Michael Leonard – Kalamazoo, Michigan Men

The above photo was taken (by me) during a vacation that Michael Leonard and I took to Michigan’s UP during our 3-year-long relationship. I met Michael on a dating site in September, 2012 where he presented himself as available. We dated for a few months before sleeping together. Eventually he was spending nights & weekends with me and insisting on exclusivity. I knew his home life was complicated — he lived communally in a huge house with his ex (in a separate room, he said), his two children, his sister- and brother-in-law and their three children. My home life was likewise complicated with an ASD daughter and an independence that I cherished. Although I met his work peers, his children, his parents and he met all of mine, I did not push for marriage or to live together. It just wasn’t right for my own daughter and circumstances and, having divorced 5 years prior, I was enjoying my own space. Michael and I went many places together (Philadelphia, Las Vegas, Atlantic City, Florida, Chicago, concerts, football games) and shared about 100 texts per day, in addition to many phone calls. We were openly together — him kissing me in the grocery store, holding my hand all around town, winning a couple’s Halloween costume contest in Chicago. People commented on how happy we seemed. He was never my secret but I found out recently that I was his. The entire time I was falling in love with him, going on road trips with him, planning a future with him, he was married. Not only was he married, she had no idea about me. Although he told me that she was an emotionally fragile person who was never interested in a physical relationship or a serious conversation, I assumed that — given their living arrangements and his ability to spend 2-3 evenings a week with me, she knew he’d moved on. Even if she”couldn’t deal with it” as he said, how did she not know for THREE YEARS that her”husband” was in a relationship with another woman? (I’m still not sure that they are officially married. There are no records, they have different last names, and they aren’t on social media to confirm it. Michael would not answer me when I asked him in February.) || Prior to meeting me, Michael had at least four relationships with other women, spanning the course of 10, or more, years. When I briefly broke up with him in August, 2014, Michael immediately joined dating web sites. This is not the behavior of a married man, but indicative of a single man. He shared his”exit plan” with me: move out of the communal home when his youngest went to college. His relationship with his ex was strictly pragmatic, he claimed, and he didn’t want to”shatter his kids’ world” so he stayed in the very large home he shared with extended family. She found out when she finally looked at his phone and saw our texts confirming our lunch plans for that day. I was shocked when she replied to me, paraphrasing,”this is Michael’s wife and partner of 33 years. You are a homewrecking whore. You knew he was married!” I didn’t know. I was crushed, devastated, angry, lost and have never felt so betrayed or ashamed in my life. I’m not here to shame her, but I do believe she at least deserves the truth so she can decide what kind of man she wants to love. Although I do think that she was negligent and willfully blind to his activities for 3 years (more if you include the others), I feel sorry for her. I hate that I hurt someone I do not know. But…there is a part of me that wants to make HIM hurt. For his lies. For his duplicity. I loved him. I loved him hard. And it was all a lie. Now I am the one alone and can only imagine him with his”happy family,” continuing to live the lies he tells so well. It makes me sick to my stomach. One of the hardest things for me to deal with was the lie he told her when she found out. He told her that he’d only known me for a year, met at work, and that we’d”hooked up” half-a-dozen times. He promised her that he would never correspond with me again. He threw EVERYTHING we shared together away and told me that he had been”faking it” for three years. In one day, he denounced me, our friendship, our love. As easy as snapping his fingers. Does that make him a sociopath or a narcissist? Or maybe an asshole? Probably just an asshole. Would I take him back? Never. In fact, there is no way for him to even reach me. Should I be posted here? I don’t think that I should, but like many”other women” who find themselves here, there would be nothing stopping her. I believed his lies, just like she did. I loved him, just like she does. I thought we were in an exclusive, loving relationship, just like she did. The common denominator in this and in many cases is the lying, cheating man who didn’t hesitate to break a good woman’s heart. BTW: Michael used that (unblurred) photo in a holiday card he made with a collage of his family. The photo that I took.”Look, you’re a part of my holiday card!” He said. SICK! Diabolical! That was a cruel and twisted thing to do to both women he supposedly loved.

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