Lovefraud Romantic Partner Survey results

This time last year, Lovefraud was in the midst of conducting an Internet survey about the experiences of Lovefraud readers who were romantically involved with sociopaths.

A total of 1,352 people responded, and the information that you shared was extraordinary. In fact, I believe that the Lovefraud Romantic Partner Survey probably resulted in the best and most comprehensive data about romantic relationships with sociopaths ever collected. Following are some nuggets of information:

Top three ways that survey respondents met the sociopath:

  • Internet 23%
  • Social situations, like a bar, restaurant, club, party 20%
  • Doing business or working together 17%

Top three characteristics exhibited by the sociopath:

  • Charisma and charm 91%
  • Blamed others for any problems he/she had 82%
  • Sexual magnetism 78%

Top three characteristics of the beginning of the relationship:

  • Individual seemed to share my values 83%
  • Individual seemed to have so much in common with me —79%
  • Individual called me frequently 75%

Harm as a result of the relationship:

  • You became anxious or depressed 92%
  • The stress of the relationship made you ill 77%
  • You lost money 76%

The survey also contained 12 narrative questions, in which you could write whatever you wanted. And you did write! There had to be more than 10,000 answers in which you described your experience.

This was actually the second Lovefraud survey. We also conducted one in 2010 in response to the American Psychiatric Association’s request for comments on the first draft of the DSM-5—the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.

Read Lovefraud’s comment about sociopaths for the DSM-5

Anyway, the data from both of these surveys, along with the stories you have told me about your experiences, form the foundation of my new book, Red Flags of Love Fraud—10 signs you’re dating a sociopath. This book tells you exactly how sociopaths hook you, how to escape and how to protect yourself in the future.

The official publication date is June 11, 2012, and that’s when the media campaign begins, so I won’t be saying a lot about the book until then. But Lovefraud readers can pre-order the book. In fact, to give you taste of what it’s all about, I’ve posted the Introduction on the Lovefraud Blog.

Read Red Flags of Love Fraud Introduction

Of course, if you’re a Lovefraud blog reader, you’ve probably already had a close encounter with a sociopath. I believe that understanding how he or she conned you can help you recover. And it can certainly help you avoid allowing another one into your life.

For more information, visit the Lovefraud Store.


Comment on this article

20 Comments on "Lovefraud Romantic Partner Survey results"

Notify of

Dear Libelle: I must post. I promised Oxy I would try not to just lurk. And speaking of lurking there is no shame associated to what has happened. I have always been private. Okay truly shy but no one would believe it. But when I had been spathed and as the spath spiral raged on I was reduced to becoming someone I didn’t recognize. I spent three years saying “I don’t know who this is?” I did things I hand never done and never dreamed of doing.

People said you are a strong woman Lillian. And I am. I set about immediately to prove them wrong. I wanted so desperately to have someone else be strong. Ummmm, didn’t happen. Then I laid in bed for hours, scratch that days, ummm make that years. Yes over a total of at the very least 1.5 years to be exact. I didn’t eat at all. I ate roast chicken, ice cream and donuts all day long. I worked out every day. I quit working out for the first time in my life. I didn’t answer the phone. I didn’t even answer if it was a recruiter and during this tenure I have been unemployed for the first time in 25 years. I drank frequently. I didn’t drink at all. I was trying to get out of my own skin and subsequently lived with a stranger I didn’t care for very much. And, I’m talking about me. I was so angry at myself for what had happened I tried to disappear. I tried on these sloth persona’s to see if I could find the person that was responsible for this devastation and destruction inside myself somewhere.

I believed and still do believe in accountability and it’s a steadfast basis for who I am and how I achieve success. Well, I will be the one to testify that I may have taken the whole accountability thing a very teeny teeny bit to far. Okay miles and miles, months and yes even years too far. Yes, I still believe in holding myself accountable for the things I do. But NOT AND I REPEAT NOT for everything that happens in the universe. There were forces at play I couldn’t see. I didn’t see the coming. I wasn’t even looking for them. Forces I could never have imagined because there were things that, “I would never do to anyone!” BTW I took over a year to work through that particular quandary. And I’m here to say at the end of 3 years that at the age of 50 I now know like I know my name that I cannot predict nor expect anyone besides me to behave as I would behave in any given situation. Ring ring that was one long clue phone I denied my entire life. Seems simple. Do unto others blah blah blah…. but the end of that phrase is subjective based on who is uttering it and if you think about it the ending can be and is an expansive extreme from one end to the other in reality. And not always, maybe sometimes, but I’d dare say rarely exactly as you might end it from your perspective.

But i digress. In these different persona’s I did another very unlikely thing for me. I talked. I told everyone and anyone exactly what went down, friends, neighbors, coworkers, airplane seat mates, strangers in stores, collection agents, the UPS man (true story), realtors, court bailiffs (whomI have come to believe truly run the court and have come to my defense and aid in certain situations btw), realty lookers, therapists, doctors, plastic surgeons, anestiticians, receptionists, manicurists, everyone and anyone would listen, even those who would’t, just couldn’t or plain didn’t want to. I did everything and anything I could do to get the word out as fast as I could. It was similar to tourettes I might imagine and I am not making light of the disease. It was if I couldn’t help myself from throwing up the hellfire and brimstone that was my current life experience.

As it turns out it became it became an unlikely social experiment I didn’t know I was conducting. Some fled – after the hurt went away – good riddance. Some were indifferent maybe even felt it was unbelievable and embellished. Some were frightened like it was a communicable disease or something. Others said I don’t get it – why do you just get over it. And the ones whom I had helped over the years all but disappeared and vanished. I was devastated by that and engulfed in hopelessness and despair. But this dark energy had filled me up and taken the place of my loving kindness and generosity that had been drained by the spath experience. So it was quite cleansing in a way. And I say that in hind site because at the time I felt out of control and horrified by my ability to air my dirty laundry in public. (a very suppressive and self defeating expression by the way with others like money is the root of all evil etc. – another topic for another post another day) But there is nothing dirty about laundry haning in the warm light of day blowing in the breeze. I did come across other things like compassion, kindness, understanding, assistance, love, support and other things required to survive from the most unlikely of places, people, situations and things. Thus became the I am literally surviving on the kindness of strangers.

You see I rarely asked for help as long as I remember. My parents couldn’t deal, I skipped ahead a grade so I was younger than everyone so I didn’t ask questions and as the blows of life belted away at me I handled it. I helped others. I worked tirelessly and paid my own way and many other people’s ways along the way. That took three years to learn as well. How does someone like me ask for help without internally combusting. Well at first that’s what you do. I sobbed for days. I melted down. I hurt all over like I’d taken a beating. And then it was very very quiet. I looked out the abyss that had become between me, who I was and my life. And when I could see nothing. Nothing. Nothing but the world without me in it I was forced by that abyss and a kind stranger who had become my friend to ask for help.

I’ve gotten it in many different forms and from many people out there I knew well, didn’t think I knew at all and had never known at all. Some of it perhaps not exactly what or in the way I wanted it. But it was there for the asking. And there is no shame in it. Yes, “The truth shall set you free,” could just have meaning in it after all.

Sometimes when we have given everything for long periods of time and we are truly drained and devoid of things to give we must learn to take. To seek and accept all those things that have emptied out of us so to replenish. I stayed empty through stubbornness and anger for quite some time. It was a cold black place to be. And there wasn’t a shred of forgiveness in it. Not for me, not for anyone. This tunnel of emptiness had a hard black rock wall at the end. Well, it is beginning to appear to be a crack in that wall. It was probably always there but my clenched fists and scrunched up closed eyes of anger couldn’t see it. There’s a tiny little bit of light and warmth squeezing through I can see now. I suspect the crack is bigger than it actually appears. And if not I’m starting to shop for an auger and a pick ax in case I have to help it. Maybe its time for me to begin to help myself again. Time will tell.

Maybe once I’ve got the house and job thing behind me I’ll throw a big old freaking tunnel party and there will be augers and pick axes for all who join me and we’ll knock the crap out of that black wall at the end of the tunnel. It’ll be as Jim Morrison wrote and the Doors sang into eternity we’ll just have to, “… break on through to the other side.”

Libelle, start talking sweetheart. Start asking for help. Begin to receive and replenish those reserves that made you who you were and became drained by those who deceived you. I’d bet money if I had any left that given the facts ahead of time about the things you didn’t know or see coming, you would have behaved differently. And that is the difference. You behaved as you did and allowed the things that happened based on the information you had at the time. That’s all. It’s not a crime. It’s a life lesson. One that would have been easier to learn at — I don’t know the age of ten. But we’ve learned it now. And that is what’s important.

Lots of love, understanding, compassion, help, strength and kindness to you and all of us here at LoveFraud. Seek, accept and replenish. It’s just me again, Lillian.

You know Libelle, Lillian (thanks for keeping your promise to post more) has some valid points here.

You are a physician. You worked with cancer patients….that is a LOT of giving…and in other clinical areas you worked GIVING to patients. I think your EMPOWERMENT of patients is the RIGHT way to get patients to assume responsibility for their own care to the limit that they are ABLE. Encouraging them to participate in their own health care! Right on. Of course if your boss was against this it would be very difficult to work with someone like that.

I think those of us that give and give DO have big problems asking for HELP. I know I had a big problem with going to a counselor, and a psychiatrist, and being on the “patient side of the clip board” being on the RECEIVING side of the clip board, being on the WRONG side of the clip board, was embarrassing. I was suppose to GIVE help not receive it.

Those of us who were trained from birth to do for others to be kind, to not ask for help but to GIVE help….is difficult to break that cycle. I have NO problem doing anything for anyone else, but asking for help myself….very difficult. It feels shameful. I wish it didn’t. I’m working on that. Being able to TAKE help is also a gift to the giver who wants to help you.

Dear Lilian, dear Oxy
thank you so much for your wonderful, empowering posts.
I had to be careful not to ruin my computer with the tears I never thought of. I just started talking, and you and Oxy are the best proof of principle. (((Hugs)))

Libelle, when I first came to LF in the summer of 2007 i cried and I cried, it is a wonder I did not drown my computer! Even today sometimes I still cry, sometimes tears of happiness when someone starts to heal, or even tears of sadness when I don’t do something The way I want to…but tears are cleansing, so let them flow. There is almost always some one here at LF to talk to you, so come here. REad and post. It will help. (((hugs)))

Dear Oxy, and friends….thank you that you said you cried alot. Because I am crying ALOT! The shock is gone, the denial lifted, the reality i have accepted……. but the littlest things make me cry. My poor pets at home, they just look at me like “here she goes again”. and they actually try to comfort me! The tears just keep flowing. For 2 years I have not seen my Grandchildren,or spoke to my children. I cry for the love that I cannot shut off for the man I was married to for 28 years. For the life we “had” ( which was an illusion)…I know it is Trauma Bonds,,,,,,but I really did love him! ….. you see I got strong and divorced him even though he was a pathological liar and passive-aggressive Spath ,to only to rush out and marry the DANGEROUS spath 6 months later!!! So I am still grieving the loss of the “marriage” to the passive-aggressive,and the trauma bonds of 28 years……. I think after the 10 months with the Dangerous spath I question myself why I didn’t stay with the first???? Yes, it was terrible: abusive, lies , stealing money, porn addict,no intimacy……but he didn’t try to out and out destroy me. Or did he? They were both Spaths, but the second was a 10 …the other a 5. But I had a life, a family, my faith, my reputation, i had alot, now it’s all gone. So I cry. I cry. My children blame me for destoying the illusion of the family that we had,and that was my goal…hold the family togehter and enjoy my kids and grandkids……..we were the family to look up to! But at the cost of my health: emotionally,physically and spiritually. I just couldn’t hold it together anymore, or so I thought then! But now after Spath2 it makes it look like a walk iin the park!! I was abused in many ways in the first marriage……but NOTHING IN MY LIFE has compared to the pain, loneliness, grief and destruction of this past Spath AND WE WERE ONLY MARRIED 10 MONTHS, before he did his dasterdly deed and destroyed me.
I have had both parents die by 5, was sexually abused by a family member, raised a family putting them first after married at 18, lived with the abuse and lies of a passive-aggressive Spath for 28 years who after 25 years admitted to the porn addiction that i knew was there, but he always lied to my face, and 3 times discovered he was hiding $40,000 debt….for what I will never know…..(but he told my children it was just him providing for us, and we never had enough. That was a lie, as I lived in a budget and never spent money we didn’t have.) Anyways, All of that does not compare to the marrige of Spath2!!!!!!! I am 50 and 48 years of life does not compare to the pain, and anguish I am trying to dig out of. I am 50 and have no savings, no insurance, no alimony, no retirement…….and I saved and was responsibe and worked hard all my life. Who knew?!!! I guess it’s true, be thankful for what you have/had because you could always have it worse…… I am at worse. I come and go to work that “just” keeps the house and lights on…… No friends. No family. No church. Just wake up and say “God help me” and off to work I go……. and then come home and do it day in and day out……….
so I cry alot.

I am reading Codependant No More, and I can see I am a rescuer……have always been.

I always had the dream of a marriage and family…..but I honestly don’t think it would be possible to NOT meet a Spath. I could never, ever trust that they were not lying to me like the last one, and then completely changed on the honeymoon when he let the mask fall and I looked in to the eyes of a beast I did not know.

So many mistakes, sooo much confusion, so many questions there will never be answers to, so much destruction. So many dreams gone…..
So I cry. Tissue anyone? hugs. Bella

Dear Sweet Bella,

After my husband died in the aircraft crash, I was so lonely, felt so old (I was 57) and undesirable, and I cried and cried and tried to take care of my dad who was dying with cancer, and the egg donor who had had surgery and hip fracture….and put my grieving on hold…but ran into an “old friend” from my living history group and he was divorced and I was lonely so you can imagine what happened. I am sure about like what happened with your marriage…turned out he was PURE EVIL….looking for another respectable wife too cheat on. Now I was grieving the loss of my husband in the crash, AND the creep boy friend.

Plus, my son Patrick, the one in prison for murder, used this time when I was down LOW to send his Trojan Horse into our family to kill me and make it look like suicide (I WAS depressed at that time for sure) and he conned my egg donor, my son C and his wife the P-DIL from hell…into hooking up with him….and when I found out what was going on of course no one believed me, except my adopted son D….so I can relate, Bella, I cried until my eyes swelled shut. My minister (who later turned out to be a pedophile that got arrested) turned his back on me, and the church members as well. I understand. You are NOT alone in this, Bella and the crying and crying and CRYING some more is normal. I do suggest though that you might look into a group counseling, maybe call the local domestic abuse hot line and see if they have a group there affiliated with them.

Work on getting out more and doing something besides go to work and come home and cry and crash…take care of YOU. And you need some socialization with others, go volunteer for school or scouts or something. You may not be able to see your grandkids, but you can spend time with some kid who has no grand ma and needs one. God bless (((hugs)))


You do have friends. My heart goes out to you. My drama keeps on going, no end in sight. I’ve told my attorney that the estranged hubby (he’s out of jail now, sending letters to me and my kids) is going to have to contact him from now on because I am now reacting physically to the spath (last Friday, after talking to a school official about spath man, my hand swelled up, experiencing terrible pain, lasting up to the present time), now being told that I have arthritis in my hand and I need to see a hand specialist. This hand condition developed suddenly, out-of-the-blue. I cry too, being very disappointed in how my life has turned out – it hurts. I literally am saturated with suffering, not being able to take any more. You are not alone, be sure of that.

Dear Bluejay,

(((hugs))) I am so sorry that you are going through all of this trauma! Stress will do lots of things to our bodies. I suggest that you see a doctor who specializes in arthritis and other diseases like that. They have some medications that can help. If you have it in your hand you have it else where as well, so a “hand specialist” might not be the right kind of doctor. (((hugs))) It does get tiring. God bless.

Ox Drover,

My brother and I met with the lawyer yesterday. I am wiped out, needing something to refresh my mind. The lawyer was surprised that spath man is out of jail, “but anything can happen”. He said that he will contact spath man’s lawyer, telling her to inform spath man not to contact me and the kids. Hope that works. Regarding my hand, THAT was a surprise. I like your suggestion, wanting to see someone ASAP because my hand is still experiencing pain, stiffness, weakness, and swelling. It’s gotten somewhat better, but not enough. I have an appointment to see a hand specialist next week (Tuesday a.m.), but I can look into seeing a rheumatologist instead.

Dear Blue Jay,

Get inn to see who ever you can see FIRST, even if it is the hand guy, a rheumatologist is also a good bet too….but I think you need to see someone FAST. Bless your [email protected] The rheumatologist can do blood work to see if it is RA as well..well, technically any of the docs can do the blood work, but long termm I would go with the rheumatologist.

I’m glad you sent work to him through is lawyer to leave you alone. I hope it helps, but you may have to get a restraining order, but if so I would do so.

Cut out as many of the “stressful” things in your life as you can, and stressful people! LOL If you aren’t in some therapy you might see about getting some to help you cope with it all. Cut down on caffine, nicotine, booze (if any of those things) and try to get some better sleep and REST. Leave the dishes if it means you get more sleep…take care of YOU. (((hugs)))

Send this to a friend