Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Rebound Relationships: Out of the Frying Pan, into the Fire

That “Dark Side” business is scary. Most of us think any fairly intelligent woman would know her new mate well enough before she moved in with him so as not to find certain aspects of his character totally surprising, but obviously that’s not always the case.

Here is a cautionary real-life tale:

Fresh from a failed second marriage, and never one to spend more than two minutes alone without a man in her life, Maxine met Jim and fell for him right away. Her first two husbands were Jewish guys, one a dentist, the other a lawyer, each from a background similar to Maxine’s. Jim was different and seemed exotic to her. He had studied to become a priest but dropped out of the seminary, got drafted and sent to Vietnam, immediately married his high school sweetheart upon his discharge, and had three sons before he turned 25.
By the time Maxine met him, he had left his wife years before, and had recently broken up with a long-term live-in girlfriend, and claimed to be an entrepreneur as the president of an Internet music company.
After a short while, he moved into Maxine’s condo, and they enjoyed their life together. He worked from home, making weekly overnight trips to Baltimore where he said his company was headquartered. They were both Francophiles studied French together. They saved up money and bought a pied-a-terre in Paris. Maxine started a business with her three best friends, and she was appointed treasurer. When Jim volunteered to keep the books for her business, she was delighted.
Time went on and she wanted to get married, but Jim insisted that they were as good as married anyway, and that marriage might ruin their wonderful relationship. Maxine’s daughter and Jim’s sons were good friends, and in a modern take on combined families, when Maxine’s daughter got married, Maxine’s second husband and Jim walked down the aisle as did Maxine and the biological father. Maxine’s daughter considered Jim her “third Dad”.
Long story short, six months after the daughter's wedding, Maxine discovered that Jim had mortgaged her apartment, raided her business of all of its capital, maxed out her credit cards, and cleaned out her retirement accounts. When he walked in the door, she was in hysterics. She asked him how he could do this to her. He told her he was sorry, that he couldn’t help himself, that he had a drug problem and that he was ashamed to admit it, but he’d done the same thing to his prior girlfriend. And, as an aside-- by the way, he had never divorced his first wife who was living in--yes-- Baltimore. Maxine came toward him shrieking as anybody who had simultaneously lost her boyfriend, her life savings, her equity, and her business might do, and he immediately took off out the window and down the fire escape never to be seen or heard from again, except in court. By then, he claimed to be bankrupt and destitute, and there was no hope of recovering a cent.
To top it all off, Maxine’s business partners, previously her three best friends, lost their money because she allowed Jim to manage the checkbook. They were not feeling forgiving.They stopped talking to Maxine-- except in court where they attempted to have her repay their losses. I liked Maxine a lot, but because my best friend was one of those former business partners, I can never speak to her again either.

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