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By September 17, 2012 217 Comments Read More →

Approaching someone who has been burned by a sociopath

Lovefraud recently received the following email from a man whom we’ll call “Andrew.”

I recently met a lady out of the blue after I had sat at home alone for 2 years. She is the victim of a sociopath—reads & posts on the Lovefraud site trying to heal. She says she can’t tell me all the damage done & I don’t need to know—it’s her business unless she feels she needs to share.

She had cabin fever—had to get out for a night—hence our meeting. Well I had basically given up on finding someone until I met her. We instantly clicked. It was so good for 3 weeks—making plans of fun things to do. I thought it would help her heal—to go have fun again.

I think she started liking me too much in that short period of time—got scared & slammed on the brakes. She says she needs time, but truly values my friendship & adores me. I’m trying to give her “time.” It’s so hard when she lit up my life for a while.

She wants to see me again, but doesn’t know when.

I have no motives other than to get to know her & help her get over the past. She might just be the one if we spend the time to know one another.

I have read the Lovefraud blog trying to understand—some really sad stories.

What should I do?

In the thousands of emails that I’ve received, this is the first time someone has asked this question (which I’ve paraphrased) how do you approach a potential romantic partner when that person has been burned by a sociopath? I appreciate that fact that Andrew cared enough to ask the question.

I will answer the question assuming that everything is exactly as presented—a woman, whom we’ll call Caroline, had a terrible experience with a sociopath and is skittish about opening herself to another man. Andrew honestly likes Caroline, and wants to get to know her better. I will assume that neither Andrew nor Caroline is actually a predator who is looking for a new source of supply.

This, of course, is something that Caroline, and everyone else who has been betrayed and damaged by a sociopath, needs to understand and believe: There are good people in the world. Yes, as many as 12 percent of the population are social predators—sociopaths, psychopaths, narcissists, borderlines. But that still means that 88 percent of the world’s people are not disordered, and are capable of having a loving relationship.

Understand where she’s been

So, Andrew, the first thing for you to understand is that Caroline has been through the meat grinder. She’s experienced betrayal that has rocked her to her core. She’s certainly suffered emotional and psychological abuse, and may have also suffered verbal, physical, sexual and financial abuse. In fact, it may be a miracle that she is still standing.

If you’ve never experienced this level of betrayal—most people haven’t—it may be hard for you to believe what she’s gone through. Should she tell you anything about what happened, it may sound like a bad movie, and you may be inclined to think she is exaggerating. I assure you, when someone is involved with a sociopath, anything is possible. I’ve collected more than 3,200 cases, and many of the stories should be made into movies. You can’t make this stuff up.

Caroline, however, is accustomed to not being believed. She may have gone to court and to the police, and they didn’t believe her story. It’s possible her friends or her own family do not believe her. So one of the best things you can do is believe her. It will help her feel validated.

Go slow

Andrew, you will need take things very slowly. It’s likely that the sociopath swept into Carolin’es life in a whirlwind romance—if you call all the time, if you are overly exuberant about wanting to see her, it may set off alarm bells, because that’s how the sociopath acted. Let her set the pace.  Keep things light.

Understand that trust needs to be earned. This may be why Caroline got into trouble in the first place—she trusted too readily. Now, she may have gone too far in the other direction, and resolved to never trust anyone again. This is an unhealthy position, because we do need to be able to trust in order to live a good life. But you may not know how much progress Caroline has made in regaining her ability to trust.

So if you want to move forward, you need to be trustworthy. Tell her the truth about everything. Keep your promises. Call when you say you’re going to call, and show up when you promise that you’ll show up. In fact, I hope that’s how you live your life anyway.

It may not work

Finally, it is possible that Caroline simply is not recovered enough to think about another involvement. If she tells you that she really can’t be in a relationship, don’t argue with her, and don’t take it personally. You may just need to accept it and move on.

But if Caroline indicates that does want to get to know you, albeit slowly, getting closer will probably be worth the wait. Before hooking up with the sociopath, Caroline was probably loving, giving, caring, responsible, dynamic and empathetic—because that’s the type of person that sociopaths target. So if she’s able to find herself, and open herself—well, it could be rewarding for both of you.

Lovefraud readers: If you have any more suggestions for Andrew, please post them.


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217 Comments on "Approaching someone who has been burned by a sociopath"

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Donna, what a profound email – that someone cares enough to get to know a survivor to ask for suggestions is beyond my ability to comprehend. Seriously.

From my experiences, I would like to add that Andrew simply listens and hears the words that Caroline speaks. No judgements, and no expressions of, ‘Yeah, I know just what you mean…” Unless Andrew has survived and recovered from a sociopathic entanglement, he cannot possibly “know” what Caroline means. Also, I would strongly urge that Andrew avoid even entertaining the idea that he will somehow “help her” to put her past behind her. The second exspath approached me with that very same insinuation – that HE could somehow help me to move on.

The reason that I say this, Andrew, is that survivors of sociopathic entanglements cannot, should not, and will not allow themselves to look to any other human being to “save” them, if they are well along their healing paths.

Thank you for this profound article and Andrew’s email.

Brightest hopeful blessings for this friendship!!!

“So if you want to move forward, you need to be trustworthy. Tell her the truth about everything. Keep your promises. Call when you say you’re going to call, and show up when you promise that you’ll show up. In fact, I hope that’s how you live your life anyway.”

Absolutely imperative. If running late or something comes up, call/txt. Nothing sends me running for the hills faster than if I feel I’m being toyed with. Frankly, it is simple courtesy, but you’d be surprised how many people aren’t being raised with a good grasp of good manners these days!

I agree with Truthspeak. I have the similar experience. My second spath wanted to “rescue” me, but all he ever did was use my past against me and reopen all the old wounds. If he really cares for this woman, I think he should follow Donna’s advise. Be gentle with her, respect her boundaries, keep his words, listen to her and try be understanding if she might overreact in some occations. The moment he wants to save her, he has allready made her a victim again instead of seeing the strenght that’s carried within her. She is a survivor. Nothin more, nothing less. She will save her self. Just be there for her when she needs it.

I mostly agree with following her pace and thruthspeak’s comment of allowing her to save herself.

A survivor of a relationshit with a spath needs time and space to feel and introspect what they want and need in given situations and have the room to make decisions on these introspections without fearing a backlash from it.

They have experienced how their body, their hormones and their personality strengths were used against themselves in order to destroy them. It’s not just the spath that betrayed them, but in part as if their own nature betrayed themselves. The trust that needs to be recovered within boundaries not only applies to other people but also themselves. They try to prevent a repeat of the similar self-betrayal by taking a lot of time and introspection how a certain situation felt to them.

So, if you want to help her, you encourage her to take her time, encourage her to do other stuff besides meeting you, and do not take hesitation personal.

I visit/read here a lot, but do not post much. On the occasion(s) that I have, it’s been through commenting/sharing an article via FB.

If indeed this “Andrew” is speaking the truth, then I wish him all the luck in the world (he’s gonna need it)….however, this situation he speaks of rings a little too familiar to be coincidence to me, personally.

As I read the post, my gut clenched a little — if I am not wrong, then I’d like to say that “adores” is more than a stretch and “wants to see again” is a complete fallacy. I’d really like to be wrong about this because if I’m not, then the level of “creepy” just catapulted way over the line that was already crossed.

On another note, I wish every genuine person here the best of healing.

I have been reading this page for a long time and I cannot say how much it has helped me to see who my previous boyfriends are. Also my ex husband was a psychopath and I have spent the last year healing and reading pages like this. I can honestly say that it has put me off men for the rest of my life and now for the first time in my life, I am able to really enjoy life . On my own. It’s a bit like being born all over again(without the religious awakening, should I say). I am more than content to live life on my own, without a partner, and therefore I understand why the lady in this article is more than reluctant to get to know another man. I just would not take the chance. I have suffered too much and have decided that I will not invest time,emotions or my sanity in order to get involved with another man. I am very happy to be living with my dogs(at least they are genuine), I have an interesting job, good friends and I study. There are so much more to life than being someones’ spouse or girlfriend . For the first time in my life, I actually like myself, I don’t have to worry about ‘signs’ in a partner, strange behaviour and most of all, I don’t have anyone around me trying to injure me or damage me, fraud me or put me down. I love it!

blankspot,

I take it you have the impression “Andrew” is someone you know and that his letter is a “red flag” for you and it’s creeping you out.

I can understand that. I didn’t like the reference “she might be the one” based on “3 weeks of fun” and “instantly clicked” And I had the impression as if a grown man needed some “do” recipe to “fix” it.

Best of luck to you, blankspot!

Excellent blog! Good for “Andrew” to want to understand and help, he obviously cares. All of us who’ve been affected by a sociopath can probably relate to this “…has been through the meat grinder. She’s experienced betrayal that has rocked her to her core. She’s certainly suffered emotional and psychological abuse, and may have also suffered verbal, physical, sexual and financial abuse. In fact, it may be a miracle that she is still standing.” That was me! Glad I found someone who cared and didn’t give up on me 🙂

Andrew, the thing that “stands out in big red letters” to me is that you WANT TO HELP HER HEAL….while your Intentions may be very altruistic the fact is that NO ONE ELSE CAN HELP US HEAL…we must do it ourselves.

IT is like child birth where there is no surgical intervention possible, we have to do it OURSELVES, and while someone may hold our hands during the process or go “push push!” or “breathe breathe” it is still all about us doing it totally ourselves. We are the ones that have to push on through the pain.

You say that “she wants to see me again” but doesn’t know when, I suggest that you just wait and see if she will contact you. She may and she may not, but I think that it must be SHE that makes the contact (or not)

In the meantime, I would suggest that you read here as well. There is a lot of good information, not just on the disordered people but on healing ourselves and how that must be done.

Way too many times people who are wounded jump into another relationship thinking that will “heal” them., when in fact, it only delays the grief process from the previous loss. I know I did exactly that after my husband died suddenly. I hooked up with a psychopath for a time and was rewounded.

The information and learning available here is not limited to only about psychopaths, but also about living a good functional healthy life.

I also see Red flags in Andrew’s need to rescue. But mostly, his suggestion that she might be “the one”, is the biggest red flag. After 3 weeks? And after 2 years of not dating? It sounds like the first step in the 3-part: idealize, devalue and discard.

hmm… go slow Andrew, for your sake as well as hers.

darwinsmom – you are correct about him being someone I think I know — there weren’t any red flags to speak of before, although there was a “creepout instance” after I’d broken things off. It did last right at 3 weeks and within the first week, he wanted me to meet his parents! (WTactualH!!) My reasoning for pulling back and ultimately ending things really didn’t have anything to do with a red flag — I just decided I wasn’t ready to deal with a relationship yet. I don’t believe he is an Spath, although he does know mine – I think he’s lonely and more than a little bit needy. Sorry, but those are not my problems to deal with – ya know? Anyway, thanks for the well wishes, and know they come right back atcha (and everyone else here looking for healing)!

Isn’t the feeling of “the one” we all have problems letting go by of our spaths?
I agree, I also thought to my self: RED FLAGS alert! If I respond to this, am I telling another spath how to do it? BUT if we are to let go and move forward we can’t jump to conclusions every time a man shows interest. If we continue doing that, will we ever heal?I mean, when we have been burned so badly we kinda look for signs and if we look hard enough we will always find something to put a finger at. Balance is the key. Do as the spaths do. Observe first, then make a conclution.

Right, and when I first read the letter, I wondered how he knew she posted on LF. Why would someone who wanted to establish her boundries around her “business” of recovery, give him that information.
I don’t tell anyone I post on LF, just because what I share here is so personal, and I need it to be a sanctuary where I feel safe sharing anything.

Just in case it is “Andrew” that I’m thinking of — I did not tell him I posted here (cause I usually don’t), but I did share an article on FB that struck me — and he commented on the shared article.

I am not new here – I have posted a way long, long time ago (Feb/Mar 2011-ish?).

I understand credibility in person is always a crap shoot, and once the Internet is involved, it is almost unheard of…I just don’t want anyone thinking that I’m stirring up the pot. 🙂

Why not come to LF? I know I would. If I met a guy who had cancer I would search the web and forums, to try to learn about what it is and how to deal with it. Read blogs from people who describes what it’s like. Not necessarily to become a doctor and remove the cancer, but to learn something about that person, something I could understand. If I found out that it would be too much for me to deal with I would let that person go instead of getting more involved and have to hurt that person all over again. I think it’s ok to know what your getting your self into. Lord know’s if I knew about the spath beforehand, I would have run the opposite direction…

Sunflower, yes, someone you’re dating and learns about a spath past may end up reading here. And that is commendable. But I’d hope they speak directly to me about it or ask general questions, rather than go specific if they are sure that I frequent this blog. I’d be creeped out if a man who claims to be interested in me after such a short acquaintance would ask such outright advice from Donna how to get me to trust him. I agree with Sky it comes off as trying to gain control over the situation and the prospected date, slightly manipulative.

Blankspot, if “Andrew” is the man you’re thinking of, then he just shot his own toe off, I’d suspect especially by misreresenting the situation.

Donna, I think you did the right thing to post this letter and request as well as with the provisional answer you gave. True people can still think in terms of “the one” without being a spath and in a harmless way, but I’d doubt they’d use that phrase to me in just 3 weeks to me or my friends, especially if they are men in the 30s or older.

His toe was shot off long before he stepped in it this way! LOL Totally creeptastic.

Also – I completely agree with your “the one” sentiment, darwinsmom.

After my 20 year relationship with my spath I went to counseling and felt my self start to recover. Every once in a while the old longing for that “known” person would throw me for a loop again. It was hard for me to grasp that I had been so stupid for so many years.

Well to make a long story short, my daughter talked me into posting on one of those dating web sites. I started getting responses from some of the gentlemen. There was one in particular that in the first email sounded interesting so I responded. In my first email I listed several of my “bad points” and suggested a friendship. He replied and told me more about himself. He rides a motorcycle (I’m afraid to and get too sunburned), he is a non smoker and I’m puffing away like a smokestack right now. I threw a few more curves his way and he accepted all of them and wanted to continue communication. At first I felt flattered and then I started seeing red flags. He seemed too good to be true and usually they are. The one redeeming factor is that he retired from the place my daughter works now. So I asked her to check him out for me. She hasn’t gotten back to me yet because it was a completely different department. Am I being paranoid? We have only exchanged three emails but I just don’t trust my own judgement right now. Any suggestions?

Oxy – as usual, you nailed it!

Oxy, either someone mentioned that exchange about the letter before or I remember that event myself. Or it may have been the posts of those guys SKy mentioned.

Stormy, if you’re seeing red flags, you’re seeing red flags. I woudn’t doubt them. Let’s say that even if you’re seeing too much in it, and the man is good and healthy, it implies that you are not ready to date, good man or no good man.

Oh my goodness, I can’t believe people are so cynical here that they are thinking “Andrew” is a spath? Wow. His story reminds me of a really excellent movie I saw a few years back called “The Secret Life of Words.” The main character was a young woman with a dark secret. She barricaded herself, her life and her heart from everyone. When she was forced to take a vacation at work, she didn’t know what to do with herself so she took a job as a nurse on an oil rig at sea, nursing a man (played by Tim Robbins) back to health who had been blinded and injured in an explosion. As they got to know each other, he managed to puncture her thick wall of isolation, and she opened up to him how she’d been taken hostage in a concentration camp at the age of 21, and of all the horrors that had happened to her and her friends at the young age. She was tortured, raped, and much worse, and had the scars to prove it. When her job was over, he didn’t know how to find her but felt he wanted to spend the rest of his life with her. He managed to track down her former therapist. Though the therapist could not reveal any personal information about the woman, she did explain to him about “survivor’s guilt” which helped him understand her austere and pleasureless life. In the end, he found her, and they married. All those years later, though she was still haunted by her horrific past, she had found a measure of love an happiness. Sometimes, if you are willing to trust just a little, love can know no boundaries. Of course it is always better to approach a relationship completely healed and ready (which can take a lifetime), but sometimes things happen when we’re not ready, and we become ready. Love is a great healer. I know countless true stories of a mate whose love helped their partner heal from trust and abuse issues.

To move forward in any relationship, there must be an element of trust.

I agree, Donna. I think, as survivors, we are just learning to respect our intuitions, and we sometimes have hair triggers. We over-react, because we are only just learning “to act, on our own behalf” at all. I’m sorry if I sound critical. You’re right, Andrew may be just a sweet soul who wants to help. But, I need to trust my instincts, and everything I’ve learned about red-flags.
I’m just pointing out what bothers me a bit. Doesn’t mean he’s a predator, or bad, or toxic.

Stargazer, nobody here accused Andrew of being a spath. They only mentioned some thing that made them nervous, edgy, and in the case of one poster who suspects Andrew is someone she knows is creeped out if it’s that man.

There’s a big difference between saying “hmm, not so fond of that action, it’ giving me goosebumps” and “he’s a spath”. You know that difference, and so do others here. It still does not mean we should ignore the goosebumps we might get from another person, whether we are ready to date or not at all. It’s by ignoring our senses we ended up here in the first place.

And irregardless of whether “Andrew” is a good, honest guy or not, I feel that the woman in question has every right to choose her own pace, and if she doesn’t want to see him she’s free to do so too for whichever reason she wants.

Yeah, I’ll bet it was a really great movie because it confirms all your long held beliefs that some man will swoop in and take away all the hurt and disappointment and save you….if you will just believe. Hog wash!!!
Had enough. I don’t need to convince you. Pollianna. Keep your dreams and your romantic fantacys alive, at all costs. Maybe, just maybe, You’ll find Prince Charming. I hope you do.
You can call us cynics; say we are cutting ourselves off from love, fine. Maybe so. But I think you are a dreamer.

Stormy, based on what you said in your post and no further information, I don’t see any red flags. I don’t know what “too good to be true” means to you, but there are good and decent people out there. Like Donna said, most communication is non-verbal, and that’s why it’s better to meet with someone sooner rather than later before you start building a fantasy up in your mind. I think it’s good to slowly get to know them, letting them earn your trust over time, and to trust yourself to spot a red flag. To me, red flags in a new date can be 1. not keeping an agreement (failing to show up at the appointed time, not calling when he says he will, etc.), 2. constantly talking about his ex, especially if he’s bitter about a divorce, or 3. telling you he’s in love with you and wants to marry you after just one or two dates (lovebombing). You should be able to use your gut feeling as a barometer, too. How do you feel around him? Do you find yourself constantly needing to set a boundary with him? (This is how I felt on first meeting with my spath).

Regarding the smoking thing, I’m allergic to cigarette smoke, but I’ve dated a few smokers if I really liked them, and we worked it out, at least for the short term. It’s now on my list of no-no’s for a partner, but some people don’t care.

In any event, in a dating situation, it’s always best not to put too much energy into a first date – just regard it as a casual meeting of a new friend – and have other dates in the wing if you can, so you don’t get too hung up too soon on one guy. This is what is known as “circular dating” and it is recommended as a healthy way to date by dating experts.

One of the big problems I see with online dating is not so much that all the men there are predators, but that women jump right into relationships with these guys before waiting to find out what the guy’s about. That’s a good way to get exploited. Last year, I dated 3 or 4 guys from a dating site that were all prospects for a relationship – 2 of them moreso than the others. I did not sleep with them, but went out to dinner with them around 3 times each, very casually. I usually overlapped them, dating a few at a time. During that period, I got to know them and see their character. Eventually, things popped up that showed me they were not the right person for me – some were big red flags, but with others, it was just an incompatibility (one was very cheap, for instance, and I didn’t like that). It was relatively easy to leave because I hadn’t gotten too involved with them. One of them wanted to get involved right away. That was a red flag to me. I gave him a few more chances, and eventually larger flags appeared. With each guy, it took about 3 weeks to see that he was not right for me. But the experience of dating was very positive because it helped me to see what I want and don’t want in a man and to fine tune my requirements.

I hope this helps, from someone that has been back out in the dating arena for the last 3 years or so. I don’t want you to think I’m perfect at it though – I’m still battling my demons, too.

I have been lurking on this thread all day and its interesting to see how everyone is so leery of “Andrew”. I don’t blame folks for feeling this way, but that feeling is exactly what I am worried about.

Like many of us, I dream of one day being able to move on to a happy and healthy relationship; however, I am terrified of falling in love with another psychopath OR letting a good man pass me by because I am so hurt and paranoid about running into another one.

Once you have been love bombed, you begin to worry about that wonderful “I’m in love feeling”. This is so unhealthy on one hand…but it seems like a natural defense mechanism.

My question for Donna is what should us “survivors of a psychopathic relationship” do when we come across a new man who seems to care? No matter how much I want to live happily ever after, I am just as pessimistic and terrified as many others on this site. This “Andrew” could be perfectly normal and just a romantic at heart, but I can also see how his behavior would be scary.

I went out on a date a couple of weeks ago and after he kissed me I ended up freaking out about it for about an hr afterward. That is when I realized that dating anyone right now was not a good idea. I hate being in a place where I project my baggage onto the next guy.

What I have gone through with my ex was NOT normal as many folks on here. At some point, we probably all need to accept that not all people are not bad and all people are not psychopaths.

Okay. Here I go again. Really wanting to get my point across and getting angry because I’m up against a brick wall. I’m sorry Star. You are entirely your own person with her own experience. I am triggered right now…still trying to make sense of my own experience. I will tell you, though, that there is no fairytale ending….there is only reality. Reality can be good or bad, depending on how hard we are willing to work, how couragious we are in facing it, and how much we value it. How resistant are we to reality. How hard do we work to prove we are right, at our own detriment. How much are we like a dog protecting our bone. When do we really surrender…when the hurt, hurts too bad, and we admit we were wrong….that our cherished beliefs were not true. That there is no perfect someone who will kiss us and wake us up, and take us away from ourselves?

let’s se

Kim, I do believe that love can heal. I guess that makes me a dreamer – I will keep on dreaming. Many of the things I’ve dreamt have come to pass in my life, so I won’t write out that there are wonderful people out there who can help us heal. Sometimes they are therapists, sometimes friends, and sometimes partners/lovers. However, it will only work if we let them help us and are willing to share our pain with them. I know of many relationships – healthy and loving relationships – where one partner helped their spouse to come to terms with a difficult past. I think at some point, anyone who has been abused is going to have issues pop up in a relationship. That doesn’t mean we should abandon the relationship, that we are not ready, or that our partner is somehow co-dependent for wanting to help us. Not necessarily anyway. I think if a person is willing to take responsibility for their own issues, a relationship with a loving partner can be very healing. Many of my early relationships were healing for me in that regard. My first boyfriend was the first person who ever loved me, and his loved helped me and changed me immensely.

In the film, the guy didn’t swoop down and save her. He was just someone she trusted to open up to. Once they opened up to each other, their love developed in spite of her past. That’s how I took the story anyway. And yes, I do believe it’s possible for someone to love us in spite of our flaws and issues. But we have to know we are lovable in spite of those things. If we don’t, we will forever be on the treadmill of working on ourselves until we are perfect so we can be lovable. The reality is that we should always be growing and working on ourselves anyway – with or without a partner. I know I’m not perfect. I’m going through a lot of crap right now, triggered by a man who has come into my life that I really like. But that doesn’t mean I’m not lovable or dateable.

Kim, I didn’t see your last post, and I’m sorry if something I said triggered you or upset you, and thanks for wording it as your being triggered (which is a very responsible way to word it). I am only sharing what I believe based on my life experiences. Obviously, the things I believe are not true for you if you don’t share those belief systems. I respect that not everyone is like me. In fact, I’m a bit of an anomaly here. I don’t mind being a dreamer and a visionary – I rather like that about myself, and I think there is a distinct need and place for people like me. 🙂

I want to add that I have a co-worker who was once married to a spath and had 2 kids with him. One of the kids is showing signs of spathdom already. After the divorce, she met a wonderful man who was very patient with her and earned her trust. They have now been married many years, and he has adopted her sons (the spath gave up custody so he wouldn’t have to pay child support). He is wonderful with her, in spite of her trust issues from her past relationship. Case in point. It CAN happen.

I think alot of us are just done with looking for the dream, the fairytale. Buying into that notion with the spaths and then surving them kind of makes us look at life in a more realistic way. We see the seriouness in living life with healthy boundaries. Taking care of ourselves. Perhaps some of just dont have the energy or need for that anymore. We learn alot about ourselve’s after surviving the spath. Maybe we are just to damaged to ever trust again.. And if so that’s ok…Maybe Caroline saw some red flags with Andrew and put the brakes on. I have met a few men that set off redflag’s recently and I dont ignore them..

Hello Ladys,
I am not here to invade your place-I know everyone needs an outlet-someone to listen. I’m here to set a few things straight & give 1 bit of advise. 1st I’ll appologized- I write lengthy emails-a fault of mine. I’ve been appologizing a lot lately.So you know some about me–married 22 years-divorced for 10. I finished raising my 2 kids by myself. I was betrayed-so I do know pain but probably not at the level some of you do.I spent 5 years after the divorce feeling I needed someone-the bars-the dating sites-dance lesson after dance lesson ( enjoyed that )Out of hundreds of ladys I met I found 1 there-not a very good preditor am I. We dated for around a year-she dumped me. Second girlfriend-we dated for about 3 years-we weren’t what either wanted-still friends & still talk time to time.The last 2 years- content with my dog & cable..LOL. I thought. I grew tired of looking. Well I met this lady & Yes I was overly excited-it was all fun again & someone who listens. To those who say I’m scouting my prey-for what ? She is a victim-someone messed with her head. She had everything taken from her & recently lost her job. So what am I scouting- nothing to steal-I don’t want sex as I know thats not how a meaningful relationship is built. I surely don’t want to cause any more greif in this womans life.She told me right off the bat she had to do slow. Totally understandable especially since I found out about the “spath ? “All I know is I really like this woman & wanted to get to know her-my idea is that it takes 2 to 3 years to really know someone. I know I can’t fix the damage done-thats in her head to deal with. I wished she & you others could slam the door on the past, but guess it’s not that easy.My idea of doing things–she suggested a lot of them also. Sounded great-great company & she said she felt normal & safe with me. Well Idid exactly what I shouldn’t have -let her see my excitment-let her know how much I enjoyed every minute with her-complements. Sounds like ” red flags ” after reading some here. I have many faults & will be the 1st to tell you what I think they are if you ask- I’m an open book–another fault-too open.Oh I’m 56 she is 51. When I emailed Donna asking for advise-I assumed she’d give me some or send me to read something. She asked permission to publish my email. I told her OK as long as we remain anonomise & If she didn’t think I would be betraying a trust between me & Caroline. I would never tell anyone of what is said between us. Give me credit for this one–my parents having a get together this past weekend for teir 61st anniversary told me to bring by the girl I like. No didn’t mention that one to Caroline-I did know better on that one.Our last date ( one she asked me on ) ended really well-we both had a great time as always. Then ‘red flags or emotions got involved ” She told me she needed “time & space ” –not much but some & cancelled our next date. maybe we’d see each other the next weekend. Perfectlly understandable. This lady has a lot to deal with & by no means do I want to be an added pain or greif to her. Here is where I really screwed up. I responded with a few emails assuring her I understand & also did a couple of texts. Good morning-good night. In these emails I asked what she wanted me to do–I think here is where not communicating came in. I swear I didn’t fully understand what ” time & space” meant. I was asking her to tell me . Think That pissed her off as I found out ” time & space ” means no contact. Thats where we are now for close to a week & I’ll respect & understand her wishes. My hope is that when she is ready-if I haven’t totally screwed it up is that when she has had enough time & space we can get to know each other & do the things we talked about. Again I appologize to you ladys for the lengthy responce & wish all of you nothing but happiness. Unless I feel the need to respond again -I’ll be gone-off your site.
Andrew

Oh-the advise. Be very -very clear in your boundries you set. You might be dealing with someone who doesn’t know the code words ” time & space “

Star, I believe it does happen. But I don’t believe it just happens by magic. I don’t belive that it just sponteineiously materalizes because I want it to. I don’t believe it is mystical or magical. I belive it happens, not because I maintain my belief in “if I just keep beliving it will happen it will happen. I don’t believe in the whole “falling in love as a mystical experience”, and the happily ever after ending anymore.
I don’t believe in ideal love. I don’t believe in an ideal partner. I don’t believe in a soul mate.

That’s what narcissisits do. I believe in working on my own issues and focussing on being a whole person myself. I am not asleep anymore. I am not waiting for someone else to make my life complete. I am making my life complete. I am becoming my hero. I am kissing myself out of the dream. There is no fairy-tale. If I live “happily ever after, it will because I made it a point to make myself happy.

Well, for what my two cents is worth, I think that it is very difficult for the new love interests/partners of victims. My husband was in my life just as I ended thing with my ex spath. I was you g and had no idea what I had experienced, but my now husband was of great support to me. It helped that he was very mature and understood the human condition very well. He was my friend. Well, friend with benefits. LOL. I was certainly not interested nor ready for a relationship. I was so messed up and just wanted an escape from the pain. I ran away from the past and into the arms of someone I told myself I was just going to have fun with.

The thing is, it turned into a deep and trusting relationship I think mostly because he was so patient and authentic with me. He never expected or wanted me to be anything other than who I was. We did break things off for a while and I went on to try and purge some demons from my past. I was reckless with myself for a few months.

My pony is, especially to Andrew, I needed space and my husband gave it to me. In that time we had little contact. But one day it all clicked and we found ourselves together again. I knew after some time to be on my own, my husband was the one who was ral in my life. Not perfect, but real. I took a leap of faith and trusted that I would have a good life with him. As it turns out, I am more than happy with that decision. We’re there moments of pure terror that I would get hurt again, sure…there still is sometimes. But that is life. There are no guarantees . I’m just glad I decided to let love in again. Lord knows I wouldn’t have been able to face the truth about my ex-spath if I didin’t. I would be bitter and closed off and my ex would have won. He would have destroyed the very thing the I can now give to my husband, love.

Added Note.
Some people are givers & some are takers-so the saying goes. I’ve never taken from anyone. I didn’t have a legal battle over my 2 children-they chose to stay with me. I turned down child support the court offered.
” could be the one ” yes a very poor choice of words. Millions that could be the one-will I find her-doubt it.

Love at 1st site–thats a fairy tale. I’m old enough to know everyone has faults & really knowing somebody takes a long time. Could be if we did spend the time to know each other-it wouldn’t be right-but who’s to say it wouldn’t ?

I made a lot of spelling errors because I am using a new iPad and it is auto correcting everything. Sorry, I hope I made everything clear. It won’t let me correct anything. Ugh!

“Many of us think that finding the right partner will complete a missing part of ourselves, finally making us feel whole. We also believe that this ideal lover will reveal the meaning of life to us. But each one of us has the potential to feel whole and fulfilled from within ourselves to the extent that we can develope our competence in self love, self protection, self care, and self containment. In addition, each one of us searches for and eventually finds the meaning of life for ourselves, rather than looking to our partner to reveal it to us. Our lives are ours; our partners life is his or hers. No one can give us the ultimate answers for our own lives.”

The most powerful tool that a woman possesses is her instincts. To have the focus, strength and determination it takes to TRUST in, and ACT upon those instincts is the most empowering gift we achieve for ourselves and in turn, for our future welll-being, I do believe.

OMG…and I thought my Psychology class was interesting this evening! OX I think that the guy that wanted help with the letter was my x, back when I was writing under Adelle to hide from him.
ANDREW: One thing many of us have learned here is that we should not be so concerned about what others think of us but more about what we think of ourselves. If you feel offended here, keep in mind that we (most of us here) have been deceived and hurt….and yes we are on defense mode. I can understand the need to defend oneself…been there done that with my ex when he would claim that I was the abuser and what have you. Is your conscious clear Andrew? (I think it is)…if so…just let that be your guide….if Carolyn wants…she will contact you I’m sure. Your opinion of yourself and your actions is more important than ours!
PEACE

Wow. How did it get misinterpreted that having the love of another person in your life means that you need someone to save you, complete you, or make you whole? It *can* be beneficial, enjoyable, healing, and wonderful to have someone in your life who loves you. You don’t need to be 100% healed or on your game at all times in order to have a healthy relationship. Most people have issues. It’s how you work with the issues within the relationship that determines if the relationship will be healthy and where your level of consciousness is. Some impeccable communications skills help, too. Relationship can be a spiritual path, if both people are of that mindset.

It makes me sad that this would be misunderstood and misinterpreted that to want such a thing is some sort of co-dependent sick aberrance, and that if we love someone with issues, it means we are narcissistic or fixers. I can certainly understand the need and desire to recluse after a period of intense trauma with a sociopath. When you’ve been hurt and betrayed a lot, you need to have a period of healing and reflection – some longer than others. But it doesn’t need to be a lifelong sentence for everyone. It is possible to trust again, and it is possible for a loving person to come along. I’m not saying it’s gonna happen for everyone. I’m just saying that it’s possible. It happened for Donna. It’s happened for many people I know. I hope that doesn’t get reduced to my being Pollyanna, but if so, I guess people are at where they’re at, and there’s not much I can say about it.

In my own recovery, I picked a hobby that pushes every single one of my buttons in a big, big way. I don’t look at it as I’m SO f*cked up. I look at it as I’m a very strong person to ask the universe to bring it on. I want to heal these things so I can attract more love into my life. Of course this needs to come from the inside first. But after all, we don’t live in a vacuum. We are social beings. We can’t just go around pretending we don’t need others because others have hurt us. That’s the catch 22. We’ve been badly hurt. But we still need others and at some point, if we want to heal, we are going to have to trust and open up to them.

Regarding the comment (last one)from Andrew. He is 56, is giving the impression that he is serious and genuine. But howcome he does not at all respect her boundaries? He is trying so much to make us see that HE is the right one. HE is doing the right thing and she is the one making his ‘project’ so diffucult. I have no sympathy for the devil, I’m afraid. And seriously, a grown man using phrases like ‘pissed off’ and screwed up’…He sounds very angry for not getting his way, if you ask me….

Andrew you explained,

“Then ’red flags or emotions got involved ” She told me she needed “time & space ” ”“not much but some & cancelled our next date. maybe we’d see each other the next weekend. Perfectlly understandable. This lady has a lot to deal with & by no means do I want to be an added pain or greif to her. Here is where I really screwed up. I responded with a few emails assuring her I understand & also did a couple of texts. Good morning-good night. In these emails I asked what she wanted me to do”“I think here is where not communicating came in. I swear I didn’t fully understand what ” time & space” meant. I was asking her to tell me . Think That pissed her off as I found out ” time & space ” means no contact. Thats where we are now for close to a week & I’ll respect & understand her wishes.”

What you need to do is respect this woman’s wishes. She gave a clear boundary (time and space and cancelled the next date). Time and space means to leave that person alone until the time they projected you could contact them again. Meanwhile you do not text them or email them, because that directly goes against the grain of requesting time and space for herself. You felt the need “to do” something about it and “fix” the situation. But there is nothing wrong with a woman or man to request time and space, and there was no need to search what else you could do, because the woman had told you what to do “give her space and time.” You pressed on and wanted clarification. She then said it means “No Contact.”

I would urge you to finally respect the boundaries she put up without further ado and to not contact her in any way anymore and accept she has the right to choose for herself whom she sees or not.

And if someone literally says “No Contact” I would also strongly urge you to move on. She’s not “The One”.

Darwinsmom: hear, hear. Good comment!

This lady may not be telling him but fell back with her sociopath. It’s happened to me and I’ve hurt innocent people slipping backward..it’s an addiction…she could have slipped..And is in contact once again..

I would like to hear her side of this story. It’s no good hearing just his side of it. Maybe she listenes to her instincts and gut-feeling here. After all, she is the one who’s been in contact with him. If I get a creepy feeling just reading how he thinks and acts, then I would not blame her for giving him the silent treatment.
there is something very wrong with this story, I think.

I see.

I too think there is and know there is something very wrong with this story. I had someone make this very same attempt to try and get close to me and they turned out to be very cunning and ill intentioned. Beware.

I’m glad to see Donna’s response – “Sometimes Lovefraud readers are too quick to label people on the basis of a few written sentences. I really think it’s inappropriate.”

I agree. We have to be careful that we don’t become what we fear. We’ve all had a raw experience with a predator but that doesn’t mean there is one under every bed. I had a recent experience I’d like to share.

I’m 3 years out now of my marriage and I think I can safely say I’m mostly healed. 2 years ago, friends introduced me to a very nice man, who immediately thought I was the one! I could tell by my reaction that I was no where near wanting what he wanted and that his attentions would overwhelm me in short-order and I would constantly be back-pedalling in order to maintain control over my life. Not that he wasn’t a nice man, or an attractive man – I just was not ready or looking for what he was looking for.

Before we even had a “first date” he had stopped by my house with flowers. Wanted his daughter to meet me. I had to sit down with him and tell him that there wasn’t even going to be a first date, unfortunately, because that would be unfair to him.

I told him as kindly as I could, that he deserved a woman who wanted the same things down the road, that he wanted. I didn’t think I would ever want a full on, live-together realtionship again – but if I did it certainly wouldn’t be for years. He was not happy about it and didn’t understand but I told him one day he would thank me.

I heard he went to online dating after that, with the help of his daughter, because he didn’t have a computer. I heard he met someone, and then that he got married a few months back.

I happened to be in his neighborhood last week and inadvertantly drove past his house. It made my heart feel happy – very happy. There he was in the yard, working in the driveway, working on something and there was his new wife, up on a chair on the front porch fixing something. End of summer coming and they are out there together fixing up what used to be his place and turning it into “their” place.

He didn’t see me and she wouldn’t know me if she did see me – I just quietly drove by and found I had the warmest feeling in my heart and a smile on my face for them. The word that went through my mind was “beautific”.

They found each other – he got what he was looking for and my guess is she thinks she’s the luckiest lady in the world.

I would have made his life hell, and I’m glad I was wise enough to know that for him – when he wasn’t able to see that himself.

It gives me hope that there is someone out there for me – that will be a good fit – and that if I’m meant to find or have that – it will happen.

Faith in myself, Faith in God and Faith that we were put on this path to learn something. Was it as good experience – NO – did we want to ever know the horror and pain associated with a dysfunctional relationship – NO – but we faced it, survived it, hopefully are healed or are well into healing from it, and have become stronger and more discerning as we approach new opportunities in life.

I think some of the posters here owe Andrew an apology. If our experiences with one or even more than one predator leaves us so bitter, angry and cynical that we attack or are always looking for “red flags” then we are long past what the predator did to us, and well into what we are doing to ourselves, or more accurately, what we should be doing for ourselves in terms of our own personal recovery.

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