By | February 23, 2009 500 Comments

Love, sex, your brain and sociopaths

Ever since the beginning of recorded history, humans have been trying to understand and explain the mysteries of love and sex. Over the past few decades, scientists started using specialized equipment to measure physical arousal by attaching devices to private parts. More recently, they’ve been observing the most important romantic organ in the human body—the brain.

Forbes wrote about the research of Andreas Bartels, Ph.D., at the Imperial College of London. Bartels used a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) machine, which can capture images of brain activity, to pinpoint the areas of the brain that are activated by love.

Bartles did a study of 17 people who were madly in love. He had the test subjects look at photos of platonic friends and of their loved ones while he observed activity in their brains. The resulting images clearly showed that certain sections of the brain are stimulated by love.

The scientist then did another study to observe the brains of mothers looking at their infants. The images showed that exactly the same areas of the brain were stimulated by maternal love, except for an area in the hypothalamus in the base of the brain that seems to be linked to sexual arousal.

The conclusion, therefore, is that specific areas of the brain light up at the prospect of love.

Bartels also noticed something else: When the test subjects were feeling love, certain areas of the brain were turned off. The scans showed that three regions of the brain generally associated with moral judgment go dim.

Chemistry of love

Then there’s the chemistry of love. Helen Fisher, Ph.D., a professor at Rutgers University, has written that three networks in the brain, and their associated neurotransmitters, are associated with love. They are:

  • Lust—the craving for sexual gratification, which is linked to testosterone in both men and women.
  • Romantic attraction—the elation and yearning of new love, which is linked to the natural stimulants dopamine and norepinephrine, and low activity in serotonin.
  • Attachment—the calm emotional union with a long-term partner, which is linked to oxytocin and vasopressin.

Fisher also did a study using fMRI technology. She scanned the brains of 40 men and women who were wildly in love. When these people gazed at photos of their beloved, the scans showed increased activity in the areas of the brain that produce dopamine. This neurochemical is associated with feelings of excessive energy, elation, focused attention and motivation to win rewards.

Dopamine, by the way, is also the neurotransmitter associated with addiction.

Effects of arousal

Research has also proven what we’ve probably all experienced—sexual arousal can make us throw caution to the winds.

In another study using fMRI technology, Dr. Ken Maravilla of the University of Washington found that sexual arousal dims down the parts of the brain that control inhibition and, perhaps, moral judgment.

“These are things that keep you in line, and in arousal they may become less active, allowing you to become more aroused,” Maravilla said, as quoted by Wired Magazine.

In a paper called, The Heat of the Moment: The Effect on Sexual Arousal on Sexual Decision Making, Dan Ariely, of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and George Lowenstein, of Carnegie Mellon University, documented that being sexually turned on affected the judgment of college-aged men. (Well, duh ”¦)

Specifically, Ariely and Lowenstein found that, “the increase in motivation to have sex produced by sexual arousal seems to decrease the relative importance of other considerations, such as behaving ethically toward a potential sexual partner or protecting oneself against unwanted pregnancy or sexually transmitted disease.”

But another of their findings was, “people seem to have only limited insight into the impact of sexual arousal on their own judgments and behavior.” In other words, most of us don’t appreciate how strong the sex urges are, and how they can make us do things that perhaps we shouldn’t be doing.

Sociopathic seduction

So let’s look at all this information in the context of our relationships with sociopaths.

Two of the main strategies that sociopaths use to snare us are love and sex. They emphatically proclaim their love and consciously seduce us into having sex. So what happens?

  • Love causes specific areas of the brain light up, and at the same time, areas associated with morals and judgment go dim.
  • The areas of the brain that produce dopamine become active, and dopamine is related to addiction.
  • Sexual arousal dims the parts of the brain responsible for inhibition and judgment that might prevent us from making bad choices.
  • We don’t recognize the impact that sexual urges have on our judgment and behavior.

Dr. Helen Fisher writes that the three primary brain systems associated with love evolved over the ages to play different roles in courtship, mating, reproduction and parenting. They are Nature’s way of ensuring the survival of the human species.

Sociopaths convincingly proclaim their enduring love and their sexual desire for us. Not realizing the pervasive deceit of these predators, we believe that they love us. We have sex with them, and the sex is great. Many Lovefraud readers have been amazed at the sociopath’s sexual appetite and prowess.

Therefore, sociopaths hijack our brain through our feelings of love and the bonds of sex. In their seductions, they turn the natural psychological and chemical functions of our brains against us.

Comment on this article

Please Login to comment
Notify of

Good to know,. Presumably, in the case of a relationship with a P, we become like the lab rats that keep going back to press the same button that once rewarded them with food, only now delivers a shock. Once rewarded, the rat will keep hitting the same button, despite a punishment, in the hopes of getting the earlier reward.

I would love to know what part of the P’s brain lights up when they have acheived their objective. By feigning affection, they are able to coax love from their victims, which to the P is a dose of power and control. Do they have predator receptors that light up and give them pleasure? And does that response keep them addicted to inflicting more pain?

If so, my ex must have been a very pleased, if not happy P.

Elizabeth Conley

The S I volunteered with was always involved in an affair or running from his last broken hearted victim. He was/is attractive apparently, but some of his partners have been extremely chatty. From what they’ve said, I’d say he was/is unusually lousy in the sack.

This didn’t stop them from being heartbroken over the affair when it ended. From what I saw, devalue and discard seemed to happen immediately after the first instance of intimacy.

Any way, this topic is a bit over my head. I’m 47, but extremely old fashioned when it comes to this sort of thing. I won’t be posting further. All I have to contribute is the perspective that prowess didn’t seem to be all that important to the lovelorn lasses who shed tears over that particular S.


Fantastic! love it! GREAT!

If only more of those on the net would read this and then understand just how careful they need be. Sex isn’t a game to be play loosely but should always be something to take with caution and care. But whenever we take on a new lover we need to know the risks and weight it carefully…


The S I was involved with had the ability to convince everyone that I was the predator. Even when they knew all of the horrible things that he had done to me and other women.

He convinces them that I caused him to leave his family. It was even my fault when his life started to fall apart. His 13 year old daughter could no longer decipher right from wrong. She loves her brother with me but now rationalizes with her father’s unwillingness to be in the child’s life.

The crazy part of this story is this man has 6 other children with 5 different women but has been with a wife for 13 years and has no children with her. The wife justifies his actions by saying at the time he made the children, they were arguing. She placed the blame on herself.

That is the power an S has over his victims.

I am glad that I understand and am free.


This is great Donna, thank you! Adds a new depth of understanding. And thanks for the summary at the end, it made it all very clear.

What follows after their seduction? (And here I use “seduction” to mean high warmth with LOW intentions) A SUDDEN reversal. It may happen instantly, it may happen in three to four months. The only certain thing is it WILL happen.

And so there we are, in love and bonded, and suddenly the rug is pulled out from underneath us.

And IF the devastation was not total enough to have burned every bridge, they may come back saying “wait, I do love you, I do want you”, and we are forgiving, loving people, still bonded, despite the sudden reversal that left us spinning, and so the cycle continues.


DAng it. I had been living in the south and going to a wonderful christian/episcopal– and very odern/active church when I met him. Do you kow– he even went with m e sometimes and then — after all is said and done– his is an atheist- even gong to metup groups for it? My gosh– he even used the house Of God to get into my heart and pants.
anyway– how do I forgive myself– we are not supposed to have sx without marriage– and I fell for his “We are forever Meg” and seduction and lies and tears and stories.
If I had seriously– trusted God’s word and not done it with this guy–
I would not be a jobless, depressed, washed out, messed up woman with nothing but PTSD and depression/hopelessness right now?
Thanks for letting me vent.

Ox Drover

This is scientific proof of what every mother knows about her teenager! Hormones RULE and make your brain go into neutral! Doesn’t surprise me at all that this has been proven scientifically, we all knew it really. “Love” makes us go blind, deaf and DUMB (in the sense of stupid, not can’t talk!) It makes the beloved more handsome/beautiful, and the sexiest thing on the planet.

There have even been studies showing what type of body makes a man more aroused and it is also BIOLOGICALLY BASED–big surprise? NOT! Males are attracted to a certain shape and age of woman because she is more fertile and this is programmed into the biology of their sexual arousal. If it weren’t the species would have become extinct eons ago. Spread those genes is the males’ mantra, and care for your child is the woman’s and try to keep the male around long enough to help you do it.

Sex SHOULD be a “bonding ritual” between two people who love each other (healthy relationship) but the Ps can’t bond, so they move around a lot for the sex, not the bonding. If we are BONDED to a P, we are just S.O.L. and they will NOT stay faithful, so we are setting ourselves up for failure when we bond with them.

During the 60’s the era of “free love” when the younger generation started indiscriminate sex with anyone they were attracted to and even “nice girls” started having many sexual partners and “one night stands,” promiscity started becoming no longer a “bad idea” or a “sin” but more acceptable. Girls were no longer “expected” to be virgins when they married and the “double standard” (one for males an one for females) “ended.”

When I was working as director of student health at a college I was amazed that almost all of the students were freely sexually active and many of the young women had had upwards of 20 sexual partners by the time they were in college. Very few had less than five (5). It just seemed “normal” to them to start having sex if not on the first date, on the second or third.

Now the latest catchwords seem to be “friends with benefits” so that if you don’t have a romantic relationship and you have a male friend who is also “between” partners, you have sex together! Sheesh! It doesn’t make sense to me, mayb e I am just old fashioned. I’m NO PRUDE, but to me “casual” sex would not be an option for me, because I would “bond” with anyone I was intimate with or I couldn’t be intimate with them.

To say NOTHING of the risk for diseases, and not only HIV but MANY LIFE-THREATENING DISEASES that are not even slowed down by condoms.

I like sex as much as anyone I know, and more than many I know, but the thought of being intimate with anyone but a committed partner that I knew for certain was not sleeping around, is totally repulsive to me. REPULSIVE. If someone is intimate with me, and still wants to be intimate with someone else, THERE IS NO ‘LOVE’ involved on his part, and I don’t want to be intimate with anyone who does not LOVE me totally to the exclusion of all other women.


Here too, I was in some serious denial. I remember the first time we were beginning to get physically close. IT DIDNT FEEL RIGHT TO ME. I couldnt tell whether he was shy/scared or uninterested or a robot or what it was, but before anything happened – I had the wherewithall to say – this doesnt feel right to me. He said what do you mean? I said you are leaving everything up to me, almost as if you could take it or leave it kind of thing…? I said Im sorry, but I really want to be with someone who cant resist me! ( I ACTUALLY SAID THOSE WORDS) – we had a very “open” friendship I felt safe saying ANYTHING to him. So we didnt argue, I just gathered myself and said goodbye that night. THAT WAS WHEN I SHOULD HAVE NEVER LOOKED BACK. DAMN ME. But the next day he called and said “Nobody has ever said that to me, and I just want you to know that I CANT RESIST YOU, I just was nervous, etc. etc. BUT THE TRUTH IS HE TRULY DIDNT BELIEVE ANYTHING WAS WRONG WITH THE WAY HE JUST EXPECTED ME TO THROW MYSELF AT HIM (OR SOMETHING??), BECAUSE HE IS UNABLE TO “DEEPLY CONNECT” WITH ANYONE. I CANT QUITE EXPLAIN IT. I JUST KNEW IT DIDNT FEEL RIGHT FROM DAY 1. ODDLY ENOUGH I WAS ALREADY HOOKED AFTER A YEAR OF A PLATONIC FRIENDSHIP, I HAD FALLEN, AND TRANSITIONING OVER FROM JUST FROMS TO A ROMANTIC RELATIONSHIP, I THOUGHT CAME WITH THESE KIND OF OBSTACLES (MY EXCUSES FOR IT BACK THEN) – BUT A BRIGHT BURNING RED FLAG IT TRULY WAS.



Jim in Indiana USA

Well, now we know more about the chemistry and brain waves. The problem is still the conscience…the S doesn’t have it and doesn’t care. As Oxy says, we threw out the societal mores and religious instruction for “freedom for all.” Remember: “If it feels good, do it.” “If you’re not with the one you ‘love’, ‘love’ the one you’re with.” If your brain’s defenses aren’t down enough…drugs and/or alcohol.

Well, I guess I’ve been all sides of it. Live and learn. Back to the conscience…whom are you hurting? The predators roam free, and the targets get hurt.

Well, after three years alone, I still feel the need. Once in a while, loneliness drives you out in the open, ripe for attack. There are predators out there, and a lot of wounded victims. A lot of fear. I have rebuilt boundaries, and try to respect those (sometimes walls) of others. I don’t do internet dating sites, bars, and am careful when I go to church.

Who gets hurt? Good, trusting, loving people. Children.

Back to rules and promises. My youngest daughter. I have promised her she’ll never find a woman in my house she’s never seen before. A woman will not come to visit and know her way around…my daughter’s not stupid. This is our home…a safe place for her. She says it’s time for me to “date”, she’ll be alright with it. She knows I have a “friend (no benefits).” The woman friend, I’m sure, has been hurt. She hasn’t trusted me with the full story, I just get glimpses here and there. Unfortunately, or not, the irresistable chemical attraction (mutual), may or may not be there. She’s attractive, hard-working, extremely intelligent and talented, and very guarded. I’ve offered her my friendship and time. I think she’d like my daughter and my daughter would like her. The doors open and close…

In the meantime, I’ll work on myself, to be a better man than I was. First thing is “do no harm.” I can’t force my needs or wants on someone else, if they’re not ready, or willing. I’m delighted when I see her, I think of her with a smile (and some worry) when I don’t. I hope she’ll be happy and finds her dreams. If I’m not the one, I hope someone else is. I don’t want her hurt again, but I don’t have the power to stop it.

If real love appears, I hope I see it. If not, I’ll still be OK. I’ve got a lot of work to do on me yet.

I’ve got a lot to be thankful for. Shelter, food, transportation, good daughters doing well. Books, music…Lovefraud to remind me….

But each day gets better, after the toxic one and chaos.

There’s always hope, after the pain…it fades with no contact. Life will be good…and now I know about sex, brains, and chemicals LOL


Now I understand the “addition”. When I see my life I can say with all confidence that I was addicted to this “S”. I just had a relapse recently. ” Went back to him again” after almost a year and got hurt again. Now I’m starting the process of reahabilitation again from the scratch. Now I understand the importance of the concept of NO CONTACT. No phone call, no e-mail, no pictures NOTHING. Because we really have to deal with ourselves us we are addicted and we need to get rid of all the dopamine that keep us looking and craving for the “S”, if we don’t do that we’ll be sucked back in again.


Jim – The greatest fear I had coming out of this was that I would turn out like my S in the sense that I would shut down, be cold, build a wall, never trust, and never allow another being that close to me again. But every damn day, I work so hard at remaining true to myself – while armed with a new and improved tracking device – MY INSTINCTS. I do not base them on my past experience w/the S, so as to misread/misjudge a non-S, I base them on simple core values/boundaries/ideals. This goes for friends/family/coworkers…ANYONE. I am slowly starting to feel in control again as well as learning what needed improvement within me. Speaking of, that four letter word that seems to haunt me … FEAR. I am working on having a healthy balance of the fear… not too much and not too little.

You will find and see real love again when you are ready! Its virtually impossible for all of us to go on this journey and not end up seeing and truly loving ourselves for starters! And then those of us who wish to share our love and life with a partner will be able to. Whether or not who we choose to consider to share our love is in a good place – only time will tell. And you can be certain that God will send his Red Flags to us, if we cannot see what we need to initially with our own eyes/instincts. The red flags are there for a reason. Stop. Change direction. Lest we not forget there are yellow flags that simply mean slow down/ be cautious but PROCEED (i.e. with your friend you are interested in) and green flags that will absolutely let us know we made it back on track emotionally and physically!

It sounds to me that you have done the hard work, and continue to do more work and you have been rewarded with all the things you are thankful for and will continue to be rewarded with a good and blessed life!

The toxic one and chaos… ultimately jump-started all of us to greater sense of being and awareness. There is always something good that comes from something bad!!

Jim in Indiana USA

learnEDthe lesson (no ING)-I liked the “yellow” and “green” flag thing. You’re Oxy without the skillet…glad you’re here.


Dear Changed(forthebetter)forever – You are correct about the addictive affect the S-experience challenges us with. Dont be hard on yourself for having a relapse, we all have been there, and perhaps on some level needed to have one or two before our “awakening” moment that it could go on for a lifetime if we let these devoid creatures lurk around in our lives. NO CONTACT works. LOVEFRAUD helps. Being self-reflective enlightens. And going through the emotions and feelings allows us to grow and learn. One day at a time. Someone is always here for you 24/7. Or within a few hours if its in the middle of the night!! 🙂 Stay strong. Your post was very positive…you are on your way out of this mess!


That is so insightful. It was the same way for me. The sex was robotic, and he was cold. I virtually gave up orgasms, except for some puny events that were more mental than physical. But my attachment for him, and the related sexual and emotional triggers, somehow made it all erotic.

I know we don’t talk much about sex here. And I’m just as glad, because I really don’t want to think too much about sex with him. The memories mostly disgust me, but even that means I’m still too emotionally engaged.

As the same time, I want to mention that there was some kind of link between love, sex and fear with him. The fear could get twisted into a kind of exhilaration, like skiing too fast down a slope beyond my skill level. But this combination was, for me, part of the powerful addictive connection.

I’m sure that all of this is related to the brain chemicals of Stockholm Syndrome, and I hope that someday researchers look more deeply into this. I hate it that my sexuality could be used against me in this way. I remember when it was going on, I used to wish there was a pill I could take to shut it all off.

Actually, maybe there was. At the very end, I started taking Paxil. That was the period when I finally started standing up to him, and cutting him off sexually. I remember an e-mail he sent me, telling me that I should switch anti-depressants because his relatives told him that Paxil suppresses sexual desire. My response was that I didn’t want him in my bed because I was too angry, but the Paxil may actually have been helping.

At the time, I made one failed attempt to get him out of my life. He talked me out of it, and I didn’t succeed until three months later. But I did stop sleeping with him. And though it was incredibly painful to deal with him during this period, I think it was what made it possible to finally throw him out permanently.


Jim – (yes ING…ING…ING!!!! ) 🙂 Oxy is in a league of her own! She quite possibly might be the Saint of Lovefraud! Could never fill her shoes, or riding boots or rainboots or mule clogs …jeez what in the world does Oxy wear on the farm? But Im afraid I just boinked someone on the head with a skillet a few posts ahead of ours :). You are right tho, I wont have to do it to you – you are the male version of Oxy (only with Potters wand) and way ahead of the process…glad you’re here too!


Kathleen: One of the traits we share is that we are NOT risk-averse. We like adventure. We like a little adrenaline rush. This is one of the traits that showed up in the research behind “Women Who Love Psychopaths.”

I think this suggests that along with all the neurochemistry of sexual attraction, we are also wired to enjoy a little element of risk in our love relationships, and we might be just a little more predisposed to jump in when others might hesitate.

And then, of course, we get addicted.


Kathleen – Im hoping when we are all fully healed we can keep some good memories and toss all of the bad memories. Good memories are special and healthy in the most unique ways. But only when we are healthy enough to have clearly resolved and defined what they were in this situation.

I think I understand what you are saying about the love sex and fear. Although, not certain. I didnt have fear in that mix. I just really felt this overwhelming experience with this person. What do you mean by wanting to shut it off? Because I didnt want it to end? I just wanted all of the other aspects of the relationship to be healthy. Not that the physical aspect was healthy (but in my mind at the time it was the best of the best when we were having our “good runs”…

I stopped seeing him too. I refused (painstakingly) to continue fulfilling his every need/whim/desire. I told him it was a one way street and its now a dead end. He tried every which way (except a face to face adult conversation about the direction our relationship was heading) HA HA HA – I thought he could handle that! HA HA… instead texts, calls, texts, texts, comments to weaken my soul and spirit…texts, charm, wit, texts, pictures, inquiries, (an entire year) and then as the holidays were approaching I almost weakened, especially when he made a plea for us to simply to “be friends again” – after what seemed like forever that that was exactly what I was trying to do, accomplish (ok settle for) .. but he wrote “we can be friends again, Merry Christmas” a week before Christmas- as though he was the one who had the say as to our fate. Just typical. Immature. Sit down. Kathleen.. the next day or so he texted “hey, do you still have that washer/dryer in your storage unit, Im at laundry mat 🙁 mine is on the brink).. My heart sunk. I said, no put it in one of my rental units…sry. Knowing full well it was still in storage (I had no choice, didnt want to have to be honest and tell him I had it and shove him in it on spin, rinse and burn dry cycle!!) Imagine an entire year of not talking to or seeing me, trying to keep me in the loop for phone/text solicitations – but never taking responsibility for working on things. I texted something like I could never go back to the way you “friend”. Please dont text me anymore. A week later on the 25th he wrote “Merry xmas”. I didnt respond. And just like that I was given the best gift ever- a journey to reclaim and make my free spirit all mine again! Mine always had a motive with me to get something. Because that is not my nature, I erroneously projected onto myself that it just couldnt be true. He just is down on his luck, depressed, inexperienced, you name it — if there was a excuse to be had, I came up with it. BUT WHY??? Oxy, give me a hint why….I did that.

Ox Drover

DEar Learn-ed the lesson,

“Saint Oxy!”???? Ah, come on, dearie! I am ANYTHING but a “Saint” LOL ROTFLMAO You just haven’t been around long enough to read some of my last year’s posts! Sheesh, I used to lay awake nights dreaming of ways to do my P’s “in” and hide the bodies! LOL Those ARE NOT the thoughts of a “saint.”

I’ve always got better advice for others than I lived myself, that was the ODD PART OF IT, but I guess the old saying about “those that CAN, DO. Those that CAN’T DO, TEACH.”

I was always a better teacher than I was a do-er, but now I am, just like the rest of the people here at LF LEARNING TO DO what I already KNEW WAS RIGHT! Instead of running my life on “emotional fuel” I am running it on LOGICAL and HEALTHY BEHAVIORS NOW.

Sure, it is emotionally NORMAL to want my egg donor to love me, and it is emotionally NORMAL to want my offspriing to love me, and it is emotionally NORMAL to want my BF to love me, etc. but LOGICALLY, REALISTICLY, IT WASN’T HAPPENING. Pretending that the way they treated me was “normal” and “good” was FANTASY on my part. I could look at “your life” (that’s the universal “you”) and see that your husband/BF/mother etc treating you that way was ABUSE and I could advise you to leave and NC, but I couldn’t see it was ABUSE in my own life. As Jesus said about the Pharisees, they “Have eyes and cannot see, ears and cannot hear.”

NOW I CAN SEE AND HEAR, and accept the TRUTH. A year ago I was just starting to come out of the FOG…now I’m doing better, but “saint”? NOT ON YOUR TIN TYPE! Just another former victim struggling to make sense of it all, to get my head around it and start to live in the NOW and set appropriate boundaries.

Last night I was re-reading another section of the ‘Betrayal Bond” about setting boundaries and it resonated so much with me. I’m “on the road” to Healing, but I think I will always have to study the “maps” and work hard at staying on that road, not getting side tracked etc.

I too would love to find another life-partner, but the odds are totally stacked against me. Like Jim, I have several male FRIENDS (without benefits) but none of them, though they are dear dear friends, would make a suitable partner for me as there are “deal breakers” in the lives of each of them, not “bad” or “dishonest” things, but just things that would make us incompatible as partners….lifestyle and choices more than anything….one guy is such a filthy housekeeper/clutter-er/junk collector that we couldn’t get on (and he isn’t gonna change) another spends his money so he is always broke before pay day (I couldn’t live like that) another has two kids that at age 65 he is raising (not interested in another 10 yrs of kid raising at my age 62. He’s 65 and had them late in life) another guy has 5 yr old twins he is paying support on from a late marriage to a very young woman that lasted about a year, etc. etc. there is something about each of these guys that would preclude me having a GOOD “relationship” with them. They are great FRIENDS though. But you know, I do go places with them and hang out with them, so I do have “male company” frequently, just not in a “relationship” or “sexual” way at all. At least I do have the friendships.


Well, I’m glad the subject of sex has been brought up (no pun intended!)

“Robotic” is a good way to describe his sex. Thank you, again, Lovefraud for giving me information to help sort things out!

Elizabeth Conley

“Like Jim, I have several male FRIENDS (without benefits) but none of them, though they are dear dear friends…”

I’ve got quite a few male friends too. If I became widowed, I’d stay a widow. I’m beginning to realize I was fortunate in my mate. I have no desire to gamble with my health and sanity for an unnecessary 2nd time.


Oxy -youre not only a saint, but a mind-reader! You answered my question before I asked it. It was “FANTASY” in mind, thats why I continued so terribly dysfunctionally in that relationship. But there are also more reasons, I know it cant be that easy so as to say it was all a fantasy in my head by means of coping with the dysfunction/lack of love. BTW Saints cant see that they are saints either 🙂 – And when I get back from school I will followup on your “deal-breaker” comments – (not the one who has bad spending habits) but you are aware that everyone healthy as can be – brings along “something” that will be challenging but they mostly bring a heap load of “lots of GOOD” to a relationship. Dont be angry with me (hey Saints dont get angry!! yeah:) but you may want to make sure your deal breakers are truly deal breakers. And if they truly are then, and you are interested in a “close relationship” perhaps these male friends have other male friends who they could bring along to meet you…. The odds are what you make them! But I agree COMPATIBILITY IS KEY. But we are never going to find Mr. Perfect — just Mr. S/P Free and nearly perfect would work for me!


Learn: “If there was a excuse to be had, I came up with it. BUT WHY???” Loyalty is another trait us “Women Who Love . . .” have in common. So we don’t give up easily once we commit.

Another aspect, though, is the fact of human nature that once we make a decision, we don’t like to admit that we might be wrong. We work to defend our decisions, even when evidence is in our faces.

This is also why people will rally around our X-S/Ps — because they decided that person was “nice” or “charming” or “fun” or “a good guy.” You may have finally reversed course when you were slapped in the face with the evidence (with the help of Oxy’s skillet), but all those other people don’t have the benefit of the work you are doing to understand the S/P, and they DO have the huge psychological predisposition to stick with their original assessment of the S/P. In fact, the more you try to get them to see the new truth, the more they are likely to dig in their heels and defend the S/P — because they are defending their own opinions.

So, it makes perfect sense that you would do all that (oh-so-pointless) work of making excuses for the S/P.

Ox Drover

Dear Learned,

I am never angry—homicidal toward the Ps at times, but me get ANGRY? NEVER! (if you believe that, I have some ocean front property in ARizona to sell you!)

The guys, I am NOT looking for Mr. Perfect, not by a long shot. The “deal breakers” are really that and I have examined it CAREFULLY. The thing in the Pack Rat is such a pack rat that he leaves stuff out to ruin in the rain because he can’t have a place to store it. His house is so full of boxes there are just “paths” between areas, and few of them. His whole 5 acres is so junked and cluttered it looks like a junk yard. We go to auctions otgether and he BUYS MORE stuff he doesn’t need every week! NO place to put it. He leaves tools out, dropped where he was using them, until he hits them with his lawn mower. He can’t even get fire insurance on his house because it is so cluttered. He is a GREAT guy and would do anything in the world for me, but gosh, I couldn’t live like that.

My husband was a bit more of a pack rat than I am, but gosh, NOT TO THAT EXTENT.

The problem with the guy with the money concerns, it is his money and he can spend it however he wants to, but I don’t think we could work that deal out.

The guy with the kids, he loves his kids, but his idea of parenting and mine are 180 degrees off. He gives his 13 yr old unfettered access to the internet. The kid is a couch potato and he makes “suggestions” to the kid, which the kid never complies with. I personally would make that little darling pick up after himself instead of going around like the kid’s maid. I don’t think it would work out. First I’m really not ready to take on an untrained 13 yr old who thinks dad is his personal maid, and my kids would not have access to ANYTHING on the net that they wanted. So even if I was interested in raising the kids (the other one is 19 and still at home, but attending college) it wouldn’t be one that needed a great deal of “training” in basic family responsiblity at age 13.

And so on. Nah, I’m not looking for “mr perfect” but at the same time, we have to have the basic same “moral compass” and that includes financial responsibility and basic housekeeping. I’m not a neat freak by any means either, but there are limits! LOL

Yea, I am ALWAYS on the look out for someone “interesting” but so far not much that I would want, and you know, I am NOT going to lower my standards. Problem is too, the kind of guy I am looking for (age 60-70) in reasonably good health, financially stable, smart (self educated is okay), no major kid problems or any child support to their x wife age 25 and 3-4 kids, etc. That guy I would like, can get him a 45 yr old gal instead of one 62….the “good ones” are usually already married, so much of the single group are “rejects” for one reason or another.

That used to terrify me that I might spend the rest of my life without another partner, but now, I am adjusting to the possibility that I may never find another partner, but I’m OK with that now. There was a time I was so needy, so addicted to having a partner, that the thought of not having one TERRIFIED me. That’s why I was so vulnerable to the X-BF-P I am sure. Even after he started the abuse after 4 months, I took it for another 4 months before it became too painful and I kicked him to the curb, but I cried and cried and cried because I was so needy. So scared of being alone. But now, I don’t feel that way. I would love to have another partner, but am not ANXIOUS to have one. Healing takes work and time and peace, and relationships take time and anxiety, and right now I want to focus on ME and what I need to do for myself. IF someone came along that I thought might be a good match I might be interested, but not ANXIOUS.

Jim in Indiana USA

For those just moving out of the FOG, and thinking homicidal thoughts…that’s normal. Looking for satisfaction, that takes a while, it’ll come. For me, after the “crazy time”, I’m doing better. At first, I knew there’d been a smear campaign…and I found out the details a year later. She “hooked” the
boyfriend at work with made-up stories about me “hitting, beating, and threatening her at gunpoint”. That’s what he told his wife, in case I showed up right away with the pictures of them meeting on the sly after work, at the park, after she knew that I “knew”. Wonder who else heard the story? Must
have been a few…and I found out more later.

A lot of acquaintances, other school parents, kind of treated me like a leper, for a while…the “looks” were murderous.

In the meantime, I’ve got the “boyfriend” threatening to “put him in the hospital, and he’ll wish he was never born!” (in front of my daughter, at mom’s house). When I was gone over some holidays, one of my cars was “creatively” re-wired and disabled, across the street from my house. I’d already “sold” it…but the new owner (local repair shop owner) and I filed a “criminal mischief” report with the police, naming the obvious suspects.

Anyway, I finally stopped talking about it, since nobody “got it.” The last time I was asked “what happened?” by the school principal, I gave my standard reply: “Long story, told too many times, don’t tell it anymore.” I just kept showing up for school conferences, science fairs, talent shows, sporting events, and dropping off and picking up my daughter at school, trying to act normal.

I also knew a lot of local police from a job I had. In 20 years at my house, there’d never been a domestic disturbance call. I had no record, no tickets, no arrests, and no interactions with law enforcement, except for, after the divorce, a “stand-by” to drop off my daughter, when the boyfriend got “cranked up” and was waiting for me in the bushes, or my daughter called from mom’s because there was a fight and she was scared (five police cars showed up at her place at midnight…they didn’t want me to go there…the tough guy hid in the house and let mom handle it. LOL).

Anyway, the rewards:

My youngest daughter wants to be with me whenever she can. Her friends like me, too, and their parents trust me.

At a school student conference, with my daughter, the math teacher said: “It’s good to see you two together” (I guess she hears the kids talking).

The last time I spoke to my 26 year old, now an MD, she said at the end: “Thanks Dad, I love you, you’re the best.” We don’t discuss the divorce.

My 24 year old, last May, flew into town and stayed at my place. (Christmas before also). Her mother wanted her to “talk”, so the last night she agreed. Came back fuming. Said mom took her to a bar…with the married-to-someone-else boyfriend…complaining about her lack of contact with she and her older sister…daughter said she told her: “What do you expect, Mom, you lied to everybdy!” She said the boyfriend tried to butt in with…”Let me tell you about your Dad”…and my daughter related she said…”Shut up, you don’t know anything about my dad!”

So, my Christmas gift from the 24 year old this year is a nine day trip to Ireland and Scotland (prepaid) with my daughter and her boyfriend (she said it was his idea). I don’t know what mom got, didn’t ask, don’t care. My daughter sent me a nice card, Chinese woodcut, that matched my decor, so I framed it. My youngest daughter came over..”.is that the card from my sister? Mom got one, too. she threw it away”.

Yup, life is good again…and the other kid’s parents now wave and smile…

The ex showed up at my house on a Friday night a few months ago…the “love chemicals” must have self-purged…nothing there.

It takes some time…you’ll get there.


I need help understanding a particular person…a ‘boyfriend’…a sociopath who refuses sex with his ‘partner’ a very attractive female yet seems to be turned on by anything including animals….he seems to be extremely oversexed, over horny….waiters, waitresses, males, females, anyone anywhere turns him on and he seems in predatory mode to want to ‘pick these people up.’ Yet his extremely beautiful ‘live in girlfriend’ he plays withholding and sexual games with and is mostly sadistic with….refusing to please or pleasure….the way a man would to a woman and only wants to ‘degrade, humiliate’ the female…with no real sex involved….and no real intimacy, affection….mostly aggressive odd behavior, fighting, arguing….and aggressive physical contact….even once shaving her vaginal area with an ‘electric razor’ causing her to scream in pain….not apologizing but even refusing to ‘pelasure her’ after the pain and instead ‘squirting all over her while standing on a couch’ while she is upset/angry with him….he withholds, refuses….treats her like a platonic buddy….yet she is extremely sexually attractive….but he will walk into a restaurant and be able to contain himself from getting turned on by ‘random people anywhere’…waiters…males…lone males walking on the street especially turn him on…I’m not sure why….but aside from being gay/bi…bi which he is…his behavior is odd eccentric sick and makes no sense… he claims he is with the female because she is so hot….and gorgeous…but will not even lay a hand on her soemtimes and she has to fight him for sexual encounters….then he whines fusses and refuses sexual contact with her….ie as if it’s a chore….and mostly just wants to ‘degrade/humiliate’ her….doesnt even treat her like a sex object, but just an ‘object’…..every other human is a ‘sex object’ no matter what they look like…or who they are….. im not sure what kind of sociopath or narcissist this is… most sex addicts i assume are ‘intimate w/ their partners as well or try to get as much from them sexually”….but not this one….his partner (who will even say to him…how can u resist touching me because im so attractive) who is exceptionally sexually attractive, is the one he rejects sexually…. and wants to have sex with everyone else…. including possibly animals or the partners pet….this is a confusing situation….if anyone has heard of something like this….


Melanie: It’s easy to love someone. It takes courage to allow them to love you back.



Melanie: He is disordered. He is disordered. Crazy doesn’t have to look like slobbering or hallucinating. This guy is turned on by anything that hurts, harms, is objectionable, is disgusting, creates chaos or pain. He enjoys holding power over other people, and clearly he is doing that by insulting and degrading others. He cannot imagine having a loving, kind, generous mutually pleasurable relationship. That is because HE IS DISORDERED.

Anyone who tries to have a relationship with him can become “crazy” by trying to accommodate his craziness, and trying to understand him with their own sane logic.

Everyone around can’t imagine that someone can “look normal” and BE MOTIVATED BY SUCH SCREWED UP DESIRES!!! He will never be fixed by any loving person around him. In his own screwed up mind, he is just fine!!! And the more shock and pain he creates in those around, the “happier” he is, if you can call that “happy.”

The book “Women Who Love Psychopaths” describes some similar behaviors in some of the men. Truly — there is no confusion here. He is SICK, with no currently known pathway to getting well. Get away, stay away, and encourage anyone else to do the same.


Rune: I saw that chaos in my co-workers. Constantly jumping from bed to bed. I was exhausted just being a bystander hearing all their sordid details of one partner after another partner after another partner…. which bosses they slept with, who was the latest sleeping partner after this boss dumped them.

One minute they’d be telling details with enthusiasm, the next minute they’d be professing love for their husbands/wives/children … acting like the other affairs never happened. It was like a switch went on and off in their heads. I guess, when they were manic, they’d tell you anything, when they came down off some high of the event, they’d deny, deny, deny.

I’m shaking my head. It never stops either.



hi everyone.
just a quick hello. still recovering from the ‘baby shower invitation,’ but maintaining NC.
glad to see that many of you are doing well.
you all have my love and support.

melanie: i see nothing confusing about the situation you describe. the guy is beyond sick and disordered. case closed on that one. don’t try to ‘understand’ it; just run.

Healing Heart

LIG: Good to hear from you, and congrats on the NC. That whole baby shower invitation was crazy. Totally crazy, and classic S.

Melanie – your ex S sounds like a raging Sociopath. I echo what every one else says: RUN!!!

Donna: This is such a great article and the sex factor is so critical in the seduction/addiction process. It is their biggest and most effective tool. Getting over the sex addiction to him is one of the most critical parts of NC. At least it was for me. I’m so glad not to want him anymore – even though the sex wasn’t good in the end, it was in the beginning, and I was totally hooked. I just hope he never crosses my path again, because at this point I think i might have enough traces of addiction in my blood that it might get re-activated. I look forward to it being totally and complete gone. Does that ever happen?

Congrats to all of us for being strong enough to get away. And may our bond to each other be suffiently loving and powerful to keep us safe from going back.


Jim in Indiana

“It takes some time”you’ll get there.”

Thanks for sharing and a great post.. 🙂


I’d like to get a discussion going on this thought.

The other day while I was taking care of a little 5 year old girl … we were making belated Valentines as she played a few of her favorite movies in the background during our arts and crafts activities.

One of the movies was Lion King. I observed how she reacted positively to the kind and loving characters and shunned away from the evil characters. Same with the other movies she viewed.

I am/was always the same growing up. I found myself rooting for the good guys and booing the bad guys.

I was wondering, do our EXs root for the BAD characters in movies, books, life? Or, do they absorb common reactions of people and take the opposite stand just to get over on everyone?

Funny, my EX loved all these children’s movies. He insisted on playing them while he lived with me. All the movies Erika watches were given to her by me … compliments of my EX leaving them behind… he was too busy stealing my things before he left.



“I have heard of many cases of sociopaths withholding sex as a method of control.”

I know my did…

Elizabeth Conley


I think you should listen to D. Anderson.

Frankly, what Wini and Melanie describe are consistant with my observations about relations with the N/P/S.

This is what their partners report, and this is what their associates observe. They’re mean and capricious outside of the bedroom, and that all conveys to their intimate behavior.

Run, do not walk, to the nearest exit!!!

Apparently there are a few N/P/Ss who put on quite a show in the bedroom while in the charm and disarm phase of a relationship. This showmanship seems like one more cruel lie, in that it’s apparently quite a hook.

If someone has been the target of this type of charm and disarm, it seems like one of the cruelest tricks the personality disordered can play.


I think writers, directors, producers in the entertainment industries should write scripts explaining the sociopath/anti-social traits in relationships. Withholding sex, being a major ploy, along with the other control issues mentioned on this blog.

I’ve seen it for over the last 30 years. Young highs school/college students accepting the bad behaviors of personalities that have issues/problems and making it the norm… being accepted into mains stream society … to the point, no one realizes what is acceptable behavior any longer versus what is detrimental behavior.



I remember a young college student that took night classes with us. She originally came in with all black outfits on. Black lipstick, black clothes, black nail polish … and of course, dyed black hair. It was during the Goth rage. Towards the end of the semester, she’d come into class wearing a dog collar and leash. I had to converse with this issue … telling her she had just set women’s liberation back 1,000 years. After class, her boyfriend came and walked her down the hallway … with leash in hand, she walked in front of him. Heads turned all over campus. Was this their objective? I don’t know. I never knew what the Goth rage was all about. I know the character that got my job as my bosses did me under with constant harassment would come in looking like Alice Cooper in drag … black eye makeup, black clothes, the Goth look to work. This guy had to work with customers. He scared half of them to death.

Go figure! My bosses ensured he got my job! To this day, he does my job after I had to teach him how to do it.



Elizabeth Conley: I wonder who our EXs are really angry with? I know I didn’t do a thing to injure, insult, harm my EX. I had no idea he was like this. He never let the mask slip. It was only after he left the last time … on what I thought was a business trip, did the truth get uncovered when I reviewed all the paper work he left behind.

I keep remembering the line from Val Kilmer playing Doc Holiday … telling Wyatt that the reason a hoodlum was mean and angry was revenge. Revenge for what says Wyatt? For being born!


Elizabeth: I was the target of the charm & disarm. He never was sadistic in the bedroom — except since it was all a lie, every single moment, it might have been the most sadistic element of all. It was how he ensured that I would trust him, as if we had a relationship. I go into panic at the thought of any intimacy, even the thought of someone holding my hand.

If I had been dealing with blatant abuse, I don’t think I’d be so damaged now. But, who knows? Damage on this level is just unspeakable. I can’t say my pain is any worse than anyone else’s here.


Wini – From day one he always told me all of his x’s were “crazy”. And he ultimately confided (to this day I believe this to be true but who knows) that he gave all of his love and trust to a woman he thought he was going to marry after college. She apparantly devasted him through horrible deceit and manipulation. And he emphatically states “IT WAS A HARD LIFE LESSON, A MISTAKE I WILL NEVER MAKE AGAIN.” At one point he actually said he knows he is going to die alone because he will never marry, etc. I remember saying I think you didnt learn the right lesson in college. In one sense it was about her and her choices with you. But the bigger picture is about how you dealt with it, processed it, recoverd and set new boundaries for future relationship. Its about how you chose to cope after the fact. And also his relationship with his Mom is quite different than that I know of w/other men. She has alot of control over him from an independent decision making point of you. She has bailed him out/covered up and enabled for years. So, Im not sure who they are really angry with? Seems to me it can be a myraid of things. From love gone wrong at a very young developmental age/stage to genetics to controlling (but perhaps well intended) parents. No clue. But I often wondered what stagnated him and why he harbored such anger. I did clue him in to the fact that its virtually impossible for every single woman in his life to be “crazy” and although I am now undoubtly on that list, that he should consider the potential that he might have some kind of unresolved issues.


Learn: Do you see how he’s using the pity play at every turn? Every single relationship? Starting with the (perhaps mythical) first one that “broke his heart”? Maybe she just was smart enough to see that something was WAAAaaaay off, and she ran! If in fact that story has any truth.

I don’t buy the “love gone wrong” piece. I do think genetics has a big part, and then consider that this guy has his mother covering for him and explaining for him, and if he lets her make decisions, then isn’t he also putting her on the hook for any decisions that later he doesn’t like? So he doesn’t have to take any responsibility and he can blame her? Isn’t that the pattern?


To all – The other good thing that has come from landing here at Lovefraud. I reread my posts and see that I need to get some more sleep!!! The words are coming out faster than I can type them or spell them correctly or put them altogether! And kids took spell check off my computer! Reminder to self to ground them 🙂 My youngest was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes last year. Sleep has been at a premium the past year , as he gets checked and insulin dosed throughout the night. But now I can see that I need to get a few more hours in under my belt or get a computer that will voice translate into typed posts! Off to take a much needed cat nap.


Rune- to quickly answer your questions YES! YES! I must say I think the college one triggered something in him (relating to anger, shutting down and never trusting another again) – I think she really did a number on him. But you are right I will never know the real truth behind that. But I think there was some merit to that story. I really do. Yes to everything you said about the mom…and the pattern… If only I had learned about myself and about the red flags associated w/P’s and S’s.


yes indi – sometime’s I think the experience did some permanant damage – kinda like coming out of coma and having to learn to walk and talk again – and having amnesia and not remembering who you used to be


Gentlemen, gentlemen, gentlemen. GET A GRIP here! You are only addicted if you allow yourself to become addicted. You only think about your EXs (become obsessed and addicted into thinking about them) if you allow them room in your head. It’s your choice. It’s always been your choice.

The reason it’s so difficult with the likes of our EXs … is because it’s so traumatic. It’s the trauma and denial of the truth coming into our intellectual though process (aka our minds) that slows our healing process. Once the truth starts taking over, we get ourselves free from the likes of them.

Our EXs are like nothing we’ve ever dealt with before. They are so slimy and so sleazy it’s beyond anyone’s imagination. We are all children of God’s and expect others to acknowledge that fact. When they don’t … the fools of this world are beyond horrific.

That’s all I have to say.



Kathleen, I want to let you know that your posts are so affirming to me..thank you for going so deep into expressing what it was like.

I am about 2/3rds through, Women Who LOve ….etc. and have found such impact in the concept that we share SHARE certain traits with the PSN, that is why we got hooked. It is i know where I have been needing to go, but the book and the background of the study gives it substance. The theories therin do not resolve us victims from our role in the drama, but they help us understand why we were defenceless, and illuminate a way to move forward.

When I was at my most desperate time, completley without any safety net, I visited a therapist recommended from one I trusted and had a long (3 yr) history with in another town. When I had more or less finished my whirlwind tale of agony, she ended the session by saying, ” Well at least your had some exitement,”

I felt as if she had slapped me, but she was right. They are exiting, they are challenging, they need to be fixed. Bingo.

Does that mean we have no capcity to be in a “normal” relationship? to feel for the “boring” person? Just asking.

Are we doomed to be intigued by only them?? My history is not good, and the one I have my eye on could very well fit the mold as well. Aaaagh.

Peace and love to all

Ox Drover

Dear eyeswideshut,

Yes, we CAN get addicted to excitement. We CAN get addicted to anything.

Just as a drug addict gets addicted to the “feeling” that they get, we can get addicted to the “feelings” we get from the adrenaline highs (even the emotional lows that cause an adrenaline release cause a “high” of sorts) and we can get hooked on it. I think the Ps to some extent and maybe a big extent are addicted to the risky behavior. The thing is they don’t ever learn to enjoy anything else.

WE CAN LEARN to enjoy other things besides the adrenaline fixes. We can take pleasure in other forms. They don’t want to. I am learning how PEACE AND CALM is a “high” in itself. How not having to stress over things and be mad/irritated/sad/angry/fearful etc all the time. I am starting to take intense pleasures in some pretty “ordinary” things, things others might not enjoy at all….but they are pleasurable to me.

You can get your adrenaline “fixes” in POSITIVE WAYS, or negative ways. You can either rob banks and get a “fix” or if you really need the excitement, you can sky dive, or something else that will give you the “high” but in a POSITIVE not a negative way.

The human mind likes and I think craves excitement, novelty etc. and it keeps life interesting, otherwise we would all go live in a cave individually, but can you imagine how boring that would be? Find things that interest you, that challenge you, that are FUN and do those things. The more I get out and DO things the more fun I have, whether it is working outside in my garden/yard/farm, training animals, or what it is, it is a challenge, keeps me thinking and enjoying a feeling of accomplishment at the end of the day. I’m even enjoying getting to know new people again.

WE can choose “our poison” or we can choose to live a healthy life and still have excitement and enjoyment in a positive way. I’m tired of the poison, I want some good, clean, healthy FUN!


Eyeswide: I believe we “lock on” to a certain energetic excitement. We feel that match, even before we start talking. We look for others who similarly like adventure, are risk takers — and we don’t know how to take into account whether they are truly compassionate, fully capable of real love. They can put on a good show, opening doors, buying flowers, jewelry, or even knowing just how to NOT do that because it would be too obvious.

These days I’m looking at how people can be generous or kind in ways that don’t win them glory. Quietly. Actions that take time and don’t get them compliments. No grandstanding. I know someone who looks like a thug, but I see him taking tender care of people who have no ability to win him points in some popularity contest. He’s just quietly doing the right thing. He has a bird –fragile thing, loud, who loves him and rides on his shoulder and craps all over his shirt. The bird loves him and only him. With one wave of a heavy hand in a moment of frustration, the bird would be dead. This has been his friend for 11 years. Is he dangerous? I think much less dangerous than one might judge from the outside. Certainly far less dangerous than the “perfect businessman, gift to society” who destroyed my business, my trust, and everything that I counted on for my daily life.

As you look at this possible next person, look at those little signs. Courtesy when no one is looking. A gentleness. A capacity to love.


Good post Rune. Good post.


Send this to a friend