When I first met Patrick, I thought he was beyond amazing. He had the right looks, height, smile and charm. We first met on Tinder and wasted no time getting to know each other.
He was a few years older than me, which improved our bond because we could have honest adult conversations. One of his most intriguing qualities was that he did not care for social media. However, as time passed, I realised it was a major red flag.
Our bond went from casual dating to a relationship in a short span of time. At the time, I didn’t feel the need to take things slow since he had no flaws. Patrick lavished me with gifts, spent time with me and was always there when I needed him.
Months went by, and by the end of the year, Patrick and I had solidified our relationship. At the start of our second year together, he offered me a key to his house so I could visit whenever I was free. It was also a way of compensating because it was too early for us to live together.
I decided to visit on the weekends since it was easier to see each other. So, the following weekend, we spent time at his place playing board games, cooking and watching movies. He was not much of a club guy, which was another thing I loved about him since I was also a homebody. As the night progressed, I realised he had not given me a tour of his house, and due to my curiosity, I nagged him to do it.
“I’m so tired, babe. Can’t we do it in the morning?” He asked while yawning.
Every fibre in my body wanted to push, but I realised the house was not going anywhere. The following morning, I woke up, and curiosity struck me again. I turned to my side and noticed Patrick sleeping soundly, so I grabbed my robe and stepped out. As I walked around admiring the house, I realised that one of the rooms was locked, which seemed odd.
“What are you doing?” Patrick asked, startling me.
“I wanted to see the house, and I didn’t want to wake you,” I replied.
“Okay, have you managed to satisfy your curiosity?” He asked.
“Yes, except this room; why is it locked?” I asked.
“It’s filled with junk; I don’t think you would like it,” He said.
“Okay, no worries. Breakfast?” I said, knowing he was lying, but I decided to let it go.
We never talked about the room again, and with time my curiosity dialled down. Our relationship progressed as usual, and the more we spent time together, the more I adored him. Midway through the year, I got a job opportunity near his workplace, and we were both excited. Weekdays had always been tough for us due to our busy schedules, but now we could spend more time together. The first few weeks were good, but as I got to know my colleagues, Patrick started to suspect my every move.
He would call me at work whenever he saw me talking to any male colleague, claiming that I was flirting. At first, it didn’t seem like an issue since jealousy meant that he cared more, and I would take time to reassure him that it was just business. As the weeks progressed, he would wait for me every lunchtime and evening, so I would not have the chance to talk to any man. To avoid arguing, I let it go and convinced myself that he was doing it out of love.
Patrick was everything but malicious, and given that I had never been with a man like him, I wanted our relationship to work. The habit continued for a month until he saw me walk out of the office with my boss and assumed I was flirting with him because we were laughing. He stepped out of the car and approached us, accusing me of cheating.
“Patrick, this is my boss,” I said, trying to remain calm.
Patrick, who was too stunned, opened his mouth to apologise, but my boss turned to leave. He turned to me, grabbed my hands and apologised. Given how shocked I was, I walked away and entered his car. During the car ride, I only thought about how I would be fired the following week.
Patrick dropped me off at my aunt’s place and attempted to apologise again, but I didn’t have the guts to speak to him, so I walked off. That night he texted me and asked if I was still going to spend the weekend with him, but I declined and told him to give me some space.
The following morning, I looked for a night-out plan to help me forget the previous day’s events. Luckily one of my friends was hosting a party at a club. As I looked through my closet for something to wear, I realised I had left most of my shoes at Patrick’s. I checked the time and realised that Patrick had already gone for golf, so I could head over and pick the shoes without him knowing.
Once I got to his apartment, I quickly grabbed the shoes, but as I walked out of his room, I realised the always-locked room was half open.
“It wouldn’t hurt to peak,” I thought as I walked into the room and stumbled upon papers.
Taking a closer look, I realised they were screenshots of conversations between him and another woman and pictures of her. As I read through the conversation, I couldn’t believe that the man being talked about was the same man I was dating. Patrick had stalked the girl and threatened most of the men she had dated after they broke up. To make matters worse, he confronted her in her house and threatened to hurt her if she ever reported the case to the police.
I dropped the papers on the desk and left his apartment quickly. During my ride home, I didn’t know whether to be scared or angry. Immediately I got home, I locked the doors and started packing; my only safe place was at my parents’ house since he would never find me there. A few hours later, I took a cab to Machakos; my parents were shocked to see me but didn’t ask any questions.
Patrick called me that night and I blocked his call and tried to contain myself. The following week my supervisor called to inquire where I was, and knowing I could not reveal information about Patrick, my only option was to lie. I stayed home for two weeks hoping that by the time I returned to Nairobi, things would go back to normal.
I travelled back to Nairobi, crossing my fingers that he would let me go. My biggest fear was that one day I would leave work, and his car would be outside. Surprisingly nothing ever happened; he left me alone just like that. As much as I was relieved, I couldn’t shake the feeling that now that I was out of his life, he would find someone new who would probably go through what his ex went through. I was the only lucky one, and that experience was enough to teach me that red flags should never be ignored.
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