If Mr. Surgeon was the best guy I ever dated, Liar Liar was the worst of the worst and I didn’t meet him online.
Most everyone will caution you when you date someone online to be careful. The problem is that we forget that it applies just as much when you meet someone at a social gathering. I think because of common acquaintances you are lulled into a sense of comfort and you end up lowering you guard. But you must remember, just because they know him on a superficial level doesn’t mean any of you actually know him.
As you well know, I’ve been online dating on/off for a few years. I haven’t been in a super serious relationship with anyone since Mr. Surgeon and after a stint of online dating, I decided I was tired of meeting guys that way. So a few years ago, I decided to try meetup.com and mingle with other like-minded individuals. I met Liar Liar at one of these events.
I hesitated at first, but eventually a trivia night came up and I decided why not? The event was hosted at Little Woodrow’s (a standard beer/liquor bar in Midtown, but there are locations elsewhere) and I noticed him almost immediately because of his attractiveness and his charm. We talked for a bit, but I didn’t make much of it. The night ended up being more pleasant than expected, despite the failed trivia attempt (we sat in the wrong part of the bar).
I’ll admit my thoughts lingered on him a little when driving home, but I didn’t think I’d see him any time soon. The next morning, I was mildly surprised as well as flattered when I got an email stating he had messaged me on the website. I logged in and I found he had left me a message wanting to hangout again at some point along with his number. We then texted a bit over the next week with the responses varying from being incredibly rapid to frustratingly slow (like more than a day). After a suitable amount of time, he asked me to meet him at Boheme (a cafe/wine bar at the edge of Midtown/Montrose with great outdoor seating). We chatted on a variety of topics, then we decided to head to Cafe Layal (BYOB restaurant with probably the best hookah in town with multiple locations, including Midtown). We smoked quite a bit hookah and I was feeling slightly lightheaded, but I knew he was flirting and I was definitely flirting back. Around 1 am or so, we called it a night and he walked me back to my car. I was almost certain this a date when he kissed me and erased any uncertainty.
Even to this day, it was one of the best first kisses I’ve had (and I’ve had plenty).
We started dating in earnest, seeing each other a few times a week to almost every day for a month before he had to head back to California for his grandmother’s funeral. Because it was the beginning, I wasn’t that concern that I had never met any of his friends because most of his friends were back home in California. Liar Liar had only moved to Houston a few months ago for a job opportunity. He told me the O&G company he worked for had bought the startup he and his friends had begun and had hired him as a consultant for the drill design. I honestly didn’t know all that much about his line of work. So it sounded like he was important and doing important stuff. And since he seemed so essential, it made sense to me that sometimes he worked very odd, long hours and he couldn’t come as often to see me as I’d like.
I was naive, or I just wasn’t paying close attention.
I eventually caught on because of the growing inconsistencies. He was very attentive at times and not at others. The difference was becoming too suspicious to ignore and I’m not proud to say that I snooped through his cell phone. I found a bunch of phone calls and texts to a girl, J. I had seen her post on his facebook before and when I confronted him about it, he told me I was being ridiculous. J was his cousin. I allowed myself to believe him, but honestly I shouldn’t have. Who the hell calls their cousin, babe?
We briefly became “exclusive,” which didn’t work because he was so busy that I saw him so infrequently. He was often flying to Pittsburgh as the O&G company had a facility there and to Dubai as well for big meetings. We kept on dating, but I wasn’t as enthralled or as enthused as I was in the beginning and I was increasingly keeping a close eye on what he told me about his goings and doings. I even verified that there was indeed a facility from the O&G company at the location and would check on flights to and fro the places to see if they collaborated with the itineraries he sent. Other than his trip to California, he never ever wanted me to pick him up at the airport. He always insisted he didn’t want to impose on me and that it was much easier if he just took the company shuttle.
I saw him less and less frequently, although he’d still always make the effort to drive down to see me (this was when I was living far into the suburbs that I had to travel into the city to see my friends). The efforts he made to see me, I appreciated and I think because of that perceived effort, I cut him a lot of slack. One day, though, every little inconsistency suddenly made sense when J called me.
I actually missed the called and she left a voicemail. I almost didn’t listen to it, but I’m glad I did. She introduced herself as Liar Liar’s girlfriend and that she’d like it if I called her back whenever I had time. I thought about it for a minute or two, knowing it was pretty late, I called back anyway. She answered the phone after a tense two to three rings. I told her who I was and she then whispered she needed to go outside for a minute because he was sleeping.
I don’t remember all the details of our conversation, honestly. I listened with a detached surrealism as I pieced together the awful puzzle. J had been with Liar Liar for months and had moved into his new house to live with him until she moved back home for a job. She told me she was in love with him and he was her “first.” She had found out about his lies over the last few days and had memorized my digits to call me without his knowledge. He had told her I was his secretary and that’s why he frequently communicated with me. But, after so many things didn’t add up, she decided she had to find out the truth once and for all!
I told her my side of the story, about how we had gotten together and about her being his cousin. We then started wondering about everything else he had told us. J already knew about some of his lies thanks to his parents. Turns out he wasn’t some big shot at an O&G company. He worked in the IT department of the O&G company and hadn’t even graduated from college. Other than his trip to California, he’d lied about where he was going and what he was doing. He had told these stories to either spend time with me or her (and other girls, we later learned) without getting caught up in his complicated web. His pathological lying didn’t start with me or even J. He had been telling false tales for years to his ex-girlfriend.
Liar Liar had come to Houston to begin anew and ended up retracing his prior steps.
I don’t know what happened to J afterwards, but I do know she moved back home to her friends and family. Other than a few conversations over a few days, I don’t really know her. I do know enough to know she’s a good girl and, unfortunately, sometimes bad things happen to good people.
As for Liar Liar, I never spoke to him again. I’m thankful he never tried to contact me. I was through with him from the moment I heard the truth. I’m just lucky that he was only mentally manipulative. The damage is done, and I’m thankful it’s not worse.
I was angry and hurt, emotionally scarred, until I remembered a quote that I shall leave you with:
“The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.”
– Elizabeth Kubler-Ross