Editor’s note: The following story was sent to Lovefraud by a man whom we’ll call “Anthony.” He believes his ex-wife is a sociopath. He tells his story in great detail, so it will be serialized, appearing today and over the next three days. The story refers to spiritual concepts. Please read Lovefraud’s statement on Spiritual Recovery.
Meeting the Perfect Woman
I met her through a mutual friend one evening at a local restaurant. I found her strikingly attractive, and we made a plan to have dinner the following week, which we did. I was “hooked” fairly quickly, and I remember thinking many times how I must have been the luckiest man alive to have this gorgeous and intelligent woman want to be with me.
She had separated from her 2nd husband about 8 months prior, and was waiting for the 12 months of separation to file for divorce. When I asked what happened, she told me that he was irresponsible and immature, and had started staying out with friends and not coming home. She was not sure that he was being faithful. She explained that he was mean and hateful in a conversation to her children, so she had it, and left. She assured me that he did not want to work on the marriage (I wanted to be with her, but did not want to be a reason for the divorce), and that he was finished with her. I remember thinking what a fool this guy was for letting this incredible woman walk away from him.
She was intelligent, and appeared to be humble in spite of her striking beauty. I learned that her first husband left her with 3 small children to be with his lover about 16 years earlier. They eventually married, and are still together today. I remember wondering what a lunatic he must have been to leave this incredible woman, and the mother of his children on top of that! I did not even think about the possibility that she was not really who I saw on the outside. I wanted to believe that she was what she portrayed herself to be: a good woman, who happened to be incredibly beautiful. She was what I thought of as the perfect woman! I had no reason to believe otherwise, but the truth is that I put blinders on very early in the “relationship,” and did not want to know. This was in spite of the obvious relational dysfunction in her life, and the current state of family relationships with her oldest daughter, mother, two siblings, and their families (5 nieces and nephews). They all live in the same city basically, but there are no relationships with her to speak of with any of them.
What could I possibly have been thinking? Looking back, it was very obvious that there was something wrong, but I continued to see her beauty, and wanted very much to love and to be loved. What could be better than to have that with an incredibly attractive and charming woman? She knew where I was in life, and what I was seeking in a partner, and used it to sell herself as a normal loving woman who was a victim of irresponsible men. I bought it, thinking that my Christian values and my loving heart will rescue her. I would not cheat on her and leave her, nor would I treat her in any way close to what she described with her second husband. I would ultimately show her that there are good men in the world who would treat her the way a woman deserves to be treated, and I would grow old loving and caring for her.
A short while into the “relationship” (maybe 2-3 weeks) on a Saturday afternoon in late January of 2008, was the event that should have prevented this toxic “relationship” from continuing any further. It was what I now understand to be “the harbinger,” that I foolishly ignored. I was clueless to the possibility that this woman might be deceiving me.
We were working around her house when her cell phone rang. She looked at it, and said “Oh,”¦that’s just Chris from work. He probably just wants to gloat that Tennessee (college football) won. He’s a big fan. I’ll talk to him later,”¦” My heart sank a bit in my chest, and my gut knotted up. I knew this was not a good sign! I gently expressed my concern about a male co-worker’s personal call to my very attractive girlfriend, and she immediately turned the situation around, saying that I had a problem, that it was normal that she had a friendship with a (married) man from her office, that she sometimes spent one-on-one time with him over lunches, and that she was NOT going to change her relationship with “Chris” because I had issues.
I have been in 3 or 4 past relationships with cheaters, and have seen many other “friendships” in and out of the workplace where the parties were obviously involved in emotional and physical infidelity. I know that this happens even more often than many people realize.
Now here is an incredibly attractive woman getting a personal call on Saturday from a married man from her work. If that wasn’t enough, the fact that she did not answer the phone in front of me made me feel even more uneasy. Furthermore, looking back, I can see that her reaction to my concern was not the reaction that one would expect from a person who was truthful and honest and not hiding anything. There was no empathy, compassion, or hint of understanding for what I may have felt. There was no acknowledgement of, or consideration for, my feelings. There was only immediate defensiveness, blame shifting, and denial. Nothing that you would expect from an innocent and healthy person, but exactly what you’d expect from someone who is deceptive and hiding something.
She tried to ease my mind by an explanation about how “Chris” was very unattractive. She told me about how he was a good “decent man,” (she showed emotions when she said that, starting to cry a little,…what I now understand was projection unto me) and that they have been friends for years. We talked about how she thinks that he is sort of strange, and how he has all of this retro furniture in his house. She went into detail about this furniture and his attachment to 1950s and 1960 memorabilia. Many of these pieces of information were indeed true, because I later verified them. There was truth mixed into her stories, so this made the overall story more believable. (I later learned that this is a common tool that deceptive people use.)
During our conversation about “Chris” at her office (and subsequent times throughout our “relationship”), she told me the story about how it was for her to go through being cheated on by her first husband, left with 3 small children for the other woman, and how she ultimately grew stronger from it. I will never forget the conversation, and we had this conversation many times after this. She spoke about how it taught her what it feels like to be cheated on, and how she’d “NEVER do that to another woman,” and how she’d “think about the family” that she was destroying before she would cheat. She really poured it on, and because there was cheating in my first marriage, and how much I had grown to despise the evil of deceit, deception, and unfaithfulness in the world, this is something that I wanted desperately to hear, and I believe that she knew that. She insisted that she had good morals, and was very convincing. Again, there was truth mixed into her story, which made the story believable to me.
This was a long conversation that we had after her unanswered phone call. The end result was that I conceded and let it drop, but I could not shake the feeling that something wasn’t right. I talked to a trusted friend about it, and got well-meaning, but ultimately bad, advice. I was advised that it was OK for this “friendship” to be, and I was left to feel like I was indeed insecure, and that was the source of the issue. My friend was not considering the more important aspects of this interaction: the blame-shifting and total lack of empathy or compassion. Furthermore, there was no evidence of this “friendship” with “Chris.” If it were an innocent friendship, there would have been evidence of a healthy relationship in her life. This might have been dinners and other events with his family, or something like that. Never in our “relationship” was this present. Never were we invited to his house for dinner, to meet him and his wife somewhere for a drink or something. Nothing! Yet, “Chris” was such a good friend that she obviously had a close and personal relationship with him in and around her office, and he’d even call her on a Saturday about a football game. It just did not add up. As time went on, and as this became obvious, it became clearer and clearer that something was very wrong with this “friendship,” and that there was likely deception in and around this. I remember thinking that, if my suspicion was true, that it would come to light. I chose to believe her at that time, but I never completely rested, and I began paying attention to what was happening, telling myself that I must be wrong to suspect, but never feeling that I was. There was just too much pointing to something under the surface that was very wrong. Things just did not quite add up, and as time went on, I became more and more convinced that I was being deceived.
I knew in my gut that there was something wrong with what transpired that evening, but I choose to let my boundaries be blown away, and I choose to ignore what God was telling me in my gut. I made a note of the details of this event, and I did chew it over and over as the “relationship” progressed, especially as more “cracks in her pot” became evident. As more time went on in the “relationship,” it became more and more clear that this was indeed a significant event and nothing at all as she passed it off to be. It was the early signs that she had interests in more than work in her office, and this became more obvious as time passed.
This event was absolutely a harbinger, but I foolishly ignored it, choosing to not see past the smoke and mirrors. I plowed ahead blindly, believing that I not only found a woman who really loved me and who shared Christian values, but she was an incredibly beautiful woman to top it all off. I believed that she was a gift from God, and I honestly felt like the luckiest man alive. What more could I ever ask for?