When you’re romantically involved with a sociopath, sooner or later your entire relationship falls apart. The level of destruction may differ, but the bottom line is the same for all of these involvements: There never was a relationship — everything you thought you had was built on lies.
You’re devastated. But if you follow Lovefraud’s advice and allow yourself sufficient time to process and recover from the experience, eventually another opportunity for romance will come your way. Still, you may feel gun shy. You were completely deceived before. How can you be sure it won’t happen again?
The Lovefraud reader, “Slimone,” posted a comment recently that I believe is absolutely terrific advice for moving forward. It was directed to Emilie18, who sent Lovefraud her story, He got everything he could from me, and then discarded me.
A year out I was also not nearly ready or able to be in another relationship. In fact it took several years, then cautious dating, before I was ready. It just takes a lot of healing, and to get over the PTSD so many of us are left with.
I found, when I dated after about the first year, that I was comparing any man I met to the sociopath. Partly because he was still on my mind all the time. But also because I thought if they weren’t like him then they weren’t disordered.
I was wrong.
I met a caring, quiet, unassuming sort of guy (a therapist!). Not at all like the show off sociopath. But this quiet guy was TOTALLY personality disordered. He stalked me for YEARS.
After that I realized I just could not yet think ‘critically’ about what I was seeing. So, I waited. I spent my time with friends, recovering financially, in therapy, yoga, walks, reading, healing.
Then I met someone and went SLOW into it. We were just friends for nearly a year.
What I watched for were MY feelings, reactions, gut feeling, and comfort level as we got to know each other. I didn’t so much look for him to match a list of healthy relationship characteristics. Instead it was about ME, and how I FELT in each moment. And I was NEVER uncomfortable, confused, hurt, angry, ashamed, sad, yearning, or otherwise weirded out by him. Not once did he do something that was strange, and make me question my own sanity.
We have now been married 5 years. He is a wonderful husband and friend.
Slimone’s approach is brilliant. Yes, you need to be aware of sociopathic traits, and if you start seeing them, be careful. But the reason you’d start looking at checklists of traits to begin with would be uneasy feelings. Your feelings are an early warning system for spotting trouble.
Your feelings can also tell you when you are safe. When you’re not experiencing “what was that?” moments with your new partner, when you are comfortable, at ease and peaceful, then you’re moving in the right direction.
Thank you, Slimone, for your wisdom.