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Dating Radar

When To Use It

by Coressa Mayas

I am finding that on the dating scene today, it is becoming more precarious than ever to meet a stranger who doesn’t possess a split personality.  As I write this, I am reminded of how I was shaken to the core not too long ago by an experience, which has taken my usual paranoid level to an all-time high.

I had been dating this guy for over two months (whom by the way, I had really become attached to) when I discovered by accident that he was married.

When we met, he told me that he was not only single but had never been married.  I learned the opposite when I accidentally bumped into him and his wife in a supermarket, ten miles from where I live on a rainy evening.  I had been to a friend’s baby shower on the other side of town and had stopped to pick up some items to cook for him later.

Imagine my shock when I walked upon him pushing a shopping cart with a woman at his side.  When I called his name, he almost jumped out of his skin. My stomach churned in dread, as he spoke to me formally as if he knew me on a casual basis only.  The woman smiled at me pleasantly with an assumptive look that read, she must be a co-worker, but the puzzled look on my face changed her expression.  Her smile was gone, as her sense of trouble kicked in and she realized that I was not a friendly face. She extended her hand and introduced herself assertively as his wife, while he stared at the floor as if he wished it would open and swallow him up.  I refused her hand and walked away in anger and disbelief.

The next day he called “to explain” and I told him to never call me again.  It was shortly after that when the trouble began.  He went from Dr. Jekyl to Mr. Hyde and suddenly became a stalker, who made my life miserable.

He began to call my cell at least 50 times a day and leave harassing messages.  There were days when I’d leave work and find him sitting on my car in the parking lot.  He would beg me to talk to him, but I would refuse and drive off hastily.

Though he never threatened me, I became frightened and began to have the building security escort me to my car.  When he saw them, he would disappear, and then my phone would ring all night.  When he showed up at my door one night banging and demanding to be let in, I knew I had to do something to end his harassment once and for all.  I took out an order of protection.  As I sat in the dark listening to him bang on the door, while I waited for the police to arrive I thought about how I arrived at such a place in my life.

The more I thought about it, the more I berated myself for allowing the attention he gave me to obscure my insight.  Though I sensed from the beginning that he was not all he appeared to be, I dismissed it as part of my usual paranoia.  I was in the midst of really enjoying having a man in my life and I didn’t want anything to spoil the picture.  I thought about a prominent schoolteacher, who was killed last year by a man she’d only known two months. The police report stated that she allowed him to move in with her.   However, when she changed her mind and asked him to leave, he strangled her in her kitchen.

The good thing is that night he was arrested after the police caught him banging on my door and he never bothered me again. But what of the thousands of women who often become victims of lovers gone mad with violent tendencies?  They must fight back, and not allow fear to rule.  But most importantly, in the beginning, they should listen to that small inner voice that warns that danger could lie ahead, and this may perhaps be an encounter to take a pass on.

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