Editor’s note: Lovefraud received this letter from a reader whom we’ll call Trish21. She fell in love with a man who exploited her. Her frustration is that he will never get held accountable.
I met my ex online dating. I was going through a very low point in my life I had experienced a loss that was very traumatic that had sent me in the self-destructive downward spiral. I was very vulnerable, more so than I had ever been in my entire life, and happen to meet this person online dating.
I was just looking for hook up as well as that person. After that night that we hooked up, which was to be like a one time thing in my mind, he contacted me and we continue to talk and ended up seeing each other again. We decided that it was a better idea and safer for both of us to just do the friends with benefits thing instead of sleep around with multiple people he had done this before. I had not.
The last relationship I have been in was my marriage and it has been a very, very long time since I had started dating again, almost 7 years. Needless to say, I agreed to this, thinking it was the right thing to do or the safest or best not, even taking into consideration anything out of the ordinary. Why would I have? You know they don’t teach us about people like this or warn us. I had no clue.
He loves me
So I want to say it was only our third or fourth time together he got in a hotel room and that was the first time he told me that he loved me. Now we have been talking as well in between these times, like living on the phone with each other, so we were getting close — closer than we should’ve been, considering it was friends with benefits only. I have always been one to fall fast so I didn’t even think anything of it when that happened because my feelings were the same.
When we met he was in a pre-release program after getting out of jail and I personally chose at that time to not judge him for his past mistakes because of where I was that and with the things I was doing. I knew that I would always want a second chance so how could I not offer that to someone else or judge them when I myself was in a bad place and doing stuff I should’ve been doing?
He said all the right things — all of them — and I fell for every single one of them. We ended up living together and planning our lives and future. I gave every ounce of myself to this person in this relationship because I thought he was my soulmate I truly believe that with every ounce of my being he and I were meant to be together and that we had a connection and love that I had never experienced in my lifetime. I felt so lucky that I was given the chance to experience it.
Be right back
One day he waited for me to get into the shower and sent me a text message that he had to run pick something up and he’d be right back. I had a bad feeling when I got the message or heard it and got out of the shower right away and read his message and tried catching him but it was too late.
I tried to reach him as well as send him text messages. Prior to this he had been disappearing for a week here week there but always had an excuse. Things started getting kind of rocky but I didn’t know that it was as bad as they were. I was under the thought process that he was having psychosis from drugs and he didn’t know what was going on or what he was doing. He lost himself.
I spent the next several weeks trying to understand what had happened and blaming myself because I had to have done something wrong but he hadn’t come back home yet or something really had happened to him like an accident or he was delusional. So this is me frantically calling nonstop jails and hospitals treatment centers any and everywhere I can possibly think of to try to find him to no avail.
When he left that day he stole all the cash I had on me after borrowing $600 the day before. He had blocked me on every account or means of contact that I could have reached him. I didn’t understand why he was punishing me — what I had done so wrong?
Trying to reach him
After a couple months of doing the same thing every day, trying to reach him, trying to figure things out, anything, I had to think about the fact that he knew what he was doing and he left on purpose. There was no way what we had was irreplaceable. I didn’t believe that he could or would do that to me, to us. I tried reaching out to his family — I only knew his mom and one of the seven. I left messages for them all — voicemails — and never got a return call.
I contacted his son. I know his son knew who I was because I had taken him to see his kids that were in the state for Father’s Day and he was one of them. He had no idea who I was or that his dad even had a girlfriend. That was quite confusing because I know them and had met them. Who knows what he told him — who I was — I have no idea.
He knew I would worry
I’ll never know but that broke me even more and took me to a very, very dark place which I was in already and he knew that because of the traumatic events I had just experienced and went through. He knew me. He knew I would worry. He knew that it would drive me crazy trying to figure it out. He knew I would worry and blame myself and that’s exactly what he wanted.
I found ways to reach him — burner numbers, whatever — I came up with all kinds of things. We had one mutual friend or acquaintance that verified he received every single message I sent him or ways that I tried to contact him. They all reached him. He knew everything it was doing to me emotionally. It was pure torture what he was doing, was pure torture to me, but he liked it. He enjoyed it. He got off on it.
I almost committed suicide over this, which he knew I was going to do because I told him. He would’ve let me do it without a second thought when he walked out that door that day. He never looked back once, not one time, and to be tortured like that by someone you thought loved you with every bit of themselves as you did and not even knowing that there was anything wrong or have any suspicions whatsoever.
I just didn’t know what was going on and I was so confused and I felt so crazy. I felt like I was losing my mind, because how could this any of this really happening? I just couldn’t fathom or understand my mind. In that pure darkness that I was in, by the grace of God I decided that if this was how it was and who he was that I’ll be damned if I was gonna let him take me down. After everything he’s already done to me, because I fell for it all. I truly had no clue, no suspicion of any of it. I played into every single lie, every bit of his deceit, every bit of it.
Thousands of dollars
I helped him financially out of him lying to me in such great detail of his issues and problems or situation that I felt so bad I couldn’t not ever help him. I loved him. I would’ve given him anything. I would’ve given him absolutely anything and he was willing to take it.
I don’t know how many thousands of dollars he got from me that I didn’t even have in the first place. He made more money in a month then I made in an entire year but that didn’t stop him from letting me pay all the bills when we live together, borrowing money from me almost weekly.
When he was in the pre-release I willingly gave him money knowing that he didn’t have any to make sure he could eat he and things like that. Of course there were numerous occasions while he was still in there that something would happen, some type of a lockdown for it and he couldn’t contact me for several days because of it. He would usually have one of the other people in there that weren’t on lockdown call me or text me to let me know.
Every time this would happen we had to be apart and couldn’t even talk to each other it would hurt me. It would break me. And he would know this because I would tell him and I would cry and he would see me hurt.
It was him ripping me off
He was never locked down. He was never in any situations while he was there that he wouldn’t have been able to talk to me. He made all of that up just to watch me suffer as well as hooked me up with people in the facility that ripped me off thousands of dollars as well. However later down the road found out that it was not the people that were ripping me off at all it — was him every time. More thousands of dollars he took.
As my research continues, I get a sick feeling. I needed to check his Facebook so I had a friend do that for me all to find out he was engaged. This is less than a month after he’s left living with me to go get something and will be right back. I’ve yet to hear from him or see him again.
That hurt on a level I can explain as well as validated a lot of other things that I didn’t want to believe but had no choice. That one shattered me as well. However couple days later for whatever reason it occurred to me that I knew a name of one of his exes that he had spoken of.
I talked to his wife
So I reached out to her on Facebook messenger and she instantly replied. She knew who I was talking about right away and was very angry with me and not very nice which if I were her I would’ve probably reacted the same, because she was his wife not his ex. He married her one week before he met me. They got married by proxy. I had never even heard of it.
That one was a huge blow and hurt really bad so then I had to really realize what he was. It took a lot of research for me to try to figure out what would be wrong with him for him to do this to a person. I knew anyone that could do something like that knowingly and willingly to another human being something was really wrong. There is no way in hell I could ever have done that to somebody or whatever do that to somebody. I would’ve never even thought to do it or somebody let alone follow through.
That week, the end of the week, I had the sheriffs office knocking on my door trying to serve him with divorce papers. One of his biggest things was always posting about marriage and the fact that they were married 26 years and he was very faithful. Of course he blew all those things out of the water. More than likely the things that he told me, or the reason he had gotten divorced from his first wife in the first place, and that everything he told me she did, or his ex is dead, more than likely he had done himself.
He is a narcissist
At this point I am thinking he is a narcissist. OK so I’m trying to get a handle on things and pull myself out of this darkness, hurt and betrayal that I am in, literally I don’t have words. I wouldn’t wish this upon my worst enemy. Nobody should ever have to experience something like this by another human being.
I really was feeling I needed to tell — warn — the new lady that he was with because I knew he was married and they were already engaged and I knew what he did to me and how much it messed me up and I didn’t want to let it happen to anyone else. But I knew that there was no way she would listen to me because he had already done damage control.
What brought them together — they were both coming out of toxic relationships that was how they met and what they bonded over so there was nothing I could have said to her that she would listen to because she already thought I was crazy and the enemy. It wouldn’t matter. That was also a time for reflection, for me to reflect back over our entire relationship.
I see now what I missed
I was able to really see the things that I missed the first time. I could see now all of the times that he more than likely did or had an affair, lied to get more money from me, whatever all they do — extortion, fraud — I mean the list goes on.
And each thing I found out hurt worse than the thing before that. I don’t know how I had anything left that could hurt or that he could break within me, because I thought he had gotten it all. I thought I didn’t have much left before him from my traumatic event but I was wrong.
My darkest secrets
Everything I told him about myself, why I would never get married again etc., things I have experienced in my childhood that hurt me or affected me greatly into my adulthood — all of my deepest darkest secrets — he made sure that I had to experience each and every one of those things again to the fullest extent possible. He knew that they would kill me because I had told him that that was why I would never get married again, or do this again, because I knew I couldn’t handle it. One time was enough.
But he didn’t think so. He thought I needed to experience it again.
The worst part of all is knowing that he is a monster— a very sick sadistic monster — and I still love him and can’t get him out of my mind. He’s not even a real person — he was a mirror of me — yet I still can’t let him go because of the trauma bond — know how sick is that?
It has been just a little over a year now and he is married. They married that same month. He wore the tennis shoes and clothes I had bought for him, that I had to replace right before he left, because they had all been stolen. He has yet to come back from when he left to go pick something up or contact me at all.
I still have feelings for him
And to this day it breaks me every single time and it makes me so mad at myself. But I still have feelings for him after what he did to me and that I didn’t see it the whole time. I was so blind.
Realize you’re being emotionally abused, logically, mentally you don’t know until it’s too late. I would’ve much rather been beat because at least then I could’ve healed. This has absolutely ruined my life in so many ways and it’s so unfair.
Well these sick sociopaths move on to their next victim. The last is left to pick up the pieces of their life and try to put it back together left with who knows what all kind of stuff. I know I personally have CPTSD and I have become a recluse and isolated and I never even leave my house. I never leave my bedroom. It’s A sad reality for many of us.
Legal system won’t help
There’s nothing we can do. Our legal system won’t help with our word against theirs, and they with their words and convince anybody of anything. It takes a special attorney to even be able to prosecute them, so there’s no chance. We just have to do the best we can to pick ourselves up and put ourselves back together and go on with life as if it never happened, while they continually habitually have with no repercussions. Please help me understand how that’s okay?
I never asked him for anything except for him to love me back, which I thought he did. I cannot understand how long this happens on a daily basis to people and there is nothing anyone can do about it.
Never get held accountable
No we have all kind of programs for domestic abuse, to get the woman out, or the children out, or both and then that’s where it ends. These monsters never get held accountable for any of it. I don’t understand that at all. How can they be onto the next victim and leave this way over and over for their lifetime and it be OK?
When he was in jail and going through the exit program that he had to do therapy and stuff that was court ordered and he was diagnosed. Yet they did nothing more than diagnose him and that was it. How is that even possible? How does our government even know to watch out for them? How do we know? I was born of many types of things to watch out for with men — this was never one of them.
I verified his diagnosis through a friend or acquaintance of his that was in the treatment facility with him and told him when he got diagnosed. That just was the icing on the cake for me.
Up to his old tricks
Now I have just caught him on social media doing things he shouldn’t have been — up to his old tricks. Basically I’ve got them on online dating as well too and I have hard evidence of all of this and he knows I have it. But he knows I can’t do a damn thing and he’s right. He wins. They win. Good does not win. Evil wins every time with these people and it’s sick and it’s sad because it affects so many people.
But as usual we just let it happen and do nothing. No one should have to ever be taken advantage of like this. He has committed many crimes. Just with me he committed fraud, theft, domestic abuse. I mean I could go on and I still don’t have a leg to stand on and that’s sad and very messed up.
He broke my spirit. He changed who I am at my core being and that takes a lot to be able to do to someone. Yet he’s able to do it, because he can. How many others are out there like that? I can guarantee you that the number is very high, which means a lot of people affected. It’ll continue because there’s nothing anyone can do about it except for just take it and try to survive the rest of their life after what they’re left with from the experience.
No one believes you
No one knows until they’re affected just how bad this is to experience. No one believes you when you go through it because they’ve charmed them enough to not believe anything you say like that. Nobody will believe it’s anything more than just being a regular relationship that ended.
I had to go through everything he put me through before and after and during by myself The few people I had left in my life didn’t believe me — thanks to him — and it has not been an easy process. I can tell you that I mean here I am, over a year later, and I’m really honestly not in any better shape than I was for the most part. I would give pretty much anything just to hear from him, even if he didn’t have something good to tell me and I don’t know why. It makes me sick but I allow him to have anything more for me including my thoughts. He doesn’t deserve anything from me he never did.
You know we all experience some kind of trauma. Not all, but a lot of us experience some kind of trauma and childhood that affects us. But it’s also a choice every day we get up — what kind of a person we are going to be? The majority of us choose good but there’s a lot of them out there that do not choose good.
They enjoy being the way they are
When these types of people are diagnosed and then just left to decide if they’re going to get treatment themselves it’s quite scary to me. None of them are going to get the help because they enjoy being the way that they are. If they didn’t they wouldn’t choose to be that way and would get help. Yet in the United States they didn’t anything wrong because they haven’t killed someone. So we’ve got to sit around and wait till enough people get killed by these folks before they’ll ever do anything or take it serious.
How encouraging. And we wonder why no one wants to come forward and tell people or turn them in or try to prosecute. When the judicial system can’t even help you what the hell do you have left? Nothing.