Several weeks ago I had one of the most cringeworthy experiences that I can recall for a long time – I accidentally ended up being the person who told a woman that her boyfriend wasn’t divorced with two children but was still married with four children, one of them a newborn that had arrived around the time she met him.

To cut a long story short, she was miserable when we all sat down for dinner. Within minutes her frustration about the boyfriend she suspected of being a liar poured out. She didn’t feel right in the relationship and she was convinced he wasn’t telling the truth. She said she couldn’t put her finger on it and every time she questioned him or voiced any doubts, he either told her she was crazy or drowned them out with the noise of his own jealousy, saying he was crazy about her, that she didn’t answer the phone/return his calls as quickly as he would like, and that he wanted her to be his girl.

I couldn’t understand why she was so twitchy until she explained that we knew him. For the life of me, I couldn’t figure out who the hell it would be as we don’t have shady friends like him until she revealed that it was an acquaintance. Based on her description, I then assumed it was another guy that we’d met at the same time but she said no and described her guy and I was like ‘I think we have it mixed up because the guy I’m thinking of has four kids, lives in X and his wife is a Y. What did you say his name was?’ and then I felt myself get very uncomfortable as it dawned on me that this dipstick had lied about his situation. We were talking about the same guy. The boyf came back from the bathroom and when she was ready she asked him and he confirmed it.

Do you know what was so outrageous? When she expressed her doubts, he had the brass balls to tell her that she could call up the boyf and he’d vouch for him! Of course she wasn’t going to call because the bluffer knows this, and if she had, well the boyf would have spared her two months of lies.

Anyway, aside from being Scarlet O’Hara with embarrassment at the whole situation, she thanked me for finally telling her the truth that he hadn’t been able to. We then got talking and she explained about how there were a number of things that had bothered her about him such as him being freakishly routine, disappearing for chunks of time, not being able to go to his home, him requesting that they walk down the back roads instead of the main roads (I kid you not), him hanging up when she heard a woman’s voice in the background and his phone being dead for a few days after then brushing off any attempt to get an explanation, him wanting to know her every movement but being reluctant to be accountable for himself, the fast forwarding where he was trying to speed the relationship along, the sulking and withdrawal if she didn’t jump to his beat followed by her chasing him around, and the list goes on.

Even just a couple of these things are red flags!

I explained about Future Faking, making outrageous statements, the busting up of boundaries, the crocodile tears, dripfeeding and more and she was exclaiming after each one because she recognised herself and him.

Here’s the thing: If you sit down and press rewind on your fast forwarded relationship or in fact any relationship and then watch it back, what do you see?

When you walk your way through your relationship like a keen observer and gather evidence, what do you discover?

Imagine yourself like a CSI walking through the ‘relationship crime scene’: How do they look? How do you look? What do you suddenly see clearly now that you didn’t register back then? If you can visualise the setting and remember the conversation, does what they said suddenly sound different now because you’re hearing it properly without the rose tinted glasses and the fur coat of denial?

How did you really feel in the relationship? Were you actually as happy as you claim or were you anxious, sad, miserable, agitated etc?

Were there things you were uncomfortable with? Which boundaries do you now acknowledge were overstepped?

What was there approach really like? Now that you can be more objective or are at least trying to be, what were the first few dates really like?

Were you as interested in them or were you railroaded?

Were there unexplained things that make sense now?

Do explanations for things suddenly have more holes in them than a pair of fishnets?

Is the person as great as you originally thought they were?

Those ‘plans’ they waxed lyrical about – list them as you recall them. Exactly how many of them materialised?

If there were qualities, characteristics, or values that you assumed or they told you that they possessed, or they demonstrated in the ‘early stages’, are they still existent? What else do you now know about them?

Imagine that you were witnessing a friend in this relationship – what would you think?

Now that you have the benefit of seeing the relationship in hindsight, what would you do differently, not because it would help you hold onto them, but because it would give you healthier love habits? Use these as starting points for where to learn and move on from your previous relationships.

Step back and imagine that you have the opportunity to observe your relationship – What do you see and what do you discover? Don’t hide away from it.

When we are mystified by our relationship or even feel that something came out of leftfield and end up looking to the other person for answers, it’s important to remember – we possess most if not all of the information we need within ourselves if we are prepared to watch, listen, acknowledge, and process. This will save you looking for closure from someone when you can do it yourself.

If you missed things first time round, go back to ‘base’ and walk your way through your relationship and watch and listen now. When I play back my relationships, what’s very funny in retrospect is that the things that proved to be very annoying further on in the relationship, were evident very early on. I just wasn’t paying attention. You want to forgive yourself, learn to trust your own judgement, know what to look out for? Listen to yourself.

Your thoughts? What do you discover when you walk through your relationship?

Check out my ebooks the No Contact Rule and Mr Unavailable & The Fallback Girl and more in my bookshop.

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