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I agree with what Jan7 wrote.
I suggest you google an article by Donna called “why relationships with sociopath are so addictive”. It explains very well why we struggle with NC – we are not going through a normal break up. We are battling an addiction that SP created. And it is a hard addiction to break.
Expect to break the NC at some stage – then go back to square one.

Instead of focusing on days of NC to be achieved (e.g. I am not going to contact him for 30 days), focus on not contacting him one day at a time. If you feel like emailing/texting/calling – write a note in a journal or your thoughts in an email to self. Save into drafts. Return to it tomorrow if needed.

Jan7 also made a good point that for you relationship was real and it is very much like losing someone to death.

I broke up with my SP in February. We’ve been together for 4 years and it was pretty much lovebombing phase until I found out about his double life, an undisclosed wife in another city and a whole other bunch of lies. He was a complete fraud and I cut it off by refusing to move in with him/get married.

Even though there was no obvious abuse or devaluation phase I found myself drowning. If strangers asked me why I was sad, I’d say that my partner had passes away (which is true, that fantasy partner did pass away). It is very important to feel the grief, to cry as much as you need to, to not be stuck just in anger and going on a bender. Depending on your spiritual beliefs, you may do a goodby ceremony or similar, again this of them as dead.

Despite all the LF reading and support from members I booked the NC rules twice:
No 1 was around Easter when I sent him a simple Easter greeting (I felt rude not acknowledging Easter as this man did make me very happy over the years, was with me when I was sick, helped my ill child and we had a lot of fun and fantastic experiences together). His response was such I cannot publish here. Let just say, it was all my fault.

The 2nd time was when I got a message that he could not return an item of property to me because he dad passed away. Of course I responded with my condolences, again I could not be rude, could I? This time his response was as to why I had to ‘destroy the most amazing relationship”. Balancing between the need to feel safe and telling him why we broken up I responded “because you were dishonest what we were had to end”. I got a page long denial that there was anything with his wife, that she was just a friend, it was not a relationship and anyhow, she was overseas (she was not). He did say he was madly in love with me and kept thinking about me every day. It was hard not to respond to that, so I did. I acknowledged that it was very difficult for me and hopefully with the passage of time it would be easier. I have not heard from him until a package with the item he returned to me as promised. So I am hoping he has now moved on to another target.

It has been almost 5 months and I still have dark moments, when the wonderful memories of him override the realty of what he is. When this happens, I am journaling what I am feeling and missing about him. Then write down a list of why I could not and cannot have a relationship with him (e.g. all his lies). This really helps. I now have about 20% of dark times, not 80-90% dark times (I can only imagine what it would be like for those who were discarded by SP and not voluntarily ended the relationship like myself).

I even found myself smiling and laughing at things the other day. I haven’t had fun and laughter since our breakup. For the first couple of months I felt emotionally dead. But slowly I feel better.

I found that planning each day in detail (plans can change later) helps. Going to bed early, eating well, journaling and also doing a “vision board”

The 3 books/resources that I found extremely helpful (there are references to them on LF and the web):
1. How to spot dangerous men before you get involved” book.
2. The 5 step exit book (the chapter on self care and making a vision board was particularly helpful). And
3. A book called “Boundaries” (boundaries is something I struggled my whole life, not just in intimate relationships but also with family and friends.

Please be kind to yourself at the moment, don’t feel like you have to explain what’s going on to other people (unless they have been involved with a disordered person, they will not understand and at best, starting telling to get over it by dating again, at worst saying you were overreacting and it was good relationship).

And remember to take NC one day at a time.

As to how long it will take to feel better: My was a 4 year relationship (with no living together or children). Now it is almost 5 months and I am feeling a lot better. I’d say, it will take me a year to be close to my old self. However, we will never go back to our old selves as the SP experience is a life changer.

Good luck and sending you hugs, love and courage!

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