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'I suspected my boyfriend was cheating. Then I found him in an online group exposing his double life.'

His name was Simon*. We matched on a dating, meeting after a number of long phone calls where we discussed everything under the sun. Our first date went from drinks to dinner, his laugh filled the room as he regaled me with stories of his time in the military and in running businesses. 

He told me he'd sold his businesses during COVID, with border closures making them untenable. It meant he was now a "self retired multi-millionaire" with properties all over the country and a healthy size stock portfolio. 

He had been single a while after being cheated on in his last relationship and was looking for love.

It wasn't long before we had met each other's friends and families. He was staying over so often, it just made sense for him to move in. 

Fleetingly, I worried it was too fast. But he convinced me I was the love of his life and he couldn't bear the thought of not taking up beside me every morning. 

He told me he loved me constantly, texted and called me throughout the day, and picked me up from the station every night so I didn't have to walk home in the dark. 

Meanwhile, he was having meetings with brokers about new businesses to buy and test driving expensive cars on the weekends, eyeing up his next purchase. He was sweet, caring, driven, motivated and successful - my perfect man. 

But after just a few months, the cracks started to show. 

We began to have angry arguments. He started telling me what I could and couldn't do. He made digs about my weight.  

Watch: Coercive control is a deliberate pattern of abuse. Post continues after video.

Video via Mamamia.

At first, he'd say things like, 'Please stay home tonight, I thought we could cook dinner and drink wine', but soon it became, 'I didn't get into this relationship to sit home by myself while you go out.'

He pressured me into cancelling plans with friends and over time I stopped going out altogether. 

It was perplexing. Sometimes I thought I was in the best relationship of my life, but others I thought it was the absolute worst. 

At the time I didn't understand this was typical narcissistic abuse, constantly keeping me in a state of confusion, questionable behaviour followed by drastic love bombing.

His life story started to unravel. This so-called millionaire never had any money. He used Afterpay for all his purchases and none of his business plans seemed to go anywhere. 

We went away for his birthday, I paid, we went away for Christmas, I paid. It was farcical. His excuses for not spending money were endless. 

Things came to a head on the day of my best friend's birthday party - which he wasn't invited to. Before I left, we argued yet again. 

I stewed the entire drive, and by the time I got to the venue I was furious. I remembered a website my friend had told about it where women 'exposed' the bad guys they had dated, to warn others.

Suddenly, my intuition told me to look him up on there. It took me three seconds to find him; he was the third listing down. 

The post had been written three months prior by a woman who had been on a date with him and found him frightening - she wanted to know if any other women had feedback on him.

I couldn't breathe… then I saw the comments, nearly 200 of them. They were all from women who he'd been on dates with or spoken to him on the apps in a span of just a couple of months. 

And they all told a very similar story. When women had declined to meet him or declined the offer of a second date, he had sent them foul, abusive messages. 

He would text, call, leave voicemails, Facebook message, WhatsApp. They'd block him, so he'd change his phone number and start all over again. He'd also delete his dating app, create a new profile and repeat the disturbing cycle of abuse with another woman. 

Some women said he'd found them on LinkedIn and turned up at their workplaces. Many of them had been to the police about him but had been turned away. 

One woman even said she was never going to date again based on her experience with him. 

I was hyperventilating. This man, who lived in my house, slept in my bed, told me every day how much he loved me had been cheating on me constantly. Not only that, but he was an abusive perpetrator. 

I wrote my own post in the group, asking anonymously if anyone had seen him recently. 

Another 50 responses. Women who were chatting to him, going on dates with him, sleeping with him. My notifications were going off constantly. 

I felt like my life was burning down around me. Simon was a liar, a cheat, an abuser and a complete narcissist. 

Now I was scared. Messages started coming in from him, "love you darling, miss you" kiss emojis filling my screen. I was reeling, none of this felt real.

Every minute of every day we’d been together was a lie. One woman told me he'd been sleeping with for over three years, the whole time we’d been together, dinners with the boys were actually trips to hers for sex.

Listen: Sis, Is This Your Man? Post continues after podcast.

I got home from the party and changed the locks, then I broke up with him on text: "Your stuff is in the driveway and the locks are changed and your blocked from every channel of communication. Goodbye."

He turned up at my house that night yelling at me, telling me I owed him at least a conversation. I left him shouting in my driveway. 

He kept turning up, then came calls from a blocked number, a stream of emails. Apparently it was all my fault. 

Through the website, I essentially discovered a 20 year history of lying, cheating and abusing women. He targeted independent, successful women with their own money and homes, love bombing his way into their lives. 

I can only hope that the tide is turning, men like him will no longer be tolerated. If we stand and use our voices, the police will need to listen and laws need to be redrafted. The time really has come for change.

Feature Image: Canva.

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