Remember at the end of my post “There Is Love And There Is Blinded By Love” I asked if any of my readers had stories to tell that could help other people. This is the second of two true stories that I hope will be a valuable lesson learned in the pitfalls of relationships
Beware Of Cheaters
Whether you meet a stranger through a chance encounter in public or through an online dating site, keep in mind that some of them will be cheaters. They may already be married or in a committed relationship, and it is highly unlikely they will admit that to you. Everyone reading this will soon know just how much a cheater will lie about his history, present status, where he was yesterday and where he is right now. If you are the person being used by the cheater, you will feel confused and frustrated before he (or she) is done with you (or until you discover the whole truth and you are done with them).
This is the true story of a cheater who went to epic lengths to conceal the fact that he was married. Looking back, it is mind-blowing just how thick, fast and effortless the lies flowed from that cad. Eventually I had to admit to myself that he was basically using me for sex for as long as he could get away with it – six months, as it turned out.
Here’s how his elaborate fraud scheme unfolded. I am a single woman who met him in a retail store where he was working. He approached me in a very friendly, chatty and flirtatious manner. We clicked right away. Soon after that we were meeting for coffee and getting acquainted. He told me that his wife had died a few years ago, but he still wears his wedding ring. Sure, in retrospect, that could have been a red flag. However, I also knew that it was possible for a grieving widower to have a sentimental attachment to a wedding ring. He claimed that wearing his ring also helped ward off unwanted advances from other women. That part seemed a little far-fetched, but I shrugged it off.
We seemed compatible in so many ways, including our religious faith and spirituality. We had long conversations about everything and anything. Those interactions may have been sincere, or he may have been grooming me like a predator. At the time though, I was happy to include this man in my life. Although the relationship was moving very quickly, I reasoned that, at our age, why should we take things slowly? That turned out to be unfortunate thinking on my part.
When he bought me a gold promise ring, I was thrilled by that romantic gesture of commitment. It seemed like proof that we were a real couple.
The (fake) widower told me that he was living with his disabled adult son in a condo. Since my condo was more private, that became the hub for our relationship as it progressed to an intimate level. I was flattered when he came to my place and would immediately mute his phone so we wouldn’t be disturbed. Sure,today I know cheaters use that trick to hide communications coming from their spouse, but back then I didn’t think twice about it.
Outrageous Lies and Excuses
Throughout the months of deception, I gradually started to realize that our relationship was solely based around my home, my meals and my family. We occasionally went out in public, but not often. I wasn’t introduced to his friends, nor did his co-workers seem to realize that I was his ‘girlfriend.’ I was supposed to attend one of his theatrical performances, but somehow he kept forgetting to reserve the ticket and then the play was allegedly sold out and then the venue was allegedly changed at the last minute. It was all getting to be a bit much, especially since I had not yet been to his condo either. He kept saying that he didn’t want to intrude on his son yet, or that the condo was far too messy, or whatever his excuse-of-the-day was.
To be clear, this man was sleeping over at my condo on some nights every week. That was the major reason why it never occurred to me that he still had a wife and a home somewhere else. I would later discover that he lived out of town, but when he had a late shift at work and an early shift the next morning, that is when he would sleep over at my condo. On those nights, apparently his wife thought he was sleeping over at their son’s condo. It was a clever con-job on his part, but not flawless as it turned out.
I’m not sure how much of what this cad told me about his work history was true. However, it’s worth warning others about grandiose claims made by cheaters and/or compulsive liars. He knows his scam will be discovered at some point, but in the meantime he may exaggerate his achievements to impress or mislead you into thinking he is financially secure. Or, perhaps it’s just self-serving fantasy on his part to stroke his own ego.
Searching For Truth
How did I eventually expose this married fraudster for who he really is? Well I did what I wish I had done at the very beginning before dating him. I, and some friends and family members, used Google and social media to uncover the hurtful truth. Here are tips I can pass along to help others avoid being used by a man who claims to be single or a widower while he is still living with a spouse or common-law partner.
- 1. Do a thorough search of his name on Google and social media (Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.). If he doesn’t have any social media presence, that may be a red flag. That was true about the guy who deceived me. However, after some digging, my friends and I found his name mentioned in posts or websites relating to his church, his theatre group, his mother’s obituary, etc.
- 2. If the man has a Facebook account and it doesn’t have privacy restrictions, inspect it very closely. If he has very few friends and few posts and/or there are no comments, that could be a dummy account. Be skeptical and be suspicious!
- 3. If your online search comes up with a landline phone number connected to the man’s name, do a reverse look-up of the phone number to see if an address comes up. In my situation, that was how I eventually found out the cad actually lived out of town in a bungalow with his very-much-alive wife.
- 4. In the case of a man who claims to be a widower, do a Google search on the spouse’s name for the obituary or any other mention. If the spouse is still living, her name may come up in an employment context, an online review, a charitable donation list, etc. In my situation, when I couldn’t locate an obit for his wife, I asked him about it. He claimed she didn’t want a local one, but that there was one published back in the U.K. where her family was from. Here’s where anyone in this situation should hit PAUSE and realize that if it sounds preposterous, then it probably is preposterous!
- 5. “Before becoming intimate, check on what is legitimate.” That should be the mantra of single women everywhere. If the relationship proceeds and seems safe, be sure to ask for his home address in the early weeks of dating. That way you can check if his residence and alleged single status are legitimate before you become intimate. If necessary, do a search on the address he gives you. If the address doesn’t exist or if it isn’t a residential building, that’s a problem. In my case, the fraudster gave me the wrong street number twice before he gave me a real address – even then, it was just his son’s condo. He tried arguing that he was just bad with numbers, but by that point I wasn’t buying any of it.
- 6. When doing an online background check on someone you just met and plan to date, follow the clues wherever they may lead. This could prove or disprove if the man/woman is truly single and available. You have a right to know!
After the fraud was exposed in my relationship, I was well aware that another person was also hurt by that man’s lies and cheating. When his wife found out the truth, she revealed to a friend of mine that her husband said I was just a disgruntled customer from the store who had a grudge against him. Yes, he actually threw me under the bus with a whopping lie in an attempt to save his sorry ass. Well, it didn’t work!
As I like to say, knowledge is power. The more you know about a person, the more power that gives you to make the right choices and avoid the cads and players in this world.
Gone are the days when we can just take a stranger’s word for their current relationship status. Always look beyond their initial best behaviour for proof of what is real or what is fiction. That being said, there are still many good people of integrity to meet in life, if we just take it slow and keep our eyes wide open.
[Authorized by Susan E., Winnipeg, MB. Written by Kate W.]
The End… and a careful new beginning.