People who have been in a relationship with a sociopath frequently say that they were swept off their feet in a whirlwind romance. But what, exactly, does that mean?
Here are six strategies that sociopaths employ to make you fall for them hard and fast and why the romance is not at all what it seems to be.
- Sociopaths want to be with you, or in contact with you, all the time
They call for dates. They want to hang out. They book your calendar weeks in advance. They may go to great lengths to see you driving long distances or booking a flight. You may feel overwhelmed with the attention, and believe that your new romantic interest is just so smitten with you that he or she can’t stand to be apart.
Of course, sometimes they don’t show up. When that happens, they always have an excuse they suddenly had to work late or their mother had a serious accident when the real reason is that they are also pursuing someone else.
If they can’t be physically with you, they keep in touch, calling, texting and emailing constantly. Again, you interpret this as a sign of romantic interest. The truth is, this is the beginning of keeping tabs on you in other words, establishing control.
- Romantic texts and emails
The messages are mushier than anything ever produced by Hallmark cards. Or perhaps they are erotic, making you feel like the sexiest person alive. You may have never heard such sentiments from a love interest, and believe that the touching, exciting words reflect his or her true feelings. After all, who would lie about such things?
Well, sociopaths do. Often, they don’t even write the messages. Two Nigerian scammers likely used messages out of a book called, For You, My Soul Mate, to steal £1.6 million from a British woman.
My sociopathic ex-husband, James Montgomery, stole an erotic story written by one of his partners, changed the names, and sent it to me and multiple other women. In fact, he had a whole file full of poems and other pithy sayings that he recycled among his new targets.
From the sociopath’s point of view, if it works once, do it again.
- Shower you with gifts
Sociopaths may shower you with gifts, sometimes without an occasion “just because I was thinking of you.” This isn’t unusual when you’re being courted. But where, exactly, did the gift come from? And was it purchased just for you?
Ladies beware of the beau who slips up behind you and fastens a necklace around your neck. When jewelry doesn’t arrive in a gift box, there’s a good chance it was stolen from another woman.
After discovering that James Montgomery was cheating on me, I met with one of his other victims. She pulled all kinds of jewelry out of her bag. “Is any of this yours?” she asked.
She had some of my bracelets that I didn’t even know were missing. One necklace Montgomery had given her wasn’t mine but I had one just like it. Apparently when he did shop, he shopped for all his women at once.
- They’re quickly willing to say, “I love you”
The purpose of dating is to find a romantic partner. If you’re like most people, you’ve had your heart broken one or multiple times, so you’re cautious about revealing your feelings.
Sociopaths, however, quickly proclaim love, telling you that you’re the person they’ve been waiting for all their lives. They immediately want to move in together, get married and start a family. They paint a glorious verbal picture of your life together, complete with everything you ever wanted and a white picket fence.
You would never say such things unless you meant it. So you assume that the sociopaths mean it.
They don’t. In fact, they don’t know what love is. But they do know that if they say, “I love you,” they get what they want.
Frequently, once you’re committed to them, the “I love yous” stop.
- Sex, sex, sex
Sociopaths usually push for a physical relationship quickly. In fact, I’ve heard from numerous people who met the sociopaths online that they had sex on the first date. Many people also say that sex with the sociopath was the best they ever had at least in the beginning of the relationship.
Sociopaths may tell you that you are irresistible and they can’t get enough of you, but the truth is that they are simply hardwired for sex. They want a lot of sex, in a lot of ways. They have boundless energy, no inhibitions and they indulge frequently.
So even if you’re with the sociopath multiple times a day well, don’t assume that you are the only partner.
- The grand gesture
Sociopaths sometimes pull out all the stops to proclaim their love. They’ll spend a lot of money, or put on a big display, often in front of an audience.
For example, I knew of a woman who ditched a sociopath because he was borrowing money and not paying it back. The sociopath, who was very handsome, got all dressed up in a suit, bought a massive bouquet of roses, and showed up at the office tower where she worked.
The guy called her and asked her to come down to the atrium. She was reluctant, but he talked her into it. Then, right there in the atrium, in front of dozens of professionals, he got on his knee, presented the roses, and proposed. The woman accepted much to her later regret.
Every romantic fantasy
When a sociopath is focused on you, showering you with attention and affection, you may feel like every romantic fantasy you ever had is being fulfilled. Unfortunately, it’s all fake. Sociopaths target you because you have something that they want. Every romantic gesture has an ulterior motive.
That’s why it’s so important to protect yourself. Here’s how:
- Know that sociopaths exist and that they are everywhere.
- Know the Red Flags of Love Fraud
- Trust your instincts. If you get a gut feeling that something is wrong, it probably is.
Great post to remind everyone that if it seems too good to be true…then it may well be.
my psychopath was cheap..no fancy meals, no lavish gifts (except a sewing machine ?!!) for Xmas the first months we were together. Oh, he told me quickly that I was the best thing that had ever happened to him’, I heard ‘I love you, you’re so special, so cute, how do I deserve you’ nonstop. No ‘grand gestures’ either..but constant sex probably every time we were together (with a bottle of cheap booze and cheap snacks for a ‘meal’) My previous (the only I had, before him) boyfriend had been so quiet, unassuming. I knew NOTHING about guys like my ex turned out to be..30 years of him.
All of the above!
So clearly written & so important. This article should be required reading at every high school !!
I keep thinking if I had this information back when, I could have at least given myself permission to just STOP & THINK. I was so uncomfortable at the time with all the frantic antics of the spath.
I needed to pay attention to that feeling of being smothered & at least slowed things way down.
Amazing Donna, I wish I had known this earlier. This should be required reading like the first person said. Would have saved me an incredible amount of heartbreak
Keep these articles coming, and for anyone who hasn’t bought Donna’s books, get them I loved them and they really helped me. Most books wont go into such detail but hers did. Well worth the money
It’s amazing how she fits into almost all of the above, the effect of love-bombing is so strong that even after going no contact for months I still have strong feelings of guilt for following my gut feeling and ending it (the relationship was only 6 months)!