By | May 23, 2011

Getting over the relationship that didn’t exist

Lovefraud recently received the following e-mail from a reader:

How do I process a relationship that had so many lies in it that I don’t know really with whom I was involved?

I miss the person I thought I knew so much, but at the same time, he was involved with someone else, and others, since at least last June. I thought he had had one affair—but not anything to the extent that it looks like now.

How do I process a relationship I never had? Was he lying the whole time acting out the “I love you’s”, the romantic comments, and the idea that we should be together? Is it all an act?

Most of us are reading and posting on Lovefraud because we were intensely, callously, brutally deceived in a relationship with a sociopath. The betrayal was so deep, and so profound, that all we can say is that the person we thought we knew, the relationship we thought we had, didn’t exist.

Much has been written here on Lovefraud about the different aspects of recovery. But in response to this reader’s e-mail, I’ll review some of the key points.

Understanding sociopaths and “love”

Sociopaths do not feel empathy for other human beings. Therefore, they do not have the ability to love as we understand it. There is no emotional connection, no true caring for the target of their “affections.”

What is going on when sociopaths say, “I love you?” They are not all the same, so there is a range of explanations for what they mean.

At the clueless end of the range, sociopaths may view the target as attractive arm candy, or may like the attention they receive from the target, or may enjoy sex with the target. Sociopaths may label as “love” whatever it is they feel with the target. So, “I love you,” means, “I like how I look when you’re with me,” or, “I like the fact that you’re showering me with attention,” or, “I like having sex with you.”

At the sinister end of the range, sociopaths know they are cold-hearted predators and view their targets the way cats view mice. These sociopaths play with their targets for awhile, then, when they tire of the game, abandon them, leaving the targets battered and gasping. Or, some sociopaths will go in for the kill, usually figuratively, but sometimes literally.

The reader asked, “Is it all an act?” Often, the answer is yes.

Accepting reality

The sociopath may have painted a picture of an exquisite future of unending togetherness and bliss.  Or, the sociopath may have latched on to our own nurturing instincts, and convinced us that they can only survive with our caring and support. Then the mask slips, the story unravels, and we learn that everything we believed was a lie.

We must accept this reality. We must believe our own eyes and recognize the truth.

This may be really difficult. We thought we were working towards our dream. We made important life decisions based on what we were told. We may have spent a lot of money—maybe all of our money—at the behest of the sociopath.

We don’t want to believe that it was all a cruel mirage. We argue with ourselves—there must be some other explanation, some other reason. We may say, “I must have misunderstood; no one can be that heartless.”

Yes, sociopaths are that heartless.

The reasons they are heartless do not matter. Yes, in some cases they have had bad parents and a terrible childhood. But as an adult, they are not going to change. They are what they are, and the sooner we accept that, the sooner we can begin to recover.

Time and permission to recover

The psychological and emotional damage that we suffer because of our entanglements with sociopaths is often extensive. We may experience anxiety, depression, guilt, self-hatred, and perhaps even post traumatic stress disorder.

Some of us are so angry with ourselves for falling for the scam that we punish ourselves by blocking our own recovery. We say we will never trust again; never love again.

Please do not feel this way. If you never recover, giving up on trust and love, the sociopath will have truly won. Deny him or her that victory. Give yourself permission to recover.

Recovering from this damage is not an event; it’s a process. Readers often ask, “How long will it take?” The answer: It will take as long as it takes.

We may need to move forward in several directions at once, but it’s okay to move forward slowly. Some steps to take:

  • Protecting our physical safety, if the sociopath has made threats, and what remains of our financial assets.
  • Taking care of our physical health—eating right, getting enough exercise and sleep, avoiding alcohol and other substances.
  • Finding a way to release the pent-up anger and pain within us, without showing it to the sociopath, because that will backfire.
  • Rebuilding relationships with family members and friends that were damaged because of the sociopath.
  • Letting moments of joy, no matter how small, into our lives. Joy expands, so the more we can let in, the more it will grow and the better we will feel.

The Lovefraud Blog has many more articles that focus on how to recover from the sociopathic entanglement. You’ll find them in the following category:

Healing from a sociopath

Believe in yourself. You can do this. You can get past the experience. You may have lost your innocence, but in the end, you’ll gain invaluable wisdom.


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Dear Donna,

This has boggled my mind, how he could say he loved me and would never lie to me, to realizing that he can’t love me and has lied to me repeatedly. Recovery seems to be a feat that is not for the weak of heart. How do you recover from someone who breaks every rule you follow, every moral value you treasure?

When you finally get the courage to get out, they pull every trick in the book to get you to stay. You end up seeing what a wonderful relationship you could have had if it were real. It’s even more damning to see what you could have had. Why couldn’t he just go?

The final pie in the face is how they slander you to everyone and tell them you’re crazy. I am innocent, I did nothing wrong except to try and protect my children and to be a ‘good’ wife.

I don’t know who I married, I lost my voice and when I found it again, he hated it. I need to never lose my voice again and to not let him win. To actually live a life and not drift through it with my eyes half open.


Dear Donna,

Thank you for your reply. Your reasons were right on, number one especially. My daughter even said this to me a year ago. She was way more wise to human nature at 17 years old than I was at 44.

This all makes sense but I need to get myself moving toward a goal and stop treading water.

I’m so happy that you responded to me, you made my day Donna!!!! Lovefraud rocks!!!!!


These were my sentiments just months after my “world” fell apart and just days after I could identify my husband (at the time” as a Spath.

It DOES get better. I am frustrated as I have to “co-parent” with him.

This reader is in a MUCH better situation, and I have faith she will recover.

My latest complaint brings me back to this.

I have times like today, where although I knew there were others before me and during me, I fear that THIS one is the real deal. That his now 3rd WIFE (just married this weekend) will somehow meet a much better fate than I.

I am not jealous of her, I have found that just as Romans 5:3-4 states; “…but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.” I have greater strength, character and confidence than I did before I met my Spath. And I have Beautiful son.

BUT I get so frustrated that SHE just doesn’t see it, AND he is unemployed and living in the luxury of her $.

I can’t wait till he gets his due.



Don’t worry, SHE will see it soon. He cannot keep up the lie for long. I posted this yesterday to someone telling her that one of the ways I deal with getting over this is realizing that the next one will not mean anything to him…just like I didn’t mean anything or all the ones before me didn’t mean anything. We are/were all just something to occupy his time.


After everything my spath tries to do to hurt me, he wouldn’t come out and say, “we got married this weekend.” Jr. eventually told me.
They (spath, in his wife’s handwriting) just said they went away for the weekend.

There was a good article about the way the spath affects you… just read it a few days ago. And larn2becop had a GREAT post he posted on a social networking site…where was that?
All I need to add is how the Spath uses the children as tool.

Peace, for now.

Ox Drover

Dear FAD,

((((Hugs))))) Well, bless her heart! That’s what we say when someone has STEPPED INTO IT UP TO THE KNEES….and by marrying him she has done just that. She doesn’t know it yet, but we do.

Now that he has her “hooked” his fangs will start to show very soon, you know that. Boy did she get a catch! An unemployed psychopathic creep! LOL Who when he is working is a what, wanna be cop security guard!? Yea, great catch!


bad day today-I can’t stop crying. I am devastated and feel like I can’t handle the stress anymore. I went to counseling this morning and she took my history. I am so distraught that I can’t find a job. I am applying for everything and I can’t even get a phone call from an HR person. No attempts to contact me for interviews. I don’t know how much longer I can handle this. I am applying for govt assistance tomorrow-if I can figure out how the hell to do so. I am probably going to be living out of my truck soon-just like Oxy said. I feel like I have so many facebook friends but how many of them actually give a shit whether I live or die. I am trying to be strong about this but all the rejection further pulls down my non existent self esteem and I just wanna die. All I wanna do is drink until I pass out, but I don’t even have enough alcohol in the house to do that. Nobody wants me and I don’t know how to deal with that. My family won’t help because all my other siblings are having money problems and I’m the only one who didn’t produce grandchildren and I’m the only one who educated herself and didn’t get knocked up or knock someone up.

Ox Drover

Dear Nolarn,

Okay, the pity party is over! STOP!!!! NOW!!! STEP AWAY FROM THE PITY PARTY!

First off, can you apply for unemployment? In some places after a certain period of time even if you were fired you can apply for unemployment. Call the unemployment office tomorrow and find out. If so, apply for it.

Go down and find out about food stamps and/or welfare.

Go to your local food pantry and get whatever food basket they pass out.

Call your local board of nursing and speak with a counselor/advisor there about jobs.

Talk to your land lord or mortgage company TOMORROW.

Like I told you before they can’t throw you out the first day the rent is over due…if you are renting it will take a minimum of 90 days most places. If you are buying, it may take MONTHS….but CALL and find out.

Gather up whatever possessions you have that have cash value and get them advertised to sell. Use the money to put a shell on the back of your pick up just in case.

Quit staying in panic mode that no one loves you, no one is there to rescue you and RESCUE YOURSELF. You still have plenty of time to do this, but you can’t do it while you are running down the street screaming “no one loves me, I’m gonna go eat worms!”

Okay, your face book friends aren’t gonna rescue you, your parents aren’t gonna rescue you, the nut job lady next door isn’t gonna rescue you, but YOU CAN RESCUE YOU….AND IT IS YOUR RESPONSIBILITY TO DO SO. (((hugs))))


Oxy-I don’t care if you think the pity party should be over. I don’t care anymore. I am tired of having to deal with this and having no real person to talk to. I seems so easy to you but it’s not.

Ox Drover

Dear Nolarn,

Darling I do NOT THINK IT IS EASY—but not having a “real person to talk to”—-I’ve been there… I do know what that feels like.

I do also know that I got TIRED of having to deal with “this”—everything that went on.


You say you want to be a cop and help others—first you have to HELP YOURSELF. YOU CAN DO IT. Sure, it may be tough but when things get tough the tough get going, and I know you can do it, but you can’t do it feeling defeated. You have got to kick yourself in the ass and get going! Feeling defeated and sorry for yourself ain’t gonna help you darling!

YOu may not have anyone to sit down in real life, but what are the people here at LoveFraud that DO CARE? Chopped liver?

I do care about you or I wouldn’t be booting you in the arse, and there are others here who care too. But we can’t do it for you, you have got to do it for yourself but YOU CAN DO IT! (((HUGS))) AND YOU ARE IN MY PRAYERS.


You are in my prayers too Nola..WE CARE ABOUT YOU GIRL!! Tie a knot and hang on ok?

Does your state have an apartment complex run by the Salvation Army for displaced renters? Mine does-yours may too. Also see if your state has a Commission on the Status of Women. They will guide you. There is a category of cash assistance called general assistance. It is for emergencies. You don’t need to have dependents for that category.

I will pray, pray, pray tonight Nola!!

Free at Last

2bcop look me up on facebook “Suzan gm”



Free at last – you can edit your own post easily, by using the ‘click to edit’ feature under your post.

Free at Last

Oh very good…okay, thank you 8)


Nola sweetie – giving our history is going to shale you up for a few days. I am sorry, i didn’t even think to warn you! I find it to be the most harrowing aspect of therapy, and in fact, won’t work with anyone who needs to know my history in one chunk – it violates too many boundaries. Are they supposed to magically disappear because the person is a counselor?! Hell no!

I know where you are at. I really truly get it. I was there last year. And now i am not. I am still see the ‘edge’ – it’s not so far away, but i have a firmer footing, and am a bit less afraid. I am less afraid only because i have a job. I know that i would be in auto panic if i did not. The last time just ripped me apart, and it will take years for that one to heal – so know I KNOW.


I think I am free at last but I do feel awful. After being gray rock for over a month and tired of being in this relationship, I was very hurtful towards him. I have had enough. He has gone to the extreme of telling me that I was not allowed to go to a certain park on Saturdays at a certain time because that is the time he would be there with his daughter and baby momma would be upset if she saw me. I have been in a relationship with this man for the last 4 years and now he is concerned that baby momma may be upset?

So I told him I didnt want to live my life with any limits and that I much rather end it now since I wasnt going to be allowed to be part of his life. His response was: bad timing, just when I am getting my act together and I am getting a bonus this Friday and we could have gone to blah blah blah… but since you dont want to be with me, I guess I will have to make other plans. LIER>

Just another one of his lies, I have been waiting for a weekend getaway for the last 2yrs and for my engagement right for longer. Now, he says that the minute I get pregnant then he would give me the ring… yeah right! DONE>


Alina – the two best words in your post: LIAR and DONE.

everything in your post screams: LIAR. I don’t know if you can yet see how effed up this relationship was. Nothing healthy about the thinking behind this one. Please keep writing and reading, it can give you the strength you need to stay NC.

Ox Drover

Dear Alina,

TOWANDA!!!! GOOD FOR YOU!!!! You need this guy like you need another hole in your head!

I just loved he was so afradi his “baby mama” would be upset if she saw you… about YOU being upset he’s out screwing other women? No concern for that obviously!

This guy is a waste of oxygen and space on the earth! Sorry he has reproduced.

Stay No Contact! No matter what. DONE!!!! OVER!!!! (((hugs))) You are on your way to a much better life!



Let yourself off the hook for a minute, would ya? And let Oxy off the hook too. Although it feels like you are in this alone, you are not…and that is EXACTLY what this site is here for. This site is also here to help SNAP YOU OUT OF IT! There isnt one person who has come here who hasnt felt like you to some degree. Its what happens…and today, I can tell you this because I feel strong. Tomorrow, I may be in your shoes. Trust the process.

By allowing yourself off the hook for a minute, you become able to accept what has happened. I think part of what you may be going through IS, in fact, the pity party. HOWEVER…we all go through it! What Oxy was saying is true…and I know this because she’s said it to me too 🙂 At this point, YOU are responsible for YOU and what happens from here on out. Now, you have two choices, either sit in your shit or get out of it. You are not the first person to go through LOTS of things ALL AT THE SAME TIME.

That is NOT intended to minimize your situation…you are struggling and I dont blame you. It sounds as though you have alot to deal with.

DONT QUIT though…you CAN do this. What may be valuable to you though, is if you take ONE STEP AT A TIME. It sounds as if you are TOTALLY overwhelmed, and it seems like you ‘should’ be. Be in charge of your own self…make yourself successful…KNOW that things WILL get better…however, they will ONLY get better by YOUR efforts. NO ONE else will take care of this for you…

Know that this site will support you…use it often.

“I might be bleedin but Im still breathin”


I agree one/joy. Thank you.


Donna Thank you so much for this article. It does me good to re-read and refresh my mind as to what went down….
F A D – I relate with your ‘thoughts’ about your X really being in love this time with the last or newest victim, I think that bothered me more than anything at first, for a few years acctually, I assumed he was in heavenly bliss and I was just not good enuff for him. Well his ‘bliss’ didnt last long, or the next one from what I have heard, so better luck next time asshole…..his own mother warned me about him, she said ” you dont want to get involved with a guy like him, he is a booger!” Well some of us learn our lessons the hard way. You are a great person that got in his path, stay out of his way and let him roll…..
Nola – I am prayin for ya your best – go to the Dept. of Human Services, ask for a councelor and tell them you need help,….


I swear Donna’s timing could not be more right on.
I needed to hear her words.
I was struggling with this very thing. I just could not see a way out.
I was doing all the right things: the exercise, the eating right, no alcohol, prayer, getting out, taking classes. I was just going through the motions. I coudn’t feel it.
Then tonight as I volunteered at the homeless food line, I felt a small glimmer of joy. I could talk to other men and not miss HIM. I could interact with others and feel interest. Not a lot of either, but the beginnings of my old self returning.
In the recesses of my heart, I still long for the day when we can be together. But those feelings will stay in the recesses because I know he will not change and I cannot allow myself to be re-injured. He will use me up and cast me aside as he has done right along. He will leave me “battered and gasping”. No question. Donna is right.

Ox Drover

Dear Trimama,

Good for you!!!!! Count your blessings sweetie….you are the one volunteering at the homeless shelter, not standing in the line….and when we look at the blessings we have rather than at the FANTASY we don’t have we realize that “you know, there may not be a tooth fairy or a Santa Claus, but the world is still good”

You’ve come a long way already Trimama, so just keep on the same path, pointed in the healing direction! TOWANDA!!!!!


hens – i saw your response to my ‘cake wrecks’ post…it just said ‘1steppers’. care to elaborate now that i am here? 😉

Free at Last

I have read here…for a very long time. Recently through abuse, he and I are apart, the fog lifted this week. It’s hurts, and not everyone understands. I felt very was horrible. I finally began to share and that is where I found myself. I have my mind back..but it took 8 weeks, the fog lifted two days ago. I could have lost myself very easily. I cried enough to fill a bath tub. Reading a message board is helpful, but one on one is so very needed/important. Part of healing is having an empathetic ear..and I have wonderful friends. Truly if anyone wants a one on one.. just add me on facebook.


I had an appointment to see a therapist last week, but I wasnt able to make the appointment then I got to think and the whole reason for me going into therapy was to find out what I already know, that I should stay away from this parasite as many other have told me, I just didnt want to accept reality. There is nothing wrong with me and its no surprise that only when he is around me I feel insanely miserable DUH!

He came down on me this afternoon for using the word “Great” — I said I had a great day today, lunch was great…” so he said, no one uses the word great, what was so great about it that you are labeling that? Maybe I knew since I woke up that it was going to be Great day, because I didnt want him anymore…. Isn’t that GREAT?

Free at Last

I began to go to a counselor, and through that, found myself again, along with the support of friends. I also found many video’s on youtube, created by Sam Vaknin. The term Sociopath is also the same as Narcissistic personality Disorder or NPD. We might know we are okay, we know wrong from right, but the counselor or psychologist knows how to undo the damage. Healing is very important. Don’t think for a moment that you are alright after such emotional and/or physical abuse. Your ‘you’ is all you have..I would go the extra mile and get counseling.


1steprs 🙂 i jwas just telling about the cyber connection i had a with a famous movie producer/director..i think i have told that story about 2o times . so i deleted…..lmao….are you listening to Paul Yanka?


Alina I am so happy you had a GREAT day…keep on having them…


naw, but i did leave the hokey radio stn on in there all night.


peace out…so tired…


You are right Free, its just that I was going with the mentality of learning how to adjust myself to still be with him. I have been thru too much trauma and most likely suffer from PSTD. It has been 4 years and a lot of pain (feels like more). I will re-schedule and I will go for the right reasons, it will be about me this time.

The last time I was in therapy trying to deal with the pain physical and mental this A hole was causing me, I ended up in a 51/50 institution for stating that “I had enough, I was tired” — guess who was my emergency contact and came to my rescue… the A hole.

This time will be different, thank you Free.

Free at Last

Oh gosh… I thought it was me during my relationship, I thought how can I love sooo much, and he be so cold? surely there is something else going on. It took his outburst and his being out of the home to see it. Finding my way back has been very difficult, and guess what I do for a career? I am a p.i. and also a victims would have thought, I would ‘see’ it. Nope..and that is the power of this disorder on others.

Anytime…and it is you all, who helped me. I have been reading here a very very long time, and was silent (till now). So thank you!


Free at Last:

I felt the same way about how much I loved him. I thought how could he know I love him this much and him not care? I professed my love for him over and over and it never made a difference.


Thanks, Ox.
So often, it feels as if some of my most painful suffering comes right before a bit of a breakthrough.
At least that’s what it feels like tonight.
The enjoyment of others today while volunteering was such a welcome feeling! I haven’t had those feelings in so long…it was not just the loss of him. Even before we were over, there were all the lies and the cheating and the self-doubt and the worry over where he was and who he was with…all of that sapped my enjoyment of life.
The longing for him occurred far before the loss of him because he has been “gone” for a long time… actually, he was never really here. It was all an illusion. He would offer little gestures of togetherness that served to enslave me but free him to go off and do what he wanted. While I kept the homefires burning…alone and lonely and worried and doubting.
And I began to count my blessings. But first I had to see them. The fog had been so thick, I could not see much good. But as I ticked them off driving home from volunteering, I realized how many ways I had been blessed, and even spared from harm.

Free at Last

Well said Tri! “Ditto”


Hello all….I have a question. Was anyone here treated worse than the OW or the ex. I have been wondering about this for a while and decided to ask. An ex friend of my spath said that he never disrespected and called his ex out of her name as he did to me. He kept on saying he couldnt understand what had gotten into him because he never treated the ex the way he treated me although he did hit her ore than once. I dont think the friend witnessed her abuse the way he witnessed mine thus making him break their friendship. It just makes me feel a bit uneasy that spath humiliated me and abused me in front of someone and not her. ANSWERS?

Free at Last

I think it changes within them through age, where they slip up, and also at what point their mask is ripped off, and who see’s it. Personally, mine put his hands on me at least once a year, and usually under the influence of alcohol. This last time…my grown grandson ‘saw’ it. He then proceeded to ‘lie’ on the child…citing an conspiracy. The prosecutor saw through it, and even though I dropped the charges, the prosecutor picked them up. All it takes is one witness…and they bolt. changed our relationship, now..he cannot get out of it. No more need for me in his life.. as I hold the key to his real self and it’s pending exposure.


I agree with having a witness and still til this day I am grateful. In case he wants to get dirty, someone can vouch for me and I am sure he would have no problem doing it.

Free at Last

Yes, I am new at this too..and being ‘aware’ of how it can go wrong. I have to be more diligent in getting through it and out with a healthy mind. Remembering they have a extra dose of paranoia and the ability to fool’s a unusual situation for those of us that are new to this disorder.


Free I am in the same boat. My spath has nothing to do with me either and he knows first hand I will tell and expose him to anyone who asks. I am very sure I will always be the ex he never speaks about. He better dread any newbies finding my contacts. 🙂 Even if they dont believe I have proof from emails and a witness. You have to play their games too.


I am not very new to this disoder technically. Reading here has opened my eyes. I actually encountered numerous spaths through out my life. Now that I know the spath signs I can identify people who have entered my life as such.

Free at Last

I am not new to it.. I worked on the Casey Anthony case and she is a Narcissist! I saw all the signs in my mate, but… I was up too close, until he left and I found Sam Vaknin’s video’s, I just didn’t see the whole picture.

I am amazed at myself.. Eye’s wide shut!


I think he has treated me worse than his ex, in my opinion. But I think the pain and humiliation that we both went thru has been the same. I dont know why, I think its because she had more money, was older, not very attractive and allowed him to do so much. He once told me that she had agreed to let him sleep with different women every night as long as he spent the weekend at home with his daughter. I on the other hand didnt stay quiet, questioned his every move and would not tolerate infidelity (knowingly) That got me a couple of beatings. The way I see it we both lost the minute we got involved with the spath.

He did a great job turning us against each other while taking our money… what a piece of crap.


Hi, FarWronged,
Okay being treated worse that the OW?
I can’t really tell. All I know is that he talks poorly of each of us to the other. But that is how he behaves in general. That is just how it is in the hood…people tend to talk sh-t on each other.
He told this new, very young girl some very personal things about me that she in turn repeated to me. To me, that is very mean but what it served to do for him was to gain her trust, make her feel as if she had something over me. What she did not realize is that he has also said things to me about her. Only I did not gain any pleasure from it. It just makes me sad. I do not feel “trusted” with important information, as he intends me to do.
He would never talk meanly to my face nor call me names. But he did try to strangle me twice. And there were other instances of abuse when he was enraged…when I caught him in a lie involving another woman…when I challenged his desperate need to be believed.
So I guess the word ‘worse’ is relative. Did this help you?


Yeah a little. I know they play women against each other to make us jealous thus we try harder to keep them for ourselves. I am not at all the type to fight and argue over a man…nor am I usually staring other women down jealous etc. I just want to know what it was about the ex that had him idealize her so much. He was still contacting her and buying gifts while we were together and he beat her up pretty bad right before their break up. She is not older or more wealthy at all. So its not about the money. At times he would say she did whatever he asked then he would say she questioned him as I did about every little thing. Who knows. :/

Free at Last

It’s about the attention, not about the gal or you at all. and the attention can be bad or good…doesn’t matter.


I honestly believe he was desperately trying his very best to bring me down and lower my self esteem.

Free at Last

Yes, he was! It is the way to keep control of you. He made you worry…wonder, it’s all about ‘him’ and how he can capture other’s attention on him.

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