24-year-old Hassan Kahlied was working at the Sharn-El-Sheikh hotel as a waiter when Joanna Girling and her husband of 20 years visited Egypt in 2018.
She admitted that she hadn’t slept with her husband for almost a decade when Kahlied showered her with attention.
The Tesco employee said: “Like a lot of married couples we became less and less attracted to each other but we stayed together for convenience.”
One night when her husband was not at the table, Kahlied came over and convinced her to spend the next day with him in the city.
“He was so flirty from the start that I knew he fancied me. We were talking and he made me feel sexy for the first time in years. I began sneaking out in the afternoon to meet him while John was lounging by the pool,” she said. “I wanted to sleep with him from the first day I met him but Hassan said that we’d need a fake marriage certificate first. Egypt is strict about premarital sex so we couldn’t rent a room together without one.”
They found a fake marriage certificate and rented an apartment so they could have sex.
“It was incredible, he was so young and keen. It was the best sex of my life – mindblowing after 10 years of no physical contact. I knew then that I had to leave my husband. We’d gone a decade with no physical contact at all. It was no way to live – it was no longer a marriage. It was the end of my trip but Hassan wanted to see me again so even on the way home I was making plans to return,” Girling said.
After getting home in Norfolk, she ended her marriage and confessed to the affair.
Girling recounted: “He was furious but he’d suspected something was going on. We didn’t have kids but we had seven dogs together.”
For two months in the UK, she worked night shifts at Tesco and sent money to Kahlied to pay for food and bills.
“I sent him £400 to help out. I didn’t ask for proof, I trusted that he was telling me the truth,” she said.
When she returned to Hurghada in August 2018, she was armed with gifts that Kahlied had requested – jeans, shirts, trainers, aftershave, and a bottle of Cognac.
“He also took control of my holiday money of £1,100 saying that he’d handle it. At first I was surprised but he explained that it was the custom in Egypt for men to deal with the money. He said he wanted to look after me so I handed over all my cash,” she said.
Using their fake marriage certificate, they rented an apartment and spent their days sunbathing and getting intimate.
Girling said: “We were having sex all the time, we just couldn’t get enough of each other. But after a couple of weeks, Hassan kept disappearing for days at a time, saying he needed to visit his family.”
She claimed that on one occasion, he left her for two days without any money so she had to get work at a nursery to make money quickly.
“I’d try to ring him but there’d be no answer. After splitting from my husband I had no savings, the cash I’d brought with me was all I had,” she said.
Growing increasingly suspicious about his disappearances, she asked their neighbors where Kahlied was going.
“One [neighbor] said that he thought Hassan had gone home to have an engagement party as he was due to get married. I was devastated but over text Hassan insisted it wasn’t true and when he returned after 10 days he denied it,” she said.
At the end of August, he asked her to go home for a few weeks. He claimed that the apartment was too expensive and that Girling needed to save more money because he couldn’t support them on his salary.
“I was devastated to leave,” she said. “But he had a point, I had no money left and he only earnt a small salary as a waiter. My holiday money had all gone so the plan was for me to come home, stay with family and work to save money to go back.”
She had to ask a friend for money to cover her flight back home, and when she stopped over in Hamburg, Kahlied had a surprise in store for her.
He admitted that he’d married an Egyptian girl, and called Girling “fat and old.”
“I just didn’t understand. He’d told me that he’d loved me, why lie?” she asked.
Despite her experience, in March 2019, Girling went back to Egypt to work as a nursery teacher because she “didn’t have anything” keeping her in the UK.
“I didn’t go out there looking for love. I just love the country and wanted to be back there,” she said.
She never heard from Kahlied again after he blocked her on social media.
When reached for comment, Kahlied said: “I’m so sorry about the money. It was because I am poor. I don’t want to discuss anything about my relationship.”
After three months in Hurghada, however, Girling found love again with shopkeeper Hysm Feygo after he invited her and a female friend to look around his herb and spice shop.
“I can’t quite grasp what it is but there’s just something about him, he makes me feel comfortable and, from the moment we met, it was like we’d known each other a long time,” she said.
After walking her friend back to her hotel, Girling went back to the shop to ask Hysm to call her a taxi.
“He joined me in the cab and we had sex that night. It was amazing but at first, it was just about sex. Hysm wanted a relationship but I’d already been hurt once by Hassan so I was wary but the more I got to know him the more I trusted him. He didn’t ask me for a penny,” she said.
They moved in together using a fake marriage certificate and are now trying for a baby.
“He didn’t even propose. He didn’t need to – he already considers me his wife but we’re hoping to make it official next year once I’ve divorced my husband,” she said. “We have sex every other day and I’m hoping I’m not too old to get pregnant. I’m very happy with my toyboy who never asks me for money. I know he’s with me because he loves me.”
“Most of my family has disowned me, they haven’t spoken to me since I returned to Egypt. They think I’m foolish to be with him but I don’t care. This is like a second chance for me. My life is unrecognizable to a couple of years ago and I wouldn’t take anything back. I love Hysm so much,” Girling added.