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Dating Disasters: Betsy

For the last Dating Disasters post, I shared other people’s stories so this time I thought I should share some of mine. I used to be a serial dater and I really enjoyed everything about dating so I have more than a few funny stories to share. All of these stories and more are in my book, The Narcissist in My Bed.

Sugar Daddy guy

I once dated a guy who liked to pay for everything. We would go out drinking with four of my girlfriends and he would pay for everything for the whole night – dinner, drinks, food on the way home. The best thing he ever bought me was a 3 day ticket to the Formula One racing in Abu Dhabi and even better, he bought a ticket for my best friend aswell. Sugar Daddy went with his friend and we didn’t even meet up with him there. My bestie and I watched Lewis Hamilton win the F1 and had the best time.

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New Year’s Eve guy

Many moons ago, I agreed to go out with a guy because I didn’t want to be alone on New Year’s Eve. In my defence, it was when I lived in Dubai. Usually, I would come home for the whole Christmas and New Year period, but this year I decided I want to spend New Year in Dubai and go to a fancy party. None of my friends came back to Dubai for New Year’s Eve, so I had no-one to go out with. So when he said he got tickets to a champagne brunch and a club, I was sold. We went to the Westin for their champagne brunch with a group of his friends and had a great time. They had a big, outdoor dance floor and we rung in the New Year in style. Then we went to a club called Etoile to dance the night away. By this point, I was very merry after all the champagne. At some point, I said something to him that he didn’t like: he stormed off and left me in the middle of the dance floor. For the life of me, I can’t remember what I said. It was mortifying being left alone but the music was really good so I got another drink and stayed in the club, dancing by myself.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, we used to hang out in the same pub so I had to see him all the time afterwards. I couldn’t think of a way to ask him what I said. But it must have been bad becasue he wouldn’t speak to me and would ignore me when he saw me.

Random fact: we had the same birthday.

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Boring Guy

When I lived in Birmingham, I dated a guy who lived in London. We would meet up at weekends. Whenever I went to London, it was always fun and exciting. The city is so fast paced and busy that I loved the thrill of going out in London. But when he came to see me in Birmingham, the excitement wore off. One day, I wanted to go to the park and he wanted to lay around the house. In the evening, we got into a big fight and I kicked him out. The last train to London had already left for the night but I didn’t care. I went out for drinks with a friend.

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If you want to share your dating disaster stories, get in touch.

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Survivors’ Stories: TJ

As always, sharing and reading other people’s stories might help you heal, it might make you feel less alone, it might make you feel better in some way. It makes me feel a special kind of camaraderie with my fellow survivors. Whatever it does for you is valid.

This week’s Survivor’s Story comes from TJ, 30-something, London UK.

• Tell us your story. How did you meet? How did you fall in love? What happened between you and your narcissist ex?

We met online as so many do in this day and age. He seemed smart, fun and like the serious kind of guy that was boyfriend material. He was different from the rest and I loved feeling spoiled and like I had found something ‘real’ for once.

• What was he like in the beginning and when did his behaviour change?

He was amazing at the beginning. He bought me flowers, held the door for me, pulled out my chair – it made me think chivalry isn’t dead! He took me to expensive restaurants, exclusive clubs and on posh dates. Not that I need those sorts of things, I love a walk in the park and a picnic, but I thought it must stand for something. That this man cares enough about me to spend money, that he was stable and that is all I wanted when I’d been with so many losers in the past.

• When did you realise that you needed to end the relationship?


Things started to change when I realised he wasn’t spending money and treating me to the finer things in life because he thought I was special. He was doing it because he was narcissistic. He loved himself and had to prove that he was a provider, that I needed saving. He changed when one day when he was bragging about a house he was buying I said I wanted to buy a flat. His attitude turned and he became competitive towards me and put me down.


• How did the relationship affect your physical and mental health?

For a while I felt that I couldn’t tell men that I’m a strong fierce woman who has a good job and who has ambition. I would often go on dates and work hard to not mention I bought my own flat in London and that I manage a team of 25 (mainly) men. But then I decided that this is the sort of attitude that continues to let these narcissistic men thrive. This is the sort of attitude that allows women to feel that they shouldn’t have their own goals and they need a man to make it in this world. I don’t need a man but I’m pleased to say that I have finally one and he loves me for every part of me, he’s my biggest fan and I love him.

• How did you get out of the relationship?

​One day when I was 5 minutes late to dinner because I was working late he accused me of being a high flyer and having such an amazing job in a nasty sarcastic way. He then started sending me the weirdest things about his finances including his mortgage papers and his pay stub. As if I needed to know his financial situation. He was just so desperate to be better than everyone else he couldn’t stand the thought of someone outshining him. That’s when I said bye boy!

• Is there anything else you would like to tell us?

Here is some advice:

Don’t let men hold you back.

Don’t let men make you feel you need to be subpar to them.

Don’t rely on a man, do it yourself.

• What would you like other women to take away from your story?

Not all men are narcissistic. Make sure you have the tools to call them out when you see it and you will find the right one!

xoxo

xoxo

xoxo

Thanks for sharing your story. Once we know how to spot the signs, we can protect ourselves more easily.

If you would like to tell your story and be featured on my blog, feel free to get in touch.

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Synopsis

Here’s the story synopsis for The Narcissist in My Bed.

If you like what you read and want to know more, pre-order the book pretty please.


Cynical since birth, 29-year-old teacher Nina Bradshaw moves to the sunny climes of Dubai in the hope of finding love with an exotic foreigner and more of a work-life balance. After a lifetime of dating losers in London, her world opens up when she meets James Lane, a handsome personal trainer from Jamaica. As fate leads to a budding romance, Nina and James quickly move in together, have a baby and get married. In that order! They are perfect for each other and the fast pace of their relationship feels like it’s meant to be. James is the perfect man and loves Nina in all the ways she needs to be loved.

But after having baby Eli, their sweet love affair turns sour. While balancing work and being a new mum, Nina tries everything she can to make her marriage work. But James is distant and disinterested in family life. After three years of ups and downs, Nina watches the love they once had evaporate from the relationship.

Then, her whole world is turned upside down when James’ secrets come to light and destroys Nina’s world. She struggles to reconcile with everything James has done and how he has turned her happy life upside down. She had no idea the man she falls in love with, has a child with and marries is a charming narcissist. The discoveries shatter Nina’s fairy tale life and start her on a journey to discover what narcissism is, and how to survive a relationship with a narcissist and come out on the other side.

This isn’t a typical tale of the ‘other’ hot guy coming to rescue the girl. This is a new twist. As a modern woman, she saves herself. Written from both Nina and James’ perspectives, you are given a rare insight into the mind of a narcissist. Based on true events, The Narcissist in My Bed is a prescriptive tale for people who find themselves in these manipulative, destructive relationships.

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Success Stories: The Two Of Hearts

Welcome to my new blog, Success Stories. As I spend a lot of time reading, writing and talking about sad stories, terrible break ups and narcissistic exes, I felt like I needed to spend more time listening to positive stories. So Success Stories was born. Here, you can share your stories of happy, successful and loving relationships to uplift everyone who needs a bit of hope and positivity in their day.

Our latest Success Story comes from Lisa and it’s an inspirational one.

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We are Lisa and Tony Fisher from Brooklyn New York.

The place where it all began.

It was a cold wintery day back in February 1995. The sun was filtering through the clouds. But the wind was sighing through my hair. Wearing a long leather coat with ankle boots was a perfect combination for that day. I was coming from the Allen School for Nursing.

The commute back to my house was about thirty five minutes. Usually I would do some studying on the train ride home. My classes were only on Saturday because I had other obligations. While I was on the platform my beeper went off. So I went to a pay phone to call that number. Fortunately it wasn’t important. When I hung up my train had arrived. Instead of going straight home I had planned on making a stop. Approximately twenty minutes later I was back in the station again, this time at Prospect Park waiting for the Q train heading home.

It was a refreshing day to be out and getting my brains smoking, with hopes on becoming a nurse. After attending the Allen School, next step was college. Saturday’s gave me piece of mind, looking forward to classes.

I was standing with my back turned across from the token booth clerk waiting for the train to arrive. This way when it gives off a signal I would go downstairs to the platform. But on the weekends they ran slower so I waited a little longer. Trying to look cute was over. I started getting chilly. Blowing smoke out of my mouth like cigarettes was fun as a kid, but now thank goodness I quit smoking.

The sun had went down, grey skies filled the air. It started getting crowded. When I turned to look around, this very attractive guy walked in. He stood by the token booth. My eyes looked like I had never seen a man a day in my life. Even though I was single I’d been on a few dates, but this one was a real knockout. A jump in the bed ready kinda thing. Being a lady I tried to keep my mind out of the gutter. Then the notification sounded off letting everyone know the train was approaching.

I was walking down the stairs with hopes that he would take the same train. He did. “It’s about time the train got here,” he said being casual. I wanted to smile but didn’t want to appear desperate. He was so handsome, looking hot wearing tight fitted blue jeans. My eyes were bulging, trying not to make it look too obvious. “Have you been waiting long?” I said wishing he would at least ask for my name or number.

Without answering my question he said, “Didn’t I see you on Jay street and Boro Hall?” Was that a coincidence or fate? Before my beeper went off that’s exactly where I stood waiting for the train. He saw me? How could I have missed this charming well-formed man?

When the train arrived we sat in the same car not far from each other. He got into a conversation with another male passenger but I kept cutting my eyes on him. Sometimes I would let him see me glancing. Several stops had went by and I was praying he didn’t get off.

From his looks I thought he was Caribbean because I judged him by his dreadlocks. It didn’t matter. I wanted to know more about him. We both got off on stillwell avenue. He was still running his mouth. By then they were on the Platform. Since it was the last stop the train didn’t pull off so quickly. That gave me time to see which way he was going. Slowly I got off and walked right between them saying “Excuse me” with a smile thinking he would get the message.

I was right, he got it. Soon as I walked ahead he told the guy “Nice meeting you, I’ll see you again” in a fast pace, trying to catch up. When he reached me he said something about Coney Island and I took it the wrong way telling him,

“Don’t talk about my neighborhood like that,” being sarcastic.

“I was born and raised here,” he said.

The excitement went throughout my body knowing there’s a chance we would see each other again. That had me spellbound. We crossed the street and parted separate ways. He went into the liquor store and I went to the deli next door.

Before he walked out, I hurried in, acting as if I had to purchase a bottle. But since it was my friends birthday, that gave me reason to buy one.

“You come here often,” he said. Then he thought, damn! “I hope she doesn’t think I’m an alcoholic, standing on line with this bottle of wine. She looks very exotic, long wavy hair down her back, wearing red lipstick, her lips were voluptuous, and curvaceous shape. Her smile was captivating.”

I had purchased a small bottle of liquor “No, it’s a birthday celebration for my girlfriend.” I answered.

We left the store together then stood on the corner waiting for a cab, still not knowing each other’s name. Our conversation was pretty short. On the low he was checking me out. It didn’t take long for the cab to appear. He sat in the back, I got in the front. To my surprise, he handed me a card and wrote his name Tony and number on the back. “Call me when you’re not busy,” he said.

I took the card and said, “My name is Lisa,” as I got out. His eyes were all over me. By then my fantasy of him was completely over. Reality kicked in as soon as I got out of the cab.

Not wanting him to see the building where I lived, I walked in a different direction letting him think I was a home owner, just in case he was someone not to be trusted. Especially since he lived in the neighborhood. I kept a list of what I would not tolerate in a man. To name a few was, do not date in your building or your neighborhood. Do not get affiliated with jailbirds. He must have his own place.

So when I got in the house I took his number and toss it in the dresser draw. Flat-out forgetting him. Several weeks went by, I happened to clean out my draw, came across a card that read “eat my nuts” written on the front. Wondering where I got this from, I looked on the back and saw his name. A big smile came across my face making me laugh. “Was he some kind of sex freak? “I said.

After getting overly excited I calmed down and read the card wondering why would he give me something like that. It happened to be a peanut company and that’s how they advertised their business. Sounds nasty, but it was all about sales and assorted nuts.

Before I called I thought maybe he’s married? I didn’t want that kind of drama in my life. But Since he wasn’t wearing a wedding ring, I thought I would give it a shot. So I dialed the number, he answered and we talked for hours. Before we ended the call he asked me out on a date. I broke one of my rules about dating where you live, hoping it wasn’t a mistake.

It was a very nice evening. We had dinner then a movie. He let everyone know we were on our first date. That had me blushing, thinking he was going to ask me out again. Tony was a perfect gentleman. He walked me to my door without looking or asking for a kiss. That had me feeling overjoyed and blessed with good luck. First date kissers is a turn-off for me. When he came to pick me up, we met near the bus stop. From the direction I was coming from he saw I didn’t live in a house, as he probably thought. I had to protect me and my family against weirdo’s. Since then we became extremely close. The best relationship I’ve ever had. The following year we got married on Valentine’s Day.

We have been married for 24 years.

What Do You Like To Do Together For Fun?

Shopping and dinning out. We have eaten almost everywhere in New York. One of our favorite restaurants is Dallas BBQ.

What Is Your Favorite Thing About Each Other?

He always brought me gifts letting me know he was thinking of me.

He loves the way I look, the fragrance that I wore, how I touched his heart and the sound of my sweet voice.

My Favorite Thing About Him?

My favorite thing about him is he’s always been very supportive, turning negativity into positive since our first date. Being so comfortable talking, I hoped I didn’t talk too much. He’s a good listener and gave good advise.

But when he shared his story it blew me away into feeling ambiguous, but it was his past, not who he was now. He could’ve kept that from me. I appreciated his honesty.

When Did You Realize That You Had Fallen In Love?

One day he had invited me over to his house for dinner. I sat at the table admiring him for making me feel so special. In my past relationships, I never experienced that kind of love.

Whereas he would take me to and from my house making sure I arrived safe.

What Was He Like In The Beginning And What Is He Like Now?

He was the best boyfriend and even a better husband always making sure I was financially and emotionally secure. I never had a problem with infidelity or abused when it came to him. And he still treats me like a queen.

How Have You Overcome Difficulties In A Relationship?

It wasn’t easy, lots of communication, working together and having each other’s back. With a mixture of love, constant hugs and I love you’s every day helped us get through it. There will always be hurdles but jump them together and remember, it’s not the problems you have, it’s the ones you solve.

What Advise Would You Like To Give Other Women Trying To Build Successful, Long Lasting Relationships?

As we go through different stages in our life, so do our relationships. Revive, flourish it again never stop falling in love. Build together, be unbreakable whether it’s a business or family. Stand on your platform in strength because the power of two is in you. Never give up, believe in your love from this day forward.

Is There Anything Else You Would Like To Tell Us?

Back in 2013 I was discriminated against on my job at an assisted living facility. Two co-workers took my picture without my knowledge and posted it on Instagram with a monkey along with a nasty caption indicating that’s how I looked.

From that moment on our lives were turned upside down. Eventually I went from being a victim to a victor. I sued the job and won making history by creating a precedent in the courts for this type of hatred.

My husband encouraged me to write so that I could share the story of my pain. In 2019 he and I became authors of “The Manor Exposed” book series, a memoir that delves into the very essence of systemic racism in the workplace. It is available from Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

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If you would like to share your story, get in touch.

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Success Stories: Leigh

Welcome to my new blog, Success Stories. As I spend a lot of time reading, writing and talking about sad stories, terrible break ups and narcissistic exes, I felt like I needed to spend more time listening to positive stories. So Success Stories was born. Here, you can share your stories of happy, successful and loving relationships to uplift everyone who needs a bit of hope and positivity in their day.

Here is our second Success Story.

My name is Leigh Skarin. I’m 34 years old and we live in Texas.

 Tell us your story. How did you meet? How did you fall in love? What happened between you and your partner? 

My husband and I met on eHarmony, a dating website, on November 10, 2008. We started talking on there. He immediately asked for my phone number as soon as we got to the open communication portion. We were a five hour drive from each other at the time, so we talked on the phone every night.

We met for the first time on February 13, 2009. We met in the middle, and my mom came with me, so he met her when he met me. He stayed with his grandparents and I stayed with my mom at the hotel. I was 22 years old when we met, and I’d never had a boyfriend, held hands with anyone, etc. We held hands for the first time the next day, Valentine’s Day, while taking a walk.


He told me he loved me the first time when we were talking over the phone in either February or March. We talked on the phone every day for an hour or more. Sometimes he would read to me if we didn’t have a lot to share that day. He asked my mom for permission to marry me in May, and then proposed on June 26th. We saw each other for about three days every month, except for three months when we got to spend a whole week with each other.
We got married in April 2010, and many of our family and friends thought that we moved too quickly. The first time we kissed was on our wedding day when we were pronounced husband and wife. I’d always wanted to save my first kiss for my wedding day. Yes, I’m crazy, but I wanted it to be special. My husband had slept with about 10 other women. When we met, we agreed to save sex for marriage, and he was okay with waiting to kiss me, too. My top love language is physical touch, so it was very difficult to not do those things for a year and a half, but we wanted to honor each other, God and also build our relationship on communication, trust and respect. We both knew we could have a tendency to just focus on the physical aspect of a relationship. Before we introduced sexual intimacy, we wanted to get to know each other on a deeper level.

 What was he like in the beginning and what is he like now?

He was very bold and passionate in the beginning, of course. We are all more that way during the first stages of a relationship. Our love is deeper now, even if it isn’t so passionate, we are still in love with each other. After over 10 years together, I feel like we know we’ll have seasons when we’re more passionate about each other and seasons where we’re more passionate about other things. But through it all, we know that we’re here for each other and we’ll always be together.

 When did you realise that you had fallen in love?

This is a hard question to answer. A lot of our beliefs about life line up, and we have similar convictions. I’m attracted to him. I didn’t fall in love with him, per se. It was more a gradual realization that he is an amazing man and my best friend.

 How have you overcome difficulties in your relationship?

The beginning of our marriage was really difficult. I grew up without a dad, and feeling deserving of love was a huge challenge for me. No matter what, my husband would tell me he believed in me and loved me.
We also moved four times in the first year and a half of our marriage, and it was hard adjusting to new places, new jobs and a new marriage all at the same time. We feel like we grew closer together through that though, because we had to rely on each other for consistency instead of our surroundings.

 What do you like to do together for fun?

We love riding bikes, hiking and taking walks together. Traveling and exploring new places is also something we really enjoy doing.

 What is your favourite thing about each other?

My husband says his favourite things about me are that I’m sweet, thoughtful and mature. My favourite things about him are that he is loyal and believes in me.

 Is there anything else you would like to tell us?

We have a 3 year old son.

 What advice would you like to give to other women trying to build successful, long lasting relationships?

o Communicate: Make sure you and your partner are both willing to be open and communicate with each other. Especially when you have conflict, you need to be able to communicate and process with each other. Remember that you can’t read each other’s minds. You can’t know each other’s needs unless you share them. Ask your partner what his needs are, and be assertive in telling him what your needs are. Don’t be afraid to ask for what you want in the relationship.


o Forgive: Give grace to each other. We’re all human, and we all make mistakes. Be willing to forgive your partner when he messes up, and find someone who is gracious and forgiving with you as well. (Note, if there is abuse, don’t live with that. Get as far away from that as you can.)


o Serve: Find a partner who will not only look out for his own interests, but yours as well. And be willing to look out for your partner too. It’s not all about you, and it’s not all about him. You have to be willing to serve each other.


o Accept: Find a partner who accepts you and who you accept. Instead of focusing on finding the perfect person, focus on finding the person whose flaws you don’t mind living with every day.

o Show Kindness: Everyday, find a way to show kindness to your partner.

Thank you for sharing your story Leigh.

Leigh Skarin is an author. Her debut novel Finding Kacie, a sweet sports romance, is available on Amazon.

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Success Stories: Roger

Welcome to my new blog, Success Stories. As I spend a lot of time reading, writing and talking about sad stories, terrible break ups and narcissistic exes, I felt like I needed to spend more time listening to positive stories. So Success Stories was born. Here, you can share your stories of happy, successful and loving relationships to uplift everyone who needs a bit of hope and positivity in their day.

Our first success story comes from Roger, an author and loving husband.

Hi there,

My wife and I met back in 1991. We were both living in residential colleges at the University of Queensland. I didn’t have a girlfriend at the time and I hadn’t really been looking for one. I had enough to do just keeping up with my studies. I occasionally went out with my friends, but my social life beyond that was limited. I did get invited out to things by girls, usually on the recommendation of their friends, because I was reliable, didn’t drink much, and I could fight; so I was viewed as kind of a reliable partner at social events, but not much beyond that; in some ways I was the most underpaid male escort in the city. So, when the lady who became my wife invited me to a social function at her college, I did not pay her much attention. I just went along, had an okay night, and went home, without any intention of ever seeing her again. However, she and her friends came around to show us the pictures from the event, and over the next few months, we gradually got to know each other.

A barrier between us was that we were from very different social backgrounds. She was the the granddaughter of a British Army Major-General, and I was from a deeply working class background, with heavy Welsh overtones. She had gone to a prestigious girls school. I had attended a fairly rough high school. She was a conformist rule keeper, I was a nonconformist rule breaker. However we shared a lot of other things in common. An interest in music for one thing (despite somewhat different tastes), and we were passionate about a lot of the same things in life; and over time I grew to trust her, which was a key thing for me. I also grew to value her steadiness, reliability and sense of duty; and she came to appreciate my fire, passion and determination. We were both very determined people, and still are.

It was three years between our meeting and our getting married, and several things were plain for us right from the beginning. For a start, if our marriage was going to last, love had to be more than just a feeling; it also had to be a choice to seek the other’s good, regardless of how we were feeling. I think my wife would say that the times when she felt most loved by me were not the fun romantic times, but the hard times when I sought to love her in the midst of her struggles and incapacity. Also, we needed to have a way to forgive each other when inevitably we hurt each other’s feelings. However there are two more areas that have helped sustain our relationship through the storms of life (especially the Army life into which I went, and the frequent moves that came as result). The first of these is knowledge: we needed to not just know each other, but keep on getting to know each other as we grew and changed over time. I had seen a lot of relationships crack at this point, where the couple knew each other, got together, but then grew apart through assumption and presumption and not understanding that the other person was not static, but changing. The second area was momentum: we needed to keep moving toward one another, and prioritising our relationship rather than letting it compete with the many other priorities of life.

Twenty-five years later, we’ve been through a fair bit: the loss of a child through cancer, the loss of both my parents, two deployments with the Army, many griefs large and small and a lot of time away from each other. It’s been hard, but the work has been worth it.

Roger Marsh (author)

Roger’s first novel, Echoes of the Wind, is available from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Book Depository and Dymocks.

The links are on his website www. porthannwn.com

If you have a success story that you want to share, get in touch.

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Survivors’ Stories: Claudia

Today’s Survivor Story comes from Claudia, 33, from Massachusetts, USA. Thank you for agreeing to share your story! It will help other women heal and move on with their lives.

Tell us your story. How did you meet? How did you fall in love? What happened between you and your narcissist ex?

I met my ex at Auto Zone when I was 20 years Old. He helped me at the counter and gave my mom his number to give to me. In the beginning he was everything. He was kind, gentle, loving, caring. He did it all for me. I fell in love with him by all the small things he did in the beginning.

What was he like in the beginning and when did his behaviour change?

He was so sweet. He listened to me and inspired me to go after my dreams. He started to change about 6 months in. He quit his job and told me he needed somewhere to stay because he wasn’t going to be able to afford his place. I let him move in with me. BIG MISTAKE! He didn’t want to work, he then confessed to me that he quit his job because he had a son and Child Support was taking his money. I didn’t even know he had a son! And we were 6 months into the relationship. He apologized over and over until I forgave him. Then he told me I needed to get a second job or pick up more hours so that I could buy a car. He had a way with words. I fell for it.

So I would work from 7am until 10pm 7 days a week. I could barely function. When I started to gain weight that’s when everything changed. I was so depressed that he wouldn’t help out with getting a job or keeping up with the apartment. Every time I brought it up it was a fight. At this point I wanted to give up on everything. He made me believe my family didn’t care for me or loved me. I was a fool for believing that. They just didn’t accept him. They saw what he was doing to me. I went on a girls’ trip and he called me and destroyed my vacation. I had to come back early from my trip. He made it seem like it was a life and death situation. He just wanted me home to cook and clean and get back to work. And I did. He had me brainwashed. And then the verbal abuse started.

I had gained 15-20 pounds. And he began cheating. He gave me STDs not once but 3 times! And I was a fool making excuses for him. When I confronted him he said that he was not cheating! And I believed him and thought it was my body. After all his persuasion and words were so believable. One day we got into an altercation and I kicked him out. After a week of not seeing him he began calling me telling me he was sorry and missed me. I stupidly took him back. Then he began telling me it was all my fault and that things wouldn’t be like this if I just did things his way. Then he made me end friendships with friends. He said if I loved him I would do it. And I did. I was isolated from everyone I loved. This went on for 2 years. And all this time he was stealing my identity.

When did you realise that you needed to end the relationship?

I was working a night shift and a girl called me on my phone looking for him. I was so tired and depressed that I just wanted to cry. I didn’t even want to confront him. Then I had not one but 3 bill collectors call me at work. I got into a huge fight with him that night. I finally broke down and told him he won.

How did the relationship affect your physical and mental health?

In the 2 to 3 years we were together I had aged so much. I had gained 40 pounds. I was so depressed that I thought of suicide several times.

How did you get out of the relationship?

One day he called me and I missed the call and when I called back he didn’t answer. When he did he said to me “ You don’t like it do you? Next time I call answer the fucking phone bitch.” That was my last straw. I couldn’t take it. I got down on my knees and prayed fervently to God asking him to take this man out of my life if he was not meant for me. I prayed for what seemed like months but it was a few weeks. This man called me and said he was moving to Colorado and can he borrow money for a plane ticket. I knew this was a sign. I emptied my bank account, bought him a flight and gave him money for his expenses for 4 months. Then I dropped him off at the airport. It took me an official 6 months after that call to completely get rid of him.

Is there anything else you would like to tell us?

He called me a few times asking me for money after I got rid of him. He played me like a fool. Because he knew that I cared and I am not the type to hold grudges. But I believed in the power of prayer and karma.

What would you like other women to take away from your story?

When you see that first red flag, believe it. No man will change for you. Run as fast as you can and don’t look back. Believe in the power of prayer. God does not like when his children are mistreated or hurt.

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Dear Betsy: Should I forgive my cheating husband?

This problem was sent in by B. Murphy from Wexford, Ireland.

My husband recently told me that he cheated on me. We’ve been married for 3 years and we don’t have any kids. I don’t want to start dating all over again but I don’t know if I can forgive him. What should I do?

This is such a common but tricky situation to be in. When the person you love most in the world betrays you in the worst possible way, it’s so hard to know what to do.

I asked my Instagram followers to comment on this one so I’m going to share their feedback and then give my opinion at the end.

Yes.

“I have, but it’s complicated. In my instance, it revealed a pattern. And while I truly am able to see the underlying issues causing the pattern, there have been things that will never fully be healed/ restored in the relationship. It’s like scars. He gets overwhelmed and shuts down. Once things (normal adult streamers magnified by the pressure cooker he becomes) begin to blow, he seeks out female friendship. Someone who isn’t part of all the magnified problems. It begins as a friendship and then becomes a full on committed relationship. It took years to learn this is what happens. Now we know (and he is able to see it) I can hope it won’t continue. When we know better, we do better. But that’s in him. Layers of a life with someone and loving their brokenness unconditionally means it takes work. Relationships take work. As long as he is willing to keep himself in check – it’s worth it.”

No.

“I could never. Once a cheater, always a cheater. If they did it once, what’s stopping them from doing it again. Once they do it once, they don’t really care about you. It’s a conscious decision to cheat on someone. I don’t see how you can ‘accidentally’ cheat. I know anyone CAN cheat, it’s whether they do or don’t. I CAN rob a bank, I CAN steal a car, but that doesn’t mean I will. I like to live in the mindset of ‘what if’. Something made them feel the need to do that and act on it, so what if they say they won’t do it again but end up getting the urge? I couldn’t trust a bank robber even if they said they won’t steal again for the same reason. The trust is broken and can’t be restored.”

Maybe.

“What’s stopping anybody? Some people make mistakes and realise it. So in my opinion anyone can cheat. The same as someone who has cheated it doesn’t mean they will always cheat again. Some change, some don’t, like a bank robber, they also can change. Just my thoughts.” Yes. “Yes, it’s not easy. It takes work. On both sides. And understanding. But most of all, love.”

Yes.

“You said those vows, for better or worse. You gotta accept the good with the bad. Make it last forever. People are too quick to split up these days.”

No.

“I did. Over and over again – until I’d had enough. I stayed for so many reasons. Familiarity. I knew him. He was my father’s children. Not wanting to start over. It wasn’t until I realised what I didn’t deserve that I mustered the courage to walk away. Now I think if they want to cheat, they should just leave. I’m worth more than that.”

Interesting opinions there. Please comment below with what you think.

What are your non-negotiables? If being faithful is a non-negotiable for you, then the decision has already been made. But if it’s not, then you have a few things to consider. Do you have something worth saving? If the answer is yes, are you both willing to work at it to make the marriage work? You’ll need to have a long conversation about this with your husband. Can you truly let it go and not hold it against him forever? You’ll have to make peace with it regardless of his words or actions in the future. Are you confident that it was a one-off and he won’t betray you again? If you can trust him again, then your relationship can work.

But if you don’t think the relationship is worth saving, if you can’t let it go and you can’t trust him, then your relationship isn’t going to work. You don’t have children so you aren’t bound to each other for life. If you do leave him, you can eventually find someone else when you’re ready, be treated with respect and be happy again. Take your time, weigh up the pros and cons and decide what is best for you.

Best of luck,

Betsy xoxo

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Dating Disasters

Our first dating disasters come from Sarah, 28, from Brighton.

Disaster 1

“I once met this guy called Richard Small who told me his cousin was Simon from Blue. Then one night he came back to my place. He wanted to give me One Love but when I saw the size of his pecker, I told him I wasn’t over my ex. He said, “Pretend I’m Idris Elba.” There was no way that little thing was coming anywhere near me. And it didn’t because before anything happened let’s just say he got over excited and it was all over before it even began.”

Disaster 2

“So once I met this guy for a drink in a bar in Hove and I was telling him some stories of my times travelling. He was listening intensely and I thought he understood my stories as he didn’t question anything. And then I told him about the time I visited the Taj Mahal…

And he said, ‘What do you mean? The Taj food shop over the road?'”

Disaster 3

“I was chatting to a guy on Tinder. He had two men in his profile picture both wearing hats and sunglasses. So I didn’t really know how he looked. I wasn’t really dating at the time but I just happened to have a day off and he happened to be in town so I thought I’d just be brave and go for a coffee with him, however he looked. I hadn’t chatted to him for long so it wasn’t a big investment nor had we built up any connection, but I needed to pop into town anyway so I thought why not? So as I approached the coffee shop there was this scrawny looking guy sat outside who vaguely could have been either guy in the profile picture without the hat but still with sunglasses on.

It’s always the energy that meets you before you speak to someone anyway and I just felt some weird energy kick in and thought, “Oh shit, is that him? Could I just get away with just walking straight past or has he seen me?” But it was too late. I had to say hi and sit down. He was wearing a stretched black T-shirt with some dirty stain down it, casual shorts and sandals … clearly he made no effort. And then told me nothing about himself. I spoke and he agreed with everything that I said… leaning in and getting uncomfortably close.

So after I drank my coffee, I tried to make an excuse to go. I said I needed to get some things from the shops. As I started to stand up, he stands up too and says, “Oh, I’ll come with you.” So we start walking and I’m just thinking, how am I going to get rid of him? So we walked to the park, while I was all like, “Oh, you don’t have to come to Primark with me.”

We went to the park and I sat down with my bag on the side he was stood to create a barrier and he walked around and then sat down on the other side. Again, too uncomfortably close. He kept leaning in like he was going to try and kiss me and on about the third lunge I just leapt to my feet and was like, “I need to start heading back now for school pick up time now.” And he stood up too … and started walking with me again. He was telling me how often he is in the area and that he’d like to see me again. So I said, “Erm, well, I’m really busy. I’m not sure when I’d have time.”

We got to a corner and I was like, he’s not following me to the bus stop … where could I say I’m going that he couldn’t come? So I said, “Oh, before I leave town I really need to go to the bank. ” And I leant in and gave him a polite hug and again he tried to go in for a kiss. So I pulled back and went in for an assertive, brotherly, strong hug, sans pat on the back, said bye and speed across the road in the direction of the banks hoping never to hear from him again.

When I got home, I got a message from him saying he’d like to see me again and he’d seen me check my social media in front of him so I now had follow requests (from him) on there. I replied saying I felt no physical or romantic connection and I didn’t want to see him again. He said, “How do you know? You’ve only met me once, you should meet me again before you decide that.” At which stage for me it was a BLOCK.”

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Dating Disasters

New feature alert!

This feature is going to be a lighthearted humorous feature to share your dating disasters.

Send me your stories to feature on this blog.

Did your date look nothing like his profile picture? Did your date bring his mother? Did your date go to the toilet and not come back?

Let me know your story so we can laugh together.