This was probably the worst year of my life, but I know that God still loves me, and I am alive and well. However, I have a story to tell. I met what I thought was a wonderful man online back in March of this year. Jay was a tall, handsome guy in his mid-forties. He lived in another state, and we began a long-distance phone relationship for about three months. During the three months before I met him in person, I found out that he was basically a paranoid, jealous, suspicious, basket case. He was also, by the way, a borderline manic depressive. I went to visit him in the summer, spent a week at his place, found out that he had other women calling him, and that he had been having sex with at least two of them. One of the two was a long-time ex-girlfriend. I was furious, of course, but somehow he smooth-pimp talked his way out of it. I ended up sleeping with him. We spent some time, and then I left to go back home after a week. We managed to stay in touch, and I stupidly nursed his paranoia by remaining glued to my cell phone everywhere I went to pacify this man. I was losing sleep because he kept me up all night on the phone while he worked his third shift job. I had started to send him money when he got behind on his rent or needed groceries. I was starting to max out my credit cards as well. He was always accusing me of cheating or sneaking, but I wasn't. As a matter of fact, I had been celibate for almost five years before I met and slept with him! In the meantime, he still had other women calling him and emailing him. He assured me that they were just friends and that I had nothing to worry about. Somewhere along the way, we decided that we were in love (stupid, I know), and that my twelve-year-old and I should move to his hometown. He and I would get married, and we could all start a life with his two kids as well. Oh yeah, this guy is twice divorced. So, anyway, I started planning. My family tried to talk me out of it. I had barely known this guy for six months! August comes, and after giving my job of eight years notice, I quit. He comes down for two days to meet my family and to help us drive back to his state. So, my kid and I leave with this man, and it was a nightmare! He got even more jealous and possessive. I couldn't find a job right away, so I practically became his live-in handmaid. He complained day and night. Plus, he was still sneaking and contacting his lady friends as well. His jealous rampages soon turned into physical abuse. I knew this man was crazy, yet I continued to stay. Our disagreements became more frequent, and the abuse became more intense. Eventually, I had had enough, but he decided that we should get married. I said no, I didn't want to. He flew into another rage. This time I ran from the house and called the police. My daughter and I spent that night at a shelter. The next day, I got my belongings and left for home. Although I am now back home with my family, I still suffer from shame, humiliation, and nightmares. My daughter and I are really struggling as we try to start all over again. It's been very difficult emotionally and financially. I am not blaming this man for my stupidity. But, trust me when I say that I will NEVER date online again!
— Diane, 34