Monday, October 29, 2012


I always look forward to weekends, especially since I'm a "grown up". Those two glorious days, I get to do what I want, when I want to do it. Those are "MY days". I love sleeping in late, lounging in my pj's, relaxing, and taking my time getting ready.

Last week, I struggled. When I say struggled, I mean, cried most everyday, questioned Sley's love for me, freaked out over the smallest things, and needed reassurance that Sley would never leave me. It's a wonder the man is still with me after last week, especially Saturday!

It's not public knowledge (well, I guess it is now...), I live with Sley. Something happened (which for now, I will choose not to explain), and now I live with him. We have lived together since the end of April. Everyone has their own opinions on this matter. I had my own opinion before I moved in with him. There are certain circumstances that arose that caused me to make my move. Gossip if you wish, delete me from facebook, move your mouse to the X at the top right of the screen. It simply is what it is.

Now that it's out, back to my story.

I was really looking forward to Saturday. I had not slept good all week due to my insecurities, and honestly, I thought not having to get up early for work this weekend would make all the difference. Boy, was I wrong.

After Sley took me out to eat Thursday for my "free anniversary", I thought I was all good! I had not cried at all Thursday and it was actually a very good day for me! I ended the day talking to my soon-to-be ex sister in law and snuggling up with my man.

Friday, Sley's alarm clock went off. Any normal day, I feel him get up and I quickly go back to sleep. Friday, I felt him get up and I got up right behind him. Back when I was with Brandon, he would get up early and go get on his phone with "whoever" while I was still sleeping. Sley had gotten up earlier than normal (due to my snoring) and decided to go ahead to Hardees (where he goes every morning). See, I cling to normalcy. The instant something changes, I freak! I got up behind Sley and questioned him, shedding a few tears, explaining my fears.

Sley tells me everyday how much he loves me. There is NO REASON, whatsoever, for my insecurities with him except for the fact that I was burnt last time, with Brandon, and had been made out to be a FOOL! Sley is so so so understanding and is willing to do whatever it takes to help me.

That Friday morning, he held me, reassuring me that I'm the best thing that has ever happened to him, and then heads to work. I try to go back to sleep but end up laying in bed, awake, cussing at myself for being so dumb!

Friday goes by, I hang out at my friend/co-workers house (Sley's cousin) and Sley worked on his cousins farm after work. I came home, chatted with my man for a few minutes, then went to sleep. The weekend was finally here and I couldn't wait to just wake up whenever I wanted to on Saturday. The only plans we really had were that Saturday night. Sley needed to get his tires changed Saturday but didn't plan on getting up too early.

Saturday morning arrives and Sley gets up at 6am. I wake up when he gets up and freak out, again. Actually I wake up PISSED! I tell him my insecurities. I tell him I'm scared he is going to cheat on me. I tell him I'm scared he is going to wake up one morning and not love me anymore. He reassures me that it's never, ever going to happen. He tells me that he loves me more than I will ever know and that he has never been with someone who cared and loved for him as much as I do. He heads out to run errands and I get up to watch tv. Friday night, we didn't go to bed until after 1am so I was TIRED.

That morning set the tone for the whole day. To say I woke up on the wrong side of the bed would hit the nail on the head. He got back home around 9am. By that time, I was in the living room, reading a sad blog, crying my eyes out. I go get back in the bed and just cry. He comes into the room and holds me and we end up falling asleep. I thought when I woke up again after a nap that everything would be better but again, I was wrong. I was a pouty, whiney 2 year old. Bless his heart, Sley deserves so much better yet he still loves me at my worst, and when I say my worst, folks, its down right UGLY.

By this time, it's lunch time and I havent had anything but coffee all day. We get up and he asks me what I want to eat. I reply, "where are we going, Wilson or Zebulon?" in which he replies, "whatever you want." I never choose. I always tell him I don't care. Well that day I cared and said, "Chickfila or Cookout." We get ready and he says, "you want to go to Bojangles?" UM NO! "We can go to bojangles, that is fine, but don't ever ask me again what I want...I told you what I wanted, which never happens, and none of those choices included going to Bojangles but whatever..."

lol Yes he still loves me, no he didnt kick me out, and yes, we went to cook out...I said all of that and he never got mad...he actually joked and said, "nuh uh! we don't be catching a attitude up in the Whitley household..." Gah I love that man.

Anyway, we get lunch, go to a local church's Halloween get together, then head out to PF Changs for dinner. All went well and dinner was ah-maze-ing! After dinner, we are all given a fortune cookie. I expected the normal, "Set your goals high" kinda fortune but that night I was delighted when mine read, "You will get what your heart desires." I thanked God right then for such a sweet note and reassurance. We went to Cheesecake Factory after dinner and got a slice of heaven each to take home.

We headed home and I turned into the 2 year old monster, again. Ugh. I would start something, go to the bedroom, stew, then come back in the living room for more. I don't know what my problem was! I don't know why I was so out of it on Saturday. I'm normally not like that, at all, but goodness I was such a biatch I couldn't even stand MYSELF! The whole time, Sley doesnt raise his voice or anything. He tells me he loves me no matter how ugly I am and holds me in the end, promising me he will never leave me and that it's going to take more than this to push him away.

Ya'll, I have a good man. Sunday morning, I got up being myself. Thank God! Sley went and got breakfast and woke me up when he got back and had my breakfast waiting for me in the kitchen once I got up. While I was eating, I asked Sley if I needed to go get professional help. I knew Saturday I was BAD and I didn't want that to happen again. He said, "No Andrea! You have been through a lot. I would be the same way if I had gone through all you have been through." and that's where we left it.

Sunday was normal, thank GOD, and we both got some much needed rest.

I wanted to write this to show that although I am so blessed with an amazing man now, I still have days where I struggle. While they are few and far between, it still happens but I have a grounded man who loves me at my worst and is quick to reassure me when I need it, wrapping his arms around me, holding me tight, promising never to let me go.

I thank God for Sley. I thank God for my troubles with Brandon and my heartache because had I not gone through what I did with Brandon, I would never appreciate the man Sley is to me.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Not so bad!

Thank you all so much for the prayers yesterday! They were definitely felt! I had so much peace in my heart all day yesterday. I can't explain it. I went to work and had a great day, came home and had dinner with Sley and his cousins at a local mexican restaurant, then came home and talked to my (soon to be) ex-sister in law.

It's so nice to be able to continue to have a relationship with Ashley and her husband Justin. They were my strongest advocates the whole time Brandon was cheating on me. So many times, Ashley tried to convince me to leave Brandon, telling me I deserved better, and we still joke about it, how she tried to tell me! I didn't want to end my relationship with Brandon because I was scared to be alone and I didn't want to lose such good friends, even though they both tried to reassure me, countless times.

It's also so nice being with a man as understanding as Sley is. It doesnt bother him that Ashley and I talk and when we meet for dinner, he is happy to be in good company. I wish I could put into words how much I love that man. I am at a point in my life where I don't need a man but I sure am glad I have him. He holds my hand and kisses me right when I need it. He is so sweet and I know if I had not been in such a bad relationship with Brandon, I wouldn't appreciate Sley as much as I do now.

If things go as planned, November 5th, Brandon is meeting me and I am driving us to the courthouse where I will file for divorce and he will get served. He is also coming with a notarized form stating he is waving his 30 days. If they accept it, I could possibly be officially divorced...the next day. I asked Brandon if he could pay $100 of the $230 it's going to cost to file and ofcourse he says, "I can't" so I'm stuck with the bill but it's ok, that will be the best $230 I will have ever spent.

God's timing is best and I know God is still on His thrown through all of this. Thank you all again, so so much, for praying for me and giving me such encouraging feedback.

Stay tuned! Things are about to get very exciting, extremely fast!!!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

then and now

October 25, 2008

Once I got out of Lauren's car and shook the water off my feet from stepping into the puddle at the church, we headed in. I walked into a classroom where I would be transformed into the princess I had imagined myself on my perfect wedding day. Paige had brought me a sausage biscuit to force down while Anna, my sorority sister, was doing my hair, and Tracy, my long time confidant, was doing my make up. Excitement was in the air as all 10 of my bridesmaids were furiously getting dolled up for my big day. I sat, getting pushed and pulled which way, wondering what my soon to be hubby was doing. I had written in a card for him and told him I hoped he would do the same for me, as I told him stories of other brides getting jewelry and such from their soon-to-be husband. I send the card with my ringbearer and my heart dropped when my little messenger came back empty handed. Not even a note on a napkin. I should've known then how selffish he was but surely I couldn't back out now! I was an hour away from walking down the aisle in front of my 20+ wedding party and 250+ attendees! My family had put too much money into making my dreams come true to just throw it away. If I was going to call it off, I should have done it by now. It was too late.

Mom came in with my wedding dress and the photographer was there taking pictures of all of us putting our finishing touches together. I told myself, "I am not going to be that bride that once she gets in her wedding dress, has to instantly go pee..." Well, it happened, but worse. I got in my dress and had to pee. I had started my period that Tuesday and thought I was done but apparently I wasnt so not only did my best friend Paige, my big sister in my sorority Heather, and my future sister-in-law have to help me hold my dress as I peed, but also had to witness the insertion of a glorious tampon! bahah!

Once the fiasco of the potty incident was taken care of, we were all wisked away to the sanctuary where we took pictures before the wedding. We rented a church down the road from my parents house. It was huge and absolutely beautiful! The aisle didnt split down the middle; there were 2 aisles, so I went down one with my daddy and came up the other with my husband. All the pictures were done except with bride and groom together so it wouldn't waste time getting to the reception.

Pictures were taken and people started arriving. I always wanted a picture of me and Brandon, back to back at a wall or door, so the photographer brought him to me. As soon as I touched his hand, I started crying. I was nervous and still disappointed from that morning. I knew in my heart it wasn't right but I don't give up. I could make this work. One picture was taken and I had to get my make up touched up by someone else because Tracy was singing in my wedding and had already sat down. One of my bridesmaids had a nerve pill so I took that. Michelle, my sorority sister, had been alerted on her way to the wedding, of my meltdown and brought a 40 of Bud Light in the room we were in. I'm not proud but looking back I chuckle. We nonchalantly shut the door and passed it around. Everyone partakened, even my mom! haha

We line up, and each bridesmaid is escorted down with a groomsman, one by one. Dad walks beside me and chuckles, "you still have time to run..." If only I would have taken him up on that....

He knew I was nervous so to make me laugh, he opened his coat to his tux and showed me his stash of airplane bottles, neatly lined in his pocket. I cracked up!

It was my turn. We slowly walked down the aisle. I remember everyone looking at me but I just needed to see Brandon's face. I needed to see his face for reassurance. I needed some kind of sign. I finally caught a glimpe and just focussed on making my way to be with him.

My bridesmaids and I all wore our rainbow flip flops so I had to make sure I didnt trip! Dad gives me away, forgets to kiss my cheek, comes back for a peck, and wah lah! Next thing I know, we are hitched!

Brandon and I meet the preacher in another room, sign the wedding license really quick, then run back to finish taking pictures.

Once we take pictures, we go to the reception, where EVERYONE is waiting for us. We had to park right at the door in the grass and there was hardly any room to even get in the door! The keg was empty when we got there but someone did end up saving us a half of a cup each.

We danced, we talked, we took pictures, we cut the cake. It was all a blur. I never saw the ice sculptures and never got to eat a morsel of food. Next thing I know, we are getting told it was time for us to leave!!! Everyone blew bubbles as we got into my car that had been graffitied and had beer cans tied to the back.

We headed to my grandparents house where I got out of my princess gown and got into a tshirt and stretch pants. We went to my parents house where we had a "after reception party." BEST IDEA EVER. The DJ came, we had another keg and lots of liquor, and a bartender! It was so much fun just being laid back and listening to the music.

Midnight came and my brother took Brandon and I to a nearby hotel to spend our first night as husband and wife.

My wedding was beautiful. The bridesmaids dresses were gorgeous, my dress was out of this world, and the sunflowers that the girls walked down the aisle holding, were breathtaking. The day I had dreamed of had come to an end and I couldn't wait to see what the future held for Brandon and I as husband and wife...

October 25, 2012

Today I sit reflecting on 4 years that have gone by. There were happy times and for that I am sad that there had to be such bad ones. Today snuck up on me. It wasn't until yesterday afternoon that I realized Brandon and I would've celebrated 4 years of marriage today. I cried last night; not because I would ever want to be back in such an awful relationship, but because of what a terrible waste of what the good times were.

I am so unbelievably happy with Sley. I couldn't ask for a better man in my life. He is so understanding of this whole process for me and is so supportive of my feelings. I can't wait for what the future holds with he and I and I can't wait to share with ya'll!

If you think about it, say a quick prayer for me today. Sley is going to take me to dinner tonight because he knows today is a hard day for me, not because I don't love him and not because he doesn't make me happy because he knows that isnt true, but because I have 4 years of memories, 4 years of damage, 4 years of baggage, that is pouring down on me today.

Monday, October 22, 2012

New Beginnings

So after Brandon left, I entered a very dark place. I remember everything but I don't remember much about the month of November. The day I left work early and told Brandon to meet me at home, I got Dixie, took her to my parents and headed back to wait. I waited and waited. Brandon wouldn't answer my phone calls so me being desperate, I called Traci. She went off on me when I asked her if Brandon was with her. At that point, I didn't care if he had gone to see her, I just wanted to get this over with.

Later that afternoon, Brandon pulled up. I was sitting outside around the firepit we had just recently bought. By that time, I was second guessing my sudden bravery of telling him I couldn't do it anymore. When I got home, I had it planned out what I was going to say and such but by the time he got home, I was a huge puddle of nerves begging for my unfaithful husband to stay! How was I going to make it by myself? We had acquired so much debt (mostly me buying things to try to make him happy/stay/not cheat) that I could not pay for everything by myself! I was so scared. I don't like things that are out of schedule. I like knowing exactly what I am doing and getting myself into. I like preparation. I had NO IDEA what was going to happen to me!

Brandon got out of the car and came to sit with me. He showed no emotion. No matter how much I pleaded to work things out, he wanted out. All he said was, "Andrea, it just didn't work out!" He told me he didn't love me anymore. My world was closing in on me. I went inside and took my wedding portrait off the wall, the picture where I was so happy, so innocent. I helped him bag up some essentials. He called his family and told them he was coming home. He asked me if he could take Dixie, that I had Ranger and he had nothing. I told him this was his choice, he was leaving us behind! He shed a few tears trying to change my mind about who got Dixie and once that didnt work, he left.

I got in the car and headed to my parents. I walked in the door to my parents house, numb. I went straight to my parents bedroom and fell into my daddy's arms as I wailed. I had kept it together for so long and I couldnt do it anymore.

Two weeks before, I told my parents everything. I knew my marriage was coming to an end and I needed my parents. My mom was livid. My dad was angry but knew his little girl was hurting and was more worried about me. Victor couldn't talk about it. So many times before I told my parents, I went crying to Victor, all the while he just listened. He couldnt look at me and the more I told him, the more I saw his fist clenching. The day Brandon left, we all knew it was coming but didn't know exactly when.

After sobbing in my daddy's arms and listening to my mom tell me how much better off I was going to be, Victor rode with me back to my house to spend the night with me. I opened the door and went straight to bed.

The next day, I went to work, and surprisingly, I held it together all day. It was weird not calling Brandon or texting him throughout the day. My coworkers were there for support but the less I talked about it, the less I got upset. I came home that day and we headed to my dad's side of the family for my cousins wedding. As soon I walked in the door to my parents house after holding my anguish in all day, I lost it. I walked in the door and just fell apart in the kitchen. My bags were already packed, courtesy of my mom, and all we had to do was get in the car. I was given a nerve pill and finally calmed down 10 minutes in the trip.

We got to my aunt and uncle's house. They were forewarned of what was going on. The next morning, my mom, aunt, cousin, and I headed to a nearby sunflower field to get decorations for the reception. It was beautiful! We headed to the barn where the reception was going to be held and we decorated and ran home to change clothes. The reception was a big pig picking with a DJ and a dance floor. While in the buffet line getting my dinner, my cousin asked where Brandon was and all I could do was shake my head as a tear drop fell. I wasn't eating much, I just didn't have an appetite. I actually quit eating before Brandon left when he told me the reason he didn't want to have sex with me was because I was too fat. As I sat down with samples of food, mom slipped me another nerve pill and I tried to swallow down everything that was on my plate.

Later in the evening, I had moved tables to sit with my mom and another cousin. The bride and groom had cut the cake and I was trying to force down what I had on my plate. My cousin looked at me and said, "where is Brandon? He not do weddings?" and I just looked at her as tears began to flow and simply stated, "no, he doesn't do me." I kept eating with hot tears streaming down my face. Mom starts crying as she explains to my cousin, who is utterly embarrassed, what happened the night before. Mom doesn't cry but she couldn't take me being upset anymore. One minute I was fine, the next I would fall apart. That night I tried to get drunk. I tried drinking my sorrows away but no matter how much alcohol I consumed, the pain was still there.

That is really all I remember about November. Paige, my best friend, tried to talk to me but I didn't want to talk to anyone. She texted me and said that she wasn't good at this stuff, that she wanted me to know she was there for me but she didn't want to push too hard. I woke up, went to work, came home, and went to bed, everyday, and if my mom was lucky, she got a spoonful of food down my throat. Since I wasn't eating, mom made me take vitamins. I moved back home because honestly, the last thing I needed was to be alone.

Days passed, Brandon came to retrieve more of his belongings, and somehow I made it. Finances were handled through my lawyer. I met with Brandon to figure things out. He kept acting like he wanted to get back together and then when he got my hopes up of having my husband back, he crushed me again.

I went to get my hair done by my sorority sister who had gone through something similar not too long before me. She mentioned one of her friends that was a guy who she was going to set me up with. He was a teacher and nerd. I was excited! It had only been a month since Brandon had left but I needed to get out of the house. Numbers were exchanged and we decided to meet for dinner. Going on a date was hard, and awkward, but it helped me a lot with my self esteem. Things didn't work out with this particular guy but it was nice to get back out there and keep my mind off of things.

A few months later, my friend at work's cousin would come into where I work all the time and flirt with most of the girls. He never really talked to me and I didn't have time for his nonsense, plus he was very cute and I never thought he would ever give me the time of day! All that changed when a few weeks later, my friend came in and told me that Sley, her cousin, had asked about me. I gave her my number to give to him.

The next day was Valentine's Day. Ugh. My first time being single since 2006. I was currently dating a guy I had gone to college with but I knew it wasn't going anywhere, especially when I found out he was moving that next month. Sley came into the bank that day and I was flustered! I never get embarrassed! Before he left the bank, he said, "youre going to be my valentine!" and walked out. I joked with my friend and said, "ha! then where are my flowers?!"

If I only knew where that day would take me months down the road...

Friday, October 19, 2012

What I do know, What I don't know, and What I think I know

After vacation and meeting Traci and Jeff, things went downhill, FAST. I tried. I tried so so hard. I told her my insecurities. I told her me and Brandon's past. I tried being friends with her. I tried "keeping the enemy close." The thing was, she and Brandon are exactly alike: lying manipulators. It's hard to see it when you're in the middle of it but now, it is so crystal clear to me...I got super played.

I wish I could write everything that went down and maybe one day I will! but it is still too fresh for me and I still haven't soaked it all in yet like before. Maybe because I still don't have all the facts, maybe because he still denies it, or maybe my subconscious won't let me process it all because I can't handle it. I try to gather it all to write and it is just one big blur of screams, tears, lies, and me just being a broken, needy, manipulated dumb ass fool.

Here is what I do know:

  • as much as Brandon wants to deny it, I have proof he is with Traci...well not physically because he thinks he has everyone fooled...but he tells her "I am so in love with you" and they are about to live in the same house together. He bought a house for her.

  • Brandon has played a lot of folks since all this went down. He has been with countless girls (probably behind Traci's back) but once a cheater always a cheater! I don't know what makes her think if he left me for her, what is going to make him stay with her?

  • I am so much better off and had Brandon not left me, I would still be in that mess.

Here is what I don't know:

  • How long Brandon and Traci had been together before we separated and if they had sex.

  • How many other girls Brandon screwed around on me with.

  • How Brandon can continually lie to everyone's face and it not catch up with him.

Here is what I think I know:

  • Brandon will continue to play everyone. Nothing will ever be enough to make him happy.

  • Karma is a bitch and he will soon find that out.

So this is the end of my dark saga for now. I may come back to it but I'm ready to bring yall to my present, happy times! :)

Until then!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012


After the texting incident with Lauren and the "whatever" with Elizabeth (to this day, I still don't know the whole truth of what happened...I know they kissed and he swore that was all except he said that he accidentally touched her chest while rolling up the window on her side in his truck for her...1-he has automatic windows...2-he has a control for the passenger side window on his door...but I refused to argue it because my heart couldn't take the truth), I had changed.

The same night I took my rings off and put on the coffee table in front of Brandon after finding out he had cheated on me again with a teenager, he got on his knees in front of me and begged me to put the rings back on, swearing his fidelity to me, again. I was empty. I felt like I had no choice. I didn't want to be alone. I vowed for better or for worse. My chest was pressing so hard on my heart it was hard to take one single breath. I prayed for death.

The next day, I told my brother everything. He never said a word, he just walked out. I told Brandon he was going to apologize to Victor, face to face, like a man, since he couldn't be a man to begin with, much less a husband to me. I came home from work that day and found Victor and Brandon sitting on the front porch step talking, the same front porch step I sat on the night before, wondering how I was going to wake up the next day.

Days passed. I continually needed reassurance that there wasn't going to be a third time. For the first month, Brandon was more than sympathetic to my insecurities and my frequent outbursts and questions. I became depressed. On weekends, I would sleep half the day away. I stopped doing laundry. I stopped washing dishes. I would not help him with the dogs. In my mind, he wasn't a husband to me, so why should I be a wife to him? I continued to watch him and check his phone. It was so stressful having to babysit a grown man 24/7 and it was hard to trust him over the smallest things. I felt like I could not leave his side.

I continued to gain weight. I had no self confidence and found myself looking to Brandon for whatever self worth I did have.

I am a touchy/feely person. Just a simple touch, hug, a holding of hands, makes my heart full. Brandon used to do all of these things before we were married but it soon ended. I would tell him what I needed, even bought the 5 love languages book, but he wasn't willing to put forth the effort. He simply stated, "that's not me".

After Lauren and Elizabeth, I started depending on sex to make me feel better about myself and our marriage. I never understood why he did not want to have sex with me but wanted relationships with everyone else. It made me feel worthless. Every time he would tell me, "not tonight" or "I am too tired", it hurt my feelings and made me wonder where else he was getting it from.

Every year, we would go to the beach with my family for a week in May. Brandon, loving to fish, would go to the pier everyday. Last year, before dinner, he and my brother came home talking about their trip to the pier that day. They had met this man and woman. The man was deaf and the woman knew sign language. They weren't a couple. The woman, Traci, was married and the deaf man, Jeff, lived with Traci, her husband Carl (who was also deaf), and their daughter Shana. They lived in a town 30 minutes away from the pier and came every night just to fish. That eased my mind a little.

I went the next night to meet the new found friends. They seemed really nice! Surely a married woman with a child wouldn't want to break up another marriage! Traci was about my height, with dyed reddish hair. That night, she was wearing cute sandals with capris and a dark brown carhardt jacket. Jeff was skinny, with shaved blond hair, and a distinct gap between his 2 front teeth that would show as he was signing to Traci.

I was easily mesmerized as I watched them communicate through sign language. That night on the pier was the last night of our trip. Brandon exchanged numbers with Traci and Jeff, then we headed back to our cottage. I thought it was harmless. I didn't really enjoy pier fishing and it was something Brandon liked so I thought it was good for him to have friends that like to do the same thing. When we got married, he blamed me when he lost contact with his friends from his hometown because he had to move. If he would've been a man, he would've prepared our home, but again, it was left up to me to do. Luckily, my family owned a single wide trailer and renovated it for us to live in.

That night, on our last day of vacation, marked the beginning of the end of what was left of our marriage.

I said yes

Brandon and I dated a year before he proposed to me. We dated exactly ONE year.

August 25, 2007

Brandon picked me up from my grandparent's house for our 1 year anniversary date. I knew he had a ring, I just didn't know when he was going to give it to me. I had my speculations it would be that day but I had been wrong before and I didn't want to get my hopes up again.

I had no idea where we were going that night. He always made me do all the work for our dates, choosing when and where, but I wanted tonight to be special. I wanted tonight to be a surprise. I wanted HIM to put forth a little effort.

-----Valentine's Day that year, I went above and beyond. I typed up 100 reasons why I loved him, cut them into mini confetti, and put them in his card, where I wrote him a letter telling him how lucky I was to have him in my life. I also set up a scavenger hunt for him to find his gift. Once he found it, I cried. I put forth all this effort and he acted like it was nothing. He gave me a card, "love Brandon", and a teddy bear. We got in his truck to head to dinner and he had nothing planned. I cried again. Every nice restaurant around had at least an hour long wait and he had an hour drive home where he couldn't be out too long. We settled on Wendy's. I was disappointed, to say the least.

On the way to my unknown destination, I get a phone call from my parents. Mom proceeds to tell me that Brandon had come up to their house, before he picked me up at my grandparent's house, to ask permission for my hand in marriage. Buzz kill. I couldn't believe it, the one time I had no idea what was going on, someone had to ruin it. I quickly hung up the phone while Brandon tried to play the incident off, saying it might not be tonight.

We pull up in the same movie theater parking lot that we first met, just one year ago. Same place, same date, same time. Brandon tells me to sit tight and gets out of the truck. He hands me a scrapbook. I open it and tears begin to flow. In this scrap book I find movie ticket stubs, pictures, notes, and cards from the past year. All little memories he had kept. I couldn't believe he did this for me. I was impressed. On the last page, he had written me a letter. By this time, he was crying and when I looked over at him standing beside me with my passenger side door open, he drops to one knee on the asphalt and asks me to marry him.

-----This was the day I had been waiting for my entire life. Half of my "needs" were met. So what if his proposal was in a parking lot and not some fancy restaurant. So what if I knew it was coming. So what if I had seen red flag after red flag, like the time he got me a build a bear but said they "mispelled my name" on the certificate so he just gave me the bear (in my mind, I firgured it was for another girl but I looked the other way)... no one is perfect right? Once I graduated highschool, my mom had been on my back about getting a job after college and getting married. She always threw it in my face that she was married by the time she was 21. I know she didn't mean to pressure me but there was always that constant reminder in the back of my head telling me, "I need to get married, asap." I didn't want to spend the rest of my life alone. I was scared of being by myself. Apparently, Brandon was as good as it was going to get and I didn't need to miss this chance of having someone.

Ofcourse I said yes. I was so wrapped up in everything. It was so easy to ignore the red flags from the past, like the lies he had told me about the "other girl" on our first date, the way he had already started to manipulate me when he would get caught in lies when the "other girl" would call, when there was a diamond ring, that happened to be my size, dangling in my face.

Brandon had planned nothing else for the evening, SHOCKER, but I was in such a daze and dreaming about my wedding so much, I didn't care. I made calls to friends and family to let them in on the news. We ate at a cute little italian place near by and headed to Brandon's family's house to tell them the news, then made our way back to my grandparent's house.

I couldn't wait to plan my dream wedding. I came straight home and made an engagement page on theknot dot com. I immediately started looking at dresses and themes and colors and cakes and magazines. I was bound and determined I was going to have the perfect wedding, besides, the perfect marriage comes from the perfect wedding, right?

Monday, October 8, 2012

A first time for everything

I messaged back this "BKC1122" on cupid dot com and told him that if he wanted to talk to me, he was to call me and proceeded to give him my number. The next day I got a call.

We continued to talk/text for the next couple of weeks, sharing stories of our past, hopes of our future, and decided we could wait no longer, we needed to meet. I knew my family would FLIP if they knew I was going to go meet a stranger man I met online, so I told no one. Smart.

It was a Thursday afternoon and I headed toward a local movie theater. We met in the parking lot. I pulled up toward the back and didn't see the truck he described to me. I think to myself, "Great. He stood me up. Maybe it's for the best." Just as I am about to leave, I see his red truck turn into the parking lot.
----I dated a really sweet guy one summer. Well really, I met him one time, we kissed, and then I never answered his calls again. I was shallow and judged him by his car. It was old. And "granny looking." Huge Mistake but I was immature.

Brandon drove a loud, red, 2003 Dodge Ram with big tires. I loved it. "Ok maybe this isn't so bad." I was so nervous. He had seen my picture from the website but I didn't know what he looked like. What if he was ugly? He sounded so sweet on the phone, could I see past his looks? All I knew was what he had told me on the phone: blue eyes, tall, broad shoulders, shaved blondish hair.

He parked his truck beside my car, with his passenger side facing me. I couldn't catch a peek of him through the windows because they were tinted so dark. I hear the truck engine silence and I open my door. "Here goes nothing..." I thought. Earlier, I had thought about leaving a note in my car if I should not return just in case my date should turn into the rapist/murderer I made him out to be at first.

I see his driver side door open as I get out of my car. His door shuts and he meets me toward the back of his truck. Before we even say "hello" we hug. He had strong, muscular arms that I fit right into and felt so safe. While he was hugging me, me still being nervous, lose my favorite pearl earring. I hear it drop to the asphalt and my heart sinks. I was embarrassed. He tried to help me find it but I told him it wasn't a big deal.

I jumped in his truck and we headed to a different nearby theater to see a movie before dinner since both of us were so nervous and food was the last thing we wanted. I remember there was a movie about 9/11 playing and he asked if I wanted to see that but I told him I didn't feel like crying in front of him the first date so we settled on the Nickelodeon film: Barnyard.

We got our tickets and went straight to sit down. Once seated, Brandon asked if I wanted popcorn and a drink. I said no but he went to get some anyway. He came back and begged me to eat some. As soon as I popped a piece of popcorn in my mouth, he kissed me. It was a sweet, short peck. My cheeks got so hot and I began to shake. I was so nervous! As soon as he pulled away he said, "You have popcorn breath!" We both laughed and enjoyed the rest of the movie.

After the movie, we headed across the street to Chili's. I got some sort of red sauced pasta. Midway through the date, OF COURSE, I get some on my shirt. It never fails. If I wasn't mortified enough losing my earring, I had to drop food on my chest! Brandon immediately says, "I'll tell you like I tell my mom, You feed those things more than you feed yourself!" I thought I would DIE!

Somehow the conversation turns to his family and talking about whether or not they would like me. He says, "They will love you just as much as I do." Wow. Flustered. This was going fast. I didn't even know if I liked him! This was our first date! He certainly didn't look like I thought he would, judging by his voice. He was handsome but I expected more.

We head to the truck so he could take me back to my car. His phone rings and it was one of his sisters (I don't remember which one, they are twins and sound EXACTLY alike). His volume was up and I heard her say, "What about the other girl?" in which he replies, "I'll tell you later."

Why, hello there first RED FLAG!!!! that I chose to ignore...all because I needed a man in my life and Brandon was the only interested at the time. I thought, "He must be the one! Thank you God!" all the while, forgetting I opened this door all by myself.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Fool me twice, shame on me!

After our first bump, to say that my whole world had been turned upside down would be an understatement. I clung to Brandon's promises that he would never hurt me again. I had started looking for comfort anywhere I could find it and found it mostly in food. I started eating like a grown 300lb man and soon I would find myself knocking on the door to 300lbs myself.

I was unhappy. No matter how many times Brandon promised me he would never cheat on me again, no matter how many times he apologized to me, and no matter how much food I packed into my poor, broken, depressed body, nothing "filled me up." I felt just as empty if I had not eaten one morsel of food and not heard the pleas and apologies coming out of Brandon's mouth.

About 5 months later, my brother started dating Elizabeth. At the time, he was around 20 and she was 16. They had told my parents she was 18 and attending a local community college, all the while she was still in highschool. Something had happened between Elizabeth and Victor. Victor, needing a man to talk to other than Dad, came to Brandon. Somehow in the midst of Brandon helping Victor with his relationship woes, Brandon retrieves Elizabeth's phone number. At first, I wasn't the least bit worried. Yes, I had just found out my husband, not 5 months earlier, had come up with this extravagant lie that devastated me to my core, but surely he wouldn't be dumb enough to start a relationship AGAIN outside of our marriage with Miss. Jailbait!

I was already on guard from the last incident. I couldn't allow myself to hurt like that again. The wounds were still very much fresh. I don't remember exactly when I started noticing things just "weren't right." The relationship with Victor and Elizabeth didn't work out but my 30 year old husband was still talking to this highschooler. I remember confronting Brandon with my insecurities about the situation and he ended up getting mad and blowing me off.

I decided to sit back and observe. My nerves were tore up. What would happen if Brandon did this to me again? What would I do? My brain was in overload and my heart was torn out of my chest. I noticed him getting on the phone while I was "asleep," and his truck being in a different spot when I got home from work, when it wasn't his turn to drive. The harder I pushed for answers, the angrier Brandon got at me.

Victor and Elizabeth got back together for a few days around Valentine's Day. Brandon and I had started going with Victor and Elizabeth to her church. Brandon didn't like church but LOVED Elizabeth's church. I ignored the coincidence. On Valentine's Day, we all went to a japanese restaurant where Brandon knew the owner and we had been to a couple times before. The owner knew me and Brandon well, and as soon as we walked in, the owner gave me a rose. While we were walking to our seats, Brandon went over and got a rose to give to Elizabeth. That hurt me to my core as she sent a victorious smirk my way.

Brandon got off of work everyday around 3 and everyday around that time I had the worst anxiety. I knew in my heart what he was doing. I was friends with Elizabeth on facebook and the more I read her statuses, the more my fears were confirmed. She had done a "survey" or questionaire, where it asks you randoms about your favorite things and your dreams to post for friends to read.

  • Do you have a boyfriend? Yes but she doesn't know

  • What does your boyfriend call you? Baby

  • If you have kids, what do you want to name them? Timothy

  • Dogs or Cats? He has 2 dogs

  • If you change anything what would you change? I wish he would tell her about us. She can't make him happy like I can and I can't wait to spend the rest of my life with him.

and on, and on...The more I read, the more I wanted to scream. Timothy was Brandon's uncles name that had passed away a few years before. Brandon idolized his uncle and I knew if we had kids, that would be the boys name. Brandon and I had 2 dogs at the time. That's what is so funny about immature teens, they can't keep a secret, and the more I sat back and watched, the more she told on them both.

One day I had had enough. I told Brandon, me or her. For me, it was quite simple. He flipped on me and couldn't believe I was making him choose. It was a Friday afternoon and we were on the way to Brandon's family's house. He called Elizabeth and told her, "We can't talk anymore." Her reply, "OK." Brandon looked at me and said, "Happy now?"

I knew better. I used to be a crazy, hormonal teenage girl and had someone told me I couldn't talk to the man I was supposedly in love with, I would have had a FIT! I would've cried and screamed and demanded to know why. I knew they had talked before he called and had this all planned out, yet I played along.

I had contracted the swine flu from a coworker. I came home from my doctors appointment and Brandon put me in bed. That made me so happy and loved. He asked me what I wanted, anything, and he would go get it. I asked for loaded potato soup from O'Charleys 45 minutes away. He left to get it about 4:30. I woke up at 7:30, he still wasn't home. He claimed he was "lost". He came home with no soup and I knew he had been with her the whole time while his wife was confined to the bed. I slipped back into my NyQuil induced coma where I prayed I would stay.

Days passed and I saw a picture on Brandon's work phone of a house in Clayton from Elizabeth and suddenly her fb statuses referred to "waiting on Clayton." When confronted, Brandon said the house was one Elizabeth found for him and I and he didn't know what her statuses were referring to.

Words can't express the pain and agony, the stress this put me through. Before with Lauren, it was just texts, and I don't mean to make it any less of cheating than the others, but I didnt have to worry about him meeting up with her. This time, it was a physical person he was having a relationship with and there was nothing I could physically do to stop it.

I don't know how Brandon could lie to me as much as he had and actually sleep at night and honestly, I sometimes wondered why God had allowed him to lie so much. Not only was he lying to me, he was lying to his family. I had told Brandon's family about what all was happening. I had no one to turn to and I needed help understanding it all. I couldn't tell my family because I know they would hold a grudge and I really wanted my marriage to work. I loved this man even though he continually hurt me. Brandon's sister Ashley confronted Brandon numerous times about Elizabeth, all the while he told her nothing was going on.

One night, Brandon had gone to bed. I had yet to see a phone call or text from Elizabeth show up on our phone bill and I knew something was fishy. I decided to check his work phone. He had cheated on me by phone before so I had every RIGHT to check whatever phone I wanted to of his. I grabbed his work phone and headed to the bathroom. Sure enough, as soon as I turned it on, a text message from E (as it was listed) appeared. She had apparently read my blog about me going to get my hair done that weekend and told him about it. She ended by saying, "I love you so much my wonderful husband."

The night 5 months before flashed before my eyes, only this wasn't a dream. He had done it again. My heart was right when I had begged for it to be wrong. I crumbled. Again, I shook him. I screamed. I cried. I shaked. He pleaded. He apologized.

I headed for the door with my phone but before I got outside, with snot rolling, I choked out, "DID YOU KISS HER?!" He looked down and whispered "yes." As I ran out the door I screamed, "YOU BASTARD!!!"

I got on my phone and immediately called his sister Ashley to confirm our fears. At the same time, Brandon called his mom and walked into the night. Ashley's words to me exactly, "GO SLAP THE SHIT OUT OF HIM!"

I cried and cried sitting outside on the front porch step. I had never dreamed things could get any worse. I felt worthless.Why was he doing this to me? Why wasn't I enough for him. Brandon came back and handed me his phone. His mom was crying on the other end. I was on another planet. What just happened?

Andrea, wake up! Who is this man that calls himself my husband? Who is this broken woman staring back at me? With tear streaken faces, my unfaithful husband and I headed back inside. Physically shaking, about to get sick, somehow I muster the strength to take my wedding rings off of my finger. Brandon's face went white. He asked me what I was doing. Hell, I didn't even know what I was doing but I did know one thing, this man I married was a complete stranger to me.

I opened my mouth and said the only words that could come out as I placed my rings on the coffee table in front of him, "You can give these back to me when you decide you want to be a husband."

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Fool me once, shame on you

A year or so after Brandon and I had been married, we experienced our first bump in the road.

Brandon's parents have a nice time share in Myrtle Beach. Every year, we would go on vacation the week of our anniversary at the end of October, with his parents to their time share. Mostly, the week consisted of Sheila (Brandon's mom) and I shopping at the outlets, sleeping in late, staying in our pj's, laying out by the pool, and of course, eating yummy food. Brandon and his dad would get up every morning, before the sun came up, and headed to a nearby fishing pier, where they would fish from sun up to sun down. Sometimes they would meet us girls for dinner, other times we would bring them something back for them to eat when they returned.

This one year, Brandon's sisters Ashley and Jennifer came, too, as well as Ashley's husband Justin. Midway through the week, I started to get sick. I mean, fever, chills, fatigue...flat out SICK! At the same time, after 2 days of fishing, Brandon's back down to his rear end starting hurting, so bad he was in tears and skipped a trip to the pier. I knew he didn't feel good then. We tried everything. I tried over the counter medications and he tried soaking in the tub, nothing alleviated the pain both of us were in.We were both in bad shape and decided to cut our vacation early so we could both get checked out.

We got home and both made doctors appointments. My appointment was that morning, his was in the afternoon. I ended up having the flu. GREAT! I had not had the flu since middle school!!! I felt like death and I'm pretty sure I looked like it too. I immediately came home and got in bed. Brandon goes and comes home with surgery scheduled! Come to find out, he had an abscess in his rectum (aka pain in the ass - haha had to throw that in there). I already felt like crap and then I get hit with this. He had a doctor appointment the next morning at a specialty doctor then surgery scheduled for the next afternoon. We were both freaking out because we didn't have a lot of money to begin with and having this surgery guaranteed him AT LEAST 8-10 weeks out of work, on top of that, hospital bills.

The next day, Brandon's parents and Jennifer rode up to go with us to the doctor's appointment and to be there at the hospital for  Brandon's surgery. There was about 4 hours between the doctor's appointment and surgery so we decided to head home. When we got home, Sheila went to our bedroom to read a book. All I wanted to do was lay in my bed for a few hours, without any interruptions. I laid down beside her to rest and her phone rings. Now, common sense would say "HEY this girl is sick and her husband is about to have surgery in a couple of hours! Let's take the phone call outside!" Well, common sense didn't show up that day and she had a 30 minute conversation while I was trying to sleep, in my room, on my bed, in my house.

Anyway, that night Brandon had surgery, we came home, and I stayed home with him the next day just to make sure he was ok. He was in a lot of pain so I was there for him when he needed help getting anything.

Time went on, I went to work, Brandon stayed at home, and somehow, by the grace of God, with one income, a $500 truck payment, $300 boat payment, $200 school loan payment, and other bills + food, we made it.

One night while Brandon was still out of work, he had gone to bed early. This wasn't out of the ordinary. I am a night owl, he is an early riser. I had gone in the bedroom where he was sleeping and noticed his cellphone laying on the bed. We didn't have a house phone so if I needed to get in touch with him during the day, he needed his cellphone charged. His charger was in the kitchen, so I picked up his phone to take it to be plugged in.

I happened to glance down at his phone and noticed there was a text from "mcgreg." I immediately assumed it was a fishing buddy or work friend so I looked at it. Nothing had prepared me for what I was about to discover that night.

The text read, "You must have fallen asleep." Well...he did so I texted back, "this is Brandon's wife, he did fall asleep, I will let him know you texted him when he wakes up." I get a text back almost immediately, "say what?" I wrote, "this is his wife, who is this?"

By this time, I knew something was wrong. My heart was beating very fast. I could feel my chest pounding through my shirt. It was hard to swallow and all of a sudden the crisp, cool night became humid and sweltering. The text came back, "Wake that sorry SOB up and ask him who Lauren is."

I shook Brandon. I couldn't stop shaking him. I was screaming. Not angry screams, screams of disparity. The room was closing in. This. was. not. happening to me! Men cheated on their wives everyday but I did NOT marry a cheater!

Lauren ends up calling his cellphone and I answer. She is so apologetic. She is telling me she had no idea he was married. I am shaking, convulsively. I surely wasn't cold. I was in shock. My ears were full of silence and this strangers voice.

Brandon had portrayed himself as being in a hospital in Roxboro (near where he is from). He had been in a coma with his sister, Jennifer, by his side. He professed his love for Lauren, to Jennifer, who had been texting with Lauren, and expressed his hopes of one day, spending the rest of their lives together. He told her he wanted to be the father of her children. He told her he loved her.

By this time, I was gagging. Between Lauren telling me everything in one ear and Brandon pleading in another, I was overwhelmed to say the least. This poor girl had no reason to lie to me. She had been played. We both had been played.

I hung up the phone and didn't know what to do. I cried. I screamed. I believed his apologies. I believed he wouldn't do this to me again. I forgave him. I stayed....all when I should have ran.

RAW= from me

I'm taking a little break from the story and I just want to write to you all about how writing my story out for the world to see, being so open and vulnerable with my feelings, is affecting me.

**My blog is a raw, judge free zone. It's ok if you think my feelings are wrong. It's ok if you dont agree with me, but please..PLEASE refrain from writing a comment below that 1-calls me out or 2-makes you seem better than me. This will result in unnecessary conflict. Please be courteous.

-There isn't a day that goes by that I don't think about being married to Brandon and what happened between us. I wouldnt take $100 million dollars to have him and the relationship between us back.

-The human part in me wants him to suffer. I want him to suffer the way he made me suffer. I want him to worry. I want him to experience pain, loss and abandonment the way I had to experience it. I want some girl (or the whore that he is with) to screw him over so bad that he hits rock bottom and has no one to turn to.

-It cracks me up that Brandon thinks he has everyone fooled. "We are just friends but I'm buying a house and we are going to live together, with her kid, OH and another couple with their 2 kids!!! But no, there isnt anything going on but I cant tell you what the future holds either" really?

-I often worry about God's Will...I had a dream last night. I had gone to Brandon's Aunts house for Thanksgiving to say hello. His mom was there and gave me the cold shoulder when I first got there. After chatting a while about how I was doing and showing them my new car, I was asked to stay to eat Thanksgiving dinner. I told them I would stay if Brandon didn't show up because I wouldnt want things weird for anyone but if he didn't, then I would be happy to stay. I remember Brandon showing up for a few minutes until he saw me there, then he left. I ended up staying and eating. There was a man at the food table. I had never seen him before. He was all alone. He looked up at me and said, "Andrea, it was God's will for Brandon to leave you."

====I woke up after that. It was so real to me. Who knows, it may have been God telling me, "Andrea, its ok!" or it may have been me saying, "Andrea, its going to be ok!" either way, I woke up this morning with a little more peace in my heart.

-I have talked to someone that reads my blog that appreciates my "realness." I think God put me through this storm for a reason and if its to help just ONE person, it will be worth it. No ones situation is the exact same and times can be really lonely and feel like you are walking in the dark trying to find your way out. I said before, the LAST thing I'm going to do on my blog is pretend like I have the perfect life. I'm not trying to be "negative nancy," but you know, sometimes things arent always peachy!

-I will NEVER take a healthy relationship for granted for as long as I live!

- I file for divorce in 1 and good news! my name will be changed back to my maiden name!!! Please everyone say a prayer for me that things go smoothly! I'm paying EVERYTHING and all he has to do is sign the papers. Please pray he cooperates.

I may write more to the story later on today...until then!