Heidi Smith, 45, Birmingham, UK
The Christmas party was in full swing, but I couldn't help feeling a bit annoyed. My new man and I should have been having a great time.
Instead, Simon, now 45, was flirting with another woman right in front of my eyes.
I'm not causing a scene, I vowed, although I did feel hurt.
Simon and I first met a few months earlier at a motorbike event. We were both really keen bikers and I'd bumped into him at a couple of different rallies.
Simon had a lady on his arm so I assumed he was taken. But after a couple of months he told me he was single.
Looking into his bright blue eyes, I was definitely intrigued. Simon was a carer for his dad and juggled that responsibility with looking after his son.
Agreeing to see him again, we soon began dating. We'd go out for drinks, a meal and then chat until the early hours.
But then one night, Simon said something I wasn't sure about.
'Don't get too attracted to me. I'm here one minute and gone the next,' he said.
What did that mean? At first I just put it down to one too many beers.
Except now, at a Christmas party, Simon was flirting with other women right under my nose.
We had booked a hotel for the night, but when we got back I ignored him and just fell asleep.
The next morning I was blunt with him.
'I think you need to go home,' I said. Simon's face instantly crumpled.
'What have I done wrong?' he cried.
When I told him how hurt I felt, he looked down. 'I'm so sorry,' he said. 'I don't remember a thing.'
A feeling of pity stirred inside. He did seem truly remorseful.
'I'll forgive you this time,' I relented and he wrapped his arms around me in gratitude.
'I really do love you,' he said - and for the next few weeks my man was the perfect gentleman.
Soon though, he started getting really sulky when I suggested going out with my friends. 'You don't need them. You've got me,' he said.
If I insisted we go, he started drinking a lot and one night we were at a friend's when a silly disagreement between us got out of hand.
Simon slapped me hard across the face.
'He's not good for you,' my mate told me, clearly worried.
After seeing this other side of him, I knew that too. 'This can't carry on,' I told Simon, and the next morning he left.
I thought it was time to move on, but a few days later Simon rang to say he had been to the doctor to get help. 'I can't do it by myself though,' he told me.
I felt so torn. Maybe Simon was depressed. Perhaps I was the only person who made him happy. I was horrified by his behaviour, but I didn't want to knock him while he was down.
So reluctantly I said he could come and stay - and for a while things were fine. But at the next biker's meet, he got drunk and started saying some really nasty things again. I'd had enough.
'We can only be friends from now on,' I said sternly. But he wouldn't take no for an answer.
A few days before the next big bikers rally, he messaged me.
'Are you sharing my tent?' he asked. As if, I thought to myself.
'No. I'm taking my own,' I told him - and what happened next left me shocked.
'Well f*** off you fat b****, he started. 'You will now see how evil I can be - you don't know what I'm capable of.'
I'm not letting him ruin my weekend, I vowed, thinking he was just full of hot air. But as soon as I arrived at the rally, Simon found me.
'Come and stay in my tent. I want to be with you,' he slurred.
Frightened he'd get angry, I just smiled. 'We'll see,' I said.
But from that moment his behaviour only got worse. He followed me around, and when I finally got a moment to myself I should've known he'd find me.
One minute I was alone at my tent, the next he was there and his eyes were black with anger.
Without warning, Simon grabbed me by the wrist. 'Please calm down,' I pleaded.
But before I could do any more, he'd launched his fist into my face.
I fell to the floor, but Simon wasn't done with me yet. He jumped on top of me, pushing his thumb into my right eye.
As I screamed in sheer terror, people rushed to my aid, trying to pull him away. But he broke free and pounced on me again.
His face was so close I could smell the beer on his breath.
Then suddenly, pain soared through me and I could feel blood on my face. As Simon jumped off, I put my hand up to feel what was wrong.
That's when I realised - there was a gaping hole where my nose should have been. Sickness swirled in my stomach.
'He's bitten off my nose,' I screamed.
What happened next is a blur. Stewards ran towards me and led Simon away.
Then the paramedics arrived, rushing me straight to hospital, where doctors said that I needed surgery.
When my mum, Chrys,arrived from her home in Nottingham, her face showed her shock. 'What has he done to you?' she gasped.
I could only imagine.
I was given some strong painkillers to try to ease the throbbing - but I still wasn't able to sleep a wink.
The following day, I was taken into theatre. Surgeons took a skin graft from my hip and then used it to rebuild the front of my nose.
I needed 80 stitches, and was left with a nasty seven-centimetre scar.
When I finally gathered the courage to look in the mirror, I reeled back in shock.
That man had maimed me for life. I was absolutely devastated.
Simon had been arrested, but still I was too scared to go back home.
Staying with friends, I was haunted by visions of his vicious attack.
Four months later, in September 2013, Simon Brittle, then 45, of Middle Lane in Rotherham, appeared at Hull Crown Court.
He pleaded guilty to grievous bodily harm with intent and was jailed for eight years.
I hope he gets the help he needs in prison, but I want my story to be a warning to other women.
If your man shows a violent streak, get out - as soon as you possibly can.
I forgave Simon once, and look what he did to me.
If you or someone you know if the victim of domestic violence visit www.1800respect.org.au or call 1800 RESPECT for information and advice.
Originally published in that’s life! Issue 50, 2013