This is my story of what I should be thankful for, was only a 5 month relationship with an N. It is a long post, b/c I’m a detail person and it just comes out as I think it. It helps me to understand if I can figure out the “why” of things. You don’t have to read the whole thing – it is my story though, and maybe it will help others not to fall into the same pit;
For the first time in years, someone paid attention to me in a romantic way; praised things about me others ridiculed or criticized and made me feel desirable as a woman again. I didn't even ask for the compliments, comments, etc., they were free flowing. How refreshing I thought, coming from a background of rejections.
My self esteem was actually back on the rise to what I suspect would have been close to normal just before I met him. It had been quite beaten down from a rough childhood and not so great marriage (not to an N, just to a loser). But I had been working on myself, recovering from co-dependency relationships with my recently deceased father and now moved away brother (both addicts). I had learned to say "no" and "let go" and all of that and had finally stopped dating just about anyone that came along and paid attention to me. I had “raised my standards” so to speak.
I own my own business, 2 of them actually, and my own property. I'm active in my community and well respected in my field, yet I always have that nagging voice telling me I'm not successful enough yet. (Actually, it was my dad’s voice in my head…) Therefore, I knew I still had work to do on my self esteem, but was working through it. But as a woman, I was starting to feel more confident again - despite not having a boyfriend for many years.
I had dated and been in love a few times since the D, about 20 years ago now, but nothing steady for many years and the steady ones ended after 2 - 1 year relationships, and a 4 year relationship. The rest were just frivolous dating go nowhere relationships. Of the 3 serious ones, the first one was with an N, but I didn’t know it at the time. I actually ended it b/c he wanted to be surrounded by women all the time and I refused to be part of a harem. (I was wise for my years apparently as I was only in my early 20’s and he was my first real relationship after my divorce.) The other 2 came several years apart and neither of them were N’s. One was, however, a recovering but back-sliding alcoholic.
I often struggled with personal self esteem as well as professionally, b/c I'm often complimented on many levels, yet I hadn't a love life to speak of in years. I could never figure out why things never seemed to last/work out. (well, hindsight is 20/20, but at the time, it was certainly a "something wrong with me" problem - I just knew it was something wrong with me, right?)
Anyway, I was minding my own business, taking care of business, and this guy happened to see my profile pic on f/b, although I have a private profile, I must have commented on something he saw or it was one of those random "people you might know" things. Anyway, weeks after we started dating, he said that I had a rather unique photo of me and it caught his eye. He had sent a friend request and thinking it might be spam, I inquired who he was and did we know each other? I am out in the public a lot and apologized if I didn't recall meeting him. (his profile was sparse, less than 100 friends, only a few pics and was publicly viewable. He seemed to have a good job, for what you can believe I suppose, and nothing showed me any red flags.)
His reply to my making sure "he wasn't spam", left me laughing out loud, literally. If you can make me laugh, you have me. My weakness is humor I guess. I take things in life so seriously that someone who can make me lighten up is a breath of fresh air.
I friended him, however, there wasn't any contact or convo for quite some time. I'd see his updates, mostly just about sports or the weather or silliness. Again, nothing telling of trouble - to me anyway. I had no reason for alarm anyway, not to someone who had only just heard of N about a year beforehand and never had the understanding or explanation I have now.
Something started up an online chat convo one day between us, a common interest in a local eatery I think, and the rest, as they say, is history. He met me for a film, we hit it off. Thanksgiving was our first "date" I guess, it was certainly our first kiss. He called the next day thanking me for dinner and asking to see me again that weekend. We had brunch Sunday and went to look at "lakefront property" he was thinking of buying (trying to impress me?) and he had me in stitches the whole afternoon. His account of his childhood, somewhat tragic turned unbelievable, was described in such a way we both laughed about it. I was sore the next day from laughing so hard. He seemed fun, light and not really looking for something serious, just a companion. I was busy, he was busy we talked about weekend dates, maybe during the week sometimes. It seemed like the perfect situation. He wasn’t looking for a wife, and I didn’t have time for a full time b/f, much less a husband.
We'd go see a film midweek, dinner on the weekend. Things started innocently enough it seemed. He'd email or "chat" in the am before I left my computer for work. (I work outside) and at lunch we'd catch up and he'd call in the evenings. This was exactly what I never got from past b/f's, so I ate it up.
He took me to his office Xmas party – which I took as an important step. His “partner” (to this day I’m not sure if he’s actually a partner or a paid employee), invited us to their mansion of a house, supposedly to “meet me and get to know me better”. I felt like I had been accepted by everyone and things were looking and feeling right. He had declined to come in that night, even though sparks were flying. The next morning, he called me early to invite me over to his house to finish what we started. Very seductive, very luring. Again, playing right in to what I had been longing for, for years. Nothing seemed awry, nothing strange. He was a gentleman and we had a nice rest of the day together. Things seemed fine. I was having so much fun with him. We played and laughed and just had so much fun together. Had similar tastes in film, music and liked to try new things, too. I thought I had finally found the perfect adult relationship – like a playmate, yet monogamous, he was adamant about that. He liked to show me off, commenting how he saw other men “checking me out” and he liked that. He really didn’t seem to demand anything from me, we both had lives outside of each other, etc., (again, not other mates, just friends and work), but knew our weekends were pretty much a standing date from Saturday night through Sunday afternoon. It was great! I was never so happy. Truly, it was the best time I had had in years. I had no idea really he was an N, just a bit silly.
However, along the way, and especially looking back, I now recognize what should have been warning signs, however, like I said, I had no idea what an N was so to me they were just quirks in his personality. However, as I’ve delved into this, it turns out my father was a poster child for N. Probably why I gravitated toward that personality.
Some 20/20 signs;
Trouble started out when he got a puppy, and would scream at it - which caused me to shudder. It scared me but I knew he had the patience of a gnat – couldn’t understand why he got a puppy instead of an older dog, but he never hurt the animal so I tried not to let it bother me. After all, he was not yelling at me…. Right?
He had been telling me since we started dating he was going to buy me this and buy me that for Xmas. I thoughtfully selected something for him, based on things about him I had gleaned, and he was very appreciative and even f/b’d about it. He gave me an unwrapped gift – ½ of what he said, he was going to give me the rest later – later never came….
He cancelled our NYE plans after telling me he wasn’t feeling good – and I ended up cooking us dinner and spending a leisurely evening at his place much disappointed as I thought we were going to get all dressed up and go “out” .
He changed the reservations for my birthday dinner at the last minute to a different restaurant. Then, once we got there, he ordered my meal for me. It seemed sort of odd, but I blew it off. I knew he had a strange, quirky personality, but it didn’t (yet) send up the N flag. (even had I known what it was, I was probably too close to see yet.)
After I got sick, from food poisoning a few months later, and was down and out for 2 weeks, things really seemed to change. He checked on me every day, several times a day. But when he came to bring me some food, he acted like I had the plague. Then, our midweek dates stopped.
One night out of the blue, I called to see if he was around – I was in his neighborhood and thought he’d like some fun company. (My ability to feel so free with him, was probably the one thing I liked so much. My ex husband had rejected me physically due to emotional issues he had, but it left me scarred. This guy’s sexual ways played into my need to be needed as a woman.) He was open to me coming by – but then, “it” happened.
There was trouble brewing in the bedroom. On his part, that is. He was always so proud of all of his conquests from his younger days – though said he now desired only to have 1 woman in his life at a time b/c it was too much trouble otherwise. He would talk, often in detail, about past g/f’s with such pride. (yes, this made me uncomfortable, but now having seen his temper at the puppy dog, I was afraid to “upset” him and have him yell at me like the dog – who he had now returned ,by the way, back to the rescue people, supposedly b/c he felt guilty leaving him in a crate so much. Would he “return” me, too?)
So when things fizzled for him in the bedroom, he became extremely upset. Cussing and storming around the room. I didn’t know what to make of it. The ED or the temper tantrum. I suspected it was stress, or his 49th bday coming up, or tired, etc. I'm still not sure what it was, but it happened more than this once and he would get very mad when there wasn't a good ending for him. Sex was becoming awkward at best, yet it was still attention – which I craved.
However, the growing strain from this issue, brought about some other side of him. I suspected that something was wrong but didn't know how to approach it. I didn’t hardly ever initiate sex anymore not knowing if it was going to be a good time for him or not. He started getting more irritable with me over nothing. Unpredictable mood swings. He’d cancel our standing plans for a weekend. Started acting more unstable. (this is about 3 months into it)
One of the other odd things, he had been looking at homes ever since we started dating. He supposedly was going to buy this one – but the deal fell through. Or that one, the owner wouldn’t give in on price. Then that one, something with the builder. There were at least a dozen properties in the 5 months we dated. Again, did he just have a problem making decisions?
I orchestrated a surprise birthday party for him with his “partner’s” wife and his office’s manager. She always made it clear she didn’t work “for” him. I found this a bit odd, if he was indeed a “partner”, but again, blew it off. I had the hardest time finding one of his friends, whom he talked about all of the time. Went golfing with and to ball games with. I found 2 of his friends, and neither of them knew this third person either. The office manager even scrolled through the cell phone and couldn’t find him. THIS was a red flag. However, others had heard of him in conversations, just not met him. He was supposedly an attorney and I figured he just wanted his privacy.
So we had the party but instead of hamming it up as the center of attention, like I thought he’d do, he seemed taken aback. He was humbled almost. Uncomfortable that I’d gone through so much trouble? But he was sweet and offered for me to spend the night instead of driving back home so late. Again, I was afraid to initiate anything even though he had made a comment to one of his friends that “she’ll be busy later”, this was my old fears cropping up – and nothing happened. I was feeling the old rejection pangs from my marriage all over again.
One time when we were being physical, he said it just wasn’t working for him. That something was wrong with ME physically. Now, I am a tiny person. and he was rather well off in that department. So when he said I had no muscle down there – I was horrified. Here I thought I had finally found someone who liked sex as much as me, who wasn’t afraid of my advances, (back when I wasn’t worried about his performance issues), and now I wasn’t compatible with him anymore? That I had somehow ruined myself? (I’ve never had any kids and though my work is physical, it’s not like I should be “out of shape” (so to speak).)
Well, this is where the trait of “getting you to question yourself” part must have come in. I do very physical work and the possibility of damaging my core was a viable possibility. How could I know it wasn’t me unless I went to a doctor? So I did go to a physical therapist friend of mine, she gave me core exercises to do but said she doubted it was me. (she was much wiser than I was.) I even bought an apparatus to strengthen myself. (not a bad thing, considering my livelihood, but I didn’t really need it for the reason he had given.)
So we’d had no sex for weeks – I was “getting myself back into shape”. I was ready. I had been using that contraption and seen progress and was excited to “show him the new me!” Then he had a new problem, so still no sex. (he said he had chaffed himself on a new pair of gym shorts? Yes, that sounded strange to me, but I was scared to challenge him.) I was heartbroken b/c sex was always so important to him – and it made me feel special, b/c of my past history with rejection. So it was, and still is, painful to be rejected by someone who had previously been so “crazy about me” in a physical way.
My mom was coming to town soon. He was all over that – we’ll take her to a nice dinner for her birthday, sure!
It was so confusing. We were supposed to have gone out of town the weekend of Memorial Day and he almost broke our standing date altogether saying he thought I was supposed to be spending it with my mom – even though I was VERY clear to him her arrival date was AFTER our trip was planned, BECAUSE we were going to be out of town. Well, there was not ever going to be a trip I guess. (he often talked of things he did with exes, so I had no reason to suspect we wouldn’t do things, too.)
He broke up with me, that weekend, right before she was to arrive. The weekend he supposedly chaffed himself. His reason? I’m still not sure exactly, but he had some excuse that still doesn’t make sense.
After another sexless night, I woke up to him being awake already. He said he’d never slept so badly in his life. Why, I asked? What was wrong? He threw up his hands and said that “this” just wasn’t working for him. “us”. It wasn’t going to work out. He was sorry, but it just wasn’t going to work.
I was crushed and even as I type this, it makes me cry again. Rejection – again. And this time from someone who I had so much fun with, was so happy with. He had been like a big playmate. We joked, went to movies, ate out, and laughed constantly (most of the time). How could he be breaking up with me? I had not had so much fun, ever that I could remember. We only saw each other once a week, as agreed, and I was fine with that, really, so there is no way for him to have gotten “too much of me”. He was the one who always called and initiated most of the contact.
I had always done everything he said he wanted, b/c it seemed we both wanted the same things most of the time. I enjoyed dressing up sexier that I would normally do on my own, and he seemed to appreciate the woman part of me. I felt like my whole world was falling apart now. And yes, we had some tense times, he had a strange and quirky temper, but the good times were still more than the bad times in my head. I just learned to blow off his strangenesses and enjoy the fun times. Wasn’t this what he told me to do? Not to worry when he got upset for seemingly no reason at all. Was I to blow this off, too? Well, it had struck too deep in my self confidence, tore open that old rejection wound. I was a basket case inside, though tried to hold it together on the outside. I went to the bathroom and cried. When I came back out he was sitting on the couch and said he really, really liked me, I was a lot of fun, a wonderful, beautiful woman, BUT, he didn’t have feelings for me like he thought he should have towards a girlfriend. WHAT? WTH did that mean? I ran though the “was it this? Is it that?” And he just kept saying no, it wasn’t me it was him. I have read the stories about women married in abusive decades long relationships, and I’m lucky he is the one who ended it I guess. Though, it rubs salt in the rejection wound, that why this N didn’t want me. I was fine with the craziness b/c we only saw each other on the weekends really. I hadn’t felt the full effect of N I suppose. But, the more I read, the more I see he was N – text book. Yet, it hasn’t made the pain go away. The pain from being rejected as a woman. Again.
So going forward, I sunk into a deep, deep depression, of which I still struggle with. I question everything about myself. Wasn’t I good in bed? He seemed satisfied – until he started having issues. (though, again, looking back, he was even strange tempered in the bedroom at times. Very methodical and very particular getting upset if I didn’t touch him a very specific way and seem to KNOW what that was supposed to be.) Wasn’t I attractive to him –he had always called me “sexy” as a pet name, and told me how “hot” I looked, etc. (the past 2 months, that had settled down. I thought it was normal, honeymoon time wearing off. But he always told me I looked nice and even would comment on a “hot” look or whatever, just not as much.)
I questioned every single thing that came into my mind. I drove myself crazy. My work suffered, my health suffered (mental and physical), I was nearly suicidal, b/c I had been so happy – it seemed like the exact arrangement I had been waiting for and wanted for this time in my life. And how could someone who made me laugh so hard, now be making me cry so hard?
Yes, there were other tell tale signs and I see them now. But it still doesn’t take all of this pain away. It still doesn’t take away the loneliness. It still doesn’t explain the “why” he had a 9 year relationship before me, and dated all of these others and yet ME, I wasn’t turning him on in the bedroom suddenly. Had I lost my edge? Had I become too passive b/c of my past? Surely we could work those things out? I didn’t beg or anything. He said he wanted to stay friends, b/c we had so much fun together. He promised me a couple of things he was going to be getting rid of when he moved would still be mine. But yes, that I should probably take my personal things home (that day). I was crushed.
I’m still upset, even though, looking at everything, I can see that eventually, I probably would have been the one to walk away b/c of his up and down personality. I don’t take too well to being yelled at, and a few times he had gotten upset with me for nothing.
It is almost as if he knew he was going to screw things up and he wanted to spare me? I don’t know. That would mean he had a conscience, and from everything I’ve read, and I’ve read a ton this summer, he should have just kept using me till someone else came along or whatever. But he broke up with me, as if to spare me from himself?
So, now, I still struggle with many things, depression, feeling sorry for him b/c of the childhood that surely created this personality disorder, feeling sorry for myself b/c I lost the most fun playmate I’d ever had, loneliness and fear of ever being able to trust my judgment in men again. And that is probably one of the hardest things, not being able to trust myself.
I know this is long, but Lisa says to “get it out” and I’m a journal writer since I was young so the words flow from my fingers. Sorry if it got too detailed, but it all plays into the things I read about N’s as far as sexual conquests, blaming the other partner for their deficiencies, etc. And like I say, and remind myself, even though we were only together on the weekends, the empty promises, the constant bragging about past g/f’s, his mood swings, the tension in the bedroom - which was to me, one of the coolest parts of our relationship b/c of my past rejections there – it all would have added up I suppose and if he hadn’t broken up with me, for whatever reason, I guess it would have either fallen apart or he’d have started some of these other N tendencies and it would or could have gotten worse. So, while I should be grateful, I’m still hurting. It seems like even though it was several months ago, he will now and then drop me a note about something, a pic of the puppy, now a dog, that the new owners sent him. A good luck wish for an event I was holding – we have a mutual friend or two, so he must have heard about it – and even a sympathetic note upon the loss of a pet. WTH? It’s like I can’t be mad at him! I just want him to be a jerk so I can move on. But I honestly, want his approval again? What the hell is wrong with me?
Yes, I’m reading a book, it’s like a self therapy book. And I thought I was so much stronger than he has revealed I am. I fall apart in the middle of the day for no apparently reason – other than I start thinking about the fun turned chaos we had. It is so confusing. And so painful. You all on here are so supportive of each other, and I know my pain is no worse than yours. I hate that these people are out there hurting us. Half of me is thankful he broke up with me – while the other half is in turmoil from the rejection. Maybe if I was a stronger person on that front, it wouldn’t matter so much to me. I could brush off this loser and move on. (He was successful, but his personality is crazy and unpredictable!) The old co-dependency traits keep trying to rear their ugly heads – even wrote a letter asking him to come to therapy with me – (Never sent it) - hoping he’d get help and we could be together since he said he liked me so much and just couldn’t understand why he couldn’t “feel for me the way….” Blah blah – it is like a looping recording and I can’t shut it off!
I listen to nothing but talk radio or classical music – b/c songs just make me cry. I practically work myself to death – can’t eat right, too depressed to cook much of the time. I need to pull myself up out of this – he is just one person on this planet. Why does he have such an impact on me?
Ok – I’ve got to get out of my pj’s and get to work. Yes, that is what keeps me sane, sort of. People rely on me and they do appreciate me – isn’t that what we all want? If our stories can help just one young woman not have to go through all of this – our pain may be justified. Lisa, you need to get these stories out. I was in my 40’s before I had ever heard the N word! Unless they start branding capital N’s on their foreheads, we have to let unsuspecting women know what the red flag warning signs are.