“After I finished college in 2011 in Michigan, I started working with someone who frequently caught my eye. To give you a good picture of him, let’s call him ‘Rico Suave.’ He was energetic, the life of the party, always getting things done first at work, always getting promoted, always making every woman he met laugh, including myself. I’m sure some of you know how quickly and easily it is to be captivated by someone like that. How easy it is to fall, lose all sense of reality, lose focus on any other aspects of life.
We begin working together in the same department where he always made sure he was the ‘someone to talk to.’ He was very good at listening and always knew what to say. I mean always knew what to say, what a smooth talker. We begin hanging out after work and I soon began to realize that meant we were drinking. Whether it was having dinner or just hanging out, alcohol would be involved. As you can imagine, alcohol made our relationship progress quickly and before I know it, a year passed by while looking to him for advice, and looking up to him for how much he knew, while we were still working together. I was going out almost every night with someone giving me all the attention I’ve ever wanted! I didn’t even realize what I was doing with my career let alone with my life, I jumped in and fell so hard I couldn’t even get back up.
Jump to summer 2012, I’m spending many nights in a row at his house and we’re drinking every day. By this time, I’ve lost track of all sense of reality. Some nights when I didn’t stay with him, he wouldn’t answer his phone. He said he ‘fell asleep and did not hear his phone ring,’ and in the back of my head I’m thinking, this guy’s drinking every night – there’s no way he just went to bed early. That’s not reality, I’m not that stupid! One night specifically I came over and there was a receipt to a hot tub event room rental. I said, ‘Why the hell do you have this? Who did you go to a hot tub with?’ He replied, ‘I would never do that, don’t you dare question me!,’ and shoved me into the corner and held me down, screaming, saying I was wrong to question him, putting the fear of God into me for not trusting him. Which is when I began to apologize for everything and anything, whatever decisions he was making were my fault because I wasn’t good enough for him.
He always kept his phone hidden from me. After a long day of drinking at the beach I got up the courage to say, ‘What do you have to hide, what is behind that locked screen!!?’ He finally gave me an answer I wasn’t ready for… It turns out on the nights he wasn’t answering me, he was with five other women treating them just like me. I was absolutely shocked. I said, ‘I don’t want to see you anymore, I don’t want to be with you.’ He was not OK with this answer and immediately dropped me down to the ground and choked me. His hands were wrapped around my neck so tightly I was staring at the cracks in the corner of his ceiling wondering if this was going to be the last thing I looked at before I died. I didn’t know what to do – fight back? Do I let myself suffer? What now? He finally took his hands off my neck and I ran into the corner and began heavily sobbing. He ran up to me and apologized for hours, and I mean hours, which included me trying to leave with him barricading the door so I couldn’t escape. He finally calmed down and we sat on the floor as he continued to apologize. We both eventually fell asleep from exhaustion.
The next morning as we both wake up, he starts off with bringing me coffee and discussing how important the different languages of love are, and how much time he has spent reading people and understanding people, and he knows ‘exactly what I need daily.’ He tells me he’s never met anyone like me before, he shared secrets with me that he’s never shared with anyone before and he wants to leave all those women behind. I reluctantly say OK and we try to rebuild trust and forget whatever happened that night. As the months pass, we try to rebuild and fix whatever was broken that night. Of course this involves drinking which led to punches and bruises that I learned how to hide daily. Don’t forget, we are working together during all this time, so we would come in to work and act as if nothing happened.
It’s now 2013 and the frequent abuse is just a normal part of our life now. After each fight/argument I would apologize, thinking it was all my fault. He would start off the morning talking about what I needed specifically from him to be loved, who I was as a person and really speaking to me on a level that no one’s ever spoken to me before about personal growth and reading people. It was incredible how easy it was to forget about the abuse as he would talk about all the love languages and would constantly buy me flowers, books and cards.
One night, he was drunk and passed out with his phone unlocked. I got up the courage to start peeking through his phone! I woke him up as I found pictures, text messages, all from the women he said he ‘stopped’ talking to. This led to a very long night with punches in the wall, punches to my body, denial and fist fights, which led to my arm being broken. I went to Urgent Care the next morning, got x-rays, completely in shock as I’ve never broken a bone.
The broken arm lead to being off work for six weeks. Six weeks of apologies for drunken nights, six weeks of blaming myself for not treating him right thinking I deserve all the abuse from him, on top of my broken arm. Finally, the six weeks had passed and my arm was almost all the way healed so I could finally return to work! On my first day back at work, a new employee that started right before I broke my arm approached me and said, ‘I really need to speak to you.’ I’m thinking, ‘OK maybe she wants to talk about work or maybe there something they need.’ I was definitely wrong. She showed me a picture that I couldn’t un-see. It was him lying in a hotel room. How did she get this picture? Why was he in a hotel room? It turns out he’d been dating her on the nights I wasn’t with him, just like he promised not to do. She gave me details about specific nights with the sex they’ve had, or what specific love language she needed from him. I messaged him and said, ‘don’t ever speak to me again,’ left everything I had at his house and moved to Ohio to live with my brothers.
As I left this mess of the last 3 years behind me, I started a new job and life was great! Shortly after, Rico Suvae began messaging me again, using those smooth words – the love language, saying ‘no one else can treat you the way I did. Please let me come visit you in Ohio – just one day.’
One day turned into him moving to Ohio, me moving to a new apartment, leaving my brother’s house and straight back into the drunken nights. He promised to be faithful and loving, using all the words I needed to hear. Another year passes with no cheating issues, there was infrequent abuse from a few drunken nights, which I of course blamed myself for and I was thriving at my career. It was now 2015. My company was quickly growing and I was offered a promotion, so I said, ‘Rico, you can either leave me or come, I’m not staying here.’ He packed our apartment as I drove to Georgia to find us a new place to live, so he could move with our stuff and meet me down in Georgia. On my first day of work at my new job I got a phone call from jail. He’d been arrested for drinking and driving. I didn’t help him or call someone, I let him sit until he was released. As he searched for a new job in Georgia and we began another new life, the drinking and abuse continued. He would show up at my work drunk asking why I wasn’t home yet, it was a constant argument of what he wasn’t happy about that day, discussing what I was sorry for or what he knew to say to help me forget about what he did to me the day before.
As 2016 quickly approached I came home one night very excited. I was getting promoted to work at the corporate office! He was very upset about this, but I refused to let it ruin my day so I went out with some friends from work to celebrate! I come home to a completely bleak house, terrified and not knowing what to expect. I walk into each room looking for him, nowhere to be found. I grab his keys off the counter thinking he’s sitting in his car and pull the front door open. To my surprise there are cops at the door. WHAT! Why cops? They say, ‘Ma’am there’s been reports of gunshots here and we need to come in.’ I’m terrified at this point of letting the cops know why I was scared… not knowing if it was Rico Suave preparing his gun to shoot me for being out that night.
I let them in and stand in the doorway with another cop. They start opening doors to closets and rooms and find a gunshot hole in the front room window blind! They open a closet door and we all stop – I see his legs. My heart sinks in panic. Is he dead? This was my fault! The cops pull him out of the closet, still alive and begin to question him. He stated he was cleaning his gun, and he wanted to hide in the closet. WHAT?! The cop brings me outside and say, ‘Ma’am, you need to get away from him. What happened tonight is not normal, this is not safe.’ The cop brings me inside and I pack a bag and leave. This was my turning point, my final breaking point. My career was finally going somewhere, and if it wasn’t for those cops that day, I never would have realized what a mess of my life I’d made. Hearing it from someone else opened my eyes in a way I never knew. I began my new life with him behind, and my new career with a new apartment and a fresh start. Rico would pop into my life every few months asking to come back, I’d meet up with him and all those memories and challenging times would flash back reminding me to not stay.
2016 was a fun year for me. Meeting new friends at work, traveling for work, exploring cities I’ve never been to and finally finding out who Megan was with joy and WITHOUT fear. I met an excellent group of girls who showed me true friendship and I went on my first real girl’s trip!
While on this trip I began messaging someone named Michael, who I knew through work, someone who constantly made me laugh and was just a hilarious person. I forgot what laughter felt like until then. I forgot there was joy outside of my painful years of that previous relationship. I began to see Michael more and more, even visiting him in Florida where he lived, filling my weekends with belly laughs, adventures, events and spending time going out with my girlfriends. It was incredible to feel what I’ve been missing out on all these years. I blamed myself for so much manipulation that Rico put into my head, to this day I thank God for those cops.
I remember the day I told Michael about Rico while we were standing in line waiting to go to Disney World thinking, ‘oh no, he’s going to blame me.’ Michael got angry, not at me, not at my actions, but he was angry at Rico. I thought to myself, ‘Wow, it’s not my fault?’ Someone is mad for me, someone is trying to protect me and my heart, is this what love really is? Is this how it’s supposed to be? He embraced what I told him and embraced me with open arms. It was the most freeing and relieving experience.
2017 was the best and one of the hardest years of my life. 2017 was when I officially became a fiancée! The man who completely changed my life and showed me what true love feels like after years of being in an abusive relationship. He showed me how a woman was supposed to be treated, what just being loved without parameters felt like and that the word ‘sorry’ shouldn’t be used in every conversation I have, because everything isn’t my fault. Michael rocked my world from the first date.
On Christmas Eve, he asked me to become his wife and we began planning the rest of our lives together! Throughout 2017 there were some interesting adventures and decisions we both made, which ended up with us separating for several months. I needed time to really find Megan and know what I want. Michael always told me the Lord already has it planned. Well several months later, we both had to be at the same store in Florida to view something in a store. As I leave to travel to the airport, Michael asks if he could have a ride to the airport as he needed to fly out as well. We dropped our bags at the Delta check in and he says, ‘Have one drink with me?’ I didn’t even hesitate, and we sat at the Chili’s Bar in Jacksonville, Florida. He said, ‘The ball’s in your court, Meg. It’s up to you now.’ As we flew our separate ways, I couldn’t get him off my mind and decided he was the one. Through the laughter, the care and love he gave me through my pain, I couldn’t let him leave my life. The Lord had plans for us and we finally set a date for December 31st, 2017, to become husband and wife!
As we winded down the year and began ramping up wedding planning we were blessed with a little peanut on the way! To add to our excitement in the middle of wedding planning, we were pregnant! However, when we went in for our first ultrasound to see that sweet little heartbeat, we saw an empty screen and my heart shattered as I sobbed uncontrollably in the ultrasound bathroom trying to pull myself together. Michael came to the rescue once again and grabbed me tight. We were shocked, sad, and speechless, but we had each other. We would go to church and cry, see family with babies and cry, it was a very hard time and it took some time to realize the Lord wasn’t ready for us to be parents yet. We picked ourselves back up, talked to the Lord and consoled in our family and continued the wedding planning.
On December 31st, 2017, Michael and I said ‘yes’ with our closest friends and family ringing in 2018 in the best way!
As we enjoyed 2018, we decided it was time to try for a little blessing. Thanksgiving came around and we were ready to go to the doctor for our first ultrasound as I peed on a stick – it was positive! I kept thinking of so many fun and creative ways to tell my husband he was going to be a dad. I took the test at 5 a.m. on November 20th while he was still sleeping and lost all control in excitement. I shook him and woke him up, saying, ‘Michael we’re pregnant!’ We finally got to the doctor and saw that little body with a quickly beating heart, crying absolute tears of joy over that little squishy ball! We spent a long 12 weeks watching the calendar days pass to ensure we were out of the ‘danger’ zone of losing our little peanut again. Full speed ahead to June 2019, were 8 months pregnant, expecting our very own Rainbow Baby.
Delivery day finally came on August 9th, 2019. After 40 hours of labor, God blessed my husband and I with the most incredible gift. A very healthy, gorgeous 8lb 1oz baby girl who has stolen so many hearts already. Madeline Elizabeth Giberti was finally welcomed into this world! She is my rainbow after the storm and I pray whoever is reading this finds a rainbow after their storms, speaks up when they need to and always knows there is hope. Everyone deserves a happy ending! Whatever you’re going through, remember the sun rises each morning after a night of darkness.”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Megan Giberti of Georgia. You can follow her journey on Instagram. Do you have a similar experience? We’d like to hear your important journey. Submit your own story here, and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories.
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