I had planned on writing about having Post Concussion Syndrome when I walked down the aisle and married my abuser, then I allowed my mind to go off on its own. It landed at the beginning of this chapter of my life. I separated from my first husband in early 2009.
I met someone online. I wasn’t looking to meet anyone as I was coming out of a 16 year marriage with three daughters. None the less, I met someone. I met him as an avatar in ‘YoVille’, an app on Facebook similar to FarmVille, but with no farms (last I saw, it had been changed to YoWorld). What would you say if I told you we got “YoGaged and subsequently, YoMarried? My mom even made an account and attended the YoWedding. Facebook was young and was not the same social network it is now.
Dave pushed his way into my life so quickly, it is hard to keep the overall events completely linear between June and November of 2009.
He was in his residency at Mt. Sinai of Queens, or so he led me to believe. He walked the walk, talked the talk. Why would I need to question a man of Indian descent regarding being in a medical residency? When he had to get off the phone because a patient with stroke symptoms was being brought in—“I have a possible CVA rolling in”, as he put it—’he talked the talk’… Unsolicited, I received a photo midday while at work, him in his white coat, ‘walked the walk’…well, he made a true effort to appear as such. So, I had met a man, three years my junior, in his residency at a hospital in NYC. I live in Southwest Florida. I figured there was no harm, as a separated woman, to chat with a man who was almost 1,000 miles away and clearly not going anywhere anytime soon, as “he was in his residency” (I’m unable to say or type that without the air quotes). Coming out of a 16 year marriage, I had zero intention of ever meeting this man.
After having chatted a bit, he suddenly ran into some issues with his residency. He informed me that one of his courses did not transfer correctly from Canada (he lived in Toronto for ten years). The course needing to be completed was necessary for him to remain eligible for his residency. I am unsure what the course in question was, as it was not revealed to me. I asked if they would allow him to resume his residency after he got the class taken care of. “No, it’s more complicated than that”, was the reply. Two days pass and he receives more bad news. His apartment, adjacent to Mt. Sinai of Queens, was to be used by residents only and he would have to move out within a week. At this point, he is stating that it is not possible to take one course and resume his path. Within a week or two of “meeting” him, he is about to jobless with nowhere to live…
After only a couple weeks of knowing Dave, he was wanting to discuss moving to Florida to “start fresh”. The next thing I know, I had purchased a plane ticket, paid out $1,000 to a hotel in NYC for a week and I have found an extended stay location for him here in Florida. He landed at Southwest Florida International Airport on July 12, 2009. If you have been where I was, I’m sure you are shaking your head in recognition of an abuser pushing their way into someone’s life. If you have not been here, you may be shaking your head in disbelief. I learned at ACT (Abuse Counseling & Treatment) that an abusive man can behave for up to a year to get his claws in deep enough before showing his true colors. He did just that. He behaved, for the most part.
What he didn’t do was respect any boundaries. He manipulated his way into my home. He had no car, no job, no prospects, no ambition and NO MONEY. The thought of him taking a job that was beneath him, educationally and skill wise, was a silent issue. I felt sorry for him. I thought it would be embarrassing for him to go work for minimum wage. After all, he had been through med school and was in his residency… so I believed.
I shouldn’t say that I totally believed, as I did have a feeling in the pit of my stomach before he ever stepped on the plane to Florida. Enough that my friend Kim and I called the ER at Mt. Sinai and tried to get some sort of verification of his employment. “Kim’s mom had been treated by ‘Dr Dave’ as he stated he was referred to in the emergency department” was the ruse we used to try to get information. This is still prior to him getting onto a plane. Why did I buy that plane ticket?!
After a few months of Dave not working and my supporting not only myself, but my three (now four) children, I was growing quite tired of the situation. By chance, I found a paycheck that he had not cashed while pulling my laptop out of the case he gave me to use. It was from Mt. Sinai of Queens for maybe $20. The check stub had a department number on it. I took it to work with me the next day and called to find out what department 19 represented to Mt. Sinai’s HR Dept.