Or How You Can Avoid Heartbreaking Life Catalysts
In 2009 I had met the man I wanted to marry, the man I knew I was to have kids with and have the most incredible life with. That was until I discovered he had a secret life with 2 other girlfriends.
I met Jerry* at a night club whilst visiting my sister in another city, he bought me a drink and looked at me like no man ever had. If I could have imagined my dream partner, then this was it. He was hilarious, free spirited, kind, devoted and smart. After getting out of an abusive relationship he was more than I could have ever hoped for.
The only problem was that we lived in different cities, 2 hours apart. Of course I would later find out that this was less than a problem for him and more like an ideal solution.
We would spend the weekends with each other, savouring every moment we could spend together. We would go on wild adventures laughing the whole time, wrapped up in love for each other.
He whisked me away to Paris one weekend to ask me to become an official item, and I didn’t think it could possibly get any better. What I didn’t know was that between our romantic picnics and candlelit dinners he was sneaking away to call his other girlfriends to tell them he missed them and couldn't wait to get back from his work trip abroad.
Sometimes there were things that I noticed that didn’t add up. For example, in the week days when we didn’t see each other he could go AWOL, not answering his phone or replying to texts, then all of a sudden I would hear from him with elaborate and believable reasons as to why he couldn’t contact me.
He had fantastical stories about his life; he had saved passengers on a burning train and won an award for it, he was doing his Masters in Engineering after getting near perfect marks in his undergrad, he told one girlfriend that he was an orphan and he bravely survived childhood alone. All lies to make him appear the most impressive man alive.
The day I found out the truth he was away in another city playing rugby (at least that’s what he told me!). I was pottering around on his laptop doing research for a surprise I had planned for him; taking him away on a foreign holiday. I opened Word and discovered letters he had written to another woman asking for a threesome with her and me.
He had never mentioned this to me, still, I gave him the benefit of the doubt, trusted him implicitly and thought “I’ll ask him about it later”. I carried on my research into romantic destinations I could take him…but something nagged at me and told me to do some digging. I opened his emails and that’s when I worked out who the real Jerry was.
Multiple messages asking random strangers online for sex, including paying for it, he didn’t stop at women but included men in his escapades. I spotted a message from a girl asking for Jerry to call her, that she missed him and loved him. The message had her cell number attached to it, so I made the strangest phone call of my life.
“Hello, is this Kelly*?”
“Yes, who’s this?”
“My name is Victoria, this is going to be a really weird phone call, Kelly….. Do you know Jerry?”
“Yes I do, he is my boyfriend, how do you know him?”
“He is my boyfriend too.”
“Where are you?”
“I’m at his place.”
“I’ll be there in 10 minutes.”
When she arrived I knew that she wasn’t lying, I knew that Jerry loved her too.
She pointed out things in his bedroom that were hers and asked why I hadn’t noticed them before. Shampoo, a hairdryer, a brush. I hadn’t noticed them as he told me he had got them for me for when I stayed over. ‘So sweet of him’ I thought at the time.
I asked her why she didn’t notice the pictures of me all over the place? She hadn’t as he replaced them with photo’s of her when she came round.
Things started falling into place really quickly. We worked out he had another 2 women in his life, we all crossed over at some point. His first girlfriend was open to hear from Kelly and I after we sent her a Facebook message, but the other girlfriend (girlfriend number 4) refused to believe us and said that Jerry was a good guy.
We discovered that he had woven elaborate stories about his life so we could all fit in. He would write us all love letters, texts and emails and just change out the names and minor details to save himself the admin work. He would use the same nicknames for us and have the same secret silly sayings. He promised the same things to all of us and fed us all a variety of lies. He even told us his birthday was one day apart for every girlfriend so he would get multiple birthdays in a row.
When we discovered that he took Girlfriend 2 on shopping trips and she picked out presents for his non existent sister but were actually for me we got mad (at least she had a great taste in gifts!).
The 3 of us girlfriends got together for a night out, we compared photos, letters, presents and stories. We became friends united against a shared enemy.
We made posters with his face on it saying "Lying, cheating scumbag" and handed them out in the city centre and had great fun while doing it.
I never spoke to Jerry again after that. Kelly and I left him a note at his apartment saying “We know what you’ve done” and signed our names on that day we discovered his secret. We left after smashing a couple of things and saying goodbye to the ghost of a man we never knew.
A few weeks later I got a text I never responded to reading “I’m sorry for what I have done to you. Good luck with everything.”
As far as I know he is up to the same old tricks with a new set of unsuspecting and undeserving women.
Why am a telling you this story?
It took this monumental, and devastating, event for me to make a change in my life. Heartbreak can give you the courage to become the person you always wanted to be. In reality Jerry was nothing but a distraction from a life I loathed, a distraction from a body I was ashamed of, and a mind unfulfilled.
I still lived in my home town, a place I despised, yet was too terrified to leave. I had multiple emotional issues that I hadn’t faced. I lacked the courage to become the best version of myself.
I don’t want you to go through that same pain to get to a better place in your life.
After I was destroyed with heartbreak and all that was important was stripped away, I had a moment of clarity and knew I needed to leap into a life that I truly loved. A few months after becoming single I had sold all of my possessions, quit my job and had bought a one way ticket to a new life in Canada.
Being cheated on was my catalyst for change.
I wish that I had had the foresight or bravery to create a catalyst for myself instead of waiting for something horrible to happen.
Now that I live my life with courage, I identify ways I need to grow and actively pursue solutions to overcome personal obstacles.
These are now the catalysts in my life instead of devastating personal disasters. These catalysts are not filled with pain, grief and despair but instead with delight, hope and anticipation.
My challenge to you
Can you create a catalyst in your life instead of waiting for something to happen to spur you into action? Is there something you're not totally fulfilled in, something you loathe in your life? Make a change now, take action and feel empowered in being able to make the best decisions for you. Don't leave it until you're forced to change in difficult and painful circumstances like I did.
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