Friday, December 30, 2005

All The Other Women

In my opinion, what I learned about Rick during the divorce process redefined how I remember my marriage to him. Over the course of several months, I unraveled what I believe was a web of deception only to find out that mujch of what he told me in the beginning wasn't true. The stories he told me at Pat O'Shea's were not accurate. He never asked his first wife to seek counseling to 'fix' their marriage, his first wife did not ask to move back to Utah from San Diego when Rick told her about his affair, he didn't stick around in Utah long enough to get his wife and children settled in a new house. Then there was the loan from his grandmother. He 'forgot' to tell me about it during our engagement. When his mother mentioned it to me on the telephone one day, I was stunned. Rick owed his grandmother $90,000. He never mentioned his debt even when we accepted the loan from my mother and father to buy our home in San Francisco. Rick smoothed it over by telling me he had to give his first wife half the equity in the home that they owned together during his first divorce and instead of selling his home in San Diego, he asked his mother and grandmother for a loan. It took six years to find out that Rick took the money he owed his first wife out of his childrens' college funds even though he knew the money was to come from 'separate' funds. When he got caught, he had to get a loan from his grandmother to repay the funds. I was so stunned and horrified by all the lies.

Just a few months after finding out the truth about my marriage, I received the answers to more of my questions - I was in the hospital recovering from emergency surgery in late August, 2002. When I awoke briefly from surgery, I was in the Intensive Care Unit and was told that I had had major surgery. I remained in the ICU for three days and was then moved to a room for another week. During that time Rick was scheduled to come back to our home and pick up more of his belongings. I had to call my attorney and tell her where I was and that Rick's visit had to be rescheduled. She told me during the conversation that she had received the responses back from Rick to the Interrogatories that we had sent to him. It's called 'Discovery' in the legal process. My attorney was reluctant to tell me what the document contained and told me that it could wait until I was out of the hospital. I insisted and she backed down. Turns out that there had been three other women in my marriage, all three during the time Rick and I lived in Atlanta. I also learned that his affair with Gina Heath had actually begun in February 2001. It ended in June 2001 and began again in Oct/Nov 2001.

It was one thing to accept the fact that I was betrayed by his affair with Gina but now I had to confront a bigger truth. in my opinion, Rick's ability to deceive and manipulate, to exploit the trust and love of another person and the ease with which he lied showed a complete lack of morals. It was incomprehensible. I believed that I was smarter than that!

According to legal documents, Rick's first sexual encounter was in 1998, beginning in November and going through February, 1999. He met a woman in Minneapolis through a colleague. Rick often traveled to Minneapolis from Atlanta. I learned that Rick took this woman to New York City for Thanksgiving in 1998 which accounted for his whereabouts that holiday.

Rick and I had tickets to fly to Boston that Thanksgiving to spend the holiday with my brother and his wife and children. My family members all liked Rick. He was easy-going and fun to be around. My nieces always liked it when 'Uncle Rick' made pancakes for them shaped like Mickey and Minnie mouse! I was looking forward to our trip.

About a week or so before Thanksgiving, Rick came to me and told me that he thought he needed some time to think about our marriage. He thought we had problems and just needed some time by himself. I was confused and devastated because I didn't know what he was talking about. I remember him asking me why our marriage couldn't be like the beginning of our relationship when we made love in the back seat of his car. I wondered if that is what Rick thought marriage was. Rick told me that he didn't want to go to Boston; instead, he wanted me to go by myself and he would stay home to think about things. I begged and pleaded with him to change his mind. I cried and cried. Nothing I said made him change his mind. I told him that if he wasn't going, then I would stay home too. He insisted that I go - he just needed time.

I flew to Boston a few days before Thanksgiving with a very heavy heart. I could barely hold back the tears. I called Rick over and over and no one ever answered the telephone at home - even early Thanksgiving morning. I wanted to say 'happy thankgiving' and I couldn't reach him. That just made things worse. I tried his cell phone and he never answered that either. I tried again on the day after Thanksgiving and still no answer. I finally received a message from him on my brother's answering machine. We had all gone out for the day. All he said was that he would not be able to pick me up at the airport in Atlanta on Saturday as he had planned but he would see me on Sunday when he returned from a last minute trip he had taken. He told me that he had gone to New Jersey to visit friends and couldn't get home until Sunday. I didn't even know he had friends in New Jersey. And what happened to his plan to stay home and think about us?

Rick returned home on Sunday morning and wanted to talk to me, He was as charming as ever. He said that he had taken time to think about us and wanted me to know how much he loved me and how much he wanted our marriage to work. When I told him that I would try harder, he said that he was the one that needed to try harder. Rick said all the right things and did all the right things that morning to make me believe that he really did love me. Life returned to 'normal' after that. We went out shopping the next weekend at Nordstrom's and Rick bought me a beautiful leather coat along with slacks and a sweater set. The woman who checked us out told me that I was a very lucky woman!! I heard that alot from family members and friends, even my colleagues thought the same. By November 1998, I was working at the same company as Rick in Atlanta. I was part of the Marketing group and interacted closely with Rick's Development team. Everyone at the office admired and trusted Rick. He was very well thought of and I was incredibly proud of him. I never knew the truth until September 2002. Rick flew to New York to meet this woman from Minneapolis for Thanksgiving 1998. The other women in my marriage appeared in 2000, one in early 2000 and the other later in the year. One of the women lived in Atlanta, the other in California. According to Rick's deposition, the one in California was a work acquaintance. He claimed that the relationship lasted a few months.

By the time I learned of all these women, my anger had turned to profound sadness and grief.