Some people like to read books and know the ending. My story is ongoing, but the important part is that he didn’t win. On June 29, 2023, my ex-husband pled guilty to hurting me. Now that you know enough to keep going, let’s start the beginning.
It had been years since I had a boyfriend and had just joined a few dating apps. After a series of boring first dates, and honestly just a few nice guys that I couldn’t see myself with I finally started talking to someone that was interesting. Joshua was in the middle of moving to Orem. Orem was about 15 minutes south of where I lived, but he had my interest because we could talk for about an hour on the phone while he was moving and he didn’t make me want to hang up. Hindsight, of course shares a lot more red flags than when you're in the mix, but he had to recently ended things with a girlfriend that he lived with, and was moving to his first apartment. He had borrowed a trailer, and he seemed to be trying to get his life together, which intrigued me and made me want to help him. I was holding back that thought and was trying to be “healthy" by making sure that I went on a date with him first. As we were hanging up, we decided to meet on Saturday and go to dinner. I remember he asked me if we would need an Uber and I remember telling him “I don’t drink on the first date.” I was still in school, so I remember having assignments, tests, and being very busy. I was still pleasantly suprised when he called me on Tuesday and said he couldn't wait to meet me so he wanted to know if he could come over to watch a movie. He swore that he would be respectful, and it could be my choice. I told him I had to watch the Menendez trial for my law class but if he was willing to be respectful, I would let him come over.
I also told him that I would shoot him if he stopped being respectful. I don't know how he convinced me to let him sleep over the first night, but he told me that he worked early and it would be best for him if he could sleep over. I told him I had a guest room but again he had to be respectful. We watched the whole trial and we had a discussion afterwards. We did kiss, but I remember specifically that I chose not to sleep with him, at least not sex. We did end up talking until we fell asleep next to each other, I got the feeling that he initially thought that we would just sleep together once and it would be over so the fact that I had not intrigued him and we ended up seeing each other many times that week. It felt like diving into a prebuilt couple. Every day we would talk, we would get dinner, and we would end up falling asleep next to each other. We only cuddled, we never became intimate, but still it felt like it was becoming real very quickly. It was like a never ending date where he learned everything he needed to know about me so that I would be the perfect victim.
He was the perfect gentleman and learned everything about me. I felt like he just let me talk and talk, only adding stories of him that made him perfect for me. He had had a hard life, falling in love a few times, and grown up in a rough home. He had family that he didn't talk to, two dead wives, three kids he didn't see because they were taken from him, and a prison record. Altogether, that doesn't sound very good but in a story where his mom died when he was 12 because of a drunk driver, his high school sweetheart had MS and passed away, and then he had found love for a moment. His wife committed suicide leaving him a widower with an angry family and he sounded like the poor down trotted man that tried to restart his life. My heart bled for him, and I wanted to make his life better. He saw that in me, and he saw what I wanted, a man who would become part of my life seamlessly. I remember he asked my parents for permission to date me, took them to breakfast and asked them. I paid for everything, not really realizing that it was always that way. He would throw in a Venmo here and there to help me feel like I wasn't being used. He started doing his laundry at my place and couldn't go more than a day without talking to me.
We went on a road trip right away. It was the trip of a lifetime, he was so kind and nice. He didn’t drink until we went on our trip. Even on the trip, he was still kind and patient and waiting for me to become completely comfortable with him. He catered to my dog, who I love, and made everything about me. I hadn’t had that for a long time, so it felt amazing. I fell in love without knowing it when I got back, we sort of fell into moving in. I started doing more for him and slowly he started doing less.
Joshua had a lot of loose ends. There were a lot of people that he owed money to, or he needed to coddle until they were ready to let him go. He had dramatic relationships filled with turmoil and treason. He had had an affair with a woman after he had gotten out of prison, but strangely became friends with her ex-husband, because she turned out to be more of a problem than he was at the time. He also seemingly was trying to be kind to his ex-girlfriend that was in love with him still and working to stop her from hurting herself. There were many stories, some that definitely didn’t add up, but in the midst of love I let it go, or just took them at his word. It was months that I started to see the girls that would text him all the time and realize that he never started the conversations but always responded. There were girls leaving him love notes at work. There were girls messaging him from previous “talks” they had and he just never seem to want to hurt anyone's feelings, except for mine. We didn't have big struggles until I started to become aware that I needed to be his girlfriend if I was going to continue. This led to a drunken night, where we had decided to only be friends.
A few days later I went on a date with someone else and hated every moment of it because this kind, nice man was not the one I wanted. At the time I guess I had a taste for trouble and I didn't know how to leave it alone. As I arrived home after my date I called my brother and my best guy friend, both suggested that if Josh wasn’t willing to commit to me, then I needed to let him go. Just when I had decided I was going to cry and start over the next day. He called me drunk, and with his best friend, asking me to see him telling me he loved me and he couldn't live without me. That was the first night I met his best friend, and the first time he asked me to be his girlfriend.
I try not to talk negatively about myself, but these are the moments that I struggle with, these are the moments that we are quiet about when you think about the small abuses that lead to the big ones. I remember we drove for a couple of hours to a city named Tooele. The first time we went to see his family the trip went well. He was so good around kids and he loved them so much just made it seem like it was effortless that he would be an amazing father. The second time we went, he drank, and he saw a friend with whom he drank a lot. On the way home, as I drove home, we stopped twice for him to yell at me angrily, belittling me for about 45 minutes. I knew then that it was not okay and so I told him if he was going to act this way I was done. I dropped him off at home and I decided to be single.
The next day he called and he was so apologetic and said he thought it was the drinking and he didn't want to act that way. He was fine for a while. In fact, we had so much fun but slowly drinking became part of his daily habits. He would drink at work, and then he would want to drink when we would go out. There were a few times that he got into fights with his best friend, in fact , once or twice, it became a fistfight. On those nights, I would also break up with him and be apologized to the next morning. It became a pattern for us until if we didn’t have a big fight, I was happy the next morning. I didn’t notice the changes, how I became more insecure and lost confidence in my own thoughts and beliefs. He had radical ideas and I was trying to be open minded, so I became quieter.
I stopped seeing people, at least my friends. On occasions that he couldn’t stop me from participating in, I saw my family. It was limited and normally we would have a fight about it. My best friend and I work together so she would just listened and try to guide comments towards sanity and somehow I would miss it. His friends were enabler so I didn't find any help there. Things really got bad when I went and did the worst thing I could do, I introduced myself to his family. Now I mentioned before that his mother had passed away in a drunk driving accident, but he did have three sisters. I met all 3, one who was in a healthier place, one who was trying to make her way in the world, and one who lost it all to drugs. While one was fighting her own battle, the other two rekindled their relationship because of me. Unfortunately this was to my detriment, because as I visited them and built a relationship with them, he became more comfortable being himself. I didn't know who to cry to at the end, I was just so unhappy with the way that we were. I was never enough, I was too sensitive, and I always asked for too much.
One night after many times of catching him talking to other girls, we broke up. He left me, and I truly believe I was not giving him what he wanted at that time because I was fully submissive and broken for three months. I begged and pleaded for him to come back. I truly believe that I was meant to be with him, and even though we had suffered, I thought he could become a better person, I was so dumb I didn’t see he was just putting me on a back burner while he found his next prey.
He had moved into his friend's house, and immediately begins sleeping with a woman that was in the same home. He stopped speaking to me only long enough for me to become desperate to see him. He wouldn't go longer than a day without talking to me, either to check in on me, or send me some kind of tidbit to keep me waiting for him. All while he was with someone else. He told everyone that I was his “endgame" but then he got the girl pregnant.
I should've let him go. I should've walked away, but I was so insecure and I was so sure I was in love with him that I was willing to make it work. So I asked him if he imagined the best version of his life, who was he with? He told me the happiest version of his life was with me, and if I was willing, then he would figure out how to break it to the girl and we would be lifetime partners. This took me through a wild ride of dealing with lying, cheating, more lies, secret meetings, and a lot of crying.
By the end of January, he had already caused me problems with his DUIs, domestic violence charges with his girlfriend, and we had gotten back together. When the girlfriend found out, she tried to kill herself or at least stop eating enough to hurt her child, so we had to be careful with a very delicate pregnant woman.
This man disrespected me every day by calling this pregnant woman, to make sure that she felt loved even as he was broken up with her, and he was going to marry me. He told us both lies, and then he made us have a relationship with each other, while believing the lies that he told us. I became jealous of her. She became jealous of me, and even as I tried to see her as a person and feel bad for the situation we were all in, we were all in a volatile place with our emotions. I don't blame her for being in my marriage, I blame him for disrespecting my marriage. I also blame myself for not being strong enough to make boundaries. This part wasn't easy because I came to loathe every day of marriage. We couldn't go one day being nice to each other. He would hurt me and hurt me with his words until I lashed out. Then I was the bad guy and I would cry myself to sleep when he wouldn't come home. He would go out and do crazy things and I would forgive him. I thought I was being loyal, and I had never been less loyal to myself. I hid the damage to the walls. I replaced the doors and I would fight with him to stop hurting the dogs. I became crazy in some moments as I just wanted to feel like I deserved human decency. I was only married for a few months, but they were the worst. He not only insulted me, he began to become comfortable with racial slurs, and insulting not only me, but everything that I was or related to. In the end, I almost lost my friends, family and self.
The only thing that truly saved my life was that my parents had given up everything to bring me to this country. I could never let their sacrifice go to waste by not becoming the best version of me. I knew deep down, even then, because I had sat in the bathtub, crying, praying to God that I could survive to the next day. I knew he didn't love me, but I didn't know how to leave. We were so entangled at that point because he had put me into debt. He made it so I felt like I couldn't survive without him, but that was not enough to make me disappoint my family. At least not anymore.
So after the most miserable trip of my life to New Orleans, where he ended up slapping me and putting me in danger multiple times I decided I had to find a way out.
When I got back from New Orleans and I had made up my mind, I decided I would give him time to prove to himself that this relationship was the wrong thing for us. I asked him every day to be nice to me, and he couldn’t pull it off. I disappointed his expectations every day and I was always too sensitive, too much, or not enough for him. On June 23, 2022, we had our worst fight. He had broken things like he always did, thrown two dozen eggs on the floor, and thrown about 5 pounds of carne asada on the floor. The meat had been in a glass container so that was also shattered in the garage. I knew that night I was done, but I was scared to say it. He decided to go camping on his own, which we were supposed to do before our fight. He had actually gone to pick up his girlfriend, and she hid in the car while he came back for the whiskey. At this point I was sick of crying on my own so I had called the family friend. He was on his way when my husband came back.
Joshua said I was acting weird so I told him that I had invited my friend over because I was tired of crying alone and I wanted a friend. He called me a whore and told me I was desperate for attention. He ended up walking away that night, but the next morning he told me that he had thought about shooting me in the head by jumping over the fence and running to where my friend and I were in the backyard. I couldn't believe that he meant it at the time and told him he shouldn't say those things. He told me he could shoot me and not feel anything, that he could kill someone and be just fine. He told me next time he would jump the fence and I wouldn’t know what was coming and there would be a bullet in my head.
It was then I told him that it was best that the marriage be over, and I wanted a divorce. I didn't have the presence of mine to be scared of him because he always acted that way. He told me he would leave and that he felt it was a good idea. I think he thought he would hurt me the most by moving in with his girlfriend so he did. He asked me to borrow my dad’s trailer and my dad agreed asking only that if he moved out, he would let me go. He had moved out by the end of the day.
Even though it was for the best, and I had decided to leave him, and I knew it was a bad relationship, it’s still hurt.
After suffering through last break up, I was better prepared for this one. I joined dating apps, and I attempted to find a distraction. I had begged my husband to take me on dates and he told me that he felt like he did enough. I asked only for a cup of coffee and then a drive in the canyon and he couldn't do it. The first guy that caught my interest asked me to go on a date to the canyon and have coffee first. At the time I saw it as a sign from God. That I had done the right thing.
My first date after Joshua was charismatic and fabulous. This man was not local, but he had grown up in the same area. He told me I was beautiful, fun, and my husband was crazy to miss out on me. He gave me a foot massage serenaded me and got to know me by having any select every other song as we played pool. We talked for 12 hours and I felt a renewed sense of self that I’d been missing for months.
Because I was so happy I let my guard down with my husband and let him come over to let him know that I was in a good place. In fact, I even told his girlfriend that she had nothing to worry about because I was now dating. I had no idea that this would turn into a malicious intent for my now ex.
It became clear that he did not want to let me go because he attempted to fix things in the home that he had always ignored and he was interested in my well-being again. When I refused to let him stay in my life in the same way, he began to argue with me again. I decided to make a clear line with him and not let him use the dogs to blur the lines of our separation. He would only come over for the dogs and I didn’t want to continue arguing with him. I would prefer to communicate through his girlfriend.
This led to me, ignoring his phone calls, and attempting to have peace on July 1, 2022. I ignored Joshua's phone calls six times. I decided to jump in the shower to get myself ready for a fun holiday weekend and stop worrying about my failed relationship. As I stood in the shower I thought about how angry he must be, but happy that I had finally stood my ground, that was until I heard the door open to my bathroom.
My ex had driven back from Strawberry Reservoir, because I had not answered the phone. I had disabled the door code for him unless it was between 9-5 on weekdays and told him he could bring his dog during those times. Unfortunately, it was Friday so he punched and his door code and let himself into my home and then into my bathroom. As soon as I heard the click, I knew he was angry.
I expected him to throw open the curtain and begin yelling at me, most likely thinking I was with someone else. I did not expect him to pull down the shower curtain rod and begin banging it against the tub yelling that I was still his wife and I would not ignore him just because I fucked someone else did not mean that I could ignore him I was not allowed to ignore him! I don’t know if it was shock or bravery but I began yelling at this man asking if he was mental because this was not okay. As he threw the shower rod around making holes in the walls and the rings on the shower curtains hit the floor and my face. I remember thinking he's crazy.
He was full of rage, and at some point attempted to punch me, to which I immediately responded that he was a coward because he wanted to try to hurt me now that I was completely naked. He ended up stopping halfway and yelling at me again that this was my fault. I began yelling, telling him he was crazy, and this was not an appropriate response to being ignored. He told me that he bet he could still smell the man on me and put his hands on my vagina. I still don't believe that he did so to do anything but shame me. He wanted to show me he had control over me. He had recently begun to suggest that I sleep with the guy I was going on dates with, so I think he thought I had ignored him to do that.
When I pushed him away and began to scream again, he stuck his hand down my throat. Only three fingers fit so the other two were cutting into the sides of my mouth. I began to use my hands to push them away, and he used his hand to push me into the tile wall. My head hit the ledge and I believe I passed out because the next thing I remember was opening my eyes and seeing his girlfriend while I was still in the shower.
When my eyes opened, I was looking at her. His eight month pregnant girlfriend in my hallway, as the water was dropping on me, and I still stood naked. I began screaming at her. "Is this what you want? Is this what you want for your baby? A man who will not leave his ex-wife alone, put his hands on my vagina to see if I had been with a man and just stuffed his fingers down my throat." His girlfriend turned to him and said, "Did you really touch her vagina?" He turned to her angrily and told her, "Yeah, you wanna smell it too?" The girlfriend walked out of my house and I believe she was jealous because she only made it halfway out the yard and turned back around. He began telling me that I had made it worse and pulled the showerhead out of the wall.
My first thought was that he was going to flood my home, so I immediately went for the water and turned it off. I believe something in him snapped at that point, because he turned to me and grabbed the towel off the wall, as if the water turning off meant my shower was over and tried to wrap the towel around me. He attempted to hug me and I pulled away. I looked around at the holes in the wall and stepped out of the tub to see myself in the mirror. I told him that I couldn't believe he thought this was appropriate. He began to tell me that it was my fault because I was being a bitch. He was trying to be a nice guy, he had brought things back that we had argued about, and I didn’t allow him the opportunity to return. I looked in the mirror and in that moment, as he was giving me his explanation, I saw my face covered in red marks. It was only then I noticed the blood on the wall in the shower behind me. I was bleeding. I began to touch my head and found the gash. I realized I most likely needed medical care. I had never been hurt by someone and I believe I had a concussion, so I thought I should go to InstaCare.
I said the last part out loud, and he decided that he would check my wound and tell me that I was fine. It was only a small gash. My throat also hurt from his fingers being pushed into my throat and I realized I needed to leave. He didn't exactly keep me in the bathroom as I push past him, but he definitely wanted to keep an eye on me as I went to my closet to get changed. He stared at me and argued with me that it was my fault, and that I had been unreasonable. I yelled back, but I didn’t respond as I normally would. I was focused on getting help for my head. I also think that the concussion caused me to be less emotional, which he did not like. He had made a point to say that he needed to give me back things. I told him if that’s what it would take for him to leave then I would help him unload the things from the car.
As I left the closet to grab a towel from the laundry, I noticed his girlfriend was in my living room. As I walked past her, she whispered that she didn't want to leave so that he wouldn't hurt me anymore. I don't know what she thought she was doing, but I didn't want to give her any attention either. My mission was to get things out of the car so that he would leave and I could get care. I walked outside and soon they both followed, and I began to unload things from his car.
He had brought back my guns and camping items that we had argued over. At one point he asked if my new guy was going to be angry that my garage was now messy with the items that they had just unloaded. I told him it was none of his business and I never wanted to see him again. That made him angry and he picked me up and put me on my car. I was worried he was going to begin to break my car. I quickly jumped down and told him that he was never allowed to come back and that even if I was stupid, my family would never allow it. He was filled with rage again and told me that he would be back, and he would have a few more loads of things to bring to me. I told him to drop them in the driveway, but I was no longer going to interact with him. At that moment, I also walked away, hoping that if I walked back in my home, they would leave. I was not so lucky.
They both followed me back into my home, where Joshua decided that if I was no longer going to see him, and he needed access to my credit cards so that he could “pay them back.” He also wanted to clean up my bathroom and began to ask me if I would ever take him back. My response of "no" and there was nothing he could do to change my mind angered him. As I was resetting passwords because I truly couldn’t remember them with the headache I had, I ended up texting my sister-in-law for help and asked her to call the police. I was still afraid he would ruin everything on the way out . His history of being violent was very present in my head but after a few minutes, I couldn’t wait any longer because he refused to leave. I asked my sister-in-law to please send the police and I attempted to maneuver my ex and his girlfriend out of my house. After arguing for a few more moments, he started to notice that there was a car outside. The police officer had done a U-turn. He asked me if I had called the police and went to close the curtains. I remember running to the front door and throwing open the door and running out.
The police help me wrangle my dogs, who had followed me out and then begin to ask me questions. At first, I only asked for them to "no trespass" him. He spun the story of a couple getting divorced, where he still paid rent, and I was upset with him.
They told me they couldn’t help me if he also was an owner of the home because it was a civil matter, and if there was anything else I wanted to share. It was then that Joshua made a final ploy to keep me quiet. He came over to me and shook my hand, saying he would leave and never come back. The officer that followed him, then asked me where I had gotten the cut on my face. At first I said, I don't know and Joshua quickly answered, "She's recently been going on dates maybe they hurt her." The officer didn’t believe him, and quickly said, "Unless she just got off a date, it looks really fresh." It was in that moment that I realize he would keep lying and he was going to come back.
Another officer pulled me away and asked if there was anything else I wanted to share. Even in that moment, I couldn’t find the words, so instead, I touched the back of my heads and showed them the blood. They quickly arrested my then husband and took him to the truck so that I could finish telling them the story of my attack. In that moment, I still felt guilty. I felt like I was hurting him by telling the truth. I still had a moment, where I would rather protect him than myself. My family arrived shortly after that, and we gave his girlfriend a ride home and fed her since she was pregnant, and hadn't eaten.
I don’t regret being kind, but I was angry because the girlfriend took one of my dogs and she abused my girl until I got her back in the divorce. They forced her to have puppies without proper care and kept her in a kennel for 12 hours a day. There’s a lot that I’m angry about but that’s the one that hurts the most.
After 24 hours, I was scared that he would come back once he can bail. the police assured me they would do what they could to help me but I had a lot of paperwork ahead of me. I went to the ER - they did scans and took photos. I had so many emotions, and I kept going back-and-forth between fear and guilt. I finally chose to be brave and filled out the paperwork. It was so hard and overwhelming, and I cried, going back-and-forth on whether I had done the right thing. I stopped talking to the girlfriend, who begged me because she needed him for financial purposes. I filed for a divorce and wrote a victim statement for him to be denied bail. He stretched out the court timeline, by refusing to go to court for his criminal charges. He hired a lawyer by using his sister’s money and attempted to convince me to drop the charges through other people.
On the civil side, I finally broke down and let my family help me pay for a divorce lawyer. In October, he finally agreed to my divorce, because he wanted to speak to me. The protective order only allowed us to speak during mediation. He did a blanket apology, which was meaningless. He then threatened me telling me that investigators would want to know what I done in the relationship. I remember, sitting in my car after it was done, still scared, but stronger than I was, and freer than I was.
More time went by, and he kept delaying the criminal court proceedings, he lost his lawyer and had to get a public defender. He gained additional charges by calling me one day from jail, to the point that I was crying and had panic attacks. I lost my job from being so concerned about whether or not he was going to hurt me. There were system malfunctions from the victim alert systems that caused me to think that he was going to be released because of paperwork that was misfiled. I started therapy because the PTSD was too much and went on anti-anxiety meds to keep my peace.
When we had finally gotten to the point of having me appear in court to testify, because he finally made an appearance, his lawyer presented the state with a plea bargain. He finally broke down and said he would plead guilty, but he didn’t want to be marked as sex offender having attacked me in the shower and touching my genitals. It was considered a felony because he had previously attacked another person on the date his last wife died. I knew that if I kept fighting, I would win, but I didn’t want to be in court for the next 15 years with appeals. I agreed to amend the charges, he would get five years per charge. He had two counts for the violation of my protective order and two counts during the attack.
As of today, I’m waiting on sentencing, and I will have to make one more appearance where I speak to the judge and ask for the maximum penalty. I still pray that there will be justice, but I also hope that he will leave me alone and allow me peace.