If there's anything worse than being involved with a con artist, it's being involved with a con artist that you continue to run into.
Bristol met Jack in a shoe store. He was wearing untied black boots and black shorts. It shouldn't have mattered that he was "one of the most attractive men" she'd ever seen. Her gut should have screamed "Deal Breaker!" Instead she made excuses for him. She says: "The weather was 85 degrees. Maybe he'd been in a hurry."
Names and numbers were exchanged, and they spoke a few days later. Jack said he lived in a house. During the second conversation, the house turned into an apartment (red flag No. 2).
He never let Bristol see where he lived (red flag No. 3). He never let her take pictures of him (red flag No. 4). He never let her introduce him to her best friend (red flag No. 5). He talked about his stuff, but she never saw it.
She says: "He said, 'I came over the other day, but you weren't there. Too bad, you could've seen the black-and-gold Mustang.' The only car I saw a ragged, gray beater" (red flag No. 6).
They spent a few days in a hotel. The first day, he left her in the room for hours (red flag No. 7). Each time she called him, he was busy (red flag No. 8). He didn't have any money and had to sell drugs to feed them. (I've stopped counting.)
They stayed for three days. The day they left, Jack wouldn't let Bristol walk past the front desk. He grabbed her hand and rushed her out a side door.
To make a long story short, Bristol got pregnant.
She says: "I was working two jobs and I gave him $200 the day we went to the hospital. He picked me, took me home to rest and was supposed to buy stuff for the baby. He returned with $40 worth of stuff. I never got the rest of my money. His response was 'B——, I don't need your money!'"
One of Bristol's jobs was working at Kentucky Fried Chicken. Jack came there one night demanding money. She says: "It was always the same amount — $200. I worked 10-12 hours a day and refused, this time, to give him a dime. My boss stood by as he spoke to me in case he got physical. I was embarrassed to face my co-workers after that."
This may shock you, but Jack didn't pay any child support. He did take Bristol and the baby in when they had no other place to stay. His apartment didn't have a refrigerator. They kept the baby's milk at a neighbor's.
Bristol left him when the baby was 13 weeks old. She met a woman who had gone to school with Jack. She told her he had never graduated high school, and that he names all his kids so he can get their Social Security numbers and use their names for credit scams.
She says: "My son was his ninth child. When I saw him downtown a few weeks ago, he had the audacity to greet me with a smile and ask how our son was. I replied, 'I'm not telling you anything, the crazy never leaves.'"
How has your parents' marriage influenced yours? Send your tale, along with your questions and problems [email protected] And check out my e-books, "Dear Cheryl: Advice from Tales from the Front" and "I'll Call You. Not.