I found your blog a few weeks ago, after finding out I had been cheated on for the upteenth time in six years. I ended things with him in 2009 after seeing he wouldn’t change and did not see him or have contact with him again until last year. He had emailed me over the years, always remaining friendly just to say hello, but I did not give much thought to these emails. When he contacted me last year, he said he was ready to commit and wanted us to have something true.
I took a risk, but asked that we either remain friends or take things slowly instead of him giving me a false commitment. He claimed he knew this is what he wanted. I also asked that he not cheat, and instead end things if he starts something with someone else. He agreed to this, and we had what seemed like a happy (relatively, when looking back on it) relationship
Things started to change in the past month, with him becoming more difficult to get in touch with and spending less time with me. Given that I had been through this with him, I knew something was going on and was able to take note of the girl commenting on his social media. He denied anything was going on, but my hunch told me otherwise. I found proof with her postings. I am not sure if she knew about me, but she posted enough for me to have details of their “love”.
I sent him screen shots of what I found so that he could not argue it, blocked his number, and email and have not had contact with him. I don’t wish to. He has made enough of my life a lie and truly disrespected me.
But I am struggling piecing a few things together and was hoping for your honest and logical input. He told me things about himself that I know he has never told anyone, such as touching his younger sister sexually when they were children, loving the ability to deceive people through lies as a kid, and having dark thoughts of harming people. I never knew how to understand this. He acted guilty about it, but given his behavior, I don’t know if that was honest. Why would he even tell me these things? Wouldn’t he have preferred to keep the image he paints for the world?
The worst part is that I was pregnant when I found out about his cheating. He knew about it, and wanted us to have the child at first, even adding that his mother, who was always fond of me, would be ecstatic. Within 20 minutes, he was already unsure and thought this was not a good time. This left me with the tough decision of whether to have an abortion or bring the child into the world on my own. I am in a place where I could have supported it well. I have a great job and helpful family. My therapist made the key arguments that I would have to be tied to my ex for life with this child and, most importantly, he would come in and out of the child’s life as he had done with mine. That, along with not knowing whether he does carry a genetic personality disorder given his childhood, made me decide that the most caring decision was not to do this to the child. I went through with the abortion yesterday, and it felt like the most traumatic thing in my life. Everything from being there without the partner to seeing the sonogram and having to make that decision purely based on my ex’s actions angered and embarrassed me. I am mad that I had to face the emotional and physical pain even though I would not have opted for that decision, and he was off serenading his newest girl.
I guess I want understanding on who this awful person is? Who would make me go through what I did yesterday, and alone? Why even reenter my life as a transformed person just to destroy it? I have been putting a lot of the blame on myself and would just like to understand this sensibly. Any input you can give would be appreciated.
Dear Feeling Low,
Some people suck. And some people are over achievers at sucking. Those people are sociopaths. They’re predators. They don’t have brokenness or maturity issues, or whatever the FOO flavor of the month is — they’re sick in the head. They’re wired wrong. They’re sharks in people clothing.
It sounds like you tangled with a sociopath. And while you don’t say that, given that you seem to have a competent therapist and are aware that there is some evidence that genetics plays a part in mental illness — I’m guessing you know this. But perhaps you’d like some validation that your ex was truly bat shit psychopathic?
Anyone who tells you they “love” deceiving people is someone you need to run the hell away from. I don’t know when exactly this disclosure was made, during the first six years you dated him, or after you took him back, but I see why you’re beating yourself up and feeling like shit. He TOLD you who he was — and you didn’t believe him.
Join the club. You’re in good company. And THAT issue, FL, is the one thing you have control over. Who he is, why he did the things he did? That can only ever be conjecture. That’s untangling the skein of fuckupedness. You don’t control any of that. If it makes you feel better to read the Hare list and “The Sociopath Next Door,” do it. But I think you’ll heal a lot faster if you put the focus back on yourself. What does an acceptable relationship look like to me? Why did I let this guy batter ram my boundaries? Why did I take back a person who was a proven liar and cheat?
Please don’t think I’m kicking you while you’re down. You say you’ve blamed yourself. I don’t want you to feel icky and blame yourself. NO ONE deserves abuse. What this man did was obscene. But you, my friend, need to shore up your self esteem and fix that picker. Before you forgive yourself for being chumped by a con (and do forgive yourself), first take a hard, unvarnished look at your chumpiness and work on that.
Sociopaths will con anyone. It’s just their standing operating procedure. Con, lie, charm, abuse. Get angry at your hurt and upset. Step over your crumpled, sobbing body and fix themselves a Hot Pocket. It’s what they do. It’s nothing personal. If not you, it would be some other unfortunate soul.
But some people make it easy for sociopaths, and some people eventually sniff the crazy out and run away early. Ask yourself why YOU were the weak antelope in the herd.
I’m sure part of it is you are a kind, conscientious, giving person. You’re good kibbles. Sociopaths need a host to feed off of and good people are good hosts. There’s lots of value to suck dry.
But people with better boundaries go “Oh NO you don’t!” and don’t tolerate the shit. They only give their good to people who prove themselves over time and demonstrate good character.
See that word in bold? DEMONSTRATE. He had demonstrated “umpteen” times his poor character, but you were still prepared to take him at his word.
I took a risk, but asked that we either remain friends or take things slowly instead of him giving me a false commitment. He claimed he knew this is what he wanted. I also asked that he not cheat, and instead end things if he starts something with someone else.
In other words, you asked him to tell you before he lied or cheated again.
Good people do not need to be prompted to do good things. You should NEVER have to ASK for common decency.
Okay, I’ll be your friend, but you have to promise not to murder kittens. If you feel the urge to murder kittens, you need to tell me first, okay?
See how absurd that is? So is asking someone not to cheat on you, or tell them if they’re going to cheat, to end things first. If you’re going to get a burlap sack to put kittens in, before you throw them in the river, I want you to stop being my friend, OKAY?
This kind of bargaining for decency is catnip (forgive the word choice after the murdering kitten segue) to disordered people. You’ve essentially put a sign on your forehead that says “Roll me. I’m a chump.”
Oh yeah SURE, says the sociopath, gleefully rubbing his hands together. You can trust ME.
I am so sorry this person was not the person you hoped he would be. And I’m especially sorry that you had to learn that lesson so brutally and unjustly and that you had to terminate a pregnancy over it. That was a very painful decision you had to make, and I think your therapist was right. To have had that child would mean that scary creep — who admits to sexually fondling his sister! — would be a man you had to hand your baby over to. To not hand your child over to him would mean years of harassment and legal expense and heartbreak.
On a personal note, when my marriage to my cheater went to hell, I was 40. I so badly wanted another child and at the time was trying to get pregnant. The first thing I said to the OW (when she called to inform me of her existence) was “I hope to God I’m not pregnant!” And I wasn’t. And I gave the last good years of my fertility to that asshole and I’ll never have another child.
Cheaters steal so much from us, FL. Infidelity is so traumatic. That’s why I keep this blog going, to change the conversation, so people will stop minimizing this shit.
But I am so grateful to God that I never had a child with my cheater. And I didn’t know it then, but my life reconstituted itself in a beautiful way. I’m remarried. I have two step-sons. I have a blended family. My son has the most wonderful step dad ever. Life DOES reconstitute itself. You WILL be blessed. You will heal.
This wing nut was one bad chapter in your life. He is NOT the only story. Don’t make him the central character. Who gives a fuck what motivates him or why he does what he does! Go out there and write new chapters with what you learned from this. Go be mighty and resilient. And go with the loving ((((HUGS))) of Chump Nation.
A NOTE TO READERS: If ANYONE, and I mean ANYONE gives this woman shit for having an abortion, you’re off my site. She has suffered enough. I’m pro-choice and proud to say it. NO ONE ever wants to be in the position FL was put in, and clearly she wasn’t having an abortion for the joy of it. You can be pro-life or pro-choice. I will keep any respectful comments up. But if there is any shaming — you’re outta here. I hesitated to run this letter because I didn’t want to open the abortion debate on my site. I hope we will all come together in compassion for FL. Thank you.