Tuesday, August 5, 2014

The Time When I Met an Air Force Officer Online

Summer 2007. I was 34-years-old and a single mom with my older son, who was 3-1/2 at the time. I’d been single since 2004, had dated some, but nothing had really worked out. I decided to join Match.com. I just wanted to go out on some dates, have fun, get out of the house.

I remember scrolling through the men and just kind of haphazardly “winking” at everyone I thought was cute. I wasn’t taking it seriously at all. I wasn’t even really reading the profiles; it was that shallow of an exercise, but I was having fun with it.

I absolutely remember his photo, even now. He was strikingly handsome. Dressed in casual pants and a loose button down. Appeared to be someplace warm. His features looked like a movie star’s. And all his other photos were equally as dazzling. A very fit guy, big round blue eyes. It pains me to even admit this, given everything that happened.

He responded to my wink with a written note. I was honestly surprised. I went back to read his profile: 37, no kids, officer in the Air Force (I swooned). We messaged back and forth on Match a few times, then traded emails, then phone numbers. He asked me out pretty quickly. He showed up at my door with flowers. I couldn’t believe how attractive he was. However…this I remember. When I opened the door, he had this huge, overly-whitened toothy grin and said, “Hiiiiiiiiiii…I’m (his name)” and I don’t know how else to describe it other than the tone of his voice and the way he spoke sounded so…creepy and fake. I can still hear it in my head. I thought his voice was weird. But he was handsome and had flowers and I quickly brushed it off. He took me to sushi and we ate a ton and drank wine and talked and talked and the way he looked at me…stared at me…I felt like the most beautiful girl in the world.

The Very Early Months

All I can say is that it progressed very fast. The speed of the relationship, I mean. Like other survivors’ stories I’ve read, I definitely was flattered. I thought he just adored me and wanted to be around me as much as possible. He bought me jewelry by the second date—a bracelet with my birth stones (he remembered it was October…squeal!), then came a new expensive purse (the Coach bags came later), several new pairs of Michael Kors sandals (the correct size because he’d looked). I mean, I know I’m a catch and all (LOL!) but I still felt somewhat…God, is honored the right word??...that a guy who looked as good as he did, and who was an officer in the military, was interested in a single mom. He was only married once before (to a fellow female officer who, according to him, was bipolar, had abused him—broke his ribs with a wine bottle, broke a toe stomping on his foot, put holes in walls—and who had cheated on him), had no children, was 39-turning-40 but looked much younger…

Oh wait, did you catch that? In the previous post I said his profile said 37. Well. That was the first lie. About 2 weeks into talking/starting to date, he admitted to me that he had lied about his age. That he was really turning 40 in just a few weeks. He said he put 37 on his profile to skew the responses toward early-mid 30s women. He said when he put 39, “older women” in their 40s and 50s responded to him. I bought it. Completely. Like without hesitation. At the time, it made sense. It was believable. Or maybe I wanted it to be believable. Either way…I shrugged off that first lie.

He took me on a trip in the first two months to Los Angeles to see his [only] friend who was stationed there. We had a great time. Nothing really weird happened. Well, except that before we left, he’d told me that this couple always wanted to swing with him and his ex-wife, and that they wanted a 3-way with him…but that I shouldn’t worry about anything. He wouldn’t let anything like that happen. I remember being watchful while I was there. They were delightful, actually…very kind. I’m sure he was full of crap; I’m sure he said that so I’d be reminded of how desirable he was. And there was one other thing. The four of us were going out to dinner and he was driving. We were on PCH and there was a lot of traffic and his friends and I were just laughing and joking around and I looked over at him. His face was stern and there was just this look in his eyes that is hard to describe. Sinister? I definitely noted it because I can still see the look in my mind. I asked him if he was ok and he grumbled about the traffic. I know it sounds like nothing at all—people get pissed off when driving in traffic. All I can say is the look in his eyes wasn’t like any look I’d seen in other people. I don’t know what darkness was going on inside him, but it was there.

Before I get into the motorcycle crash he got into in our 3rd month of dating—yes, yes that happened and is a whole section in itself—I’ll leave with this anecdote. Not many know this (breathe, breathe). It’s hard because it’s probably THE single biggest warning sign that I needed to run the F away from him as fast as I could…but I didn’t. I’m not a dumb girl, and it just eats at me that I didn’t see the danger. Ok. It was probably one of the first times, if not THE first time, I spent the night at his house. It was a work night, we just chilled, had a couple glasses of wine, no big deal. Woke up the next morning, had some breakfast, and he drove me home. He was driving and I was looking at the road and all of a sudden, everything started getting very fuzzy. Like, I couldn’t focus. In my head, I was thinking maybe it was a hangover coming on. I didn’t say anything to him about how weird I was feeling. I didn’t really want to make a big deal about it. He dropped me at my place, I know I went in alone, but I can tell you that the entire day is blacked out. I remember small snippets of just lying on my bed. I started “coming to” toward the late afternoon. I should’ve been freaking the F out, right?!? I should’ve been like HE DRUGGED ME, WHAT THE F?!?! But I didn’t react that way. I talked to him later that night and told him about the weird feeling that came on during the car ride home. He said in a very nonchalant way that he had given me an Ambien the night before when we went to sleep and probably the pill got stuck in my throat and went down when I stood up in the morning. Are you ready? I bought it. I. BOUGHT. IT. Come on, Kate! This part is really hard for me, guys. I don’t know if it was Ambien or something else but it really kind of doesn’t matter—he drugged me. And I didn’t run. Help me get past this part because I’m still very hung up on it to this day.   

Bonus: Other Very Early Warning Signs
--Immaculately clean house. Of course there are people who have extremely clean houses. But he was a bachelor and—I don’t know—it was perfect. Too perfect.
--He fake tanned and whitened his teeth. Often. I’ve never met a guy before or after him who was THAT vain. It made me uncomfortable.
--He compulsively online shopped. UPS or FedEx delivered multiple boxes to his house. Daily. I’ve never seen anything like it before or since.
--He bragged about so many women wanting him.
--He bragged about all the guys he worked with wanting to be like him, how enormously respected he was.
--He was supposed to deploy to Iraq (he never did, but that’s a later-on detail) and began talking about me waiting for him (I thought it was romantic but it was bizarre…we’d only known each other maybe 6-8 weeks).
--He left photos of himself and his ex-wife around to try to make me jealous.

Looking back, of course these are odd behaviors that show manipulation and control, but would most people make the leap to red flags of emotional abuse?


That's why I'm here. To teach you what I learned.


  1. You cannot blame yourself or feel shame for not seeing the warning signs. Men like him are too good at what they do. You are amazingly strong and you're an influence for others who feel like they have no voice. Keep doing what you're doing.

  2. What a wack job Kate! If I was you I would have not been able to tell either. Ppl like us want to believe the best in others that is just our nature. Some others may have ran or could have saw the signs but when your heart wants to believe the best in all ppl eventually you get burned and a lot of the time it will take more than once before we toughen up. It has taken that for me w/several different situations. I enjoyed your blog very much. Keep writing bc it is great reading and helpful to others.

  3. Thanks, Kate - I had never read this part of your story before. Thanks for posting it.