Played by 'the perfect man'

All Woman

 

Below is *Renée's story detailing her liaison with a man ­— the perfect package — but who happened to be separated and unwilling to seek a divorce.

 

IN December 2015 I met a man who was the perfect package in my eyes. He had a very good job, is 6 feet 3 inches tall, polite, respectful and seemed to have walked right out of a fairy tale.

Of course I thought it was too good to be true, as being single for four years I would have come to the realisation that most men are very good at hiding their true colours. But captivated by his very convincing ways, I decided not to be judgemental and just simply get to know him for who he was.

This decision led to many conversations via e-mail, as at the outset I declined to give out my number. Surprisingly, these conversations remained pure and friendly over a period of four months and then I decided to give him my number.

At this point nothing changed; the only difference was that instead of e-mails we were now talking over the phone. Another two months passed, a few dates happened in between, and our friendship kept growing until we started developing feelings and the dates increased. But I still was not satisfied to venture into a relationship.

Here's the thing: I found out he was married and had two children, but when I asked him about it, he said they were separated for a number of years, he had moved out of the marital home and a divorce was forthcoming, but the delay had to do with custody issues for his children.

So I continued the friendship. I even had his claims of not living with his wife checked out, and they were true.

Eventually I realised there was no reason to call him a liar, and now having known him for a satisfactory period of time, we started a very innocent relationship as I made it clear I was in no rush.

This was going well and I felt really happy and different about him. He was respectful, did not force himself on me or pressure me. He went at my pace and made a concerted effort to let our relationship work.

Nevertheless, leading up to this summer he explained that he was going on vacation for a month.

OK, I could live with that, I thought, and from the day he left we kept the lines of communication open so the distance between us wouldn't feel so great.

I was not worried, but I was certainly caught off guard when his “ex-wife” began posting pictures on social media, with, yes, you guessed it, him included.

So I asked him about it and questioned if they were still together, and why he couldn't have said that she was going to be on the trip.

Say hello to our first major, super major argument. It was as if he had morphed into someone else, and I was duly informed that whoever he goes on vacation with has nothing to do with me.

Now having been single for four years leading up to my decision to date him, I knew when it was time to go, and this was it; but as someone who loves research and did quite a number of research courses while at university, I had to get to the bottom of this.

Was he really separated? What was he hiding? Did the wife know of my existence?

So I skimmed through his friends' list and found my ticket — a mutual friend we had had in real life, but unknown to him, as we were not friends on social media.

When I contacted this friend, she first of all expressed what a small world we lived in, that she was equally surprised at the pictures she saw, then she spilled the beans.

She had known him since 2011. He was once interested in her and also told her he was separated.

But she explained that while he didn't strike her as a player, he was definitely a trickster, as over the period she had known him, he had always been 'single'.

She also said that when she questioned why he chose to remain separated and not get a divorce he told her that he wanted to keep a few benefits and it would have had implications on a filing process and obtaining a green card.

She further explained that had I stayed it would have become worse as he saw nothing wrong with his actions. It didn't take me long to realise this, as the next day he acted as if nothing had happened and we were still on good terms.

The purpose of this piece is to highlight that legally you only need to be separated for a year before filing for a divorce. If a man keeps delaying to file, maybe he has no intention of ever truly leaving his wife. I hope someone learns from my experience.

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