There are many stories that illustrate just how dumb I used to be, but this one is the worst.
I used to be with Douchebag on and off for about two years. He was always borrowing money off me, asking me to buy him stuff, insisting that I give him rides, etc. My close friends kept telling me that he was just using me and that I needed to stop seeing him completely, but I didn’t listen. He eventually became abusive, physically and emotionally, and somehow I still never clued in that this wasn’t normal.
I guess hindsight is 20/20, but I don’t know how I never saw that he just liked my money- if I wasn’t paying or driving him somewhere, he ignored me completely, even forcibly kicked me out. When I’d get upset and say it was done, he’d call me and say sweetly that he was sorry and he would never do it again. My heart would melt, I’d go over there, and the whole cycle would resume a couple of days later. Douchebag just kept me dangling until I had something he wanted or a lot of cash, and then he’d bully me or coerce me into “lending” him money for drugs or alcohol.
All of my friends from that group were from families with low socioeconomic status, and none of them had jobs- so when I got credit card #1 in September of 2010, he suddenly came down with a fresh interest in me.
This next part is painful to talk about, because I was SERIOUSLY stupid. Please keep in mind that this is 19-year-old Meghan we’re talking about, not 21-year-old Meghan. I’ll just cut down to the basics.
- Douchebag had an Xbox.
- Douchebag had no points on his Xbox account.
- Douchebag asked if I could set up my credit card on his Xbox so we could rent and watch a movie.
- I wasn’t sure, and said no at first.
- Douchebag promised to only use it when I said it was okay.
I relented, because I loved him and he loved me so nothing bad could happen, right?
Within two weeks, my card was maxed out. I had had a balance of $700, and he spent $250. In two weeks. On video games.
At first I thought it was a mistake. There were so many charges, but they were all so close together that they hadn’t posted yet. It was only reflected in my available balance. I called the credit card company, and they told me they had at least 12 charges coming in from Microsoft. I asked if they could block incoming charges, they said no; all they could do would be to cancel that card. They said that unless I charged him with fraud, they couldn’t do much because I had allowed him to make one authorized charge while I was there. I yelled at him, but all he did was tell me I was stupid for trusting him and that it was a lesson learned, because he wasn’t paying it back. Then, he slammed the door on my face.
And guess what? I never charged Douchebag. I never sued him. In fact, I stayed with him, spending at least another $2000 on him, being abused continually, for another 6 months. I didn’t break that bad habit until Jay came along in April of 2011. For those who remember Jay, although he didn’t have money either, he at least didn’t see me as a walking ATM.
The funny thing is that I still talk to Douchebag now and then, even hang out from time to time (NEVER alone though, with mutual guy friends), and he’s doing better for himself. He moved, he’s working, and I actually got a full-fledged apology from him for everything he put me through, openly admitting to completely regretting treating me so terribly for so long. I’ll never see the money he owes me, and I’m resigned to that. For someone who will be working at minimum wage for the rest of his life, that’s a lot of cash. I’d rather keep my sanity and live my life as well as I can, instead of dwelling on the past.
Most people who know this story don’t understand why I forgave him and am still on good terms with him, but it’s actually quite simple. I’m a believer in fate. Everything happens for a reason, whether we realize it or not. Having to deal with that has made me the person I am today, and has created someone who is resilient, accomplished, and selfish for the right reasons. Frankly, I know this guy is going to have a miserable life just by looking at him. Anything I could do won’t change that. So I go on with my own life, and continue to beat my own expectations over and over again.
What did I learn from this? Never let ANYONE touch my credit cards, stand up for my rights, and don’t expect someone else to save me from myself- no one cares about me more than me.
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11 thoughts on “<span class="entry-title-primary">Internalized misogyny: my ex used his Xbox to steal all my money—and I still talk to him</span> <span class="entry-subtitle">Everything happens for a reason. Dealing with him has made me the resilient and accomplished person I am today.</span>”
This definitely hits a few buttons. I had 2 exes that were similarly abusive in different ways. One of them asked for my credit card information so that he could buy more than his maximum for concert tickets so he could turn around and scalp them. It was tough, but I’m so glad I said no to him. I also agree with Budget & The Beach, if he was truely sorry he would at least try to slowly pay you back.
Wow, the things we do for love. I know you only told us the condensed version but for whatever reason you did what you did. The best part of it all is that you learned from your mistakes. Posting this will hopefully help another person who might be in a relationship that is toxic and needs to get out. Thanks for sharing. MR.CBB
Ouch, that sucks. I had an ex who put me through some similar stuff, though not on nearly the same scale. He’s changed, and he’s forgiven. If people have a sincere apology for me I usually forgive them, but don’t forget the lesson I learned from what happened.
That’s how I see it as well- there’s no use holding on to the negative.
OMG. *HUGS*. That is painful, and must be really hard to look back on. To be honest, I was in a very similar relationship at a young age for 3 years.. from 14-17. I was so lucky to get away from him because I moved away to college, but I was in an abusive relationship too. First emotionally then physically. My situation was a bit opposite though, and he would buy me everything. He also came from a low-income background and thought spending all of his money (that he earned with a min wage job) on me would make me stay with him. I was blinded and thought that it was “love” but money does not equal love.
I am glad you are a better person now and can talk about it. That guy is a total douche with a capital D.
For me I thought that if I could give him everything, he’d love me and want to be with me. God knows how that works- I have since learned that throwing money around causes problems rather than fixing them.
I’m sorry to hear you went through this situation too, it seriously sucks. Good thing for college! Going away for school didn’t work for me though, I just ended up moving back to be with him -_- I was such a moron, every time I think about that period of my life I feel like smashing my head against a wall.
I know that feeling well. I just want to curl up in a ball and slap my former self for being so stupid. But I’m sure everyone lives through mistakes and the important thing is we are past that now! =) I am very happy that we are both detached from these people.
I have trouble cutting people out of my life so I can sort of understand why you are still in contact with DB. I have a friend who leached a good chunk of change off of me because she knew I was “in love” with her. Lesson learned. The only problem for me now is that I have a pretty much a policy of never loaning money to anyone. If they need the money I will just gift it to them, since I know there is a really good chance I’ll never see it again
That’s how I deal with people asking for money now. I just ask myself if its a worthy cause and if I could afford never being paid back. If yes, whatever, I give it but don’t expect it back. If it comes back, it’s like found money. Otherwise, no.
Hey we’ve all done something stupid with our finances…let’s just not call it stupid and call it a “growth experience.” But seriously I’m happy that you are out of an abusive relationship. And quite frankly, if he was REALLY sorry he would pay you back…even if it was a little at a time. But you’re right in that it’s best to move on and forgive and know that you are in a better place.
My worst mistake? I can’t recall HUGE ones, mainly nickel and diming myself to death which adds up over time. And even as recently as early this year I went to NY AND Hawaii. I had no business doing that.
Technically, he should start giving me some money, definitely- I just don’t want to waste the energy, haha. He’d argue over it for months, finally agree, give me $20, and think we’re even. It was an expensive mistake, but one that I guess I had to make.
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