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LETTERS TO LOVEFRAUD: He is not Prince Charming; you are not Snow White

Editor’s note: This Lovefraud reader, who posts as “Snow White,” previously wrote an article called “The heart thief.

Fairy tales”¦ the fantasy of every girl. A story of fantastic forces and beings. A tale of improbable events that will lead to a happy ending. Or perhaps”¦ a more sinister story designed to mislead. Any woman would have to agree that when someone comes along who is completely and totally smitten with you, showers you with affection and attention like you’ve never experienced in all your life, you start to think that maybe this is the person I am supposed to be with. You want to believe in the fairy tale that he so poetically spins. But beware and heed the lyrics that Taylor Swift so profoundly sings, “I’m not a princess”¦ this ain’t a fairy tale.”

Meeting Prince Charming

Once upon a time, at a workout studio in a quaint suburb, I met Charming, as I’ll refer to him, a handsome, quiet, shy man in great physical shape. For four years, I would see him daily in our workout class. At first he remained in the back of the room and didn’t speak with anyone. Eventually, he made his way to the front of the class where he could be the center of attention among all the women in the room. The class was fun and interactive. Everyone would joke and share stories during the workout. I had been a member of the studio for seven years and had many friends there. As time went on, Charming would make his way over to my side of the room and share his story with me. He would tell me about his hardships as well as make small talk and joke with me. He was divorced and his wife recently remarried. She then moved out of town with their children. He lost his job. His father was seriously ill and eventually died. During the time we worked out together, he led everyone to believe that he was casually seeing someone. He downplayed his five-year relationship with his girlfriend, leading everyone to believe he was available. However, I didn’t learn about the extent of his relationship with her until much later. He was very guarded about his privacy but for some reason wanted to let me in.

I truly believed that we were friends. After all, isn’t that what friends do, share their stories and provide support to each other? I have been married for 25 years and always thought I was happily married, perhaps a little lonely as my husband worked out of town quite often, but wasn’t unhappy. I was actually quite content with my life, that is, until Charming started convincing me otherwise. I knew that he was unemployed and felt sorry for him. My husband and I were doing major renovations in our home and needed some painting done. Knowing he could use the money, we hired him to paint. Little did I know that he came in to my home, saw what we had, and wanted it for himself.

He told me he started dating a new woman who I would like as we were in the same profession. One day my husband and I and three other couples were planning a night out, so I invited him and his girlfriend and some other friends from the studio to join us. After the evening out, he texted me saying that he wasn’t really interested in his date and she wasn’t the one for him. I didn’t think much of it and told him that she was really nice and they seemed natural together. In hindsight, he was laying the foundation for me to believe he was single.

Charming was a lost soul. Every woman he had ever dated did him wrong. Everything in his life was someone else’s fault. His ex-wife cheated on him. His ex-girlfriend of five years wasn’t there for him and her son was behaviorally disordered and disrespected him. He caught his current girlfriend pursuing other men on a dating website while they were together. The other women he dated only wanted him for sex. He wanted a serious relationship and wanted to be married. Women today were only interested in sex. They didn’t want committed relationships. He lost his job because his new boss was incompetent.

More than friendship

I really felt sorry for Charming. I was there for him when he needed to talk, providing positive support encouraging him that he would find someone who would love him forever. Before I really realized what was happening, he started texting me day and night. We continued to text each other, casually talking about our lives and interests and how we had so much in common. Then one fateful evening, I received the text:

Charming: I think we are in trouble ”¦ this is more than a friendship ”¦ I am attracted to you.

Snow White: There may be an attraction, but I have never and will never cheat on my husband. We can get beyond this and remain friends.

The next day he persisted in his texts. I told him that we needed to talk face to face. I met him and told him in no uncertain terms that I cannot act on this and could not conceive of hurting my husband. I told him that he will find the woman for him. I am 6 years old than him and never in my life did I consider dating a younger man, let alone cheat on my husband. I was confident that the friendship would prevail. Over the next two months, we continued texting. He talked about how we had so much in common. We had both only been in two real relationships our entire life. We both had long-term marriages. We had limited sexual experience. Well that was true of me, definitely not true of him, as I later learned. We had the same interests.

Future wife

He started making comments about my marriage and husband, telling me that if I were truly happily married, I wouldn’t be talking to him. He said he saw how my husband looked at other women. That he believes my husband disrespects me and isn’t there for me. One day when I was sick with a sore throat and drove myself to the doctor’s office, he commented on why my husband didn’t take me. If we were together, he would be there for me.

We were destined to be together. I was his soul mate. He had been around long enough to know that I was to be his FW “future wife,” calling me Mrs. Charming. He would give me everything I need as a couple. It was love, texting LY “Love You.” Saying, “You. Must. Be. With. Me.” On and on it went.

I started to question my marriage. Maybe he was right. I had never felt this type of intense connection. Were we meant to be together? I was starting to believe. At this point I was emotionally hooked. I tried on several occasions to stop talking with him. He would be on the verge of crying when I told him we couldn’t talk. I felt sorry for him and would break down and contact him or he would contact me. He had become my best friend, one by one replacing all others. He would text and call me throughout the day. The bond between my husband and I began to loosen. I became spellbound ”¦ blinded and incapable of seeing the signs. Or as I now know, I was love bombed with a force so powerful it rendered me helpless. Yes, ME, a strong, confident, educated woman, overwhelmed and crying every day. How could I be meant to be with someone other than my husband? I immediately sought counseling. It didn’t help.

Pursuit

He relentlessly pursued me for months. It didn’t bother him in the least that I was an emotional wreck. In fact, I believe it empowered him. One evening I was out for a run and I received this text:

Charming: Turn around

Snow White: Why

Charming: I’m parked at the corner. Turn around.

I hopped in his car and told him, “I can’t do this.” A wicked grin appears on his face. It didn’t faze him in the least. He was on a mission and nothing would deter him. I had mistaken his stalking tendencies for romance and love.

I’m not sure how it happened, but one day he turned the tables on me. At this point I believe he realized that I was emotionally hooked and used it to blackmail me. He told me that he had had enough, if I couldn’t be with him, we could no longer talk. I agreed to stop talking with him and met with him to give him a Christmas present I had bought. I actually bought small Christmas ornaments for a few of my closest friends at the studio, including him.

Now physical

The day I met him to end our communications and give him his gift was the beginning of the end. I know I shouldn’t have met him, but I did. When I arrived at his apartment, I handed him the gift, he lifted me off the floor, kissed me, and carried me to his bedroom. The emotional affair was now physical. I could not resist. The experience was one like no other, so intense. What I thought was exclusive to making love with me ”¦ the intense eye contact, the hypnotic stare, the slow and passionate way he moved, the transformation of his personality into this highly sensual being ”¦ I later realized is how is with every woman. He would often tell me that every woman he had ever been with said that he was an exceptional lover. And he was. But he used sex as a method of control. He knew that once I had sex with him, I could no longer be married.

Where he previously only controlled me emotionally, he now controlled me physically. I was on an oxytocin high, which further intensified my bond with him. I was so confused and truly believed because I slept with him, I could no longer be married. He started pressuring me to leave my husband and move in with him. He would tell me that he was alone and waiting for me. “Hurry up. I need you. I am all alone. I am waiting for you.” He professed. He emptied his closet and texted me a photo of it, telling me he was ready for me to move in. I began to crumble.

I couldn’t handle the pressure any more. And I could no longer sleep with my husband after sleeping with him. I broke down and told my husband that I could no longer be married to him. He was crushed and didn’t understand. I told him the whole story. He then started pressuring me. Totally confused, I was unraveling at warp speed. Charming was now doing everything in his power to make me jealous and create a sense of urgency for me to move in with him. Reeling with confusion, I finally left my home and stayed with a girlfriend for a few weeks to sort things out.

While staying with my girlfriend, I spent some time with Charming. But things did not feel right. I really wasn’t ready to leave my marriage and felt that I had been pressured into it. Charming assured me that once I started my new life, I would be fine. He had all the answers. As long as I did what he said and didn’t question him, life would be great. But I couldn’t move from one relationship to another like flipping a switch. I didn’t really notice any red flags with him at this point because I thought that gut feeling I was experiencing was solely because I was dealing with the devastating emotions of leaving my husband and home.

Controlling presence

After three weeks, I realized that Charming had no intention of making our relationship public. Just as he had hidden his relationship of five years from everyone at our workout studio, he planned on hiding his relationship with me. That was the first time I saw a red flag. I told him that I would no longer workout at the studio if he planned on hiding our relationship. Working out with him was no longer fun. I now felt his controlling presence ”¦ he was listening to my conversations with others, whispering sexual comments to me during the class, and purposing flirting with other women there to make me jealous.

I was giving up everything in my life, had left my home, was ready to file for divorce, and his life didn’t change at all. He wouldn’t make our relationship public because he didn’t want to be blamed for ending my marriage. He was so concerned about his image, yet he thought nothing of destroying my life. I later surmised that he didn’t want the women at the studio to know we were together because then he would have no chance of hooking up with anyone there.

By the third week, I still had this nagging feeling that something wasn’t right. I attributed these feelings to the demise of my marriage and not with the red flags I was seeing with him. Had I been single, would I have noticed the signs? I believe it is difficult enough for single people to recognize the red flags, but for those of us who are married, being involved with a sociopath only magnifies and clouds the confusion.

Charming was not happy that I was staying with a friend as he wanted me to live with him. He said that he didn’t consider us a couple unless we lived together. I needed to take it slow. By the end of the third week, I met him for pizza. It was there that I saw Mr. Hyde. The man who had professed his love for me, espousing his life plan for me as his future wife, now tells me that he doesn’t think he’ll ever marry again. Not that I had plans for marriage with this man, but the just the fact that he told me he loved me so much and wanted me as his wife led me to believe that he really did love me. His demeanor changed completely. No affection. No kiss good bye. He was a completely different person now that I left my husband. I simply replied that I knew someday I would marry again but it would be long into the future. He was playing head games with me. I should have called him on it right then and there. However, it was then that I realized I needed to go home, pack my belongings, and make plans to make it on my own.

When I returned home I apologized to my husband for ruining our marriage. We started to divide household belongings, and I started to pack. I was preparing to move forward with our divorce. My husband was very upset but really didn’t want a divorce. I was so confused and truly believed that I could no longer be married.

Unprotected sex

I continued to see Charming, but still had that nagging feeling. Is there something missing in his eyes? It’s hard to explain, but there is definitely a void there. He insisted on having unprotected sex, which I refused, but the condom broke. When I asked him if he had had unprotected sex recently, he denied it. He didn’t sound convincing so I pressed him on the issue. He admitted that he had in fact had unprotected sex. I scheduled an appointment for an HIV test. When I told him that I was going to get tested and that he should think about it too, he got really upset and wanted to know when I would get the results. He said he had no intention of getting tested and rushed to hang up the phone.

For the next three days, I didn’t hear from him. Valentine’s Day fell within this period and yet no texts or calls. Now here was a man that was texting or calling me day and night, my supposed soul mate, blah, blah, blah. When I needed him the most, he abandoned me. I thought about ceasing all communications with him then, and the only reason I texted him three days later was to give him the results, which thankfully were negative. His response was short ”¦ saying he was working and couldn’t talk. I now believe he was already pursuing his next target by this point, and had to hide my text from her just like he had hidden others’ texts from me.

The next morning he texts me to say hello as if nothing had ever happened. That’s when I told him he abandoned me. That I was freaking out about the results and he totally shut me out. Remember, he’s the man who told me my husband wasn’t there for me when I had to drive myself to the doctor for a routine visit for a sore throat. Ironically, my husband was the one who came with me to get the results and hold my hand while I was freaking out. That’s when I knew I had to get this man out of my life. I told him that I was really confused and needed to follow my counselor’s advice and spend some time alone.

Learning the truth

Two days later I checked his facebook page, and saw a post saying “Enjoy your day with Amy”. You see, he is a maintenance worker for an apartment complex. The complex provides low income housing. I remember him saying, “Now that the complex is subsidized, a lot of single mothers would be moving in.” It didn’t occur to me that this would become his predatory playground—the perfect job for a sociopath. When I saw the post, I texted asking him to please tell me that he was moving on so that we could both get closure. You see, he didn’t want to even give me the closure I needed to move on after all those months of manipulation and emotional abuse. I had everything in the works to build a house and go through with the divorce all because he had me believing that he was the one. He denied that he was seeing anyone, even with the proof in black and white. His last text to me simply stated that he was upset that I hadn’t moved out of my home, even though the divorce proceedings had started, and that I was the one confused. He said that when I figure it out to give him a call. If he doesn’t hear from me, then he knows his answer. He took absolutely no responsibility for his actions.

I had been completely mindf***ed all these months. I was in shock and so confused. I contacted his ex of five years. She graciously called me and spent an hour on the phone confirming all his lies. He cheated on his wife with at least two different women that she knows about. He engaged in threesomes with his wife over two years, saying that it was her idea and that she is bisexual ”¦ I’ll never know the truth on that. However the threesomes weren’t enough to keep him happy, as he abandoned his wife for a girl he met at his apartment complex. He left behind his 4-year-old and 12-year-old, and stopped paying the bills. His wife and children were left in the countryside; she had no driver’s license or car. The house went into foreclosure. His wife did not cheat on him. In fact she was so distraught over the break up that she left her wedding dress on the floor in the house when she was forced to move. While he was married, he had a free apartment at the complex he set up for himself without his wife knowing.

He cheated on his girlfriend numerous times, joining a dating website while he was still with her. While he lived with her, he provided no financial support except for buying some groceries occasionally. I even recall him saying that he disliked her son and never bought him one thing, this from a man who essentially lived with her son for five years. She found out that he was cheating on her the day before she was to throw his 40th birthday party. She went ahead with the party, but now regrets it. While in the five-year relationship, she had thought they were trying to conceive a child. When it wasn’t happening, she had him go to the doctor to get checked. The doctor called and said that he had a zero sperm count and that he must have had a vasectomy. He lied when she confronted him, and then eventually confessed. That was the last straw for her, and she broke up with him. While I was with him, be bragged about how he had the vasectomy under her nose. I’m happy to report, that this woman is now married, and they are expecting their first child. He learned the passwords to her email account and would monitor her communications, even after they broke up.

Regarding the girl friend who supposedly was still looking for guys on the dating website while she was dating Charming—she actually went online to check up on him. She had a gut feeling that something wasn’t right so she investigated. When she confronted him with the fact that the dating website dates and times all log-ons, he was caught. Of course, he took no responsibility and blames her for the break up.

I now know why, as he confided in me, all his exes were on antidepressants.

The Red Flags

I wish I knew then what I know now. After reading Red Flags of Love Fraud: 10 Signs You’re Dating a Sociopath, I now see clearly that “Prince Charming“ is a sociopath. I was stunned by the clear and precise process outlined in the book, which Charming used to achieve his objective ”¦ ME. The 10 signs illustrate that my situation is a textbook example of the strategies these individuals employ when in hot pursuit of their next victim. Fortunately for me, my husband never gave up on me. We have been seeking counseling and are on the road to recovery.

In retrospect, here are the Red Flags I noticed:

  • Stalking/pursuit that seemed like romance
  • Texting and calling all day long
  • Love bombing
  • Brilliant at making me feel sorry for him
  • Highly sexual and impulsive: threesomes, multiple partners, having sex in cars, in public, in the workplace ”¦
  • Narcissistic
  • Mirrored all my values and interests
  • Disregard for my emotions and for the effects on my family
  • Showed no emotion except sexually or when angry
  • Slowly started alienating me from my workout studio, family, friends
  • Lies, lies, lies
  • Spoke negatively about ex-wife, made degrading sexual comments about past girlfriends
  • Continuously adding women friends to his Facebook page, which looks like a little black book
  • Has not one male or female friend; there was absolutely no one in his social circle who could attest to his character
  • Gaps in the story ”¦ would say he was only in two committed relationships over the last 25 years, then would tell me about other women he dated
  • Emotionally blackmailed me into having sex with him
  • Thought of himself as Superman, invincible, and immune to diseases
  • Believed that every woman wanted him
  • Brilliant at emotional control
  • Used sex as a method of control
  • Had no plans for the future and had a hard time planning one week out
  • Said that if given cause, he would have to monitor my texts and emails
  • Had various women in different stages ”¦ while I was the main target, he would randomly get a text and would dismiss it as some woman from his past he was no longer involved with. He was simply keeping her in a holding pattern while he was pursuing me, rinse and repeat ”¦
  • Continued to stalk his ex
  • Took absolutely no responsibility for his actions

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116 Comments on "LETTERS TO LOVEFRAUD: He is not Prince Charming; you are not Snow White"

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OMGosh…same Red Flags in order!! ..I get so angry at knowing that I went through this…that I allowed myself to be so weak and vulnerable..I was glad that you wrote recognizing being married and being even more “taken in” and blind to or ignoring the Red Flags. ….
The P goal was dominance over me but his goal was to add another ticky mark to the number of divorces he created already. He tried with all of his might, creativity and manipulation for me to start the divorce proceedings. Each phone call seemed to always go back to how unhappy my husband was making me and how much more life, energy and vibrance I still had and that my husband was taking all this away from me…I knew I did have those characteristics, that the P was sucking out of me, but the truth is, I was so lonely and blamed my husband for things that I should have been changing in myself.. However, the P’s beautifully painted picture of what a Perfect future I would have with him was so seductively alluring…..also age was only a number..we were so far apart in age, I could have been his mother. I forgot to see myself as I truly was..he made me feel young and alive again.
My gut always knew better. As much as I wanted to run away with him (as his mistress or wife in that villa in spain…yes, keep laughing! but he had been in spain several times so it sounded possible) my heart, stability, and truth knew that my husband truly loved me and always had my best interest at heart.(I kind of felt like the movie, Bridges of Madison with Clint Eastwood and Meryl S.) The P was so proud of his divorce record as a “divorce coach” amongst many other professions he had…I knew deep down that this was about another destruction he wanted to conquer but denied it and thought no one would really do such a thing, especially since I am the one he is crazy in love with! Last I want to say, the sequence was the same as yours but one thing that I thought was so impossible that he would use for gaining pity was that he was African-American in a country where he had No chance and how Spain was different..he constantly played the racism card and i wanted to support him and there was some truth to what he was saying but he used it as a ploy for pity…

SnowWhite, all I can say is that I’m glad that you didn’t fall into his cohabitational web!!!! I can only imagine what would have befallen you had you chosen to move in with him – he would have drained your very soul! GOOD FOR YOU!!!!

Alivetoday, the second exspath was very, very convincing of his false concern for me. SnowWhite’s account of the badmouthing the husband was almost written blow-by-blow description of my situation, as well. The exspath convinced me that we were “soulmates,” and MEANT to be together – that our age differences made no impact.

Yes, yes, yes……….so many deceptions, so much verbal diarrhea, and so much emotional and financial carnage. NEVER again. There ain’t no such thing as “Prince Charming,” there isn’t! Why don’t any Fairy Tales end with, “And, then Cinderella picked up the glass slipper and dashed it into a thousand sparkling shards telling Prince Charming, ‘You know, Prince ‘ole boy, thanks for the inviation, but I’m planning on being a neurosurgeon and I don’t have time for your State dinners and nonsense.” ?!?!

Truthspeak – I love the shattered slipper visual!

A friend sent me this this morning. And it seems here, a good place for it to rest.

In the wake of all that we discover, that we learn, that we feel, there is such a wide swing of emotions!

And the fantasy utterly collapses.

I believe in the power of vision and remind us that we have to have a vision going forward for life. A healthy, healed one which ia able to and seeks to embrace joy.

I hope when healing comes to your house, that you will open the door and take the walk through. I hope that you will open the windows and let the worries about the past and the shame and distress out. There is not need to harbor these.

But rater, to nurture joy.
Be well.
Its a beautiful da

“We search for happiness everywhere, but we are like Tolstoy’s fabled beggar who spent his life sitting on a pot of gold, under him the whole time. Your treasure–your perfection–is within you already. But to claim it, you must leave the busy commotion of the mind and abandon the desires of the ego and enter into the silence of the heart.”
”• Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman’s Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesiay.

“God our Father, walk through my house and take away all my worries and illnesses and please watch over and heal my family in your name.”

Snow White,
Your story is a perfect depiction of the slippery slope that the spaths lead us down. You did a great job describing the set up and the very innocent way he kept reeling you in, ever so slowly, so that you would never notice. Then he saves the love bomb for last.

The fact that this is the opposite (opposite day?) of how they usually work, (they usually come on strong with the lovebomb at the beginning) is very useful to know. The typical story was inverted for you because you were happily married.

Charming had to skew your perceptions about your life and then dismantle your reality before he could insert his own reality. Once you were through the looking glass and living in his world of illusion, he thought he had you – then he didn’t want you. He wanted you because he wanted a married woman. Once you were no longer married, why bother?

I’m so glad you got away.

Snow White, thank you for sharing this.

I am having very complex reactions to it. I have had a very similar experience which I have NEVER been able to share with anyone but a therapist. Mine happened 7 years ago.

I don’t know what your experience has been with people outside of your husband (judging you? condemning you for cheating? etc.) but that is the part of your sharing your story which I am finding amazing and helpful, though very sad because in my case, my husband left me very abruptly, immediately upon learning of what happened. (this is not the same man as my spath ex-husband who is the father of my kids). Very much like what you described, this was not a long-standing physical affair. No sooner did the physical part start, then my husband walked out without a word, and never came back. The confusion you describe sounds very much like what I went through. I felt like I was in some kind of dream — I felt very ungrounded, unreal, hypnotized or something.

And so, no, very sadly I did not get a chance to even attempt to repair my marriage. It has left a gaping hole in my life, my heart, and very sadly into this vacuum came a 5-year relationship with the very narcissistic and cold-hearted man who was the one who had pursued me with such intensity (love-bombing). Due to my shame and grief, for a time I was seeking some kind of spiritual and moral absolution for my transgression by attempting (even harder!) to be a very solid, reliable “partner” with the very man who refused to take his share of responsibility for breaking up my marriage. He changed on me, very suddenly, a month and a half after my husband left. And to be very clear: it was very dissatisfying and lonely for me… I overlooked every single red flag because I thought that my “sin” of cheating was so shameful and horrible, I had to prove to the world, to myself, to God, to everyone that I could indeed be faithful.

That was the only time in my life that I had ever cheated in a relationship.

There was no one I could talk to about it because everyone sided with my husband. I was shunned in my community and couldn’t blame them. After all, I had done the most despicable thing.

So… your story is affecting me deeply. Somehow, I feel safe in sharing this part of myself now, here. I still have a lot of shame and grief about it.

I’m grateful to you, Snow White, for your personal story. I think it is helping me.

20years, HUGS to you….hugs, and more hugs. I thought, perhaps, the second exspath was some sort of cosmic retribution for all of my personal sins. It just isn’t so. I’m a human being and I’ve made (and, continue to make) human mistakes. For me, the purpose of those mistakes and stupid choices are to learn and not repeat them. Doesn’t always happen that way, though – I’ve been known to make the same mistake on several occasions until it finally sinks in. FORGIVE YOURSELF, 20years. You’re okay. You’re alright. You’re precious and valuable in spite of errors in judgment – we’ve all made them.

One of my teachers once told me that it takes six attempts of trying something new or hearing something new for a person to get the gist of what they’re attempting or what they’re being taught. I thought, “Balderdash! I can hear it the FIRST time and get the gist!” Well, duh….no, I can’t. I’m just as frail and human as the next person, and it’s a very humbling thing. I’m not required to be perfect. I’m not required to live up to what another human being defines as perfect. There is no such thing as “perfect.”

You’re okay, 20years, I promise. HUGS

Donna, thanks – I would love to see Cinderella just smash the glass slipper and say, “Thank you, but NO thank you, PC! I’ve got Things To Do and you don’t factor in to my being a completed person!”

That’s what my generation was raised upon: Prince Charming is what a woman needed to be complete. Cinderella didn’t tell her wicked stepmother and stepsisters to f*ck off and go out to make a life for herself. What Cinderella did was tolerate the abuse until Some Man came along to rescue her. That’s what I was raised on – the notion that a woman needed a man in order to be safe and complete. What a bunch of steaming, stinking rubbish!

thanks, Truthspeak. 🙂

I have learned a lot already from life, and I know that the lessons just keep on coming. Well, it hasn’t been boring, anyway. LOL

A lot of this has gotten easier, but there is still buried stuff to deal with. This is a helpful forum for “dealing” because it is so nonjudgmental AND people are forthright with one another. There are so many here who display deep compassion, and that is what has been lacking in my community… which has made my healing more difficult. The fears of being honest, for fear of rejection. These are not unrealistic fears, either. I have been shunned and threatened. that has made it hard for me to make my peace with myself, with God, with my ex-husband (actually, we have made gains in that direction but we will never remarry each other).

If nothing else, I have learned to look within for answers, and I have learned a great deal about what being judgmental and nonjudgmental is, and how we can accept and love one another, be supportive, realize that we do not know everything.

I know one of my “risk factors” was that I firmly believed that I would NEVER do such an awful thing as be unfaithful in a marriage (see me being judgmental there?) — so I didn’t recognize the threat, didn’t take sufficient steps to strengthen my marriage and turn the interloper away. I was susceptible and didn’t know. This is exactly the same thing as being susceptible to a sociopathic predator — it’s just that I believed because I was married and had “high moral standards” for myself that I was safe!!!!

Now I am developing much better awareness, but to be honest with myself, it is a work in progress.

Blessings to all of you here on Lovefraud — a very wonderful group.

Thank you everyone for your comments. Reading them helps me know I’m not alone. I am also reading without conscience to further understand how I could get duped like this.

Alivetoday, I’m happy you are free of the path. Did you find that there really isn’t much information regarding affairs with paths and how it being married compounds the confusion? Like you I was lonely, but I had a false sense of security because I knew him for 4 years or thought I knew him.
I just wish I could get over it.

Truth speak, OMG. You are so right about my fate if I had lived with him. I had a nightmare last night. I just wish I could get it out of my head. When will it go away????

Snow

Hi skylar

Thanks for your feedback He absolutely distorted the reality of my life….ever do slowly. He even said to me “I’ve got you in my bubble and you can’t get out”

So scary!

Snow

20 years

Like you I had never cheated on my husband We gave been together for 27+ years and have only been with two men. He broke down all my boundaries. I’m so sorry your marriage didn’t work out. I am a firm believer that things happen for a reason. There is someone out there for you

I too feel the shame. My husband and I both decided that anyone who would not be supportive if our marriage would not be part of our lives. If there are people judging you then they are poison and shouldn’t be in your life. Those that are judging you are not victims of a path!!! I’m sure they would fall prey had they been targeted!

Hold your head up high. Thanks for sharing it helps us all!!

Snow

What a wonderful article! I think you have very accurately captured what many have experienced.

I feel like this; it’s like that shampoo commercial from the 80’s, where everyone told “two friends,” and they, in turn, told “two friends.” If enough people talk about their experiences, others learn.

Educating to help break the cycle. Very nice, Snow!

I have been searching for answers all this time. You know, how could I have acted so out of what I thought my character was. I felt completely shattered — faith in myself broken. I did not trust myself. I wished I could have an explanation that would make sense to me, how I found myself in that situation which had always seemed an impossibility.

You know, I have not found a single book that described my situation, that would help — and I like books. I have perhaps (confession time!) 200 books on psychology and relationships and spirituality and I have read them all. Books for laypeople and books for therapeutic professionals and clergy. I purchased books on “infidelity” looking for answers. But my situation was not found in any of them.

This book has yet to be written, I think.

But there are clues to the answers in books like Red Flags of Love Fraud, or other books on sociopathy or spiritual journeys.

One thing I learned is that condemnation does not help. Not self condemnation and not the condemnation of others. That is not the same thing as “not taking responsibility for my part in it.” It’s just that I eventually came to see that my awful mistake did not “undo” all of the other good parts about me. And I still might have many years left… am I supposed to be shamed and shunned and all that, for the rest of my life? I believe the answer to this is NO, and there should be no scarlet letter on me — that serves no USEFUL purpose.

And the most difficult thing, NOT adequately addressed anywhere, is what to do about telling the children. In my case — I have found no answers. My family, my community, all condemn the person who cheats.

A cheater, in my upbringing and community, is a person of despicable character whom you must have nothing to do with, or if you do, it is from a position of great moral superiority. Of course, God forgives the cheater, but if we are friends with him/her, then we are “condoning” the behavior. We are supposed to “send a message” that we do not approve, by distancing ourselves from someone who has behavior indicating poor character — right? (can we say… “no contact?”)

I have not yet figured out how to be honest with my children about what happened, and yet I really want to find a way to do this… and I am afraid of their not understanding, their pain, and maybe their shunning or hatred of me. I have already lost what I thought were solid friendships over this. I know that as you say they are “poison” but it was still a loss. I was left for a time without ANY friends, actually. The few I had remaining I was terrified to tell. I didn’t tell. I haven’t told most of them. But having a partial, not honest friendship is not really satisfying. And I sometimes (OK, often) find myself sitting there, listening to them express judgment about this celebrity or politician or person-we-know, who has done something unsavory… and I don’t know what to say. I am not in a position to judge in this way.

It is only now that I am beginning to feel healed enough that I can take the risk to start talking about it… but like Skylar said the other day, it is discouraging and kind of sad to find that so many people have an “envy problem,” perhaps now that we are beginning to see with more clarity.

And so, I have found, that so many people have a “judgmentalism problem.” And that is discouraging and frustrating. I’m talking about 45-year old friendships that I might lose. So hard.

My children have suffered from my being shunned. They have lost years of gatherings with other families who decided they didn’t want to — I don’t know — support me? condone my behavior? We are not invited. My ex-husband is the one who is invited… even though these families are parents of my children’s friends, and so by not inviting me, they are not inviting my children.

And I felt too ashamed and wounded from the shunning (truly the worst thing a human can do to another) to feel strong enough to “put myself out there” to seek new friendships.

I’m speaking of the past now… things have been gradually getting better. But I have deep, deep regrets and also guilt for what my children lost (access to the community)… and still very unsure how and what to tell them. You see, their stepfather was so wonderful to them, and they experienced a deep loss, grief, pain at his leaving. He was so “righteous” in his rapid departure over my unforgivable sin against him.

I know that we had some problems in our marriage that we were having trouble addressing, which also made me vulnerable to an affair — yet I did not realize my vulnerability at the time.

I also know (now) that there were some things in my ex-husband’s character which were not the best fit for me. compared to my spath first husband, my second husband is a saint. But some red flags… which I did not know about then.

This is all so complex, and in sorting through it all, I want to be meticulous. I don’t want to arrive at the wrong conclusion… I want to accept responsibility for all of what I did, but not accept responsibility for something which belongs to someone else. And I hope that I can do this sorting with compassion, and come out of it with much learned, humility and gratitude and appreciation for the lessons.

I realize that what I’m writing might not be clear. My ex-husband told our “community” which is mostly a large group of the parents of children who are school-mates with my kids, but I have some friends outside of this community whom I’ve been afraid to tell. I also have family members I’m afraid to talk to about it.

I also spent time, after the initial shunning, isolating myself — so I participated in the loneliness due to fear, grief and shame. I really retreated.

Now, I am working to repair the relationship with my ex-husband, but so far it is just a surface relationship which I decided to pursue because he has kept ties with my family and these other people, and it is so awkward… and the children miss him.

It is not simple — it is very complex. He is controlling and narcissistic in his own egotistical way (he is a “rescuer/hero” type and believes himself to be the most genius/wise person, most funny/clever, most compassionate, nicest guy — and he is many of those things, just not to the grandiose degree which he believes about himself. that was the crux of our “marriage problem” — he would not accept any part of responsibility for the difficulties in our marriage, and the problem obviously had only to do with me because he is so perfect!) which I see now, did not see before, but he is so entwined with my family that I think this seems easier, at least for the time being. So hard to know.

I know I’m writing a lot more on this than I thought I would… sorry for that. Snow White, you really got me thinking, I guess!

Hi 29 years

The less people who know the better. My husband told some people too. And people take sides, but my TRUE friends never wavered in their support of me. They are the only people I need. This situation helped weed out the fake insignificant relationships.

Really, those very people who judge are the ones who most likely have had affairs. You never really know!!! Kind of like evangelicals who preach then we read about them in the newspapers having affairs and worse !!!

I don’t know how old your children are but if they are in their late teens and older they probably no more than you think…..my children have unconditional love for me just as I have shown them. I’m sure they will support you!

Take care and have a happy weekend:)

Snow

Snowwhite,

Wonderful article. It shows that anyone can be “tempted” and
“fall” into that temptation. The story of Eve’s temptation in the Garden of Eden and the horrible consequences to herself, her husband and her children…ALL thrown out of the Garden of Eden because of her fall.

When we fall it does not mean that we are “evil” or that we are a psychopath even though what we have done is “bad”—there is none among us without sin! NONE “for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God” as the Bible says.

When we do something that is against our moral compass we have a CONSCIENCE and we LEARN FROM IT, and we REPENT of it and we QUIT repeating that “sin.”

The difference between us and “them” is that they continue to engage in the bad behaviors WITHOUT a moral compass (though they do know right from wrong.”)

However, unfortunately the CONSEQUENCES of our lapse in moral judgment may follow us forever in some cases….we can still FORGIVE OURSELVES and make a good life for ourselves. We don’t have to wear the SCARLET LETTER or sit in the stocks for the neighbors to throw tomatoes at, or to wear sack cloth and ashes.

We can take our cue from King David who was “a man after god’s own heart” yet David was a sinful man who did some pretty bad things including adultery and murder, but when confronted with his bad behavior HE REPENTED. When his son with Bathsheba lay dying, he covered himself with sack cloth and ashes and prayed, but when the son was gone, he got up, washed his face and resumed his life as “a man after god;’s own heart.” David did not live the rest of his life in the sack cloth and ashes, but FORGAVE himself as God had forgiven him after he repented.

Even for those people who are not believers, the Bible has some good lessons in how we should forgive OURSELVES, quit holding a “grudge” as it were to ourselves.

We must trust that we will in the future do what we know is right, and resist the temptations that come our way from the psychopaths–the “Satans THAT WALK AMONG US. We will recognize them for what they are and see that the temptations they present are FALSE and that we will not become VICTIMS or allow them to skew our own moral compasses.

Good job, Snowwhite!

Snow White,

You mentioned the very preachers who preach so harshly against the sins of others ARE INDEED the very ones who are guilty themselves.

The minister at my little church (about 50 people or so) recently got caught in an internet sting sending pictures of his “junk” to what he thought was a 14 year old girl. The “girl” was a 40 year old deputy and met him at the hotel with hand cuffs. This is the man who condemned me for not trusting a 3x convicted pedophiile who had infiltrated my family with the purpose of murdering me so my son Patrick could have an inheritance. I sort of feel some vindication now that the Trojan Horse, and my Daughter in law, who was having an affair with him went to jail, as well as the minister who defended them from “mean old me.” We don’t always get that vindication, but when it does come, it is sweet.

I have no doubt that Charming will meet his own doom as he continually uses and abuses others. There are always consequences to living the life he is living. We may not see them or even know about them, but I’ve known many psychopaths who in the end as they faced the end of their lives, came to that unhappy end very UNhappy.

20 years, I wish I had your gift of articulating your emotions so well. I identified so much with what you wrote. ..I have learned to forgive myself because it is between me and my God. He is the only one that really knows my personal painful experience, the reason I partook in it, how I was hooked in it and the gift I received from it. With my child, that is another post where i could write a book..

now on books, Snow and 20years, I have a complete library as well at home…i couldnt stop ordering books, looking for an understanding and the books were what helped keep me alive.(I didnt even know what a psychopath was until months after the relationship ended..most of the books I read were on NPD and now I see clearly that he is a Narcissitic Psychopath (by HARE definition) with Borderline Personality Disorder confirmed by my therapist and I did not know of this site at the time.) I did not come across one that was specifically written for the P and the married woman but there was a book or two that referenced the married woman or the lover or the mistress..those references seemed to make feel not alone.
The “cheating” is an acting out..along with the seducing makes it difficult to make a smart decision…Sometimes not being able to make a “grownup” choice,is a byproduct of our childhood and although we are no longer childeren and as adults we can now make our own choices and accountable for same but if you dont, sometimes, someone else (like a P) will make them for us….It is sad to see all the envy and judgemental types as they only see the surface and use it to help their own insecurities…but if people could only look deeper and see that it is connected to our humaness, and to reach out with love and grace…this is the time that friendship is needed the most.. but i hate to say it, i would have drove any friend insane because i stayed in confusion and pain too long and I was not taking charge of my life..
I now believe that I will be writing my own fairytale with a joyous ending indeed!!.

20years,
Michael Lewis wrote, “shame is like a subatomic particle. One’s knowledge of shame is often limited to the trace it leaves.”

I would say the same about narcissism. You don’t have to meet a narcissist to know what he is, you can see it in the devastation he leaves in his family.

An 80 year old lady was crying to me, “why did my mother abandon me? Why did she send me to live with 18 different families while I grew up?” Her mother and father were married, they just didn’t want the child living with them. From what I gleaned from her, I deduced that her father was a pedophile and the mom was protecting her. I said as much to her. The old lady vehemently denied it. “Oh no,” she said, “he wasn’t like that.”

Later I was talking to her daughter, herself a victim of 3 abusive husbands, chronic fatigue and severe fibromyalgia. She lives with her 300 lb daughter, a very assertive nurse who hates men. I told the daughter what had transpired between the old lady and myself. She said, “Oh no, grampa wasn’t that kind of man, you’re wrong. But he did try to fondle me once. I kept my distance after that.” WTF? Even while telling me what he had done, she denied that he was a pedophile.

The point is, 20years, that you can sometimes see much better from the distance of time and space, than you can see up close. I never met the man, but I knew what he was because the slime he left was passed down through the generations. Like a subatomic particle, they leave traces.

I propose to you that you distance yourself from the characters in your story, including yourself. As Oxy says, “toxic is toxic” and if you were slimed, that slime came from somewhere.

From LF, I’ve learned that toxic characters can drive us into doing things we never would have imagined because they are so out of character for us.

When it comes to spaths and N’s, we CAN profile them.

Alright, so I have to admit after that last little excursion I went on being mindf*****d the past couple months again, that Ox was right. I shouldn’t have broken that previous 9 months NC. BUT, being the ‘nice lady’, I tried to help him in one last stitch effort that perhaps something might have changed.

I am here to testify that absolutely nothing ever changes. These people always are the people we have a difficult time accepting their behaviors. No matter what our HEARTS tell us, those hearts are being used against us to harm us. And, there is no other way to explain that nor define it.

For those of you who are on this end of the spectrum, where I currently am, you absolutely KNOW of what I speak. My emotional and psychological well being has been re-damaged and although I am coming here to relay my experiences, and perhaps I deserve chastisement and lectures, I am hoping you all will look past that and try to understand the depths of what I am trying to share with all of you.

I have walked the halls of a psychopathic mind for almost ten years now. I have understood the workings of that mind. That ‘being’ almost consumed me and everything I am or will ever be again through nothing but manipulation of the heart and the conscious. So smooth and sweet and charming…that is the opening of the door….the door to hell.

Physically, I am not doing real well these days. It is a chore for me now to get up every morning and just move around. I am under constant doctors care and it only increases as time goes on. I have TWO psychologists working with me at the moment, trying to help me find some relief from all of us. But, nothing seems to really help. Such is the way of PTSD, I suppose. I have been diagnosed as having severe PTSD and MDD and the rest they won’t tell me anymore. All I know is that I have lived and walked and breathed in the very depths of hell as nobody could understand unless they walked it with me.

Just the day before yesterday, I received a very threatening phone call that was absolutely unsolicited and unwarranted. While it made me smile, laugh and giggle, the whole day and into the NEXT DAY, I also understood the seriousness of it and I have withdrawn my threats of any further involvement, legally and/or otherwise with any of the roadshow. I have requested that all further communications cease and we each take our own marbles and go home now.

After 9 months of NC, I broke it, because I listened to my heart. For two months, it was all I could stand. It was nothing but vile, abusive and using. THAT was the only reason “IT” walked back into my life was to see what he could use me for some more and I refused every single suggestion and when I did that, suddenly, the ‘lets run away and live happily ever afters’ turned into the ‘you f****ing B****, I am going to decimate you!” Funny how that works; hm?

So, I imagine my kindnesses has lead me back into being on the ‘hit list’ and since certain things had checked out for me in just HUGE WAYS, in a certain ‘private issue’, I made one final contact with the devil and his minions, expressing that I hereby release them from any legal prosecution and/or involvement from this moment forward and that all further communications will cease. I laid the issues out in very explicit and legal terms and that is the end of it. If it continues from this moment forward, I shall take any and all measures necessary to protect not only my life but my emotional and psychological well being.

I hope some one is out there listening to what I am trying to share here. I have been to that edge of hell and looked over the side of the cliff and I am trying to pull myself out of it. The only wrong I committed was believing in all the webs and manipulations that were set before me. It enthralled and en-captured me, I wanted to believe in all the lies because they made me a more full person and then the domination and manipulations and all the rest of that ugliness started and began, only “I” am not one easily weakened by tortures of the mind and the psyche. I can easily see how some might not come back from the brink of that hell. I had always considered myself stronger and more resilient and now I know I am.

I have to be. It’s my life and my survival. But that doesn’t mean I have to lay down my life for a demon to suck it dry from me either. I don’t know how I have survived all this. I seriously don’t. All I do know is that it is ME who has had to change all of this.

I gave the final: you don’t bother me and I won’t bother you speech and that was the end of that. I even said it did not need to be responded to. I mean it. I absolved them from any criminal and/or legal prosecution and said this is it. Period.

A lot of us has had different ‘degrees’ of spaths in our lives…mine, unfortunately is one of the ugly and violent kind….has a short fuse and it blows frequently but always on women and he meets them all online and lives off them for sex. He said that perhaps I would classify him as a whore, yet why wouldn’t I?

I am fighting, at this point, for my survival. And I mean that in every sense of the word, from a physical aspect. I do not have time for this nonsense in my world anymore. So, I released them, told them not to worry about it all…just go away and cease and desist and I will do the same. Just go away now. This is MY LIFE not yours.

Oh yes, skylar, we definitely can profile spaths. They come in different shades and hues but underneath they are all basically the same and some so cunning, one would never suspect…even one who has been aware…THAT is how good they are…

They know when to lay low and when to push all the right buttons. Trust me. They will walk you to the edge of the cliff, while holding you tight and looking into your eyes and telling you all the things you want to hear, just before they push you off the edge and laugh as you are falling to the bottom below. THAT is how instantaneous it can really get.

I am done with it so while I didn’t forgive him and his minions, I did ‘release’ them. It’s over. Inside me, where it counts. I have a foothold now and I need to keep it if I am going to have anything enjoyable left of this life. HE ISNT GETTING IT EVEN THOUGH THAT IS WHAT HE WANTS. He just isn’t getting it.

Love to you all…I had to come back and share.

Dupey

Thanks, Ox Drover, for your support.

I wish I could articulate the baby steps he took to take me so far away
Away from who I am. He brainwashed me into believing it was the
Morally right thing to do. I am very hard on myself for allowing it to happen. But I do love my husband and have been there for him even when he wasn’t so nice. He has since cleaned up his act. Stopped smoking weed!!! I was lonely when he was working out of town so mych and when he was home he was stoned. It made be receptive to the love bombing.

Bottom line….I started seeing red flags, still had feelings for my husband, my husband forgave me…….and hopefully true love will prevail

Some great points, Sky because we can see genetic and behavioral trail of slime through the generations.

Also, sometimes things seen from the eyes of a child, like this girl feeling abandoned because her mom farmed her out (for a good reason) the child felt abandonment when the real reason was protection. In those days that was about the ONLY option mom had to protect her child.

My egg donor was envious of my relationship with her parents (I was the child with the “coat of many colors” the “favored child of their old age”) she resented that they spent more time and more on me than they had on her, not of course realizing that when she was born in 1929, just FEEDING his children was a daily struggle for my grandfather, and the depression was DEEPLY felt in the community for the first 30 years of my egg donor’s life.

I think she was more jealous of the TIME they spent with me (they were semi or fully retired when I was growing up and not rich, but comfortable.) It seemed like she was always more “cranky” when I would return back from visiting them in the summer or during long school breaks.

As an adult I was able to see the lineage of the dysfunction in her mom’s side of the family down through the generations of drunken abusive men with enabling wives back to before the Civil War….down to my Uncle Monster (egg donor’s brother) who was criminally abusive to his wife and GFs and his children and even his mother.

Dupey – I know exactly what you mean. I got to the point where I just had to let it go. Sometimes that is absolutely the best thing to do.

Take care of yourself. You and your beautiful heart are worth more than that stupid piece of crap ever deserved.

Snow White,

I’m glad that things are working out for you and your husband. Sometimes it takes a shake up like this for the light to shine in the cracks and illuminate things. So all is well that ends well!

Snow, I wish I could express it in the depth of the Lie that it was..
My therapist made a statement that used the words “under a spell” and I got angry, because it was only a word to her and it was a reality to me.(I did not want that word used lightly in any manner) …the way vampires seduce and put their victims in a trance to do their bidding…I dont think anyone really knows the depth of this evil unless they have lived it…unfortunately their will be others and that grieves me so much.
One of the books I read was The Art of Seduction, an amoral book, one of darkness and his ass was written all over it!! He had several modes of operation.. He was full blown and so identifiable and I was sadly a very ignorant fool .However, NOT ANY MORE…it feels so good to actually have a life…I appreciate my husband, even though he never changed his ways, but I have made changes and I am sure he will follow down the road…His life is about work..we are learning to actually relate to one another and create emotional intimacy..it is surely babysteps in this area and the physical and sexual may need a miracle but I am just fine where I am and will never look outside again..in the words of Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz, There is No Place Like Home..

Thank you Donna for your warmth, caring and understanding.
I love you too.

Dupey

This is brilliant, skylar:
“I never met the man, but I knew what he was because the slime he left was passed down through the generations. Like a subatomic particle, they leave traces.”

Great article Snow White.

The more I look at this stuff, the more I’m convinced that toxic people (Ps, Ns, etc) use Mind Control on us. Slowly, slowly, drip, drip, drip, they condition us to act out of character and against our intuition. Unfortunately, we don’t realize it until after the damage is done.

Another topic in the books I read is hypnotism. And yes, you are RIGHT about mind control, clair!

I don’t mean that I am letting myself off the hook for my part in it, but there was something else going on there in the seduction.

Hypnotism is kind of a scary subject, if you delve into it. But useful stuff to know, I wish I’d known before. I had always thought of it as a sort of benign thing but it definitely is a tool that can be misused for brainwashing in the hands of someone with ill intentions towards others.

I completly agree, alive today. There is no place like home. When I unpacked and made the commitment to work on my marriage, it was a very difficult decision. I was still morning the loss of the fairy tale he created. I credit my therapist for helping me to see the light. I never thought I could remain married after what I had done. She helped to understand…..our couples counselor was even more helpful. However, they were not schooled in psychopathy. Donna and Claudia are the women who educated me through their brilliant writing and work.

The first time I made love with my husband after this whole mess, I broke down and cried. I have been monogous my whole life. Switching partners is not something I took lightly…not when the affair started and just as difficult trying to reconnect with my husband. I still have nightmares, but it’s been just over two months of no contact and it does get easier.

I am looking into pursuing a masters in mental health and would like to specialize in this field to help other women. Maybe there really is a silver lining in all of this.

I do hope that someday all the people at my former workout studio know what he is. He continues to go there, hadn’t changed his life at all, and I had to start my life all over. Maybe someday it all won’t matter….that’s when I’ll know I’m over it!!!

Snow

Thank you, 20years.

In addition to Mind Control (& Brain Washing), I believe we need to break our spiritual connection to these toxic, evil doers.

Doreen Virtue has a show on Hay House Radio, in which she frequently talks about how people need to break the thread connecting them to the toxic people in their lives. She calls it “Clearing”. Here’s a link to her show: http://www.hayhouseradio.com/hosts.php?author_id=84

I like to attack the damage from multiple sides: fight the Mind Control & Brain Washing and break the toxic spiritual connection.

Thank you so much for sharing your story, Snow White. You’re really enlightening the world by sharing your experience.

Snow White…..THANK-YOU for telling more of your story. Every time I see someone else healing, even making baby steps, I heal a little bit more. All the little tender spots are soothed by being able to witness the insight, courage, and strength it takes for each of us to waken and move toward wholeness.

20 years….(((hugs))). I broke my first husband’s heart by having an affair with a spath. I didn’t realize it had happened this way until I came to LF, about 5 years ago. Then I saw how many of these creepazoids I had gotten involved with. My ex husband doesn’t speak to me. But I did send him a letter, free of excuses or explanations, letting him know he didn’t deserve a bit of the confusion and hurt I put on him, and that I was truly sorry. Then I had to let it go. All of his friends dumped me.

In a way I am OK with that. I was SO caught up in the spathic illusion, I behaved horribly. It’s no wonder they thought I was a rotten person. Likely they still do. Sigh…..It is embarrassing to revisit some of my terrible choices.

That is one of my greatest regrets when I think of being involved with so many spaths: that I turned into a person I didn’t like. That I have done things I will likely always feel ‘bad’ about.

I don’t have children 20years…so I don’t know what it would be like to try to ‘come clean’ with them. Perhaps it isn’t necessary? I would suggest you consider whether it is essential and will be healing and help bring you together…..or if it may have more negative effects on your relationships.

Dupey….I am so glad you are back. I am so heartened to hear your resolve to excise yourself from his poisonous abuse. Thank you for coming back and telling it ‘true’. Now I KNOW they never change, even more than I KNEW before!

Slim

slimone: thanks. Yes, resolve to ‘excorise’ myself from this evilness and this poisonous abuse. Take my word for it, they don’t change….

blessing and peace to you slimone….

SnowWhite

Thank you for sharing your story. I separated from my husband to have a relationship wtih my spath. What a flipping mistake. I am back with my husband but haven’t been able to be intimate with him. I am so angry at myself. I can’t forgive myself. I am afraid. I don’t know how to open myself up to be vulnerable again. I have been back with my husband for a while, but only no contact with my spath for about a month.

How did you do it? How did you have the strength and ability to get back with your husband in an intimate way? I am so stuck.

Athena

Very, very interesting accounting of what happened. Thank you, Snow White.

It struck me as I was reading that we are given many things to look for that serve as warnings, such as the red flags, but I haven’t seen a list that suggests, “This is the real thing.”

Compounding the issue is that some of the red flags are things that would be desirable from a non-P. In an appropriate and healthy relationship, there would be gifts and declarations of love. How do we identify, or explain to someone else, what the differences are?

Several years ago, I listened to program on Unity Radio online about what it takes to rebuild trust in a marriage when one of the spouses cheats.

What was emphasized is that the guilty partner is going to have to prove, time and time again, that he/she is really committed to make the marriage succeed. It will not be a case of being a “good girl” or “good boy” for a couple of months and all will be forgiven and forgotten. It could conceivably take years.

They also emphasized that it is too bad if the cheating spouse felt put upon or that the demands are unrelenting. The cheating spouse created the situation; the cheating spouse was accountable for re-establishing the trust.

The marriage counselors emphasized that the betrayed spouse has ever reason to feel wounded and reluctant about accepting that the cheating spouse will cheat, again.

This program actually blew me away somewhat because I have never seen a book or article on what it takes to establish trust in a relationship. It seems to me that there are always vague instructions. “There needs to be openness.” The difficulty of identifying such a generality also makes it easy to be exploited. “What you mean I’m not open? I talked to you about…”

The marriage counselors in the Unity program said things like, “The cheating spouse needs to put the other first at times, not when it is convenient, but when it is inconvenient. The cheater broke the rules. Mending the marriage rests entirely on the cheater. If the is cheater sincerely interested in ensuring the marriage will survive, these are the steps that need to be taken.”

A recurring theme in protecting us from Ps seems to be not accepting them too quickly. Do not rush into things, but, given what Snow White and others have said and experienced, some Ps do take a long time.

I experienced that with my son’s father, also a P. From my perspective, he was literally taking years to get close to me. However, when I read what Snow White wrote, the light went on that I was thinking only from my perspective.

What my son’s P father only focused on me? Was I his only goal? Apparently not. He had women galore (I later found out.) Some people might call him a sex addict. Knowing as much as I now do about him, he is definitely a P.

Getting back to his initial dealings with me, his dance card was all filled up. He was very, very busy. What I was interpreting as him taking his time with getting to know me was really him getting back to me when he could. He didn’t slip up, either. He was gifted in keeping things straight.

I am a quality assurance professional. I do a lot of work with specifications (specs.) A general rule of thumb is that when you are creating specifications, you do not focus on preventing what can go wrong because, theoretically, anything can go wrong.

For example, a tornado could destroy my house and I could lose all my wonderful writings. The chances that a tornado is going to hit the house and tear it apart are close to nil, especially since I live in New England near the ocean. Could a tornado happen here? We actually had a water spout next to the town beach a few years back, but it is far more likely that my computer could crash or lightning could knock out the power. What makes sense is to put my energy into ensuring that my computer will not crash and that the surge protectors that I use are adequate enough to handle “normal use and abuse.” It would also help if I regularly backed up my documents.

QA focuses on two things:

First, we define to the fullest extent possible what is desired. No generalities.

Maybe something is to be painted green. Which shade of green? Does it need to match a standard? Will it be near other colors that it needs to compliment? What type of paint? How will the paint be applied? What is it being applied to? What kind of preparation must the object undergo before it is painted? How will the object be used? Will the paint chip off, fade, or possibly be eaten or sucked on by children? Will it be subject to salt? Will it be out in the weather? What kind of weather conditions? Extreme? Which seasons? The list goes on.

Second, we then look at all the factors and the system that is contributing to making the desired object. We put a tremendous amount of energy into finding out what would happen if something failed to function as intended. What are the worst case scenarios? If we are spraying on the paint, can the sprayer get clogged? Are there any risks that dirt, dusk, or whatever will be in the environment when there is wet paint? What is the optimal way to dry the paint? What if the heat is too high or too low? What if the drying time is too short or too long? Other things we look at include how much lead time is necessary and when the item needs to be delivered.

My point is that I would really like to see some kind of guidance for people to know that their potential love interests are worth the interest.

I hear “rules” like: “Never sleep with a new person on the first date. Wait until the third or the fifth date.” “Don’t change your Facebook status too soon. It might scare the person away. Wait a few months.” I suspect that many people are so eager for intimacy that they are more than willing to rush the relationship.

I also think most people have no real idea how to develop trust or how long it takes to develop it.

It’s reasonable to assume that normal, healthy people would say that they want to be in a relationship with a partner that they can trust. Well, are there any steps or guidelines for establishing trust?

The marriage counselors above made the trust process sound punitive. They were on the right track about trust needing to take time, but shouldn’t there have been something also coming from the wounded partner’s side? I could easily see what they were describing being misused in the wrong hands. I don’t think it was about permitting the wounded partner to put out hoops and demand that the unfaithful spouse jump through them.

Can anybody recommend any books or guidelines about how to identify when a relationship is healthy and/or how to develop and/or recognize that trust exists in a relationship?

Instead of us defining what we don’t want, my question is what exactly is it that we do want?

What are the signs that a relationship is positive, healthy, and loving?

Read: “Help, I am in love with a psychopath” – eye opening…

G1S:

Very, very good points. A lot to think about.

Snow, I encourage you to pursue your masters in mental health and focusing in on this illness. Sometimes I feel like I have a phd from all the reading I have done!! But I did get a phd at the school of Hard Knocks! thats for sure!…From the way you write, you are doing great things to help others now and will be doing greater things in the future.
I believe that when the married partners agree to stay in the marriage and work on it, that it is from that point, a 2-way agreement..Yes, the one that cheated will have to extend a consistent reassurance to the spouse i.e. like calling to check in more frequently letting them know your status…but all the same, it was the non-cheating spouse’s decision to stay as well and they too need to remember this…

I have heard that in a healthy type of initial love, you should maybe have butterflies but not Lightning Bolts!..that could be a way to measure..

G1S, GReat points, what DO we want in a relationship? What does it take to establish trust?

One of my step sons broke his marriage vows…to the extent of kissing another woman. His wife found out and they went to counseling. they had a son about 10-12 at the time, and he really wanted to stay in the marriage so he did his best to regain her trust.

However, she never let him regain that trust, and she “told” everyone in the world what he had done, even me, and I had NO need to know. This was her way of punishing him for years and years even though he worked hard at reestablishing a trusting relationship.

Finally when their kid turned 18, he said, “Okay, I’ve done everything I can for 8 or 10 years to get you to get over this, but I am no longer going to take your verbal abuse over what happened, if you are not happy or don’t trust me, then we’ll split everything we have down the middle and “part friends.”

So what I’m trying to say here is that the “injured spouse” also has to take responsibility for working on the relationship that they have agreed to stay in after they were the “injured party.”

G1S,

You said “It struck me as I was reading that we are given many things to look for that serve as warnings, such as the red flags, but I haven’t seen a list that suggests, “This is the real thing.”

Well, I have been confronted with a similar question this week over my “love of my life” who gave me a love declaration this week very unexpectedly after 11 years of breaking up with me. haven”t hoped and expected this commitment issued man would ever see the light for at least about almost 4 years.

Oxy and others here rightfully asked questions about this guy. Heck I’ve been wondering the past two months why I’m so certain he ain’t a spath lovebombing me, and why this countract I had with my soul to love him iuncdontionally rregardless 10.5 years ago, before I ever knew what the red flags of a spath were.

First I’ll sum up a few symptoms of this man which could be considered red flags

a) he’s got a long line of conquests
b) not a good history with comittment, or hasn’t had a relationship that lasted longer than a year as far as I know after me
c) he hasn’t built a stable career, though he’s in his early 40s, except for tourleading which is seasonal work and takes him abroad for a long while
d) he tends to move about…. see c) yourleading in Mexico, Usa, Canada, etc
e) He lied at once to my knowledge: either when he told me he loved me, OR when he denied being in love with me at all and consequently hurt me

Despite those 4 cold arguments I KNOW he ain’t a spath, though he has had at least other issues…

There are 2 things that imo show all the above 4 red flags have nothing to do with being a spath

a) he takes responsibility. Yup, he doesn’t have a stable career, but he blames no one for it, only himself.
b) despites him negating the depth of his feelings, or his previously said words, his actions are all about caring, taking care of a person, and not abandonding them
c) he’s been an inspirator throughout those 11.5 years I’ve known him, never has been a put-downer

I’ll explain what happened 11-12 years ago. We met during a holiday trip in Mexico where he was my tourleader (ooh bad). We were no item at all durng the first week, but the attraction was growng mutually. On the one night out we ended up together and with some shyness and fear from me, we were an item the second week until everybody had left and he dropped me off at the airport of Cancun to leave for Belgium. Once in Belgium, I realized I loved this guy. In other words (I knew the guy 2 weeks tops), and yet I was head over heels with him (oooh another bad). And I told him so. He was surprised but answered he was really fond with me too, and eventually that he loved me too. We had an email long distance relationship for 6 months, while he was traveling through South America for hs own travel pleasure. I grew more and more in love, and when he was fnally back in his homeground (San Diego), after missing him for 6 months, I got a plane ticket to visit him for two weeks.

A sidenote: when I met him I was getting VERY dissatisfied with my career, and I was at a loss what to do with my life careerwise. He inspired me and told me that I had all the talent and social gifts and spirit to be an adventure tourleader myself. I never in my life before heard of such a job at all, and once he told me I realized that it was true…. that I was a leader and that I had social skills to work with people (managing, leading, inspirng, etc)… BUt at the time he was the sole one in my life that made any sense or meaning. (ooh, another bad… my bad though)

Anyway, I visted him. He welcomed me generously, and yet while he gave, he would hold back at the same time. Note, he would act generously, and yet verbally demean his actions at the same time as if they meant nothing, or that at least I shouldn’t make more of hsi actions. This confused me and eventually instilled a fear in me. He was otherwise very honest. He had a one night stand during his 4 months in South America and shared it honestly. I hadn’t been with anyone else in that time, so it did add to the fear that was starting to grow, but he hadn’t committed himself to me at the time. I also learned that of the two weeks being in San Diego, I’d only get to see him for one week. He was scheduled to tourlead in Canada for my second week.

He took me out, he was gentle, caring, and yet by the third morning my fear had grown so much that I voiced it and that’s when it started to blow up in our faces. The moment I shared my fear he pulled back and told me he wasn’t in love with me, and when I asked him to explain that he rationally said “that his words were just words and I made more out of it than it could rationally be.” (so initially he kinda blamed me for being too much in love with him)

Now if he were a spath he’d have gotten rid of me then and there. But that’s not what he did at all. He introduced me to his brother, his mother, his stepfather, his father and his stepmother irregardless. He kept taking me on outings, drive me anywhere I wanted. Though I kept the falling apart of myself under wraps, never showed it outwardly (I told myself to be strong), he could have felt it on a subconscious level. It gave him NO pleasure. On the one hand he grew more distanced emotionally, and yet at the same time more concerned about my well being. In every respect he acted as if he felt horribly guilty for hurting me in a way he had not conceived (he never expected me to be as smitten as I was) and eager to please any need of me. Heck, he even made sure to look for a good address for the second week for me to stay: plenty of people to surround and distract me, a safe place. AND he urged his brother to at least go do something with me once in the second week when he was gone to Canada already and get me safely back to my plane home. And even at the last but one final night he revealed to me that he had been contemplating whether he had made the right decision and thought he had, he still made sure he and his family would entertain me before dropping me off personally at this “safe address”. He was totally emotionally drained when he did drop me off.

Now remember the spath you were involved with G1S? Could you ever imagine him going through painstaking care and trouble to make sure you would be alright after he broke-up with you, to his own inconvenience? A spath wouldn’t do that at all. And this man had NO enjoyment at all in witnessing me breaking down in front of his eyes. He was emotionally drained from the weight of (at that time) hidden guilt from it.

When I was in a crisis, in the aftermath, in the months following, as my head fought with my heart… my mind reasons to believe his words over his actions, whereas my heart told me to believe his actions over his words. Eventually I chose to believe his actions over his words of denial of loving me back. In those 11.5 years his actions have ALWAYS proved his denial in words to be wrong.

Again a sidenote: half a year after the break up he took ALL blame upon himself for my hurt. He apologized totally and completely.

We met again in London 2 years AFTER first meeting each other. We were together for a whole weekend, sleeping in the same bed, same room. It had originally been the “plan” to include sex. It never happened. He said he had met someone before going to Europe and at the time wasn’t committed yet, but now that he was going back to CA, he felt he should be fateful to the woman. I’m utterly concvinced he also refrained from having an y sex with me for my own benefit. I had agreed to meet him, thinking I’d finally see why we hadn’t worked out. But I saw nothing of the sort. Within 5 mins we were talking as if we had last saw each other the day before. When it came to connecting, there had been no separation at all; not for me, and admittedly not for him either (he actually swore that he believed it to be a max of 6 months between last seeing each other, ad yet it was 1.5 year).

Would a spath have held his hands and his libido to himself those two nights? No way!

A month later, after London, I ended up in San Diego rather unwllingly. I wanted to go NC finally, since it was clear I’d never get over him at all. He and our connection stll had everything I held dear. But it was the sole cheap ticket I could find at such a short notice fr Christmass. I refused to call him for several days, and planned to rent a car and travel Baja California. But I was stuck for much longer in San Diego than planned. Everything went wrong and I was stuck. So, eventually I called his mother who gave me his phone number and we met over a lunch beverage at the pier. I confessed how London had done NOTHING to feel any less for him, and though there were some signs the gf was not all he had hoped and believed her to be, he “told” me that he was not in love with me.

And yet, when he learned about my plans to drive down Baja California all the way down to Cabo San Lucas all by myself, he switched from a guy who claimed never to have had enough feelings to “be in love with me”, gave me every practical advice he could think of to keep me safe: 10 $ in my pocket to bribe the police if I was stopped; a rosary with cross at my rearview mirror to pretend I was a Catholic; wearing a ring around my finger and pretend I was engaged or married; several liters of water to either cool down an overheated car or satsify my thirst if I ever got stuck in the desert; I had to promise him not to drive in Baja after sunset otherwise I risked hitting a cow or bull attracted to the heat of the tarmac; and I had to promise to call him once I arrived safely back in San Diego from my drive into Mexican backcountry.

Again, think of the spath you were involved with, during the devaluating and discarding phase? Would he ever have given you such particular advice? I know my ex-spath wouldn’t have cared a wits about my safety once he ditched me.

I can go on and on and on… I can’t remember how many times he begged me to quit smoking in the course of those 11 years.

Though he was a coward for such a long time by retracting the words that he loved me, his actions always proved that he deeply cared for me.

The same warning for spaths counts for non-spaths with issues: ACTIONS SPEAK LOUDER THAN WORDS, but in the reverse…with non-spaths who have empathy and a conscious their actions betray how much they really care and feel responsible, even though it would be the last they’d admit.

Hi Callmeathena,

I’m so sorry you too had to go through the same hellish experience. I think the hardest part of all of this is realizing the whole relationship was based on control, winning, and their addiction to sex. He loved that he had control of me and slowly conditioned me to do what he wanted. They are so convincing that your whole frame of mind changes…..eventually your husband become the enemy, the stranger….and the path who is actually your tormentor becomes your confidant and savior. It’s really pretty messed up. He’s causing all the pain and turmoil in your life, yet you seek him for comfort????

My husband and I went to a marriage counselor. Initially, her purpose was to help us get through the divorce. By the next time we met with her, we both decided that we wanted to try and make it work. For about 4 weeks after no contact, I was still confused. Then I started reading. The Love Fraud book precising explains all Charming’s characteristics and manipulations. Psychopathyawareness.wordpress.com and this site helped me so much. I also read Sandra Brown’s book, Women Who Love Psychopaths. Another book I read was: Women’s Infidelity: Limbo and Part II Breaking out of Limbo. It really helped me understand what I was going through. Of course, as you can tell by reading my posts, this was not a typical affair. I definitely was targeted and pursued for months and months before it ever got physical.

Now I don’t want to mislead anyone….I take full responsibility for my actions. But as my counselors told both of us, our marriage was in trouble, or I would have never allowed this to happen. But it does take two…..I won’t go into all of my marital issues, but it does take two people to have a happy or unhappy marriage. The fault lies with both of us…..unfortunately, I was the one to act on it. Had Prince Charming not been a path and not been extremely predatory…..this would have never happened. Trust me, I have been with my husband for 27+ years and never conceived of being with anyone else!

I think first you have to come to terms with who this guy is and understand what he did to you. Every time you have doubts about the honeymoon or idealization phase with him, go online and read this site and the psychopathyawareness.wordpress.com site. Whenever I feel weak, I re-read these posts, and it puts it back into perspective.

I have to admit, it was very hard being intimate with my husband again. My counselor told me that I have to try and grieve the loss of Charming simultaneously while starting to rebuild things with my husband. They told me that we will know within six months of counseling whether our marriage will work or not. All I can say is I’m trying. I’m educating myself and talking with people like you who have helped me so much. I had planned a carribean vacation long before this all happened. I never expected us to be together let alone take the trip, but we did. Getting away really helped.

I found a woman who went through the exact same thing I went through although with a very different ending. Her blog in also on wordpress. Here is the address http://brilliantdisguisedotme.wordpress.com/about/ This woman’s story in incredible and she is so amazing. For all she has gone through, she still maintains her sense of humor and is picking up the pieces of her life and moving on. I’ll love to hear feedback from you after you read her site.

I am also a realist….or always thought I was. I am owning the fact that I did this, and now I am dealing with the aftermath. If my marriage cannot be saved, I will not die. I will do what I have to to live a happy life. But for now, I am giving it my best shot. At least I know that if my marriage ends, I gave it my best effort and I won’t be leaving because someone else told me to do it.

I hope I have helped you.

Snow

No, Darwinsmom, my son’s P father would never do what you described. He has never cared one iota for anybody else unless it made him look good and once his image was no longer being enhanced, he didn’t need to go on with the playacting. He can coldly drop people without blinking. I’ve seen him. He just walks away as if they never existed.

I know somebody who has severe commitment issues who can act as you described. He lives in Norway and re-connected with me via the Internet. We chat online and some days it feels like old times, but in old times, he was never there for me emotionally either. Ultimately, the relationship will go nowhere due to his fear of commitment.

I could keep up a relationship of emotional distance with him until one of us died because for him, that was as good as it gets. On his level, he was satisfied. He knows he can’t offer anything more. He has been honest about that. For me, I felt very shortchanged. I am not going to work at this relationship because it is wasted energy.

I have a history of emotionally unavailable men. It’s torn me apart inside. I don’t want emotional unavailability. I want to be connected with someone on a deeper level.

Some days I am genuinely amazed by the depth of my loneliness.

Alivetoday, Thanks. I found that I would have to take 17 classes and do an internship for a masters in mental health. I think I can knock it off leisurely in three year.

I agree with you on all the reading……It really does educate us on this disorder.

Hope everything is going better for you.

Snow

Snow,

You reminded me of something. I read that who cheats in a marriage is due more to whom an opportunity presents itself first.

If people cheat in a marriage, and this could be wrong, but it was part of the above theory, they cheat because the marriage was already in trouble.

Perhaps the reasoning behind that is if the marriage were happy and functioning in a healthy manner, neither spouses’ eye would have turned to somebody else.

Don’t know. I do know that when my ex-husband and I went for marriage counseling, the woman liked me and not him. She told me to dump him. She didn’t even bother to try to help us. Obviously, our marriage had hit a pretty bad spot for us to seek marriage counseling, but we have both wondered how things might have worked out if we had found a counselor who was willing to put in some effort.

What am I saying? We were both so screwed up back then. It never would have worked.

That’s really funny that the counselor didn’t like him. I think that says a lot! I can’t get a read on our counselor. It is really embarrassing though. She must think we are really screwed up. I have never been in counseling before this and it’s really hard putting it all out there in front of a stranger face to face. I much prefer blogging, but counseling has helped.

If you think about it more than 50% of all marriages fail….no one said it was going to be easy. But it doesn’t mean you should stay in marriage if you are not happy.

I hope you are in a happy place now.

Snow

one/joy_step_at_a_time

Snow,
this really stuck out for me:’ It didn’t bother him in the least that I was an emotional wreck. In fact, I believe it empowered him.’ yes. yes. and yes!

one thing you missed from your list of flags was ‘projection’. everything he accused others of, HE did. I believe they do this to test our reactions – to see what we will ‘allow’ of their bad behaviour. They push the boundaries continually, taking us down the rabbit hole.

We have to take responsibility for what we wrapped ourselves up in, as it is part of of our healing and unweaving the fairytale that we were living out. That said, there is a line from an Adele song that I like very much: ‘yes, I swam in muddy waters, but you pushed me in.’

thanks for sharing your story.

Snow,
It is going better…Good people are coming into my life and I am being blessed so much. Now when I am applauded or complimented on something, such as hearing that I am smart, I totally receive it…I dont shy away from compliments or disbelieve them..I hear them and now I am hearing them from my husband.
He has a list of issues and I have been told by many people and a lot of them were strangers, that I am a Saint…He has made having a relationship very challenging and I guess in 20 years, one gets weaker and stronger at different times…..He is my second husband who came from a core mindset of “make money”,it consumes him 24 hours a day…every conversation is about businesses…sometimes the dogs and that is what gave us a family connection, the dogs (he has ADHD and goes on highs and lows and will not seek help for same). he tried to cover the loss of the relationship with buying “stuff” and acts of good deeds to replace the emotional, sexual, physical intimacy. I grew up from an Italian background and we were very passionate and touchy..he never held me, kissed me but he lived for me and after i cheated, it was almost like he was the Martyr for staying ,….but i know he needs me and the changes I have made can only lead him to changes,,,hopefully for the better…My first husband of 10 years was from the middle east and he was a narcissit and i did my all to be the most abiding wife to be part of him and his culture…until the physical abuse entered in…
Today I feel stronger and clearer about making decisions that are in my best interest. This feeling gives me a sense of indivduality and that I have a place that counts in this world..I now believe…..After the heavy hands, threats of being disowned and rejection combined with adoration and love when necessary from my mother, I had no idea what to think..the inconsistencies brought only fear…never knowing what to expect…I thought I was strong enough to handle whatever rage the path projected on to me as I was my mothers escapegoat for her reason to drink or rage or physically abuse so she could get release from her pain. My mother projected so much of her selfhate on to me..I had no idea what a damaged adult life that this was causing…all I know now, is that i want to live a good life, my life with love and peace with guidance from God and choose right rather than what I know would be wrong…choose safe people to be around…I finally chose to not feel responsible for someone elses feeling and if they rejected me, i was going to grit my teeth throw it but by God, I was going to stay away from bad energy…I did it..and i felt like it was my right to..i breathe myself back into the present moment..I do that alot..
Please forgive my choppy and no transition sentences and jumping from so many different topics…
Snow, thank you for your kindness and your acknowledgments. I appreciate you. Peace to your Soul:)

Our divorce was FINALIZED in 1980. Our marriage is ancient history.

We were both very young. He is 5 1/2 years younger than I am so he was very immature as well.

hi all,
my apologies for my english, english is not my first language.
I am a 35 years old from Belgium.
i have a question concerning trust and new relationship. I have dated and worked with an con-artist for 4 years.
He robbed me of the money, company and private assets, private house..my company is in liquidation..it’s been 2 years ago, since than there is a low suit running..
At this moment, I am entering a new relationship with a man who is warm, helpful, protective..
It seems that that person know exactly what my needs are,he makes me feel comfortable and loved..yet I have a huge problems to trust him…What If…is my daily question.
If I see a movement, a gesture or I hear a phrase that reminds me of my ex, I begin to link these 2 people and I start to panic…I’d rather escape. I am very unstable right now. my boyfriend is very patient yet i don’t want to hurt him. He wants to wait and give me time I need.. I want this relationship to work very much. What should I do ? Are my feelings normal?

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