'My boyfriend told me he was away for work. He was down the road with his partner and kids.'

I had been single for a couple of years, dating on and off with no luck, before deciding to go down the path of having a child solo through IVF to become a Single Mum by Choice.

Just before beginning this journey, I met a man called Ben* online. We had a couple of great conversations, but it fizzled out and we never ended up meeting. I didn't think much more of it until he messaged me when I was seven months pregnant. This time he was very keen to meet, even though I told him the timing wasn't great as I was about to have a newborn baby. 

Eventually we caught up for a coffee date and things progressed quickly from there. When my daughter was born, he wanted to meet her and told me he loved us both and wanted to be in our lives.

He lived an hour away and would always come to visit us. When I started to question him and ask about coming to visit him as well, he told me he was moving to Perth for work for the year, a whole other state away. 

He said he would still come home every 3-4 weeks as he had two small children of his own and wanted to see them, as well as me.

Ben had previously told me that when he'd turned 40, him and his best friend had decided to do IVF together so neither of them would miss out on parenthood. 

He talked about the mother of his two children often and told me how they worked together to co parent. I never thought that what he'd told me wasn’t true.

After visiting one weekend, he told me he would message once he arrived back in Perth. Just a couple of hours later, he messaged to say he'd landed, but the timings didn't add up - Perth was a five-hour flight away. 


When I questioned him, he went quiet on me, later telling me he had flown to his holiday house in Queensland, but felt bad that I was stuck at home with a baby so hadn't wanted to tell me. 

Another time he was meant to come to a friend's birthday dinner with me, but the day before he said he'd hurt himself playing soccer and required surgery the same day.

I offered to come visit him while he was recovering but he told me he was staying with his mum and it would be too overcrowded.

Over the coming months, there were many other stories and things that just didn't add up. I was starting to feel like I was going crazy so one night; I confronted him about it.

We had a big fight, and both went to bed upset. 

I didn’t hear from him the next day and when he tried to call that night I didn’t answer, because I was still angry.

After a lot of soul-searching, I had decided to end things as there were just too many red flags and worrying about them constantly was taking my time away from my daughter.

But the next morning I woke up to a story on his Instagram saying, "RIP Dad". 

Watch: Relationship red flags. Post continues after video.

Video via Mamamia.

I felt terrible and there was no way I could end things with him while he was going though this. 

Over the next month I tried my best to be there for Ben, but he acted cruelly towards me.

Everything was my fault. He was grieving his father, so I wasn't allowed to step a foot out of line or say the wrong thing, or I'd be labelled a bad person. All the while he would constantly gaslight me and put me down, saying things that would make me question the person I was and in time destroy my emotional state. 

A few weeks later, Ben ended things with a lengthy text message and blocked me before I ever got to reply. 

A couple of months after the breakup, I still felt lost. I had so many unanswered questions, so I joined the 'Sis, is this your man?' Facebook group, where women discuss men they think might be problematic, abusive or not who they say they are. 

I read a tip that said if you put someone's phone number into the Pay ID app, it comes up with the full name attached to the account. 

When I put Ben's number in, it came up with an entirely different name altogether. Ben wasn't who he said he was.

On searching his real name, I found articles about what he did for work - not the job he had told me he did.

He'd blocked me on Facebook, so I got a friend to search for his profile. His location was listed as Sydney, not Perth, and worse still, he was tagged as being 'in a relationship'.


My stomach dropped. 

A few days later, I found the strength to message his partner on Facebook and she agreed to give me a call. They were very much together and had two children. The 'friend' he'd claimed to have undergone IVF with was in fact a long-term partner who he lived with.

She told me he'd never moved to Perth, didn't have a holiday home in Queensland, had never had surgery, and his dad was very much alive.

Throughout the six months we'd been seeing each other, he'd lived just one hour down the road from me with his family.

Later, Ben must have found my messages on his partner's phone, because he called me on a private number. 

I recognised his voice instantly, but smugly asked "Sorry, who is this?", wondering which name he would choose to say. 

"You need to stop; it’s been long enough, and I’ve made amends with my family," he said, as if that explained everything. 

"Does that include your father?" I asked, before hanging up the phone. 

Featuer Image: Canva.

The author of this story is known to Mamamia but has opted to remain anonymous for privacy reasons. 

*Names have been changed.

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