I met him at a club in the parking lot. A friend and I were walking to our car--it was after the club. They pulled up and he was the driver, his friend was in the passenger seat. They stopped us because his friend wanted to talk to my friend and I started to talking to him. That was how the whole thing started, already in the Marines. And we kind of just went from there. I was probably, maybe eighteen.
We got married at nineteen. But what made me want to get married, I think I just wanted...to be honest... I think I just wanted to have sex for the most part. And I was tired of waiting and I felt like 'Oh, he's good enough. He's cute. He's got a good job.' And I was tired of trying to do it "the right way" and so I just figured, 'Let's just do it.' And in my nineteen-year-old brain that made sense. I was real stuck on doing the right thing, making, really, my dad proud because I was afraid of him. That's what drove me, which is ironic because that's the last thing he would have wanted me to do.
I didn't tell anyone. My actions are my actions, my choices are my choices. But back then, I'll take you through what I was thinking. I did go home and tell my parents that I had gotten engaged and based on their reactions--well based on my dad's reaction is what made me hide the fact that we'd gotten married. Cuz he just shut me out, shut me down. I think it was about a month that he went without talking to me. So I just decided, 'Well, that went over well.'
I was so hurt and disappointed that I just like, 'Well, I guess I'll just do me now.' I think that's like a typical--if you treat your kids that way or react that way it just pushes them in the direction you don't want them to go type of thing. So I rebelled against that and just did what I wanted to do. I don't even remember how long we were married before I told. I think it might have been around 7-8 months. They only found out because I had this like breakdown...whatever you want to call it. I don't know what it was. But it was when I found out he had been cheating. And I was trying to deal with that all by myself. And I just realized that I couldn't.
I couldn't even function. Like my house--You know how much of a germaphobe I am. I had dogs at the time, they peed all over the floor, pooped all over the floor I just left it there. I left everything there. I had clothes and laundry piled up. Everything was a disaster. Everything was dark. I couldn't get up and go to work and that was when I was in the Marine Corp so you can't do that. I was like MIA. And one night, I just broke down. This was the night I found out that there were multiple women and they were all pregnant at the same time. They all decided to tell me all at once, you know like kind of gang up on me and tell me. I just felt like--back then, like I said my 19-year-old brain-- I felt like I was going to die or something. It was just so devastating and so embarrassing.
And that's when I finally just--after being in my closet--I think I stayed in my closet for 24 hours or something like that, just crying and just in the dark. I called and I still was too afraid to tell him. I'm sitting there crying and trying to get it out. And he's like, 'What are you pregnant?' I was like, 'No, worse!' And so I told him I was married and that's when they came and had to just literally scoop me up off the floor and just to start cleaning up. And I had to ask for a leave of absence just to repair. So they had to take me home, girl.
It took forever for the divorce to happen. We were technically, legally married for three years. But the cheating happened within the first year. He wouldn't give me a divorce. He pulled out all the stops. He gave me money. He got my name tattooed on him. After it was all said and done, after these babies started popping out within the same month, that's what made it even worse. He just was trying everything he could possibly try to, I guess, keep me. But he was still messing around still! Girl... Not only with the current moms and the babies he had started other ones. He ran up phone bills and everything in my name. Everything got messed up over him, credit, everything.
But still trying to keep me at the same time. I finally had to threaten him because they don't mess around with infidelity in the military. You get thrown in jail. You get thrown in jail, you lose your rank. And it just so happened that one of the chicks he was messing with, that he got pregnant--that was his officer in charge's daughter. Yeah. And he didn't know. And I just had to use that as leverage. I was like, 'Look, this is what I'm threatening to do if you don't get me the divorce.' I said, 'I'm going to turn you in and you're going to go to jail and then you're going to lose all your rank. And you can sit with that. So what do you want to do?' And that's when he agreed to sign the papers. So it was crazy. A lot of damage was done there.
I want to know what he said when you confronted him about these women telling you that they were pregnant. What did he say?
He lied. And he was just like, 'You know how many...'--cuz he did have a lot of--I'll call them 'fans.' He had a lot. And I knew that. And he said, 'They're just trying to rattle you. It's not true.' And I believed that...well, I just felt like I couldn't prove it. So I stood by my husband. That's what I was taught to do. And then just--I don't know what to call it-- the Holy Spirit-- I have no idea. But he had lied about something very, very small one day and for some reason, it just hit me. 'Oh my gosh, he's lying. And he's lying about this too and that too.' And it just hit me. A light bulb came on and I went to him and I wasn't angry. I was very calm. I remember being so calm, in this weird, peaceful spot. And I said, 'It's true isn't it?' And he knew exactly what I was talking about. And he dropped his head and he said yes.
And then the peace left me. I literally beat him. Like, I beat him like I was a man, he's a man. I beat him with everything in me. I couldn't stop it. I couldn't control myself. I didn't want to. I just kept hitting him and he just curled up in a ball and just took it. And then, I guess the neighbors heard and the police came. Oh, it was bad. It was so bad. The military police came and instead of coming for me, they came for him. And I was so out of my mind at that point, I was like, 'He didn't touch me. Look at him and look at me. I did it! What are you going to do?' I was so mad. I was like, 'You take me!' And they still took him. They still took him and made him leave the house for a night. And I had to report first thing in the morning to my officer in charge, who just so happened to be a woman. That like never happens. But she went through what I went through so she had sympathy and empathy for me. And she just was like, 'I'm going to do what I have to do but not as much as I can do because I know where you're at right now.'
She ordered me to take anger management classes instead of doing everything that she should have probably done. So I had to do that. That's still not a good--still a bad mark on my record. They kicked me out of [anger management] because they said I didn't belong there. They were like, 'Oh he had that coming!' I was like, 'That's what I said!'
When he was trying to lobby to get you back, did you ever consider going back to him?
Yes. Umm hmm. I did. Because, at the time...What was it that made me consider it? I know it had something to do with housing. It wasn't because of love or anything. That's what it was. They were going to kick me out of base housing. And so I was going to have to live in the barracks. I had never lived in the barracks, I didn't want to live in the barracks, I was like, 'No. Nuh uhh. No, no, no.' I didn't want to give up my dog. I just, 'I need to stay married to somebody!' So it made sense for me to stay married for a second but then I was like, 'I just can't do this.' What I did was I stayed married long enough, just long enough to where they considered it, 'Ok, she's been in base housing for this long, it's not fair to put her back in the barracks because she's reached the limit and it's not fair to put her back in the barracks because she's accumulated all this stuff. So just let her. She made the proper amount of rank so just let her live off base.' So that's what I did and that's when I was like, 'Ok, done with you!'
So looking back, do you think you were in love with him?
Knowing what I know now and what it really feels like to be in love, I'd say no. But at the time, I definitely felt like I was. Cuz we never fought. He never raised his voice to me. We never, ever fought. We got along so well. We both liked the same things. That's why it just caught me off guard. I never would have have seen it coming. Never.
You had no hesitation about it, like 'maybe we shouldn't get married?
Yaaas! Girl! I could not sign the license. I couldn't. I kept dropping.the.pen. I dropped it five times. My hand kept shaking and it kept shaking and I kept dropping the pen. Five times. He had to hold my hand and help me grip the pen and in my head, I was like 'Don't. Don't do this.' And I should have just listened because I literally could not keep the pen in my hand. Yup! But I'm so stubborn. I was so stubborn at the time. I was like, 'No, no, no. I got this. What's wrong with me?' I remember saying that to him, 'I can't do it. I can't.' He was like, 'I'll help you.'
I learned that I had so much work to do on my self esteem and just my self worth. I didn't have much and I didn't even realize that. I didn't know that a person who values themself wouldn't allow certain things or continue to allow certain things. And I also learned that there's always going to be something. It's not the end all be all. He's not the last person on earth. Because that's what I kind of thought, like 'Oh man, does it get any better than this? Maybe I should jump on this.'
I learned a lot about just my relationship with my parents. I definitely learned what I would not do when I had kids. That was probably my biggest lesson, how I would handle this if this were my kid. Because you can't preach, 'I want open communication. I want you to be able to feel like you can talk to me about anything' but then when that happens, you just shut down. You just can't do it. And I learned about the healthy balance of fear and respect. It should not be just tilted towards fear. Because I was so afraid, I just made the dumbest choices. Those are my most valuable lessons, how to parent differently so that my son or daughter would really feel like they had somewhere to go and someone to turn to. Because that was the biggest thing was just being so lonely. Having those feelings about sex too and not being able to say, 'I just want to have sex!' I just want to do it!' I think that was my biggest takeaway.
How would you say you felt about marriage going into it and how you felt about marriage coming out?
I always wanted to be married. Always. And I always felt like I was going to do it better. I was going to better than my parents. I'm not going to do this and I'm not going to do that. I just can't wait to get started because I'm going to be such a good wife. And I'm going to have such a good marriage. I always just wanted it. Coming out of it, it made me realize how hard it is. It's tough stuff! And I started to be able to relate to the fights and just the hurt feelings and especially I was like, 'Dang! I'm just so glad I didn't have kids with this man.' It complicates things. I think I learned, coming out of it, was that 'This is not for sissies.' And it's for-ev-ver, like it's supposed to be. And coming out of that I was like 'There's no waaaaay I could have stayed with that man forever.' And then I started to think, 'Dang, can I ever stay with the same person... forever?' I really questioned that. 'Dang, I don't think I want to. I want to be married but then again, I don't know.'
How did that relationship affect your trust with men afterward?
Oh, gosh. I had no trust. Still don't. But my trust issues actually started long time before I got married. Because of dad. I had no trust. I had even less confidence and self esteem than I did going in. And everything that I did was just basically out of fear of it happening again. I know that I was just a mess to be with. A mess. Ugh.