Charlie, my wife's alcoholic, illiterate, homeless, druggie, violent ex-boyfriend, has been deported back to England. Even better, he'll never be allowed to come back.
It's amazing that this has finally happened. Just a few weeks ago there were rumors he was going to be released in the US as a free man.
Now that the Seven Year Charlie Nightmare is officially over I can't help but reflect on how he dramatically changed my life.
More than three years ago, when he was in jail the last time, Gabbie told me she didn't miss him. Seeing that as my big opportunity to get rid of him, I asked her if she would support getting him deported. She said she would. I got him transferred to Immigration custody where he eventually had a hearing in front of a judge. For reasons we'll never know that judge let him go.
As soon as Gabbie knew he was going to be released she dropped everything and was there to pick him up. At first I wondered if that was a self-protective tactic on her part, but over the next two weeks I saw that nothing about their relationship had changed. That's when I threw in the towel.
With no end to their totally dysfunctional relationship in sight I said to her one night, "I don't know why we're still together. I mean, you're in love with him...and I'm gay."
"What?!! You're gay?"
I'll never understand why she was surprised by that. When I came out to her the first time SHE MOVED OUT FOR TWO MONTHS. In the 19 years in between, I never renounced my coming out - even when Gabbie would occasionally tell me she KNEW I was going to leave her for someONE someday. Instead I told her I was never going to leave, which was true.
Now that Charlie is finally gone I can't help but wonder what would have happened if he'd been deported the first time. I know I wouldn't have come out again. I assume that Gabbie and I would have continued on as we had pre-Charlie. We were a pretty normal couple, and we certainly loved each other, as we do now.
The thing about my second coming out is that, once I did it, Gabbie never looked back. Several times before and afterward I pleaded with her to dump Charlie and stay with me. Once, when we were on a five day cruise alone together, I gave it my all and begged for hours. Yet, all she would say was, "I love you sweetie but it's not going to happen."
So...as much as the emotional part of me looks back with deep regret that Charlie wasn't deported the first time, my rational mind wonders if I shouldn't be thankful he wasn't. While I can't say that my life is immeasurably better for having come out again, I am optimistic about my future. I honestly don't know that I'll ever be in a relationship again but I do love the idea that, once my kids are out of the house, I'll have true freedom for the first time in my life. I'm looking forward to deciding exactly when, where, how and with who I spend my time.
The guilt of having married a woman under false pretenses made me a doormat in virtually every way. Should I have been glad to stay a doormat forever? No, I don't think so. Especially if it was for someone who didn't fight to stay with me and make our marriage work. Why should I sacrifice so much for her when she was unwilling to do the same for me?
I just wish I could get over sadness of it all. Losing the most important relationship of my life with someone who I love so much...it's a painful loss. Even so, I know that someday I'll get over it. I have no choice, really. I just hope that happens sooner rather than later, especially now that I don't have to worry about Charlie anymore.
For those of you who have been reading and commenting on my horrific Charlie stories for the past several years - thanks for your support. I look forward to soldiering on, and perhaps someday, having more good news to report.