Lovefraud received the following email from a reader:
I always knew there was something wrong with my ex-husband, and friends and family did as well. There were lies, gambling, cheating, drug use, rehab 3 times, head games. He would drive erratically with our son and I in the car (even when our son was very little). He would speed up if there was a cat or other animal in the road. I would always completely freak out so he never ran one over when I was in the car, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he did when I wasn’t. (I could tell his counselor in rehab #3 knew there was more to his problems than just drug addiction.) He was clean for a long time and that’s when I realized it wasn’t the drugs. He has always been able to get his way and talk people into things. I always made excuses and actually made myself believe he would grow out of it as he got older. But I did not pinpoint what “it” was until discovering Lovefraud.
I’ve been divorced for over 2 years now and my ex-husband is remarried to someone with 2 young teenage children. I sometimes get obsessed thinking about whether or not they are happy. I often wonder if he’s better to her than he was to me. I know our 22-year-old son feels somewhat replaced and like his father just moved right on with no problem (which I know is typical of a sociopath). I guess I need some reassurance about sociopaths in second marriages from experts to put my mind at rest. My ex has a history of lying, cheating drug use (actually got more sociopathic after he got clean and sober for over 8 years). About 6 months before I filed for divorce, he told me he gets a rush out of getting away with things and it’s gone on since he was a kid and he doesn’t know why. I just want to know that his new marriage is not all candy and roses. Can you address sociopaths in new marriages on your site? While I know I sound a little pathetic, I think it may help many.
Put your mind at ease: Your ex-husband does not love his new wife. He will never love his new wife. The reason is quite simple: Sociopaths are incapable of love.
Acting the part
Now, they are quite capable of acting like they are in love. They can give a command performance of heartfelt sentiments and promises of endless fidelity. But it is an act, and when the partner no longer serves a purpose for the sociopath, the act will end.
The new wife, of course, does not know this. So while your ex-husband is acting like he is in love, the new wife may legitimately be in love. She may be happy. She may be thrilled. She may believe that she’s found the person she’s been waiting for all her life, and all her dreams have come true.
Your ex-husband will nurture her dreams, at least while she still has something that he wants, which could be money, a place to live, or a facade of normalcy should he start using drugs again. After all, he gets a rush out of getting away with things like deceiving the new wife.
Eventually he will revert to his true, miserable self. But even as the wife starts to see the same lies, gambling, cheating and drug use that you saw, for a time she will overlook the behavior, or support her man as he goes for a fourth round of rehab. For a time she will continue to believe the act.
Sooner or later, however, your ex-husband’s mask will slip again, or he will completely remove it. When she sees the truth, she will experience the same pain, devastation and betrayal that you experienced.
He is what he is
You need to get to the point where you thoroughly understand that he is what he is, and he will always be what he is. A snake is always a snake. He will not be a snake with you and a teddy bear with her.
Your ex-husband is a sociopath. Sociopaths are fundamentally different from the loving and empathetic people who make up the rest of the human race, and there is nothing you or anyone else can do about it. If you think of them as aliens, you aren’t far off.
Once you viscerally understand this, your obsession should come to an end.