**All names have been changed for confidentiality**
**Warning - Drug/alcohol abuse, suicidal thoughts and criminal charges mentioned **
Full disclaimer, this was not my smartest decision and moment in my life. I fully know I looked past things I shouldn’t have. Don’t judge me too hard.
One night, a friend and I went to a bar in Niagara Falls for some drinks after our friend’s birthday dinner. We were the only two single people at our friend’s birthday gathering so we felt a little down in the dumps, so what better way to cheer up than to go get greasy bar food and some drinks. As we were chatting, a guy sitting at the bar caught my eye. I noticed he was alone and having a couple of beers while watching the game. He definitely was attractive to me at the time, and I felt this need to talk to him. I wanted to get up and introduce myself, but I was way too shy and self-conscious.
I carried on with my night, keeping a close eye on him, as one single creeper like myself does. I caught him looking over at me, and he noticed I looked over at him a couple of times. He got up and went outside for a smoke. I thought to myself, “this is the one time I can use smoking to my advantage”. I put my coat on and casually went outside for a smoke. I pretended to not have a lighter, so I asked him if he had one. He graciously lent me his. We introduced ourselves and chatted for a while. He seemed really sweet and normal. So, as we went back inside, I invited him to come sit at our table with us, which he did. We ended up hitting it off and exchanging phone numbers. This is where I made my first mistake. He was quiet forward as he was all over me, but I knew he had a couple of drinks in him, so I didn’t think too much into it.
Fast forward to the next day. We had been texting all night and morning and he asked me to hang out. He offered for me to go to his house to watch some movies after I was done work. I was working the afternoon shift at the time, so I wasn’t done work until 11pm. I said sure at first, but as the day went on, I had this overwhelming feeling that something wasn’t right. I decided to google him. This is where mistake number 2 starts.
My gut was right, there was something very wrong with him. He had a serious criminal record. I found articles about him that made me question if I should even see him or talk to him again. Of course, single and desperate Emily decided to meet up with him, in public, and give him the chance to explain the charges. Yes, charges, plural.
We met up at a Tim Hortons after work and I was really nervous. He could tell I wasn’t the same person from the bar and that something was off. He asked if I was okay. I bluntly just asked him, “what the hell are these articles about? What happened?”. He turned red and said, “I knew it, you googled me”.
He started to explain himself, his side of the story made sense, but it was still bad. One of his minor charges was selling and possession of coke, which I’m sure you can imagine the stories he ended up telling me about his “coke days”. I asked if he still did it and he told me no. I chose to believe him.
After hearing the rest his explanation about the other charges, I still felt really unsure about him because of his past, but I chose to give him the benefit of the doubt and give him a chance. People can change, right? Mistake number 3.
We spent more time with each other, ended up making things “official”. As the weeks went on, I noticed that he was always drinking. He was either hung over or drunk whenever I saw him. Our dates always involved drinking. I think there was one time that I didn’t see him drunk. At this point, I had just gotten my drinking problem under control. He had a previous drug addiction, went to rehab for it ,court ordered, and was seeing a therapist for it, also court ordered. I was starting to wake up a little bit and started to question what kind of relationship I was in. It never seemed real because he was always incoherent.
Fast forward to the end of the relationship. He ended up breaking up with me via text... classy, I know. He said something along the lines of things moving too quickly, he needs to work on himself, which looking back, he was right. He then turned off his phone and just disappeared. It came out of no where. Well, you can bet your ass that my crazy self drove over to his house and knocked on the door. He lived with his parents and his mother answered the door. She looked puzzled to see me. I guess he told her that we had broken up. I asked to see him. She closed the door, making me wait outside, which never happened before, and he came out. I called him out on ending things via text. He apologized, explained that things were moving too fast for him but realized he wanted to try again. Mistake number 4.
When we “tried again”, he never seemed to have time for me during the day or on his days off. However, he started calling me in the middle of the night, absolutely hammered. Of course, me being and empath, I felt the need to drive to the Falls to pick him up and take him home, so I know he was safe. After all, I did still have feelings for him. He would always make me come into the house and then we ended up sleeping together. I always felt like shit afterwards, but that was what I thought would make me happy.
There was one night that I didn’t hear my phone ring. I woke up around 7 am, checked my phone and I saw 5 missed calls from him, multiple texts saying things like, “please come over, I don’t feel safe being alone with myself”. He used to tell me that he had suicidal thoughts often and that he would keep a knife in his room to cut himself. Now, I know what you’re thinking… Emily, if that isn’t a red flag, I don’t know what is. There were so many red flags, but I stupidly looked past them all. Oh, the power of a beautiful face and a charming personality. When I read those texts, I called him immediately. No answer, of course. I got up, raced over there and thankfully his dad was awake and in the garage. I told him what happened throughout the night, and I wanted to check to make sure he was okay. His dad told me that he saw him pacing in the backyard smoking around 3 or 4 am but he didn’t think anything of it. I guess that was normal for Donny to do.
I went inside and up to his room. The door was closed. I didn’t know what I was about to walk into. I slowly opened the door and I found Donny passed out, fully clothed in his jeans, belt, shirt and even his hat was still on. There was a cup of what I think was vodka or gin with a lime in it. I tried to wake him up, and he wasn’t waking up. I started to panic so I slapped him and yelled his name. That woke him up. Looking back, I feel good about that slap.
He woke up and looked at me, confused as hell and said, “what’s up?”. I looked at him and said, “are you kidding me? You send me a bunch of suicidal messages, I had 5 missed calls from you, and all you have to say is, What’s up?”. I got into bed with him, and we ended up talking about what happened that night as we were cuddling. We were facing each other, arms wrapped around each other and my leg in between his. During this conversation, a little side conversation happened. It went like this…
Donny: “Have you been stressed or upset about something?”
Emily: “Well, ya... this "relationship" has been upsetting and stressful for sure... why do you ask?”
Donny: “I can tell, seems like you’ve gained weight… you feel, heavier”
Can we just take a moment for this…? For me, being a bigger girl, this hit me hard. I was so upset, embarrassed and offended! Who says that to someone that just drove over to their house to make sure they didn’t kill themselves? Telling this story actually makes me feel so stupid for not realizing how naïve and self-destructive I was being. I just realized this morning that the song “New Rules” by Dua Lipa is a perfect representation of what this relationship turned into. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k2qgadSvNyU
A few nights later, same thing happens, he calls me drunk asking me to come over. I decided this was the last time that I would go out in the middle of the night to save him. When I got there, he was getting out of the shower. This was the drunkest I had ever seen him. He could barely hold himself up. He told me that he had been thinking about me and how he wants to start a life with me, get married, have babies. He even told me he loved me that night. I couldn’t help but burst out laughing when he said it because that’s when I knew he was completely gone. He swore to me that he meant every word and that he would remember the next day and still follow through with it. I spent an hour or so there, made sure he got into bed okay and safe, then I went home.
On my drive home, part of me wondered if maybe he had an epiphany. Maybe he realized how good I have been to him, and he is serious about settling down. I was hopeful.
The next day, he messaged me and thanked me for taking care of him the previous night. I asked if he remembered what he told me, he did surprisingly. However, he told me that he couldn’t follow through with it. Surprise, surprise. I was disappointed but not completely shocked. I became really irritated. I was mad at the fact that he knew the things that I wanted in life, marriage, a family, and he basically dangled it in front of me then said, “just kidding”. I then decided that I needed to distance myself from him. I finally realized that all I was to him was a free ride home and someone to sleep with. He didn’t care about me or my feelings.
I am embarrassed with how much time I spent with him. It wasn’t a super long time, a few months, but a few months too long. There were so many red flags, and I chose to ignore them all in hopes of finding love.
Maybe a week or two later, after not seeing him or speaking to him. He texted me asking if he could call me. I said ok because I was really starting to miss him. He called to check in and chat, which I was fine with. We talked about how we had been doing for the last couple of weeks. Through conversation, I could tell that he was outside and walking. I asked where he was going... he told me to an old friend’s house. I asked which one, and he told me his buddy that used to sell him coke. I asked why he was going to see him, and he couldn’t give me an answer. Everything started falling into place. I couldn’t understand why it was so hard to wake him up the morning I went to check on him. There were times he would go to the bathroom and come back with the "sniffles", and so many other things. He had been lying to me about his “coke days” being over the entire time. It was from that moment that I realized, he hasn’t changed, and he never will change. I refused to watch him ruin his life any more than he had already. I told him that would be the last time he hears from me, and it was.
What I learned from this experience is, trust your gut. Also, don’t look past the red flags. When your gut is trying to tell you to do or not do something, LISTEN! I am very thankful that this relationship didn’t completely spiral out of control. I guess I must give myself some credit for eventually putting an end to it. It took a while to get there, but I got there. This relationship did cause a lot of problems for me when it came to my family. They found out about his charges, offered to listen to his story and give him the benefit of the doubt like I did, but he refused to talk to them. Which I understand you shouldn’t have to explain yourself to anyone, but when you have some publicized criminal charges against you, you should expect it. Especially the charges he had.
At the end of the day, I genuinely hope that he either has or eventually will turn his life around. He does have the potential to succeed in life, he just needs to get focused, get sober and do it.