I got divorced from my high school sweetheart when I was 23. I had never been romantically linked to anyone else, so social protocol on ‘dating’ had not only eluded me, but kind of scared me as I officially became a bachelor. I was young, fit, in my 20’s, and a decorated Marine combat veteran; you’d think I wouldn’t be afraid of casual relationships. The first girl I dated after my divorce used cocaine regularly and was an ex-stripper. She was also a spoiled single child with MAJOR daddy issues.

Now, I can freely admit that I wasn’t the best boyfriend, or husband for that matter. I was emotionally closed off and drank heavily. I would constantly allow my anger to inflate to explosive levels, often yelling and throwing things around. I tried counseling but wasn’t fully committed to bettering myself at the time. But I never put my hands on either my ex-wife or my girlfriend.

The coke-head stripper didn’t abide by the same rules; drug users hardly do.

She absolutely LOVED to get physical with me. She would go out and get drugged up with her friends, only to end up at my apartment to just unleash a barrage of kicks, punches, slaps, just all-around assault. They wouldn’t ever really injure me, as I had trained in martial arts my entire life, so restraining/avoiding her attacks was simple enough. I would get fed up and leave her, only to return every time she called crying and begging me to come back. I suppose my dreading the dating scene is partially why I endured it for so long.

When I finally gathered the courage to really leave her after a particularly bad episode involving drugs, vodka, police, and an ex-boyfriend of hers, her response was the typical mess of blubbering pleading. It quickly turned coercive with threats of suicide and arson. She even said she’ll kidnap MY dog and never let me see him again. I tried to console her via text, as I was genuinely concerned for her safety. I offered to listen and always be there for her but was adamant that we could never be intimate again. She eventually conceded, deciding she’d rather have me in her life on any level then force me to cut her off completely.

The next few months, she orchestrated an elaborate vengeance plan against me that I was foolish to not see coming. A few fabricated text conversations, lying character witnesses, and self-inflicted injuries later, and I found myself in cuffs and being slapped with a restraining order. The cops seized my firearms, citing her testimony that I constantly threatened her with them and that my PTSD made me unstable. She then went on a rampage of slandering my name and garroting my friendships, while I sat behind bars. She even used my dead mothers name to get out of a speeding ticket (my family was full of cops, but I REFUSE to use that as a reason for preferential treatment by the law).

When I was finally released on bail, she had taken my dog and disappeared. I changed my number and tried to move on with my life but was repeatedly pestered with texts and emails from her; I later found out how she was able to track me. I had regrettably showed her how to access the deep-web and had gifted her several bitcoins as a birthday gift one year. There are those of you that understand how many “options” that can give person, and I’m now fully aware of how stupid it was. Not only was she having me tracked, she actually hired three guys to rough me up (guess she was too afraid to have them ‘go all the way’) and video tape it for her. The masked men had broken into my apartment while I was at work and waited for me to return and shower. I usually kept a gun in every damn room but was now federally barred from owning any. The ensuing struggle ended with two of them bleeding from their noses, and me being tied in a chair and staring at a camera. Three hours later and I was cut loose. This is where things kind of back-fired for her. The guys were so impressed with my demeanor during “playtime” that they started asking me questions, an impromptu interview of sorts. When I eventually told them about my military experience, it sealed the deal: I got offered a job.

So, I guess I should thank her next time I see her, which my new boss tells me will be soon.