Pay Attention to Those Flags!
Jackie's story starts three years ago. She'd been divorced for six years and dated a man she met online, who turned out to be a cross-dresser. She joined a local singles group and went to a party.
She says: "One tall, nicely dressed man stood out. Scott came over, introduced himself, and we had a wonderful conversation."
They continued to run into each other. They talked, but he never flirted. He told Jackie he'd been divorced for 15 years and he was on a dating sabbatical. He'd made poor choices in the past and was taking a break.
On Valentine's Day, Jackie received an email from Scott.
She says: "He said he was officially flirting with me. How romantic was that! After that, it was a whirlwind relationship. We spent every week-end together. He took me on romantic trips. We went to church every Sunday. We fed the homeless.
"There was one red flag which I chose to ignore: He lived in a trailer in his dad's backyard. He said it enabled him to keep his overhead low, and do what he wanted."
Meanwhile, he started moving his clothing and stuff into Jackie's house. She says: "One day I said, 'Are we living together?' We laughed and he started contributing to the household."
The trouble started just before the holidays. Scott told Jackie he had always spent Thanksgiving and Christmas with his ex-wife, father and adult children. They compromised: Thanksgiving with her family and Christmas dinner at his ex's house.
"I knew he was very good friends with her and she was nice to my son and me, but I felt uncomfortable about just how close they were," she says.
There were more red flags. (Aren't there always?) Jackie opened Scott's glove compartment to put something in and saw his car insurance. His "ex"-wife was still on it and listed as his next of kin. When Jackie confronted him, he said he had to have a close relationship with her because of his dad and son but that she was the most important one in his life.
She says: "We even had her over to our home for Father's Day! He waited on her hand and foot."
Two years after they started dating, Jackie asked Scott how long he'd really been divorced. "He shouted at me and said I didn't trust him," she says. (Isn't that what liars always do? Turn things around? Go on the offensive?)
Jackie called the attorney who'd handled her divorce and asked him to check out Scott. Surprise, surprise. He wasn't divorced. When she confronted him, he said they'd just never gotten around to it.
She says: "The truth was they stayed married and he got to play around because she didn't want to have sex. He pretended to be a good Christian man and to want to marry me. That was not all I found out. He was dating someone when he met me. So much for the sabbatical!"
Jackie called a friend, and they took all of Scott's things and dumped them in his dad's driveway.
"After these two men, I'm cynical and bitter, and don't know if I can ever trust again," says Jackie. "And, sad and pathetic as it may be, I still have feelings for Scott. How can I tell if a man is sincere and has integrity?"
You could start by paying attention to red flags. I'm just sayin'.
How can you tell when someone's lying? Send your tale, along with your questions, rants and problems to [email protected] And check out my e-books, "Dear Cheryl: Advice from Tales from the Front" and "I'll Call You. Not.