human, being

Bad Boyfriends: Joe part 1

The second in a series of stories about the many bad boyfriends I’ve chosen throughout my life. It’s a long post, but then it’s a long story. So, I’ve broken it up into three parts. Here’s part 1.

As a writer and creative type, I’ve always fantasized about having a boyfriend who is also a creative type. Jimmy the drummer was close, but no cigar. I’d typically dated jocks, even though I didn’t have much in common with them. I wanted to be with someone who was more like me, who would understand my moodiness, who would “get me.” I thought being with an artist would be the thing that made me whole.

About six weeks after I broke it off with Jimmy, just after Thanksgiving in 2004, I met Joe on Yahoo! Personals. We communicated by email and phone for a couple of weeks, having interesting and deep conversations. I agreed to meet him.

Joe was handsome, with dark hair, dark eyes and a trimmed beard (I’ve always had a thing for facial hair). He was taller than me, not exactly fit but not in horrible shape. After Jimmy’s criticism of my curves, I didn’t feel great about my body, and I believed that being with someone who was in worse shape than I was would be safer for my ego and self-esteem. He loved my curves.

We met for Mexican food at Brewery Bar, a dive down on Santa Fe Drive. We had instant physical chemistry. Our conversation was fun. And best of all, he was an artist, a writer and an artistic director who had worked on two major motion pictures in New York.

Or at least he said he was. When I met him he wasn’t working at all. He’d moved back to Denver to take care of his mother, who had been deathly ill for months.

Joe had a shitty childhood. Yeah, I know, who didn’t? He told me stories of the abuse he suffered as a child, horrifying, awful stories. He told me every time the schools sent Child Services to his house, his mother would pack him and his sister up and move them. I tend to attract guys whose fathers and mothers beat the shit out of them, men who were sexually abused, men whose inner children are completely fucked up. He had been in the Army doing what he said were secret missions that involved lots of risk and danger.  He also survived a huge explosion that rocked his East Coast neighborhood and sent him flying into a wall. I figured out later that the explosion on top of the abuse caused him to be beyond a little nuts. They made him an addict.

On our first date, Joe drank three Jack & Cokes. At that time, I was drinking more than I had since college, which meant at dinner I had a margarita. I was concerned about him driving, but I let it go. The first time he came to my house, he drank half a liter of Jack, passed out, woke up acting all crazy. He didn’t know where he was. He barely remembered who I was. I’d gotten pretty drunk that night too, so I wrote it off as a one time thing. It was more of an every night thing, turns out.

Most people know me as a smart, successful woman who employs good judgment.  At that point in my life, it was all an act. I was anything but smart with Joe. I did not employ good judgment.

The first anniversary of my marriage’s end was approaching, and I did not want to be alone. My ex wasn’t in a relationship, and that meant I was better than him if I was, even if it was a crappy relationship. The truth: I was really lonely. Really lonely. I still didn’t know how to define myself as a person on my own. I was scared to be alone. I have never felt safe or content outside of a relationship, even when it got to the point that I didn’t feel safe and content inside of a relationship. I was telling myself, in that first year after my divorce, that I was OK. But the truth was I was a mess. And since you call into your life what you are living in your head, Joe was the perfect mirror.

Next: Joe part 2


2 Comments so far
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This is some good story-telling.


Comment by DOMINO

[…] of Joe is a long post, but then it’s a long story. So, I’ve broken it up into three parts.  Read part 1 here. Here’s part 2, […]

Pingback by Bad Boyfriends: Joe part 2 « human, being

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