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Cynthia’s fiancé had a terrible secret and used gaslighting to hide it.

Cynthia* and Patrick* had been together for five years, and when they got engaged, they seemed to have it all.
Patrick had a successful, lucrative career in the finance industry, while Cynthia ran a boutique fashion line.
Their respective pursuits kept them busy, but they would always make time for each other. Over the years, they developed a solid routine, one that helped their relationship blossom, despite the threat of their careers getting in the way.
But six months into their engagement, as Cynthia began planning the wedding of her dreams, that routine changed.
Suddenly, Patrick began spending a lot more time at work and would often stay out late into the night entertaining clients. While it was part of his job, it infringed on his commitment to making time for his now-fiancé.
A startling discovery
And it all came to a head one Friday night in early 2020. Friday had always been the couple’s special day, as they unwound from their busy work weeks in each other’s company. They were supposed to have a movie night, but Patrick had other ideas. He told Cynthia he would be staying late at work.
After a few glasses of wine, Cynthia called Patrick, who was at a bar in the city. Distressed, she asked Patrick why he felt the need to disregard their plans. After all, if he had been like this earlier in the relationship, they would never have worked.
“Because I want to fit in”, was Patrick’s response, but he said it with a nervous tone. Suddenly anxious, Cynthia did some digging in their bedroom.
Sifting through his designer suits and golf equipment, Cynthia saw a small, unbranded duffle bag. It seemed out of place among all his nice things. Curiously, she opened it and was shocked to find what must have been hundreds of thousands of dollars in crisp hundred dollar notes.
It wasn’t like Patrick. He may have been financially comfortable, but all his savings were tied up in investments as far as she knew. Patrick told people not to hold cash for a living after all.
Cynthia became anxious as to the purpose of her fiancé’s secret stash. Was there another woman? Was he planning to leave her and start a new life?
So she texted Patrick asking him to explain himself. But she passed out before she could get a response.
She woke up the following day with Patrick by her side, looking incredibly worse for wear. She prepared to show him the bag of money and confront him when he woke up. But to her shock, it was gone. She opened her phone, and the last text she sent Patrick was “good night”. She thought it was strange but suspected that Patrick had hidden the bag and deleted the text when he came home, so she confronted him anyway.
Patrick responded with confusion. He said he was sorry for staying out late and suggested she dreamt the whole thing. Cynthia thought he might be right. After all, she did have a bit to drink.
On Monday morning, she confided the dream to her business partner and got a predictable response.
“You’re crazy. Patrick is a great guy and would never hide anything from you. Maybe subconsciously, you feel you’re not good enough for him and want to find something imperfect about him that isn’t there”, her business partner responded
Cynthia began to second-guess everything. Patrick was good-looking and wildly successful. She was lucky to have him.
But something was still bugging her. What she saw that night still felt real.
Pandemic anxiety
In late March 2020, the COVID-19 lockdown meant Patrick was to work from home, while Cynthia’s business had to close temporarily. 
But the bright side of the lockdown, Cynthia thought, was spending more time with Patrick.
But Friday night came around, and Patrick had an emergency. He had some clients who would only conduct meetings in their office due to the secure nature of their business, so he would have to go and meet them there.
As the lockdown dragged on, these Friday night meetings became a regular occurrence, moving to weeknights and weekends as well.
Cynthia was suspicious. She didn’t believe there were that many meetings that couldn’t happen online. And given COVID restrictions only allowed you to leave the house to visit an intimate partner, Cynthia thought Patrick might be having an affair.
Cynthia began taking notes of the clients he saw. Sometimes they would be lawyers, other times politicians.
Cynthia also noticed that, upon getting him to recall which client he saw on which night, he seemed to have trouble remembering, which wasn’t like him.
The anxiety she’d felt back when she made that cash discovery came back. She had to get to the bottom of it.
Finding out for sure…

When Cynthia approached Rivica to conduct an investigation, she was hoping it was all in her head. She told herself she just needed reassurance, Patrick was doing what he said he was doing.

And Richard understood completely. There was no awkwardness about her request.

So the next night Patrick went out for a meeting, Richard followed him to his destination: an expensive hotel in the city centre.

Posted outside, Richard noticed some interesting characters come in and out of the hotel. Patrick also stepped out briefly and had a conversation with a group of young men.

Upon further digging, we found the truth. Patrick was moonlighting as a drug kingpin. All of a sudden, the cash made sense. So did the late nights.

When Cynthia found out, she was more relieved than shocked. With the evidence in front of her, she was finally ready to confront him.

Patrick tried to tell Cynthia she was crazy, but then she showed him the security footage. Patrick started acting erratically, first trying to convince her it couldn’t be him, before saying he was at a party and it was a one-time thing. But the evidence was stacked against him, and his web of lies was untangling at a breakneck pace.

Cynthia was vindicated. Patrick rushed out of their home and was arrested not long after. While devastated to have her life unravel in front of her, Cynthia would begin putting the pieces back together, and lent on Rivica’s support network to get back on her feet.

Is someone you know acting strange? Do you think you might be a victim of gaslighting or abuse? We’re here to help.

Our investigators work to give you the clarity you need to get your mental health and life back on track. And along the journey, you have our full support. Finding out an inconvenient truth about a loved one is a shock to the system, but getting the clarity you need is the first step to finding your peace.

Do you or someone you know need help finding something out? Get in contact with us today for a free consultation.

If you or anyone you know is in need of support, there is help available. You can contact Lifeline 24/7 by phone on 13 11 14, Lifeline by SMS on 0477 13 11 14 (12pm to midnight) or the Suicide Call-back Service 24/7 on 1300 659 467. In an emergency, always call 000. 

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