I first dated my ex when I was 18. We split after 15 months but I was still in love with him many years later.
After a 22-year marriage, I found myself divorced. After a couple of casual boyfriends, I contacted my ex by carrying out an Internet search. I was just short of my 50th birthday.
He responded to my email and the relationship took off again, as if we had never been parted.
We lived about 140 miles away from each other but he soon came to see me. I was so in love, we made plans and I was told that his alcoholic wife was in the advanced stages of illnesses and would soon die.
The magic lasted well over 2 years, as we made plans and searched for a suitable house.
In the 3rd year the relationship started to fail, but I was totally besotted and moved to be with him.
From the start of us living together, I felt that there was a real problem with our life together. Within 9 months he had pulled out of buying a house with me and returned to live in the marital home, claiming that he was living in an adjacent apartment.
Over the next 5 years he was back and forth between me, his wife and possibly other women.
Looking back, he would come back to me covered in scratches — gardening injuries, he said. l believed him; I was pleased to have him back in my bed.
The relationship continued to deteriorate but I was hooked.
I now know that I was being devalued, and shortly before the 10th anniversary of getting back with him, he walked out. I believe he moved in with his new victim the same day.
It took me 6 months to start functioning again.
Nine months after leaving me, he was sending me friendly texts — according to a friend of ours, his new relationship was already in serious trouble and in danger of failing.
Fortunately, I had received counseling and was ready for this and ignored him.
I sold my house (fortunately I had bought it in my name only) and moved back to my original home (which I had kept as a bolt hole once I realised that the relationship wasn’t going to end well).
He continued to try and contact me.
Once safe back home, I responded to a text regarding a career matter, ending by saying that I was shortly going to a holiday destination we had hoped to go to together.
I was astounded to see him with his new partner on the SAME aircraft as me. He hoovered and triangulated, flirting with me and ignoring his partner. Friends and family believe he managed to hack my emails and booked the same flight as me.
He is also viewing my online activity and profiles. I know this, as Linked-in lists the names of people who view your profile.
I believe he waited to leave me until he found a strong, independent woman who had plenty of capital as his next target.
My friend tells me he contributed 14% to their new home — hats off to the new partner — I failed to get a contribution out of him. On reflection, this was the best possible thing that could have happened.
This is only a small part of my story. I’m now getting back to be the strong, independent woman I was 11 years ago.