Following my abrupt “break up” with Matt I was glad to be home for Christmas. When you are feeling rubbish, I am sure anyone will agree that the best thing to do is go home to Mum for a cuddle. It was great to see the family. For anyone that knows my family personally – they could cheer anyone up. I spent the entire trip being filled with delicious food, wine and a copious amount of cheese and if the home feast wasn’t enough to cheer anyone up, try playing cards against humanity with your Grandma. (I would recommend Articulate as a more appropriate option).
This was my first Christmas in a long time as a singleton. Now I’m pretty sure I am not the only person to feel this way, but in London I never really feel the desire to be in a relationship, back home is a little different. All my “non-London” friends are real grown ups; they have houses, babies (maybe sometimes more than one) and talk about technical baby things that I don’t quite understand so smile and nod politely.
In the time I was home I tried to distract myself and actually met my baby friends, it was lovely to see old friends but I always felt slightly out of place while they talked toddler. “Honestly” one of them chirped up “The only time I get a bit of peace and quiet is when I go to the bathroom!” FINALLY something I could relate. “Totally” I said “After a heavy night, the bathroom is literally the only place I feel comfortable being on the floor” It was met with a resounding silence…(*sips prosecco awkwardly*)
When I was finally “babied” out, I decided to head home. As much as I enjoyed the baby talk, there was only so much I could handle and I was looking forward to getting home to the family. I was drifting into a prosecco induced day dream when my phone beeped and jolted me out of my neat snooze.
So, a break for context, Dean was a “boyfriend” from the latter of my teenage years. We had met when I was 18 and at the time Dean was the best human being in the entire universe (obviously). We had spent a year together and when Dean abruptly dumped me before heading off on a lads trip to Ibiza, at the time it was obviously the end of the world (young love). Looking back, I had been so impressionable and turns out Dean was only impressed by his friends, shame, but more about Dean later in the story.
I rolled my eyes and put my phone back in my pocket. The text from Dean made me momentarily think of Matt, I hadn’t received any communication from him. As stupid as it sounds, as much as I didn’t want to hear from him, I also really wanted to hear his reasons. The Christmas Eve event had run over and over in my head and I still couldn’t really understand how someone could be so mean. When I finally arrived home, my mum was on hand with “Mum talks” and more processo. We chatted about life back home and as it was nearing the end of the Christmas holidays so we planned a final meal for the last evening.
The next day went by quickly, packing my already overfull suitcase with more presents and saying good bye to family and friends took up all of my time, so when the family dinner finally came round that evening, I was pleased to relax. I sat down at the table ready to stuff my face. I handed my coat to the waitress and quickly checked my phone before dinner. I flashed up the home screen and there was the name I had wanted to see…
“Matt (missed call)”
My stomach undertook a little flip. As much as initially I hadn’t wanted to hear from him, I was keen to see what possible excuse he could have had for standing me up on Christmas Eve. I pardoned myself from the dinner table and called him back. The phone rang out a couple of times and when he answered the person on the other end of the line sounded unrecognisable. It was Matt, but he was crying, I had never heard him like this. I immediately softened, I genuinely hate the thought of anyone being upset and this was just so out of character.
“B” he whimpered “I’m so glad you answered – please hear me out” I let him tell me his sob story. It turned out he had been called into a last minute meeting at work the day before he was due to see me and the meeting was around the security of his job. “B, I could lose my job” He sobbed. Okay, so looking back I wish I had been slightly more savvy but at the time I naively really felt sorry for him, he had already been through so much recently and he loved his job. “Anyway B, that wasn’t the point of my call” he continued “I’m not going to go on holiday with the lads as I want to see you” I protested immediately, I didn’t want to be the reason he didn’t go away and I in all honesty I wasn’t sure I wanted to see him. “No” I responded firmly “we can catch up when you are back”. I ended the call. I stared at the wall in front of me. Something just didn’t feel right. My stomach churned, I tried to put it to the back of my mind, this was surely my anxiety making me a little nervous after the call. Turns out that was actually my gut and it has taken me a while to realise, but you should always listen to it.
I sat back down at the table, no longer feeling hungry. For any other anxiety sufferers, I hope this part is relatable but when I am anxious (and that can be about anything; pre-party nerves, work presentations etc.) I lose my appetite immediately. After the break up with my ex, I lost a whole stone. Now while that may seem appealing in many ways, take it from any anxiety sufferer, it truly isn’t. I have learned over time to manage my eating habits when I get bouts of anxiety. The overriding thing to do; not give yourself too much of a hard time. I would spend weeks trying to force myself to eat large meals, only to push food around my plate and end up making myself feel sick and lose more weight, then becoming further frustrated with myself. Now, I try and fuel myself with the right food, even when I am struggling. I try minimum to get a juice into my body a day and snack often on things that I want to (which usually tends to be a mix of healthy and unhealthy things). I will be writing a post of health and anxiety soon,
As I pushed my food around my plate, my thoughts continued to whir. Things really weren’t adding up. I had previously worked for the company that Matt was potentially being made redundant from and still had so many friends there, surely I would have heard about redundancies?
After the meal I decided to take action and start some fact finding. I called one of my old friends from the office; Max. I am going to take a break for context here just to confirm that despite misconceptions around this blog, not all men are bad, actually far from it. I have some of the most amazing men in my life (and have dated some very good eggs) as you will find out, Max is one of those great guys. He was always my go to for brutal boy advice. When asking for advice Max usually told me “I worried too much” but on this occasion he seemed very off. “B, maybe you should just leave this one out – don’t meet him again – he’s taking advantage”. The conversation took me off guard Max very rarely told me not to do something and he seemed very sure that I should no longer speak to Matt anymore. I questioned Max him about the job losses and if he had heard anything around Matt; surprisingly he hadn’t. “See B, something just doesn’t seem right, take a step back“ Max continued. Max was never like this. “Is there something you’re not telling me Max?” I heard him gulp down the phone – “No, of course not B”. I knew that something was wrong and for bolshy brutally honest Max to stutter, that worried me further.
The next day I headed back down to London. Travelling back always pulled on my heart strings. For anyone who isn’t based in London, leaving family and friends is so hard. I can’t count how many Virgin train journeys I have spent crying to myself quietly…
For anyone who has recently moved, or struggles with the journey’s back, it may not seem like it but I promise it gets much easier. On my return to London to keep myself occupied, I had planned a few nights out and tried to focus on them to get me through the journey. Unfortunately my mind kept swinging back to Matt and our last conversation. My phone rang loudly through the bluetooth and as if his ears were burning; it was Matt. I answered. “Hey!” he chirped in an extremely upbeat manner (for someone who was on the brink of losing their job). “Just thought I would call to let you know I miss you” he slurred. Oh- that explained the chirpiness, he was drunk.
“B” he laughed “we have missed our flight to Tenerife, we’re having to go to a different airport, it’s such a mess and we are so wasted”. I flinched and felt seriously unimpressed. Was this really the behaviour of a man trying to “fix” his life. After the months occurrences; my feelings towards Matt where changing and not for the better, he was really immature! The conversation was brief and after we hung up I realised how much I was beginning to dislike him and the horrible feeling in my gut was continuing to grow.
Once I arrived home, I threw myself into my “New Year, New Me” project. I packed old clothes into charity bags and as I had noticed my change in diet had started to support my anxiety I started to write meal plans. I also reluctantly made a promise to myself to join a gym, looking back it is almost laughable that I was dreading joining a gym I had no idea how much exercise would help me grow as a person and eventually surround me with amazing people, but more about my fitness journey (and the people I have met along the way) later. My final “New Year, New Me” resolution was to re-haul my underwear drawer, this may seem like a strange New Years resolution but after leaving a pretty tame near sexless 5 year relationship, investment in underwear had never been top on my list of priorities and I was making a change. I still live by walking out of the house wearing a matching bra and pants is liberating. Unfortunately, despite me investing heavily and advocating the matching underwear agenda; the one time the matching underwear pact should have had my back, it failed to on a massive scale (that particular story involves me, a model, a strip club and Homer Simpson pants… honestly, please don’t ask, just keep reading, it just get’s funnier).
After a couple of days settling back into the house and being fully immersed in “Project Me”, the Sunday came round that I had agreed to meet Matt. We had spoken on and off via message since he had returned from his trip but I really wanted to give him the chance to speak face to face. While I tidied the apartment, I glanced out of the window and was shocked to see Matt’s Mercedes parked in the lot. Wow – he was never early. Perhaps he was trying to show he had changed, it was a little too late for that but I appreciated the effort none the less.
The front door knocked loudly and I walked through to let Matt in. “Hi B!” he shouted as he practically fell through the front door. I stepped back as he stumbled through. He smelled like a brewery. I stared at him, hugely unimpressed. I already had to handle me drunk of a weekend, I didn’t need the additional responsibility of him. I was also hugely offended that after everything, he had turned up to our chat drunk.
“Oh B – I had such a good night and I’m so glad to see you” he slurred as he tried to hug me. I stepped back further and pushed his arms off me “What the hell Matt” was all I could manage. “Sorry B, so sorry, so sorry” he repeated. If I hadn’t been so angry, I probably would have admire at how drunk he was. He continued with his slur “I’ve just had such a bad time and the night was just so crazy” by this point I could feel my blood practically boiling. As he tried to explain himself, I cut him down “I don’t want this Matt, please get out” He stopped, taken aback, like an overgrown man child that had been scolded. “B, please, this is just me, this is how I feel at the moment – I’m so low and I know I’m just making it worse – but, but, but it’s like I’m in self destruct mode” His eyes started to well up again. Oh no, I couldn’t take him crying, I felt too bad. I ushered the man child through to the lounge and put him on the sofa with a glass of water, he was blubbering like a baby. What had happened to this great guy I had met? I looked at him; he did’t even look like the same person and it was in that specific moment I knew this was over, I couldn’t deal with this.
I realised that while Matt sobbed on the sofa, it probably was not the time to break this to him. He needed sleep, food and water and then I would talk to the adult that I was sure was in there somewhere. I thew a blanket at him “Sleep it off, we can talk over dinner later” I still wanted an explanation for all the strange happenings, plus he was way over the limit to drive and it is always easier to broach a conversation like that in a more relaxed environment. While he slept off his hangover, I went for a run to try and exhaust the frustration and bad mood away. I ran 10k that day without even thinking about it and when I arrived home, I felt more content and level headed (a quick work out does wonders). I walked through the door and Matt had finally surfaced. He looked dishevelled and was ultra apologetic. Even though Matt’s apologies had now worn thin and we were now past the point of return, I couldn’t help but feel for him it was awful to see him distressed.
Once Matt had pieced himself back together, we headed out for dinner. Unfortunately, we had pre-booked a steak house in central, which was rather on the pricey side. I was immediatley regretting this choice. Had I known the day would have panned out this way, I wouldn’t have agreed to a white table cloth sit down dinner.
As the meals came out, we awkwardly tried to make small talk but I eventually cut to the chase and started to ask him about the last few months. He told me again about how he had the worst year of his life; breaking up with Kerry, his back, his job etc. I couldn’t question the fact that he had suffered this year but my little gut feeling was still shouting at me. Midway through conversation and meal, he stopped. “B, I need to go to the bathroom, I’m going to be sick” I put my head down, as he scuttled off. I had never felt quite so embarrassed, surely nothing else could happen to make this final date any worse? Matt returned from being sick, he sat in silence, as did I – there really wasn’t anything else to say and whatever answer I was searching for wasn’t worth this behaviour. I politely asked for the bill and pulled out my card, Matt insisted on paying, apologising again for the embarrassment he had caused. The lovely waitress, who had given me sympathetic glances throughout the date and I’m pretty sure had poured me extra large glasses of wine to morally support me, processed the payment. She threw a judgemental look at Matt “Sir, your card has declined”. I couldn’t believe it! This was the cherry on top of a 6 month old disaster cake. I handed my card over and footed the £150 bill.
We both left the restaurant without saying a word. I was so angry and stormed away to meet my uber. Matt shouted for me to come back, but I was well and truly one. As soon as I sat down in the taxi, my phone buzzed; a text from Matt apologising *delete* and a missed call from my friend Max. I couldn’t deal with a catch up with Max right now, I would call back tomorrow. When I finally got home and went to bed, my mind still whirred and I didn’t get a wink of sleep (again another anxiety trait but more on sleep and the natural miracle cure I found later).
My alarm shocked me awake. Ugh, was it usually that loud? I felt like a complete zombie. I had hardly slept thanks to my super active brain and I am not sure how but managed to get up and ready (matching my underwear) and head out of the door to work.
As I walked to the tube, as tired as I felt it was like a little weight had been lifted. Matt had brought so much negativity to my life recently and I was already struggling to build my own future plus deal with my anxiety and didn’t have the capacity to deal with his problems. I continued to walk down to the tube with a little skip in my step when my phone rang “Max” – whoops – I had forgotten to call him back.
“Hey Max, you okay?” I was just about to break to him that I had finally ended things with Matt but before I could continue – he stopped me. “B – I need to talk to you, are you good to speak?” Wow, he sounded serious. “Max – what’s wrong – you’re worrying me, are you okay” Max knows about my anxiety and has always been good with it so I know he wouldn’t put anything on me that I didn’t need to hear. “B, it’s Matt. I didn’t know how to tell you this; I’ve known for a couple of weeks because of work, please don’t hate me, it’s just I thought that it would fizzle out and I tried to tell you” he was babbling now and I was starting to feel panicky “What is it Max, just spit it out”
“He’s engaged B, he has been the whole time, I’m so sorry”
The words hung in the air. It was like someone had just told me something but I hadn’t really heard it, surely he couldn’t be. I excused myself from the call with Max and managed to take a big breath in. The air was so cold and this had come as a bit of a shock. I sat down on a near-by bench and started to cry. I tried to take in deep breaths, to ease the sick feeling that was rising in my stomach. As much as I didn’t want to be with Matt and he was openly not a nice guy, to know someone had lied to me for such a long time was horrid and I felt really stupid. As I sat on the bench wondering what had happened, I began to feel little waves of panic and tried to push through it.
A quick break for context as I feel this is really important for anyone who suffers with mental health and in particular anxiety. I have had two real panic attacks in my whole life (which is an extremely low rate for an anxiety or depression sufferer) and after experiencing what that felt like, I had many techniques in place to avoid them happening again. Luckily, I managed to breathe through the panic and started to try and grasp my logical brain. I reached in my pocket to call Matt, I needed to hear his response.
Fingers trembling, I dialled Matt. Surely this couldn’t be true. He answered. I’m not sure what words came out of my mouth on that call, but I imagine they were choice. After babbling at him for 30 seconds – I finally came out with it “Are you engaged? Are you still with Kerry?”
He started to stutter and try and explain but there was no explanation. I began to yell at him and all of a sudden he shouted back..
“Do one B – this is none of your business “ and with that he hung up.
Well, that confirmed it – he was and always had been. How had I been so stupid? So understanding? I still wasn’t comprehending the whole situation and the fact I still felt a little panicky wasn’t helping me think straight. My thoughts raced from feeling completely shocked and truly stupid to ridiculously angry. I didn’t want to call anyone or talk, I just wanted to figure it out in my head and understand it, but no rational solutions came forward. Then all of a sudden, a thought hit me, his finance – Kerry – the poor girl, she had no idea, she didn’t know. She needed to know, I would want to know. I picked back up my phone to work out a way to warn her, but for whatever reason at the time stopped myself. I didn’t need this drama, or this heartache and opening this can of worms would surely do that.
I’m wary this has been a long post so will wrap up…
I am a three years on now and can happily confirm, that was the end of Matt the magician, I never saw him again and was glad of his final disappearing act. I have received a few sporadic texts since, each message more pathetic than the last “I love you B” is my particular favourite but thankfully no more penis pictures. Through old work colleagues, I also know Matt still partakes in the same behaviour he did with me, it’s true when they say a leopard never really does change it’s spots.
After discovering the truth about Matt, I have also uncovered the extent of his lies, he never did damage his back or even come close to losing his job, all had been excuses to cover his lies. For someone who is quite an honest person, I really struggled to get over what happened. Luckily, I never fell for Matt but for anyone who has been in the position of being cheated on or suffered the turmoil of being an unknowing mistress (you would be surprised at how many women there are) the situation is difficult to get over because you doubt everything about yourself and your judgement of people. I hope anyone who has been in a similar position can connect with this and maybe even laugh – there are so many people who lie out there don’t ever doubt yourself or feel bad if you happen to come across one (or two!).
As for Matt and Kerry; I have never told Kerry about what Matt did; nor will I ever now. People question my judgement on that choice and to be honest it was always a major regret that I never had the courage to tell her the truth and enable her have the choice to walk away.
Anyway… In my next few posts, I decided to go back to Tinder, for anyone who has used this app you will fully appreciate why the next few chapters of my story are bizarre and hilarious.
Thanks for reading and enjoy! B x