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Dating again after the sociopath

Lovefraud received the following email from the reader who posts as “Saskgirl:”

I must say that your website is a lifesaver. It has helped me recover from a devastating relationship with a sociopath. It is amazing how many stories I read on your site and can totally identify with them. The people could be talking about the piece of garbage I was tangled up with.

I have been single for about a year and a half and have spent a lot of that time healing and working on me. I am ready to start dating (I think) but I’m afraid that it will be disastrous for me. I was so emotionally wrecked that I’m terrified of being there again. I don’t trust anyone and believe that just about every thing coming out of a man’s mouth is lies.

Now, I have met some men but have given them the brush off because my warning system went off. I am grateful for this because it has saved me a lot of drama. Unfortunately, I don’t have a good perception of what is “normal” dating. I married a narcissist and when I finally got rid of him, I was “lucky” enough to find a full-blown sociopath.

I have recently met a man whom I have opened up to slightly, but my spidey senses are tingling yet again. I understand the concept of love bombing, but I would like to know how I can define the fine line between genuine attraction and caring and love bombing. What is “normal” when it comes to texting and emailing? I haven’t a clue. I don’t want to go into details of why my senses are tingling ”¦ however it is increasing difficult to separate the wheat from the chaff. Not to mention very tiring ”¦

Your healing

Saskgirl,

Going from a narcissist to a sociopath what a nightmare. I am very glad that you are being cautious, and are listening to your “spidey senses.”

Quite honestly, if you are feeling fear about dating, you may not be ready to date. It may seem like you “should” be ready after a year and a half of working on yourself, but recovery is different for everyone, and it takes as long as it takes. You may need a bit more time. After all, you have at least three sets of emotional pain to recover from:

  1. Your involvement with the sociopath.
  2. Your marriage to the narcissist.
  3. A prior emotional injury that made you vulnerable to the narcissist in the first place.

In order to be truly ready for a healthy relationship, you need to be reasonably healed from all of these encounters. What that means is that you’ve reached the point where you have accepted that your partners really did what they did, that you were injured, but you’ve let go of emotional pain associated with the injuries.

Emotional recovery

Often, we can understand what happened on an intellectual level. In fact, that’s the first step in recovery. But accepting what happened on an emotional level is far more difficult. Our goal is to process the emotional injury, to get it out of our system. To do that, we need to allow ourselves to feel the pain. We need to cry, perhaps even kick and scream. (This is best done privately or with a therapist not at anyone, and certainly not at the sociopath.)

The hardest injury to recognize and address will be the original one. This could have come from a very early incident or relationship when you were a teenager, perhaps, or from your family of origin. Maybe you suffered abuse from a family member. Or perhaps you were picked on in school.

But sometimes your early life was good, or at least good enough, yet you still fell into a bad situation. This happened to me. My parents loved me and did their best I know that. But somehow I acquired the belief that I was not worthy of love just for who I was. I felt undeserving. These mistaken beliefs were my vulnerability.

(The Red Flags of Lovefraud Workbook can help you uncover your vulnerabilities. It’s a skinny little workbook of checklists and questions to ask yourself. Available in the Lovefraud Store.)

I promise you, the recovery work will enable you to find and experience a relationship that will be much more loving and satisfying than you have ever imagined. When you are whole, it is much easier for you to recognize and enjoy wholeness in another person.

Back to dating

So, when you’re ready, how do you go about finding someone to date?

It’s probably best to stay away from online dating. Yes, everyone does it. I even did it, after the sociopath. And yes, I do know people who have found relationships, and have gotten married, through online dating. But I think dating sites and social media sites have gotten worse than when I used them 12 years ago. They are rife with predators. Why take the risk?

I recommend meeting people the old-fashioned way through work, recreational interests, community activities, introductions by friends and family members. If you’re emotionally healthy and open, you’ll just run into possible connections as you live your life.

Email and texts

Suppose you meet someone who expresses an interest in you, and keeps in touch via text and email. If the amount of texts and emails you receive make you feel pressured, then it is too much. What do you do?

If you are not really interested in the guy, you end the involvement. If you are interested in the guy after all, he, too, may be unsure of the appropriate amount of contact you gently express your feelings and see what happens. If he backs off, fine. If he backs off temporarily and then ramps up the messages again, it could mean he is either needy or controlling, neither of which you want.

Real love

How can you tell if a relationship is healthy? Here is the secret: Real love is easy. Real love grows at an easy pace. It does not feel rushed or pressured. There is excitement, but not drama. Promises are kept and no games are played. There is no power struggle.

Real love feels like a warm blanket shared by the two of you. It’s cozy. It’s comfortable.

If you do not feel comfortable with a particular involvement, move on and don’t panic. Eventually the right opportunity will arrive.

 


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80 Comments on "Dating again after the sociopath"

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You claim its all men that do most of this, that men cannot love as deeply as women (BS) women do most of the child rearing, tell that to my story then, as i did most of the child rearing, house chores, and worked full time while getting played by a disordered woman. You claim men cause most childhood trauma, tell my disoredered ex that, she will tell you it was her mother that caused most or all of her problems.

Now you claim women are brainwashed to think men are something they are not? What about all the women out there that dont carry their weight, only marry to take from the man, cheat/lie/steal???

“Men don’t think or feel like we do. Use them for money, sex, fun whatever. But love? No way.”

wow that speaks volumes, you are advocating doing exactly what sociopaths do, just use people for money and sex, and feel no love, wonderful advice you have there.

Dave, Be gentle her story is very real to her and this is a place to vent, many many women feel the same, maybe its because you are an exception to the rule, we are not used to meeting good men.

Frandee,

How would you all feel if i sat here with my story and stated “women cant love like men do, and use women for sex and money” ?????

What would you say to that? How would you feel? That is some gender biased shit if i aint never seen none. I would probly be kicked off this blog for stating things like that.

We ALL on here have been through this same story, however i dont see anybody on here other than this person i replied to trying to tell everyone on here to just use others for sex and money.

You think i dont have a bad taste in my mouth for women??? Oh let me tell you, i sure as hell do, however im not going to advocate using women for sex/money/fun and “not for love, no way” Just because i had a bad exp with the two mothers of my children does not mean all women are bad, all it means is im more on guard now until i meet a good woman cause i know good women are out there, just like good men are out there.

I sympathize with her story, we all do. However dont run around making baseless claims about men cause of your bias, then telling people to use the opposite sex for money and sex, as that is what sociopaths do.

Dave
I have heard men say this, All Im saying is that we each have our stories, I thank God that I am confident enough in myself that I know they are not talking about me but women in general, I get that. All of us here have been hurt, we need to support each other so we can all heal! We need to NOT take things so personal. What she says is HER story and I think that is what she is doing (using men) I dont beleive she is telling women to go use men for those reasons. Its hard to know what is meant sometimes in peoples writing, maybe you should ask her to clarify that statement?

Listen up , my son 15 years ago was dating this one woman and had a son with her . when he told me then that the mother of his son was off the charts nuts and he couldn’t describe what type of a mental case she was , he was crying out for help from me , his own mother about this sociopath woman? I could not help him when he needed me the most. It wasn’t until i met and married this man and now divorced a sociopath myself that i finally came to terms to the fact that at some point , its not all just men. There are women out there unknowingly to the male counter part is convincing , cunning and wicked.She was so self absorb and manipulative and All i wanted to do was be nice to this young lady because she was the mother of my grandson. I had no idea what my son was going through just to get visitation rights to see his own first born. She was so convincing in court when it came to visitations, that he lost all rights to visiting that son of his.She played the courts , the lawyers and convinced the judge that he was an unfit father and was forced to pay child support even when he will never see his son again until he reached the legal age. Just recently , the grandson is coming around on his bike during the summer to visit his father at his place of business. I think the older this boy becomes,there will be a power struggle btw mother and son. So i guess thats why we are seeing a little more of this grandson .We just cant post it on our social media for fear that she would feel like shes losing and thus create more havoc in our family again. so we are settling for what little visits we get. The grandson, he wont speak of his mother or whats going on, but i found out that he got kicked out of public and private school and the judge decided to enlist him into boot camp. My grandson seemed almost pleased to spend five months in boot camp and I can see why hes pleased about it.Hes not a thug , nor does drugs or alcohol for his age, hes looking for a way out and away from his dysfunctional mother. Personally , its the best solution for him.I love that boy but as long as there’s a legal loop hole , its always going to be hard to fight a female sociopath in court. We’ve tried.

Frandee,

All of of are or have been in a lot of pain because of evil people. Like i said before, id LOVE to see what would happen if a MAN got on here and stated the EXACT SAME THING this woman did, except towards women,,i bet he would get ripped a new asshole, and booted off the blog, yet i see all these women defending this woman. I dont care what a person has been through, there is NO JUSTIFICATION for using and abusing others, PERIOD!!!!

And Donna,, my apologies if i said something that seemed as though i “attacked her” i was simply pointing out the obvious in her statements. I know 90% of this blog is female, so how would all of you feel if i made it out like women are heartless whores, and that society has men brainwashed to think women are something they are not, and that men love deeper than women, and that all men should use women for sex and money?

I dare any of you to answer that question, and if your answer is “umm that would really offend and piss me off” then i want you to realize that her comments made me feel the same damn way. Do not defend someone like that, you are only feeding the monster.

There are some grains of truth in what lagorgeousmujer is saying about how women are taught not to trust their own feelings and not to speak their mind. It hasn’t been all that long since women who dared to stand up to their husbands – heaven forbid – were locked up in asylums and considered hysterics or burned at the stake for being witches. Women have also been taught that they need a man to survive. For a woman who can stand on her own two feet and live an independent life, there is a great freedom. It is possible to still experience a meaningful life filled with love without a romantic partner. Seeing how much work is involved in a relationship, I sometimes wonder if it is better to be alone.

Dave
In answer to your question is yes I would be upset but mostly I would think wow, he has been really hurt, I dont condone anyone taking advantage of anyone else and as I read more, I think there may be more to her story? I just know that we are all trying to heal, it is unfamiliar for most of us women here to hear a mans story, Most men wouldnt admit to being “duped” by a female spath. I am sorry your ex put you thru what she did, but at least you show us that yes there are good men out there, far and few between in my eyes but I know they exist. I am sorry if I upset you in any way ok!!! Stay strong!!

Sorry, lagorgeousmujer, but I don’t agree with you that all men are evil. But I can certainly understand how a woman can come to feel this way. I have felt this way before and it is a very cynical view. There are always different ways to look at things. In my world, the only people who are truly evil are sociopaths. Those can come in both genders.

I wont be back here bc this conversation is greatly annoying me. Most psychopaths are men and in fact all men are psychopathic in varying degrees. But you’re just as delusional as all my clients wives who think they have the best man in the world. Men are liars, promiscuous and unloyal. The “nice” ones are simply more submissive because they rarely get opportunities for sex. So being nice is their way of getting sex. Men with ample coitus opportunities are rarely nice.they can afford to be themselves. Anyway if you are in fact a woman and not a man posing as one, i think you’ll remember me next time you end up in the same boat, again, regretting an attachment to some douchebag. Good luck and bye bye.

lagorgeousmujer why is this conversation annoying you, you cant possibly believe that every man on the planet is “bad” maybe you could open up as to what is REALLY the root of the problem here or with a counselor? I did and it helped me tremendously and I worked on why I was attracting spaths, negative, toxic people into my life. Why would you want to live the rest of your life disliking the whole male population? I wish you Peace on your journey and Good luck. I hope you decide to stay and try to communicate with us.

Stargazer is quite correct,

men and women at times are polar opposites, however we are equals that complete one another.

The sun and the moon, look to your skies and see how both are the same size, yet give off different light, however they compliment each other for night and day, i view men and women the same way. We are different but we compliment each other/complete each other,,however that does not happen when one or both parties are crazed/selfish/idiots. We are being manipulated and trained by the powers that be to hate different races/religions/and opposite sex, and that is for a reason, “divide and conquer” the family unit has been all but destroyed, destroy the family and keep racism alive and you can easily conquer with manipulative media and govt.

just my 2 cents

“LIKE”

Dave, I love this comment about the sun and the moon. All men are not sociopaths. All sociopaths are sociopaths.

Dave
I really liked your comment “The sun and the moon, look to your skies and see how both are the same size, yet give off different light, however they compliment each other for night and day, i view men and women the same way.”

I desire to have a relationship with a good man some day one where we could compliment each other. I was just asking my therapist if good men still exist because I have been through so much. However, I didn’t realize that men go through the same exact thing until after reading your posts. Because like Donna says it’s not all about gender. There are a lot of sick people out there. In all sincerity, you just gave me hope and confirmed that good men do exist. I don’t agree with the comments that all men are bad because I have indeed seen some beautiful marriages between two loving people. I think that the woman above may not have seen or witnessed positive romantic relationships in her life which is why she was making general comments that’s just my assumption.

Thank you Jlove, its just from my observations as i love to study my surroundings and ive always been interested in astronomy.

I desire to have a female partner to share life with, i just have not found the right one yet, i know she is out there, i admit i have serious trust issues with women now, however i wont generalize all women into one category just because a couple of them royaly screwed me over.

Society in general is brainwashed, most men think all women are gold digging whores and that they need to safeguard their money, most women think all men think below the belt and are cheaters, let me say, BOTH sides do BOTH of these things, there are gold digging whore men, and women who love sex and use men for many things. I have been split from my spath ex for 2 and 1/2 years now and it still eats at me, i still have dreams about it/her a couple times a week, plus she has my children which worries the hell out of me. I loved her more than any person ever other than my children and she could have cared less, she used me to have the 2 kids she wanted and to help get her where she is now then discarded me like trash on the curb and now that i called her out for what she is, she hates my guts, she wont even respond to my text when i simply ask “hey when do the kids get out of daycare”

I dont know what all that woman i was speaking with went through, but it sounds like her soul has been poisoned and she now wants to enact revenge on every man on the planet. I feel poisoned too, however im not going to take it out on every woman i meet. Just hang in there, hes out there somewhere looking for you, just in the meantime be cautious, be on guard, dont be paranoid, but be on guard for the warning signs so you dont fall into the trap again.

Dave
have you ever tried some therapy, I know it helped me, maybe you should get social services involved, set up a schedule so you know exactly, when and where you will see your kids, I feel so bad for them. Just know the truth always comes out and there IS such a thing as Karma, I got to witness it. Hand in there, and please stay connected here ok!!

Frandee,

I already have visitation rights, but i only get my kids one weekend a month as she lives 100 miles away, and the courts ordered me to do all the driving, she does not have to meet me, and now she moved even further away, so ill have to take her back to court to see if they will force her to meet halfway. I did some counseling for a couple months but i didnt feel it was helping me. As for social or children services, good luck with that, as this woman is quite good at what she does, if any of you met her, within 15 mins she would have you all convinced that im a lazy/wife beating/abusive/asshole. She is extremely manipulative and loves to play the victim card and is quite good at it. Shes a pathological liar as well as a cheater. She lies about her income to get free state assistance and has been doing so for 10 years now.

And no you did not upset me, that other person did, while i do feel for her, it still does not make it ok for her to bash all men and advocate women to just use men for money and sex.

Wow, I cant believe the court system is so messed up??? Keep up with the courts hope it gets better for you, I know in therapy it takes awhile for things to fall into place, sometimes months, I was lucky to have found a really great girl, I still go once a month to to keep things in check but I had a lot of issues before my spath came into my life. Your ex sounds real twisted and to know us taxpayers are footing her bill and others like her pisses me off, when people talk to me and they start bashing their ex’s I take it with a grain of salt because I know there are 2 sides to every story. Hang in there, just try to limit your conversations to the kids only. Remember we are all here for you!

jlove I agree with you

You are right Frandee, always two sides to a story, i just never got to tell my side to all the people she manipulated about me. Im going to go back to court but dont know when, i cant afford a lawyer right now, i just launched my business, and im struggling to even pay my child support let alone support myself. When i went for visitation rights she had a lawyer and i did not, and im not bashing women here BUT, i was the only male in the courtroom all 3 times,,,it was her and her female lawyer, with a female magistrate, and another female typing all the words, it felt like i was in man hater central LOL.

Wow sure sounds like you were, I dont blame you, there are a lot of messed up women in world, I just deleted my FB because of some of them. Tired of the drama. Hope things get better for you!!

I need some advice. After 4 years of NC, I finally met someone I like. He is charismatic, funny and handsome with a good job. But he won’t ask me out. He has been texting me for the past 2 months and we have had a handful of phone conversations. Mostly about his physical attraction to me. I told him a little bit about my past and he said that he was trying to give me space to trust him.

But my question is how can I get to know him, and him me, if he doesn’t take me out to a movie, dinner or just hang out on a weekend.

I have the uneasy feeling that he is another sociopath and/or exploiter. It does not feel normal at all, but need for someone else to confirm what I already am feeling.

Trust your instinct. He sounds to me that he’s another exploiter and that he’s deciding between you and another target to see which one to go with. The reason I’m saying this is because he wants to give you the space to make you trust him yeah right! He if really wanted you to trust him then he will try to let you get to know him and he would prove he’s worthy of trust. As for advice please do not tell the guy what you went through in your previous relationship until later in dating him. The reason why I say that is because many psychopaths use that to their advantage. Its sick but it’s true. You could simply say “things didn’t work out because I didn’t like how the last guy treated me” and leave it at that if they ask for more. Words of wisdom from my therapist.

If you have an uneasy feeling that’s a red flag so leave him alone. I had an uneasy feeling with my ex. That’s your body’s way of telling you something is not right.

Hi Shelby333,

I totally agree with Jlove. I think this guy as a few women on the hook. Like Jlove states if a guy truly wants to grow trust he takes you out on dates & spends time with you.

Trust is earned not avoid.

His statement “said that he was trying to give me space to trust him.” HUGE HUGE RED FLAG!!

Also when you state that you & he talk “mostly about his physical attraction to me” HUGE HUGE RED FLAG!! He is not interested in dating but just having sex. And most likely has several women that he is playing the same verbal manipulative game with.

Follow your gut it will NEVER steer you in the wrong direction. Google “Gavin Debecker Oprah you tube” to watch their interview on why it is vitally important to follow your gut always. Gavin Debecker is the author of Gift of Fear (good read your local library may have it).

I think your gut instincts are strong & I am glad you came here to LF to confirm your “uneasy feelings”.

Remember this:

1 in 5 people 75% men have Narcisisist Personality Disorder

1 in 25 people mainly men are Sociopaths & Psychopaths.

Experts believe that we meet a Sociopaths or Psychopath EVERYDAY in passing whether in line at the deli counter, at a friends party, at work or just around town.

And Experts believe that we have a sociopaths & psychopath in our circle of friends without even knowing it.

throw in all the other Personality disorders and you must weed thru lots & lots bad guys to find a good guy. Think about it this way every high school class you were in there were statistically 5 narcissist & 1 sociopath/psychopath out of 25 students. And if you go to a party & there are 25 people the odds are the same.

ALWAYS BEWARE OF EVERYONE YOU COME INTO CONTACT WITH!! Keep your guard up and like Jlove stated NEVER tell anyone about your past relationship until you have a good solid relationship/friendship formed. Manipulative people will take advantage of you past abuse.

Slam the door on this guy quickly!!!

Shelby333, there is a great book called How to spot a dangerous man By Sandra Brown…it’s a good book to spot all types of bad guy via their behavior.

Shelby, I went through several guys like this over a period of several years, longing and pining for them to step up to the plate. I learned that if a guy really likes you, he will pursue you. There are a few exceptions. If a guy is really really shy, sometimes he needs a little push. But for the most part, if he is not asking you out, he’s “just not that into you.” There may be other reasons – he may himself be emotionally unavailable. Perhaps he has gone through a bad divorce or doesn’t want to commit. In any event, leave him alone and move on with your life. This is very hard earned advice. You will know that if you ever read any of my posts describing my dating life from 2008 to 2014. On top of that, if your gut sense is telling you there’s something wrong, there probably is. Those of us who are so very trusting love to give men like this the benefit of the doubt. Truth is, men love to chase. If they are not chasing, then they aren’t that interested. Don’t waste your time and energy on someone with no follow-through. There are too many out there who are available and willing. Life is too short to chase a man.

Thank you jlove. I feel that I haven’t learned anything for the past 5 years. But, this guy keeps bringing up sex and I’m just not into that right now, so early in the game. So, he was pressuring me for more info and that’s when I told him. Anyway, I appreciate your honesty.

You’re very welcome. Him mentioning sex so early is a red flag. He’s wanting to use you for sex. Walk away and if you are still hurt after the last socialpath try to seek some therapy it will help you to point out red flags early on.

You are very right and I knew it then. But, was hoping for the best. Take care and again, thank you.

Thank you so much for this article! To Saskgirl that originally wrote this post – I know EXACTLY how you are feeling: “I am ready to start dating (I think) but I’m afraid that it will be disastrous for me. I was so emotionally wrecked that I’m terrified of being there again. I don’t trust anyone and believe that just about every thing coming out of a man’s mouth is lies.” — I also do not believe anyone at all and am worried that I will run into another sociopath or narcissist. I don’t even trust myself as my ex-sociopath always made me feel like there was something wrong with me, and not him.

Another thing that I feel is tremendous, almost debilitating pain because the love that I felt for my ex and the love I THOUGHT he felt for me was the greatest I have ever experienced. I was with another man (who was probably a sociopath too) for 8 years but I never felt love for him like I did for my most recent ex-sociopath. And I wonder if I almost needed the love bombing/idealization, mirroring, etc, to fall for someone that completely. I remember hugging him and feeling at home and like the most comfortable and relaxed and SAFE that I ever have. So its sad to think that the best (and worst though) I’ve ever felt and the most love I’ve ever felt in my entire life, was fake. And it was with someone that was manipulating and using me. And it scares me that I will never find love like that again b/c the love I felt wasn’t even real.

I don’t know if this makes sense or not, and I know that he treated me horribly and never loved me and even if he loved me, i never want to be loved like that again (since it was so awful) but at the same time, I crave that connection I had with him (I don’t crave him, just that type of connection with another person). I’m beginning to feel like I’m going to be alone for the rest of my life.

I feel the exact same way. It sucks that the love was fake because that’s the best love I have experienced. Well at first anyway. I’m thinking once the right person comes into our lives, his love will be way better than the sociopath. Remember, if we loved the wrong person so much imagine how much we will love the right person!

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