Editor’s note: Lovefraud received the following email from a reader whom we’ll call “Bridgette.”
This is the first time that I have publicly talked about my experience with a sociopath. It happened when I was 19 years old, and I’m 34 now. Ever since this so-called engagement happened, I’ve never had a “normal,” relationship with a man. I won’t say that this man ruined me, but he took something from me that I can never get back.
I go back to 1997 and I remember starting up a relationship with a guy who I met in a chatroom, just by chance. We started IM’ing each other, and as time went by, I started calling Maryland and he was calling California. I fell in love with him immediately. He was charming and always wanted to make sure I was okay. I did notice that he was incredibly jealous, but it didn’t bother me too much. He told me he was leaving Maryland to come to California to go to school. I was thrilled. Something inside of my gut told me that this was too good to be true. He gave me a flight number, and the name of the school he was going to attend, and my parents agreed to let him stay with us for two weeks before school started. I contacted the school to make sure all of his stuff was in order. They told me that they had never heard of him, and had no idea what I was talking about. I looked up the flight number and that didn’t exist either.
I called him out on these lies and he explained that he didn’t have the money for school, or the plane ticket, but he just couldn’t bring himself to tell me. Amazingly I felt terrible. My parents lent him money for a bus ticket, and told him that he could stay with us until he found a job in Los Angeles. They knew that I was in love with him, and my mother was so happy to see me so happy. He was the first man I had ever been with, and that was a big deal for me. He treated me like a princess. He told me I was the most beautiful girl he had ever been with, and that he was going to marry me.
The first two months he was charming, but then I started to see a very dark side. The first time it happened on the freeway in L.A. I couldn’t find a certain off ramp and he screamed at me and said I was, “stupid.” I remember silently crying to myself and actually believing that i might be an idiot. The second time my brother was watching the big T.V. in the living room and my boyfriend wanted to watch it, so he demanded I tell my brother to stop watching it. I couldn’t tell my brother to get out. He physically attacked me at that point. One day we got an angry call from his sister saying that his calls from Maryland to California had never been paid for, and he had left his mother with a $700 phone bill. She was on SSI and couldn’t pay it. All of these red flags kept coming up and I still didn’t pay any attention.
He had a stable job that he up and quit for no reason. He found a job that would allow him to stay up at night and work on his computer (or so I thought.) One day I had this really bad feeling in my stomach. I knew something was terribly wrong. I was the main account holder to our Internet access provider and I called them and told them I needed to change all of the passwords. I wanted to check his email to see what was going on because at that point he was on the computer all night long. The minute I logged on to his account, I started getting IM’s from 14- and 15-year-old girls. I found letters that were written to other women, claiming that he wanted out of our relationship. I just remember seeing red and throwing all of his clothes out of the closet. My parents who had supported us, paid his phone bill, and co-signed for a car for him, were infuriated.
The minute he got home he looked at me and I was going to attack him, but I don’t believe in violence. I started screaming and crying, and he had this, “deer in the headlights,” look on his face. Then he started crying and begging for forgiveness. He left the house and went walking all night long. Even then I was worried for his safety. I couldn’t believe that someone I loved could be so uncaring.
We went to the Sierras for a vacation and to cool off. He bought me an engagement ring and I accepted. I thought it would all go away, but it didn’t. He kept seeing underage girls, and lying to my face. He owed my parents money that he had, but wouldn’t pay back. My best friend told me that while I was on a trip to Laughlin with my mother, he had come in to the restaurant she was working at and asked her to see a movie with him. She told him, “No way,” and he left. I found out that he was having multiple affairs with several women. I figured out the reason why he wanted to come to California was simply the fact that he was inundated with women. I won’t call all of them “women,” because he was having sex with underage girls.
We broke up and I was terribly confused and depressed. I had to go on anti-depressants because I had never been so sad in my life. I had picked out a wedding dress and I had booked a venue. I was in complete and utter denial. The one good thing about knowing a sociopath is that you can spot them very easily now. I can pick up on what men do and tell whether or not they are genuine.
This is the topper. One of my good friends got a background search service for nannies. She has several children. There was a way to look up felons, and by this time, my ex had moved to Kansas. I looked him up and found out he was in jail for ten years for having sex with a 14-year-old. While he was in jail he claimed to have become a born-again Christian. From what I’ve read, sociopaths can never change. They can adapt to the circumstances around them and pretend to be certain people (which is what he did to me), but I don’t think he has changed.
As soon as he was released from jail, he found a very young girl and got her pregnant. He had only been out of jail for three months and she was carrying his baby. I felt that I needed to write to her and let her know what I went through and to make sure she saw the warning signs. She didn’t want to hear me out, and thought I was a scorned lover, but I was actually deeply disgusted. I couldn’t believe that she would marry a pedophile. They now have a baby girl and I am so terrified for the child. I just hope that he has changed, but he showed every single sign of antisocial behavior. It was actually eerie when I started reading about it. He fit the profile, exactly!
Just please be aware that if it seems to good to be true, it probably is, and that you may find yourself repeating the same pattern over and over again. Thank you for reading my story!