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I met Tom at a local bar in March 2005. I was gathering my coat to leave when I felt a hand on my shoulder. ‘Don’t go. Why don’t you stay and have a drink with me?’ asked a tall man with sharp blue eyes. How could I say no? We got cozy in the restaurant…for the next few hours.
He was funny, confident, smart, successful (a partner in a legal firm), sexy, single and at 32, the perfect age. We began a fast and furious relationship. He wooed me with flowers, long walks on the beach, romantic picnics and even a trip to Paris. Like most women in their late twenties, I was in search of someone I could spend the rest of my life with. I thought I found that in Tom. After about six months or so, we talked seriously about moving in together. That was when everything started to go wrong.
He’d freak out if I made dinner plans without him and didn’t want me to spend time with my friends. He also whined about the long hours I worked in advertising. We were bickering a lot, so I put an end to the idea of living together.
Over the next two months, things between us deteriorated further. Tom went from sexy and charming to needy and clingy, which only made me want to pull away from him further. And the more I pulled away, the more paranoid he got. Six months into the relationship, I knew I couldn’t take anymore and ended it.
Tom begged me to come back. He called at all hours, wrote letters and eventually showed up at my door crying. I hated seeing him hurt but I didn’t want to lead him on. It took four months for him to stop calling.
I started dating again, but after countless dates with countless losers, I began to miss the spark Tom and I had shared when we first met. So when he phoned one day, I suggested spending some time together, casually, but I made it clear I wasn’t ready for a proper relationship with him again. It soon became obvious that Tom decided not to hear that last part about not being ready for a relationship. He took me to lavish restaurants and bought me a designer dress that was very expensive to wear to his brother’s wedding. We had fun and great sex – but I still wasn’t ready to refer to him as my boyfriend again.
Two months later, I met someone else through a friend. We sent flirty emails and went out a few times. I didn’t consider that cheating, because Tom and I weren’t properly together. It wasn’t long before I realized I wanted to see this new man exclusively. I dreaded telling Tom and fidgeted nervously as I took him for coffee and broke the news gently that there was someone else.
He said nothing as tears trickled down his face. A few agonizing minutes passed before he whispered, ‘I always thought we’d end up together but I just want you to be happy.’ I was amazed at how calm he was. But his altruistic attitude didn’t last very long. For the next few weeks, Tom sent me emails, occasionally mentioning things he’d bought for me, along with little favors he’d done, like picking up my dry-cleaning and my vitamins from the health-food shop. In between casual sentences about his job and his family, he’d slip in a line about how I should really pay him back.
I shouldn’t have replied but I thought that if I agreed, he’d go away feeling vindicated, so I sent him an email that said I will pay him back.
From Love to Legal Action
Weeks passed and things with my new man intensified. I talked to Tom less and less. Then I received an itemized list in the post. It included the designer dress, flights for a holiday, dozens of dinners, even petrol. I was running some errands later when a man in a suit approached me and handed me a summons.
I sat on a park bench trembling. My ex was actually suing me. I was forced to hire a divorce lawyer which cost me a small fortune. The judge ruled that my email telling Tom I’d pay him back was binding. The day I drove to the bank to get the check was bittersweet. Tom had already cost me a year of agony and I was angry at myself for not paying him off in the beginning. But at least now I could get rid of him for good. I took the check to my lawyer including his fee which amounted to almost 10 000 dollars.
In the end, it taught me to never put anything in writing, especially if you’re dealing with a lawyer whose heart you’ve just broken. The truth was that Tom had expected a return in the form of a commitment. When he didn’t get it, he settled for the next best thing – revenge.
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Sandra Prior was born in Russia and is one of the most respected and recognized computer hardware and software specialists on the Internet. For more articles on tips, tricks and secrets to keep your computer running smoothly and in tip top condition, subscribe to her newsletter at http://usacomputers.rr.nu and http://sacomputers.rr.nu.