“Finding out your loving partner is leading a double life and wants you dead is not an every day experience. There are no life hacks to get through the numbing devastation, and the growing fear that comes when you realize the man you love doesn’t exist.
I’m not sure how he initially found me, but we began dating in early 2014. I was living in my hometown of Melbourne, Australia, and at 48 I had been happily single for years. I say this because I thought we met on a dating app but I now know he knew about me months before I had chatted with him. He portrayed himself as a local man; a wealthy, successful business man, who generously gave back to the community. He was charming, and warm, with a quick wit and an ability to laugh at himself. He boasted of his strong ethics and morals and showed me he lived what he preached. He was amicably divorced a long time ago and they co-parented their two teenage boys. He believed in honesty and trust above all else. This was all music to my ears.
He had assured me he was looking for ‘the one’ and was reluctant to involve the wrong person in the lives of his children, especially as his previous girlfriend whom he had dated for 2 and a half years had died of bone cancer 8 years ago. The experience had impacted his boys and himself so profoundly he was scared to fall in love again. He said the whole experience was traumatic but he now understood that losing her and grieving, was part of his life’s journey.
My friends loved him for the way he treated me. The manner in which he could talk about being scared of heartache but announce he believed he had found his Princess. His Queen, whom he could spend the rest of his life with. Very quickly I was driving his spare Maserati as he had bought an Aston Martin. I took no pleasure in the car’s image but I certainly understood he was wealthy and I was beyond blessed this wonderful man loved me. I repeatedly told him I didn’t care if he was the poorest man, as I felt so loved. I adored him and thanked the universe for allowing him into my life. I didn’t understand what he saw in me, but as everyone would tell me, he clearly adored me as well.
Over the ensuing months we quickly fell in love. To me he was this larger than life, good looking man, who had a loving, gentle touch. He would glide me into restaurants and when we were alone he was the passionate, loving man women dream about. Everything was perfection. As much as I fought falling in love at the same whirlwind pace of my blue eyed man, eventually I succumbed to his charismatic charm. He proposed in July on the steps of my church. I was going to be allowed to breathe.
He tried valiantly not to let business interrupt our personal time but sometimes decisions had to be negotiated in the middle of the night. As the expansion of his business was a new development he was very excited about it, although the manager of the US branch was very quickly proving to be ineffectual, and emotionally high maintenance. He would go outside to have heated discussions about building progress and deadlines not being met. My friends all assured me this was just part of being with a billionaire.
He loved business and took an advisory interest in the fact my beauty salon was being purchased through a compulsory acquisition by the government. He knew so much about the process, and the mechanics of the legal system I was facing. It took enormous pressure off me to know he was helping negotiate the value and price of my payout.
As our engagement party loomed we had so much to organize. He had decided we should honeymoon in Bora Bora and then go straight to New York where we were setting up a new life. It was fabulous. Although he also handed me an inordinate amount of paperwork that had to be signed before the wedding. The prenup, visa, sponsorship to the USA as his wife, 50% ownership in his company, the list went on. He reminded me the sooner we finalized everything, the sooner we could start our new lives. So we choreographed both the wedding and engagement simultaneously sowe could be married before the end of the year and see the ball drop from the Rainbow Room on New Years Eve.
So it was a heartbreaking shock that snagged and tore a hole in my heart when I received a phone call two weeks later that opened up Armageddon in my life. The voice on the other end of the phone was warning me my fiancé was not who I thought he was. He was married. Had extra wives, extra children, a different name. A different history. A different culture. A very different past. No properties. No staff. Oh, and the business manger overseas was in fact his newly arrived, formally dead girlfriend/now alive wife. As my body froze, I remember thinking this was a universal cruelty. It hadn’t needed to be this way. A random alternate universe. A universe where my heart was being squeezed till it was just ether. Nothing. I had disappeared.
He had tried to deny it all and eventually drank 6 bottles of beer, fell asleep and began snoring and grunting like a pig. This was no longer a man I recognized. I left him there and went to bed. I would have fled, but I had the flu. Strangely it had begun just before the phone call that took him away from me forever.
In the morning, he was no where to be found and I packed in a panic, returning to the kitchen to grab my purse. As I came through from the back door he was suddenly there. I froze in fear. He sat there, at the dining table, smoking a cigarette. I have no idea where he came from. He was on the phone and deliberately hung up. He told me I had caused problems to his image, now that this silliness was all public, and that the man on the phone was ‘the Toe Cutter’ who wanted to put me through a tree shredder at a pig farm.
As I said, there are no life skills to get you through this. I’m one of the lucky ones. I did leave but not without heartache, and levels of devastation that I didn’t think were possible. I just had no idea there was a wife with three children. That there was no truth in anything. That the man I was engaged to was a complete fabrication. That his love for me was fake. And if I thought this was unimaginably horrid, I was in for so much more. I put myself in a position of such vulnerability that he punished me. The assault left me bruised and bleeding. I was now ashamed and having been isolated from my friends, I had no one to tell.
Months later, after piecing what I could together with the help of countless other victims, I realized I was a small part in my own story. He had defrauded numerous charities he had worked for, as well as stooging many large property developers and contractors. They all had something to tell me, and there was a time, where I couldn’t believe this was all happening under my nose. How had he kept this facade of beautiful up for so long, when it was so, so far from his true character? Why hadn’t I seen it? But nobody does, until it’s too late.
He had in fact manipulated to meet me purely for the payout of my shop. He never loved me. He had already arranged to have me killed before the engagement. My heart bled. It drained of feeling. With the prenups signed I was just so much more valuable dead. It was a white collar con.
The journey has been confronting. Obviously the existence of heinous people like him offends my belief and faith in humanity. My loving partner replaced by a monster. Even today, 4 years later, I sometimes realize, or uncover yet another lie, another depth of deception. Now at least I can more often than not laugh at my stupidity. But I feel so sorry for my vulnerability of believing in the good of others that led to my current situation. I however, refuse to extrapolate the behaviors of a sociopath into my experiences for the rest of my life. I wish to continue to believe most people want to be good.
I stayed away for two months while I figured a plan as to how to stay alive. I put all my confused sticky notes I had compiled about him in order and I wrote it down. I returned to Melbourne planning on leaving again when I was given the opportunity to meet the hired hitman. Few people will understand when I say, that I met him, knowing I may be killed and part of me thought it was an appealing solution to stop the black hole in my soul. The potential of a bullet seemed at the time, a welcome solution. And then that rumbling roar in the pit of my stomach was still there. It had moved to my chest and demanded I stay the course of seeking justice. Not revenge.
He didn’t kill me that night, as he wanted information and there were witnesses to the event. That does not mean it is still not in the cards. I went knowing that either I would get information to put them all behind bars or die trying. I felt the truth needed to be heard. After the meeting where this man admitted several times my fiancé paid him to kill me, I went to the police. My course of action, demanding they do their job and extradite him, has been slow. Much slower than I expected, and has put me in more danger than I would now be in, otherwise. Over time, when there is a bit of judicial movement, it pokes the bear, and I am hyper vigilant. I still get threats.
With the fact that I went to the police (and wrote a book), I don’t exist anymore. Not where you think I am anyway. I run a business from a distance and I live overseas. I do not see my friends. When I return to my city, it is purely for police business. I sneak in a spontaneous catch up with one or two, and then I leave. He has continued to con other women using new personas, and different colored eyes. (they are in fact hazel). HIs life has not changed. His wife is still with him, and he has conned more businesses and women.
My life has changed, all for meeting the right man who turned out to be the completely wrong person. The sticky note writings formed what I hoped would help the police understand the nature of the narcissistic sociopath he is. Their actions have been so slow that it is now a book on Amazon, and Hollywood producers just signed a shopping agreement for the rights of the novels.
I have created a wonderful life. It’s not what I expected, but its not bad and it will be worth all the sacrifice if I can prevent him harming anyone else. Every single time a victim of domestic violence, narcissistic abuse, or rape, gets to stand up and be heard, the wall of shame and blame, gets broken down a little. The world becomes a tiny bit more aware. Hopefully my story helps others understand how we can inadvertently fall into the trap of a bad relationship, and why we can’t and don’t just leave. Perhaps even more importantly, maybe it will give someone a glimmer of hope and strength in their current situation.”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Katherine De Bois. You can read and purchase her book What happened to Paul Carter Vol I & II. Submit your own story here, and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories.
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