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Love is always a leap of faith

Lovefraud received the following email:

Hi Donna,

I’m a huge fan of LoveFraud and can’t thank you enough for making it happen. I know from your story that you’ve found a wonderful man.  So have I, and we’ve been dating about a year. He’s an upbeat, nurturing person with a great sense of humor and good boundaries!

Still, I’m finding it difficult to let go and love him. I’m really surprised how long it’s taking me to let go of my fear. (I’ve been out of my marriage 4 years and did a lot of healing before I met new guy.)

Could you address this in one of your articles? I see a lot of info on how to recover, and how to spot a spath so you don’t hook up with another one. But what about when you find a good guy? I’d love to hear about other people’s experiences, how long it took them to relax into love, and anything they did to facilitate the process.

First of all, I am very glad that you have found someone special. So let’s address the situation that you’ve brought up letting go of fear so that you can fully enjoy your new relationship.

Here’s the most important concept to understand: The key to finding and enjoying a good, healthy relationship always lies within ourselves.

If you’re still feeling fear about the new relationship, it means that you have more healing to do. This is not a bad thing. Keep in mind that when it comes to our emotional lives, another word for “healing” is “growth.” So as you move forward, you’re getting to the deeper issues that may still stand in the way of emotional fulfillment. When you address them, you grow.

Whatever you’ve been doing to get to where you are now, keep doing it, focusing on the last remnants of the fear that you feel:

  • If you’ve been working with a therapist, ask him or her to help you.
  • If you’ve been journaling, ask yourself what you’re afraid of, and write the answers.
  • If you’ve been processing your emotions, allow yourself to feel the fear, until it is released.
  • If you’ve been meditating, focus on the fear, and let the cause come into your awareness.
  • If you’ve been using EFT tapping, state the fear as the problem you want to resolve.

Emotional growth is a lifelong process. All relationships are opportunities for growth.

Interim steps

Sometimes there are interim steps between getting rid of the sociopath and finding a true life partner.

If you’ve read my first book, Love Fraud, you may remember that I started dating a man, John, seven months after I left my sociopathic husband. John was a normal, affectionate, caring man. We had a lot of fun, and I truly felt love with him.

The relationship ended 10 months later. Quite frankly, the end of that relationship hurt more than the end of my marriage. My ex-husband had betrayed me. I grieved the loss of my money, stability and self-esteem. But I no longer loved him; I was glad to get rid of him. When John and I broke up, I was heartbroken. We did share a love, and it was gone.

Eventually I realized that my relationship with John was never meant to be permanent. We were both taking the initial tentative steps out of emotional disappointment. We cared for each other and supported each other for almost a year, and then it was time for both of us to move on.

Our partner’s problems

Even with Terry, who is now my husband, there was a time about a year into our relationship when it almost came apart. The problem wasn’t our relationship, but other issues in Terry’s life that made him feel like he couldn’t continue.

Sociopaths, of course, often have problems in their lives. So how do we tell the difference between a healthy person with a problem, who deserves our love and support, and a sociopath who will be an unending source of turmoil?

The difference is that when a sociopath has a problem, we’ll feel manipulated, deceived or bullied into fixing it. When a healthy person has a problem, we won’t feel used when we’re offering support.

I knew that Terry had to face his issues. I hoped that we’d be able to stay together, but there was a chance that our relationship would end. I knew that if that happened, it wasn’t because I was deficient. I’d be unhappy, but I’d eventually pick myself up and start again.

Always risk

Keep in mind that there’s always risk involved in entering a relationship, whether or not you were previously betrayed by a sociopath, and even if the other person is relatively healthy. When you reveal the contents of your heart, there is a chance that your feelings may not be reciprocated and you’ll end up with a broken heart. In short, that’s life.

If a relationship doesn’t work out, it doesn’t mean that there is something wrong with you. It may mean that you and the other person were only meant to travel together for a short time. It may also mean that the person was just a stepping stone to the real love of your life.

Love is a leap of faith. As you heal, you’ll be able to find the courage to make the leap.

Lovefraud originally posted this article on February 11, 2013.

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“My ex-husband had betrayed me. I grieved the loss of my money, stability and self-esteem. But I no longer loved him; I was glad to get rid of him. When John and I broke up, I was heartbroken. We did share a love, and it was gone.”

Can you share a bit more about this statement? I’ve had friends ask me, “Don’t you miss your stbx?” and I say “No. Life is so much more wonderful now.” And that was a 15 year marriage producing lots of kids! And I left less than a year ago. But I am a bit baffled, sometimes, why I don’t grieve that marriage. I literally have only wept once over the loss of my marriage. Instead, everyone says I am so much happier. And I am. Life is so much better. But still – I wonder. When did the love die? I have a new boyfriend now. (NOT a path! Thoroughly vetted!! I’ve known him 20 years and dated him previously in college. Shouldn’t have let him walk away 20 years ago, but I obviously had some life lessons to learn.)

Anyway – new boyfriend asks, “When did you quit loving your stbx?” And the best answer I can give is: “I think I loved the illusion of who he pretended to be. So when I married him and it turned out that wasn’t who he truly was… my loyalty and sense of duty kept me in the marriage, kept me true to my vows, but I never even noticed that the love was gone. Because I had loved an illusion that faded like the morning mist. So the love didn’t die. The one I loved faded away.”

But it’s strange – see – I just thought that’s how marriages worked. When married for years, the initial spark/excitement fades and loyalty and duty were the fuels the marriage ran on for decades. But maybe there is more. Maybe in a marriage to a true person, the love continues to burn. Banked, maybe, but still there. I don’t know. But I hope to find out!!


Fleeing, Sounds like you were ready to leave, and it’s likely that you grieved your loss over the years gradually and accepted reality about who your ex was. Weeping one time over the loss sounds like bonafide grief, and was probably appropriate for you and your circumstances. I hope you find out, too! In my experience the spark and excitement evolves into intimacy and security and joy based on trust, mutual concern for one another’s well being, and shared experiences over time, which are even better than the giddy initial spark/excitement.


Love is in many ways a leap of faith, but there is a lot of latitude in how much information we gather before deciding whether to get emotionally and physically involved and committed.
The email author might want to consider whether she is pressuring herself to reach a level of emotional involvement that she isn’t ready for. Perhaps her current relationship can be fulfilling for her and her partner given her current level of commitment.


in her book, A Fine Romance, Judith sills says there is always some ambivalence.


As I write this, I am slowly losing a friendship of several years; not because of anger/issues. She was a widow, I am divorced and we had many adventures together. But, an old boyfriend came back into her life, a whirlwind romance of several months and they plan to marry in January. We no longer share much talk or time together; her life is taken up with him and her new life to come as his wife. Though I wish them well, I miss her woman friendship very much already. As they say, Im now a ‘fifth wheel’. It hurts, but she is moving on with her new life. I, myself, am not in a couples relationship; after being single almost 20 years, I may never be in one now. I dont know of any guy who would want me, as I am. I can live as single, if need be.

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