At 46, MP wasn’t the oldest guy who’d ever messaged me on match.com but he was certainly at the top end of my specified age range.
He was tall, athletic, had salt and pepper hair and eyes as blue as the tropical seas. He really was very handsome.
His first message landed in my inbox a week or so after my date with The Drunk and I proceeded with a new found air of caution.
I was surprised by how warm and friendly it was. He’d given some thought to it’s content which thankfully avoided questions like ‘so, what are your views on being fingered?’ and statements like ‘you look really naughty, I bet you know how to have fun…’. He finished the message by offering his full name and the name of where he worked so that if I wanted to check him out and make sure he wasn’t lying, I could.
Now, I’m not a
massive bimbo all the time. I was more than aware that it could have been one big elaborate hoax (though a tiny part of me wondered who the fuck has time for shit like that) but having learned a valuable lesson with The Drunk I used the details he gave me and googled him. Sure enough on the results page there was his company bio, linked-in profile and twitter account.
What a fucking relief. I did a bit of a happy dance, gave myself a high five and emailed him back.
Messaging him was easy and dare I say it, I almost enjoyed hearing from him.
We talked about work, past relationships, our home life, ambitions, our kids and what we enjoyed in our spare time. Though he was older we had a fair bit in common. Where we differed was in our jobs. I do nine to five for a firm of Financial Advisers whereas he worked in Software (what is with me and Hot Geeks?!) and looked after clients all over Europe so he travelled a lot. That, he said, was why he’d struggled to find anyone long term.
I suspect it was more the fact he was a lying, cheating sack of shit. But we’ll get to that later.
My Modus Operandi is to message for a while online and establish if things flow before moving into giving someone my number – God forbid it end up in a phone box advertising sexy services or worse still, on the internet where some rogue PPI claim company could get hold of me – but after a couple of weeks MP came straight out and asked if I’d like to meet for coffee. Nothing strenuous; just a quick get together over lunch to see if we got on in person as much as we did online.
Not wanting another date which ends with being sexually assaulted and verbally abused I agreed and we met in a coffee shop near my work.
It was really lovely. He was softly spoken (thank God for my hearing aid) but as nice in person as I’d imagined. Truth be told, I could have spent all afternoon talking to him but as I had to go back to work we both agreed to go for a drink next time and something to eat.
Fast forward a couple of months and we’d started to see each other more regularly and were talking on the phone when we could.
Nothing in how he behaved gave me cause for concern. But then I’d expect nothing less from a Master Manipulator.
Easter Saturday I woke to a text message which simply read:
“A, you’re so lovely and wonderful, but I cannot see you anymore”
What the fuck. Like, what the actual fuck?
Screenshotting it I sent it the girls with a message that just said ‘I will never understand men’.
I couldn’t reply because (like a spineless bellend) he blocked me so feeling a bit bemused and a little upset (and quite a bit pissy) I took myself to Reading for the Easter Weekend.
At exactly 1:33pm on Easter Sunday my phone rang. A number I didn’t have stored flashed across the screen and in that exact moment something inside me knew who would be on the other end of the phone. The conversation went like this:
Her: Hi is that A?
Me: It is.
Her: Hi, I’m L. MP’s fiancee.
Me: ….. and now it makes perfect sense.
Fuck. My. Actual. Fucking. Life.
For someone who had found the courage to pick up the phone and call me, L was surprisingly calm. She didn’t shout (I would have), she didn’t swear (I absolutely would have) and she didn’t assign blame (I probably would have…). What she was, was a woman looking for answers.
I made L one promise on that call: I would answer any question she had on the proviso that she understood two things:
- That I had absolutely no idea she existed.
- That she accepted she probably wasn’t going to like some of the answers she got.
Before you judge me know this: I genuinely had no idea she existed. Not a fucking scooby. I’ve been in relationships with men who can’t keep their dick in their pants so I know first hand how dogshit awful that feels. NOTHING in how he behaved gave me reason to suspect he was with someone; we talked on the phone before work and after work, in the evenings and at the weekends.
For the next half an hour I told her everything. Told her how MP and I met. About our messages. About our dates. Where we’d been and when. Everything.
I had nothing to hide because in my eyes I’d done nothing wrong.
Between us we pieced together a clusterfuck jigsaw of lies and deceit. For every time MP was with me, he’d lied to L about where he was. Every single time.
L had long suspected that he was unfaithful but having seized an opportunity to go through his phone she’d found the last of our text messages and frantically wrote my number down and called me when he was out.
I told her that it was unlikely I was the first woman he’d cheated with and I was undoubtedly not going to be the last. My advice, not that it meant anything in the grand scheme of things, was to pack her bags and leave. And maybe set fire to all of his shit before she go.
At the end of the conversation a tiny, broken voice just said thank you.
Thank you? Was she serious I thought? I’ve just told you things I hadn’t told my girlfriends and you’re thanking me? In that very moment I felt fucking awful. I felt like the bullet fired from a gun that shattered her heart and I felt disgusting for it.
And then I felt pure, unadulterated rage that a man I had come to trust had behaved like a prepubescent boy who had just discovered what his cock does and was determined to yield it like a bastard lightsaber at anyone he could. What a selfish, lying, manipulative fuck.
Before L and I disconnected, MP came home and in a heartbeat I heard L find her ladyballs and tell him that she was on the phone to me and that she knew everything. A tiny squeak emanated from MP and though I wasn’t there I knew his world had come crashing down. She asked me if I wanted to speak to him one last time and I simply replied saying “Nah I’m good thanks, I’d rather stitch my vagina up that give him anymore of my time. Good luck”
And with that, the call was done.
So now, when people mock me for my rules I tell them this story.