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