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Living With a Control Freak


The reason I have decided to write this feature is so that other women, (or possibly even men), who have been, or are going through, the same experience as I had, can see that they are not alone and also that there is a "light at the end of the proverbial tunnel".

I feel this feature will ring many bells in victim's minds, and that it may just give them the hope and the strength to escape this downwardly spiralling hell they are living. For those who have already made the break from such a situation, I am sure this may inspire them to write similar features and share their experiences for the benefit of others.

Not only will this article help individuals recognise whether their partner really is a control freak or not, but I feel it will help me personally to relieve some of the regrets, anger and bitterness I have carried around with me ever since my relationship with a control freak ended, and in the process I will feel that I may have helped others free themselves from the destructive situation they find themselves in.

We read about cases like this all the time in magazines, so why not online too!

I hope this article helps, and even if only one other person breaks free from a similar situation after reading it, the revealing of my personal life and writing this feature telling people what I went through will have been worth it.

For obvious reasons I have not been able to use certain names in this article, but the facts are all true and witnesses to a number of these events do exist.

Good Luck to all of the other victims out there.

How it Started

Back in 1986, and only a teenager, I was what you might call a "late developer", and had left school still a virgin and very naïve. At this point in my life I lived in Guernsey, came from a good family background, had a number of qualifications up to O Level standard, was an avid animal lover and had no real experience of going out in the evenings with friends my own age.

When my best friend Claire suggested one evening we go to a local hotel venue due to the fact they had a regular live band playing, I agreed, mainly because the band in question played a lot of 60's music which I loved.

I persuaded my Mother to apply my make-up as I truly hadn't a clue about how to do it myself, and off I went. The evening was great, and I thoroughly enjoyed myself. I quickly got to know a group of young people who could best be described as a "2nd generation Teddy crowd". The band was brilliant and I was completely hooked on Rock'n'Roll jiving within about an hour.

Before I knew it I had become one of the "Teddy Crowd", and couldn't wait for the next night the band would be playing. I still had little or no interest in boys, and was therefore very surprised when on my second or third night, during their break, the lead singer of the band approached me and offered to buy me a drink. I remember to this day looking over my shoulder and saying, "who, me?". I was incredibly flattered to be singled out like this, and being an insecure person anyway, quickly became besotted with this much older man, (who was in his mid thirties even then).

By the time I found out he was married it was too late, as I was so smitten I would have walked over hot coals for him. He fed me all the lines that he no doubt had used before, and I fell for them all, quickly believing he loved me, that his wife was a nightmare alcoholic and that he truly cared for me. Needless to say this was completely untrue, and as soon as I slept with him several weeks later, he dropped me faster than you can say "knife". By then my obsession with him was out of control, and I was sure I loved him more than life itself. I began to behave like some kind of stalker, phoning his house and hanging up the phone if his wife answered, turning up at every venue he played at, waiting outside his day job premises, even going as far as riding my scooter to his house and hiding in a field next to it after dark in the hope he would come out so I could talk to him.

He quickly became nasty towards me, and told his friends they could have me if they wanted to as he was no longer interested now he had taken my virginity, (he had stated to me that he collected virgins).

Pretty soon his wife found out about our brief affair after overhearing me talking about him to a friend in the ladies toilets, and of course this resulted in him painting a picture of me as the harlot who seduced him. Strange as it may seem, both her and the Teddy Crowd I was a part of, seemed happy to believe this, and soon were regularly attempting to beat me up, making hoax phone-calls to my home etc. I found this incredibly crazy when it was obvious I had been completely inexperienced, whereas this man I found out, had a track record of affairs,and "chewing up young girls and spitting out the pieces".

To cut a very long section of this story short, after a further two years I had finally had enough, and having taken one overdose which failed, then shortly after having received a call from a girl whose boyfriend was actually a platonic friend of mine, accusing me of having an affair with him, and therefore what she was going to do to me based on my "reputation", I decided it was time for me to leave my home island of Guernsey and move on to a fresh start.

I decided to move to the UK, and ultimately ended up in Kent for the next thirteen and a half years. This proved to be a very good move in terms of mending my broken heart, and I recovered far quicker than I had ever thought possible.

Over the following years I had various relationships, at least one of which was violent and involved me frequently being beaten and abused, although by this time I had such low self esteem I was unwilling to report it to the Police, and stuck with the boyfriend in question for several years, including tolerating him getting married to another girl eighteen months into our relationship, and then agreeing to continue seeing him for a further eighteen months, before I finally had enough of his empty promises that he was going to leave her for me, and built up the strength to end the relationship.

Eventually I met the right guy and we married. Although like a couple of my ex- partners he was older than me by about 15 years, I was very happy with him, and so it came as a terrible shock when he was diagnosed with bowel cancer three years into our marriage, and given between six weeks and six months to live. Tragically he died within two weeks, and I was left shocked, depressed, broke and panicking.

Thanks to the kindness of a couple who ran a plant nursery in Lydd in Kent, I was able to stay in the UK with my two dogs and my cat for a further seven months, working in their nursery and living in their house.

By the time the seven months was up I had experienced a phenomenal amount of nastiness from my former Husband's family and ex- in laws. They had stolen personal possessions from me, told me my Husband had been having an affair behind my back and turned many people against me. They ignored the fact that I had nursed my dying Husband "Dave" right up until the end, and had slept every night at the hospital in a chair by his bed. I had washed him, learned how to change his colostomy bag etc. The pressure of all of this drove me to the brink of a breakdown, and I finally decided I needed to return to Guernsey and be near my family again.

Meeting My Ex Again

Upon my return to Guernsey I managed to rent a very small property with a garden that would allow me to keep pets. I secured a job in a local garden centre and settled back into life in Guernsey.

My first big mistake was deciding that as my first love was also back on the island and singing in local hotels, I would like to get some closure and reassure myself that I really had got over him and no longer needed a person like him in my life. It was my intention to go and see him play, and if he recognised me play it very cool indeed, and quite possibly tell him what a "b*****d he had actually been to me back in the 1980s.

I persuaded my Sister and her boyfriend to take me to a local venue where I knew he was playing with his band. They agreed because they truly believed, (as I did), that this was only a means of getting me the closure I needed after all these years. If only I had known what would happen next I would never have made this huge mistake.

When we arrived the night went well, and it was obvious that my ex had recognised me. Eventually, and towards the end of the evening, he approached our table and joined us. I did initially play things very cool, and although I did announce that I was now "back for good", I tried not to encourage him. The problem was that I suddenly found loads of old memories flooding back, and shockingly the attraction was still there. This was the last thing I had expected, and took me completely by surprise. The moment he smiled I felt the same weakening of the knees I had felt years earlier, and was not sure how to deal with it.

At the end of the evening my Sister, her boyfriend and I, left to go home. My Sister was suspicious as to my feelings towards my ex, largely based on my reactions and responses when talking to him, but I tried to reassure her that this was simply not true, and that I had no intention of getting involved with him again, especially as now he was divorced three times over and currently had yet another new girlfriend who was many years his junior. The problem was my curiosity was getting the better of me.

I quickly realised that I could not go back to this venue with my Sister in tow as she would never let me out of her sight if she felt my ex was around. Instead I persuaded a girl from my work to come with me as we got on well, and she would ensure it didn't look like I was some kind of "groupie" hanging around him, on my own, in a pub. This felt wrong, and I did feel that I was using her to some degree, but the compulsion to be near him and talk freely to him was too great, and her and I really did enjoy our evenings together.

When my friend and I next went to the same venue to see him sing and play guitar it was obvious that he wanted to talk to me and knew my Sister was not around. He waited until I went to the bar, and in between sets he slipped me his mobile phone number and told me to call him the next morning. Like a complete idiot I did, and before I knew it I was seeing him again, keeping the relationship hidden from my family at the same time as he was keeping it from his girlfriend, (who he had told me was a nightmare and that they were going to split up anyway).

I had explained my past to him, and he had been very sympathetic, and said that he understood the loss of my Husband and that it would be irrational for him to be "jealous of a dead man". He claimed he had changed, and explained that after he had split up with his alcoholic second Wife, he had gone touring in Yorkshire with a female singer he had met locally. Ultimately they had fallen for each other and married. Later they had been given the opportunity to work in the Canary Islands as a compere duo, and having gone there the marriage has disintegrated after she had an affair with a Spanish barman. My ex then went on to tell me numerous tales of what he had done to get revenge, including beating the barman up, smashing up his car with a baseball bat, making her get an AIDS test, secretly stealing back genuine diamond earrings he had bought her, getting them copied and replacing the originals with fakes, throwing her out of their apartment and ultimately leaving her in the Canary Islands and flying back to Gatwick without her knowledge. At the time, still convinced he had changed as a direct result of these experiences, I sympathised with him, especially after my own lifetime experiences of unfaithful partners. He told me that the stress had caused him to have a nervous breakdown, and that he had attempted suicide because of this.

Gullible as ever I carried on seeing him, and fairly quickly he told me he loved me, which was music to the ears of a woman who finally feels she has won back her first true love. He had introduced me to his elderly Mother, who although unhealthily proud of her son's average "talent", seemed a fairly kindly lady.

By now I had lavished expensive gifts on him to try to make him happy, including a £600 Ovation acoustic electric guitar, a £200 mini disc player and a £100+ gold neck chain with a gold guitar on the end of it. None of these were for a specific occasion, and all were gifts I just wanted to buy to make him smile.

It was after about a month he voiced his intentions to return to the Canary Islands to work, and said that once he had £5000 he would go. I was shocked, and terrified of losing him again. When he then said that I could go with him if I wished, I felt a huge sense of relief, and also saw the opportunity for a new start after all I had been through. It was then I made another big mistake and told him that I actually had about £5000 in the bank as a very small legacy from my late Husband Dave. I now suspect this was what he had been after all along. Before I knew it plans were afoot, the boat was booked and I was selling all my personal possessions for next to nothing as a house clearance to raise funds for our trip. Many of my personal possessions I gave to his Mother, including an expensive steam cleaner and a valuable set of gilded dinner plates. I loaned her my portable television until we could collect it in the future, but on the basis she could use it in the meantime.

I had finally broken the news to my family, who were horrified, but I gradually won them round when I started to gain weight, (I had always been very underweight), and began to grow my previously badly bitten nails. They eventually believed the same as I did, that my ex had changed and was no longer the nasty piece of work he had been in the past. My Mother even apologised to his face and said she had misjudged him, which is ironic if you look at what happened over the next three years.

By now he had broken off his relationship with his girlfriend, and she had then announced she was pregnant with his child. Although we were sceptical at first, this proved to be true, and in itself caused more complications. He claimed he had told her to get an abortion, which she refused, and still as smitten with him as I was, she continued with the pregnancy.

The other problem we had was that I obviously had two dogs and a cat. I desperately wanted to take them to the Canaries with us, especially as I felt they had saved my life and my sanity when my Husband had died, plus giving me a reason to carry on living. He would have none of it, and came up with all kinds of reasons not to take them, including the heat being too much for them after UK temperatures, the problems finding accommodation that would take them etc. I begged him to change his mind, but he was adamant, and ultimately I agreed to find them new homes even though it was breaking my heart. To this day I have never forgiven myself for this decision, as not only did I not end up with him, but I also lost my pets who had never done anything to deserve my selfish abandonment of them.

My parents did agree to take on my dogs thankfully, but the cat he deviously rehomed with his ex-girlfriend without telling her it was formerly my pet.

Before we knew it the leaving date had arrived and we were on the ferry to France and were going to drive down to Spain, camping on the way, and catch the boat from Cadiz to the Canaries.

So the true nightmare began, and I realised within a month or two that I had made a huge mistake and that I had sacrificed everything for a life with a control freak.


Arriving felt like I was at the start of a new exciting chapter in my life, a chance for a new beginning and to be truly happy once more.

When we arrived the first place we headed for was the local estate agents to try to find an immediate place to rent. Within an hour we had secured an apartment in Costa del Silencio in a block called "Balcon del Mar". The place was not big, but had a nice balcony and a double bedroom, and the main thing for me was that it felt like my new home.

At first things went very well. My Ex was romantic and kind, and seemed proud to be seen with me. I willingly pounded the streets with him trying to secure him employment singing as a Roy Orbison tribute act, and did my best to be the perfect and loving partner I felt he needed. All of this time I willingly listened to his tales of woe about what a nasty piece of work his ex-wife had been, and agreed that I too now hated her and could not believe she had been unfaithful to him.

Just as I was starting to relax into what I thought was a new and stable relationship things started to go wrong. The first row was caused when in conversation I told him what a great psychic medium "John Edward" was, and how that it was difficult to doubt his abilities once you had seen him due to the very specific nature of the information he gave from the deceased. His reaction left me shocked and horrified at what I may have got myself into. He immediately became very argumentative, and told me it was all a load of rubbish and they were all fakes who researched their audience to find out information about them. When I tried to counter argue that often the information was so obscure that it could not be researched, e.g. a certain person had burned the cakes on Christmas Eve, or a certain audience member had a great grandmother who had owned a small white dog with little hair named after a breakfast cereal, (Popsicle), and that in the latter case the audience member in question had no idea of this fact until they went away and talked to another relative who confirmed this fact, he would have none of it. The row blew out of all proportion and before I knew it I was ordered to go to bed. When I did he fell asleep on the couch and refused to come to bed with me. I lay in bed in a state of shock, wondering what on earth I had done giving up everything for this man.

In the coming weeks a lot more happened. When on another occasion I pointed out to him how I had pounded the streets with him looking for work for him, and how I always made the extra effort to make myself look good on these occasions, instead of showing any gratitude he told me I only slowed him down, and that no-one was looking at me anyway as it was all about him. He told me he would prefer it if I didn't go with him at all. I found this very hurtful, but bit my tongue and tolerated it.

Some weeks later he caught a nasty flu type bug, and was laid up in bed for several days. I cared for him studiously, and made him hot drinks, snacks etc, all in all the perfect nurse. A few days later after he had recovered I went down with the same bug. Feeling awful I asked him if he could go to the local shop and buy some food for our dinner. Instead of being supportive he told me he was far too busy on the computer working on a new backing track for his stage show. He told me to basically "get on with it", and if I wanted food to go down to the shop myself. Angry and frustrated I did go to the shop, but then went straight on to a local bar armed with a magazine to read. I sat there for several hours before he finally phoned the bar and asked for me. When I took the call he blasted me with abuse down the phone about where I had been, and told me we were finished and I had better get straight back to the apartment right now. I went back to an almighty row, where he showed no remorse at all for how he had treated me previously, and zero appreciation for my care of him whilst he had been ill. Things finally calmed down on this occasion, but as the weeks went by they went from bad to worse.

What Happened Next

By now we had used most of my £5000 to not only travel to our destination, but also to survive whilst he secured work. The only income I had now was £168 a month pension from my late Husband Dave, and most of this was spent on our day to day expenses such as top up food shopping etc.

My Ex had initially told me I didn't need to get a job as he would support me, he even told my parents this, and as I didn't speak Spanish and there was little work if you didn't, this seemed like the best option. During the day I would clean the apartment, go shopping and help him with new backing tacks, even learning the words to new songs with him so I could act as a prompter from the audience if he forgot any lines on stage. In the evenings I would go with him to gigs and give him my support, getting angry if people failed to appreciate his act, and defensive if they accused him of miming to Roy Orbison tracks when I knew he was genuinely singing. Needless to say none of this was appreciated, and he seemed to spend most of his time wallowing in his own ego and flirting with girls who were on holiday. I remember him saying to me on many occasions that he was the best singer that had ever existed, and that he could do everything they could do, but they couldn't do everything he could do. True he had an impressive range of artistes he could perform as, and had a good falsetto high range in addition to his normal range, but he was certainly not as good as he thought he was. He used to ridicule my Mother's singing talents, in spite of the fact she was a highly trained Bel Canto singer and had cut records with Columbia in her day, as well as associating with many other famous singers at the time, including Cliff Richard, Sinatra etc. In fact I now feel this was jealousy on his part, as he had never achieved fame, and to be honest was an above average pub and club singer at best.

Living with him was like living with a complete schitsophrenic, one minute we would be getting on fine, and the next minute he would pick a row for no apparent reason and get really nasty and spiteful with his remarks. If I mentioned my late Husband Dave in conversation he would accuse me of still being in love with a dead man. He tried to convince me I was mental and needed help, in spite of the fact he had already admitted to me that he had been diagnosed Schitsophrenic himself in the past. The trouble was that by now I had come to realise that if his lips were moving he was probably lying, and therefore never knew if this claim was true or just another attention seeking lie. He took the attitude that only people who "bulls**t" their way through life get on, and boy did he use this belief to the full! Being a person who despised lying in any form, I found myself frequently cringing at the rubbish I used to hear him telling people. His quoted conversations and events to others seldom came remotely close to being accurate, and I used to have to bite my tongue hard not to put people straight as to what had really been the content of a conversation or event he was relaying.

One night when he was being particularly nasty to me after our return from one of his gigs, he punched me full in the face. Having been in one violent relationship in my past which I had escaped from, I felt a huge surge of anger well up inside me, and I hit him back several times. I chased him back into the living room where I threw an ashtray at the wall in anger, at which point he beat me to the ground and ordered me to go back to bed. Strangely he then came in with a damp flannel and sponged my face and apologised, even telling me I could "sure take a punch well". It was my intention to leave the next morning, I even packed my suitcase, but when it came to it I just wasn't strong enough to do it.

I was also desperately missing my beloved dogs, and so I was horrified one night when I heard from my Mother in Guernsey and she told me that they had rehomed my very cute little terrier "Misty. The problem had been that she was a very intelligent dog who required alot of attention. This had proved too much for my retired parents, and when some friends had looked after the dogs for them whilst they were away, the friends had fallen for Misty in a big way. Upon my parents return my Stepfather and my Mother agreed to allow them to adopt her, whilst they themselves kept the easier to manage greyhound of mine "Lady". I was devestated, as a part of me had always felt that if things didn't work out between him and I, at least I could return to Guernsey and get my dogs back from my parents, now it was too late. Seeing how upset I was he promised me we could adopt a dog of our own, and in spite of my feeling that this would not be the same, I still believed that I would have a future with him, and so agreed that to have a dog would make me feel better.

Within a couple of weeks we heard of a poodle that a German couple had found walking the streets, and that needed a new home. Having heard this dog's sad story, and having met the dog, we agreed to adopt him and named him "Pepi". He turned out to be a very cute, yet demanding fellow, and after a good clip and a groom he looked like a proper little white poodle again. In spite of his lovely personality he was a handful, and like most rescue dogs he did not like to be left alone, and would quickly begin barking if we tried to go out without him. In the end we had to take him out to all the gigs with us, (apart from the places that would not allow him in). On those occasions I would stay home to "pet sit". When we did take him with us he constantly fidgeted and tried to get to my ex, often whining and crying when he couldn't get his own way. I used to go out armed with a bag full of treats to bribe him to sit quietly, but to no avail. In the end it was becoming a major problem, but I loved Pepi and defended him verbally as best I could when my ex complained bitterly about Pepi's behaviour problems.

By now we had moved to another rented apartment on a complex called "Chayofita" also in Costa del Silencio. Pepi was still causing us problems, and on the occasions we tried to go out to gigs and ignored his barking in the hope he would quieten down, it failed. We would return home to complaints from neighbours that he had barked non stop all evening, as well as finding he had chewed our rugs, broken things and even messed in the house. My Ex (Stephan as I shall refer to him from now on), was rapidly losing patience, and one night stated that the dog could sleep on the terrace all night as he would not allow him back in the house. I refused to agree to this, and as Stephan was unrelenting I ultimately slept the whole night on the terrace myself along with Pepi. Stephan told me I was mad, but I knew that I would not sleep if a lonely confused little dog was crying outside all night.

On other occasions if Pepi messed in the house whilst we were out Stephan would come home and smack him or rub his nose in the mess. I tried to protest that this is not the way to train dogs, and you need to ignore the bad behaviour and praise the good behaviour, but in his true stubborn Yorkshire fashion Stephan would not have any of it and stuck to his old fashioned methods that were never going to work.

We tried keeping Pepi in a large dog crate when we went out to avoid him damaging the house or having any accidents. This didn't work either, as he simply messed in his bed and carried on barking, which was unfortunately still audible to the neighbours.

The final straw with Pepi was the night we came home from a gig and we could hear him barking in the house as we came up the alley to our apartment. Stephan went mad, and as soon as we got into the apartment he dragged poor Pepi out of the dog crate and started trying to strangle him. I tried frantically to pull Stephan off him, but he was too strong. I could hear my little dog choking, and at one point he manged to nip Stephan in fear, which only made things worse. Desperate to save Pepi I hit Stephan on his arm, at which point Stephan turned round and hit me in the face saying, "don't hit me unless you want to get hit back". I tried to point out that if I didn't defend the dog who would? As a punishment Stephan told me he was going to dump the dog back on the streets somewhere I would never find him, and when I begged him to at least let me find Pepi a new home, Stephan simply said that this would not be fair on the new owners and we would merely be passing the problem onto them. He then proceeded to take Pepi out of the apartment and locked me in. In the Canary Islands all the apartments tend to have bars on the windows and doors as security, so there was no way I could get out as I had no key and the gates were locked from the outside. At that time we only had one mobile phone between us, and Stephan had that, so I could not call anyone to come and help me. I was crying uncontrollably by now, and terrified of what Stephan would do to Pepi. After about an hour Stephan returned, and he still had Pepi with him. He told me that he had realised Pepi was not the problem, I was!!!

The very next day I spoke to a girl who I knew on the same complex and explained the problem. Both her and her boyfriend worked at a place called K9 rescue, and although very full already, once they heard my fears and what had happened to Pepi the previous night, they agreed they would take him in. I was heartbroken as I truly loved my little dog, but for his own safety I knew I had to give him up. I took him to the rescue centre and left him there, barking at me as I walked away. I cried openly in the arms of the girl's boyfriend, and worried myself sick as to what would happen to Pepi now. Stephan was unsympathetic when I told him, and simply said it was for the best.

Fortunately I did find out that a few days later a retired lady singer who lived on the same complex as us had adopted Pepi, which was great as I still got to see him regularly. She never seemed to have any problems with him, and even at the point I ultimately went back to Guernsey, she still had him and loved him dearly. Unfortunately for me the memory of hearing my little dog choking haunted me for months, and still haunts me today when I think about it.

No doubt I should have left Stephan then, but I had given up so much to be with him, and still felt I loved him too much to let him go. I should have added up all the danger signs, but I chose not to, and looking back I cannot believe I was so foolish.

By now Stephan was telling me that he couldn't stand having me around the apartment all the time, and that I should get a f****ng job. As Stephan spent most of his time either claiming he was an insomniac and sleeping on the couch, or working on his computer and doing more backing tracks, I was feeling pretty left out.

I finally managed to secure a full time job selling a new BBC and ITV satellite system to the English ex-pats who lived in the Canary Island we were residing on. I was working for a German boss called Manfred, who was far from easy to work for, had a vile temper and no idea of customer service, but he did pay me quite well on a "cash in hand" basis. Occasionally he was okay and we could have a laugh and a joke, but his fuse was short, and stress caused by problems with the satellite system could quickly send him into a rage. I tolerated this as it brought in a bit of extra money, and it got me away from Stephan, but it was never going to be easy. Stephan was still not happy, and if we had a row he would threaten to tell the authorities that I was working illegally, (although most English people are over there). If it was a really bad row he would refuse to let me use our car for work, and would go to the extent of disconnecting parts of the engine so I couldn't start the vehicle. On one occasion after a particularly bad row I drove off in the car. Stephan soon phoned me, (by now I had my own mobile), and told me if the car was not back in ten minutes he was going to call the Police and tell them I had stolen it. I had no end of problems getting to work, and often ended up borrowing friend's cars or catching the bus because of Stephan's tantrums.

Frequently my boss had a bad habit of vanishing from the office just before I was due to finish work. This meant I could not leave until he returned. If Stephan arrived to pick me up from work he would demand I locked up and left. Of course I would refuse knowing that Manfred would be back in the next ten minutes or so, and that he would go mad if I had locked up and left. Stephan would then say he was leaving me there if I wouldn't lock up, and would drive off leaving me to wait an hour for a crowded bus home.

We had become friends with another singer on the island called Joy, who did a Cher tribute act. Joy lived on the same complex as we did, and one day she showed me around her lovely apartment and told me it was for sale. I took Stephan to see it and we both fell in love with it and really wanted to buy it. Joy agreed that we could rent it from her with an option to buy, and that if we did buy it ultimately she would take any rent we had paid off the price of eighty thousand euros (fully furnished). We quickly moved in, whilst Joy moved in with her Irish fiancé Brian. Things seemed to be going well, until I realised that whenever Stephan and I did have a row, he would throw me out of our apartment and lock the door, arguing that he paid the rent, therefore it was his apartment. Believe me it is not funny to be locked out of your home in the Canary Islands, people get mugged, raped and attacked all the time and it was truly terrifying. I would have to beg him to let me back in, and he would only agree after I had got to the stage I was in floods of tears and virtually hysterical. It wasn't as if I had family I could go to as they were all thousands of miles away back in Guernsey and had no idea how bad things had been for me living with Stephan. I hadn't felt able to tell them because I was scared they would say "I told you so" and my pride wanted me to make the relationship a success.

Since moving into this apartment we had finally got access to the Internet, and whilst I used to email friends of mine, Stephan would spend hours downloading new backing tracks for his act. The problem was that when the bill came in for the quarter it was over 300 euros. Needless to say Stephan blamed me, and refused to allow me to use the Internet any more, in spite of my protests that I could write an email in Outlook Express offline, and then when I connected it would only take a few seconds to send before I could disconnect again. He wouldn't listen, and in the end it wasn't worth the rows it was causing. I was beginning to feel increasingly isolated, and everyone locally seemed to think Stephan was a fantastic singer and a good bloke, and I was just an accessory. Of course Stephan was telling people I was an alcoholic, a drug addict and that I never did anything around the house as he did it all. Naturally when I found this out I was livid, but he simply denied he had said it, so avoiding having to explain his lies to me.

Stephan knew that my late Husband Dave had died leaving me pretty much destitute due to having cancelled all of his life insurance policies six months before he was diagnosed with Cancer. This had made it doubly difficult to cope, as not only did I have no money, but was also grieving badly and living in rented accommodation that I could not afford. When I spoke to Stephan and explained my concerns that this could happen again, he announced that he didn't believe in life insurance and that once he was dead he wouldn't care anyway. He told me that if I wanted his life insured I would have to pay for it myself, (although he knew I wasn't working).

One very strange evening we went to another of Stephan's gigs, and whilst he was on stage I got chatting to a young couple. We were getting on great, and the girl's boyfriend went off to the bar to get some drinks. I told the girl about how I met Stephan after losing my Husband, but didn't go into any kind of details, not even my late Husband's name. When the boyfriend came back from the bar he suddenly said to me "Who's Dave?". I nearly fell over, and said "Dave was my late Husband". The boyfriend went on to tell me that Dave was watching over me and that he knew I had experienced a very hard time after he died with his family etc. I was truly shocked, as there was no way he could have known the things he knew, and he hadn't even been present when I had told his girlfriend I had been widowed at the tender age of 33. I had been talking with her constantly since I had told her about being widowed, so she had no chance to "fill him in on my loss". I was so shocked that I ended up in deep conversation with them whilst Stephan was singing. The girlfriend told me her boyfriend had things like this happen to him all the time and that I should take it seriously. By now I was very emotional, yet in a good way, as it gave me a feeling Dave was still around me. What I didn't bank on was Stephan's reaction, which was utter fury that I had been talking whilst he was singing, had failed to greet him enthusiastically when he came off stage, and that he felt I was being conned by these people and it was all a load of rubbish. No surprise that this caused yet another massive row, and Stephan was adamant these people were fakes who preyed on people like me, in spite of the fact he could give me no explanation as to how the chap had known the specific information he had given me. As far as Stephan's attitude went, "once you are dead that is it, no afterlife, time's up!"

In the meantime Stephan's ex-girlfriend in Guernsey had given birth to a baby girl, and Stephan suddenly became very interested in the child as he had never had a baby girl before. Both of the children by his former marriages had been boys, and both of them he had walked out on. Now Stephan wanted pictures and contact with the child in question, although he had originally told me he wanted the baby aborted! His ex-girlfriend was clearly still desperate to get Stephan back and was bombarding him with letters saying how much she still loved him, which was naturally frustrating to me although I could understand that he would want to meet his child. He started telling me that she was going to come and stay with us for a holiday and I had no say in the matter. I was very unhappy about this, as I knew she already blamed me for him leaving her, and that she would do everything she could to get him back. This in itself caused a number of major rows between us, but she never did come over to stay.

Stephan's Mother had also come over to stay a number of times, including Christmas, but each time she would stay for over a month, which basically was too long. She absolutely worshipped Stephan, to the extent she virtually ignored her other adult children. In her eyes he could do no wrong, and I even knew her to offer to cover for him if he wanted to sleep with any "groupie" tourists that showed an interest. It drove me mad and she obviously got jealous if her Son had girlfriends as she felt he was all hers. I would describe their relationship as almost incestuous without the physical side involved, certainly it was very unhealthy and I could never wait for her to leave.

By now things were really getting bad between Stephan and I. He would tell me who I should and shouldn't talk to, and if he didn't approve of a friend of mine male or female, he would cause a huge row between us by demanding I not talk to them or associate with them. The mind games he played were horrendous, and when I spent time socially chatting with a couple of good male friends of mine he accused me of "hanging out with low lives", and told me I "was a laughingstock in the village" because I was seen with them. I doubted this was true, and refused to end my friendships with these people, which made Stephan even more mad.

As I was now beginning to doubt the long term duration of this relationship I started worrying about some of my possessions that were stored at his Mother's home in Guernsey. I asked Stephan to arrange for me to get my portable television back, but he kept saying if I wanted it back to arrange it myself. In the end I contacted his Mother by letter and told her I needed the TV back as my Sister's had broken down and I was going to lend her mine. I told her my Mum would be popping by to collect it at some point. She actually rang Stephan and asked if it was okay for her to give the TV back! Stephan went mad and accused me of getting my Mother to bully his, and said that I had deprived her of a TV in her bedroom. I reminded him that she was only storing the TV for me, and that she had a TV of her own (plus one in the bedroom already). He was still not happy, but had to agree to Mum collecting it, which she did.

A similar instance happened with the steam cleaner. I had allowed us to leave it with his Mum for her use, but when my Mother voiced an interest in having it I wrote to Stephan's Mum, and said that as it was pretty hard for a lady of her age to use, I would get my Mum to collect it so she could use it herself. When my Mother turned up to collect the cleaner, Stephan's Mum accused her of bullying, and said she had sold the cleaner to her Sister for £20. She also stated that she had been told by Stephan that he had bought it from me to give to her. Mum explained that this was not the case, and that I had sold all my personal possessions for next to nothing to be with Stephan, and the steam cleaner had only been lent to her to use. In the end her Sister turned up and also took the attitude my Mum was bullying Stephan's Mum, which was truly ludicrous as Mum had often dropped vegetables and gifts down to her ever since Stephan and I had been a couple. The Sister claimed her own son had spent money buying a spare part for the machine, so Mum went to her car and gave them £25 so she could take the machine back, even though she should not have had to pay for it at all. Truly the family were all pretty strange.

By now we had amazingly got engaged, and even had a party to celebrate. I think most people thought we were fine, and that I was a little bit of a hero worshiper for Stephan, but that generally we were a nice couple. If only they had known what used to go on when we got home, and how that even after a nice night of our getting on well, Stephan would pick a row with me for no apparent reason. It seemed he got worse when he had a few drinks inside him, and I always got nervous when things seemed okay, but I knew he was likely to "start on me" any minute.

I remember one occasion it was my Birthday, and he picked a row with me before we arrived at his gig for the night in our local bar. Three quarters of the way through the evening he had a go at me on his break because I had been talking to one of the customers whilst he had been singing. I reasoned that as I was talking to a customer, this was what the employer of Stephan would want, and as loads of other people were talking too, it would seem rude if I told this customer I couldn't talk because Steve was singing. Again, his ego couldn't handle the fact people were not so in awe of his voice that they would stop talking to listen to him, and he was furious with me for being one of them. Towards the end of the evening he announced over the microphone that there was a birthday in the house, and then promptly sung Happy Birthday to a customer whose birthday it also happened to be, leaving me in tears because he had deliberately not included me. The spite was obvious, and even our friend Joy was horrified when she heard about it. Stephan just thought it was funny!

Some months earlier Stephan had told me that in his past he had experienced a nervous breakdown and attempted suicide after his last wife had the affair. I never knew for sure if this were true, but I had to admit his behaviour was typical of someone "not quite right in the head".

Eventually he told me he was moving into another apartment and leaving me. I was initially very upset, but pulling myself together I approached my Mother and asked her if she would buy the apartment we had rented from Joy. I explained that Stephan was a cruel and spiteful person to live with, (and gave examples), but that I wanted to stay in the Canaries, and as we were entitled to have the rent we had paid so far, knocked off the price of the apartment, it was a good investment to buy. Reluctantly she agreed and the sale went through. Stephan was furious, and told me that he had intended to buy it from Joy and rent it to me, (no doubt another way to control me and threaten me with eviction if I didn't toe the line). I stayed on in the apartment after Stephan moved into his new place, but the relationship somehow carried on, and Stephan would frequently spend all night sending me text messages accusing me of having new boyfriends in my bed, or demanding I got out of my bed and went round to his apartment two alleys away to have sex with him. I was still very emotionally weak, and more often than not would agree to go. If I suggested he should come over to mine instead, he would refuse. I couldn't turn my phone off as it was also my alarm clock, and I used to end up going to work tired and exhausted after little sleep. By this time I was starting to drink quite heavily and had developed a fondness for cannabis, as both seemed to take the stress temporarily away. Stephan was allowing me to "share" the car, but still regularly controlled me by stopping me using it if we had a row, so causing me major transport problems.

The situation was still all very strange, to the degree that I was still often going to gigs with Stephan, and that I was helping with his equipment carrying, calling bingo card numbers out for him at his place of work and generally behaving like half of a couple who lived together, even though we no longer did. Frequently I would see girls half his age flirting with him outrageously, but Stephan always maintained he was not interested. One such girl on holiday with her friend, apparently (according to Stephan's version of events), went back to his apartment with him to spend the night in his spare room, mainly because she didn't want to be alone in their hotel room when her friend had gone off clubbing for the night without her. All very odd when you consider the hotel was a good 20 minute drive from our complex, and it seemed far more likely she went back to spend the night with Stephan, although he was adamant this was not the case.

Things were about to get a whole lot worse than I ever could have imagined though.

The Stabbing

Our friend Joy who had sold my Mother the apartment had been very sympathetic to my situation, and although by now she had been singing with Stephan as a co-compere for some months, she obviously felt he was a b*****d in relationships. On one occasion previously when Stephan had thrown me out of our apartment in the early hours of the morning, I had walked several miles to her house, and her and her fiancé Brian had put me up for the night. In fact it was thanks to her intervention that on that occasion Stephan agreed to talk to me the following day and sort things out.

Things went drastically wrong when one night I went out to a gig with Stephan. We had got on really well all evening, and on the way home we stopped off at our local bar for a final drink. The bar was virtually empty, so we sat at one end of the bar having a quiet drink. Suddenly Stephan started telling me that Joy and him had previously made plans to get together, and that she intended to dump Brian and that they planned to have a relationship. Not wanting a scene I quietly said to Stephan that I was leaving now, and said goodbye to the other customers, most of which we both knew. Upon leaving the bar, whilst walking back to my apartment, I immediately dialled Joy from my mobile in spite of it being after 2am in the morning. I explained what Stephan had said and then called her back on a landline once inside. She was mortified that he had told me this, and was inistent that she did not even find Stephan attractive, and she was amazed that I did! I believed her, and still do, and whilst talking to her Stephan turned up at my apartment. I cut short the phonecall, but Stephan had already guessed that I had been talking to Joy. He maintained that what he had said was true, and whilst he was trying to convince me, Joy's fiancé Brian phoned me back demanding to have this out with Stephan. Not surprisingly Stephan refused to talk to Brian, calling him an "Irish As***le", and shouting out that I was telling lies again! Eventually Stephan stormed off back to his own apartment and I was left talking to Brian on the phone. Brian decided he was going to drive over to my apartment and have things out with Stephan once and for all. About 20 minutes later Brian turned up and I walked with him around to Stephan's apartment. Stephan refused to let him in, and a row took place through the door, with Stephan claiming I was lying and was mental. Eventually Stephan opened the door and Brian went in, only to find Stephan armed with a large kitchen knife. Brian tried to ask Stephan to put down the knife, but Stephan refused. Meanwhile another resident from the complex came over, and in spite of me saying it was a private row she insisted on getting involved in sorting things out, (she later told me that in spite of living several rows away, she had been sitting at home and instictively knew something was wrong. Having decided to go for a walk at around 3am she had come across this situation and knew this was where she was meant to be, spooky!)

Whilst I was talking to the girl I had my back turned to the apartment, so didn't see what happened next, suffice to say this girl pushed past me as she had seen what had happened. Apparently Brian had gone forward to take the knife off Stephan, and Stephan had stabbed him in the stomach area. There was even a small amount of intestine poking out through the wound. She immediately took over, even though Stephan was telling her to get out of his kitchen. Luckily she contained the bleeding with a tea towel, whilst Stephan called me into the bedroom and said to me, "now look what you have made me do, I have stabbed him". I immediately pointed out that it was Stephan's lies that had caused this, not me. Stephan then announced he was going for a walk and walked out of the apartment leaving all of us there.

I phoned Joy and told her what had happened, and very shocked, she immediately came over along with her adult children who were staying with her at the time. By now the local "Guardia Civil" (army Police), had turned up after receiving two separate calls from concerned residents. They quickly found Stephan walking towards the car park and brought him back to the apartment and handcuffed him to the railings. He was unremorseful and seemed unconcerned. Joy then took me into the apartment and showed me the contents of Stephan's "continental male handbag", which essentially consisted of about 15 condoms. I was livid, as we never used these, and I took them downstairs and threw them at him. Stephan simply laughed, and tried to claim he only kept them to give to the young lads on holiday at the hotel where he compered. I didn't believe this unlikely story. At one point he asked me for a drink of water, and although Joy said I should let him suffer, I couldn't do it, and got him a glass of water and held it whilst he sipped it.

The ambulance arrived and took Brian away, with me offering him loads of apologies. The Guardia Civil took Steve away, and although Joy offered me the option of staying at her place for the night I refused as I needed my own home.

The next morning like a complete idiot, I was actually worried about Stephan. I had phoned both his Brother Stan ,and my own Sister, in the early hours to tell them what had happened. Stan, (Stephan's Brother), was of the opinion that Stephan had brought this on himself and he was certainly not going to jump on a plane to be there for him, whilst my Sister was horrified and very worried about me. In my own foolishness I persuaded a friend of mine to take me to the courthouse where Stephan would be appearing the next day, and then spent about five hours waiting outside in the hope he would be released. Eventually he was, but I got no warm welcome from him as he blamed me for everything initially. It was only when we got back to his apartment that he suddenly changed his tune and said that whilst in prison overnight he had done a lot of thinking, and had realised he had treated me really badly. He said he now realised he truly wanted to be with me and that he loved me and was sorry. He even claimed that the stabbing was an accident and that Brian had "walked into the knife" whilst trying to get it off him, and that was why it had only gone in an inch or so. Foolishly I wanted to believe him, so I gave him the benefit of the doubt. Luckily for Stephan the courts in Tenerife took the opinion that as he was allegedly "attacked" in his own kitchen, he had the right to defend himself, and therefore he did not face any custodial sentence, and simply had to report to the Police station every Wednesday for the next six months. Brian recovered, but was left with a hernia where the knife had gone in, and was furious Stephan had got away with stabbing him.

I did try to explain to Joy and Brian my decision to give Stephan another chance, but not surprisingly they were very angry with me and pretty much washed their hands of me. My Mother was incensed with anger, and insisted that as she owned my apartment she did not want Stephan in it under any circumstances. My Sister basically emailed me and told me I was being completely selfish and that she was blocking my email address and wanted no further contact with me. I was rapidly losing all of my allies due to my own stupid fault.

Stephan being Stephan, said that if he couldn't live in my apartment, then I could move into his instead, and rent mine out to cover the interest I paid Mum for having her money tied up in my apartment. This is what I did, and after a few short term tenants I signed a lease for two years with two Belgium men to rent my apartment from me. I only agreed to this because Stephan stated that if our relationship did not work out I could stay on in his apartment as a lodger in the spare room. If only he had meant it!

Back Living with Stephan

Well things needless to say did not go well. At first it was great, Stephan seemed genuinely apologetic for how he had treated me, and I defended him to all who criticised my decision to give it another try. I was convinced he had undergone some kind of epiphany whilst in the cells overnight, and he gave me no reason to doubt this for the first few weeks. Then it all began again!

The rows pretty much started off as they had before, Stephan complaining about me working all hours and putting up with Manfred's temper. He would get frustrated if I used the Internet, (which by now was on broadband), as he felt I was "talking" about him to other people. This much was true, but only to a good friend of mine who lived in the UK and had never met him.

By now we had two cats, who he actually treated very well, and they were my babies who saved my sanity much like my dogs had done after my first Husband had died.

Stephan was still telling me loads of lies though, and claimed various girls had asked him to go to bed with them, even though it was most likely untrue. He especially seemed to do this with girls who were my friends, and I suspect this was because he wanted me to feel dependant on him and not trust them, and certainly didn't want me to confide in them as to what he was like to live with.

One night he tried to throw me out of the apartment physically after a row, and as he was manhandling me towards the front door, (which was dangerously at the top of an outdoor flight of tiled stairs), I bit him on the chest until he let me go. I barely broke the skin, but he was left with a bite shaped bruise, and then promptly went around showing this to people saying this proved what a psycho I was, but failed to tell them the circumstances under which it had happened.

Another time two male friends of mine turned up on our doorstep whilst Stephan was at work. They stopped for a joint of cannabis, and promised not to tell anyone they had visited. Somehow Stephan found out a couple of weeks later, and went mad that they had been round without his permission.

When it came to Stephan's work as a singer/musician, he took it very seriously indeed, to the extent I began to feel shut out as he would spend ten or twelve hours at a time on the computer working on backing tracks for his act, often ones he never even ended up using on stage. If not on the computer doing tracks, he would spend endless hours playing war games on there instead, and I would get frustrated that I was being ignored.

Stephan had another spiteful habit of saying the most shocking and untrue things about my family, even though he hardly knew them. He would say they were alcoholics, that my Mother was senile, (which she most definitely was not), that my Sister had affairs with married men, (also untrue) and that my late Father had been known to be having an affair with one of the dancers in his cabaret show, (another complete lie as the girl in question was in a great relationship and ultimately married the man in question, plus the fact my Father was far too professional to ever get involved with an employee and clearly worshipped my Mother). Stephan even accused my Sister's fiancé of being an idiot, yet he had only met him once, and it was obvious then that her fiancé was highly intelligent and a genuinely nice chap. The trouble was that apart from saying these things to me to hurt me, he told other people what a nightmare family I came from, and as we were in the Canary Islands there was no reason for them to find out differently.

I had confided in Stephan when we first met that I had been in violent relationship in my past and the circumstances of the extreme jealousy I was on the receiving end of at the time, and which had caused the violence to take place. This was frequently thrown up in my face by Stephan, who would say he could see why the ex-fiance in question had hit me now, and that the way I was he personally would most likely kill me if we stayed together.

Stephan found it infuriating that I didn't simply hand over both my wages each day, and my pension each month, for him to allocate to the "expenses" etc. I refused to do this, as he would then have complete control over me, and would most likely refuse to give me funds if he felt I didn't need them. Maybe it was a chauvinistic thing on his part coming from Yorkshire originally, but it made him really angry that I would not comply.

I used to catch him going through my mobile phone and checking whose phone numbers I had stored there. If he felt I shouldn't be associating with a person, male or female (including Joy whose fiancé he had stabbed), he would delete the numbers. On one occasion he deleted the number of a man who cleaned carpets locally, even though it was only in my phone as a business contact and was clearly labelled as "carpet cleaner" after the chaps name.

By now I was not really accompanying Stephan to his gigs any more in the evenings, and I am pretty certain he was probably sleeping with various girls on holiday and going back to their hotel rooms before he came home. He seldom wanted to make love with me any more, and was still claiming to be an insomniac, even though as soon as I went to bed he would be fast asleep on the couch. If I ever woke him to ask him to come to bed he would get really annoyed because I had woken him from one of the "rare occasions" he had "finally managed to get to sleep", although I never saw any believable signs of him being an insomniac.

He constantly put me down, and told me that anything I could do or had done in my past as a job, he could do it better, and that no-one locally liked me, and that they all sympathised with him having to "put up with me". Whilst a large part of me doubted these statements, I always had a niggling insecurity that maybe it was true. I had also heard back through a friend that one local had been heard to say that Stephan had told her I did nothing around the house, and that he did all the housework, cooking etc. This was so untrue, and I was gobsmacked that he could even say such a thing when he knew how much housework and cooking I did.

I had recently spent about £500 of my own savings buying a new lot of summer clothes and revamping my tired wardrobe. Before I knew it, during an argument with one of Stephan's few male friends over how Stephan really behaved in private, the friend announced that Stephan had supported me for ages, and said "what about all those clothes?" Obviously Stephan had told him that he had bought me the clothes, which was another lie I very quickly straightened out to the friend Stuart. Goodness knows what other lies about me he had been fed, but throughout the whole relationship Stuart always took Stephan's side until in the end a huge row between Stuart and I resulted in our not talking to each other any more.

Eventually we reached breaking point, and Stephan told me we were finished, and he wanted me find alternative accommodation. I was horrified, as by now I had long term tenants in my apartment on a contract, and I could not afford to rent anywhere else on my own. Stephan had assured me that even if things didn't work out I could stay on in the second bedroom as a lodger, now he was giving me two weeks to get out and find somewhere else to live.

During the next two weeks he was still behaving like he owned me, and if I was on the Internet he would still accuse me of "talking about him" to other people. The final straw came one night when he got so annoyed about this he cut the Internet cable with scissors, and then when I tried to watch TV he insisted on changing the station I was watching just to spite me. I got so annoyed that I got dressed up to go out, and then he told me that if I went out he would lock the door behind me and I would not be allowed back into the apartment. As by now I was thoroughly fed up with being controlled, I went out anyway and wandered over to a local complex of bars called "Coral Mar Square". Things were going okay, and I was sitting with a male friend having a drink outside a bar when Stephan walked by. He was gone about ten minutes, and then he came back and in front of my friend said, "for your own good do you want to come home with me now?". I told him that I was fine, and my friend quietly asked me if I wanted him to get rid of Stephan. I said no, and Stephan stomped off. Shortly after my friend had to go home, so I walked over the road to another bar where a couple I knew were sitting outside having a drink. I chatted with Billy and Ann for about five minutes, covering normal every day conversation. I said nothing about Stephan, but next thing I knew Stephan turned up at the bar and started angrily telling them to ignore whatever I had been saying about him and that I was a liar. They tried to protest that I hadn't even mentioned his name, but he wasn't listening. In a fit of temper he smashed my glass of wine across the table, after which I calmly got up, went into the bar, explained what had happened and was given another glass of wine free of charge. To be on the safe side I also sent a text message to a builder friend of mine called Ron, telling him Stephan was causing a scene and could he possibly come and help. Meanwhile Billy and Ann were still on the receiving end of Stephan's rantings, and clearly fed up they got up and left the bar. At this point Stephan followed me into the bar and started shouting out how I has been "sleeping around all over Silencio". Utterly disgusted by his statement, (especially as he knew how much I loathed infidelity, and bearing in mind I knew he was the only person I had slept with in the two years since we had got together), I threw my new glass of wine in his face. Stephan then punched me in the face, and luckily at that point Ron turned up, and at the same time as the bar owner was suggesting Stephan left, Ron escorted him away.

I sat shellshocked in the bar and finished a new glass of wine. Whilst I was sitting there no-one came over to me or got involved, no-one asked me if I was okay and I felt completely alone. Then a chap I had only met about once arrived in the bar and approached me, telling me that he had just seen Stephan and that he had been asked to give me a message. The message was that my stuff was all on the doorstep of the apartment, and if I didn't collect it tonight anyone who wanted it could take it. By now it was nearly 2 am and I had no-where to go, and no way of moving my heavy suitcases anyway.

In desperation I contacted Ron again, and luckily his wife Maggie and him let me stay in their apartment on the sofa for the night. Ron kindly carried my bags back there, and they said I could stay as long as I liked. This was very generous of them, but wildly impractical for any length of time.

The next day Ron tried to reason with Stephan, telling him he had a responsibility to keep a roof over my head bearing in mind I could not return to my own apartment. Stephan would not listen, and insisted I could not return there. Ron finally came back with me to Stephan's apartment to get the rest of my belongings, but even when Stephan finally agreed to let me in, he refused to let me retrieve such things as DVD's I owned and CD's. He even refused to allow me to take a statue of a unicorn that he had bought me as a gift. This was maddening, as I knew exactly which drawer my DVD's etc were in, yet he wouldn't let me open it and said he would sort those things out at a later date.

The same day I popped in to see the landlady who had rented both Stephan and I the apartment, and explained what had happened and how I could not return to my own apartment. Gladys was great, and said I could use her spare room for the time being, and this was where I stayed for the next two weeks.

Whilst I stayed with Gladys I spoke with a local "Abogado" (Lawyer), who spoke with the tenants in my apartment and explained my predicament. They agreed to move out so long as I found them a new place to stay and paid for their satellite TV system to be reinstalled in the new place. I agreed and they said they would leave within two weeks.

Having found them another apartment on the same complex the big move day came. Sure, they moved out, but they failed to pay me the final two weeks rent, (which was not a part of the agreement), and when I paid for their satellite system to be moved they gave me a bill for over 300 euros, even though I later found out the cost would have actually been less than half of that. Once I got into my apartment again I could have cried, as a number of items were damaged or missing, the place was filthy, infested with cockroaches and took three days to clean properly.

Stephan was by now just about talking to me, but having at one point, in front of witnesses, told me he would give me 300 euros to help cover my costs for moving back to my old apartment, he now refused to do so, and said I would not get a penny from him. He did however show his dual personality by helping me to clean my apartment up so that I could live in it again. It was all very odd, and I didn't know whether to love him or hate him at this point in time.

I thought that once I moved into my old apartment it was over, but that was not the case. Once I had moved back in Stephan was still sending me texts all night. I couldn't switch my phone off as I used it as my alarm clock, so usually I ended up answering the texts, which involved Stephan telling me he wanted me to come round and have sex with him. Being weak, and by this time a very vulnerable person, I used to agree to go round most of the time. This meant I was walking back to my apartment in the early hours alone, whilst he stayed in his apartment. Most nights I would try to tell him that I had work in the morning, and that it was alright for him as he didn't have work until the following evening, but he would just keep texting, and if I refused to come over he would accuse me of having someone in my bed with me. Often I would suggest he came round to my place instead, but he wouldn't, or I would suggest that if he truly thought I had someone else in my bed he could come round and check for himself that I didn't have. He wouldn't do this either!

Somehow although we had split up he was still treating me like we were a couple and that I didn't have any right to have anyone else in my life but him.

By now I was finding the rent I had to pay to my Mother (to cover the interest she was losing by no longer having the funds invested that she had spent buying the apartment) a problem. I had Internet access of my own now, so whilst surfing the net I came across a site where people could advertise property in the Canaries for sale or for rent. I placed an advert offering to rent out my second bedroom, and within a few days a chap came back to me who was very interested. After a few emails he agreed to move over, and when we met we got on very well. His name was Steve, he was about 50, and surprisingly he had a green beard when I met him. We got on very well as good friends, and as Steve was an ex-hippy he fully understood many of the Pagan beliefs I held, a love of nature, animals etc. Unfortunately my ex-Stephan did not understand this, and had for many days before Steve arrived insisted I change my mind and tell him not to come as I knew nothing about him. I think he thought that it was some kind of Internet romance, not simply someone to share my apartment. I refused to change my mind, and Steve (the Bard of Ely) arrived. Not long afterwards my ex-Stephan came around to my apartment one day and pulled me outside saying, "are you sleeping with him?". I told him that of course I wasn't, and this was purely a friend who was sharing the apartment with me, but he still wasn't happy, and it took some time before he would believe me.

Stephan and I continued to share the car, but he also continued to disconnect the battery etc if we had a row. For some weeks I ended up catching buses, and then had a bad experience when a car I had borrowed £1000 from my Mother to buy, broke down and was irrepairable four days later. The person I had bought it from refused to answer my calls and I lost all the money and still had no transport, plus an extra thousand pounds worth of debt.

Periodically Stephan would still ask me to come to his place of work with him and help out, either by selling bingo tickets, calling out bingo card numbers or helping push a full trolley of his stage gear back to the secure room after leaving the poolside entertainment area. I would go, and this would still end in rows at the close of the evening. If we did have a big row, the following evening Stephan would walk past my apartment on his way out to work for the night and sarcastically call out "Hello Cindy", to me when I ignored him.

This time was truly unbearable for me, as I still had strong feelings for him, at the same time as hating him and resenting the way he had treated me after all I gave up for him. Somehow I was no longer living with him, yet was still in some kind of warped relationship with him. I was confused, in pain and yet addicted.

It was several months later that after having spent an afternoon with him at his apartment making love, he suddenly looked me straight in the eyes and said, "I can't do this to you", when I asked what he meant, he announced that he was going back to Guernsey in about a week's time on the Thursday. I was mortified, as I was still hooked on him, and it had obviously been his intention to leave without telling me, but for some reason I could not understand he had decided to tell me anyway. I pleaded with him not to go, (yes, I know it sounds pathetic now), but I was scared of being left on my own in a strange country in a place where they spoke a foreign language, and I was still obsessively in love with Stephan and truly didn't want to lose him.

My pleadings fell on deaf ears, and sure enough, the following Wednesday he had a drink with me in the evening, kissed me goodbye, and flew back to Guernsey the next morning. I was left feeling abandoned and alone, in a strange country with a language I barely spoke, and thousands of miles away from my family. It wasn't as if I could just fly back too, as I now had the apartment and Mum's invested funds to think about. I continued to stay in touch with Stephan, and even sent him computer games I had purchased for him online as surprise gifts. By now he was running a pub in Guernsey as a Manager, and made little effort to stay in touch with me unless I made the first move. On one occasion a few weeks after his return to Guernsey I phoned him, and he promptly announced that he now had a new girlfriend. I was shocked, as it seemed so soon, and was even more shocked when I found out he had met her whilst living in the Canaries with me! I told him he had to stop "inflicting" himself on people like this until he sorted out his obvious mental problems. He was not impressed and told me not to be nasty or he would hang up. I ended crying my eyes out down the phone, and when the call finally ended I was left feeling physically sick.

For the next few weeks I stayed indoors most of the time and did not go out at all in the evenings. I smoked a lot of cannabis and polished off a bottle or more of wine every night to ease the pain. I continued to function well in my day job, but had lost a lot of weight and looked very ill.

Suddenly, out of the blue, Stephan called me up one night from Guernsey obviously pretty drunk. He told me he had just got back from a day trip to Herm, (another of the Channel Islands), and that his new girlfriend (a lady who I shall call Joyce), was off in America. I believe he also said she was also sorting out her house as she was leaving her Husband to move to Guernsey. Apparently she was going to be away for around another ten days. Stephan suggested I get on a plane the next day and come over and stay with him for a week, so long as I was gone before she returned. I told him it was ridiculously short notice for me to get time off work, and that I could not afford to come over anyway, especially as I would not receive holiday pay from my "cash in hand" job. Stephan told me that he would pay me for my flights and my lost wages, and would give me this money as soon as I got to Guernsey. I said I would think about it and call him the next day when he had sobered up.

As soon as I got off the phone I knew I really had to go, whatever it took, just to be with him again. I phoned Stephan the following morning and asked him if he had meant what he said, and if he still wanted me to come over. He said yes, and reiterated that he would pay for my flights and lost wages.

I called my German boss Manfred and told him that I had to go back to Guernsey as my Mother had been taken ill, (I knew this was the only way he would willingly give me the time off at such short notice). I then packed a bag, went to airport, and waited until a seat became available to Gatwick. Once at Gatwick I waited again for a seat to be available to get me to Guernsey. When I finally got there Stephan picked me up at the airport, told me how terrible I looked, and then took me straight to the pub he ran as there was no time to go home first.

The week ended up being a complete disaster, as most of it I had to spend in the pub all day and all evening with Stephan. I would help him to vacuum the place and clean tables, and even covered the bar whilst he went to visit his daughter who had temporarily been placed in care due to some problems at home. At night we would go back to Stephan's rented house, and do all the things we had done as a couple, including making love, sharing a bed, arguing etc. At night he would have the television in the bedroom on all night to "help him sleep", so I ended up watching the "Thunderbirds" movie about twelve times during the week.

The arguments we had were mainly about how he had treated me, and how indecently quickly he had apparently found a new girlfriend, even though he denied anything had gone on between them whilst he was in the Canaries. I would go to the fridge and find her cans of diet coke still in there waiting for her to return to live with him, it was torture for me!

I found out later from talking to the regulars in the pub that Stephan had told them I was a psycho, and not to get involved with me as he had had two years of hell living with me. Goodness knows what he had told his new girlfriend Joyce about why we broke up, but I now doubted all the reasons he had given me for his previous marriages failing.

Around the middle of the week we were on our way out in the car one evening after dark. We had a big argument over him being with a new woman and he threw me out of the car in the middle of no-where, not knowing where I was and with raging flu. I was again in floods of tears and didn't know what to do or where to go. In the end I sat in a shop doorway and a kindly passer by stopped his car and asked me if I was okay. I explained what had happened, and he offered to give me a lift. It turned out I had gone to school with this man's son, and he was very sympathetic. I asked him to drop me back at the pub, and then I sat in the bar with some of the locals and waited for Stephan to return. When one of them commented on how I had "a face like a bag of spanners", and asked me what was wrong, I told them about my situation with Stephan, and what had happened. They seemed pretty shocked and promised not to tell him what I had said. Meanwhile Stephan had sent me a text asking me where I was, and I had told him that I caught a taxi back to the pub, (I knew he would probably get annoyed if I told him I had been picked up by a stranger). Stephan turned up back at the pub and gave me the cold shoulder all night. Eventually we went home and went to bed.

The following day I decided I would let my Mother know I was on the island, so borrowed Stephan's car and drove to her house to surprise her. She was delighted, but not pleased I was staying with Stephan. I defended him by saying he was paying for my flights and lost wages, and deliberately didn't mention what else had been going on. It was when I left Mum's place to return to the pub I received text from Stephan saying he was not very happy with me. Upon my return to the pub it turned out that the one person I had told about the stabbing incident in, (a person I had know since my teenage years called John), had gone straight back to Stephan and asked him about it, even though I had told him in strict confidence. Stephan was very angry, and I believe had told John that it wasn't true, or had played it down for John's benefit. Stephan made me promise I would not tell anyone else, and I agreed purely to keep the peace.

My last night finally arrived, and it was my last chance to talk him into not moving this new woman in with him and giving us another chance once I could get back to Guernsey. It resulted in another major row, and as I knew he was trying to get half custody of his young daughter I threatened to tell the local authorities about the stabbing incident in the Canaries. Stephan went mad, and said he would kill me if I did anything to jeopardise his case. I apologised and said I would never do that, but that I was totally hurt and depressed by the fact he had this new woman in his life and had simply dumped me in a foreign country. Ultimately we both calmed down, but it was very late by now, and my flight was early the next morning. Stephan couldn't wait to get rid of me as he knew Joyce would be back either the same day or the following day, and he dropped me at the airport as quickly as he could. I must have looked terrible, after hours of crying and little sleep. I told him at the airport that he had finally "broken me", as he had told me months earlier that I "needed breaking". He just said "about time too!"

I think Stephan had always struggled with the fact I fought him trying to control me, had refused to give him my pension and my wages, did not obey his demands for me to stay in and not go out, and carried on talking and socialising with the people he didn't approve of. I remember on one occasion him telling me that what he needed was a more "subservient" type of woman, and the problem with me was that I was "too intelligent". I also heard him make the latter remark to another person about me as well.

Stephan never did pay all of my costs for the week in Guernsey, and in the end he only paid about half of them, leaving me around £200 out of pocket.

Now I was on my way back to the Canaries, and I had a mission in my mind to get myself back to living on Guernsey within eight weeks.

Getting Back Home

As soon as I returned to the Canary Island I lived on, I put the apartment on the market in the hope I would sell it quickly. This was not as easy as I had hoped, as it turned out that due to a lack of an escritura, (deeds) on the land, the apartment could not be bought with a mortgage. Numerous people viewed the place, but none resulted in an offer. I had soon realised that we had paid far too much for the place bearing in mind the lack of any escritura, and that realistically we were unlikely to get anything close to the 80,000 euros we had paid, and were more likely to get 60,000 euros as a price.

In the meantime I did start going out in the evenings again, which came as a surprise to many of my friends, who hadn't seen me for so long that they assumed I had already moved back to Guernsey.

I actually started to enjoy myself, and had made two very good friends called Gary and Animal (Keith). Gary was in the satellite TV business as I was, and Animal was a tattooist (who actually did several tattoos for me free of charge in my own living room). I would meet up with both of them for drinks and chat, and we had some great times over the next few weeks, but I was still pretty determined to get back to Guernsey.

Towards the end of the eight weeks I did have some doubts, and briefly thought about staying in the Canaries, but ultimately I couldn't bring myself to do it. I had told my family I was planning to return, and they were furious with me because they felt I was leaving the apartment when I should stick it out until I had a buyer. I explained this could be months, and that I would still cover the rent using the current lodger and a second lodger. My Sister cut off communication with me for a while as she was disgusted that I had let everybody in the family down again. Fortunately my Mother and Stepfather agreed I could stay with them for a couple of weeks whilst I secured a job and accommodation of my own.

Having sold off most of my possessions at a local boot sale, posted a large amount of them back to Guernsey and arranged for my lodger to adopt my two cats, I finally left on the 10th of May 2005 and took standby flights back home. Not long after I got to Guernsey I had a call from my lodger Steve back in Tenerife. He was really upset, and told me one of cats had been found by him dead, and in a dustbin. Apparently he had been found a couple of alleys up from our apartment, obviously trying to drag himself home, but had never made it. We were both terribly upset, and the timing could not have been worse. We never did find out what he died of, but my Lodger buried him in the front garden of the apartment.

The first night I stayed home with my parents, but by the second night I was itching to get back to the pub in Guernsey where Stephan worked. I went there early evening, and as soon as I walked in I saw both Stephan and his new girlfriend working behind the bar. She obviously knew who I was and was very cool with me when she served me my drink. Stephan came over and quietly asked me what mood I was in. I think he was worried I would tell Joyce that I had stayed with him for the week whilst she was away, but I didn't. I told him my mood was good and that I didn't want any trouble, so he was fine with me and left me alone. I told Stephan that the cat had been killed, and he simply shrugged his shoulders and said that these things happen. I was upset by his callousness, as the same cat used to sit on his shoulder when doing the washing up, yet he had no sentiment for the animals death.

The weeks went on, and I was in the pub most evenings. Stephan only passed basic pleasantries with me if Joyce was around, but spent more time talking to me if she wasn't. He told me that one thing he had learned was it was not a good idea to talk about past relationships with people, and that neither of us should discuss our time together with anyone. I agreed to honour this, and other than telling people he was my ex, I did not go into detail. It was months later I found out that he was telling everyone his warped version of our relationship, and insisting it was best not to get involved me, that I was a money grabber, (probably because I had asked him about life insurance, refused to turn my wages and pension income over to him and kept asking him for the money back he owed me), and that I was psycho and had experienced a breakdown. He wasn't stupid, as he had made sure I would not be putting out any contradictions to his version, whilst he could sabotage my reputation to people who knew nothing about me and thought Stephan was an okay sort of bloke.

Meeting Richard

After a couple of weeks back on Guernsey I was playing a lot of pool in the evenings I spent at the pub. Things were going okay, and I had made a good circle of friends within the regulars. I was singing on the Karaoke every Friday and Saturday night, and although Joyce was still frosty towards me, I was enjoying my time in the pub. The only part I found hard was the fact I still desperately wanted Stephan back, but was getting no further than conversations with him. I kept asking him for the £200 he still owed me towards my week in Guernsey, but he said he couldn't afford to pay me it. Eventually he said he would give me back £100 if I would send his Spanish Bank card to to my lodger in the Canaries, and arrange for him to take out the remaining funds that Stephan had in there, as there was no other way he could retrieve them from a cashpoint here on Guernsey. I agreed, and Stephan said he would give me the PIN number once I confirmed the card had arrived safely. Unfortunately it got lost in the post, and when I told Stephan this he blamed me, and said that this was my fault and I couldn't have my money as he had been going to use the funds to pay me. I never did get any money from him, and was very tempted to tell Joyce about what he owed me and why, but was scared Stephan would simply bar me from the pub I loved to go in, and would then convince her I was lying.

It was on one of my nights in the pub that I met my current Husband Richard. I went up to the bar to buy a drink and got chatting with him. He asked me if I would like to go out to dinner sometime, and when I told him I wasn't looking for a relationship, he pointed out that it was a dinner, not a marriage proposal. This made me laugh, and I agreed that okay, I would go out for dinner with him sometime. Over the next couple of weeks we became good friends, and I told him about the relationship with Stephan, but made him promise not to repeat the details. I used to go back to Richard's lodgings and chat with him until three or four in the morning, and would then get a load of grief from my Mother upon my return home as she had been worried about me.

Eventually I decided to alleviate Mum's worries I would take Richard around to meet her. This went well, and Mum later told me that she had thought I had really been seeing Stephan, but was not telling her. At least now she knew Richard was real, and she liked him. Richard and I were still only friends, so on the occasion we were at Mum's and I got a call on my mobile from Stephan suggesting I come to his house to meet his daughter, it was not a problem for me to quietly tip Richard off that we had to leave immediately. I then explained the situation to Richard, dropped him home and headed for Stephan's house. Sure enough his little girl was there, and was very cute. Stephan told me that Joyce was running the bar that night and would not be home until around 10.00 pm. He let me bath his daughter and then he put her to bed. We went into the lounge, and needless to say, one thing led to another and we ended up having sex on the rug. This was the last time we ever had sex, and Stephan made me promise not to tell Joyce.

Richard and I carried on our friendship, and after a while it became more than simply friends. I felt I was truly falling for him, and we laughed so much when we were together. When we became an official couple, Stephan did everything in his power to put Richard off me, and went so far as to tell Richard's friends to warn him what a phsyco I was to be with, pulled Richard to one side in the men's toilets and told him much the same and said my family were also a nightmare. Luckily Richard made his own decisions, and told Stephan as much. Richard's friends did warn him about me, but between us we put them straight as to the kind of person Stephan was.

One morning when I woke up at Richard's house my mobile phone rang and it was Stephan. He had heard a rumour that Richard was going to move in with me, and promptly began to tell me that I knew nothing about him, and that for all I knew he could be seeing me purely to get a housing licence to live on Guernsey. He even tried to say that it was all very well Richard telling me he worked in H.S.B.C., but for all I knew he could just be a bank teller. Both these statements were ludicrous, as firstly Richard already had a housing licence because his children from an ex-girlfriend lived over here, and secondly the branch of H.S.B.C. he worked for was a private bank that did not have tellers. Clearly with Stephan it was a case of, he didn't want me, but liked the feeling I still wanted him, and therefore didn't want me to move on into a new relationship.

Ultimately I found a place to rent out in the countryside, and when I described it to Richard he recognised my description. It turned out he had lived in the same cottage I had found to rent fifteen years earlier. Very spooky!

We did move in together very quickly, and I continued to socialise in the pub where Stephan worked. By now Joyce had thawed out a little towards me, possibly because I was now in a new relationship. Strangely enough her and I became quite good friends, and when I took over running one of the pool teams she ended up being one of our players. I am sure by now she was starting realise what Stephan was like to live with, and that maybe most of the stuff he had told her about me was untrue, (at least I hope that was the case!).

I never told Joyce about the fact Stephan had not only spent a week sleeping with me shortly into their relationship, but that he had slept with me whilst leaving her to run the pub on her own for a full evening. In fact Stephan, Richard, Joyce and I managed to get on pretty well in the pub, and could have quite a laugh, although I felt innerly very frustrated that she didn't know what he was really like.

Some months into Stephan and Joyce's relationship I got another bombshell, when Richard told me that Stephan had spoken with him and told him that Joyce and him had got married the day before. No-one had told me, and I did feel angry that Stephan had never got as far as marrying me, and that he had no doubt not told me about his forthcoming wedding to Joyce in case I decided to tell her just what kind of man she was marrying, and what he had been up to.

I tried to be mature about it, and when I saw them next I simply said to Joyce, "by the way, I sincerely wish you luck", which I am sure she thought was a congratulations on her wedding, when actually I thought she would need all the luck she could get.

Over the next few months I watched as Stephan developed a convenient problem with his knees and back, and started to do less and less in the pub, simply letting Joyce do everything whilst he sat at one end of the bar. This was particularly bad when you realise that Joyce had a very bad back problem of her own, and had been on morphine for the pain. At one point she had apparently been told by her Doctors that she would spend the rest of her days in a wheelchair, but had fought this prognosis and got herself walking again. In spite of this Stephan would leave her to see in deliveries, change barrels and even break up fights in the pub, (she used to be a lady wrestler before her back problem). Stephan appeared to be getting lazier and lazier. On one occasion Joyce actually joked with me in front of Stephan and said, "You know what Cindy, I think I have married a control freak", to which I responded, "I could have told you that ages ago". Another night her and Stephan had a row in the pub, and Stephan, somewhat the worse for wear, cried on my shoulder saying how much he loved her etc. When, in a moment of weakness I felt sorry for him, and decided to approach Joyce and tell her how upset Stephan was, she asked me if I knew what he had said to her. Apparently he had accused her of having an affair! I told her he used to do that to me all the time in, and briefly told her about the incident where he hit me in a pub having told everyone out loud that I had been sleeping around all over Silencio. She didn't really react, so I don't know if she believed me or not, but I hope she knew deep down it was no doubt true.

Richard and I got married in the September of 2005 only four months after meeting, and although Stephan told Richard I had only done it because him and Joyce had got married, Richard and I got on very well, and obviously proved all the sceptics wrong as we are still together to this day.

Eventually Stephan and Joyce decided to give up the pub and Joyce got a job in the local Social Security Department. Stephan managed to get himself signed off as permenantly incapable of working due to his knee/back problem, and then simply let Joyce support him. Although Stephan was offically claiming benefits, he used to do karaoke hosting one night a week at a local hotel, getting away with a fraud accustion by taking Joyce with him to stand by him whilst he worked, and to take the wages at the end of the evening. All in all it was pretty disgraceful, and must have put her in a very awkward situation bearing in mind she worked in the benefits department.

After a couple of visits to the hotel where Stephan hosted the Karaoke, Richard and I stopped going, and I didn't see Stephan for months afterwards.

It turned out that for a while Stephan and Joyce had left the island and bought a barge in the UK. As Stephan didn't have any money, I have to assume Joyce's divorce settlement funds were used for this purpose. They had already bought a new car whilst they were still at the pub, so again I suspect it was Joyce who had to finance this too. After several months on the barge they reappeared on Guernsey, allegedly because Stephan found it too difficult with his bad knees to live on a boat. The last I heard they were still trying to sell it, and having trouble as it wasn't in a particularly nice area. No doubt any losses made on the eventual sale of the boat will be at Joyce's expense, and Stephan will have lost nothing. In the meantime I had finally managed to sell my Spanish apartment, but had lost over £12,500 on it, which I now have to pay off to my Mother when Richard and I can afford it. All in all I must have lost about £20,000 in the the time since Stephan and I had got together, as I sold off, or gave away so many possessions before I left Guernsey based on his promises of long term commitment, and again before I returned to Guernsey. All of the £5000 I had left from my late Husband Dave's small estate had gone in the first few weeks of being in Tenerife, and of course I lost the money on the apartment sale, as well as never recovering the money Stephan had promised me both to help me move apartments, and to come for the week to Guernsey. Certainly Stephan lost nothing, and if anyone was money grabbing in our relationship, it had clearly been him. Now to all intents and purposes he appeared to be doing the same thing to his new Wife Joyce, and I still do feel for her, as she is a good person and is no doubt having a pretty rough time of it living with Stephan. To add insult to injury, they took on a Golden Retriever puppy some time back, and I am truly scared that it will have a terrible home with an owner like Stephan.

Richard did bump into Stephan some weeks ago, and apparently he looked dreadful, having aged drastically and gained excessive weight, not to mention being barely able to walk. Stephan asked Richard how he was getting on with the inlaws, and then told Richard that my Sister walked around like she owned the place, and that my family were all drunks, another slanderous and completely untrue thing to say. Apparently Stephan is just a poisonous as ever.

What I did find out that was quite comforting, was that Stephan had actually been in and out of the local mental hospital (Castel Hospital) for around thirteen years. I only found this out by accident, as a friend of Richard and myself had a Sister who was in the same place, and he used to see Stephan in there regularly when visitng his Sister. When I asked him how recently he had seen Stephan in there, he told me it was within the last eighteen months, which means that this was since Stephan's marriage to Joyce. I hope this really does mean that not only am I now the real victim to anyone who knows about this, and thought originally Stephan was the one who had experienced a hard time being in a relationship with me, but that by now, Joyce too has seen his nasty side in depth, and believes I may have suffered bady at Stephan's hands.

My worst regret out of all of this was losing my pets, and I shall never forgive myself for this. My elderly Greyhound had to be put to sleep recently (a sad task I had to help with). My little cute terrier Misty, lives with two lovely men, but sadly they did allow her to get very overweight, and she developed diabeties and ended up insulin dependant before ultimately passing away suddenly. My cat lived with Stephan's ex-girlfriend, and although Richard did contact her to ask if we could have the cat back, she said the children were too attached to it, and that if it had been up to her she would have said yes. I am guessing by now the cat has passed.

My Sister and I are fully reconciled now and get on very well. My Mother and Stepfather and I get on better than we ever have, and luckily they really like Richard.

Richard and I found, leased and restored a long forgotten fishing lake on Guernsey, and re-opened it in 2006. This is the best thing we have ever done, as although we have struggled to get locals interested in coarse fishing, we love the place totally, and frequently relax in the lovely woodland setting that surrounds it, and watch the abundant wildlife that resides there.

At last I am truly relaxed, and Richard and I are settled and content. Life has moved on for the better, and you know what, in spite of Stephan saying all of his exes were still in love with him, I can at last categorically say I am not one of them, and would prefer never to set eyes on him again. I have the life now I wanted all along, a loving genuine man who lets me be me, and supports me through all that life has to throw at us. If you too are with a control freak right now, believe me when I say you can escape and do the same, and it needn't be forever a case of staying in a cruel and controlling relationship.