He's having a laugh!

My boyfriend was the unluckiest man around - or was he?

Published by: Amy Thompson and Marcello Mega
Published on: 23rd June

Wrapping my arms around my boyfriend Alex, my heart broke. We’d only been together six months, and I’d never known anyone who’d had to go through so much.
Since we’d met at a business meeting at the boiler company where we worked, Alex, 30, had lost both his parents and his sister.
I’d never even met them because he lived in Scotland, while I lived in Buckinghamshire.
He always came to stay with me at weekends, though.
When his dad died from a heart attack, shortly followed by his mum from a brain haemorrhage, I thought things couldn’t get any worse.
Then his sister had been found dead from a drug overdose.
Now, hearing his latest news, I realised bad things didn’t just come in threes for Alex…
‘Prostate cancer?’ I gulped, fighting back tears.
‘I got the diagnosis today,’ he sighed, his voice cracking.
‘I’m sure there are things they can do,’ I soothed, trying to sound calmer than I really was. ‘Treatment, operations…’
Throughout the last few months, Alex had been a pillar of strength, facing his family’s funerals alone. I’d offered to go up, but he’d insisted on doing it alone.
I prayed this didn’t tip him over the edge. I needn’t have worried, though, he wasn’t about to admit defeat.
‘Life’s so short,’ he started, taking my hands. ‘If you know what you want, you’ve just got to go for it, grab life with both hands…’
‘Exactly,’ I agreed, relieved he was staying so positive.
‘So, there’s something I want to ask you,’ he gently said. ‘Marie, will you marry me?’
I stared at him, stunned. I hadn’t expected that! What woman would after only six months dating?
Maybe things were moving fast, but I’d had my share of dodgy relationships.  I knew Alex was the man for me with his silly sense of humour and smile that made his brown eyes crinkle at the corners.
And we knew all too well how short life could be. If our relationship could survive so much tragedy so early on, it had to be a good sign. We’d always be there for each other.
‘Yes,’ I squealed, throwing my arms around him. ‘Of course.’
With everything else going on, Alex hadn’t bought a ring yet, but we decided to look for one together when he was paid at the end of the month. There was no rush, I didn’t need a fancy diamond to know how much he loved me.
‘There’s something else I’ve been thinking about, too,’ he confided in me a week later as we snuggled on the sofa. ‘How’d you feel about trying for a baby before I start chemotherapy?’
With the treatment for Alex’s cancer, there was a risk he’d be left infertile. This might be our only chance for a proper family.
‘Let’s do it,’ I nodded happily.
I could hardly believe it when I fell pregnant two months later.
With Alex working in Scotland, I decided to wait until we were face to face to give him the news.
Four weeks gone, and just before he was due home, disaster struck – I miscarried.
When Alex called me that night, I was in pieces.
‘Babe, what’s wrong?’ he worried, hearing my choked sobs as I tried not to let him hear me cry. There was no getting out of it though, I had to tell him.
‘I-I found out I was pregnant…’ I started.
‘That’s fantastic!’ Alex cheered. ‘Why are you crying? This is what we’ve been trying for.’
‘I lost it today,’ I blurted.
The line went silent. ‘Oh,’ he murmured. ‘Well… erm… look, I’ve got to go, work’s phoning my mobile. I’ll call you later.’
Hanging up, I broke down. We should’ve been closer than ever, yet Alex couldn’t even bring himself to talk to me.
His phone was switched off over the next couple of days, too. I was going out of my mind with worry by the time he called to say he wouldn’t make it down that weekend either, giving some excuse about having to work and hospital appointments to go to.
I knew he was upset, but sometimes I wished he wasn’t so proud, always trying to deal with everything.
‘I’m sorry,’ he sighed, hugging me when he eventually came over. ‘I just needed a bit of time to get my head around everything.’
‘We’re supposed to be getting married,’ I replied. ‘We need to support each other.’
‘I know, and I want to be here for you,’ he nodded. ‘That’s why I’m going to move in. I’ve got a job nearby, but I’ll have to travel back to Scotland for hospital stuff – I like my doctor there.’
‘That’s great!’ I beamed.
Moving his things into my place, I felt a surge of hope. Maybe the distance between us would start to close now.
For a while, things were great. But soon I started to notice how little he went for treatment, and I’d heard him on the phone cancelling appointments.
‘I know it’s scary,’ I soothed. ‘But this is your health, Alex. You can’t keep putting off your treatment.’
‘I’ll be fine,’ he promised. ‘Stop worrying.’ Easier said than done.
Desperate to help, I decided to call the hospital. After all, I was planning to have a child with Alex, and if they weren’t going to have their daddy around for very long, I had a right to know.
Only, when I called, they said they’d never heard of him.
Concerned, I confronted Alex when he got home.
‘I told them not to tell anyone I was being treated,’ he sighed, raking a hand through his dark hair. ‘Workmates kept calling to check I was okay, and I didn’t want anyone to pry. And before you start again, I’ve re-booked my appointment for the weekend.’
 ‘Okay,’ I muttered. ‘Just make sure you don’t cancel any more.’
On Sunday, pottering at home, I jumped as the phone rang. A Scottish area code flashed up on the display screen. Must be Alex calling from the hospital, I thought, answering.
‘Hello, who is this?’ a female voice asked when I picked it up.
‘It’s Marie,’ I answered, confused. Was she a nurse? Had something happened to Alex?
‘My name’s Debbie,’ she snapped. ‘Why have you been emailing my fiancé and sending him texts saying you love him?’
Whoa! This woman had clearly got the wrong number.
‘I’ve never met your fiancé or you!’ I replied, firmly. ‘I think you’ve got the…’
‘His name’s Alex Roy,’ she butted in. ‘Are you sure you don’t know him?’
What…?! She was talking about Alex, my Alex! ‘Yes,’ I said, slowly. ‘But Alex Roy is my fiancé.’
‘I hate to break this to you,’ she sighed, her voice softening as she realised I really had no idea who she was. ‘Alex is engaged to me, and I’m three months pregnant with his baby. I think we need to chat.’
I listened, stunned, as Debbie told me how she’d picked up one of his wage slips addressed to my place and had got suspicious.
‘He told me he’d be working away for a while, but he came home to Airdrie most weekends,’ she said. ‘I did some digging, though, that’s when I found your emails and texts.’
My world was crumbling around me as she continued.
‘But there’s more to this than you and me,’ she added.
I gripped the phone.
‘Alex told me his parents and sister died, but I found out they’re very much alive and well,’ she added.
‘Wait,’ I interrupted. ‘Why would he lie about that? He wouldn’t! It doesn’t make sense!’
‘It does if you’ve already been charged with bigamy, and you’re planning to marry two other women,’ she sighed.
Collapsing on the sofa, my head in a spin, I could hardly breathe.
‘His parents told me he was married to a woman called Denise who he has two grown-up kids with.
‘While he was married to her, he married another woman, Morven…’ said Debbie.
‘And now, he’s engaged to you and me…’ I gasped.
‘And he doesn’t have cancer either, if that’s what he told you,’ she explained.
And to think I’d never suspected a thing. The last six months of my life were all lies.
Was I just a bit on the side now? No good for having kids with, so he’d moved on to her?
Who was this Alex Roy, because I sure as hell didn’t know the man!
It turned out he’d even lied about his age. Debbie said according to his parents he was 40, not 30!
Suddenly, I heard a door slam in the background. ‘Ah, here he is now,’ said Debbie. ‘I’ll put you on to him.’
I could hear a confused voice, then someone was picking up the phone.
‘Hello?’ Alex’s voice was unmistakable.
My blood boiled. ‘Is it true?’ I fumed. ‘You’re engaged to both of us, and she’s pregnant?’
There was a bit of fumbling with the phone, then the line went dead.
The coward! He didn’t even have the guts to admit it.
The following day, I got a call from him. ‘It’s not what you think,’ he gabbled. ‘She’s a jealous ex-girlfriend trying to split us up.’
Right! A jealous ex who he still lived with?! Did he take me for a complete fool?
‘I’m surprised you didn’t lie about your name!’ I spat, hanging up on him.
I felt so stupid for not seeing any of it sooner, but when Debbie called again, she filled me in on how he’d duped her, too.
‘He was so convincing,’ she sympathised. ‘We had our wedding booked, I even had my dress and six bridesmaids’ dresses made.’
Alex had already bought her a £2,200 engagement ring –  he’d never found the time or money to get mine. Now I knew why!
‘I was pregnant by him, too,’ I admitted. ‘But I miscarried in the second week of August.’
‘I don’t believe it!’ Debbie gasped. ‘He was with me that weekend. We went to a gig.’
A pang of pure hatred towards Alex shot through me.
While I’d been losing our baby, he’d been out having fun with his other fiancé!
Well, why should he have the last laugh and get away with hurting so many women?
Reporting him to the police, I soon discovered he was awaiting sentencing for his bigamy.
I did some digging of my own, too, and discovered he was on a string of dating websites.
God knows how many other women he conned, or even proposed to! How many of them thought they were marrying a kind, genuine guy, like I had?
In April, at Stirling Sheriff Court, Alex admitted marrying Morven Wylie bigamously and providing false information to the registrar by telling him his parents didn’t attend the wedding because they were dead.
Even then, he spun the court a story about how he suffered from a disorder that made changes stressful and that he barely remembered marrying Morven.
Me and Debbie were shocked when he was sentenced to only 240 hours of community service!
Sadly, Debbie miscarried at just four months.
I haven’t seen Alex since, although he’s sent me a letter apologising, along with an engagement ring. He asked if I’d still marry him – the cheek!
They say life’s short and you should seize the day, but there’s another saying – only fools rush in… I won’t be fooled again.
Marie Jackson, 22, High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire