We’ve all gone through bad relationships. But have you ever had a lover outright steal from you? These guys have — here’s what it was like, how it happened, and how they got over it.
The $1,000 Saks Fifth Avenue Credit Card Charge
Samuel, 34: I dated a girl for about a year. It wasn’t a great relationship even when it was good, but she was into me. It had been years since I was in a relationship, and because of that, I found myself pouring a lot of emotion into it, even though I probably knew it was a flawed one.
I knew she meant well, but it was mostly one-sided — she was an entitled girl, yet was the type who was always feeling wronged. She had nice things but was always broke, and she wanted more nice things, but didn’t have the means to buy them. On a few occasions, I became the means to buy them, even though I didn’t have much money at the time either. In hindsight, how stupid of me. But that’s a dysfunctional relationship for you.
Even though she didn’t need any of these clothes or accessories, she had a way of persuading. It would be the same sort of routine. She’d say to me that she didn’t have the money, but she really wanted it; she couldn’t have it, but she really wanted it! “Well, I guess I can’t get it, and now I don’t know what I’ll wear to that wedding tomorrow,” she’d say, around and around in circles. Then she’d add that she really wants it, and then try to act cute and funny. Finally, in a really clever move, she’d go silent. I was dumb enough to fill the silence.
One of those times was at Saks Fifth Avenue, which, if we actually lived within our means, we had no business patronizing. When we were paying for the item, there was some spiel at the cash register about how if you sign up for their credit card, you get some kind of savings on your first purchase or whatever. It was a lot. Naturally her credit was in the toilet — I can’t remember how or why, it was from a while before — so I opened it in my name, partly also thinking that another line of credit would be good for my own rating.
Eventually, the relationship started circling the drain. I’d had enough of her drama and her head games and her maintenance, and broke up with her. It wasn’t the first time, but it was absolutely for good this time. There were some words and names I can’t believe I actually used, and regret saying.
Life after her was good — and a lot easier. But several months later, I got a bill in the mail for nearly a thousand dollars. It was for that credit card! I’d forgotten all about it. I don’t know if it was some kind of revenge, or another one of her ways to passively aggressively reach out to me (there were also “accidental misdials” and random, trivial questions). But this? I was livid.
I called her, not nicely. She said it was a mistake, which I thought was bullshit, but I definitely believed her when she said didn’t have the money to pay for it, and she wasn’t able to return what she bought. I made her promise just to give me the card, so she left it outside her place where I could pick it up that night. I must have cut it into a hundred pieces when I got back home. In hindsight, I’d have paid a thousand dollars to be done with her, and that’s pretty much how I looked at it… even though she does still try to make contact every few years.
The Missing Jacket… And Stereo Equipment… And Watch… And…
J.R., 44: I’ve always been attracted to women who needed saving: I’m the wounded animal-saver type. After my divorce, I was obviously hurt, confused and depressed. I’ve always been fine alone, but at that point, I felt like I needed to get back out into the world.
I started my next relationship at a bar. I was alone and going out a lot, just to feel like a sociable person again. I met a girl who was also there. She was attractive, both physically and just magnetically, as in, she gravitated toward me. I couldn’t resist that magnetism. She had a certain look that just went right into you. She was funny, opinionated and just fun, and there was something tragic about her that I could never pinpoint. She was irresistible. It was immediately passionate, the kind that makes you impulsive — so impulsive that we moved in together quickly.
But she was also deceptive, and I didn’t know for a while that she was into drugs. She told me she’d had problems in the past, but she seemed in control. She drank frequently, but not in a problematic kind of way. Most people would have no idea she was hooked on pills — I didn’t, and I lived with her. That was another one of her talents, as was stealing. We weren’t exactly poor, but neither of us had much money. I remember for Christmas she got me one of those portable barbecues. It was used. I thought, “That’s… nice?” It was only later I realized she had stolen it from somebody’s front porch.
I also started noticing stuff of mine missing. A nice winter jacket when the weather started getting warm. An old box of stereo equipment and CDs that I’d forgotten about. Then a watch. But she’d go missing more frequently as well, or not get back to me. Eventually, a friend of hers told me about her habit.
The breakup was long and messy. I confronted her about the pills, and the first time she lied, but over time — I suppose when she’d had enough of the broken relationship (or had found other people to steal from?) — she confessed. We broke it off almost as quickly as we’d consummated the relationship. She was hooked on things way more powerful than our relationship, and I obviously felt betrayed. She basically disappeared, and I don’t know where she ended up.
I feel lucky, in a way, that I walked away with everything else. At least that I’m aware of. But every time I can’t find something, or a thing goes missing, she pops back into my mind.
The Two Grand for “Student Loans”
Chris, 35: If someone asks to borrow money, don’t fucking take them at their word.
I met a girl online. She was beautiful, and seemed amazing — too amazing, at least for me. I couldn’t believe it. We went on a few dates: She was incredible in bed, I’d never experienced anything like it. I was so in love I was floating off the ground.
Then one day she started laying heavy stories on me about her mom’s medical bills, and about her student debt. She didn’t ask for money, but she didn’t have to. Knowing what I know now, I probably wasn’t the first guy who heard those stories. Man, I was such a sucker! I never had a girl like her, but I had a bit of money. I think she realized both of those things before she met me. (I’m not rich, but comfortable.)
When you’re in love, you do stupid shit, like offer to help somebody blindly. So I did. I told her how much I liked her and wanted to help, and gave her a couple thousand dollars. Naturally she said she couldn’t take it from me. Of course, I insisted.
Things were going well for maybe another week or two, at least on my end. I probably would have given her more on my own, but where she fucked up is in asking me right away for more money. I said sure, but first I wanted to see how much debt she had. I just asked for paperwork, whatever she had. Immediately she acted offended, and asked why I didn’t trust her. I said I just wanna help her out of her situation and understand it more. It didn’t matter: She blew up at me and left. It all happened so fast, I couldn’t really process it at first. I was just like, “What just happened?” I didn’t wanna believe at first that it was all a lie. I think maybe your pride doesn’t let you believe, at least right away, that you got played.
But she stopped contacting me, just like that. I guess she wasn’t such a good con artist that she could forge loan documents. Her online profile was deleted too. As it sunk in, it was shocking. I was hurt, I felt stupid and embarrassed, and honestly, it’s taken a long time to get over it all — to be targeted. But I learned at least one lesson: From now on, I wanna see those receipts.