For Valentine’s Day: The difference between sociopathic “love” and real love

Yes, there is love after the sociopath.

I divorced my sociopathic ex-husband, James Montgomery, in 2000. A little more than a year later, I met Terry Kelly. We dated for a few years, got to know each other, and then married.

Terry and I just celebrated our 10th anniversary. I can honestly say that I am as happy and in love as I was on our wedding day.

What’s different about love with a normal, caring person, and “love” with a sociopath? Just about everything.

Real love is peaceful

I don’t have the stress, drama and doubt that I felt while married to the sociopath. Instead, with Terry, I feel calm and content.

Real love is supportive

My sociopathic ex-husband was demanding and indifferent to how his demands affected me. Now when I need help, caring, or just someone to talk to, my husband is there.

Real love is teamwork

I’m not the only one working; I’m not the only one carrying the burdens of life. My husband and I are in it together.

Real love is balanced

Yes, we face our ups and downs. And when either of us is down, the other is there to offer a boost. It’s a true give-and-take.

Real love is sexy

Sex with the sociopath was exciting in the beginning and then became rote. With Terry, along with the physical pleasure I feel a deep, soulful connection, a much more powerful experience.

Real love is companionship

My ex traveled a lot (seeing other women, I later learned). Quite frankly, I was happy to see him go. When Terry travels or even goes to work for the day I look forward to his return.

Real love is happy

When I was with the ex, I was miserable. Now, even as Terry and I deal with day-to-day problems, I feel light and joyful.

Real love is easy

I no longer struggle in my marriage. I know I can trust and depend on my husband, and he knows he can count on me. We share, we laugh, we travel the road of life together, hand-in-hand.

We offer this to you, Lovefraud readers, as a message of hope. With your own healing, anything is possible.

Love to all,

Donna and Terry


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32 Comments on "For Valentine’s Day: The difference between sociopathic “love” and real love"

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Hi Donna,

Thanks for the post. It supplies hope. It is applicable for both romantic relationships such as yours, and is a reminder that we should also expect and experience those things in familial and friend relationships as well. Safety and nurturing.

I’m truly sorry you feel so low.
I married and divorced two sociopath, unfortunately, and I felt like that so, so many times. It takes quite a while, in my experience, to heal and understand, and re-discover yourself again.
In the present I am single, quite happy and I only ‘plan’ to get another person if he has integrity, good character and is able to pull his 50%.
But having said this, I am quite happy now as I am, and really believe that I don’t have to be in a relationship to be happy.
I enjoy my quiet times on my own, reading, playing with my pets, talking to my children when they’re here and in the last year, my beautiful grandchild who is a delight to me.
Women =or men= not necessarily need to have a partner. I, for one, I repeat, am happy as I am.
I wish you happiness, and lots of love for yourself.

Donna, I am so happy to read this. This is a true message of hope and I’m pleased you found the love you deserve. I’m so thankful for your support and dedication to this cause. Happy Anniversary and best wishes for the next 10 years of happiness ….

I’m glad you found happiness. I feel I have wasted 3 yrs. I am 56 and in therapy due to what happened. I never married him but almost did. He was clearing land at my place for us to build a house and at the same time purchasing land in another state and on a dating site saying he was looking for a woman to share his land on the other side of the country. I never understood what he was going to do. Have two wives? Play with me for awhile and then break up? I will never know. I have tried to move on but because things were so intense with us I am not doing very well. He has moved in with another who has money but he also has some from his shared retirement with his wife. This whole things confuses me. His ex was a doctor and they were married for 25 yrs. My therapist says that his ex was so busy she may have not know of his double lives and may have contributed it to his bi polar but when his moods were stable he was still such a confident liar and always had two cell phones, several email addresses, and women on several dating sites. He always had an excuse to travel. I always knew when he was seeing someone. That is when I got the biggest flowers, he would be very happy, and always on the phone with his “daughter.” I am a mess. A real mess. My therapist has me filling out a workbook about self-esteem but I want to understand what happened. I want someone to acknowledge my feelings. This is not like a usual break up. What is really crazy is that I miss him and envy the woman who he is with because I know what she is feeling. This also sounds terrible but I wish I could know if and when their relationship falls apart so I don’t feel so crazy. I am STILL second guessing myself even after I have read the emails to other women and even after I see evidence of his double life. And the gaslighting…..oh my gosh! He even tried to tell me that I put up his dating profile!! Then when he can’t deny it anymore his response is “Whatever. If you were a better communicator, I would have given 100%.” His son would not even invite him to his graduation because he found out something. I’m not sure what. I feel the need to find answers that I know I will never have. I honestly don’t think I will ever find love again. I tried going on a dating site and there doesn’t seem to be anyone out there. It was all a lie. Just a lie. He showered me with flowers, cards, a car. He didn’t take money from me, he spent it on me but now I believe it was money that he took from his ex wife. He divorced her right when he was able to get half of their retirement. He had to be 59 1/2 to get it. Now he has abandoned his children, moved to the other side of the US and started over with someone else. I am suffering from depression, want to sleep all of the time but I don’t know what to do or how to start over. I know what I am not to do and that is to make contact with him. The last time I did he sounded like a different person. He told me that he had someone and for me to “f” off. It was terrible. In a way that has helped because she he is with her he is no longer contacting me in another type of way. Donna, my question to you is how did you move on? What kind of things can you tell me that is okay to do? I know what not to do but since I don’t know what to do, I just stay in bed unless I have to get up to go to work.

Hello JCrown:

I have just come across your post I CAN’T believe how close our experience has been. I am in the same situation and know what you are feeling. Can you email me back and we can help one another because we can both relate to what we are going through because we have and are going through it. My email is [email protected]. I look forward to hearing from you.


Hi Donna,

Great article.

I, too, have met someone. After two and half years together, we have the best best best relationship. It is so healthy with both of us contributing to it, helping each other and being very respectful and loving to each other.

Sadly, my crazy ex is still — CRAZY.

My ex is getting remarried and he still bothers me? Why?

I cannot imagine why it still bothers you. Mine moved out of the marriage home directly to another woman and I was grateful. You just have to accept that what you thought was there was all a big fat lie. Then you can forget him.

Often it is good to be reminded the difference between a healthy relationship and a sick one. After living widowhood for 5 years, I met a man who was very intriguing and very sexy. He had nothing else going for him other than in the bedroom. I learned after a few weeks, he had lied to me about just about everything. Talk about peeling an onion. The layers of this man was and still are falling off and like a chameleon that changes colors, a new person evolves weekly.

The phone calls have tapered off, but he felt the need to call me when a friend saw him out and took a photo of him then sent it to me. I was with friends visiting from Berlin (who happen to be gay men). We were at Marti Gras in New Orleans at the time of the call. He then went on to berate me and tell me that I was a bad women for having gay friends. I hung up on him, but he still called a few times later. He finally quit for the time being. I know his pathological behavior will not allow him to stop calling occasionally but I can deal from a distance. I question myself and why I bother listening to him and I have established I find him very entertaining. What does that make me?

Statistically there are many Psychopaths and Sociopaths on the planet. We may need to live among them, but we certainly don’t have to live with them.


I understand your comment of, “I have established I find him very entertaining. What does that make me?” I guess this is why these types of people are good at what they do. They are entertaining, charming, and magnetic in many ways. It’s so difficult to not feel like it’s a reflection of us and I have days where I question my integrity as well. When I start to feel that way, I remember that this is part of their game and what they want us to feel. Succumbing to it means they won and I refuse to let him take anything else from me.

This was the first story I read when I visited this site and it gave me hope for the first time in 2 weeks (since I recognized my ex-boyfriend of 5 years as a sociopath). For one, I did not know there were people fitting the criteria of sociopaths that weren’t apparent as such (serial killers etc.). This is part of the reason I kept pushing to save our relationship over the last 5 years. That and my childhood lacking love, protection, and encouragement. I can honestly say I do not know what a healthy relationship looks like and upon reading the differences between what described my latest relationship perfectly and a healthy one, it has gotten me through a rough 2 weeks. I would love to find a buddy or more than one buddy going through a recent ending of a long-term relationship with a sociopath. I would like it for encouragement but also for accountability. I will begin seeing a counselor next week, but feel there is strength in numbers and being able to discuss the scary, negatives can help keep things in perspective.

Donna- I’m glad you are in a healthy marriage. I have friends who have been happily married for 50 years. It does happen.

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