Puss in bag stories

THE phrase 'a pig in a poke' was first heard in the Middle Ages, named for an item bought foolishly without first being inspected and is thus of unknown authenticity or quality. In Jamaica we call it buying 'puss inna bag', a warning against not sampling goods before full commitment. The expression usually comes up in relationships, especially those in which a couple waits until marriage for intimacy, and then one or both parties are disappointed. But getting a puss in bag or a raw deal can also occur in other areas of a relationship, outside the bedroom, where people feel they were duped into getting a partner they didn't expect.

The people below share their experiences of big disappointments that they didn't bargain for when they hooked up with long-term partners.

Marlene, 45, separated:

He was the perfect partner; he pursued me, a single mother who was older than him, and treated me like I was the best thing on Earth. Within two years we were married and had two other children. He didn't cheat, came home every night, and was the most wonderful husband, to the point where everyone was congratulating me on finally getting lucky. The only worrying thing was that every single friend he had was gay, and he would go on trips with them and hang out with his boys. I didn't mind at first because I knew them all and we got along fantastically. One day he was travelling and asked me to look through some papers in a drawer for an invoice, and I saw a phone in another drawer. I turned it on and got quite the shocker. It wasn't password-protected or anything, so I went in the WhatsApp and saw messages, with some of the same guys, that indicated that more went on, on these trips than just brotherly camaraderie. When I confronted him he insisted that nothing happened, but I couldn't trust him after that, and we separated.

Horace, 35, married:

My wife is NOTHING like she presented herself when we were dating or just married. She has this large amount of trauma from being abused as a child and I knew nothing about it because she pretended that her family life was normal, and because she has a degree in psychology, she was able to fake affection and say the right things. She literally lied about her family values and skeletons and hid a lot of stuff that would have probably made me think twice. Because of all her trauma, she's so cold and unforgiving and inhumane with our kids, in fact, it's like when she had the kids something inside her was triggered, and she's like Jekyll and Hyde with me. She also refuses to get therapy, and our marriage is like a ticking time bomb.

Lance, 44, separated:

She's beautiful and everyone thought I was an idiot not to seal the deal sooner, so when we married it was the talk of the community. I always knew something was off, but didn't even notice how off. Years after the marriage I accepted that her beauty was just on the outside. She's a terrible person, who, when she's upset, calls people the worst names ever, and will grab anything she finds to fight you. It was like living with a constantly angry common fowl, and there was never any peace in the house.

Latoya, 43, divorced:

He didn't tell me that he had a vasectomy and didn't want anymore kids, and had me there trying for years, visiting doctors, even going on fertility drugs in order to try to conceive. Of course he didn't see the point in him getting tested because he had two older kids that he used as proof that he wasn't the problem, and I was. You know how I found out, after years of trying to get pregnant and watching my fertile years fly by? His ex-wife came down for one of his kids' graduation and saw me and said I was so pretty, and it's a pity we wouldn't be having any beautiful babies. At first I got upset with her because I thought he had shared our fertility struggles with her, but she stopped me, and mentioned his "operation". When I confronted him he confessed that he had a vasectomy years before and was afraid to tell me. I just filed the papers right away because, even though by then I would have been too old to have kids, there is no way I could have forgiven him for letting me think I was the problem and wasting the years with him when I could have had children with someone else.

LICHELLE PALMER

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