RoseMary Shell: Spawn of Satan or Jilted Victim?


Holy cow, have you seen this story? A woman, RoseMary Shell, was jilted a few days before her planned wedding to Wayne Gibbs in 2007. He dumped her by leaving a note in the bathroom and a check for $5000. She sued for “breach of promise.” She won and was awarded $150,000.

Her argument was that she was financially ruined by the dumping. She left a $81,000 HR job in Pensacola to be with Gibbs, and her resulting job after moving to Georgia only paid $30,000.

Gibbs argued that he had already given her significant sums of money during their courtship, including paying mortgage payments, paying off $30,000 of her debt, and a high priced engagement ring, which he didn’t get back. He claims that he broke off the engagement after learning that she had even more debt than he had previously known about. She eventually filed for bankruptcy.

Other sordid details include Mr. Gibbs cheating on RoseMary, as reported in UK’s Daily Mail and The Sun. I didn’t see that reported anywhere in the domestic media, so not sure how truthy it is.

Um, I’m not even sure where to begin. My initial reaction is that Shell is a gold digger and Gibbs got taken to the cleaners. Gibbs is a douchbag for dumping her via bathroom note, but something in my gut tells me she deserved it. (BTW, it’s no crime to be a douchbag.) She was dumb for not securing a higher paying job prior to moving to Georgia and also she didn’t properly consider the financial ramifications of the move. I also feel that he gave her WAY too much cash during their relationship. Only needy guys pay off the credit card debts of chicks. I don’t know jack about the legal aspects of the case, but it doesn’t make any sense to me that you can sue (and win) without a written contract. They were only engaged, not married. I’m sure this will be appealed.

Also, this is a great reason for not getting married, ever. Mixing finances and love is too volatile.

Would you ever pay off the debt of your beloved? Would you change to a shittier job and move states for a SO? If you’re a chick and you got jilted, would you give back the engagement ring?

Ugh, I need to look around my house and see if I can find my lost Hope for Humanity.

  • SheComesFirst

    If we were married, and my debts were paid off, and I was in a position to help my beloved pay off his debt, I would do it. If we are not married, forget about it. I made the mistake once of helping my ex with his financial problems, and I never saw the money (or the ex, good riddance) again. Not making that mistake again!

    I have and probably would again move states for SO. However, I would never take a shittier job. If a relationship requires you to sacrifice your career, I believe that is not a healthy relationship.

    And if I got jilted, no way in hell is he getting the engagement ring back! I’m selling it on ebay! =)

    SheComesFirsts last blog post..When he proposes… and why it sucks

  • The Dateable Dork

    I totally agree with SheComesFirst – there’s no way he’d ever see that ring again! And breaking up on a note in the bathroom? Please. That’s even worse than the break up by post-it note from Sex and the City.

    As for taking a shittier job and moving states for your SO, I ended a five-year relationship because I felt so strongly against doing that. There’s no way I’d sacrifice my career for anyone. If I found an equivalent (or better) job, then I might consider it. MAYBE.

    Finally – this woman is crazy. Yeah, it sucks what happened to her, but I agree with Lance that she made some pretty poor choices, especially by NOT fessing up about her debt to her fiance. Give me a break, lady.

    The Dateable Dorks last blog post..The douchebag got laid!

  • Jonsi

    I think this story would be different if somehow she acquired debt via him manipulating her into financial situations during the engagement. For example, convincing her to invest her money on a riskier venture and then leave her saddled with the debt. Even then, that would be a poor choice on her part, and she’d have some culpability.

    Like Lance says, there is no crime in being a douchebag, even though it may be manipulative and abusive at times. When I’ve been taken advantage of, all I’ve wanted was an apology, and I’m pretty dead set on being victorious in that regard, which of course, never happens, because if someone really cared, they wouldn’t have treated you that way in the first place.

  • Lance

    The bathroom note is skeezy, but when accompanied by a check for $5000 (as in this case), I’d wouldn’t care if the note was floating in the toilet.

    I’d like to think that I’m made of classier stuff, though, than to accept a breakup check…

  • Eathan

    He got robbed! Of course he set himself up for it. He never should’ve given her money to pay off bills. She never should’ve moved for a lesser paying job. Sue me?? I would laugh. This woman would divorce him and take him to the cleaners in the divorce.. so he did better by moving on now. He should listen to Tom Leykis and take notes! haha

  • cheekie

    Well, I have helped pay down debt, and I have taken a lower paying job just to have a steady income to help support ‘the fam’…but of my own doing and with no regrets.

    He is a douchebag, no doubt, and a cold heartless one at that.
    To dump someone because they have debt is pretty frickin evil (even though I am unclear what the legalities of assumed marital debt are in this case – here in Canada it is considered yours alone – debt incurred during marriage is shared).

    That being said, for her to sue, well, that screams ‘woman scorned’ to me.

    It’s one big pissing match, that’s all.
    No different than a nasty divorce…which is why I agree, money and love (and friendship) should never be an issue…

    I have one rule. Never give a friend money, even as a supposed loan, with the expectation of ever seeing it again. If I can help a friend, I will, regardless.

  • Chris

    Lance, I saw your Hope for Humanity – it skipped town with my Faith in the Goodness of Man.

    Seriously, breaking and engagement is now actionable? What’s next, a pre-nup for the engagement. I am so not getting married.

  • Holly Hoffman

    I’d like to agree with the ladies and say he’s a douchebag, but he just sounds like an immature coward afraid of confrontation… oh, I guess that is a douchebag.

    I wouldn’t keep the ring. I’ve watched girlfriends pore over their ex-rings, never figuring out what to do with it, wearing it in fantasy, etc. No thanks. Take the damn thing; I don’t want it if what it stood for is gone.

    As to the moving, that’s tough. As a Pensacola gal myself, I find it hard to believe anyone would leave an $80K paycheck there (that’s big money for that small town) for Georgia unless they saw a bigger payday coming… ie. the d-bag.

    That aside, I’m not sure. I know I’ve done stuff I regretted when I thought I was in love, so I’d think twice about taking a 2/3 cut in income. I *love* my career and unless I could find something that fit my upward track, I’m not sure I could stomach it. I have to think that the relationship would go belly up if I were that unhappy.

    If me & the guy were planning on getting married and he had what I call “unmarriable” debt and credit, then I wouldn’t be adverse to helping him get it straight before we tied it. But, that’s for my own good.

    Sounds like two selfish morons tying up our legal system with frivolties to me.

    Holly Hoffmans last blog post..The immeasurable hidden cost of high gas prices

  • Honey

    I would (somewhat obviously, since I just did) move and/or switch career paths for a signiicant other. However, I don’t think I could shift radically, for something I didn’t enjoy, or for something that paid substantially less than what I make now.

    The BF and I both value wanting to live in certain places during our lives more than the actual career paths that we take, so we have both agreed to “follow” the other at different points so that we can each live where we want for at least a few years. Right now we’re “following” him first because he makes more than twice as much money as me. That will almost certainly not always be the case.

    As far as debts, the BF has CONSIDERABLE credit card and student loan debt (I really only have considerable student loan debt, and the consolidation rates are fantastic this year so I don’t think it will be a big deal). We have decided that at least right now, paying off our debts is more important than getting married, and he wouldn’t marry me while saddled with all that credit card debt anyway.

    If I pay off my credit cards first (which is almost certain) then I will probably help him pay off his, but only if it’s feasible (it might be more expedient if I saved for the wedding and he continued to pay his own debts).

    If the situation were reversed, I think he would pay off my debt if he could. We’d both rather help each other pay it off before the wedding than have our mutual credit score affected after (a la the commercial).

    In fact, we may buy a house together before we get married (to get in at the bottom of the housing market) and use equity to pay off whatever of his debts are left before a wedding–which is kind of like me paying off his debts at least partially, since the mortgage and equity payments would both be “ours.”

    Relationships and finances are always complicated, but I don’t really think that it says much about your maturity or committment to personal growth to refuse to participate in them because of that.

    I would probably recycle an engagement ring on after a suitable grieving period. It’s a gift, and I think very insulting to return to the fellow.

  • oscarthegrouch

    “People shouldn’t be allowed to do that and hopefully he’ll think twice before he does it to someone else,” said Shell.

    What, show kindness and sincerity out of the goodness of his heart and help her out with 30,000 to prove his commitment? And, then wise up after the conniving deceitful bitch finally shows her true colors and reveals her exorbitant debt, and finally decide to leave the cunt before assuming responsibility of some serious liability? No, she’s right, people should not be allowed to be so generous or genuine. They should have to live with her dumb ass for the rest of his life supporting her obvious reckless credit card abusing habits and just foot the bill and shut his spineless mouth huh?

    Shes lucky that wasn’t me because I’d think twice. Once when I pulled the trigger, and twice when I spit on her rotting corpse.

    Stupid bitch.

    So, am I as angry as Dave?

  • dee

    Why are some of you focusing so hard on the supposed “douchebaggery” of Mr. Gibbs?

    Let’s step back and take a look at this from another perspective.

    Ms. Shell received, in total:
    – a $5000 breakup check
    – possibly tens of thousands of dollars in mortgage payments (lets assume about $15,000)
    – $30,000 in debt relief
    – an engagement ring (likely worth $10,000+ if Gibbs is as wealthy as his outlays suggest, but let’s cap it at $10,000 even)

    Total: $60,000

    And the best part, she did this while making $80k per year, which is nearly twice the median income for a family of four in most US states. According to the articles Lance referenced, they dated for 5 years. That means that, given my estimate above (which is probably on the low side), that she was making an extra $12,000 per year just for being in a relationship! So her average yearly take-home pay during this period was $92k. Not bad.

    Is she a victim? Hardly. Now she can try to get back her old job (not impossible, even in the current economy) or look for another job with similar pay- she’s probably got the credentials to do so. Even if she was cheated on, look what she was making JUST to be a girlfriend. You can pay me $12,000 a year to be in a relationship.

    So, now she’s back to square one, except with less debt. Call me petty, but as a man, I really don’t think the state would grant me the courtesy of any sort of recourse if a fiancee walked out on me in this fashion, so I’m not exactly moved to tears. And she was ALREADY $60k ahead.

    We all know the old saying: “If it looks too good to be true, it probably is”. She was already being handsomely taken care of, was lured in by the promise of more, all while hiding further financial skeletons in her closet, and in the midst of all of it, demands (and receives) pay for her own faulty personal decision-making?

    And Mr. Gibbs is the douchebag? Some of you people are fucking amazing.

  • Lance

    I have to agree, I think Gibb was taken advantage of financially.

  • Brad

    I have a rule:

    “Don’t jump in the mud with pigs…”

    And it sounds like both of these people suck.

    Now, I’d help out with someone else’s debt… as long as they were making a conscience effort to make it go away.

    If she was still adding to it for frivolous stuff… well… that’s a red flag of mine anyway :)


    Brads last blog post..Dating and Attraction 101

  • J

    Someone may have mentioned this already, but it’s a serious FYI if you ever end up in a shitty situation like this or something similar involving a contract:

    They don’t have to be written.

    (It’s one of the first things you learn in law school.)

  • FraudHappens

    I am currently suing a man who is the epitome of fraudulent misrepresentation.

    The legal definition of FALSE REPRESENTATION is this: “A promise of future performance made with an intent, at the time the promise was made, not to perform as promised. This promise is reasonably relied upon by another person to that person’s detriment.”

    The legal definition of FRAUD is this: “In addition to being a criminal act, Fraud is also a type of civil law violation known as a tort. A tort is a civil wrong for which the law provides a remedy. FRAUD occurs when all of the following elements occur: 1. An individual intentionally makes an untrue representation about an important fact or event.
    2. The untrue representation is believed by another person.
    3. That person relies upon and acts upon the untrue representation.
    4. That person suffers financial loss/or property as a result of relying upon and acting upon the untrue representation.

    In my defense: I had a lovely life before trusting a fraudulent, deceitful man. His misrepresentation absolutely changed my life. I’m still trying to find myself again. It devastated me, in every way. I am not a gold digger, I did not need a man to take care of me. I did not need a relationship to make me whole. I had been divorced for 6 years and my life was very, very nice.

    The past year has been hell. I am still trying to regain my life. I’m in pain, in many ways.
    What this man did to me and my life…has residual effects, everyday. The healing process has been difficult. No judgements, please…

    I am a beautiful, intelligent, healthy, funny and loving woman. I am 51 yrs young! I have 4 incredible adult children (3 college graduates & 1 Senior in HS). I have two precious grandchildren. I am a woman of integrity and worth. I have amazing friends who can vouch for the credible person that I am.

    I have no debt, as I have no Credit Cards. I’ve never filed for bankruptcy, etc. All that I have is and always has been… paid in full.

    Beginning August 2006, I was aggresively pursued by a fraudulent man (54 yrs old) who absolutely misrepresented himself to me. He told me he had been divorced almost 2 years and had a good job with IBM. This man lived in Florida, I do not.

    He is an online predator/sociopath and I was duped. I recently found him on another website, simply by plugging in his email address. There he was! His arrogance and disregard for harming the lives of trusting women, runs deep…

    I take complete responsibility for trusting, believing, allowing myself to become involved with this man. He secured his promises and pledges on a daily basis. Our “relationship” was amazing…and according to this Christian man of God…it was Divine! He used God, every chance he could…knowing that my faith is strong. He played me well…using my children, my father, my friends. I visited him in Florida more than several times, (during a 4 month period) and he visited me, in my state (where “Common Law” is recognized). He romantically proposed to me and I received a beautiful $10,000 Tiffany diamond ring. Our future was just beginning. It was all so magical!

    Within 5 months I received an abundance of:
    ~~~”Hallmark type” cards, including many describing me as his “wife” and him as my “husband”.
    ~~~Gifts and flowers….all included his sentiments of forever love.
    ~~~Hundreds of emails, texts, voice messages…stating his INTENTIONS & PROMISES of a forever future together. ~~~Photos…many photos of our moments together. Photos that include my children and his.

    I had every right to belief all that this fraudulent man represented himself to be and his intentions of a forever future. I am not a fool or an idiot. He, however, was very, very good at his deceit.

    We made plans to be marry. He asked me to marry him in the most “magical” way. At Disney World, he read a 4-page letter he wrote, promising to love me forever, in front of all the patrons and staff, at an exclusively beautiful restaurant there.

    He was already calling himself my husband and me, his wife. He made definite plans and arrangements to move to my state. It took 3 trips, in a large PENSKE truck, to move all of his belongings to secure the future that we agreed upon and planned. It was LOVE in its TRUEST form! His actions and words validated his intentions of a future together.

    We began looking for OUR home in March 2007, put a bid on a $249,000 home on
    April 5, 2007, and purchased that home TOGETHER, on May 15, 2007. He encouraged me to resign from my good job ($60,000 a year), telling me that he earned enough for me to stay home, work on our home, and when I was ready to work again…I should pursue a job that fulfilled my passion in Health & Fitness. Of course, I agreed. Who wouldn’t? I also gave up a lovely apartment and most of my furniture, based on his promises and our agreed discussions tht we were going to buy OUR furniture for OUR home.

    Within 6 weeks…we had a lovely home & life together. It was truly all so wonderful!

    A day after that 6 weeks….he sat me down and told me that he didn’t want to “do this”….he decided to move to North Carolina and take a job there. No discussion. He told me that he he planned to put HIS home back on the market and gave me until August 1, 2007 to move out. He also offered to give me $2,000 to help me with my moving expenses, BUT only if I signed the Title over to him. He warned me that if I did not comply, he would have no choice but to “seek legal action against me”.

    The room swirled. I was nauseated. I was sick. My life has not been the same.

    It is only right and fair that I seek resolve for what this man did to me, my life, my children’s lives.

    He told me that I needed to, “go back to the life I was previously enjoying, prior to him interrupting it”!!!!!

    Ohhhhh….did I mention that, as he aggressively pursued me…HE WAS STILL MARRIED? Let me repeat….he was still married. She divorced him. From my research, I think she received about $20,000 for her trouble.

    To those of you out there who are so judgmental and offensive with your words….until you know the ENTIRE story….be kind. We were not in that courtroom with Ms. Shell or Mr. Gibb. The jury found that she deserved to be compensated for TRUSTING a man who obviously misrepresented himself. She obviously believed that PROMISES of a future existed with him. She obviously changed her life based on what he promised. The jury must have been given substantial evidence that supported her decision to sue him and their decision to award compensation.

    Ms. Shell is a strong woman. I admire that she realized and acted upon her right to send a message to Mr. Gibb and all men like him, that his misrepresentation to provide her a future with him, will not go unnoticed. I thank Ms. Shell for validating that I am doing the right thing.

    In conclusion, my legal experience is this:

    When this fraudulent man turned the table on me & my entire life, by telling me he “changed his mind”, I sought legal counsel.

    The first attorney (a man), told me this: “Okay, so… kissed a frog and he stayed a frog. You’re a lovely woman. Get on with your life, let it go. Do you have cancer, do you have aids, are you HIV positive? Then get on with your life.”

    The room swirled. I was nauseated. I was sick.

    The second attorney (a woman), is representing my case against this deceitful man.

    She believes in me. And so do I.