Big, fat liar!

I was so scared my fella would run off with someone thinner...

Published by: Heather Findlay & Polly Taylor
Published on: 26th May 2011

You shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. It’s what’s on the inside that counts, right? Standing outside the train station, tugging self-consciously at my baggy top, and waiting for my date, I hoped he believed that too.
I’d met Matt, a fireman, on an online dating site a week earlier, and had felt like Meg Ryan in the film You’ve Got Mail… except for one big difference.
At 20st, and a size 28, I was far from Hollywood thin, and was so self-conscious I rarely went out.
When my best friend Lucy, 24, did drag me to the pub, I may as well have been invisible for all the male attention I got. That’s why I’d turned to online dating, so blokes could get to know the real me.
But even though we got on, and I’d plucked up the courage to send him a photo, Matt was about to see me in the flesh – and I was terrified! ‘Hi gorgeous!’ he beamed, walking round the corner.
Gorgeous? With his smouldering eyes, he was the gorgeous one! Was he having a laugh?
It seemed not. Back at his, we ordered pizza and the conversation flowed even better than in our emails. Matt wasn’t bothered by my size. In fact… ‘I love your curves!’ he grinned, giving me a squeeze. ‘You’re a real woman, not like those skinny superstars.’
He barely took his eyes off me, and I couldn’t stop gawping at him! What a hunk! I could hardly believe it when he asked me out again… and again.
Before I knew it, a month had passed and we’d hardly been out of each other’s sight.
No man had ever looked twice at me, let alone fancied my flabby figure so, when he asked me to marry him, I didn’t hesitate.
Everything was happening fast, but Matt was the one for me – I’d never felt so good about myself.
While he moved in, I threw myself into planning our wedding. I was walking on air, until a month later when I went wedding dress shopping with Lucy.
‘We don’t stock your size,’ the saleswoman told me.
So I went to another shop. Then another… and another. They all said the same. ‘Maybe you could get one custom-made?’ Lucy suggested gently.
I felt totally humiliated… and panic-stricken. How would I tell Matt? Would knowing I was too fat for a wedding dress change his view of me? ‘Don’t be silly,’ he scoffed when I told him. ’I’d marry you in a bin liner.’
‘I’m so lucky,’ I smiled.
‘No, I’m the lucky one,’ he beamed. His kind words encouraged me to carry on planning our big day. Typical bloke, Matt was soon bored of hearing about it. While I sat on the sofa looking through wedding magazines, he’d be on Facebook.
‘Can’t you help?’ I asked one night.
‘Everything’s under control,’ he assured me. ‘I put a deposit down on the wedding venue this morning. Turkey Mill in Maidstone, Kent, the one you said you loved.’
We’d viewed it a week earlier. The place was beautiful, and the price included a slap up meal for all our guests. But there was still so much other stuff to sort out.
‘What about…’ I started.
‘Flowers?’ he asked. ‘I got quotes this afternoon.’
Silly me, he was helping. I was clearly getting too stressed.
Still, as the weeks went by, I was sure I was doing more than my share of the planning. Matt seemed to become even more detached. Every evening he was on Facebook.
‘Who’re you talking to now?’
I asked one night, trying to keep my tone light.
‘Mates,’ he shrugged. I tried peering over his shoulder – but he slammed his laptop shut! Why was he being so defensive? Pre-wedding stress, perhaps. I’d been snappy and on edge lately too.
But the next night… ‘Listen babe,’ Matt said at dinner. ‘I’ve got to work away for two weeks.
I leave tonight.’
‘T-tonight?’ I spluttered.
He’d worked away before, but never at such short notice.
‘It’ll help pay for the wedding,’ he reasoned. True – or was he just saying that to please me?
Sitting on the sofa alone that night, I thought things over.
Matt had pretty much lost interest in the wedding, spent his time on Facebook chatting to…
Suddenly, my old insecurities came flooding back. Had Matt found someone else online? Was he chatting to another woman – a pretty, confident, skinny, woman?
No! My paranoia was getting the better of me. Matt loved me, he didn’t even like skinny women.
Over the next two weeks though, I grew more anxious. By the time it came to picking him up from the train station, I was desperate to hear him tell me I was being silly, that he loved my curves.
Parking the car, I shifted my bulky frame to get a better look down the street for him. And there he was, walking towards me with… another woman!
I couldn’t miss her. With her bulging arms and flabby belly she looked like me – only bigger!
But who was she?
‘Don’t jump to conclusions,’ I told myself as they got closer. ‘She could be lost, he could have got talking to her on the train…’
‘Hello babe,’ Matt said, climbing into the car.
Then the mystery woman knocked on my window. ‘Who’re you?’ she demanded.
‘Matt’s fiancée,’ I frowned. ‘Who are you?’
‘His girlfriend!’ she sneered. Then suddenly she turned and waddled off! Girlfriend? Had I heard right? Surely not! I mean, even if Matt had something to hide he’d have to be totally stupid to be so open about it.
Looking from her to him and back again, shock stole my voice. On auto-pilot I started the car, my mind racing.
But, back home, I saw red. ‘What was that about?’ I demanded. ‘Was that woman telling the truth?’
‘Michelle’s a mate!’ he laughed. ‘She was joking!’
‘She looked serious to me!’
‘Babe, you’re being silly,’ Matt said, hugging me.
Was I? ‘I need to think,’ I told him, going upstairs.
Years of feeling fat and unloved had eaten away at my confidence. Maybe I had to have faith in what Matt was telling me.
Heading downstairs to apologise, I found him chatting on Facebook. But he couldn’t close his laptop fast enough this time – I saw the message he was typing… to Michelle! Sorry about before. Love you, I read.
‘Get out!’ I screamed. ‘I can’t believe you lied to me, and I was about to apologise.’
This time, Matt didn’t argue. He packed his things and left. We were through. But I still wanted answers. So I searched Facebook for Michelle, then sent a message asking her to tell me everything.
‘We met a month after you,’ she said. ‘Whenever he was working away, he was really seeing me.’
While I’d been planning our wedding, he’d been planning a sordid affair. And while I’d worried he’d run off with someone thinner, he’d fallen for a fatty.
He’d lied about other stuff too. When I phoned the wedding venue to cancel, I discovered there was no booking anyway.
I still hope to find someone who cares about my curves, but for now I’m giving men a wide berth. The only good thing to come out of this is I’ve found a friend in Michelle.
You shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. Matt might’ve looked good, but he was a big, fat liar!
Matt Kemp, 24, says: ‘I was engaged to Amanda, we even saw a wedding venue. Michelle was lust, not love. I know I hurt Amanda, but I never loved Michelle. I wish I hadn’t done what I did.’
Amanda Hart, 24, St Leonards-on-Sea, East Sussex