It’s time for another guest post! This one’s a really shocking story from a lovely lady named Lorna, which I’ve entitled Lorna and the Liar.
Have you ever been in that situation where you’re getting to know two guys and need to make a decision about which way to go? That happened to me.
I’d had a couple of dates with Guy Number One, Derek. A nice sensible guy: two kids but no dramas; a postman.
Around the same time I met Guy Number Two, Ted. Gorgeous, way out of my league, a computer software manager. But he was also a little down on himself after two nutty exes, so I was in with a chance! He had three kids between the two exes and from how he explained the situation the mums made his life hell.
So being fairly normal myself, I figured I could look quite good in comparison!
The sensible me should have picked Derek, but the name was one I struggled with. Could I see myself dating a Derek? No.
And Ted was exciting. He made me feel things I’d never felt before. Could it be love? The one thing I used to say didn’t exist?
So I was a bitch and I ghosted Derek. I’m sorry.
But four months into my new whirlwind romance Ted sat me down to break some bad news to me. Two years previously he’d had a brain tumour, and now it was back. He needed surgery and would need to go to London for it soon.
We had only known each other for 16 weeks and he didn’t want to be a burden to me, so he didn’t want me at the hospital. He did eventually agree to me taking him and picking him up.
He had never told anyone about the first tumour so it took lots of persuading for him to tell his family and the mothers of his children, but I felt they needed to know. In the end, he told them on the day of the funeral of one of his best friends. Which was not exactly ideal.
When the day of his surgery came I begged him to let me come with him but he wasn’t having any of it. I took him to London and waited all day for updates. Eventually I got a call from a private number. Ted was calling from hospital: he told me he was discharging himself against medical advice, but they would only let him leave if someone came to collect him. When I got there he was pure white – he looked so ill, and the back of his head was shaved with a dressing on it which had blood seeping through. When he showed me later I could see he had a rash all over his head, which he told me was an allergic reaction to the anaesthetic.
I took him home and nursed him in bed, changing the dressings and caring for him as any loving girlfriend would.
All this drama made me reassess my priorities. “Life is too short,” I told him, and asked him to move to my town and move in with me for a while. We planned to sell my house and move back to his home town when we could get everything organised.
Life was amazing. I was so in love.
But then things changed. Ted became angry and paranoid. One one occasion I had an eyelash on my face and he told me he suspected it was another man’s stubble hair. He accused me of cheating on him. This is just one example but things like this happened daily and I knew I had to leave him.
But when I told him it was over he broke down in tears, explaining that the tumour was back and he hadn’t wanted to tell me. This was why his personality had changed. It all made sense. Eventually he would need more surgery, but for now they were just monitoring him.
We continued with the plan and sold my house and moved back to his home town. My son changed schools; I changed jobs. Ted had already told his children about his tumours and how he might die, and he wanted to be as close to them as possible.
I knew no one in the new area but I fitted in well with my new colleagues who would sometimes invite me out. But Ted was slowly getting worse so I would often make excuses not to go – he needed me at home. And in spite of his health issues things were good. I became the perfect housewife: I’d go to work, come home, cook and clean, look after my son who was adapting well with all the changes, and every other weekend all the kids would be together at our house. Those were the weekends I loved the most.
Then one day I got a call from Ted. He was in London. “I’m sorry babe, I’ve had surgery. I know I should have told you but I didn’t want you to worry. They won’t let me leave alone; can you come and get me?”
I dropped everything, collected my son from school and drove to London. Once again his head was shaved at the back with a dressing over the top, and he’d had an allergic reaction again. I nursed him in bed at home, all the time worrying about what was going to happen.
His paranoia started again but became worse. Every day there was something new to spark his anger. He didn’t recognise my socks, so I must have put another man’s on by mistake – I was obviously cheating on him. I left the bathroom light on so must have had a man up there. The arguments were daily. Then one night my son called me into his room and told me he could hear me crying every night when I was in bed, and asked me why I cried.
I knew I needed to leave. I put plans in place and we left within a few weeks. I didn’t tell Ted until the day I left.
I tried to stay on good terms with him, still offering to attend appointments to support him, despite the numerous arguments we’d had over the past three years because he would never let me in. But he said he didn’t want to worry me – it was a bit late for that!
I felt so much guilt for leaving a sick man. I still loved him but the tumours were affecting his personality so much it was making both me and my son miserable and I had to put my son first.
Four months after I left Ted sent me a message:
I was at the hospital today. I have a meningioma, Grade 2, but it’s at risk of turning into Grade 3 which would be malignant due to the rapid reoccurrence. It’s on the optic nerve, which could cause spinal issues, I will probably start immunotherapy to help with the reoccurrence. I thought you should know. X
This made my guilt even worse. Ted begged me to give things another go but I stayed strong for my son and said I couldn’t. He said he had bought me a ring and would marry me or even give me a baby if I wanted one. I declined, but I still offered to support him. He turned me down.
It was nine months after we’d split up that I received some shocking news. I can’t reveal who from without getting someone in trouble, so that’s a part of the story that I’ll take to the grave.
What was the news? Only that Ted had never had a brain tumour! Not one!
So what had I been nursing and changing the dressings for?
A hair transplant!
It turned out the hair clinic was a few roads away from the hospital I’d been taking him to and picking him up from. He’d wait until I’d driven away and then walk round the corner.
I can’t explain the anger I felt. The love and the guilt I’d had for him vanished instantly. I felt sick with embarrassment – how could I not have guessed?
In hindsight there should have been big scars but the shaved head, the blood, dressings and allergic reaction (which I now know was the donor spot and the transplant area) were enough to make me worry and not think straight. But still. What an idiot I felt.
There is much more to my story that I haven’t gone into but I now realise that it was all a form of emotional abuse; a way of pulling me in. He was controlling, he isolated me from friends, he bought me clothes so I wore what he liked. I became a shadow of my former self – not even daring to make eye contact with men for fear of being accused of sleeping with them, even when I didn’t know them! I wasn’t confident anymore, I simply became the perfect housewife and did as I was told.
I’ve found out much more now about Ted’s history of domestic abuse – both physical and emotional – and I have no doubt in my mind about how things would have progressed had I stayed.
And what about his poor children whom he had told he might die? Surely that’s emotional abuse? They were amazing and I miss them so much.
I also found out that at the same time as he was begging me to come back to him, he was already seeing someone else. They’re now engaged – and I even heard he gave her the ring he bought for me me – though I can’t confirm this. But the poor woman has no idea what he’s like. I do know I’m probably being described as ‘nutty ex’ number three though.
It’s been two years now since I left and I still reflect back on that time. I can laugh about it now: how I was stupid enough to nurse a hair transplant not just once, but twice!
Of all the many things he told me, I don’t know what was true and what wasn’t. Basically this means that three years of my life were a lie. I have learned a lot of lessons, and unfortunately now I’m far less trusting than I used to be.
I often wonder one thing though: how different would my life have been if I had picked Derek?
Lucy will be back next week with an update on how her second date with Simon went.