Archive for the Family Category

Tantrum No. 1

Before I continue with the short summary of my demented life with Derek, and since I keep referring to his abusive behavior, I thought I’d post about one of his Childish tantrums. It’s a particularly bad one, one of the worst, about 16 months into our life together.

It’s “No. 1” because it’s the first one I’m writing about, certainly not the first one chronologically, or the last. I wish. There were so many.

In July of 2010, two weeks after I made the irreversible decision to give up my housing subsidy and move in with Derek, we went to Hillside, the gay campground in NE Pennsylvania, to check out Bear Weekend. It was sold out, so we got a hotel room relatively close by and bought day passes for the campground. There were some people we knew there and we stayed on the grounds most of the day, leaving to get some dinner and take a nap. For the most part, we had a great time and there were a lot of really good-looking men. Since it was a Saturday, there were parties all over the grounds and we wandered from place to place, hanging out and talking to people.

We drank all day. And I mean all day.

After dark a lot of the men go down to the “disco” to continue drinking and socializing. It seems to me there were several hundred guys there. There were only a few inside on the dance floor, so almost all of the men were outside.

To get to the bathroom, we had to walk though a large covered area, open on three sides, with picnic tables. After one of his piss breaks Derek sat back down and told me there was a man naked, on all-fours on one of of the tables with an open can of Crisco® next to him! (Bear Weekend is one of several weekends during which Hillside’s nudity and public sex policy is “relaxed.”) He appeared to find it amusing, and I said “Oh really? Let’s go look!” We walked up to the bench and had a look. I then I retreated to the wall to see if anything was going to happen.

Something happened alright…in Derek’s head.

He picked up the can of Crisco®, threw it at my feet, and screamed “This is what you really want!!”

[Long-time readers of this blog (all two of you!) know that I was very into fisting for some years. I hadn’t done it for a long while, even before I met Derek, and I’d told him numerous times, truthfully, that I didn’t care if I ever did it again. It was something I enjoyed, and it certainly brought the men to the yard, so it was good to have on my sexual menu at the time. I was still on the Handball List, an email list for guys into fisting. The list was mostly dead, with only one or two messages a week, and I read it because I was amused by the obsessiveness of some of the men on the list. They’re a strange group. The fact that I was ever into it remained a bug in Derek’s brain. In fact, my entire sexual past, including and this blog in particular, bothered him. He wanted me to delete and my ten-year collection of dirty pictures completely. ("None of those guys look like me!" I'm not even kidding. ) I refused. I always replied that I wasn’t ashamed of my sexual history and I wouldn’t hide it.]

Anyway, I was utterly shocked when the Crisco® came flying my way. (And I do appreciate how totally hilarious this is. It’s, in a way, a funny story to tell.) Despite being quite drunk, I kept my wits and went back to where we had been sitting. Derek was relentless. He insisted that I was still into fisting and, somehow, this fantasy of his was a reflection of my feelings about him—in a negative way, of course. He got louder and louder. I was mortified. He kept going on about the Handball List in a ridiculous, accusatory way, demanding that I unsubscribe.

Public scenes are something that I won’t tolerate. I just will not be that couple,” so I told Derek I was leaving. He dangled the car keys in my face. Really. I didn’t care; I’d walk if I had to. He followed me through the crowd, still screaming like a lunatic.

Someone must have called Security because we were approached and asked to leave. "Oh, believe me, I’m leaving!”

"Oh great," I thought. “Now we’ll never be allowed back.Wonderful.

There was more drama when we got to the car and he wouldn’t let me in at first. I didn’t say a word. It seemed pointless. When we got back to the hotel, I went right to bed. He eventually gave up yelling and left the room. There was a lot of door slamming. I know he eventually came to bed but he said nothing, thankfully.

It was a long, long drive back to Philly in the morning.

In the car Derek couldn’t apologize enough. He told me he had talked to his brother in Los Angeles on the phone when he left our room the night before and got some sensible advice. Jeremy said that it was senseless to hold my past against me. The past has already happened and there was nothing that could be done about it. (Doh! No shit. I guess this wasn’t already obvious to him.)

I started talking on the way home. I reminded Derek of his promise to do something about his insane outbursts. I certainly wouldn’t have agreed to give up my housing subsidy without that assurance. Now, less than two weeks later, he did it again. I didn’t know what to do. I felt foolish for even thinking he could do it. I couldn’t even cry; I was just so terribly angry.

Ultimately, we agreed that Derek would stop drinking and I would, too, to support him. (As I've said before on this blog, I had previously been sober for 20 years. As much as I loved drinking, I could do it again. Piece of cake. And it was…for me.) He promised to return to therapy and go to AA. I knew that simply being sober wouldn’t fix this. The behavior would eventually return if he didn’t try to deal with it. And boy, did it ever!

Things between us were “good” for a bit but they slowly got really unbearable again once we'd been in Maine for a while. By then my options were terribly limited. After all, I had left my entire life behind to follow him there.

I’ll document the long, horrible decline in future posts. Thinking about all of this again is not easy but I’m hoping it helps get the last several years of living with insanity out of my system. We’ll see, I guess.


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I feel like a fool (Part 1)

I gave up a comfortable—for me—life in Philly and left all of my friends behind three years ago to move to Maine with the man I loved because he wanted to live near his kids. I later realized he was an abusive drug addict. He moved to Los Angeles and I’m still in Maine, so broke that I can’t afford to move back home. I gave up everything and I got royally screwed.

That’s the summary. Read on if you want the whole story.

My ex-partner, Derek, and I parted ways eight months ago. I posted a while ago that I was terribly angry and that I was going to help work out my feelings by writing about them. I’ve been putting that off because I couldn’t figure out where to even begin. I can’t hesitate anymore.

I’m still angry today. Shocking, no? Almost every day, sometimes multiple times a day, there is something to remind me of the huge mistake I made when I got involved in this abusive relationship. Of course, I didn't realize at the time that it was going to be such a nightmare. Who does? But I kick myself now for not being  paying more attention to the signs. More details about that at a later time, though. (Alcohol and drugs were involved and that’s really a story for another day.) This post is about what my life was like before and what it's like now. The differences between those two times of my life and the daily struggles I have today sometimes bring me to tears.

So…Five years ago I had been single for almost a decade, and totally happy with that situation. During that time I lived in a couple of places and had finally settled back in Philly. I’m on disability (COPD & AIDS) and I have a limited income (SSDI with a little freelance design work). I struggled for a while but, after waiting two years,  I got a housing subsidy  through the City’s AIDS Activities Coordinating Office. My rent on an OK but good-size apartment in West Philly was $213(!). My life was not ideal by anyone’s standards but I was pretty comfortable and I scaled my life to fit my budget. I was pretty content. Considering.

The subsidy had a lot of rules that were really easy for me to follow: pay  the rent on time, submit receipts for utilities to my Mazzoni Center housing manager (which meant paying those on time, too!), don't do illegal drugs in the house, don’t have a roommate. Simple.

Then I met Derek. It had been a long time since I felt that way about anyone. I pursued him furiously and he didn't resist. He is an ex-Mormon who had been married for ten years, had only been out for a short time, and he had four pre-teen sons who lived in Maine with their mother. (Yes, I know. Doh!)

We dated for a couple of months. Derek had only lived in Philly for a short while because his company had been moving him around. At the time he had an insane roommate who was obsessed with him and eventually we made the decision that he needed to get out of there. He got a sublet near my apartment but basically stayed at my place.  Eventually, we wanted to move to move to a place of our own where we could live together without my breaking any subsidy rules. (I certainly didn't need that headache.)

After a lot of discussion, we decided that I’d give up my precious subsidy and we’d get a place together. It was a huge decision for me—not just cohabiting but, especially, giving up the subsidy for which I had waited a long, long time. It was a big step. If I ever needed the subsidy again, I’d go back to the bottom of the list! Derek promised to stop drinking. His emotional abuse  was really only evident to me when he was drunk, so that promise was a crucial part of my decision.

It’d be easier financially with  two of us. His employer would pay for some stuff, too, since he worked from home when he wasn’t traveling.

We got a place in South Philly in August 2010. Things seemed to be working. We were having less sex after a year and a half together which is normal—especially since we weren’t drunk every night anymore—but, again, that's another post for another day. We got a couple of cats.

After only two months in our new apartment Derek said that he thought he should live closer to his children! In Maine! It was a long, long drive to visit them in the town where they lived outside of Bangor and at least one of them was exhibiting some behavioral problems relating to Derek’s being gay. (Derek always called it “the gay thing” which infuriated me but I kept my mouth shut about it.) Again, after lots of discussion, I agreed. After all, I heard his oldest screaming “You left us to be gay!” into the phone a few times! In retrospect, I think he was hoping I’d refuse, but I thought I was being a supportive partner. We decided that Portland was the closest acceptable place we could live. It’s a great town and had an airport with flights that worked for his job. We visited for a weekend and found a great place at a reasonable price.

We moved north.

(To be continued…if you’re interested, or even if you’e not!)

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My Dinner With Sandy

Sandy Sandstone's first meal at our place. Not for the squeamish!

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Derek and his Things at Suess Landing.

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