Cheat­ing with his ‘cousin’

My fella hid his other woman in plain sight – but that wasn’t his only lie...

Chat - - Contents - Ross­lyn Carter, 34, north Lon­don

Chat­ting to a mate, I moaned about my non-ex­is­tent love life.

‘I’ve been sin­gle a year,’ I groaned. It was Novem­ber 2016 and, bring­ing up two chil­dren alone, I rarely had time for dat­ing.

But see­ing cou­ples with their kids made me yearn for a man in my life.

‘Try In­ter­net dat­ing,’ my mate sug­gested. ‘Nah,’ I rolled my eyes. Only, that night as the chil­dren slept, I found my­self look­ing at dat­ing apps.

Sign­ing up for one, I scrolled through pho­tos of avail­able men. Ju­lian Balla, 27, popped up. His pro­file pic was of him and a mate with a toy tiger. Sweet! Hi, I wrote. He replied straight­away, and from then on the con­ver­sa­tion flowed.

Ju­lian said he was half Turk­ish, half Al­ba­nian.

He was a painter and dec­o­ra­tor, and his fa­ther was a mil­lion­aire busi­ness­man who trav­elled the world.

One day, I’ll be like him. I want to open my own busi­ness, he wrote.

I loved his am­bi­tion, and he seemed such a fam­ily man, too.

Plus, we shared a love of hor­ror movies and com­edy.

Within days, we were chat­ting over the phone.

Ju­lian made me laugh with his one-lin­ers – I fell head over heels.

A few weeks later, we ar­ranged to meet up at his home. Pulling up, I felt ner­vous. But when I saw him run­ning to­wards me grin­ning, my nerves calmed.

Chat­ting away, I felt to­tally at ease.

When I left for the school run, I knew I wanted to see Ju­lian again. The feel­ing was mu­tual. We’d go for cof­fee or he’d cook lunch.

Three months later, I in­tro­duced him to the chil­dren, then 6 and 11.

It was a big step – my kids are my world. But it felt right. Play­ing foot­ball with them in the park, Ju­lian seemed a nat­u­ral fam­ily man.

And he’d tell me he loved me con­stantly. ‘I love you, too,’ I’d smile. In March last year, we moved in to­gether.

Only, there was one thing that didn’t seem right – he wouldn’t be Face­book friends with me. ‘My fam­ily will ask ques­tions, I can’t be deal­ing with it,’ he ex­plained.

I wanted to trust Ju­lian, but my sus­pi­cions got the bet­ter of me. So one evening, I scrolled through his Face­book friend list.

Sud­denly, a British girl popped up, and her pro­file pic was of her and Ju­lian laugh­ing.

Her arms were draped over his shoul­ders. Hang on a minute, I thought. Alarm bells ring­ing, I con­fronted Ju­lian. ‘Who’s this girl?’ I asked. ‘My cousin,’ he shrugged. He of­ten vis­ited his cousins on a Sun­day. She must be one of them, I rea­soned. Still, they looked pretty close in the pic­ture.

Try­ing not to be para­noid, I put my sus­pi­cions aside.

The chil­dren loved Ju­lian, and I saw our fu­ture to­gether.

Only, af­ter a few months, Ju­lian changed.

He’d snap at me when I’d done noth­ing wrong, be­come an­gry for no rea­son. I didn’t like it. I des­per­ately wanted my old, lov­ing Ju­lian back.

Then his abu­sive words turned phys­i­cal.

He’d rip my clothes, pull my hair when we rowed.

Last Oc­to­ber, we were sit­ting in the car, row­ing yet again.

Boil­ing over, Ju­lian smashed my car wind­screen, shat­ter­ing glass all over me. Luck­ily, I wasn’t in­jured. Ashamed of what our re­la­tion­ship had be­come, I didn’t tell a soul.

Then, days later, a row about money be­came heated.

Ju­lian lost it, started throw­ing things.

Sud­denly, he was scream­ing in my face, fists clenched and... Thump!

He punched me hard on the arm.

Winc­ing in pain, I was com­pletely stunned.

He apol­o­gised, begged for my for­give­ness.

Pet­ri­fied, I knew I had to leave him.

Only, I didn’t have the courage to split up...

Un­til later that month, when

I loved his am­bi­tion... he seemed such a fam­ily man

Ju­lian had gone par­ty­ing all night with his cousins.

I lay in bed awake, that Face­book pic­ture of him with his fe­male cousin go­ing round and round in my mind.

They re­ally didn’t look at all alike. And why wouldn’t Ju­lian add me on Face­book? What’s he hid­ing? I had to find out. Find­ing the woman on his Face­book friends list again, I mes­saged her.

Who are you and how do you know Ju­lian Balla? I asked.

Min­utes later, I had a re­ply. I’m Ju­lian’s girl­friend, she replied. I felt sick to my stom­ach. But I’m Ju­lian’s girl­friend, I wrote back. He said that you were his cousin. Both shocked, we opened up about our re­la­tion­ships. It turned out he’d told her I was his cousin as well! Ly­ing rat!

He’d been sleep­ing with her be­hind my back the whole time we were to­gether.

Worse, he’d met her through the same dat­ing app! Heart­less pig!

His ‘cousin’ told me he was Al­ba­nian, not Turk­ish at all – and an il­le­gal im­mi­grant. I reckon he was us­ing us to get a visa, she wrote. And his dad? No mil­lion­aire! Ev­ery­thing had been a lie. Head spin­ning, I con­fronted Ju­lian the next day. He didn’t bother deny­ing it, wasn’t even sorry.

‘But you said she was your cousin,’ I said.

‘I can’t be­lieve you trusted me!’ he laughed.

I re­fused to cry in front of him and kicked him out of the house.

Had this been about a visa? Had he hoped to marry one of us in or­der to get one? Fu­ri­ous, I went to the po­lice. ‘He won’t get away with it,’ I cried.

Last Novem­ber, Ju­lian Balla, 27, ap­peared at Hat­field Mag­is­trates Court.

Balla pleaded guilty to crim­i­nal dam­age and as­sault by beat­ing and was fined £700, or­dered to pay £135 costs and given a 12-month re­strain­ing or­der.

I heard he was de­ported back to Al­ba­nia.

I’m re­lieved I’ll never see him again. But I’m heart­bro­ken, too. He’d promised me and my kids the world, but he was noth­ing but an abu­sive, ly­ing cheat – maybe even us­ing me to get a visa.

I’m now try­ing to get my life back on track.

I’ve never heard from Ju­lian’s other woman again, but I hope she’s happy to be free of him, too.

We’re both well rid of that rat.

Had he hoped to marry one of us to get a visa?

I thought the two of us had a happy fu­ture

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