Do sociopaths return?

I recently received an email from a Lovefraud reader who had only one question. It’s a question I hear frequently: Do sociopaths return?

The answer: Some of them don’t, but some of them do.

Many people who have been romantically involved with sociopaths experienced the sudden “devalue and discard.” One day the sociopath loves you. The next day the sociopath tosses you aside like a used tissue and walks away, without ever looking back.

As the person left behind, you may be in shock. You may have had no idea that your partner was unhappy. You may ask yourself, did I do something wrong? Why didn’t he or she say something? Can’t we work this out?

You are also astounded at the callousness of your partner’s behavior. All those statements of “I love you” and “we’re soul mates” did they mean nothing? After all the time you spent together, and everything you’ve been through, how can this person just leave?

The answer may be that your former partner has drained all your resources, and there’s nothing left to take. Or your former partner has simply found a juicier target. Or your partner simply decides that he or she is bored. For whatever reason, you are no longer of any use, and the sociopath is gone.

If this person doesn’t return, consider yourself lucky.

The return

Sometimes the sociopath does return. They often have a sixth sense of when you may be receptive to hear from them. They just seem to know when your anger has subsided, or when you’re feeling lonely, or when you feel strong enough to be “just friends.”

Then, because they’ve spent so much time studying you, they know exactly what approach to use to hook you again.

They may proclaim their love, confessing that they never knew how much they truly loved you until you were gone.

They may apologize profusely, seeming to take responsibility for their heartless actions, while conveniently blaming something else, such as work stress or alcohol.

They may promise to go to counseling, or church, or rehab. Or, they say they’ve already been to counseling, church or rehab, and they’ve changed.

Or, they seduce you sexually.

Why do they return? Perhaps the “juicier target” has thrown them out and they have no place to go. Whatever the reason, they were able to manipulate you before, so they assume they’ll be able to manipulate you again.

Maintain No Contact

In numerous articles on Lovefraud, I’ve explained that to end an involvement with a sociopath, you must have No Contact with him or her.

If the sociopath returns after a period of time, your response should be the same: Maintain No Contact.

They may catch you off-guard by contacting you from a new phone number or e-mail address that you haven’t blocked. They may show up unannounced at your home or place of employment.

Do not fall for their apologies, excuses or professions of love.

Never forget: Once they are adults, sociopaths do not change. Sooner or later, the old games will start again, except they’ll be worse.

If a sociopath returns, do not let him or her back into your life.


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152 Comments on "Do sociopaths return?"

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Jlove, he may try to come back, or he may just lose interest and move on to the next victim. It matters less what he does and more what you do about it. If you make the decision to walk away, you will start to feel better at some point.

Gotcha. I decided to walk away and I am currently seeking help for my healing. I learned a valuable lesson dating this guy.

I chose to adhere to the no contact rule almost two months ago and I was sure that at some point he would just show up somewhere he knew I would be or worse yet, stalk me. However, it has been two glorious months of no contact and I just don’t think he will be back around. I figured out his lies (or some of them), and I can’t imagine there would be anything else left to say or do. I think I just got lucky to figure him out finally and block him from every angle. Stay strong in your choice. If you aren’t the person will return to victimize you some more if you let them. Walking away was the very best thing that could have ever happened to me. I am grateful everyday that he is out of my life. Balance and peace has resumed.

Thanks for sharing your story. I went no contact for 4 months and he seems to have moved on to his next victim however his family still contacts me. That’s why I’m a bit concerned that he may pop back up. I’m still struggling with should I cut off his family because they are nice people and they haven’t caused the harm, he did. What do you think about this? One of his family members wants me to still remain in contact with his kids because they miss me but I don’t want to hurt them because they will never see me again. I think in time they will forget since they are toddlers.

I think you really should let go of his family. The problem with being in any kind of contact with them is that is it a way for him to get back in touch with you at any time. He can and probably will believe that you having contact with his family means you want to stay closer to him even if you aren’t together anymore. I believe that any narcissist will think that about the situation. Then they still think they have a right to your life. Walk away. Let go of all that includes him in any way. It is the only way you can be totally free of him.


Boundaries are such a personal thing. It seems lately I err on the side of setting too many of them. I usually give my exes “custody” of the friends and family so I can make a clean break. When you are dealing with a sociopath, however, “clean break” rises to a whole different level. I think you need to do whatever you can to protect yourself from seeing and hearing about this guy again. Don’t underestimate how harmful it can be to hear any details of his story months/years down the line or give him an avenue to get back into your life. I would unequivocally end my relationship with his family and mutual friends, unfriend them all on facebook, take their numbers out of your phone, and just walk away. Besides, if they are friendly toward him, then they are being duped by him. That means they don’t really understand what a sociopath is. You don’t need to be around people who will be supportive of him in any way and unsupportive of you. Protect yourself – make that your first priority.

I’d say lose the contact, it’s another way of him knowing or finding out what you are up too and also you knowing what he’s up too, it gives him ammunition to show you. How happy he is now with someone else. It’s all the game playing..
If you’ll never see his kids again, then why?

I think he’s just using the other girl for sex because that’s all he brags about on his social media and to make it so bad she’s okay with it. It’s sick! The other girl has all over her profile that she just got out of a relationship with a narcissist so I think he is using that to his advantage.

Some advise: stop looking at his posts. This is still a way you are staying in contact with this person, even if you don’t actually speak to him. If you didn’t care about his love life, you would be free of all the issues that were present when you were together. This is drama you don’t need! When it comes down to it, you are still not ready to totally let go. Be honest with yourself and then make a way for yourself to focus only on you. Do not keep up with his personal life. It is over and you are better off.

Thanks for the advice. I didn’t realize that looking at his social media is harmful so I will definitely stop. At first I was concerned that It was my fault he treated me poorly and that he would probably treat the other girl better. However, its not my fault he treated me bad so I am working on stop blaming myself. I treated him with love, kindness and I was always there for him so there’s nothing I did wrong. Its time for me to move on. I will definitely cut Ties with his family.


That is a problem we all face, we all think after they dump/discard us that they will “find the love of their lives” and we will feel like it was all our faults,,,trust us all when we say, THEY WILL do the exact same thing to the next person, and have the same results. Remember a little bit of my story from the other post on this blog? What i did not tell anybody is my ex started chasing a married man after kicking me out, then slept with me one more time after starting to sleep with him (i did not know it at the time) eventually she moved him in my house with my kids, and 7 months later he moved right back out and went back to his wife, why you ask? Cause she did him just like she did me and he did not have as much invested into the relationship like i did, and those were not his kids either, so he split. My kids told me that right after he moved in they started fighting all the time and how their mother was cussing him out and even witnessed a physical altercation once, and it reminded me so much of when i first moved in with her, she literally repeated the whole process, he just wasnt stupid enough to stick around for 10 years like me. They may tell you they love this person and things are better and what not, but its all lies, they will repeat the vicious cycle!!!!


I’m glad to know that I am not the only one who wonders if he will treat the next person better. Now that I think about it his ex wife told me that he fell out of love with her, discarded her and cheated on her. The sad thing is that she has kids by him. I noticed when we dated how he treated his kids he would call them mistakes and say he should have pulled out. It was very mean and even then I was contemplating walking away. Now that I know it’s a cycle I will definitely move on. He’s not worth living in my head rent free. I’m just hoping that I won’t have trust issues forever.


Love that comment, “living in my head rent-free!” How true!



We all have that fear that once they discard us they will live happily ever after with someone else, which further makes us believe their lies and delusions about how it was all our fault. Him saying they were mistakes and he should have pulled out was a red flag, but when your in love your heart clouds/blinds your judgment. No they are not worth living in your head rent free, however im still battling my own demon as i still cannot get this garbage out of my head, i was robbed of everything, im very bitter and angry, and have trust issues with women, hell with humans in general now. I just wont generalize all women in that category, i know somewhere out there, there is a good woman looking for me, and we can compliment each other, i just have to make sure im mentally/emotionally healthy when/if i meet her so i dont wind up screwing it up and chasing her off.

I can totally relate. My ex sucked me dry of everything throughout the relationship and after. He crashed my car, signed me up for a bank scam which robbed me of all my savings plus I had to pay the bank all of last year. He promised to help but never did. We moved and he moved us in with squatters so I lost my money in that scam. He got my car towed because he parked it in an unauthorized space so I had to pay for that. I had to pay for security deposit and first month rent and used my school financial aid to do that with the intent of him paying me back. As a result he never did and I had to drop out because of it. Then my parents sent me money to get furniture for the apartment. He took that money and said he had a “problem with his bank” promised to pay it back but never did. I paid for his hotels when he was homeless and lost his job at the beginning of the relationship (should have been a red flag) but I felt sorry for him because he was going through a “tough time” found out he was lazy didn’t want to work and had various criminal records a year later. I had to give up the apartment because he was abusing me everyday. So in a year in a half I lost my savings, car, apartment, school and health because of him. I’m still paying bills from the crash he caused while he’s bragging and live it up in my apartment. In the relationship he let my dog I had for 13 years out of the house and we could never find her. That really broke my heart because she was a childhood pet. I had to send him back a cellphone I paid for. However things are now starting to turn around, I got into a better school with a scholarship, got my own apartment and it’s better than the old one, I’m almost done paying off the debt he got me in and my relationships around me is getting better/stronger and I got a new pet. I have my own stuff without him. I’m seeing a therapist for my mental health and it’s slowly helping I still have post traumatic stress but it’s slowly getting better. The last thing he said when I left is that I will never find anyone better unless it God and I deserved to be mistreated because I couldn’t live up to his standards. Im truly happy he dumped me. I only miss the companionship. He scared most of my friends away so I’m just hanging around mostly family for now.

Oh and to add to that he wanted to remain friends umm absolutely not!

wow thats a lot of destruction, “stay friends” LOL

Now you can definitely see why I have trust issues. I laughed when he said we should be friends. He practically destroyed my life. I’m just glad I didn’t marry him. He alway talked about marriage and would introduce me to people as his fiancé even though I didn’t have a ring on my finger. If he is going to do this to the next girl I feel really sorry for her. I honestly thought it was just me he wanted to destroy because I’m going to school to be a doctor. At first he was supportive of my goals but then he seemed jealous towards the end of our relationship. He even said I will never be anything in life. That probably would have been true if I stayed with him because he sucked me of all my resources to the point that I had to depend on only him until he discarded me like a used tissue.

“Friends” don’t tear friends down. You cannot be friends with a sociopath. They will always look for an avenue to destroy you. I’ve known people who stayed “friends” with disordered people for different reasons: A) They felt sorry for the disordered person or B) They are afraid they will be alone or unable to make new friends.

A) Disordered people want you to feel sorry for them. That is how they suck the energy out of you – by not taking responsibility for their own life circumstances.

B) There are millions of people out there to make friends with. New friends you haven’t met yet are out there in scores just waiting to meet you. New people cannot come into your life until you purge the nasty ones.

At first I made the mistake of trying to be his friends and you are right he still tried to destroy me! We had a joint bank account and I thought he took his name off but instead he purposely put it in overdraft by paying 75 dollars for pizza and buying other stupid stuff. Then he refused to pay it so I had to pay the bank back plus close the account or else they would put it on our credit. He didn’t care at all! We were on the same phone plan and he would text me saying his kids miss me and he kept doing it. He knew I loved his kids. I bet he didn’t even have his kids. So I sent back the phone because I thought since he duped me with the bank account, he would eventually do the same thing with the phone because I was trying to pay off the phone but he said once I pay it off I still can’t move it off his plan. Since he was the account holder he had total control over that. I tried to explain everything to our phone carrier but that didn’t work. So I sent it back and got my own I lost money but it was worth it. Then I found out he added his name to my stocks and refused to remove his name so I had to sell them and repurchase them on a new account, I lost money in that. That’s when I learned I can’t be friends with him.

Butterfly, what is that old saying…with friends like that, who needs enemies? It’s hard to make a clean break with a toxic person even if you know it is in your best interest. It takes an act of will. At least with a toxic person, you know you are better off without them. As one of our beloved readers here used to say: “It’s better to have loved and lost than live with a psycho for the rest of your life.”(Thanks for that pearl of wisdom, Hens.)

My difficulty in the several years following my split from the sociopath was breaking off relationships with the wrong non-toxic person. I’m so relationship driven that I have often tried to fit a square peg into a round hole. If I could have moved on more easily, I would have wasted so much less energy. These days, my energy is mostly going toward creative projects. I have a boyfriend, but he is not the right person for me. Unfortunately, we are involved in a project together and have to see it through. It is very difficult. I may be coming around here for support for the next 6 months or so. My life is coming together slowly, but it’s looking like I am to be alone for a while.

I replied back but it’s not showing up

I am new on here. Just broke with my sociopath in May and about 6 weeks later he started with texts saying how much he missed me and loved me. Sent a picture of the two of us together saying we were the cutest couple in the world. Unfortunately, I answered this and being the honest and forthright person I am, told him how I missed him and loved him. He kept reiterating how he loved me and how our relationship made him so happy and how he missed us. Well needless to say, he asked if I would like to talk later that day and I, of course, said I would like that. He said me too and sent a boy and girl emoji like he used to do. He then wrote I’ll speak to you shortly and sent me a dozen emoji roses. I said ok. But what was odd the last thing he wrote was this “always remember I never ever meant to hurt you.” That was a month ago. He never followed up to talk with me. It was almost like he wanted to purposely hurt me. To get revenge on me by leaving me hanging and hurting me. Like I couldn’t be the one to do the original break up. But then last Friday, he came back around again and texted another picture. Then on sunday he sent a facebook friend request. This was a big issue with us because he never wanted me on his facebook page. I didn’t answer either request. Then this past Monday again he sent another picture of us together this time in front of his Christmas tree (that I convinced him to put up seemed like he hated Christmas). Almost like trying to play on my heart strings for Christmas. I ended up becoming stronger and I have now blocked him on my cell phone. I’ve blocked him on everything now. I just still love him so much and it hurts tremendously to think that someone is that evil.

It sounds like all his interaction with you is online, not in person. That doesn’t take any effort, and it’s more imaginary than real. In future relationships, you might consider limiting non face to face contact for brief communication to arrange real time real life interactions and activities.

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