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For two years, Brittany Hockley dated a man who had another future wife with an identical life.

“We were calling our kids the same names. Looking to buy the same house. Both her and I had the same breed of dog. We wore the same perfumes.”

After two years with the man she was preparing to marry, The Bachelor’s Brittany Hockley found out casually over dinner with a mutual friend that Luke* wasn’t who she thought he was.

“Have you been to Luke’s when his missus cooks? She’s so good,” she overheard a new face at the table ask the person next to him.

Her heart dropped. She had never met this person, let alone cooked for them.

Sidenote: With or without relationships. Post continues after podcast.

Video by MMC

“It took me two seconds and two years flashed before my eyes. Everything was adding up. It was like it all clicked over,” Brittany said on her podcast Life Uncut last month.

“I probably looked like a bit of a psycho, I played it cool for a second and asked ‘Oh Luke that works with XX? I thought he was single?’ ‘Oh no, he’s been with his missus for six years they’re getting married,’ he replied.”

In front of a table of diners, Brittany lost it.

“I was so erratic. I stood up and said I am marrying Luke. I was frantically swiping photos in front of their faces showing them us together.”

It has been seven years since Brittany’s life splintered and she found out her boyfriend was living a double life, but this is the first time she’s spoken about it publicly.

“It was definitely scary to put it out to the public so openly, but it was definitely time,” she told Mamamia.

“It’s freeing to be able to talk about it all now without it having a hold on me, which is what it did for a long time.”

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You’ll recognise Brittany from The Bachelor franchise.

She was in the final two with Sophie Tieman on the Honey Badger’s season, before he decided to run for the hills and leave both girls hanging in New Caledonia.

At the time, we were told the beautiful radiographer from Port Macquarie had been single for years, had just come back from three years travelling the world, and had experienced some kind of shitty relationship in her past.

Shitty is an understatement.

For two years, Brittany was unknowingly dating a sociopath, who not only had another girlfriend and a completely parallel life, but had 13 other women in his bed during their time together.

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“He love bombed me,” Brittany explained to Mamamia. “He loved me so hard and so fast and it was so all consuming that I thought I was the luckiest girl in the world.”

The pair met at work, and within three and a half weeks, he was telling her he loved her. It was an intense relationship from the get go, with 70 to 80 messages flying between them a day, all by different mediums.

“He’d contact me via phone, email, pop-ins at work,” Brittany said. “I thought no one could love me like he did.”

But amongst the big romantic gestures were the downsides, negatives that Brittany would always let slide.

In hindsight the 31-year-old says she always had a gut feeling certain things weren’t right or didn’t seem normal, “But the age old saying ‘love is blind’ really did ring true to me. You believe what you want to believe and ignore the rest,” she said.

“I had so many signs that alone weren’t red flags but when you put them all together it’s like shoving a big loud alarm on their forehead,” she told Mamamia.

“But he was convincing, charming, manipulative, intelligent and handsome all rolled into one. A formidable combination indeed.”

Britt hockley
Brittany found out about the deception at a dinner party after dating Luke for two years. Image: Instagram/brittany_hockley.

One day Brittany put up a photo on social media of her in a bikini with friends at the beach. Luke didn't have social media (or so he told her) but within half an hour he was messaging her asking about the picture. "He forwarded me an email from someone saying the most horrible things about what they wanted to do to my body after seeing that photo."

"How do you think that makes me feel, Brit?" he asked her.

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It was through this kind of manipulation and complete fabrication (that email was just him under another name) that Luke was able to control Brittany for so long.

Whether it was slyly making her feel insecure about an outfit she was wearing so she'd end up putting on something he approved of, or Brittany ending a conversation apologising after initially trying to interrogate him about a piece of suspect women's clothing in his home. Luke had an answer for everything.

"How could you even question me on this? Why would you make me feel so belittled for no reason? How dare you go through my things, what kind of person are you? How can I ever trust you?"

His manipulation and way with words would leave Brittany floored and defeated every time.

brittany hockley
Luke concocted a fake email to shame Brittany for posting a bikini picture on her social media. It was all part of his manipulation. Image: Instagram/brittany_hockley.

It didn't take long for Brittany to find Emma* online, and when Luke left her call unanswered after the dinner party that to this day sits deep in the pit of Brittany's stomach, she dialled the other woman's number.

Emma and Brittany spoke for seven hours.

"She was amazing, she was incredible. She said as soon as I told her as well, the last two years fell into place," she told her co-host Laura Byrne on Life Uncut. 

While Brittany was in Port Macquarie, Emma lived in Melbourne, and they'd alternately meet Luke in his hometown of Newcastle.

"He would change the whole house... pack it up so it was suitable for me. My photos, my clothes, my cosmetics. I would leave and he would reset the house for his other partner. He did this every weekend for two years," Brittany explained.

Holidays started to make sense. "We’d be on holiday - we’d be overseas and he would force me to leave one day early 'you have to go home, I’ve got so much work to do'. Turns out she was flying in within an hour of me leaving."

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Cancellations fell into place. "There would be weekends that I would plan and he’d cancel last minute and it would be for reasons like Emma had flown in last minute to surprise him."

As the women unpacked their lives over the phone, sharing in disbelief details like the fact he'd taken them to the exact same Tiffany's store, or had picked the same future kids names with both of them - they noticed something happening with their emails.

As they tried to send proof to each other, things like the house they were buying (which they were sure was the exact same property) the email would never turn up.

"In front of our eyes our emails were being deleted. He’d worked it out and was logged in to both of our emails, I didn’t even know he knew my password. We logged out and changed our passwords but turns out we were in each other’s blocked senders," explained Brittany. 

 

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“So I dated a Sociopath” Episode 3 up now. Link in bio x #love #podcast

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When Brittany finally spoke to Luke again, she was shocked by his response.

"I hope you're happy, Brit. You could have just kept this to yourself... you didn't have to tell her. Now, I don't have either of you. You obviously set out to ruin my life, congratulations."

In hindsight, Brittany knows this complete lack of empathy is a telltale sign of a sociopath.

The easy part, to an extent, was how easy it was to leave. "The whole thing was so far fetched and like a movie that I knew I had no choice but to walk, or run, away. This person was not normal," Brittany told Mamamia.

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"It was different to breaking up for a reason like he cheated on you. You wonder if it can be fixed, maybe a one off mistake that can be salvaged... but this, this was so far from repairable and so close to crazy that leaving was the only thing that popped into mind."

Healing however, took time. Brittany started to suffer from insomnia and anxiety and was dealing with feelings of embarrassment and anger after she uncovered the truth.

"I sold my house and everything I owned and bought a one way ticket to Brazil with my sister and off we went for a nearly three year round the world trip. It was so life changing for me. I was the cliche of the 'girl that travels the world to find herself' that we all love to hate. But it was so true," she told Mamamia.

brittany hockley and sister
Travelling the world with her sister helped Brittany heal. Image: Instagram/brittany_hockley.

A pivotal moment for Brittany came during her travels when she met with a monk who taught her something she now carries with her wherever she goes.

"Bad things are going to happen to all of us in our life at some point. We can't escape it. Death, breakups, job loss, devastating moments. But we cannot change the fact that it happened and our quality of life depends on our reaction to a given situation."

Years on from their shared trauma, Emma has moved on with another man and has a little girl, and Brittany is in an equally great place in life.

Her advice to women is to listen to their gut, and listen to friends and family if they're voicing concerns. But she's at peace with her experience now.

"Going through something like that made me the person I am today, led me to all the experiences I've had and I know it is putting me on the trajectory I am supposed to be on," she told Mamamia.

*names changed.

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