Here’s a scary truth that nobody ever tells you: There are people in the world — millions of them — who pursue romantic relationships not for love, but for exploitation. They convincingly portray affection, loyalty and support, but they have a hidden agenda.
These relationships aren’t love — they’re love fraud.
Love fraud is intentional exploitation through manipulating emotions in a personal relationship. The people who engage in love fraud are sociopaths.
No one intentionally starts dating a sociopath. If you now suspect, or feel certain, that your partner is disordered, you certainly didn’t know that in the beginning of your involvement.
Your romance, at first, probably felt like a dream come true. But at some point, things changed, and now you’re feeling confused, abused and betrayed. Unfortunately, that’s typical for dating a sociopath.
Sociopath relationship cycle
A romantic involvement with a sociopath — someone who could be diagnosed with antisocial, narcissistic, borderline, histrionic or psychopathic personality disorder — typically follows a sociopath relationship cycle:
- Love bombing
In the first stage of the sociopath relationship cycle, your partner showers you with attention and affection, making you feel like you are the center of his or her universe. This is called love bombing. Your partner is over-the-top attentive — calling, texting and emailing all day long, liking everything you post on social media, planning your next date. If you are having sex, it is probably exciting and plentiful. (This is typically how things start when dating a sociopath, although there are exceptions.)
You feel like your partner is totally smitten with you, but actually, the sociopath is engaged in calculated seduction. You have something that he or she wants. The sociopath will love bomb you — for years if necessary — in order to get it.
- Exploitation and manipulation
The next stage of the sociopathic relationship cycle begins once you are committed to the relationship. That’s when the sociopath starts executing his or her plan of love fraud. Often it’s bleeding you for money, but not always. The sociopath may want you to provide housing, business connections, services like cooking, housekeeping or childcare, or a respectable image in the community (perhaps while he or she engages in a double life of sex, drugs and crime).
The sociopath may propose marriage. To a sociopath, marriage isn’t about everlasting love; it’s about accessing everything you have. You might discover this immediately after the wedding ceremony, or it could take years. Some sociopaths ask their new spouses to open up credit cards for them. Others appear to support their families for decades, and it’s only when you leave that you learn multiple loans have been taken out in your name, the mortgage is in foreclosure and there are no retirement savings.
- Devalue and discard
Remember, the sociopath begins romantic relationships with you because you have something that he or she wants. Eventually you may become depleted — whatever the sociopath wanted, such as money, is gone.
Or the sociopath finds a juicier target. Or the sociopath simply gets bored. For whatever reason, you are no longer useful.
This is the third stage in the sociopath relationship cycle. The sociopath, who once showered you with nonstop praise and admiration, now criticizes and demeans you. Then he or she informs you that it’s over.
In the survivor community, this is known as the “devalue and discard.” You were on a pedestal, now you’re in the gutter.
- Optional: Hoovering
After the devalue and discard, some sociopaths walk away without a backward glance. You are shocked. The sociopath said you were soul mates! That you were meant to be together forever! Now your partner is gone without even a conversation.
In some cases, however, there is another stage of the sociopath relationship cycle — Hoovering. This means the sociopath tries to suck you back in, like a Hoover vacuum cleaner.
After weeks, months or even years, the sociopath may get back in touch with you as if nothing ever happened. Or the sociopath may call crying, pleading for forgiveness, saying it was all a terrible mistake. She says she has learned her lesson. He says he’s going to church or therapy.
Know this: Sociopaths do not change. If you take your former partner back, the sociopath relationship cycle will start all over again.
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Index of information on seduced by a sociopath
- Dating a sociopath?
- Online seduction
- Check out your new love
- Is he or she married?
- Is he or she military?