VI: The Roommate

Despite our instant connection, we didn’t actually have much in common, so Keith ingeniously orchestrated a bond way more powerful than having the same interests: he made sure that we hated the same people.

When he brought his compelling narrative of victimization to the table, he found in me an immediate ally and our shared pursuit of slaying his dragons was utterly unifying.

In each of his dramas–roommate, divorce, custody–he cast himself as either the sweet fool (naive, well-meaning and easily-manipulated) or the long suffering nice guy (beaten down, emasculated and powerless). It was a winning act.

Before the real circus, the first person we bonded over– and eventually against– was his 22-year-old female roommate. We had barely started dating when their living situation turned into a nightmare.

He told me that she–“Hannah”– had unrequited feelings for him and had become erratic and inconsolable now that he was dating someone. Every day was hysteria, he said: suicide threats, begging him to love her and crawling into his bed naked while he was asleep.

Wow! That did sound like a total nightmare.

FOR HER.

I had once been a 22-year-old girl, so my experience and common sense (which would soon fail me spectacularly, but alas…) told me that there there was no way she would behave that way without some encouragement from him causing confusion as to the nature of their relationship.

My suspicion was soon confirmed: he’d known she had feelings for him before he agreed to live with her and he’d allowed her to share his bed in the past… because they’d been fucking!

What fresh Hell was this? He’d been playing house and having sex with her when he didn’t return her feelings? “But only a couple times when I was really drunk!” 

Don’t they humanely euthanize men like this in more civilized countries?

He wouldn’t accept any wrongdoing and painted her as obsessed, crazy and unstable– the misogyny hat trick. If he hadn’t been clear enough with boundaries, he said, it was only because he didn’t want to hurt her. His crime was being too nice.

I wouldn’t relent and after a couple days of coming to Jesus, he finally understood (well, pretended to) that–intentions aside– he had mislead and been destructive to her. He was very sorry.

After asking for my advice on the proper resolution, he agreed to talk to her about moving out. I kept my expectations low and decided that if she stayed, I’d stop seeing him.

Just two days later, though, Hannah had not just moved out, she’d left the state.

I was weirdly impressed. I didn’t expect something so drastic and immediate, but I was glad he’d been proactive.

I asked how the whole thing went down and he told me a long story, but all I remember, because it struck me as glaringly fucking false, was the detail that she’d punched him in the face five times when he’d asked her to leave. FIVE TIMES!

I threw him a lifeline and asked if maybe he really meant slapped or smacked or…something? Would he like to pull himself out of this lie? No thank you! He was committed to five face punches.

There was so much else happening that eventually I just let it go.

He continued to communicate with Hannah after she left. He described the texting as always initiated by her, negative, and only to tie up loose ends (left behind items, etc.), but I could tell he liked her attention, even if it was negative.

I didn’t approve, but it didn’t go on long, so my inner jealous bitch was calmed.

A while after she left town, though, she came back for a weekend and they’d arranged–without my knowledge–for her to come by the bar we were at to retrieve an heirloom she’d left behind at their apartment.

When he finally told me this was happening, he acted very put out and like he expected heavy drama when he was face-to-face with her. But when she arrived he couldn’t hide his enthusiasm to see her.

I was officially off #teamHannah.

It wasn’t her fault, but I was done with whatever fucked up dynamic they had, blocked her from my social media and thought mean thoughts about her.

When Keith came back inside after the heirloom exchange, I confronted him about this enthusiasm and–too drunk to be quick on his feet– he did what I soon learned he did anytime he felt cornered by a lie– he went for the nuclear lie:

He could never be enthusiastic to see her because even though she had once been a good friend, *actual liquid crocodile tears forming in his eyes* the only reason they’d ever had sex is because she’d waited until he passed out drunk and then RAPED HIM. And how could he be happy to see his rapist?! *tears*

(I’ll pause a moment while you digest that...)

(…)

(…)

I was aghast. What the fuck was happening?!? Unlike some of his questionable stories, I knew with certainty that this was a lie. And it was a disgusting one.

I asked him why he was saying such a thing? Did he appreciate the weight of that word? Why was he lying?

He insisted that it was true. He feigned insult that I didn’t believe him.

I was repulsed.

It ruined the rest of that night and many other nights throughout the course of our relationship as the lie that would never die.

That night was it for the former roommate for a while, but we’ll meet her next when Keith ruins my birthday.

Next: Love Under the Big Top: the ex and the kids

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