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One of the things that attracted me to Dan* was his down-to-earth and relaxed nature; I couldn't think of anything that would rattle him. I have a calm personality and seldom lose my temper, so Dan felt like a good fit. Little did I know that dating Dan would lead to the most volatile time of my life…

Dan was honest with me from the start. He told me that he had split up with his girlfriend a few months prior and that they were still friends. Dan and Chloe* dated for two years but had known each other since their university days. Because they were friends before they became lovers, that friendship remained even after the passion had faded. I appreciated that Dan was so forthcoming with this information as most men I knew didn't like to divulge anything about their past. He told me that he needed me to know about Chloe because she was still in his life, but assured me that they were strictly just friends.

We had a blissful first three months of dating. I couldn't believe how lucky I was to have met a man like Dan. I did notice that he received a number of messages on his phone every time we were out but didn't ask him about it. He once joked that it was Chloe and that she must be jealous because he was spending so much time with me. He said it so nonchalantly that I thought nothing of it and laughed along with him.  

Then, as the honeymoon phase wore off, we started meeting each other's friends. I couldn't wait to show him off; I knew all my female friends would be jealous that I had met such a lovely man. But first, Dan suggested that Chloe and I meet. I wasn't keen on it being just the three of us but Dan arranged it before I could say anything.

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Meeting The Enemy

We had dinner together and she was extremely bubbly and chatty – nothing at all like I had pictured. I couldn't believe that Dan's ex-girlfriend was, in essence, the total opposite of me. I also noticed that she was very touchy-feely with Dan. She touched his arm every time she laughed – and boy did she giggle at every little thing – and hugged him for a very long time when they said hello.

After dinner, Chloe told Dan that their friends from uni were at a bar nearby and she was joining them so invited him. Dan asked if I wanted to go but I had an early morning meeting that I hadn't prepared for so I told him to go without me.

Dan waited with me to get a taxi while Chloe stood there impatiently. After 10 minutes, I told him I was fine waiting by myself and to not lose precious time catching up with his old friends. I swear I saw Chloe light up when she realised she was rid of me and she walked off – arm in arm, no less – with my man.

Over the next few months, Chloe was a frequent fixture in our lives. She was often in the area when we were out – how convenient! – and we had many spur-of-the-moment coffees with her. She was always ecstatic to see Dan but never spoke much to me. She also regularly brought up stories about them from their past so I often felt left out.

It came to a point where I couldn't just grin and bear it anymore. I told Dan how I felt and explained that she shouldn't be in our lives as much as she was. He was very apologetic and had no inkling that Chloe had overstepped her boundaries. For the next couple of weeks, I didn't see her at all.

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The Psycho Returns

Then the unrelenting messages started. If he didn't reply within an hour, she rang repeatedly. When he did answer, she was frantic and kept asking why he didn't pick up the call earlier. And, of course, if he ignored her calls, she just kept on ringing.

Dan told me that he had to speak to her in person – alone. He arranged to meet her and I waited for him at a nearby cafe. After an hour, Dan came to meet me and – to my surprise – Chloe was with him. She apologised and said she was going through a family crisis and had desperately needed to talk to Dan since he knew her family too.

Chloe's silence lasted a month, then she came creeping back into our lives. But this time, it was worse. She kept telling him that I wasn't good enough for him and even accused me of seeing another guy behind his back (I wasn't)!

I'm thankful that Dan was honest enough to tell me everything. Then I did something I had never done in my life – I gave Dan an ultimatum. He had to get her out of his life or he was going to lose me. Dan was worth fighting for but I didn't want him if she was part of the package. I didn't mind him seeing her in a group but the deal was that he was never to meet her alone.

Dan chose me and, even though there were a few initial blips – with Chloe throwing hissy fits (twice) in the middle of a bar when they were out with friends and Dan having to change his phone number (once) to avoid her incessant calls – she got the hint after a while. Four years later, Dan and I are still in love; in fact, we're getting married in a few months. And no, Chloe isn't invited to the wedding.

*Names have been changed.