Michelle’s romance story starts with a normal night out with her friend…
“Hi, my name’s Michelle. I met Tom when I was 24 years old and he was 26. This is my story.
Ever since I can remember, I have always dreamed of that perfect romance story. Girl meets boy, they fall in love, and he whisks her off her feet and carries her away into a fun filled adventure.
Oh, and of course, they live happily ever after.
But I was to learn, that what seems like perfect romance, might not always be so perfect beneath the surface.
Romance Story: The Meeting
Tom and I met in a cocktail bar just over two years ago. He was with a friend and so was I.
I found his chat up line “heaven must really be missing an angel like you…” quite corny but amusing.
My friend and I were waiting on some other friends to join us, but he was really cute, so in the brief time we chatted, we did exchange phone numbers.
The next day, I got a call from Tom, and we chatted on the phone for almost 2 hours.
Romance Story – The Next Stage
We arranged to meet the following Friday night, and we spoke every day and texted each other on the phone till Friday arrived.
I really liked Tom. He was witty, and had a lot to say for himself. He was supremely confident, and I loved that about him. Was this my romance story in the making?
On the Friday night, Tom ordered us champagne to the table; in fact, we drank champagne all night, even when we went for a meal.
It was raining outside, and neither of us had an umbrella. Tom stopped a passer by, and offered him fifty dollars for his umbrella.
He came back with umbrella and he said “this is to protect you from heavens wrath. I told you didn’t I? They’re missing you, and they know you are with me.”
I laughed and then we kissed under the protection of the umbrella. Maybe this was going to be my romance story after all?
Romance Story: The Perfect End To A Perfect Night
Tom shared a taxi home with me, even though he lived in the completely opposite direction, saying he just wanted to make sure I got home safely, and that he would pay for the fare.
When the Taxi stopped near my house, we kissed again, and I thanked Tom for a great evening and jokingly called him “Mr Champagne Man”.
Thereafter, each time we went out, Tom always bought champagne. He wouldn’t drink or let me drink anything else. I loved it. He was so generous with his money – not like my last boyfriend. There was no romance story to tell about that episode…
Romance Story: The Big Spender
Tom would leave big tips wherever we went, and over the next few months he spent what must have been thousands on me in little gifts and presents.
If we were out during the day, and I noticed something I like in a shop window, it was mine.
I began to feel really guilty, so I stopped pointing things out.
He was just spending too much.
But he would force me to stop and look at things if he liked them, and if I expressed an interest, without hesitation, he would buy it for me.
My life was great. This was the romance story I always dreamt about. This was the romance story I would tell my grandchildren about in later years.
Some nights we would spend the night together in a hotel room. For Tom, it always had to be the best hotel, and in the most expensive room they had.
I wasn’t earning nowhere near as much as Tom was, but I always offered to put some money towards things. He would have none of it. So, I just went with the flow.
My friends told me I should let him spend away – after all, he could afford it.
He was earning a tremendous amount of money in his job, he had a share in a couple of other business ventures, and he loved life. He knew that money was to spend not to hoard.
Romance Story: The Change In Behaviour
About eight months into our relationship, on a night out, I noticed Tom wasn’t his usual self that night. His mind seemed preoccupied and elsewhere.
I was talking to him about something but I could tell that his mind was engaged elsewhere, and a few times, I had to snap him back to the present with “are you listening?” or “are you ok?”
Tom told me it was nothing, he just had a bit of a headache, and asked if we could end the night a little earlier than usual.
He apologised for not getting into the same taxi as me that evening, and asked me if I didn’t mind him getting another taxi home, although he offered to pay for my cab as usual.
I told him it was no problem, and told him to get some rest. He didn’t look well night. I said I would call him later, and we went our own ways.
Romance Story: Thoughs And Reflections
In the taxi home, I couldn’t help wondering if it was something I had said or done that had made him feel that way.
Come to think of it, he had seemed troubled on other nights recently too, but I hadn’t picked up on it at those times, but recently he hadn’t been his usual self at all.
Tonight, it had been blatantly obvious.
Romance Story: No Contact
I rang Tom when I got in, but his phone was switched off. So I tried again the following day.
It was still switched off, so I left him a message telling him I had tried calling him, hoped he was ok, and that he should call me as soon as he got the message.
Four days and several voice messages later, I heard from Tom. At first I was relieved, I was so glad that he was okay. Then I just became angry listening to his excuses for not contacting me, and we had a row over the phone, and I just hung up.
He rang me several times again that day, but I just refused to answer my phone.
How could he be such an insensitive swine? Did he not know or think I would be worried?
I couldn’t help but wonder if he had been up to no good with another woman during that time, and it incensed me even more. Was my romance story with Tom coming to an end?
I paced around my house furiously, cursing him wherever I went. Then I charged back up to my room, picked up my phone, and rang him to ask him straight out.
Of course he denied anything of the sort, and just told me he had a few personal issues to sort out, and asked for me to just bear with him, and everything would be back to normal.
Romance Story: Back To Normal?
So I went with it, and two days later I got a phone call from Tom, all bright and breezy, asking me if I wanted to go out with him that night. Naturally, I said yes, and I joined him that night, and as he had promised, everything was back to normal. Our romance story was back on track.
We had a great night that night, it was back to the champagne (the previous two weeks, Tom said he was bored with champagne, and we just drank beer and spirits), and we Tom booked us into his favourite hotel, in the best room we could get.
Sex that night was amazing.
It was so full of passion, and Tom held me so close to him all night, almost as if he feared losing me or as if it was our last night on Earth.
In the morning however, Tom’s mood had visibly changed again. I was sure I noticed the same look as I had seen in his eyes a few nights before, and again, his mind seemed to be elsewhere.
So this time, I pre-empted things by asking him “you’re not going to disappear for another few days without any contact again are you?”
He seemed a bit startled at first, and then laughed and promised me that he would be in regular contact. Nothing was going to spoil my romance story, not even Tom. It had to be perfect. Just the way I had dreamed it would be as a teenage girl. Every girl’s dream romance story.
True to his word, Tom kept in contact. We spoke every day.
But each time I asked him when we could next meet, he kept avoiding the issue. He was either too busy, or had some meeting to go to, or had to help a friend out with this or with that.
I began to wonder if things had just started to fizzle out between us; if this is where the romance story finally ended.
That same passion wasn’t there. The same man who wanted to see me any second of any day that he could, now just made excuses to avoid me whenever I asked to see him.
I sat alone in my bedroom and cried.
Romance Story – The Road To Truth
Almost two weeks passed without seeing Tom, and then he rang me up one day at work just before my lunch break, and told me he needed to see me.
He said it was urgent and that he was just around the corner from my workplace, if I had the time.
When I met him, Tom looked really nervous. He said he didn’t want to go into the specifics right then, as there wasn’t enough time, but he had something important to tell me. He asked if I could meet him after work.
I wanted to know what it was there and then, but he just refused to tell me, saying he would tell me everything, when we met later.
I asked him if it had anything to do with another woman, and he assured me it didn’t, it was nothing of the sort, but it was important.
For the rest of the afternoon, I just couldn’t concentrate at work. I wanted the day to be over and fast, but it just seemed to drag on. My mind was on Tom, and what he had to tell me. I feared my romance story would die a horrible nasty death today. I didn’t know how, I just felt it would.
When I met Tom, I was really nervous about what he might tell me. I was expecting something bad, but I had no idea what. We met in a coffee shop, and there was a lot of idle chit-chat about how my day at work had been, and other things of the sort.
When he told me, I was shocked beyond belief. My world had been dragged from under my feet.
I just sat there dumbstruck as he told me how, over the last 8 months with me, he had built his life around a foolish lie.
Romance Story: Tom’s Admission
“When I met you, I was thunderstruck. You were the classiest girl I’ve ever met. I love you with all my heart Michelle, and I don’t know where to begin with this, but I really do have to let you know.
I’ve messed up big time. I’m taking the biggest chance of my life right now, in telling you and admitting to you, because as well as all else I’ve lost, I stand the chance of losing you too now.
All over a stupid lie, that I shouldn’t have told in the first place.
I’m not the big shot I made myself out to be. I don’t earn anything close to what I told you I earn. I don’t have any shares in any other business venture.
In fact – right now, I’m absolutely broke – I’ve gotten myself into debt – over $15,000 dollars. And I did it all to impress you. I didn’t expect it to get so out of hand. But when I met you, I told you a lot of things thinking I needed to impress you by them in order to get you to go out with me.
And I loved every moment of the time we shared together and the looks of delight on your face whenever I bought you things. I wasn’t sure if that was the only reason you were with me.
I know I come across as really confident, but I guess I must have been really insecure.
Maybe I just felt if that was what I needed to do to keep you with me – till you got to know me a little better as a person – then so be it.
But I didn’t know when or how to end the lie.
It just continued and continued, until I ended up in so much debt, that now I’m forced to admit it to you, because I can’t sustain the lie any more.
If you chose never to see me again after today, I’ll really understand why. But please know this much…
I’ve never loved anyone as much as I love you, and I was just so afraid of losing you to the truth, once I’d started to live the lie. You always told me that you felt our meeting was your romance story come true.
I guess I thought if I told you the truth, I would kill your romance story and our relationship too. I felt I had created a lie I couldn’t back down from.
I don’t know how you are taking this right now, and I wish I could turn back the clock, and do things differently, but it’s too late for that.
I’m telling you everything, so I may as well tell you this too.
I started gambling in the casino, to try and win some money back to pay off the debt that I was getting myself into.
It worked for one night.
Remember the day I rang you up and asked you to come out with me after going missing for four days?
I’d had a big win the night before.
But the next night, I lost it all back, and then some more with it too.
I made a commitment to myself to get my life back in order. I’m never stepping back into a casino, because I know that’s a fool’s game. In the long run you lose far more than you can win.
And I’ve made arrangements to pay off my debts at a level that I can afford. It’s going to take me the best part of 3 years I guess, but it will be done.”
Romance Story: Choked Up With Tears
At that point, I couldn’t control the tears from flowing down my cheeks, and I just got up, made an apology to Tom, and told him I would speak with him later.
He didn’t follow me out, but as I left, I caught a glimpse of him sat at the table with his head buried in his hands.
I didn’t know what to feel. I had such a range of conflicting emotions and feelings towards him and towards what he had told me.
On the one hand I was angry, upset, and hurt at the fact that he considered me so shallow that he had to lie his way into my life by material things.
On the other I felt, sadness for him and the situation he had gotten himself into, relief that he had finally told me the truth, and in a funny way, an even deeper seated feeling of love for him.
To say that this revelation didn’t affect our relationship or the romance that was there would be a lie. It did. It affected it for a long time.
There was always an undercurrent of guilt on both sides. On his for having told and lived the lie. On mine, for all the money I had unknowingly helped him recklessly spend on me.
I couldn’t feel good about any of the gifts he had previously bought for me. They seemed tainted with the lies and deceit.
However, I was very much in love with Tom, and slowly we began to have a normal relationship again.
It wasn’t quite the high-living with champagne every night, but then, I didn’t really miss that. It was Tom that I missed; in times I didn’t see him. I realised I had my dream man. Even if I didn’t have the perfect romance story to go with it.
In a strange way, it was like getting to know him all over again.
Maybe, one day, we will be able to look back and laugh at what happened.
At the moment he is still paying the price for all of that. But at least, I have the real Tom now, without the frills, and I love the man I have.
He loves me too.
I just wish it had been like this from the start…”
This story illustrates the dangers of how a healthy relationship can be jeapordised by false economy lies, leading to financial problems as well as potentially destroying romance in or the relationship itself.
Romance is a big part of any healthy relationship. Don’t kill it.
For tips on how to stop getting into this situation in the first place, go to the ROMANCE PAGE and read the 10 factors that will help you protect your own romance story, particularly factors:
8) False Economy
which relates to this story.
These will guard you from common factors that destroy romamance and affect a healthy relationship and are definitely worth taking the time to read.