In 2012, I met the man of my dreams. He was beautiful, charming, kindhearted & was the polar opposite of my ex husband. Everyone said he was my “gift from God” after enduring a difficult marriage to a man who suffers from Borderline Personality Disorder with narcissistic traits. I had dreamt of a kind, loving, loyal man who would always have my back. Half joking, I told friends that I hoped for someone with a foreign accent who could sing & play guitar. I envisioned him to be physically imposing, to ward off my bullying ex. In reality, I avoided dating while I recovered from the upheaval of my divorce in 2010. I frequently declined offers to be set up, as I wanted to purge the demons of my marriage & focus on the welfare of my young children.
One night, I was alone in the gym with a young, Australian personal trainer who resembled Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. We became friends & he asked for my help building a fitness business, free from his current “cruel” employers. He detailed his difficult life & described his hopes & dreams for his future. In only a few months, our friendship developed into a romantic relationship. He was promising me the sun & moon, professing his devotion & calling me his soulmate (a term that, frankly, never appealed to me). I was flattered by his constant attention & overwhelming adoration. He seemed to “get me” so quickly that I felt there must surely be something to this.
After my divorce, I was wary of everyone and had resolved not to make a mistake like that (the ex) again! I was determined to have any new suitor meet my closest confidants, and I would encourage them to give me their candid opinions. Friends and family quickly succumbed to his charm and usually hyper-critical family members adored him. I watched him charm each new “interviewer” and win them over. He showered my children with the attention they desperately craved.
Things were going so well, but I had a nagging suspicion that something was “off.” I attempted to gather information about him & though he was a public figure in his native country, I was unable to obtain any useful information about this man I was falling in love with. His stories had small contradictions, but he brushed them off, blaming his bad memory. He had, after all, suffered numerous concussions as a professional sportsman. I let it slide, but those concerns remained deep in my gut.