I met the man of my dreams when I was 20 years old, working at Ameristar as a barista. He was the epitome of tall, dark(tan) and handsome. It was love at first sight. He worked there too, at the steak house, as a server. I was a young girl, barely old enough to know better. Turns out the man of my dreams was 10 years older than me, previously married, and separated, not even divorced. But I didn’t care, I loved him. I remember the day he asked me for my number, I remember the day the girl who worked as a hostess and a sub-barista, told me he called me his girl. I remember every moment that made me fall in love with the man who one day would rip my heart out.
From the first time we hung out, until that final day that he left, we were inseparable. I moved in with him almost immediately. We were like kids, in love and didn’t care about anything or anyone else. He was fired from his job, and so I quit mine. We decided it was us against the world. He was wrongfully terminated so he was granted one year of income, I was not so lucky.
We had decided during one drunken night that I would ‘dance’ with some of my other dancer friends at a popular strip club here. Little did I know I was not the right girl for that job and quit not long after starting. His best friend owned a party bus, all we cared about was the next show, the next concert or the next party. I should’ve packed my bags and ran then. How could any man that says they love a woman let them be a stripper and party every day when nothing good could come from it? A man, who is going through a divorce. A man who loved another woman the way he would never love you.
But being the young, naïve woman I was, I did it, I went along with it. We saw some amazing shows, I- I mean we had the time of our life. Until reality hit. One day I found out he was doing drugs, hard drugs. And I didn’t know how to stop him. I fought him on it, I tried to leave but always came back because I loved him so much. I thought we could conquer the world together. Until I found out that he had drug problems way before we met. I was so naïve to these drugs, I had no idea that I was fighting a fight I would never be able to win.
About a year into our relationship we went to Lake Powell with a bunch of friends and his grandfather. His grandfather was drunk and fell down the stairs and broke his back. No one knew what has exactly happened and grandpa never told anyone it was that bad. Once we got home Danny and I took grandpa to the doctor because we felt a lump on his spine. Turns out he broke his back and didn’t tell anyone- not one person. So the doctors told him that at his age (76) and he was starting to fall a lot that he should live with someone. He chose us.
The last thing, a 21-year-old wants to hear is that their 30-year-old boyfriend has a grandfather who is too old to take care of himself and is moving in. But that’s what happened. That day changed the rest of my life. Grandpa was Danny’s enabler. If you don’t know, you know now, that enablers are the worst people in an addict’s life. This only allowed Danny to be worse. You’ll understand more soon…
We moved out of our master bedroom, we had a 4 bedroom house, he kept in his divorce from his ex-wife, we paid her for it together over a period of 2 years. We made the basement our home, and the upstairs grandpas (it was bi-level) so he would be able to grow old there and not have to use stairs. We changed our entire life to help this man I didn’t know anything about, other than that Danny loved him so much, he was his best friend. I couldn’t say no, I had to support my husband, even if I knew it shouldn’t have ever happened.
Grandpa was a well-off man, he had multiple properties, and so when he moved in with us he was living in Blackhawk, CO and his other home in Arvada, CO. We decided to remodel them and rent them out, to cover grandpa’s medical bills. Did I mention I was 21, and that we both worked at AMERISTAR!? We had no idea what we were doing! I hardly lifted a hammer before this, let alone remodel a home. But there we were- gutting grandpas Blackhawk house because of a water leak. Let me tell you- this took three years. Three years of learning, three years of you-tube tutorials, three years of doing something and redoing it. Three years, until this house was finished. And I tell you what, those three years taught me everything I needed to know, I learned everything about building a house with my partner by my side.
It turned out that Danny felt different, I found out he was doing drugs again, from his friends.
One night there Danny lost his mind, and we had a huge altercation causing him to leave, and he chose to steal a car, and I chose to call the police on him- I convinced myself the only thing I could do was get someone to stop him before he killed himself. He was caught, on i25 and Hampden’s exit ramp after trying to speed through a stop light and he was in an accident. He was arrested and taken to jail, and grandpa, his partner in crime was sitting in the passenger seat the whole time and never tried to stop him.
Grandpa called me and asked me to come back to help take care of him, thankfully he did because he got pneumonia. He and I discussed that Danny probably should find somewhere else to live, that he needed to change. But just when we decided that, Danny was let out of jail on a PR bond. Grandpa decided to change his mind and we were gonna help Danny, but he had to go to rehab. So there I was, back in the mess.
We met in May 2011 – His grandfather moved in July 2012 and Danny was in rehab in March 2013.
We had discussed marriage, he never proposed until the day before he admitted himself into rehab.
I’ll never forget that night, I was so mad at him. We had a 2006 Audi A4 and he made me drive us to Red Rocks in a snowstorm, at 8 or 9 at night. I didn’t know why, I can remember it so vividly, he made me pull up to the roundabout, where we always were on that party bus. He got out of the car, acting like he was checking the front bumper of the car and was telling me to come to look- I was pissed! I got out and he was playing our song at the time- motivation by Kelly Rowland. I got out of the car yelling something like, “what are you doing?!” and he’s down on one knee and takes out this gorgeous ring (he picked the perfect one).
At this point I can’t believe my eyes, after everything he put me through, after making me feel like nothing, he still wanted to be with me, I kept thinking, if my Danny is really in there behind all of his addiction problems, maybe we can really do this. Back to that night, now he is balling- and I start crying too and I said yes.
I wore that ring with pride, even when he admitted himself to rehab and wouldn’t let me see him or talk to me. I was in love, we had a great go, 2 years of fun, crazy, wild nights, years of working on that house together. We still weren’t done with it when he went to rehab. I was a stupid, stupid girl.
Three weeks into rehab he decides to talk to me. The drugs made him believe that I was trying to hurt him, kill him actually. Funny thing is all I ever tried to do was love that man.
Alright so here we are, April/May 2013 and my fiancé is home, my life is finally ‘normal’, he is going to classes for drug addiction, I went with him to every class, every court date, I held his hand a stood by his side even on his darkest days. He changed, he was my Danny again. I was in love. I was happy. He was an adrenaline rush kinda guy, always seeking his next thrill. We snowboarded, and snowmobiled, went to Mexico twice a year, went on cruises, went to Florida, went on road trips, camping and lake days. We owned a boat, motorcycle, snowmobiles, four-wheelers. We had two dogs, boxers.
We spent every day together, we owned our own business together, so we were free to do what we wanted. Grandpa was still living with us but getting older and harder to take care of. We hired caregivers for him. We were trying to have babies, we were happy and weren’t even trying to be, everything was perfect.
I’m not sure where the line between perfect and falling apart crossed again. In the winter of 2016 I had been in College, we went to Steamboat for my Spring break- we brought grandpa. There was a huge blizzard. Danny left in the middle of the night to take the snowmobiles into Rabbit Ears pass so we would be able t ride- that snowstorm was so bad. I was scared, snowmobiling is scary when it’s snowing that hard, and you can’t see anything! I chickened out and he was so mad at me, he left me there. He made me get out of the car and he just left me. In the middle of no-where, with no phone, no wallet in the middle of a snowstorm.
I just sat by the bathroom crying and embarrassed- unsure what to do, or if he was coming back. He came back hours later, with grandpa. I lost my shit. We had such a big fight that we drove back to Denver in this storm for 6-7 hours to get home, just to drop me off with my sister, he wouldn’t even let me go to our house.
I had decided that enough was enough, this was the end of it. He wouldn’t even let me take one of our FOUR cars, I had to purchase one so I could leave. I moved out, and changed my phone number, I took my dog and my stuff and left. Turns out he went to visit his family in Texas.
About 4 weeks later I had been up all night crying and writing an essay for my astronomy class when Danny called. My sister gave him my number. He said he was so upset and that he missed me and all that crap a man says to get you back. I was determined and said I couldn’t do it. He said then can you come to get grandpa because I can’t take care of him anymore (he was power of attorney and could give his rights up to me- back up power of attorney). I told him grandpa didn’t want to be with anyone besides him. I had no choice, I took that responsibility, so I had to make sure grandpa was taken care of. I went and picked up grandpa and took him home- Danny was living in a hotel for some reason- and Danny came back to talk to me.
For some dumb reason, I took him back, because he held my heart. He was my heart. Even after all of the bad shit he put me through, none of that outweighed all of the good, fun, crazy in love times we spent together. There was no way anyone could’ve told me different.
We decided to get married, “to prove to each other we wanted this.” On April 28, 2016, we went to the courthouse- not even dressed up- we didn’t say our vows- there was not anything special about it, we signed a piece of paper and were married. The saddest day of my life, next to the day he bought a one-way ticket outta here.
I knew that day the only reason I married him is because one day he would leave me. I knew one day he would break my heart again, but at least he couldn’t take everything we both worked so hard for.
A year later we went on a cruise and I cheated on my husband. With a firefighter. He embarrassed me, a drunken fool on our “honeymoon cruise”. We missed our flight there because he was so drunk they wouldn’t let him on the plane. I was a hysterical mess. We got another flight that next morning, and we landed in Fort Lauderdale right into a mass shooting. We were stuck on the plane for 12 hours. Still, I wasn’t mad, I made the best of it all. We were going to see my cousin and her boyfriend. I missed her. We got to the port, we were on the boat for two hours, and he was drunk.
This is when I figured out this man, that says he loves me, doesn’t. He was perfectly ok with making a fool out of me and him. He broke his shoulder falling drunk- he probably doesn’t even remember it.
I cheated on my husband. No one knows, well until now of course. I prided myself on being a faithful girlfriend, finance and then wife, and I ruined it. I knew from that moment things were never going to be the same. I knew it was over, it was only a matter of time.
On October 25, 2017 Danny was finally released from probation. I always knew that he would leave me after he got off- guess what, he did. November 2017 he left. He bought a one-way ticket to Texas and never looked back.
I was so mad at him, the night before he left, we had been fighting, I thought it was like every other time- need space. I told him to go to Texas, see his dad, come home and we will get marriage counseling. I had never slept on the couch before, and I was so angry with him that I did. Even though I knew he was leaving that Monday morning. I heard him walking around, I heard him leave, I heard that front door close and I didn’t get up, I didn’t chase after him and I didn’t tell him how much I Loved him.
I let him go.
The only text I got from him was that he left his truck (a brand new 2018 GMC) in the parking garage, where it was to be picked it up. It took me a day to go, I was gonna leave it to be towed but then that’s my money too. I took a lonely train ride to DIA to pick up that stupid truck. And I am sure glad I did. I went on a train, just another face- no extra attention- no one knew me or why I was there. No one to judge me, just strangers passing each other in the day.
That moment I let him go, I had to.
I didn’t hear from him for weeks. I tried to reach out to him, I called his family. He shut me out. Not one word of why. I know, I cheated, but as cowardly as that is, I also didn’t ever tell him, or anyone for that matter. So, here I am left with his grandfather, our three dogs, and our home and businesses, in the middle of college and trying to keep my life from doing a complete nosedive.
One day at school, he finally decides to call and try to talk to work things out, we decide to put grandpa in a home (he was in hospice and it was so hard to care for him at this point). I was going to move to Texas, I was willing to try anything because, after 7 years, it doesn’t matter what happens you still love someone.
We couldn’t even talk for an hour without fighting. A couple of days later I got a call from him, “I’m sure you know by now I am looking for a divorce lawyer and will be filing for divorce.” I had no idea. Slap in my face- so I found and hired an attorney and we filed for divorce in November 2017.
This story just gets messier. My life is like one long, dramatic movie.
I was doing homework one day when a friend asked me to dinner, he knew how unwell I was handling this all, I was drinking a lot, and not really eating. We went to dinner and I fell in love. We started talking/dating, and I knew I had feelings for him, so I let Danny know I had met someone, in December.
On January 10th, 2018 grandpa died. I received a call on my way home from work- from a family friend- not my soon to be ex-husband who I spent 6 years of my life caring for his grandfather. I was angry- I was hurt and finally pushed to my limit of hatred for a person.
How could someone just leave? How do you have no words- not one word- not one reason.
I couldn’t get Danny to talk to me on the phone until about mid-February- keep in mind our last conversation was November. And the only reason why was because now we were inheriting everything and had to split it all up. So now not only are we fighting about our divorce- grandpa is gone and we have to agree on everything to allocate our inheritance.
Some people say its lucky- that it all happened at once– I was living an actual life fucking disaster and couldn’t find my way out. What a way to rip everything from a person’s life in a matter of a month, my entire life as I had known it for 7 years, was over. And the only person that could fix it, wanted nothing to do with me.
My lawyer was the worst- she had the flu for two months- in the hospital, her representation was horrible. I was broke- I couldn’t afford any other attorney fees. I stuck it out and got nothing. He got everything. I got my inheritance, of course. Which he has done everything in his power to not give to me.
As of today, while I am writing this, a year and 7 days since grandpas passing and he still owes me parts of my inheritance, and I am going to have to sue him for it.
Our divorce finalized May 8th, 2018. This is how bad my lawyer was, I didn’t even know I was divorced, I had to contact them. May 25th, 2018 should’ve been our 7-year anniversary. Still no words from the man who I shared my world with for 7 years, he was my best friend. I thought I was his. I guess not, he remarried September 2018, to an illegal immigrant- oh man did that hurt. What hurt even worse was calling him days before said marriage and him asking me how we got here. I wish I knew how we got here because I would’ve never let that moment happen.
He used to call me sugar, that was one of my favorite names, I’ll never forget that. I wanted to name first my son after his father. But I never had the chance to. He left and left me, and our three dogs, he didn’t deserve to have a son with me, that’s why we never could, he didn’t deserve for me to love him the way I do, and always have.
He doesn’t deserve anything good, but I don’t wish ill upon him. I know that after 7 years it takes two people to ruin a marriage or relationship. I do not blame him, or myself, I blame moments in our relationship. I am not angry, but I will always be a bit broken – I asked my mom when this would stop hurting so bad, she said it never stops you only learn to live with the pain. And she was right, I carry that pain every damn day.
It’s unfair. I loved him so freely when he didn’t deserve it. Now I feel like I can’t love any other man the same way- because now I have to protect myself so I never feel pain like that again. Which is not fair- to me or my future- and I am working on being able to love freely again, it’s all I can do.
I hope my words are enlightening, and please don’t forget no matter how much one person can hurt you, that there is always a light at the end of the tunnel.