Tracee was 22 when she met Matt. Her best friend was dating his friend, so they saw each other at parties. "We danced all the time, but I always declined his invitations to date because I was living with someone. I was attracted to him, but I thought he was a bit too old for me. He was 35."
Still, a few years later, they started to date and got married. This was despite the fact that many, many red flags were waving right in Tracee's face.
"Before we got married, we had an argument because I went out with my best friend. He couldn't understand why I was going. He could go out with his friends, but he felt I should be home even though we weren't living together.
"Once, we went to a restaurant and the waiter thanked me for my order. Matt asked me why I was smiling at the waiter. I told him I'm always friendly to people handling my food. He got loud and accused me of wanting to sleep with the waiter.
"He never wanted me to spend time with my friends and family. He tried to isolate me. On the day before the wedding, he insisted that I stay with him because he was worried that my friends would throw me a bachelorette party.
"The signs were all there, but I ignored them because I thought I was in love."
Tracee says she even ignored her mother, who was distrustful of Matt from the beginning. "She told me that he would get worse if I married him."
And he did.
They were only married a year when they went to visit Matt's older sister who lived in another state, a three-hour drive from their home. His nieces and nephews were Tracee's age, and they all got along.
After dinner, Matt started drinking while the family played dominoes. "Apparently, one of our nephews was too friendly with me for his taste. He got up in the middle of the game and started calling me names and accusing me of wanting to cheat with his nephew. He took my car keys and cellphone and threw them in the backyard.
"It was 2 a.m., so it took our nephews awhile to find them. When they found my keys, I left my drunken husband and drove home at 3 a.m. by myself."
Another time, Matt called Tracee at work because he couldn't account for two pairs of her underwear. "I thought he was joking. I laughed and told him I was busy. I hung up, and he called right back, yelling and saying I must have left the underwear at another man's house. I hung up on him again, and he continued to call. My co-workers told him I wasn't available. The argument continued when I got home that night."
Matt even thought Tracee was cheating on him at church. One week, she stayed after the service to speak to a few people. The following Sunday, Matt went to church with her. After the service, she mentioned to one of the associate pastors that she wanted to start volunteering.
"When we got to the car, Matt accused me of cheating with him and said that was why I didn't come home the previous week as soon as the service was over."
Next, Tracee is pregnant.
Have you ever been involved with a jealous partner? Send your tale, along with your questions, problems and rants to [email protected] And check out my e-books, "Dear Cheryl: Advice From Tales From the Front" and "I'll Call You. Not."
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