Episode 9

Eve’s Relationship Testimony With Franklin Veaux

Interviewed by Kali Tal on October 26 and November 2, 2019. Scroll down for audio.

MARCH 17, 2018

Eve: That was Friday. And then early Saturday morning, I had a text message from Franklin saying, “I’m going back to Portland on Monday.”

And I said, “Okay, are you going back to stay, or are you going back for a visit?”

And his response was, “Well, I’m going to continue to work on my permanent residency, but I’m going to stay in Portland until that comes through.”

Now, of course, permanent residency at that point could—we still didn’t know, but was likely to take years. So he was effectively moving back to Portland permanently. That was how I understood that text message. So I just said, “Okay.” I just accepted that.

And I knew—when I’d asked him to move out, I think I’d figured there was probably a, I don’t know, 75% chance that that’s what he’d do. I wanted him to stay, and live on his own, And for us to work things out. But I knew that that was a long shot in a lot of ways.

That day I hung out with another friend of mine who was also a friend of Franklin’s, and was in our gaming group. And I was like, “I really want to see him before he goes. But I’m really scared to.” And he’s like, “I can go over with you.”

So I messaged Franklin, and I said, “Our friend has offered to bring me by the house tomorrow, and to just sit together and connect for a little while before you go. And we don’t have to talk about anything or process. It would just be nice to have a moment of positive connection before you leave.”

And his response was, “I don’t think that would be a good idea.” So, that was that.

And then Chelsey—who considered him a friend—she went over that night to check in on him and make sure he was okay. And I remember, I did say to all of our friends, “I don’t want anyone to cut Franklin off. I don’t want anyone to take sides. I want him to have support. I want him to have friends. Can people make sure—” And I know that multiple people reached out to him to let him know that they were there for him, and that they would spend time with him if he needed support, or whatever.

So Chelsey went by. And later, she was like, “He said some things that were really alarming.” She didn’t tell me what they were, but she implied that it like, wasn’t safe for me to talk to him. I did say that I didn’t feel safe talking to him one on one, directly. And so Chelsey agreed to be an intermediary for us.

MARCH 19–31, 2018

And then Monday I went back to my place after he had left. And he had cleared out like everything—I mean, his stuff was all in his office. He still had all his stuff there. But everything was out of my room. Everything was out of the shared space that he’d been in, he was just poof! gone.

And it took me about another week before I was even able to sleep in the house. A friend of mine actually flew out to visit me and helped me repaint the room. I replaced my bedding. Got new furniture. Couldn’t be in the room the way it had been, because it was too associated with him. And once the room was like fully redone, I was able to start sleeping there. Stayed at my friend’s house for another week. Then I started staying in my house, but sleeping in the living room. And then finally I was able to move into my room.

That’s when the aftermath of the relationship started.

Amber did get back in touch with me a few days later just to explain to me that, for physical reasons, she couldn’t manage large amounts of stress. So she needed to back away from the conversation. A week or two after that she did get back in touch and wanted to be updated.

APRIL 2018

And then, I remember, he came in early April. He and Vera came up to my house to get his things. And my mother agreed to be at the house while he was there. And he came inside to visit Stella. Later I asked my mother—‘cause I was worried about him, right? I knew that no-contact was necessary, but it was so hard. And it was so hard cause there was so much conflict. And yet I loved him. And you know, I couldn’t accept that things were this bad. And yet part of me knew. And like, I kept—every time I started to doubt or be like, “maybe we can talk it through,” my mind would go back to that moment in the therapy session. I’d be like, NO. Like, there was no way. That became like, the marker. Like there was no way around that. He was lying, and he was manipulating, and he was trying to get our counsellor on side to manage me. And that was the big NO that marked that. But it was so awful. 

And I remember asking my mom afterwards, “How did he seem?” And she was like, “He seemed subdued. Vera volunteered that he was having a really rough time. After he visited Stella, he ran out of the house and it looked like he was fighting back tears.” And I just like—I collapsed when I read that. I just like—the fucked up thing is still, the times that really get me are when I think about like, his suffering, and what he was going through. And I wanted so badly to be able to do something about that. And I just, I knew that I couldn’t.

And I don’t know if this happened before or after that visit to my house. But sometime in there, Amber did write to him and Vera and Amy, and laid down a boundary about not being Franklin’s partner and not being part of their polycule, and explicitly requested that Franklin not contact her again. And she did that because of him continuing to call her a partner for two years after she made clear that they weren’t.

And I’ll be honest. I was a little bit angry at her for doing that. And she did it without telling me that she was going to, or talking to me. And I’m like, things are so bad between him and I right now, and we are still in the process of disentangling, and this is going to amplify that conflict so much. I really wish she’d waited, you know? But I mean, it wasn’t my decision, and I understood why she needed to do it. I was just like—oh man, I wish she’d waited. But I was so grateful to her as well for—she saved my life. She really saved my life. Like if she hadn’t talked to me that week, I might have still been vulnerable to his manipulation in that session. And if I’d gone back to him, I think I would have ended up killing myself. So I couldn’t, I mean, I was—I say I was angry. I was frustrated. It was just like, “Oh, oh man, why did you do that then?” But I couldn’t really be angry, ‘cause I was like, well, she took care of me. I can’t blame her for taking care of herself.

But that happened. And so that was when the narrative started about how I was turning people against him and isolating him from his community, and doing a smear campaign and all this stuff.

I also—I was really torn up about the fact that we weren’t communicating. And I still believed at some level—it’s so, it’s like, I was there in that counselling session when he lied. He did that. But yet on some level, I still believed that there was someone who could get through to him, or someone who could somehow help us communicate. And so I remember I reached out to a friend of his, who he had been working on a book with, who I had met once or twice. And he had kept telling me over and over again, “Oh, she really, really likes you.” And so I’m like, oh, well, she really, really likes me. They’re friends, she seems to have good values. Maybe she can help. Maybe she’s someone who can mediate in the situation.

So I reached out to her on Facebook. And I just was like, “Hey, can I talk to you about Franklin?” And I did say, “I’d prefer if you didn’t mention to Franklin that I wrote to you.” And the next thing I know, she’s blocked me. So—and then Franklin sent a message to Chelsey sort of indicating that he knew that I had reached out to her.

And the other person I talked to was a guy in our polycule, Amy’s other partner, other long-term partner at the time. He was someone who had always been really kind to me. And there was sort of this thing going on with me, where I was starting to break down the walls of shame around what had happened, and really internalize that it wasn’t actually my fault. And I was seeing how I had isolated myself from my polycule by not reaching out to anyone and not being willing to talk to anyone about what was happening. And I was like, maybe I should not be doing that.

And also, Franklin and I at that point weren’t formally broken up. It was like, we were in this weird limbo of, he’s moved out and we’re not really talking, but we hadn’t actually like had a conversation like, that we’re broken up. So it was very—it was, I mean, looking back now, because that’s what happened, it seems clear that we were not going to reconcile or end up together. But at the time it still felt limbo-ey. That we didn’t exactly know what was gonna happen. So, I wasn’t sure if that was my polycule still, or not.

So I reached out to this guy, and I was like, “Hey, I’d really like to talk to you about what’s going on with Franklin.” And to me, like, that was a leap of faith of the same kind that I took with Amber. So I’m going to try trusting someone and see what happens. And so he said, “Yes, I’d love to talk.” He invited me to say as much as I wanted to say. He said, “It might take me awhile to get back to you, ‘cause I’m really busy, but please keep…” But I just sort of word-vomited. I was just like, I just need to talk about it, to process it. And I was like, trying to figure out what the fuck had just happened to me. So I was just like word vomiting. And he’d pop in, and he’d be like, “I really appreciate hearing all this! Please keep going.”

So after Franklin left Vancouver, I was like, well, he’s not living here anymore. Definitely not working. I don’t want to continue to give him a paycheque. And I don’t really see why I should be.1 And so I called the immigration lawyer who had been working with us—’cause I didn’t want to jeopardize his visa, either. So I was like, “What can I do? This is a really high-conflict situation. I don’t want to do anything right now that’s permanent that we can’t undo.” So I talked to the immigration lawyer, and he’s like, “You can put him on a leave of absence. It will not affect his visa. This kinda thing happens all the time. People need to leave and go back home to deal with stuff.”

And then so, so I wrote to him, and I put him on a leave of absence. And I said, “I understand that you’ve gone home to Portland to deal with personal matters. Putting you on a leave of absence for X months. Your phone will continue, your health benefits will continue. I’d like to come back and have a meeting with you in a couple of months.”

And so then I started working on getting a mediator. And the mediator that had been recommended to me wasn’t available until May, which seemed very far off at the time. So when I talked with the counsellor, she was like, “Well, do you think it’s something that maybe you can work out without a mediator?” And I was like, “I don’t know.” And she’s like, “Well, what if you came in here, and I sort of helped hold space for you two to have the conversation?” I was like, maybe that—maybe that would work? 

So I wrote to Franklin and I said, “She’s offered this.” And he wrote back and said that, because she had—oh, I hadn’t mentioned this.

The penultimate session with the two of us, the one before the last one. Because I had had a private session with her where I had told her all about the Challenger disaster and everything that was going on. And she was really shocked. And so in the session that Franklin was in, we were talking about the situation in the polycule, and how I was cut off from everyone. And she said something about feeling protective of me. And my recollection was, it was in the context of like, “I’m feeling protective of her, aren’t you?” But he heard that as like, she’s feeling protective of Eve from me. And so later he said that he thought that that was really inappropriate for her to say. And so I said, “Well, we don’t have to go back to her.” And he was like, “No, no, she’s doing really good work.” So we did go back to her that one last time. 

In his response to my email, he said, “Because she says protective of you, I feel that she has become the equivalent of the therapist who, you know, participated in abusing Amber during her abusive relationship.” And so, he’s obliquely calling me his abuser now. And so, and he’s like, “If we’re going to go back to couples therapy, it has to be with someone who’s never met either one of us and who has specific training in abuse dynamics.”

And then around the same time, Amy published a blog post. And I saw it because—you know, I had unfollowed all of them. But I saw it because it was shared on the page of a blogger that I follow. And it was about needing a good contract in a relationship so that you can get out cleanly, no matter how much you think you love each other. But she was very clearly talking about me, and how I was going around telling everyone that Franklin had abused me. And, uh, it ca—I can send you a link to it—but called me a monster, said a bunch of things about me that just weren’t true. Like that I had never reached out to my metamours or tried to build relationships with them, which is just like, patently false.

I sent it to Amber, because it was just awful. Like it was just so awful to know, from what he’d said and what she’d said, that this narrative was developing. Like I was this abusive monster that had like, forced him to…drive me crazy, I guess.

But what Amber said is that the way Amy writes, she writes in ways that are very, very targeted to hurt the people who are the targets of—and it was definitely, definitely targeted to hurt me if I’d ever read it. And it hit its target really hard.

At the end of April or sometime in there, I remember—so I went to Mexico for a week with my mother and aunt and cousins. And I remember the morning before I left for Mexico with them, I decided for the first time since the breakup really to peek at Franklin’s social media. And I saw that he had just tweeted that he had spilled boiling water on himself and was on the way to the hospital, and didn’t have insurance. And I’m like, I know he has insurance, ‘cause I’m paying for his insurance.

So I messaged him, and I was like, “Hey Franklin, you have insurance. You’re covered in the US.” And we actually had a little bit of a conversation. And I sent him all of his insurance documentation—and this is like the first time we’d spoken directly except for this email since the breakup. And I was like, “I don’t know if you want to talk to me, but if you want to talk to me, I would be interested in hearing more about what’s going on.” So he sent me this long, venty message about what had happened. And I can’t remember what I said, but I remember at some point in the conversation he just disappeared. And then I got on a plane to Mexico, and later that night, when we were settled at the timeshare, he’s gone offline.

I remember contacting his nesting partner, Vera, to make sure, and sending information for the insurance. I had been in touch with our insurance rep, to let them know what was going on. And she was like, “If you can give me the name of the hospital he’s at, I can open a claim for him.” So I was trying to get the name of the hospital, but neither one of them were responding to me. So it was like, “Okay, like, you don’t need to give it to me, but can one of you please call this person? And let me know you’ve called them, so I know that this is taken care of?” No response.

So I was in a panic, ‘cause I’m like, “Is he in a coma? Is he dead?” And so I at that point reached out to a mutual friend, Marissa.2

So the story with Marissa is, Marissa was someone who had met him in 2015 on The Game Changer book tour and become friends. And the way he always described Marissa was as a fan. And as someone who had a crush on him, and who he had some interest in but was maintaining boundaries with, because of the power dynamic there.

And at one point, you know, he had gone down and spent time with them, like a museum or gallery or something. And when he came back, he was like, “Yeah, Marissa asked me if I would be their long-distance dom.” And I was like, “Do you think that’s appropriate? “And he was like, “No, not really.” I’m like, “Are you going to set a boundary around that?” And he was like, “Yep.” And he said, he like messaged them, and like, told me that what he was saying was basically, “I’m really flattered but I don’t feel that way, and I just want to be friends.” And he said that they were accepting of that, and—but then they sort of pulled away a little bit after that and were not as communicative for awhile. But then they started communicating more later.

And we ended up going to a Halloween party at their house down in Washington in late 2017. So about, I don’t know, four months before the breakup. And we spent the night there, and I went to bed early, and they stayed up really late talking. And in the car ride home the next day, he turned to me, and he said, “So Marissa told me that they had fallen in love with me.” And I was like, “Oh.” And I was like, “How do you feel about that?” And he was like, “You know, it’s sweet and flattering, and I don’t feel the same way. And I told them that.” And so I was like, “Okay.”

So anyway, I felt this connection to Marissa, even though Marissa and Franklin were clearly closer. You know, I’d spent time with Marissa, I’d stayed at their house, I felt this connection to them, because I felt like they’re in a similar situation to me, in that they’re in love with this person and they can’t be with him. Right? They still like me, as far as I know, and they care about him. And I knew that they had been in touch with Franklin since the breakup.

And so it was like, “Hey, can you talk to me? I’m really worried about Franklin. I don’t know what’s going on. He was talking to me, and then he disappeared. I don’t know if he’s okay. I’m trying to talk to him about his insurance.” And so they were like very reassuring. And they were like, “Yeah, I’m in touch with him. Let me see how he’s doing.” And I was like, “Yeah, you know, make sure to let him know we’re talking and that he’s okay with that.” And so they were like, “Oh, yeah, he’s at the hospital. He just woke up. I’ll try to figure out the insurance thing.”

And then we talked for awhile, and I kind of told them my side of what had gone on. And they were like, “Oh, wow. I didn’t know any of that.” And I mean, it wasn’t like, “Oh, Franklin was abusive with me.” I was just like, I told them the story of like, how I’d asked him to leave, and he’d moved out. And I started to get from Marissa that he’d told them a very different story.

But then the next day, Marissa was—“So like, I think you two should be talking together.” And I’m like, “Okay, but he’s not talking to me.” And they were like, “Well, I can mediate if you want.” And I was like, “That’d be great.” And then I guess they offered that to him, and he said no.

And then what Marissa told me later was that he was convinced that I was telling Marissa that he’d abused me, and telling Marissa all these horrible stories about him that weren’t true. And they were like, “No, actually, that’s not happening.” And he just wouldn’t believe them. And so over time, over the course of multiple conversations, they started to realize, “Oh, actually he’s not telling me the truth.” And so—they did honour his privacy, they did not give me any information about his medical treatment or anything—but they were like, “Listen. What I can tell you is, don’t worry about him. He has insurance, he has people taking care of him. He has care. He’s going to be fine.” And like, that’s what I needed to hear, right? Is someone to be like, “He’s fine.”

MAY 2018

But Marissa and I ended up talking quite a lot over the ensuing weeks, as well. And Marissa was one of the next people to use the word abuse with me. So I was telling them about his accusations about breaking his Q-tip case in the cabin, and all this stuff. And they sent me this article. They’re like, “I want you to read this.” And it’s about “what is emotional abuse?” And it starts out with, emotional abuse is not yelling or screaming. Emotional abuse is these other things. And my response was something like, “Well, I don’t know if I was abusing Franklin.” And they’re like, “That’s not why I sent you the article. I sent you the article because I think he was abusing you.”

And I know that over time, Franklin became less comfortable talking to them, and they became less comfortable talking to Franklin. And eventually—oh yeah, they had mentioned that when he had left my house, he’d really stepped up the intensity of communications with them, and they had become much more overtly sexual. And Marissa said, “I was not comfortable with that, because that had never been our dynamic.” And I was like, “Wait a minute. He told me you were in love with him.” 

Uh, no…that didn’t happen. Marissa was like, “He would flirt with me sometimes, and it made me really uncomfortable, because I was never interested in him that way.”

And I was like, “So…are you saying that you never asked him to be your long-distance dom?”

And she was like, “No…definitely not.”

So then Marissa started to realize that Franklin had been lying about them, and basically telling me that Marissa had all these feelings for him that they didn’t actually have. And I think that it took me—God, it took me like six months to fully process that. The end of the six months, like, when it finally clicked into place that Franklin was lying intentionally, it was that conversation in the car, when he turned to me and said, “Marissa told me that they’re in love with me.” But I just knew—there was this one moment that I just, boom! I woke up a little bit more, and I knew. He just turned to me, and he just made it up. He just lied.

But learning that he had said that to me about them was when Marissa unfriended him and was like, “I’m done here.” And so, then that became part of his narrative about how I had poisoned the well and smeared him and cut him off from his friends, as well.

So we had mediation at the end of May. I of course spent, I don’t know, a week or two preparing for that. Preparing all the financial statements and everything. And I don’t think he did any preparation. And again, I didn’t know how that was gonna go. I didn’t know if it was going to be adversarial. Or if it was going to be an opportunity to make peace. And I really, really wanted it to be an opportunity to make peace and negotiate our stuff, just have closure. And he just came into that room guns blazing, and started from the very first moments—

It was like hours of  gaslighting and verbal abuse. I was so dissociated, and I remember the hot, skin-prickly feeling that I got when I woke up at night.

By the way, that continued—I think I wrote in my journal when I had the first night that I didn’t have it, so I don’t remember how long it continued. I know it was at least weeks, possibly months. And then mercifully finally fully stopped like a year or a little bit more ago.

But I remember in that session it happening. Like, my body sort of flushing and getting that prickly feeling. And I think I was also dissociating. But I won’t go into super detail about that, because it was so long and so horrible. But there are a couple of things I want to mention. One is that, he did mention to me that someone I had been talking to had been sending him and his entire polycule screencaps of everything I said. And he didn’t say who it was, but I know who it was. It was the metamour who I had reached out to. But who had eventually gone radio silent on me. Encouraged me to talk and talk and talk and talk, and then finally just dropped out and stopped responding to me. I know that he was the one—so like, everything I’d sent to him had gotten screencapped and sent to Franklin and Amy and who knows who else.

And he mentioned the email from Amber. And he said that Amber had told him that I had said that he felt entitled to her mind and her body and that they were still in a sexual relationship, and that I’d said all these terrible things about him. And I’m like, “I never said any of that to Amber.” And he was like, “Well, whatever you intended, that was how she understood it.” And he was like, “This was a really, really nasty email. I can show it to you if you want.”

And I’m like sitting here, I’m like, “I know I never said anything like that to her. And I know she wouldn’t make that up.”

But he’s like, “I’m comfortable calling that abusive.”

So we agreed on some things, and we didn’t agree on some other things. We agreed we would meet the next day to go over what we had agreed on, and to sign the contracts that we’d agreed to sign. But that was all we were going to do. We were not going to have continued negotiations. 

So that night I wrote to Amber and I said, “Would you send me a copy of the email that you sent Franklin?” And she did. And she said, “You know, this was specifically in response to Vera’s screencap of him saying that I was breaking up with him.” And of course, it didn’t contain any of the things that he said it contained. It wasn’t nasty. It was very calm and very firm.

And so we had this session. And near the end, he was like, “Well, I want to know if Eve will agree to see a couples counsellor with me who has never met either of us and has training in abuse dynamics. Because I really want closure on this relationship.” And he said, “I love Eve. She says that I don’t love her”—which, I never said that. I had said to the person who had been screencapping my messages, was that the way he was acting towards me felt like he’d turned the love off, which was how it felt. But I hadn’t said he’d stopped loving me, or that he had in fact turned the level of love off, just how I was feeling. So he was like, “She says that I turned the love off, but I still love her. And I want to be able to get closure and remember all of the things that we created together and not just remember all the bad things. And I’ve been sitting here listening for months to how I’ve harmed her. And I need her to hear how she’s harmed me and gaslit me and bullied me.”

And so I said, “Look, last night Amber sent me that letter. Here’s what you said. Here’s what the letter said. I need you to understand that when you said those things to me, it caused me to doubt my memory, and to doubt my trust in her. And when I say you’ve been gaslighting me, that’s what I mean. And that is the reason that I will not see you face to face again. And that is the reason that I will not go to couples counselling with you.”

And he was quiet for a minute. And then he said, “Am I ever going to get an apology for what you and your friend did to me that night?”

Talking about the friend who had tried to—he was like, “You two were gaslighting me, and you were trying to make me say there were four lights.” And he leaned over on the table and started pounding his fist on the table. And I remember the plates like rattling, and he’s like shouting in my face, “There are four lights, there are four lights! Say it, say it, say it!” 

And I don’t remember what happened after that. But the session ended very, very shortly after that.

And I left there thinking, “I’m never, ever, ever going to see that man face to face again.”

And I actually left for Montreal the following morning to go spend a week with Amber and her wife. I spent almost all of that week and a huge chunk of the rest of the following month writing about what happened in those two days. Every moment of gaslighting and verbal abuse—writing down, this happened, and this—and analyzing it. And it was like, this process of sort of like being able to see that. And it was like, I don’t know, taking my power back in some way. Like, I can see this, I can name it and describe it, and it was all done—this feels really fucked up now—it was all done in the form of a letter to him, explaining why I wouldn’t go to couples counselling with him. I still felt like I needed to explain to him what was going on. I never sent the letter, but it eventually got to be a 60,000-word letter.3 Because every little moment of gaslighting in that session connected to this much bigger thing. 

JUNE 2018

I was actually away from home almost the whole month. Montreal, Edmonton for a client, and then I went on a week-long retreat up in the Gulf islands. We had left it open-ended whether we were gonna come back for another session.

And so at the end of all that, I had processed through everything. I was feeling stronger. I was feeling like I could see more clearly. And I suddenly stopped being afraid of him. Like, all that time I’d been afraid of him. And I finally wasn’t afraid of him. I didn’t want us to go and end up with lawyers fighting over the companies. And there were still some things that we hadn’t negotiated. We worked a lot of things out in that first session. We did make a lot of agreements, we signed those agreements. And like, if I can just get through one more, and it’s worth it—however bad it is, it’s worth it to have this dealt with.

So near the end of June, I wrote to the facilitator, and I said, “I think I can schedule another session.”

She texted him and asked him if he wanted to schedule another session with me. And the reply that she got, which she then asked his consent to share directly with me verbatim and he consented to, was—I, I kept it. But I’ve read it enough times that I have it almost committed to memory. He said, “As long as Eve remains resistant to seeing a neutral couples counsellor with experience in abusive dynamics, I see no reason for us to have another session.”

And I was like, “Okay. I guess we’re not having another session.”

And he actually used the word resistant, “As long as Eve remains resistant.”

It had originally been presented to me as a request. And actually, part of me had wanted to do it just to give him what he wanted, because I wanted that closure, too. But I knew, I knew that it wasn’t really about that. I knew that this was about something else. And that he said he was offering closure, but that was not really what was being offered. 

Unbeknownst to me,4 at about the same time as that, he published this lengthy Quora essay, completely, completely distorting in really…surreal and kind of terrifying ways what had happened in couples therapy. And describing my refusal to continue to go to couples therapy with him after the relationship was over—he characterized it as like, me refusing to see a different counsellor during the relationship. Which is just patently false—I mean, most of the things that were in that message were patently false, but that was one of them. I had specifically said, “We don’t have to see her anymore. We can go see someone else.” And he was like, “No, she’s doing good work.”

He just lied. And he did that at—I’m not sure if it’s the same day, but it was like within a day or two of [when] he sent that message to me. 

So at that point, I talked again to my lawyer, and I sent him his formal layoff notice.

 

JULY–AUGUST 2018

And then the last direct communication5 I had with him after that was—my cat died at the end of July. She got really sick really fast, and we knew that she only had a week or two left. And so I told my mom—at that point, my mom was intermediary, the primary intermediary with him. I told my mom, “If he wants to come visit her to say goodbye, I’m okay with arranging that.” So she was in touch with him about whether he wanted to come up.

But before they could even talk about that or resolve it, later that night she took a very rapid decline, and I just knew that it was time. And I brought her in, and they put her down. And I didn’t want him to hear that from my mom. So I texted him and told him that she was gone.

And he wrote back, and he was very, very kind. And he said, “I’m so sorry, she was a really good cat.” And I said, “Yeah, you know, she told me that it was time.” And he was like, “You always did say that, that she would tell you when it was time to go.”

And like, I don’t know, for some reason like, the fact that he said that, and like, believed me, that she told me so, still meant something. And it was so confusing, in the midst of everything else that was happening, for him to suddenly be kind. And yet I was also grateful that he was kind, instead of anything else that he could have been, or done.

So we communicated one more time after that directly. I asked him if we could dedicate our last book to her, and he agreed. And then we had one more short communication about the colour of the foil stamping for the book. And then that was it. That was the last time we talked one on one—talked directly, not through an intermediary. 

So there we go.

 

In the months following the breakup and well into the summer, the more I talked with Amber and spent time with her—and like, when I visited Amber, I found out more about what was happening in Portland while he was with me that I hadn’t known about. So for example, I found out that he had apparently never told Vera that he was moving to Canada. And I don’t know how he pulled that one off. But for like the first year that he was living with me, at least, she still thought he was her nesting partner and that he was just somehow like, spending more and more time with me up in Vancouver.

But he hadn’t told her that he had moved, or that he had told me that he was living with me and being my life partner. That was one example. There were other like, things that had gone on that I hadn’t known about, or that he’d lied to me about. And so I was just like, whoa. Like, you know, so many things that I thought were real and thought were true were not true.

So I started to reach out to some of his other exes and asked if they would talk to me about their experiences, because I had spent so much time immersed in his story. It’s not just that he was my partner, like, I was his editor and his publisher and his coauthor, and like, I had lived and breathed his story for so long, that to have it sort of start to fall apart was really mind-bending.

And I just felt like I had to understand what was real. Like, I had to get to the bottom of it, and to get to the bottom of it, I had to talk to the other women. And so over the course of a few more weeks, or months, I ended up talking to Rose. And then I talked to Celeste. And then I eventually talked to Elaine. And then I eventually talked to Lauren…and it was like, bit by bit, this sort of facade crumbling. And I think that over the course of a few months I ended up talking with—I talked to Bella, I talked to like eight women eventually.

They—of all of them, only one of them didn’t consider it to be a bad experience in her life. One woman of eight was like, “I’m happy he was in my life, and I felt like I got something out of it.” And that was Bella. Who had been long distance, when they were very young. But even she was like, “There was some stuff he said in The Game Changer that, it was was kind of a stretch”—but most of it was pretty true for her.

So one woman who felt like it had been basically good experience for her and that he hadn’t dramatically distorted their story.


1. I also knew that Franklin had savings, a place to live and an independent income, and would not be left destitute by not continuing to receive a paycheque from me.
2. Read Marissa’s version of this story here.
3. In fact it was closer to 40,000 words. 
4. I read the Quora post many months later (I was told he had posted about me, but not what it said).
5. There was actually some direct communication in the first half of July while Franklin finished up his last two weeks with the company.

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