Almost 3 years after my first husband died, I met someone. I just wanted someone to hang out with. I thought. This man made me laugh more than I ever had. He had been through some similar life situations as me and we were about the same age so we had a lot of cultural stuff in common, which was nice. My first husband had been 16 years older and, in terms of music/movies/TV, we were quite different. But NewGuy and I laughed and I wasn’t so lonely anymore.

There were red flags. Big ones.

NewGuy wasn’t empathetic or compassionate. He was unkind and judgmental. He didn’t like my kids or most of my friends and they didn’t like him. I overheard conversations he had with other people that indicated that he enjoyed me spending my money on him. He told me he didn’t find me particularly attractive. He corrected the way I talk. He tried to change my beliefs.He tried to tell me how I should raise my kids. To be fair to him, a lot of people were doing that. But he wasn’t kind about it.

I still was so in dread — not just afraid but in DREAD –of being alone that I turned a blind eye to all of it. Lost a friend (at least for a while.) Damaged my relationship with my kids. Heard over and over that I couldn’t, I wasn’t able, I should do it this way, etc. I started to believe it. But I needed the companionship. Alone was worse than all of that. Besides, he didn’t hit me, so it wasn’t abuse. Right?


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