'mainstream'. There I said it 'mainstream'. Do you know why I said it? Because it's becoming a fallback excuse for some abusers. The ones that like to abuse you to the point you react and then play the victim because you reacted.
The next few paragraphs will show financial abuse, emotional abuse, mental abuse, physical abuse, neglect and torment at the hands of someone who claimed to 'love them'. For 1 reason and 1 reason only "because no one would ever tell him, NO".
I have been in 2 mentally, emotionally, and somewhat physically abusive marriages. My 1st husband of 18 yrs was just an all-around jerk to me all the time. He spoke to me as if I had no brain. He would say things like "your book smart but, you have no 'common sense" which was his way of saying 'hey dumbass'. He might be talking about 'street smart' or 'mechanical' type things either way to him it was something I should know and I was stupid if I didn't. I got used to feeling dumb. I thought he hung the moon and knew everything (he thought he knew everything too). He cheated on me constantly and would tell me that it was my fault because I didn't do certain things or didn't do things often enough. Cheating is abuse, and telling someone that their cheating is your fault, well, that's abuse too. Right? What about slamming their giant fist into the refrigerator right next to your head? Isn't that abuse?
This type of thing went on for years. He still tries to do it. He tells the boys all the time that their mom is crazy. She has no sense. They're crazy because they're mine. They think it's funny, they haven't picked up on how his little 'jokes' cut deep because he's conditioned them to it over the years.
My second husband he's the true narcissist though. We just recently went through a divorce and even though he signed the papers, and even though he knew it was what had to be done, he still wants to fight, he's still trying to get into my home, and he's still 'playing the victim'. He plays the victim well too. You see when he first came in here he was a business owner, he was hooked on pain killers, weed, alcohol, and other things. He has bipolar depressive disorder, he also has a head injury from a car accident when he was young. I didn't know those things for a long time and they didn't come out all at once.
We met online. We had both just ended relationships a couple of months before (only mine wasn't a relationship I just ended it with a guy I dated - his was a 'relationship'). I was in the best shape of my life. I had lost 110lbs, I was running and active. I was teaching my boys to ride horses. Life was good for us. I hadn't been divorced long but I thought it was long enough. When we started talking, we were both smitten. From the very beginning, there were signs I ignored. I broke my own rules. The ones I made for myself to make sure that I did right. The ones that up until I met him, I had strictly enforced. He broke our 1st date because he missed a flight. I broke my 1st rule because I let him talk me into rescheduling on a night I had my kids. It went downhill fast and I was smitten it took a long, long time for me to see it.
I learned he smoked pot and I didn't like it but, I had this mindset that I had always been too harsh on the topic and I should try to be more accepting and 'lighten up' but... I hate the smell, and it seriously aggravates my allergies, which he would argue with me relentlessly about (I have terrible seasonal allergies to things that bloom, I instantly knew every time he smoked it or had it because I would get a terrible sinus headache and my nose would close up). Let's just say that was one that, wasn't so bad, it was worth leaving over by itself, at least not early on. After having 'come to terms' with the fact that his 'smoking' wasn't just cigarettes I learned about the pills. I didn't learn about them through him. I didn't learn about them through his business partner. It was his partner's girlfriend who spilled the beans and I'm pretty sure looking back on it that she did it purposely thinking I would leave. (She was always trying to find ways to show me things without telling me.) One day I learned he was spending about $500 a week on them. By this time I was in semi-deep. I was seeing him regularly and he was in and out of my house a lot when the kids weren't home. It was summer and the boys were at their days a good bit so there were times he would spend the night and ride to work with me, that type of thing. I confronted him about it and he explained it away. He made promises of cutting back, he said they weren't all his, he was buying for his partner because he was too scared to do it. There were a ton of things.
I was nervous. I was scared. I had young kids. I didn't want any of this crap around them and yet I let him 'talk me down'. Common sense and hide sight tell me I should've walked away then, if not before then. There were so many red flags I just completely ignored because I was intoxicated by him. He was handsome, exciting, funny, and different than anyone I've known.
I don't know why I stayed. I honestly don't. I didn't really want to then. I was always nervous. He would say 'I've got to run over here' and we would go and he would leave me in the car in the worst areas of town while he went into his 'drug dealers' place to get whatever it was. He would come out stoned and he would get upset with me because I would be mad or upset about it and 'kill his buzz'. He put me in what I considered to be dangerous situations because his partner was too scared to do it for himself (so he said) and put me at risk of losing my kids even and blamed me for getting upset with him about it because I was supposed to 'accept him the way he was'.
First off - I don't care how much you love someone it's manipulation to have them say 'if you love me' and I'm sorry but to say 'you should accept all the things about me' when their doing drugs, alcohol, and they are saying that you have to accept those behaviors because you love them and it's "who they are" that's - no. Just no. I don't have to accept 'harmful' behavior because I love you. I can love you from a distance and not be involved in that shit.
You know the sad part of it all is I tried to do exactly that. Manipulation and gaslighting effects 'smart people' too. I knew I didn't want to be there. I knew I didn't want to be in those situations but, I was still so drawn to him. I can look back now and see so many times I should have left. I needed to leave. I didn't.
Before him I had been a smoker but, I quit when I got pregnant with my first. I had been quit for 10 years until I met my now ex-husband. I was upset with him one night. He was out of town and 'missed his flight' (I would come to learn he did that often, he also would lie about when he was coming back thinking it would avoid an argument). I had some wine I was upset and next thing you know I'm offered a cigarette and I take it thinking I can have just one. 5 years later I was still smoking. Not today though. I quit smoking, vaping, everything finally, in June last year. This round with the vaping, that was by far the hardest thing I've ever quit.
So let's think about that. I met him in April (today 7 yrs ago to be exact). By August of that same year I had discovered he was a semi-functioning pothead, pill popper, who couldn't keep a schedule, wouldn't give specifics, didn't mind putting me in 'dangerous' situations, didn't care if I 'lost' anything or anyone, and started smoking again. Red flags? Between the end of April and mid-August, I had become so intoxicated by him that I couldn't see what was in front of me staring me in the face.
A few months went by and the intoxication grew to infatuation and somewhere in between, he had started telling me he loved me. Have you heard of love bombing? We had made it to that stage. Except there was a problem. He was planning to go out of the country. To a country at the time we were at war with their neighbors, I never felt like it was safe. I wasn't comfortable. He had moved in with me by this point and I was battling all the other things about him and had learned that he never comes home when he says he will (a separate red flag). His mother didn't want him to go (at the time he liked her) he hated that we 'teamed up'. She thought he would listen to me, I thought he would listen to her, he lied to us both. Argument isn't a strong enough word for what happened. We were coming back from out of state, on a long dark country back road, we had been talking, I had tried talking to him about the trip, he blew up, he started pounding on the dash of the car (my kids were in the back seat they were 6 & 8 when this happened) he was so furious that I would ask him not go. Up until this point I had not seen this side of him. I didn't know what to do. I didn't know what to expect. He was in full outrage mode. I pulled the car over as he's screaming at me about the trip telling me he's going and he doesn't care how I feel about it, I'm just some 'girl' and "I'm not going to tell him no", "no one is going to tell him no". He gets out of the car storms around to the front of it and slams his fists into the hood. By now my once silent kids in the backseat are balling their eyes out, scared as hell. Red flag?
That incident was my fault. I was told that the next hour in the car. I was told that for 6 years after. If you were to ask him about it today he wouldn't tell you about the terrified kids in the backseat (he never cared they were back there), he wouldn't tell you about his screaming, or his hitting the car, and denting the hood. He would say I told him he couldn't go on a 'business trip' (that's what he called it because he went with his business partner / best friend) he would tell you that I wouldn't stop, he wouldn't say that I tried talking to him, he would say that I wouldn't stop. He wouldn't tell you he was already mad at his mother about it, or that he had gotten advice from other people who said 'if you care about her and it's upsetting her don't go', he wouldn't tell you that he was bipolar, or strung out on pills. No. He would tell you that it was my fault he hit the car and scared the kids and it's my fault the kids don't like him.
Was it my fault? For years I've asked myself that question.
For years I stayed because part of me believed I was the problem. I was the toxic one.
That trip changed the trajectory of our relationship. He went. We had come to an agreement he would be gone for 7 days. I took him to the airport and I kept asking him when I needed to pick up him, when his return flight was, he wouldn't say. When I dropped him at the airport he was mad that I was crying. I was so upset and so scared and at the time all I wanted was to keep him safe and I was certain he wouldn't be. He couldn't stand it when I would cry he said 'women only cry to get their way and manipulate men and I don't care why your crying your just making me angry'. When he got out of the car, and I had tears he got pissed off and said "I'm going, I don't care what you say, and I don't care if you are here when I get back". He did. I didn't know if we were broken up or not. He got on the plane and got drunk and I didn't hear from him for hours. It was days before he would tell me when he was coming back. He never really did. He ducked, dodged, and avoided and he did it so often that I nicknamed named him "Duck Dodger". Duck dodging as I called it was his way of avoiding, changing the subject, and not answering so that he didn't have to 'lie'.
I knew then that I would never be 'enough' for him. I still don't know why I stayed. I shouldn't have been here when he got back but, I was. I look back on things now and I think logically, and I can see all the signs. Some of them, glowing fire red. I see fear in my kids' eyes. I see fear, worry, and age in mine. That relationship changed me. It did 1 thing good though. It brought me back to God. My 1st marriage made me bitter and angry with God. I would pray but my faith was weak; if I had any at all. I was a good person. I was loving, kind, and giving, but, I was bitter.
I had been talking to my best friend and she pointed me to a sermon by Steven Furtick. I listened to several sermons but there was 1 called "It had to happen". It changed my relationship with God.
By this point, we were married. Yes. Married. I was miserable. My kids were miserable. He was miserable. Yet, we all stuck it out. The kids were excited to have a little brother. He was excited to have custody of his son and a 'mom' / babysitter to take care of them both. I was thinking that maybe things would change. I had that typical woman mindset; you know the one. If we got married & his son came to live with us he would realize he had a family to take care of & he would change. He didn't.
The year was 2018 up till then we'd had our moments but there had been enough good times in the mix that I had justified staying. If there had been a point that I should've turned back and ran it was 2018. We turned a corner and our marriage never recovered.
So let me back up a bit. April 2015 we met online his son started coming back and forth that summer and started K4 that fall we were living together 'most of the time'. There were a lot of nights he didn't come home just because. He would say it was work but later said it was because he just didn't want to. He didn't want to drive that far. he didn't want to because I wanted him to. I spent a lot of nights alone in bed crying because 'he just didn't want to'. He would get high and fall asleep on the sofa in his office or at the apartment and he expected me to be ok with him not coming home and me not knowing where he was or being able to get in touch with him. He never understood as a mom, as a caring person, at 1 AM when he's supposed to be home and he's not and I can't get in touch with him and the last thing he said was "I'll be home later I'm finishing this" I worried myself sick. 2016 another 'trip' came up. I made the remark that it might be better if he put a ring on it. He did. it wasn't. We married in October. I was so upset and anxious about getting married that he left his bachelor party early to come home to make sure I showed up the next day. He could tell from how I spoke to him on the phone that I had cold feet.
In all fairness to him. By the time he married me he had been a single guy for 40 years. He had no real father figure growing up because his dad died when he was young. His relationship with his mom had always been strained and here I came in all kindness, mercy, and light, and everyone who met me told him how he needed to hold on to me. He wasn't ready to hold on to me. I had a stable job with perks and benefits. I was a mom. I was everything he needed in a woman. He even asked me to marry him early on as a 'business deal' for health insurance. Later on when the jokes about only having married me to 'shut me up' about his trips, to 'get health insurance' and 'childcare'; I realized the mistake I had truly made. Hell, the night I married him we got into one of those fights and I told him I wanted to have it annulled. Looking back on it God was telling me then not to marry him and I didn't listen. 2017 was not as eventful, we were all adjusting to our new life as a family. But. None of us were really 'happy'. It was just 'what it was'.
A car wreck in Jan 2016 had put me in a boot for months and stopped me from running. I had dealt with that. Up until then, life had happened and I had been distracted. In the first 3 years we were together, I had had a horse fall on me and gotten injured. I had a car wreck and broke my foot, and I had a skydiving accident that tore my LCL. One of those "out of town" wanted trips we fought over was because he left me home alone with a broken foot and no help. But. He wanted to go out of town and I wasn't allowed to tell him no. It didn't matter that I needed help. At this point I was depressed. I started seeing a therapist and she put me on meds. I instantly gained weight and to this day I haven't been able to lose it. Up until that point I had maintained my weight loss.
Winter was always hardest. Between the 'winter blues' that we both dealt with, the short days, not being able to get outside, and the holidays plus the trauma of his childhood with his dad passing during the holidays in such a tragic way things were hard. I tried to be very inclusive. I tried to make those times special for him. He pulled back. He worked all during the holidays. He wouldn't go to any family functions unless he absolutely had to. I tried to understand but I'm a very different type of person. Holidays are for being with family, not avoiding them. Especially when you have small children. 2017-2018 was the worst yet. We had started skydiving. I had gotten injured during the summer. I finished aff just before Thanksgiving in time for the cold weather. He had lost his business and blamed it on me. It was my fault. I wouldn't allow him to do what he needed to do in another country with a business partner who robbed him blind and had tons of merchandise stuck in customs, that was my fault. I wouldn't allow him to stay there and 'fix it' no matter how long it took. I told him not to go into business with family but, it was my fault he didn't listen. I told him not to move it to another country because I knew we wouldn't survive it, and it was my fault it failed. His business partners brother stole from them, but. That was my fault because I had issues with him 'living' halfway around the ocean, while his son was here with me. He pulled his son out of his home and brought him to live with us and then left to go out of the country. The baby barely knew me and he left him with me for me to take care of. Keep in mind during all this he's still on pills. Now he's skydiving. He was already a partier and I unknowingly go into a world of partying through the sport. I was so naive.
He comes back from the business trip, shortly after sells the business and goes into a depression I couldn't pull him out of. I finally got him in counseling and we spent months and hundreds of dollars for him to tell me everything was my fault. He would yell and scream and the counselor would say 'do you not see why you get these types of reactions from her' and he would completely ignore her and only focus on the times she would say to me ' that as a bit much, or, why aren't you accepting of that'. He never understood that I had my boundaries. He saw my boundaries as ultimatums because I had no problem telling him, 'this is how I want my life to be and if you're not ok with that you don't have to live it with me'. He would turn that around on me and say the same thing about his drugs. The difference was I was trying to be a parent, and hold down a stable home for my kids and his 'life' that I had to accept was him living as a single man, doing the same things he had done before marrying me and partying all the time. Now with his new found friends in skydiving.
March of 2018 the boogie. We never recovered. It was another 'trip' I was against. It was another trip I wasn't invited on. I was rarely ever invited. I was only invited when it was convenient and he needed help with something. This trip was different. It wasn't a 'work' trip, he wasn't working.
Let me back up again he never paid bills in this house. He never paid a power bill, or a water bill. He never bought groceries. We had a joint checking for a while and it stayed negative so i closed it. I bought the groceries. I paid the bills. I gave him a car and when he tore it up i bought him another one. I paid for his skydiving. I worked 2 jobs. I helped him with eBay when he wanted to go that route. I supplied the money for the stuff he flipped. He would have money, he once bought some furniture. He once gave me a diamond ring. He would go to the gas station and bring back drinks and snacks for the kids. He would come in with 'presents'. He never did understand that the presents weren't what the kids or I needed or wanted. He would go skydiving all day while I was at work, get high, all day, and come home and bring me a cherry vanilla coke zero and think that life was going to be just fine. Thousands of dollars I spent on his skydiving.
Then 2018 came. He wanted to 'work on our marriage' so we went to a church marriage retreat and as soon as we walk back in the door he starts to get high. In the house. Huge no-no. I was taking Wellbutrin at the time and I got really upset we argued about the pot he smoked in the house anyway and I started drinking. I took a bottle to the bathtub with me. Prescription medicine and alcohol do not mix. I came close to death that night several times. I was out of mind. I don't remember everything but I remember moments where everything I had been feeling about him, our marriage, the miserable life I was living all came out. I told him I hated him. I told him I hated the life we had. I told him I never wanted to marry him and I tried to get out of it and he wouldn't let me. I was not myself. I was stupid. I had no idea that mixing antidepressants and alcohol would cause a suicidal reaction but it did. That night as I lay crying in the bathtub drunk I passed out. I went under. I know I almost died because I remember it well. I saw my kids. My baby boys telling me 'momma get up, momma we need you' and i thought about how beautiful they were and I laid there looking at them and how innocent they were and they started to fade saying 'mom get up' and I sat up, choked, threw up, and cried and told my husband I hated him for what he had done to us, for all the yelling, the drugs, the lies, all the things he was still doing to us.
You could say (and he does) that, that night I was the abuser. I didn't hold anything back just like I'm not holding anything back now. I told him how awful he was. I told him how much I hated being married to him. I told him how miserable i was and he took care of me. That night. That night, he didn't leave. He held my hair. He took an empty bottle away from me. He put me to bed. He held me and cried with me. And the next morning when we didn't make it to the marriage retreat i blamed him. We fought. It was physical. The house was damaged. I called people and had him removed. He went to a friends and we tried to talk it out and he decided he was going to a boogie. The same boogie we had fought about so many times before. He went. He jumped naked and lied about it. He couldn't understand why 'showing his junk' would be a problem. He didn't see it as 'disrespectful' to our marriage or to me. Weeks later he finally came home. He had traveled around from DZ to DZ on other peoples money until his brother told him to go home and work it out one way or another. He was supposed to stay with friends. He didn't. He pushed his way back into the house.
When he came back he started seeing a doc about his depression. He got on medication. He was seeing a therapist. He was manic and he would be up one day for several days and down the next for a several. It was a constant roller coaster. You never knew what mood he would wake up in. He would stay up all night. He would talk to old girlfriends while I was sleeping. He would sit in his car in the driveway and talk to women. He couldn't ever understand why having naked pics of your ex was inappropriate. Or why talking to women at 1am in the car in the driveway was shady. These were all things that were 'part of him' that I was supposed to understand and get over. I'm sorry. I couldn't. For me those were disrespectful things to do and it was boundaries he was crossing. He was bringing out insecurities in me and blaming it on my ex for cheating on me. He couldn't see how his behaviors were causing the problem and creating the triggers.
March 2019 similar incident happened. He went back to the boogie. Got so drunk he streaked through the camp. He would turn his phone off on those trips so I couldn't' get in touch with him even though his son was with me. He would say that I was using his son to contact him. I was calling him because his son wanted to talk to him. It didn't matter. Again it was my fault.
By November 2019 he was flipping between home, his family, friends, dating sites, and another state. It was seriously bad. I had lost a job. Started a new one. Hated it. The stress from everything was taking a toll on our marriage. ON me. The kids. The fighting was non stop.
Jan 2020 I filed for divorce. He moved out of state. Covid hit. He came back. I had the divorce stopped before the judge could sign the papers.
2020 was the best year we ever had. Thats why 2021 was such as shock. Working remote. Spending time with all of the kids and him. It was amazing. I loved it. He was completely off the pills. He quite pot. He wasn't drinking. He even started paying some bills. But it didn't last..
In the summer of 2021 when I'm working and he's skydiving and this girl pops up with these pictures of her and my husband all huddled up together at the dz things changed. He's 'her favorite peep'. Then I get covid and this other woman from the dz sends me a message as I'm sitting in the hospital sick as a dog to get my husband a message that 'she's ok' things went downhill fast. 2 known 'man chasers' one taking pics with my husband, way to chummy, and the other getting messages to him any way she can.
My whole family had covid during that time. He was the only one who wasn't sick as the rest of us. My oldest son and I had it the worst. I ended up in the hospital twice. My 2 youngest took care of us. My husband was too busy sleeping, sitting in his car, watching tv on his phone, and doing whatever he wanted to take care of us. My youngest found me on the bathroom floor throwing up and had to go "find" his dad to help me. He was scared I was going to die and do you know, that was my fault too?
He was never around. He was always in his car in the driveway or gone. Somedays he would be gone 4-6 hours. Others it would be 12. He wasn't working. He would go to the lake and sit. He would hang out with hs buddies who I later found out were into bad things (like stealing cars bad). He wouldn't go to interviews but he would ask me to apply for jobs for him. I had asked for months for him to get a job. He wouldn't.
He got angry about the skydiving and in a fit sold his rig and blamed me for it. I paid for all his jumps. I worked while he skydived without me. Should i have to put up with women calling and texting me to get messages to him that they are ok? Should i have to look at pictures of other women snuggled up with him? innocent or not how is it ok to leave me at home to take care of your kid and work while you do those things? And think I'm going to be ok with that/? Do you have no respect for yourself? for me? for our marriage??
It finally got to the point that I couldn't take it anymore. Our anniversary rolled around. We were miserable. Things weren't getting better. Then one day he's gone for 12 hours again hanging out with these friends in town that I don't trust, don't like, and know have stuff going on he doesn't need to be involved with. I gave him a choice and he chose them. He was in and out over the holidays. Here and there. We tried to patch things up but, there was so much stuff and other things I haven't even mentioned. I had to file for divorce. I had to break free financially. January everything was final. 2022 started off rough.
He was supposed to get his things but, he would come by and want to hang out, use my internet, or talk but not about anything that would help us, and it would always end in fighting. He always needed something or wanted something from me. He could never just be there. There had to be a reason for him to be there. He couldn't just be. He wanted money. He wanted another car. He needed to get this or that. He needed to get a shower. Something every time. He would come in and eat and ask to stay on the sofa but then not come back. I tried I really did try. I just got to the point where I couldn't make it stop. It had to stop. He didn't want to work. He didn't want to support us. He wanted to go and do and be left alone and he didn't want to not be married either.
He was still doing so much with the give me, give me, give me, that he started with the 'it's your fault, again. It's my fault he lives in his car now. or did. He wouldn't get a job but it's my fault. It's my fault he doesn't pay his taxes. It was my fault he would think of his mom and then call screaming at her. It was my fault he got so angry at his family that he threw chairs across the kitchen at me. It was my fault he didn't take his medication. It was my fault he didn't come get them. It was my fault that for 3 months he didn't pick his stuff up.
I can't even begin to go into everything this is just the high-level highlights. What you have to remember is that people will use this as an excuse to be the victim or to victimize. Not everyone is a narcissist because narcs are popular now. Some people just have bad days and people do bad things to them and get reactions from them.
Do I believe I was abusive to my ex? On 1 occasion yes, I do. Do I believe that I was justified? No, I don't. Can I change what happened? No, I cant. Am I sorry? Yes, I am.
Why did it happen? Why did I allow it? Why was I unable to stop it?
I'm human. I make mistakes. I endured everything I could. I tried everything possible to make it work. I believed him when he said if you really loved me, you would accept all the things about me. Because I did and do really love him. But. I can't accept him. Part of loving him has to be letting him go.
On the flipside to that. Every time I had a reaction to his actions he would turn it around on me. I never went back to marriage counseling with him because of it. I couldn't. I paid $150 an hour for us to go. I spent the entire time with him yelling about how I should allow him to do drugs, I should allow him to drink, I should allow him to go out of the country for an undetermined length of time and take care of his kid while he's gone and I should not care that he's doing it because I'm supposed to be ok with it because it's who he is. I wasn't allowed boundaries. He would cross them. I would move them and he would push through them.
The past month it has gone back to that. Like in the beginning. He had a package sent here that quite frankly shouldn't have ever gotten to me. It did. I am still not convinced it was legal. He didn't want me to know about it but, he sent it here. He thought he could have it rerouted; it didn't work. When all that happened, I cut ties with him. Completely.
He lost it. He blew through here like a tornado. He harassed me for hours. I finally got all numbers blocked and got his phone off completely so he couldn't. I filed for a protection order because of the threats I was receiving. That sent him into even more of tizzy. He tried to go other ways. Through other people. That didn't work. He went so far as to put a trace on my mail. I've had to put up cameras around my home because of things. I know he drives by periodically people have seen him and told me about it.
I think what happens in these situations at times people get wrapped up in the tit for tat aspect. They act like children. It's payback. Everything is reactive. It gets to a point to where one of them can't take it anymore. It's like kids wrestling. At some point you have to 'stop' before someone gets hurt. When you're in the weeds of it all you don't see what your doing to another person. Your in the emotion. You can't see it.
I'm not perfect. I made mistakes. There were things I could've done differently, and I still love him. Through it all even after he laughs at me and says he doesn't want anything to do with me in front of the judge right after he tries to get the judge to let him back in my home. I still care about him. But. I can love him, I can want him to succeed. I can want the best for him. from a distance. For me 7 yrs doesn't erase itself so easily. Even though the 7 yrs was hard.
If I could do it differently, would I? Yes. What would I change? I don't know. I would start with... I would make him wait to meet. I would not sacrifice my time with my kids. I would make sure he understood my boundaries and accepted them. I would take it slower. I would not move him in. I would not marry him. It is a 99.5% probability that I will never get married again.