Memoir: Tiki Barber’s Girlfriend Traci Johnson Reveals The Truth Behind The Tabloid Stories

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I am no Emily Post when it comes to relationships. I certainly don't have all the answers when it comes to love and I've made countless mistakes when it comes to the men that have dotted the pages of my life. While I don't meet the qualifications for writing a book on the proper dating etiquette, I could pen a column or two about maintain the hope that your one true love is waiting right around the corner, all the while stumbling through relationships along the way.

This stumbling, well let's be honest, in my case, falling flat on my face, was a recurrent theme in my relationship history. Scars and bruises of my past ill-fated trips down lover's lane are ever present in my mind, so when I began dating my current boyfriend in the beginning of January 2010 I was optimistic, yet cautious. He was recently separated from his wife, resetting his love life, and unsure of what the future would hold for him. All qualities that produced an array of warning signals in my mind. However, the romantic optimist in me prevailed through the doubt and I thought about the possibilities that could lead to the potential of this situation actually working out to my benefit. He was one of my dearest friends for the past three years and has been the one to pick me up off my face when I fumbled my way through one bad relationship to another. In my opinion those were two fantastic reasons for beginning a new dating adventure with someone, and if those two weren't enough to convince me to date this man, then the simple fact that I was just freshly wounded by a relationship with what I would like to consider a nutcase (and wasn't quite yet ready for another serious, long-term commitment with someone) closed the deal for me.

Three months later all the bright red caution lights that were flashing in my mind when I first began dating Tiki had disappeared and I was, for the first time in my life, completely comfortable in my relationship. I was able to throw on a pair of sweatpants and not worry about putting make-up on when he came over, our hands seemed to fit together perfectly while walking down the street, conversation over dinner at our favorite French restaurant, La Ripaille, flowed naturally – all in all, life appeared seemingly perfect.

Then within 24 hours, that seemingly perfect world that I had quickly grown accustomed too, vanished. My face was suddenly on the front page of one of the most read newspapers in the nation, I was trending on Google, my family was being harassed by reporters, my sister called to tell me that she saw Tiki and me on television, and I was forced to leave my cozy two-bedroom apartment, with my eight-month old puppy in tow, to spend the next two weeks in seclusion from the world.

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