By | April 15, 2010 373 Comments

How To Avoid Exploitative Partners

While there are no sure-proof ways to avoid exploitive partners (short of entering the monastery), we can reduce our risk of getting too deeply involved with them. Why do I say too deeply? Because if getting involved with an exploiter at all isn’t bad enough, getting in too deeply is the disaster we hope to avoid.

One of the best (and most under-utilized) strategies to protect yourself is to properly“vet” your prospective (or new) partner. What I have to say ahead is especially applicable if you’ve been burned by a sociopath previously, and even moreso if you suspect in yourself a tendency to enter relationships with bad-news characters.

What do I mean by “vetting” your partner? I mean, of course, getting to know him as thoroughly as possible before deepening your investment in him. But here’s the rub: it’s the getting to know him through others.

By others I mean his friends, family, relatives and, indeed, anyone in his social orbit from whom you stand a chance to learn, or confirm, something meaningful about him.

And so while we can agree that no strategy alone guarantees protection against exploitation, I’d propose that vetting your partner intelligently increases your protection, and is much wiser than depending exlusively on him (especially if he’s exploitive) to furnish a candid history of himself.

In other words, your partner’s history of himself will be much less informative than, and  dangerously incomplete without, others’ complementary history of him.

How exactly do you vet a prospective partner? It’s true you could take any number of  draconian measures—like hiring a team of private investigators—to assist you in the process and, indeed, there may be circumstances where you feel this is necessary.

However, I’m going to restrict myself in this discussion to vetting strategies that might be described as “natural—”meaning, you have access to them in the natural course of your evolving relationship.

And it begins with several absolutes: for instance, you absolutely must meet his family. You must meet his friends. And if he has kids, you must meet them, too.

Really, your aim to meet anyone and everyone in his life from whom it’s feasible to derive, piece by piece, a more complete, validating (or invalidating) profile of him.

If he has no family with whom he’s in contact, and no friends, or, if he has them but discourages you from meeting them, or, worse, is unwilling to let you meet them, well then”¦Houston, we have a problem.

If his parents are in fact deceased (and he hasn’t killed them), there’s nothing doing there. But what about his siblings? And other relatives? And, I repeat, his kids (whether younger or older)? And vitally, his friends!?

My point is that it’s on you to ensure that you neither confine yourself, nor let him confine you, into discovering him within an informational vacuum. I can’t stress this point enough: you absolutely must not allow yourself to be confined, in your discovery of who he is, within an informational vacuum.

Translation, and again at the risk of repeating myself: sooner than later, you’ll want to meet as many people as possible in his life, past and present, who, collectively, can shed light on who your partner is.

Then, if he stonewalls you; if in anyway he restricts or censors your access to feeback through the human beings who’ve comprised, and comprise, his social network, well then”¦I repeat, Houston, we’ve got a very serious problem.

And so, for instance if, in your efforts to move the vetting process forward at a natural, efficient pace, he strings you along and is saying, week after week, I’ll introduce you to my family, just not quite yet, baby”¦I’ll know when the time’s right, trust me”¦.this portends disaster.

Similarly, if he says, ostensibly to protect you, “Trust me, baby, you don’t want to meet my family. They’re a bunch of lunatics,” trust me: you’ll want to meet them. He may be right—they may be lunatics, but you’ll want to meet them to assess the risk that he’s one, too.

Because when his brother Billy Bob, who’s had a few too many pops, tells you on an unscheduled tour of the family property, “Phil tell you how me and him used to set them cats on fire and watch ’em burn to a crisp? Damn, them was the good old days,” this feedback just might not square with Phil’s having told you what an animal lover he was as a kid?

In other words, even dysfunctional, unhinged family and friends can cough up really IMPORTANT information.

Like this, from his mentally challenged, but not necessarily delusional, sister, Crystal: “Good luck with Harold. You seem nice, honey. Maybe now he’s got a girlfriend, he’ll keep his hands off me.”

Okaaay, Crystal”¦thanks for the blessing.

And please, if he has no longterm friendships, do yourself a favor: Don’t rationalize this. Ask yourself, say, hmmm”¦why?

Why does this 40-year-old man have no longterm friendships? What could explain the fact that he has no contact with anyone from his past? (Incidentally, “They’re dead to me,” isn’t a reassuring explanation, especially when a lot of people, it seems, are dead to him.)

It’s probably unncessary to get mired down in defining precisely how far back you’ll want to mine his past? Maybe it’s unnecessary to go all the way back to elementary school? Or even junior high? But what about high school? College? Old colleagues? Cousins? Hell, even old prison buddies (sorry, I know that’s not funny).

Speaking of prison, here’s a concept I ask you to entertain: if you should happen to establish, through your due diligence, that your Romeo has a prison record, how can I say this diplomatically?  Remember the books See Dick RUN! See Jane RUN!

Well this circumstance—a prison history—dictates that, just like Dick and Jane, you run!  Because it’s amazing what a good, smart, well-timed flight can protect you from!!

Back to the longterm friendship matter: If, in the course of the vetting process, you discover that, alas, your new partner has, indeed, maintained friendships since childhood, or made and maintained solid friendships as an adult, this is a good, positive sign. Is it certification of his integrity and authenticity? Of course not. But it belongs in the plus column of your assessment. It’s the kind of discovery, among others, you’re glad to make.

Let’s say your new partner’s alleged best friend and, for that matter, all his important “peeps,” allegedly live scattered across the country, thereby, he laments, complicating your opportunities to meet them face to face. What now?

Well, where geography deters you from breaking bread with them in person, technology to the rescue! Use skype! Talk to them, see them, interact with them on the computer! At the very least, talk to them on the phone!

There are plenty of feasible ways, in other words, in this technology-enabling world, to connect with those in his life whose geographical situations make for impractical face to face meetings. And so, if he keeps you at arms’ length from them, he’s telling you something very ominous that you need to heed carefully and proactively.

Let me stress: you aren’t just evaluating the dish you get on him from those who’ve known, and know, him (ostensibly) best; you are also evaluating the dishers! You are evaluating the evaluators!

Who are those who comprise his social network? What are their values? What’s their integrity level, as best your instincts tell you? Do they strike you as—even if not admirable in their own right—credible character references?

The answers to these questions matter a lot. It may be nice that Don, his best buddy since third grade, swears on his own family’s life that your boyfriend’s character and integrity are beyond reproach. But if Don’s done time for armed robbery, the credibility of his glowing reference suffers.

You are also evaluating how your new partner relates within his social circle. Does he maintain his “integrity” around them? Does he treat you with a consistent level of attentiveness and respect regardless of the audience? Conversely, does he become a different person around different people, revealing unexpected, disarming sides of himself?

Again, please remember: The vetting process I’m suggesting needn’t be, or seem, formal or contrived; rather, it should be entirely unforced, entirely natural. And your new partner should enable this process by welcoming you into the lives of those with whom he’s shared, and shares, his life!

If he doesn’t make this process natural and seamless—if he filibusters or stonewalls you—this is, I repeat, a serious problem.

What are you looking for in all of this? You are looking to confirm that, by and large, others’ history and experience of him line up with yours! Because if they don’t align, that’s a fatal sign. (Yes, I’m channeling my inner Johnny Cochrane!) If they don’t align, that’s a fatal sign.

So what do you with reasonably unfettered access to these valuable, potential Judas figures in his life? At the risk of overkill, you listen to them, listen to their stories of him. As we’ve established, they will tell you stories. And if they don’t tell you stories, you can ask for stories. And when he says, glowering at his buddy, “Let’s not go there, Al,” you know that’s a place you want to go.

And when he says, even more sinisterly, “I’m not f’ing kidding, Al. Let’s not go there,” you know that’s exactly one of the many places you may need to go.

Sometime the stories aren’t verbalized, they’re just implicit; and sometimes the stories come in the form of questions, like, why doesn’t Tom have relationships with any of his kids?

Listen for the excuses and heed their meanings. Their mother poisoned them against me. Even worse, their mothers poisoned them against me.

In other words, if he’s been married more than once, and hates all his ex’s, and all his ex’s hate him, and all his kids hate him, then 2+2 doesn’t equal he, poor guy, has been repeatedly victimized.

Beware of the partner who’s a lousy parent. While it’s not a guarantee he’ll be a lousy partner, it’s a warning that the same self-centeredness that corrupted his relationships with his kids will surface in his relationship with you.

More generally, beware of the partner who has a history of discarding others in his life. You want to assess this history very carefully, because this is a history that will repeat itself, you can be quite sure of that.

You may be the passion flavor of the month, or year, even five years, but when the edge of his passion fades, watch out. He will cast you off as he’s cast off the sundry others in his life, perhaps even his kids from an earlier first marriage.

Do not be fooled for one second into believing that you are who he’s been looking for all his life. He may delude himself, again and again, with this fantasy, but it’s your obligation to yourself not to collude in this delusion.

(I thank Lovefraud poster Silvermoon, who, while she may or may not subcribe to my ideas, sparked my thinking for this article with her extremely stimulating feedback. As always, my use of male gender pronouns in this article was for convenience’s sake, and not to suggest that females are exempted from the attitudes and behaviors discussed. This article is copyrighted © 2010 by Steve Becker, LCSW.)

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Ox Drover

Great article, Steve!!!!

Some great advice! Getting to meet and talk to past GFs or ex-wives is also a great idea if it can be pulled off. Finding out that your new honey was a serial cheater on his ex wife and she finally caught him DOING it and tossed him out is a good indication that he will most likely cheat on you as well. I would also add in drug or excess alcohol use of any kind as a “See Jane RUN” situation! LOL

Again, Steve, very good advice as always!

Elizabeth Conley

This kind of advice doesn’t just work with romantic partners. It absolutely applies to other types of associates.

I’m blessed with a wonderful marital partner of 26+ years, but I’ve failed to identify really bad apples in professional and church settings. Each of these bad apples would have set off all the classic alarm bells if examined in the fashion Steve describes in this article.


SUPER article!!!!!! I wish I’d had this information before I married my ex! EXCELLENT!


When I was dating my husband, I met friends, relatives, and even his employer, no-one said anything negative about him. He seemed to have a good reputation. It was after we separated, that I talked to his oldest sister, finding out that he had a history of not being truthful, exaggerating things. While he was still married to his first wife, he fraudulently signed his wife’s name to a car loan, purchasing a truck for himself. I have never met the ex-wife, as they didn’t have any kids together. I told this sister-in-law that I wish that I had been warned about him because I wouldn’t have married him. She told me that she thought he would change. Anyways, we do have a tendency to give each other the benefit of the doubt, not fully seeing the “big picture” – a person’s character reveals itself in time.



All relationships are a gamble of sort, but there is nothing like the good manners appropach to “hedging the bet”!

To this I add that the Bureau of Prisons has a free website which allows you to look people up by name. If they have been in Federal Prison, you can find out.

Ultimately, it is possible for these guys to hide the truth and without any other information, these guides will REALLY make a difference.

I don’t think the PI is a bad idea before getting serious ie moving in or matrimony. In fact, I would say that if you are going to hire one, be prepared to spend some real money and get information that makes a difference.

The ones I went to initially brought back NOTHING to indicate the prison, previous restraining orders, fraud or other histories that now present themselves in this case.

However, there are good resources out there and the type of report that makes a difference will cost $1,000 to $2,000. The problem is, that for most of us amatuers, we don’t have the knowledge or search skills that are needed and there are skills needed as well as access to databases.

It isn’t something you can do on your own computer from the comfort of home and it takes TIME.

So, I will once again applaud your insights which have been of such tremendous value as to me and to others because IF I had insisted on meeting more of the friends, I would probrably have found every reason you list to RUN not walk. Now, I enjoy the luxury of meeting concurrent wives and finding out things that pop the romantic bubble with a very sharp needle.

When in doubt, good social manners and the need for introductions all around have infinite value.

All the best,


“You may be the passion flavor of the month, or year, even five years, but when the edge of his passion fades,… .”

Even 22 yrs, when you don’t play his game anymore.
His cousin said she didn’t like him as kid but loved his father, (or loved the act his father put on for others) just like he does. I met a guy while out one night who went to school with him when I said who I was dating he had NO comment. NONE. He has no long term friends. NONE.

“He will cast you off as he’s cast off the sundry others in his life,…. .” His “best” friend from age 5 to 19, seems he always tryed to take his girlfriends, when he got me he dumped him. I have watched him over the years dispose of his “friends” as if they were used toilet paper.

So much more to my story but for now I stop here.

Ox Drover

The PI I hired to do a search for criminal records on the Trojan Horse Psychopath took one day and e mailed me a 15 page report of every CONVICTION (arrests are apparently not public record or accessible except to law enforcement) It cost me only $225 for this report. It also included the address and phone number of every place he had lived for 20+ years, the OWNER of the structure, the value of the structure, and all the neighbors and their phone numbers.

I also had him do one on my DIL and I got all the same information except she had no criminal CONVICTIONS, but I did get enough information From the addresses I could have done a bit of leg work and probably found out some interesting things.

Credit reports are no longer available without signed permimssion due to the “privacy” laws now, but if you know where they have lived, you can check that county for BANKRUPTCY filings. That is public information.

On FEDERAL criminal convictions you can get their sentencing report, what the crime was, how long they were sentenced for etc. The feds don’t call it “parole” any more but supervised release (same thing, just another title) and yhou can contact their parole officer directly by calling the agency if they are still on parole.

Ditto with someone on state parole, you can call and talk to their parole officer.

If someone says their previous spouse died, you can check death records on line at the SS Death index.

By knowing where someone lived and the address and the dates that they lived there, and the neighbors, and so on, you can see how “stable” their history is and probably if you go talk to some of the neighbors you might find out where they had worked and then contact that agency or company.

Personally, unless I married someone I had known for 10-20 years I would want to know a lot of stuff about their back ground including if possible talk to ex-es. They might actually have a P-x but I think it would be wise to know, especially if they had children with them that would become your step children.

I don’t think it ever hurts to know all you can about someone you are sleeping with or intend to marry.


Is there any way to access State records for convictions and/or dispositions of cases? I tried the PA DOC website, and one has to actually PAY to find out about a current or ex-convict.


It is important to do your due diligence and at the same time DO NOT AVOID RED FLAGS.

Family is supremely important. Even if the family was “bad” and a prospective partner “extricated” him/herself from a bad situation, childhood problems often (almost always) have a lasting effect into adulthood, unless the victim of a bad childhood makes an effort to address those issue through therapy and/or other means of self-help.

My x-sociopath can from a broken hone, He hated is father until the man’s death and did not attend his funeral. To the later, he was almost boastful. Right then and there I should have backed off but did not.

In addition, he was not close with his only sibling and none of his extended family. When visiting his sister over the Christmas holidays, in his email about the trip he spent more time talking about train problems getting there than the actual visit, which did not even occur on Christmas day. For that, he was 3000 miles away, on 3-day holiday.

Friends? My x-sociopath described his best friend as being a “c*unt.” I wonder how this person would have described Jamie?

Substance use/abuse is a red flag, even legal substances. I remember reading somewhere that 40% of adults who *both* drink and smoke have a diagnosable mental illness (mostly depression, but others as well) and of those with a diagnosed mental illness, something like 75% of them drink *or* smoke.

My x-sociopath both drank and smoked. When I questioned him about this, he said he had quite smoking but recently started up again. Adults don’t start smoking again without reason.

Moreover, when pressed about these issues, Jamie bristled. At times in my life I admit to self-destructive behavior, but I always felt guilty about it and stopped the behavior.

Since sociopaths cannot feel guilt, they are less prone to stopping self-destructive behavior. In addition to his smoking, in several emails Jamie mentioned his hangovers from the night before with an almost boastful tone, with no hint of remorse or consideration for what he was doing to himself.

Beware of anyone with a profession requiring extensive travel, unless the situation is temporary. “Flight Attendant” can be a very symbolic profession.

Individuals from other nationalities can be hard to read. Jamie was English, from which came a good deal of this charm. However, when I described Jamie to an Englishman from another part of the county, to this person Jamie was decidedly “low class, probably a former hooligan. I can’t believe you fell for that, mate…”

Finally, steer clear of the long-distance relationship. Is any explanation needed here?


Family is supremely important, my h’s mom is schizophrinic and his dad played along with it, physciatrist gave that a name too and said he hadn’t seen it in 20 years. I thought his parents where just old, instead of odd, when I first met him.

He is an only child and he and his parents only talk about superficial things. Never peronal things.

kim frederick

Steve, Your article above, speaks most directly to me in regard to a female friend I had for only about three months. We got very close in that short time, and she told me she was the youngest of 10 children, that she had 5 children of her own, and her x hub still thought she walked on water. I never saw one photograph in her house of any of these people. I never heard tell of a phone call, or a letter. I don’t even know if any of these peeps were real, or if she was just estranged from them.

She always had a story to tell about her accomplishments, how adored she was, and yet nothing had the ring of truth about it….it just didn’t add up.

Then I saw her file a false police report against someone she had a vandetta toward, and saw her totally disregard emotional pain in others, (deriding them for their self-pity, and holding herself as superior to them) and my gut started telling me something was wrong.

Talk about the mask. This is a true story: We were drinking a beer in a bar, and someone approached her. She was smiling and joking and having a wonderful time until this person, (a friend of hers) told her his MIL was in hospital, not expected to live. She immediatly laid her face into her folded arms on the bar and stayed that way just a little too long, as if trying to figure out what face to put on. A little bit later, after her friend had moved on, she pointed across the bar, at the dying womans daughter and said, “Look at J’s face.”

Just didn’t feel right.
One day, she was sitting in the car, waiting for me to lock the front door so we could go shopping, and this srange feeling hit me all over…anxiety/fear/shame not sure how to name it, but I remember asking myself, “where is this coming from?”
And I remember feeling like I was being SIZED-UP.

I made like Snaggelpuss (remember him?) exit stage left. Haven’t seen her since.


Very insightful and informative…..a reminder we all need.

I have learned through this experience to ‘investigate’ everyone….chances are, if your in my life…..I’ve done my own ‘search’ on you.

So much of the things you mention can also be done online…..prior to you walkng the natural path to discovery.

If we learn how to cross reference people on the web…..we really need to start with VERY LITTLE info on them.
First, last name.
an approximate age.

With that info, I could tell you where you have lived (cities), your age, your parents or childrens names…..
and go from there……
From there I can cross reference and see that you helped your daughter purchase her home in XX town in 1999 and her and her husband divorced in 2003.
If the person being searched has a facebook or a Myspace, linkedin or other accounts….depending on what they have VOLUNTARILY offered the world… doesn’t stop there….
I can check your friends on facebook and see that your daughter has remarried a guy named Bruce and has a newborne and lived next door to you now….I can even see you and your new g. baby picking out a christmas tree last year in the woods…..BECAUSE SOMEONE, and not necessarily YOU posted online photos….you know….flicker/travel buds etc….along with headers that say…..Dad and baby Jasmine. Or Jasmines first Christmas tree……
People are so organized, and wanting to share so much with the world….it’s just CRAZY!
I can tell you you own a home with WHAT….your ex wife…..
But, oh wait…..county records don’t show ANY divorce from your EX wife JILL…..

Last night I had a friend call me….her daughter received a subpeona….they were freaked out.
They didnt’ know what it was for…..and they were paralyzed with fear.

So….we went to the net.
I told her what it was all about, (By court records)
I told her about the charges the young man being prosecuted were. (By court records).
I googled his name….for kicks…..and holy cow……I told her ABOUT HER DAUGHTER… OTHER PEOPLES MY SPACE comments…pictures etc….
Then she asked me to google her daughter….and do a search I would do on a date…..
I told her her daughter was 5’1, blue eyes, brown short hair,an athlete, likes mint tea, Vanilla icecream. Was a diabetic with thyroid problems, Babysits 4 young girls under 5 on the weekends in XX city, attends XX college….went to San Fran with her parents in 10-05. On that trip watched a naval band with singers they enjoyed. Has 2 cats, sleeps in late, works at XX. Her boyfriend was XX. Her roommate was XX and XX.
Her grandmother rosie was dying of lymphoma, he uncle lives in AZ….I can see pictures of her prom, and 28 other albums dating back to 2004….showing EVERYTHING….family, friends yada….all named and photographed….She went to a baseballgame yesterday at yada staduim with XX. I told her her work schedule for next week. I appologized for her friend Charise passing away and said it was nice of D to sign the online memory book…and told her what her daughter had written from the family.
I told her her email address, her husbands email address AND her daughters email/telephone AND new address…..
SHE SAID STOP!!!! She was sickened…….and shocked I could find so much and basically ‘tell’ her about her daughter……from simple online searches….
a few sights, lead you to another site, to another and BOOM… can cross reference this person…..
This is all available for ANYONE to view……
I do not sign ANY condolonce greetings online…..I put NOTHING ‘outthere’ about MYSELF……
If you wnat a relationship with me… gotta make an effort!!!!

I had a date scheduled with a guy, he called me to confirm, from his landline…..I didn’t even know his last name……
From a landline you can start a search on a person……reverse lookup….then you get a name….then go to….and start clicking around….for the motherload.
A lot of the sites give you minimal info, but enough to dig deeper……REMEMBER, it’s about cross referencing…..

I found out this ‘date’ was married….to a woman named ERIN…..where he lived with wifey poo, his last name, work address, exactly what he did for a living……no kids, newspaper articles on his hobbies, his family etc….

I met this guy for a ”drink’…..and just messed with him…..I told him all about my Best friend ERIN from xx town, and I used to live in xx area on xx street….great neighborhood. He said, yeah…I live in that neighborhood….I said oh, do you know the jones….(wifes friends in the neighborhood)…..Oh, ya wanna see a guy bolt……FAST!!!!!

We don’t always need to hire a PI……they do have access to DMV records and other law enforecemnt info the public doesn’t have access to ….

I have found….by doing my own search….It shows inconsistencies in peeps stories….then I’m out.
I don’t bother to go further…..
But if someone is ‘clean’…..what they have said is either confirmed or you just can’t dig anything up……

It’s about diligence and doing the groundwork FOR YOURSELF!!!

But NO sign up fee or registration or 49.00 a month type deal…..
There are plenty of paid sights, but I have found way more than I need by cross referencing info FREE.


any ideas of how to get insight onto court and PTO records in Riverside county?


Go on Pacer shows bankruptcies, criminal, civil, restraining orders, traffic, small claims etc….in MOST states.
You must sign up with a CC…..but it’s a govmt. page with Tons of criminal records….this site is not really super organized and it takes a bit of time to figure out….but it’s also not rocket science…
Cost is 8cents a page, so it won’t break you either. SOme countys do not have their records online and use pacer for this service.
Check the county first…use pacer as a backup.

Go to riverside county court. online
And also check the riverside county recorders office online info…..

Both should have a search via name.



Always informative, and always enjoy the well placed and much needed humor in some of your articles!

This is what I will pass on to my daughters:

“that it’s on you to ensure that you neither confine yourself, nor let him confine you, into discovering him within an informational vacuum. I can’t stress this point enough: you absolutely must not allow yourself to be confined, in your discovery of who he is, within an informational vacuum”

When you dont rely on just his words, but his actions and the words/actions of his nearest and dearest (if not all dead right!) … you are killing two birds with one stone…protecting yourself AND making sure that you are getting to know the real person you’re considering becoming involved with !

Thanks Steve!


eb, is a site for children with disabilities?


OH…that’s not it….

TRY this link…sorry!



Great article as always, but what happens when his family and friends collaborate or protect them?

Is it fair to suspect when he dosent have a good relationship with any siblings? His parents seem to “protect” him and discard the obvious. His friends in the circle of people we both know do the same whenever I asked.

He was a teenage father who abandoned his daughters and ex childhood bride very early… both adults, he has no healthy relationship with either one, or the grandkids. Only superficial ones. I didn’t believe the older daughter when she tried to warn me that her daddy’o should not be taken seriously, only for fun and GAMES.

Now in his mid 50’s he’s never had a long meaningfull relationship with any partner, mine being the longest one at 3 1/2 years.

I had a neck hair raising reaction when he told me about some of the childhood “pranks” he did….and then whent on to say that there were some he couldn’t admitt to because the might “scare me off”! that was a definite red flag I noted.


For those of you who know my story, Id like to share yet one more incident that’s occurred…

5 months NC on April 11, 2010 for the ex and I…what happens as Im hiking with my new ‘friend’ and his dog?

I get 2 texts from the ex! Yup…the first one says “I wish…” which Im assuming he was trying to provoke me and get me thinking and the second one which was sent 20 minutes later after NO response by me said “Sorry, been thinking about you alot lately.”

It didnt send me spinning, although I DID want to respond. Remember how I saw on his facebook page, the second week in March, his ‘new’ photo of he and his new “friend” and I thought at that time she was either the new girlfriend OR it was a picture he put up intentionally to get a reaction from me? Well, I now BELIEVE it was an attempt at provoking me…why do I think this? Well, I looked again at his page three weeks later and he had his original picture back up…just of him. I thought ‘hmmmmmmm, that relationship didnt last too long’…and it wasnt a week later he texted me.

I AM curious about what he ‘wishes’ for although he’s used that line with me before. I AM curious about who the girl was, although he will NEVER give a truthful answer so I will live with not knowing who she was.

I feel like I know so much more now than a couple months ago…but still I struggle with believing myself regardign all I do know…

So, lovefraud friends, the picture WAS to get a reaction from me and when there wasnt one, he upped the anty to something closer to me? Texts? Again, wanting a response? What do you think…Mind games?

Thank you everyone



More food for the soul and spirit – as always – satisfying yet leaving us looking forward to more – just like a great meal.

I WISH , with much regret, that I had looked at his prior marriage much closer. I saw his behaviors as a friend and thought clearly – this guy is definitely ADHD.

He did not speak well of his ex-wife – crazy as she was – and his family supported his every word – even down to the children and his interactions with them.

I only saw what he ALLOWED me to see – that he treated her fairly and even somewhat kindly for the most part.

I didn’t SEE or interpret some of the triangulation, pitting one against the other, that she was ALL BAD – and surely her behavior proved to me she was a little OFF if not a LOT.

HOWEVER, now I am the CRAZY one and when he pushes my buttons and I react – well surely anyone could testify to my lunacy.

What has become clear is that he TAUNTS and DEMANDS when no one else is around to witness anything but my reaction – and it escalates for days in a row to get me over the edge. I suspect he did the SAME EXACT routine behind the scenes with his first wife and she was much too young, too immature and scared with 2 little babies to endure it.

And I feel I owe her an apology and validation for what she went through. She must be chuckling now to know what he has done to me after all these years. Although I was not involved with him during his marriage , she probably believed so and he likely even fostered that belief to torture her further.

As far as friends – they only said he needed medication too slow down and regroup – ADHD – but he was and mostly still is known to be a “WONDERFUL GUY” – generous, funny, witty – etc.

His family is still in denial and has basically abandoned me and the kids – at least they do not make any attempt at communication.

As I look back , I see more than ever and can put pieces together that I never did before.



robxsykobabe – guess he feels he didn’t use you enough.

just bs to pull you in. delete delete delete…


Robxsykobabe –

I think she got out or he was bored with her.

You will not like this, but I dont think he posted pictures to get your attention. I think he is just going thru his routine, ways, if she had lasted her picture would still be up there. If he wanted you, your attentionTHEN he would have TEXTED you then. Like he did now.

I think he is bored now. He has very little supply. And he knows you had it bad for him and he is testing your boundaries again…pulling on your self-doubt, self-curiosity, questioning and re-questioning him.

I think you are out – but you arent convinced about what he is. Please STAY AWAY – please dont play the mind games and check the FB, and respond to the texts. HE WONT CHANGE. He is playing others like he is playing with you – the first fool to bite — is his fair game.


A REAL MAN, A GOOD GUY. Would try to reconcile in much healthier mature ways other than posting pictures or sending cryptic “feeler” texts to see how you respond.

Listen to One-step. Dont get pulled back in. Its an ugly dark journey all over again. Keep moving forward. One and done. He isnt the one for you. He has proved that.

Now tell us about your new friend 🙂


Yup, JUST as I had thought also! I do think Im ‘easy’ prey for him right now, and that she did run away from him…hence the texts to me…the one he was able to manipulate so well for so long.

Yeah, his ‘supply’ is running low and he probably is bored. I believe all of this and thank you for putting it out there for me to check my own thoughts against. Yeah, I have had to ask myself ALOT if I was just being ‘self centered’ in thinking the picture was posted to get a rise out of me OR if they REALLY were together…I think I see it clearly now…

It was not/is not about me and how much he misses me, or loved me for that matter, its about what he’s missing out on right now (fun with someone, a place to go, someone to do things with, etc) and I just happen to be the one he’s choosing to bother…

My new friend? Ahhhhhh, a breath of fresh air!



And re: the picture, its not so much about being self-centered as it is about being able to not care!! Even if he was trying to get a rise out of you – its irrelevant — its what he did to you when you were with him, when he had you — thats relevant and why he doesnt get to be with you anymore! You and I might put up a picture or post a status that we hope they might read and get jealous… so maybe we think THATS what they might do… but really he was just going about his ways, doing flybynight sh** — and not caring about you or what his actions do to anyone.

He is running through his list of contacts and seeing who he can recycle, or who still might be in the dark about who he is and how he operates, who might still be naiive and pining away for crumbs from him again!

NOT YOU – youre breathing fresh clean air now! GO GIRL!!!

Ox Drover

Dear R-babe!!!!

BOINK!!!! Darling—QUIT WONDERING, QUIT LOOKING! STAY NC!!!! What’s the point? He is NOT important. QUIT CARING what the arse is up to. What difference does it make if that photo on FB was a girlfriend, a hooker, his sister, or a photo he cut out of a magazine?

As long as you are RENTING him a room inside your head, he still controls you! EVICT HIM!!!!!! ((((hugs))))) Love Oxy


R-babe, the only thing that will prevent you from returning when he casts out one of his lures is to cut contact with him, COMPLETELY. I’ve had to do this with a couple of spaths. Most recently, a female “friend,” who’s also on Facebook. I unfriended her and placed her on my Block List.

Block his number from your cell – do it. Just, do it. Yes, we’re curious and, yes, it’s normal, but it can evolve into an obsession. What’s he/she doing, now? Are they sad because I’m not in their lives, anymore? What are they saying about me? Etc…… is simple curiosity and a false wish that we are That Meaningful in their empty lives.

Sometimes, I think that the internet social pages like Facebook and MySpace are only facilitating spaths and REALLY causing the victims to REACT rather than move on. Blessings.


I wish….
Maybe he was texting while driving and drove off a cliff at that very moment……

Stay strong and enjoy your new friend…..

Moven on….


Wonderful article! Made me laugh and wince that I did not see “it” coming.

But, I want to point out that my ex had long term wonderful friends (the cover guys who thought he would “outgrow” his silliness and who did not know some of it), he had a very “close” and seemingly respectable family (who covered for his playboy past), he had no criminal history (family bailed him out)

BUT there were flags. These are insidious, coming once you are are “hooked””. I had to do all the work in the relationship…he gave nothing. Sarcasm, jokes made at my expense…disguised as a “cute” asense of humor. These became even more painful when I discovered his true side. He had lied to me so many years.

Early on he was unaccountable with HIS plans, but HAD to know all of mine. Would leave me hanging’, even changing plans and leaving me alone at times. I thought it was immaturity and his charm made up for it. I know now this always self centeredness ( and a cover) but disguised again as being so giving he couldnt let others down.

He also had long term weirdo friends. The kind he “felt sorry” for so he could rescue them and become their hero. Bubbas…. should have known. And, other arrogant creeps who I never liked and later learned had cheated too, but they had nice WIVES. I liked their wives…they still dont know what I know.

Bubbas, players and weirdos. He collects those with his money and they worship him. So, there were signs, and I ignored them …but love was blind AND deaf AND dumb. But not anymore!


I too question the friend thing….
S ex had a few high school bros that were all losers like him….but with careers…..I didn’t see them much after we moved away, so it was hard to tell……and he ‘split’ us off by talking bad about them to me and talking bad about me to them…….so we were all afraid to speak our minds in front of each other because we had to act indifferent around spath….(unknowingly that it was his facade).

I heard ALOT….OH, that’s just ‘spath’…..
Or, he’s a big kid.

He would relish the idea peeps thought of him as a kid.

He would say….I’m NEVER gonna grow up.

Great….remain a ‘kid’….where’s it gotcha?

His family was well aware of his crap….they, EACH ONE was a target of him at one point or another during my 28 years with him….each went years without speaking…..then when HE needed something, a supply from them…..he’d reappear in their lives…..always blaming ME for the discord….
I picked up on this one during the marriage.

He also surrounded himself with peeps MUCH younger than himself…..teens and 20’s. Kids…..

He had one friend he would try to keep away from me… the kid woul only come over when I was not home….I’d walk in the house and say…….Oh, what was X doing here today?
He’d say, hu…I’d repeat…..he’d say WHAT? I said you heard me…..then he’d day… do you know x was here…..
I’d say, I CAN SMELL HIM….he sat right here on the couch.
He was shocked I could smell this kid…..he thought I was psychic.
DUMB SHIT…X would wear Patchuli oil…..I don’t oil my furniture with PATCHULI…you idiot!!!!
He never connected how I knew he was there.

There are red flags, nonetheless…..and we need to remain vigilant..
I don’t think their is a specific recipe……except our GUT!!!
And the minute we feel we are discarding our gut…..PULL AWAY!!!!


EB, this is another symptom that has to be taken into context, I think. I know many people who fit the profile who do, indeed, maintain long-term friendships. What we have to realize is that one symptom doesn’t an spath make. They all have to be taken as a piece of the entire puzzle, and not the only ingredient.


EB, the “kid” thing was a big part with mine too. Peter Pan syndrome. His family , esp his Dad, loves to point out what a big kid he is. All fun and laughter….

His sister laughed about the affair I discovered saying “oh, heehee, that’s biiiiigggg!”. I am sure now she knew of all the others before I did. All part of the family triangle..and lots of extras rotated on and off of it.

That way they could come in and rescue or cover up his messes.Made all of them feel needed. One big dysfunctional drama after another.

The difficult part to an outsider is they make it all seem so “close” and altruistic. All the other dysfunctionals that they help make them look charitable as well…until you look at how he treats his children.

I think the key is looking at what the friends and family gain in this. AND what secrets are they hiding???


I mentioned this in another post, but it is worth repeating. About two weeks after I broke off contact with Jamie, I stumbled upon an active profile of his on an Internet dating website. This was the kind of website that offered many tests and questions to “profile” users. From these, a “matching” algorithm is used to determine you compatible to a perspective partner.

One such test was a dating personality test.

Jamie was a “Manchild.”

The Manchild:

Hopeful. Awkward. Soft-headed. Fire intrigues you. You are The Manchild.

Okay, Manchildren have some good qualities. They can be unpredictable, brash, magnetic and therefore highly charismatic. Particularly, you’re passionate and are often a hell of a lot of fun.

But we’d like you to consider not using our service. You can be unthinking and hurtful, and we think you LIKE seeing bad things happen. You’ve had a moderate number of relationships, but broken a disproportionate number of hearts. In total, you mean well, but don’t really have it together.

It’s up to you, of course, whether to continue dating. There are plenty of women out there who do deserve you. But you’ve heard our advice.

My guess is that Jamie is quite amused by being labeled a Manchild.

Stay clear of Manchildren, Peter Pans, Bad-Boys and EMO Kids, who are all slightly different variations of the same defective person.

Twice Betrayed

This is great info! However, in my X husband’s case, he took me to meet his family first thing. They were all paraded out and especially his kind, giving mother. Over the years after our marriage, I watched them cover for each other…..keeping the facade rolling full force. Hid one brother’s drug addiction for twenty years, until he finally got busted, and even then I hear they still had a spin going on that. The depth of the deception is VERY deep, calculated and skillful. I don’t think mom liked going along with all this, but she was so tired and defeated. Also, they don’t want responsibility and help snow the new victim, so they will ‘manage’ the person. My X is married again to a very kind lady [so I hear] and of course, my X’s whole family welcomed her with open arms, snowed her and all actively participated in her being snared.


It’s the nature of the Beast, Twice – the denial and enabling becomes what the “victims/participants” believe to be the only course of action. If we speak truthfully, we may be denied seeing grandchildren, nieces/nephews, participation in family gatherings, etc. Even my youngest son’s school counselors/teachers would often remark that they didn’t want to “rock the boat” with the ex-spath, because his “cooperation” was vital.

Kind, giving, empathetic sources are always targeted. Just be grateful that you’re out and on the path of healing!


Unfortunately, we have our work cut out for us, in educating women. Women prefer bad boys?!!

Two of my girlfriends have told me they like a little bit of a bad boy. So did Sandra Bullock. I warned them, that is fishing in the psychopath pool.


It wasn’t that I was looking for a bad boy, but a strong one.
He was going to be MY Champion and the idea of it along with the lovebombing was very attractive.

But so are baited traps and that is what it was.

What is key in addition to knowing what to look for is healing the inner self that looks for that kind of superhero because they will have a high mark on that trait scale.

And knowing that when the relationship causes you to doubt yourself and feel crazy and isolated, something is very, very wrong,



The thing was that the match was not obvious to my closest friends and they more than family I trust except when I fell so head over heels in love I disappeared for a while….

They all said later what they tought but at the time, they thought I’d never go through with it.

Well, I did. And the price for it is now mine to pay.

Its a higher price than what you gamble on when you make the bet to believe.

Knowledge and experience come aat a cost. This one has been very valuable and I won’t say I overpaid, but what it takes to recover comes dearly because it strips away all that wasn’t true anyway and it appears that the common experience over and over again is that there is always more that wasn’t true but which has been lifelong accepted by the victims of the SPATH because the early perpetrators were in a position that we believed them, even when it turns out they were not trustworthy, good examples, good teachers or good protectors.

There is a requirement to evaluate manners as we have seen them expressed as much as discussed in all the relationships in our lives and culling what is true, making active decisions on what is acceptable and changing our intenal messages about who we are and what we need roll up into this checklist.

I won’t leave home without it!



“I had to do all the work in the relationship”he gave nothing. Sarcasm, jokes made at my expense”disguised as a “cute” asense of humor. These became even more painful when I discovered his true side. He had lied to me so many years.”

I hear you. I still haven’t found away out. I hope you have and I hope your pain is less these days.


Bad, bad day today. The sun is beautiful though. I am going to force myself to go out to the garden. Really bad day. Nice to know I am not alone in this though.


Hmmm. The sociopath I dated told me he had no friends because his “ex” wife never let them have friends. He met several of my friends within weeks. He also told me all kinds of mixed stories about his family ranging from his father used to punch him in the face to how great they all get along. Of course they were in a different state so I could never meet any of them. The day I was supposed to meet his young daughter for the first time (after dating 2-1/2 months), he stood me up with no explanation. If only I’d known what a sociopath was BEFORE I met this guy, I would have recognized the signs right away. They were all there.


YOu are not alone. Somedays we just have to work through stuff. I am , you can we will.

I’ll be right here.

Star: AMEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!



Thank you. I logged out to go to the garden and I sat a minute. I kept thinking they don’t have choice. I don’t believe THEY have a choice. We are given a choice, they are given the lot to play the role of evil in the world with whoever. We have something to learn, I don’t think they do. That does mean I give my empathy to him anymore, just my pity, but I think that is a big difference.


I liken my feelings of positive energy adn love toward him as a recognition that a Dark andgel is still and Angel and with all its power and glory.

Had it not been for a Dark Angel to battle, would the true guardian have come present? Without the pain he caused with his vicious wounding, would the real healer have been here?

For this I am thankful and the rest I put in a paper boat and set sailing on the big pond. No matter what he said to me, what he said to and showed the world was he wanted his freedom.

It is granted with love and light.

Action speaks loudest. No matter what, action speaks loudest.

There was no gun to his head when he put up the websites to advertise for dates and there was no similar inspiration when he forgot the thing he should have said to make and keep my trust.

He could have, but did not choose because whatever compulsion drove his decisions. he could not rise above it.



Thank you for the post above. Yes, a dark angel is still an angel. I don’t want to hate, I don’t want to hate anyone in my journey on this earth. I want to move past this point without any hatred. I just want to except what is and move on to a better place for me.


{{{{{{{{{{Justus5}}}}}}}}} Hang in there, girl. And, remember this – they most certainly DO have a choice. No, they don’t choose to be spath, but they know that their actions cause damage because they expend SO MUCH ENERGY on their deceptions. When they aren’t in the throes of manipulating their source targets, the rest of their energy is spent attempting to cover their tracks and keeping their lies straight. You’ll be moving through your healing, I promise. We all have dark moments and that’s part of the healing process, I think. Our transition from being a victim to living as a Survivor is hard fought and won – so, don’t be so hard on yourself. From one realization to the next, you will be taking more and more forward steps on the healing path. Brightest blessings.

Ox Drover

I’ve said this before and I will say it again. A person who is born with a GENETIC potential to become an alcoholic STILL HAS A CHOICE about whether to drink or not. It is a CHOICE.

A psychopath is born with a genetic potential to be mean and selfish and do bad things that they KNOW ARE WRONG, just as the alcoholic knows he does bad things when he is drunk and disinhibited, so a psychopath knows right from wrong, but CHOOSES to do the wrong thing and not care who he hurts. He has the CHOICE and he makes the one he LIKES just as an alcoholic does. Just as a smoker does. Just as a rapist does. Just as a thief does. The more you do wrong things, the more your “heart” becomes hardened and the less you care. Maybe you even get to enjoy doing evil things.

I believe in FREE WILL in those people with enough intellect to know “right from wrong” and I think the age at which we learn right from wrong is about 12 or so, about the age at which the Old Jewish Law ascribed a child as an “adult” but I also think that some kids are more “mature” at earlier ages and some later, but knowing right from wrong (within your own culture) gives us (humans) a choice.

We also have our own choices and the consequences that they bring. We by staying with a psychopath and wanting to believe them, trust them, forgive them, fix them, etc. were POOR CHOICES because we were “hoodwinked” but now that we know the truth, we can make BETTER CHOICES for a BETTER LIFE and for a BETTER US. Maybe we were “programmed” by our family of origin to expect poor treatment, or to try to fix others, or to “forgive” no matter what someone does to us and give them another chance…but we know now and we can make better choices than we did before. WE ARE FREE!!!! We did the best we could with the information and programming we had, but now we have NEW information and new programming and a NEW like that we can make for ourselves. That will move us from the victim to the VICTOR/SUVIVOR status, and that is a STRONG position of wisdom and grace! We are no longer weakened by accepting someone else’s FALSE “Truth”

TOWANDA/O for us!!!!!!!


Based on my brief experience with the sociopath, I would say that there is some choice there. The one I dated knew he was a bad person. He even told me that once, but I thought he was just being self-deprecating. If he knew he was a bad person, then he knew what a good person was. And he chose to be bad.

Another one I dated for 3 years who had some sociopathic tendencies told me on day one he had sociopathic tendencies. I didn’t really understood the implications of that until I got discarded in the most horrible of ways.

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