Josie thought her relationship with Allen was going somewhere until he ghosted her after five months and married his long-time girlfriend.
I was happily single when I met Allen at a bookstore in town. I was browsing through the health section when a handsome, well-dressed guy approached me and asked me about the book I was checking out. Over the next 10 minutes we shared a wonderful conversation about everything, from our jobs to where we went to school. We seemed to get along well and I noticed some chemistry between us, and before we parted ways, Allen told me he wanted to see me again and asked for my phone number.
My first date with Allen was one of the best dates of my life. He took me out to dinner at an expensive restaurant in Sentosa, and later we drove back into town and walked through the Botanic Gardens at night. It was romantic and special – we took things slow and held hands and kissed.
Over the next few months, Allen and I saw each other once or twice a week. We both worked long hours and sometimes even on weekends, so we could only meet late at night or early on weekend mornings. Our dates were fun and always involved a meal and walks along the beach or through the park.
During our time together, Allen and I were physically affectionate but we didn’t have sexual intercourse. While many men in their 30s tend to want to rush into sex with the women they’re dating, Allen was respectful of my decision to not go all the way, and I appreciated that. Besides the fact that we were taking things slow, I also loved that Allen and I had plenty in common, from our love of good food and travel to our personal values and beliefs about life.
Allen and I hadn’t discussed dating each other exclusively. We didn’t even talk about our previous relationships or entertain the prospect of us having a future together. I didn’t think that was unusual, because it had only been a few months, we hadn’t met each other’s friends or relatives, and we weren’t in love yet. I was quite happy to go with the flow and see where the relationship took us. I didn’t consider Allen my boyfriend but he did often tell me that he was slowly falling for me and wanted to see where we’d end up. I was over the moon when I heard that.
After about five months of hanging out, Allen suddenly stopped contacting me. He usually called or sent me text messages a few times a day, but suddenly, all communication from him stopped. Every time I called his mobile phone or sent him a text, I got no response.
It was a confusing and frustrating time for me. I couldn’t understand why Allen would cut me off; we hadn’t argued and neither of us said that we didn’t want to see the other again. In fact, on our last date we’d talked about where we would go and what we’d do the next time we saw each other.
It didn’t take me long to forget about Allen. I was sad and disappointed but not heartbroken or devastated. I knew he’d ghosted me, but I also knew I hadn’t done anything wrong and that he was the one with the problem. For the next several months, I barely thought about him.
Allen stayed out of mind until one of my colleagues brought up his name in passing. She mentioned that she’d gone to her old college friend’s wedding. I didn’t pay much attention until I heard Allen’s name. I had to double-check that she was talking about the same Allen, because I refused to believe that the sweet, kind and funny man I’d known for months had two-timed me.
Even though I hadn’t loved or been in love with Allen, I felt sick to my stomach at he news that he had just gotten married. Worse, I learnt that he and his wife were college sweethearts and had dated for more than 10 years before tying the knot. I was literally the “other woman”!
I felt so hurt and betrayed, which surprised me, because I didn’t think that I was that emotionally invested in Allen or our fraudulent relationship. My first instinct was to track him down and confront him, and maybe even send his new wife his text messages to me, so that she could see for herself what a lying cheat he was. But I resisted, because I knew that I’d only be acting out of anger and vengeance.
I couldn’t believe that Allen hid the truth about his relationship from me for so long, and that I hadn’t suspected he was involved with someone else. No wonder he hadn’t introduced me to any of his friends and only took me to obscure restaurants in Sentosa and went for long night walks with me. We hadn’t gone to the movies, shopped at malls or attended exhibitions together, and now I finally knew why. Allen worked in a big law firm so he was probably worried about being seen with a woman who wasn’t his fiancée. I also couldn’t believe that Allen’s girlfriend at the time was clueless that he’d been cheating on her.
That experience with Allen changed my whole outlook on relationships. I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to trust another man again. I couldn’t believe how easy it was for a guy to live a double life for so long and to convince the women he was involved with that he was committed only to them. Yes, Allen and I hadn’t talked about commitment or exclusivity, but we did agree that we were dating each other.
Since Allen I’ve had three relationships, all of which were short-lived because I had problems trusting the guys. Every time they had to take a phone call or message somebody while they were on a date with me, I wondered if they were calling other women. Whenever they cancelled a date with me, I asked myself if it was because they were already in another relationship. Whenever they suggested meeting late at night or at some obscure restaurant, I wondered if they were trying to hide the fact that they were going out with me. I treated them all with suspicion, so it’s little wonder things didn’t work out with them.
I know I need to work through my trust issues and stop believing that every man is a lying cheat, but the emotional scars from my five-month affair with Allen are still with me and I don’t know if they’ll ever go away.