Things were going along. They weren’t great, but they certainly weren’t bad either. There were still mini arguments here and there, but they weren’t significant enough to make a big deal out of them at the time. Now that I look back at it, they were a huge deal. They were red flags I continued to ignore.
His New Place.
My abuser was looking for a new place to live. He was renting a room in a house and the owner wanted him out about a week or so earlier than expected. He was on the hunt and after searching different places, he finally found one he believed would work for him.
There were two problems. First were the strictest rules such as no visitors, no mail delivered to the house and he was not allowed to use the kitchen. I thought that was the weirdest thing. Second was the fact that the current resident was not going to move out until the end of the month so they agreed to allowing him to sleep on the couch.
Come move in day, they set up a tent for him in the backyard. That was not the agreement and it was one of the hottest times of the year. I felt really bad for him so I offered for him to stay at my place until his room was ready. Part of me felt like I had to, but the other part hated the idea. He lasted two nights and decided to take my offer.
I was extremely transparent with my roommates and let them know the situation. They planned to cook dinner so we could all hang out and they would get to know him. Things were fine and they had no issues with him. About a couple days of staying at my place, he got the news that he was getting laid off. That part of me that hated the idea was hating it even more. I literally saw a cartoon of my finances go down the drain playing in my mind. But I needed to stay positive. I had to.
He was kind of antisocial—didn’t really like to go outside of my room at all except to go to the bathroom. About a couple weeks later, it was time to go on our trip to Lake Tahoe, something we had planned to do before all the chaos. It was a chance to get away and refresh.
During this trip, my roommates decided to ask me to start paying more for the rent. I said no because they had a bigger room, there were two of them and they had pets that they were hiding because they would have to pay additional pet rent. In addition to that, they were extremely filthy. I was the one to clean up all the time. There was cat litter on the floor all the time, the dog would go to the bathroom anywhere they pleased and they would never clean. It was affecting my overall wellbeing just living with them. I also felt they were trying to take advantage of me because they were expecting a newborn and needed more money.
That’s when things took a turn for the worst. Their energy changed completely. They started demanding that I pay more rent, accused my abuser of sexually assaulting her and changed the locks to the door on me. I thought they were absolutely insane. They would not allow me to enjoy my weekend getaway in peace! I knew I had to get out.
On our drive back from Lake Tahoe, he had poured his heart out to me about how much he appreciated everything I’d done for him and how much I had his back throughout this whole process. He described how much of a queen I was to him and how I had saved him. He put me on a pedestal—no one had ever done that to me before. Not even the “good” ex-boyfriends that I had been with in the past. And he also told me that he loved me. It was all so overwhelming yet seductive. He had me at the palm of his hand—love bombing to the max.
To get away from our roommate situations, I decided to get an Airbnb for a month to stay until we each found our new places. I planned on moving with a coworker. And he was still searching for a place. But towards the end of the month, he had asked to move in together instead. That was the beginning of no return.