References Are A Must

I once dated a guy I met at a public library. He told me he was from Louisiana, but had finished school at the same University as me, with a degree in Engineering. He said he sees me all the time at the library, and decided this day to speak to me. I had never seen him before. We talked for a few minutes, and then he asked for my number. I offered my e-mail address instead. He never e-mailed me, but I ran into him again a day or so later on campus. He asked if I had some time to hang out. I did not, but he suggested we go and get coffee or tea when I was free. Classic mistake #1: I gave him my cell phone number, without getting any number from him. He claimed he had no home phone or cell phone at the time, but would be getting one soon. Whenever he would call me, it would be from a pay phone. I seldom answered. Finally, he gave me a cell phone number, and we then began talking regularly. I soon became very impressed by his intellect and wide range of knowledge. Our conversations were highly stimulating. He had traveled extensively and spoke several different languages. We were a couple of years apart in age. He was interesting and easy to talk to. One evening, we decided to meet at the same library where we originally met, then drove to a coffee house for tea. As our friendship began to develop, we started hanging out at the waterfront and enjoying one another's company. One evening, he suggested going to my place. I thought it rude for him to impose that way, and that if he wanted to hang out at home, he should have offered his own place. When he realized I was not going to budge, he began inviting me to his home, beginning the next day. When I first arrived at his home, I was shocked and floored by the extravagance. I am totally not materialistic, and could care less about a person's trappings. His vehicle was very modest, only a notch above my own. But apparently, this man must have been very ambitious and hard-working, right? I'll get back to you on that. I just assumed at that point that he hadn't wanted to take a chance on my being more interested in what he had materially or perhaps potentially being intimidated by it, hence, his hesitance to invite me there. When we arrived at his home, I slipped off my shoes in the foyer, following his lead. He pointed me to have a seat in the living room on the sofa. I sat there for a few seconds, when he came down from upstairs carrying a guitar, and joined me on the sofa. Seriously, I thought I had died and gone to heaven when he began to serenade me with some beautiful Latin sounding song that he told me he created himself! He then played a familiar Boys II Men song, and then put the guitar away. I could go on and on about how the next few months went, as I discovered how talented he was as a singer and player of many instruments, graphic artist, as well as a pro at pool and dancing. Yes, multi-faceted, yet down to earth. A rare find, from my dating experience. The ONLY thing I disliked about him was that he was a cigarette smoker. He had so many top notch qualities, that I--a health nut--was willing to overlook the cigarette habit. Who's perfect? I found it amazing he had so much free time, as we would hang out at his home all day and into the evening at times when I was on a 4-day per week work schedule. He told me that he designed animations and other graphics for a living and had a few major clients, for whom he did television work, like commercials. He showed me his personal website, which he designed and programmed himself for his private business. He also gave me one of his business cards. He showed me another website that included his name and photo, and some samples of his animation work. We wound up getting all wrapped up into one another--or should I say, me into him--to the point where he began talking about marriage. I asked him to give it a few more months at least before deciding, but before long, we were making plans. He was even writing up a groom party list, and making all sorts of suggestions. His brother came to visit at my home, and I talked to his best friend in Louisiana by phone several times. He had even talked about our decision to two of my relatives, including my mother. The other relative didn't like him too well, and told me she got the sense that he was too possessive and overbearing, and even told me he was stalking me. She obviously didn't know love when she saw it, I told myself. Then one day, he announced to me that he was having some financial difficulties and was going to need to try and rent out a room to a boarder until he could get back on track with his business. He gave me a very elaborate story, even about the roommate he finally found whom he would not allow me to meet. He told me that he wanted to first appraise this roommate before having me over again. My instant fear and panic was that this guy was bisexual undercover and now had a lover in his home. Turned out, I was wrong. After doing some private investigating on my own, I discovered that this guy was chronically unemployed, and that all the while I was involved with him, his WIFE was being hidden from me. When he used to invite me over, it was only after she had flown to El Salvador for the summer, the place of her origin! They had been married twelve years and had a child. She bought the house, though his name was on the deed. She worked in a high position in the medical field. I was devastated, appalled, and remorseful as one awful detail after another began to surface. The moral of the story is to check a person's background before getting seriously involved if they are not a local and/or you have not either been introduced by a mutual acquaintance or know no other people in common. Get references FIRST.

— Kris, 35

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