Monica Bielanko
That's What She Said
Just A Junk Drawer Dream
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The Guy With The Money


Ask no questions he'll tell you no lies
Never think you come before his 'small fries'
Don't believe when he says he was out with the guys
Keep to a minimum the who, what, when, where and why's
And be ever alert for private eyes!
These five rules will keep you healthy and wise..
-Monica Butler 1997

When my name was Monica Butler I dated a married man for nearly three years. Oh sure he was getting a divorce. That's what he said anyway - for three years. Like violent waves imperceptibly desintegrating a shoreline, over time his lies (or omissions of truth, as he called them) eroded my feelings for him until there was nothing left save for a slight tugging at my heart strings when I saw a white (he would say 'cream' and really, that's a red flag, ain't it?) Jaguar (the car not the animal) or heard Sinatra.

Ryan was 22 years my senior. When I turned 22 he was 44. Ryan liked money. Correction: he liked the power his money gave him. He liked to use his power and money against me. His cologne reeked of money. He had a second home in The Hamptons of L.A. - Palm Springs. He wore expensive suits. His shoes screamed American Express Platinum. Buttery leather loafers (with tassels! Red flag #2) that he maintained with clunky wooden shoe trees. He trimmed the blossoming silver from his dark hair twice a month and was ALWAYS on his cell as he tooled around the city in his sleek Jaguar or strode importantly to and from big business.

We met when he and his wife hired me to babysit his youngest child. 'The Nanny' she liked to call me. As if that elevated her status to supa-star. His wife; more concerned with keeping up with the Jones' than with her husband's extra-curricular activities. Prone to braying uncomfortable observations ("Monica, you bleached your hair.. the color is interesting) and forever snarking behind neighbor's backs (Isn't Paula hideously skinny/Well, hellooooo Paula you look faaabulous!) She was not likable. She spent her mornings in the gym honing her physique while I looked after her son. She then spent afternoons doing her hair and make-up as her son watched animated videos.

So there I was... 19, burdened with a heavy duty father complex that manifested itself in my dating Ryan. It sounds terrible. It was. In my defense, I quit the job working for his wife as soon as I could. But there was a period where I babysat her son by day and rendezvoused with her husband by night. I know. Scandalous. I look back now and wonder where my brain was... the same question I'm sure my friends and family asked themselves throughout the years I dated Ryan.

Initially I was in awe of the money he tossed around like P-Diddy, the ritzy trips on which he'd take me. I felt light years beyond that sad girl who grew up in Orem, had never tried sushi, never been on vacation, never had nice things. Ryan took care of me, helped me buy a car, condo, clothes... he helped buy me the charade of self-esteem... I say charade because secretly I hated myself for being with him.

I spent the first three years of my twenties not chugging beer at Frat parties although there was plenty of running to the bathroom - not to vomit - it was a vengeful case of diarrhea, stress clenching my stomach into a fist and then releasing at the most inopportune moments. I was sick to my stomach with the fear of being found out.
"I'm getting a divorce. It's just tricky. There's A LOT of money involved." I respected Ryan when he unpacked the list of Reasons Why I Am Not Divorced Yet from the piles of baggage he had dragged into our 'relationship'. At the tippy top of the list was concern for his children's well-being. He was a teriffic father and what girl can't respect that?
"Why aren't you divorced yet?" I'd whine.
"What? You want me to destroy my children's lives? You don't care about their feelings?" He'd list the reasons why not in verbal bullet points... bullets pointed at my heart.

But when Thanksgiving approached, gave me the bird (and I ain't talkin' turkey) and ambled by whilst Ryan luxuriated at his Palm Springs condo with the wife and kids.. I grew concerned. Then Christmas came....
"I can't move out now. It's Christmas for God's sake."
And went...

Soon an entire year from the prime of my young life had slipped through my grasping fingers. And Ryan still lived at home!

Eventually I became disillusioned with life and love... as is evidenced by a journal entry in 1997:

It's difficult to relay effectively with words. I'm not rooting for them to divorce. I love that family dearly. I just want what's best. And I want to know. It's been way to long. I don't want to wake up and be one of those stupid bimbos who dates married guys who claim they are leaving their wive's... Thing is, if he truly wanted a divorce he could just tell her it's over and he wouldn't have to lie and sneak around. But he continues this goddamn charade... This is bullshit. As I write it down it becomes clear and I feel like a gullible ass. We shall soon see."

Who is that girl? A sad, lost soul who was sorely lacking a father figure during the formative years. She latched on to any man who could provide stability. Despite making me hate myself, Ryan made me feel safe and at the time stability and safety were more important than whether or not I liked myself.

Ultimately he divorced, built a house for us, bought a diamond, began discussing marriage. Ah, the siren song of stability.. I would never use food stamps, never be poor, never have to worry about money again. Everything I'd wanted for my future.

But it was wrong. He was wrong. Despite his offers of a "better life" I disentangled my thrashing legs from his seaweed clutches and kicked like hell, made for the surface as if my life depended on it. Because it did. Who would I be had I relinquished control? Let go of myself... Acquiesced to the man with the money.

I wouldn't be the girl slashing her way through life and love.. living in Brooklyn, married to The Surge..

Reader Comments (14)

I recently wrote about a big mistake in my life too. We've all had moments when we were less than stellar. It becomes part of our road, and at the very least, we see the other end and know how valuable "kicking like hell for the surface" really is to our life.
August 8, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterSurrenderDorothy
I read your previous story about the night you finally ended it with Ryan. Seems as though this was one of the defining experiences of your life. You write it well.
August 8, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterLiz
A friend of mine dated a married man for FIVE years. It totally destroyed her and he never left his wife. In fact, he's still with his wife, probably dating some new younger girl on the side.
August 8, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterSera
I'm always impressed by your honesty. What a tough, confusing situation to have gone through. Although I can't say that I can be entirely sympathetic as my Dad left my Mom for a younger woman, although it is interesting to get a different perspective.
August 8, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterMichelle
I've just discovered you and I am completely hooked! When's the book out?
August 8, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterJones
I love the name SurrenderDorothy, by the way!
August 8, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterJones
Yet another great story! I'm with Jones, when is your book coming out??
August 8, 2006 | Unregistered Commenterdeb
Book please.
August 8, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterKaren
My dear, darling female friend is still dating her married man. As long as I've been married, 7 years. She's not a kid, she's in her thirties, and pregnant via in vitro because she wants kids and he's not leaving his wife. Yet. He says. I just try to listen and not to judge.
August 8, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterEDW
Good for you for having the brains and balls to escape. And good for you for having the balls to post something like this. I know alot of people can relate, myself included. You are a smart girl and I really enjoy your blog!
August 9, 2006 | Unregistered Commenterkaren h
wow. that was really good.

(and juicy ;-)

August 9, 2006 | Unregistered Commenterrosie
Do you ever worry your ex will find this website? He doesn't sound like the kind of guy who would take kindly to you airing his dirty laundry? Good story though.
August 9, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterJib
You had a long term sexual relationship with a married man with a kid. Starting when you were 19 years old and continuing for over 3 years. You were intentionally committing adultery with him.This scumbag (probably an airline pilot),who got the best of you in the prime of your physical youth. And he was 22 years older than you.

You did this with full and direct knowledge, every, single, time, for 3 years. That also means you were cheating on every guy you were with in the meantime and putting their personal well being, health and lives at risk.

I have no respect for you.
September 29, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterMichael

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