***Warning: Adult language Used in the Post***
I’ll be honest, in the final months of my relationship with Thomas, I started having feelings for a friend at work. I remember feeling so guilty, but by that time, Thomas and I were more like roommates than partners.
When I met Rico, he was just emotionally and mentally more available to me than Thomas had been during the entire time he and I had lived together. Soon after Thomas had moved out, I invited Rico over to my place. I remember that night vividly. Rico and I were sitting in my living room talking, and all of the sudden there was a knock on the door. It was Thomas. He said he had left some things in the house and wanted to get them. My stomach dropped. I didn’t want him to see Rico in my living room. I told him to wait on the porch. I went back inside, gathered up all his things, put them in a bag, and brought it out to him. That was the last time I ever spoke to, or heard from Thomas. I did hear that he met someone else after me, and the two of them had a kid together. I know he went back to school and became an artist, but that’s all. I have felt at times like I should reach out to him, but I don’t know what I would even say. We both should have been sorry.
I was in therapy for a year after Thomas and I broke up. Much needed. I first met with my therapist a few times a week, then once a week, and then once a month until my therapist thought I was stable. During that time, Rico and I started dating. There was no in between time between him and Thomas. There was no gap.
We had been friends for years. However, a month into dating, something changed. That morning, I didn’t hear from him, which wasn’t normal. He was supposed to come over to my apartment the night before, but he never did. I knew he had gone out with some friends, so I called one of them and asked if they had heard from him. They told me they were with him at the bar but had left before Rico did. I didn’t want to panic, but something felt very different. I asked the friend to go back to where he last saw Rico park his car, and I decided to go by his apartment. As I was walking up the steps to his apartment, I got a message from him on Facebook. He told me he had been arrested the night prior for Driving While Intoxicated. He told me he was sorry, and he understood if I wanted to stop dating him.
I had a whirlwind of emotions. After making sure he was okay. I asked him where he was. He said he was at his parents’. They had bailed him out around 2a.m., and he had been talking with a lawyer most of the day.
The first time I met his parents was the day after his DWI…His dad was distant, his sister appeared angry, and his mom just kept crying. When I saw Rico, I was in shock. He was covered in scrapes and bruises. Come to find out, he had hit a cement column and totaled his car.
After going to court, he managed to get out of the DWI but was still required to pass a breathalyzer test for six months, and he was put on probation.
I wish I could say I wasn’t warned about his drinking problem, but his sister told me over and over to be careful. Still, during those six months of probation, he never got drunk, so I convinced myself he wasn’t dependent on alcohol.
Reality came crashing through, though, on New Years Eve. Rico was excited. He told me he was taking me out and encouraged me to get all dressed up. He said he wanted to do something special for me. In truth, he just wanted to get wasted.
He took me to a nice restaurant on the Riverwalk. Then, we got into an Uber and went to the first bar. Rico had picked it out, and the minute we walked in, it was clear he was one of their regulars. The bartender knew him. The waitresses knew him. In retrospect, I’m also angry with them because they had to have known he was out of control. That night, they brought him more than ten old fashioneds. I actually lost count so it could have been more than that. He became blackout drunk.
I tried to get him to go home, but he insisted on taking me to another bar. So we got in a cab, and he took me to this bar I’d never heard of. Turns out, it was a gay club. That part wasn’t an issue. I don’t mind that he took me there. Keep in mind, we had met at work. He was always polished and put together. That night, he turned into a person I did not recognize. He bought us each two drinks and started dancing around. Here I thought we were going out for a nice dinner in order to celebrate our relationship. No. We were going out for the sole purpose that he could get fucked up.
The next thing I know, he comes up to me and tells me he’s going to get us some free drinks. Initially, I thought, “why? we already have two drinks each!” But he told me to watch him, and then he turned and walked up to a group of men and started flirting with them. At one point, he went up to a transvestite and started flirting. Then, I watched him reach for his phone and start putting in her phone number. At first I was confused, then I was shocked…and then I was furious. I couldn’t understand what was going on. I stormed out of the club. A few minutes later, he stumbled out and started yelling and cussing at me.
I wanted to leave so badly, but I was also concerned for him. I didn’t know what to do. My car and my bag were both at his apartment, he was on probation, he was wasted in public, he was cussing me out, and flirting with men. I just wanted to get him home safe so he wouldn’t get arrested or lose his job. By then, he was so drunk he could barely speak or stand. His eyes were rolling in the back of his head. I grabbed him by the shoulders, shook him, and slapped him lightly across the face to keep him from passing out.
I told him we were leaving and insisted on him leaving the club with me. I got us a cab, but when I tried to get him in the car he pulled away. I reached for him and begged him to get in the car, but he jerked away and with his other hand he grabbed my wrist and twisted my arm. Pain, shot through me as he shouted, “Get your fucking hands off me, or I’ll break your goddam face!”
I was in shock. No one had ever handled me that way. I was hurt…and I was exhausted. I finally got him walking back toward the cab lane, and this cop came up out of nowhere. She walked up to us and asked us what was going on. Rico blurted out, “This girl is trying to get me to go home with her, and I don’t want to go.” Thankfully, the cop was wise enough to recognize that I wasn’t drunk and that I was trying to help him. She insisted that it was time for him to go home and told him to let me help him. She watched us as we walked away to make sure we were headed toward the cab lane.
I finally convinced him to get in the cab and got him home. After getting him into the house, I grabbed my bag and left. I did not feel safe staying there. After finally getting back to my place, I turned my phone off, and locked my door.
I woke up to the sound of someone banging on my front door. It was Rico. When I answered, he asked me what had happened the night before. He didn’t remember anything. I couldn’t believe it. I recounted everything to him. I told him straight to his face he had a serious drinking problem and that he had hurt me, physically. But also for my sake, I told him I needed to know if he had any bisexual or homosexual interests. That if he had any love for me, he needed to be honest with me. I wouldn’t think of him any differently, and I wouldn’t tell anyone if he did, but for my heart, I needed to know. He denied having any interest in men, and he agreed he had a drinking problem.
I knew then that I should’ve left him. But I had already bought a plane ticket to visit him at his new assignment, which he was leaving for in a few months. So I stayed on. But when I went to visit him in March, everything was different. We talked about our future. He seemed to be more in denial about his alcoholism than before, and I didn’t trust that he was going to get the help he needed. I had put up with an alcoholic before, and I was not willing to be with someone who would put me and themselves at risk. So, we ended things.
Deep down, I believe he’s a good man. I had a hard time getting over him, and I was also close with his sister and mom. So it was not just losing him that hurt. I didn’t date at all for about 5 months after him. When I think about it, I’m not sure he ever really loved me. Even though I was the first girl he ever brought home, he was never affectionate, he never complimented me, and he thought I was needy for wanting those things. From the beginning it felt like a wall was up. I thought it would get better, but it only got worse. Even though I’m sure he cared about me, I was not a priority to him. After all is said and done, I do forgive him, but I’ll never forget what happened. Some things never leave you.