*Warning: Very LONG!*
I'm 40 years old, divorced for two years, mother of a 9 year old boy. I moved back to the Northeast 1.5 years ago after living for many years in Europe.
I heard about OKCupid.com (started by young Harvard math majors) from a friend and thought it had an interesting "vibe" of smart funny people and decided to give it a try. A month later my exN contacted me. It was Thanksgiving week, 2010, and I was visiting a friend on the West Coast since my son was in Europe. I saw his email and, after having received many other "so-so" messages up to that point, it sparked my interest right away. I had put in my profile that I was interested in meeting men in "my area" and he lives 1000 miles south. After looking at his profile, which I will post parts of below, I was intrigued! It was well written, but incredibly long, detailed, and specific. To me, then, I thought this meant that he knew what he wanted and had learned from his mistakes, etc. He's five years older than me with three kids: one teenage boy from his first marriage, two grade school age boys from his second, recently ended, marriage. He wrote intelligently and creatively, which is something that attracted me enormously. He had many photos as well of him camping, rock climbing, with his kids, snow shoeing, etc. I would not describe him as a very handsome man (he has a double chin, strange since he is not overweight), but he is good looking (enough). He has lived abroad for several years, is outdoorsy: camping, hiking, kayaking, etc. He's a lawyer (finished his law degree years ago and passed the bar in two states), finishing up his Ph.d in law and simultaneously getting another LLM (!). To me these are all positive traits. So, I emailed him back "you seem perfect in every way except that you live in ___(south)!". Over the next few weeks we emailed through OKC every few days. He was very interesting, intelligent, extremely good vocabulary, a bit funny, inquisitive, knowledgeable, somewhat self-deprecating, spoke fondly of his kids, etc. Early on he knew I am very interested in cooking/food and he sent me a link to a photo gallery on Facebook of pictures he had taken of food he had prepared. He seems to know a lot about Latin American cuisine, which is not something I have a lot of experience with, which was attractive. At the point that he sent me the link to FB I then got to see his full name. Later, I decided to write to him with my normal email address to his email which he had given me. Anyway, soon after we were FB friends (he friended me and I took about three-four days to think about it and respond yes). All through the Christmas season we were mailing each other almost daily. I spent hours a day reading what he wrote and writing to him. My son left again for two weeks to Europe and I found myself waking up in the night looking to see if exN had written to me, which he usually did. I was totally smitten. He was smart and interesting and seemed to have an answer for everything. He also seemed to appreciate me and my role as a mother and all the hard work it takes. He seemed to understand and appreciate things I told him about my son. We had non-stop communication and were never at a loss for things to discuss. One thing that I do remember from that time is that I tried several times to "flirt" with him and he was not all that flirtatious back. I had had a sexless marriage (another post!!) for years and was/am determined to find someone with whom I have an attraction/chemistry/intimacy. So I tried to insert this "sexy" vibe into our communication. I said things like: I love that photo of you rock climbing and seeing your muscular legs, or you look so rugged/handsome in that photo (I know, TAME, but for me it is flirting!). He would respond that he didn't want to rush into anything before we establish a friendship. I thought it was a bit strange, but I thought, Oh, he's so disciplined and mature to not just think about rushing into a flirty/sexual relationship. I also thought that he was a bit shy, maybe a bit nerdy, not that experienced with women, etc.
During the Christmas days, I felt like I was with him. He wrote to me all the time from his iPhone. He was with his three kids skiing out west. He would describe with such fantastic detail what they all were doing, seeing, eating, playing, etc. I became attached, vicariously, to his kids, especially the little ones, probably because he seemed like such a wonderful, perfect father. So adventurous, playful. He told me that he is against too much television, electronics, etc. for the kids which I am too. He was always describing teaching them to play chess and reading them Tintin books, visiting hot springs, Native American reservations, etc. My dream man! He also drives a Toyota FJ Cruiser, which he took photos of with mountains in the background.
One night when I was coming home very late I accidently undershot my driveway and got my side of the car in a snowbank. It took me at least 30 minutes to dig myself out. I wrote to him about it and he responded: Culinaria, where is a good man when you need one? He meant him, of course, and I just thought, oh... he is just so wonderful!!! Finally, after New Year's, we decided to talk for the first time on the phone. He called me at a predetermined time and we spoke for over four hours, non-stop! Then, for the next several months we spoke every day/night for at least four, sometimes up to SEVEN hours! We would speak usually after my son went to bed and stay up until 2 or 3 am. At the same time we started to text each other all the time. It was wonderful to share with him little bits of my day and to hear about his. We went to a lot of ice hockey games this past winter, sledding, up to VT for visits, out to eat, etc. and I would share all of it with him. He did the same. He would text me in the morning before I dropped off my son at school saying: how's my sunflake? How's my girl? He always had a new charming nickname for me. He then started to say that we should see each other, but how and when? I wanted to see him, mostly to confirm if there was chemistry, since I already knew I adored his personality. He offered to fly up to see me, but I thought it would be better if I went down to see him so my son could maintain his routine, etc. My parents came to stay with my son and I booked a flight for two nights and flew down. We were both so excited to see each other. He picked me up at the airport. He was standing at the very edge of the area you can wait for passengers and we recognized each other immediately. We gave each other a small kiss on the cheeks and hugs. I thought that he could have dressed better: he was wearing "dad jeans" and a polo shirt and he has glasses with two different strengths which magnify one eye and reduces the other (!). I just chalked it up to he's a bit nerdy and doesn't think about fashion, etc. He had two big law books in his arms he had been reading while he was waiting for me. He gave me a grand tour of the city and then brought me out to an early dinner at a great place for Peruvian food. I was so happy. The first night at his place we snuggled up to each other on a sleeping porch with the breeze blowing over us. We talked and talked... He did NOT try to kiss me after hours of doing this, which I found strange. Then he finally did kiss me and it was wonderful, but he was not at all "taking charge". This I found to be a bit disappointing. I thought that maybe he was insecure after being married so long and then getting recently divorced. He also knew that I had had, up until a few months before we met, a much younger boyfriend from Europe which ended well. So, I thought, ok, I'll have to teach him, but we'll at least try. That night, he did not try to much in bed. In fact, when we finally started to get ready for bed, I asked him if I should sleep in the guest room or with him. I didn't want to seem pushy/too forward. He laughed and said he wanted us to sleep together. All in all, the quick trip ended well. He bought my parents expensive wine for me to bring back as a thank you for them babysitting. Things continued with non-stop phone, email, texts. Then he said he wanted to invite me and my son down there for a weekend trip to celebrate his birthday in February (scary coincidence: he shares the same birthday as my ex husband, but is younger by a few years!!!). I hesitated, because I didn't want to have my son meet a "boyfriend" until I was more certain of our future. We decided that we would just tell my son that we are friends only and we wouldn't sleep in the same room. He wanted us to stay at his Mother's home at the beach when she and his step father would be out of town. We went down and it was three nights/four days of fun and harmony. My son LOVED him. ExN was fantastic with my son, it was unreal!!! He played with him on the beach, wrestled with him in the pool/ocean. Played games with him. Told him stories, etc. He gave him a book about wildlife in the area and explained interesting things to him. On his birthday night we set off fireworks on the beach. He let my son ride on top of his "cool car" the FJ cruiser on a dead end road for a few feet. He talked about his own sons all the time too. (He moved several states away from his ex and kids after the divorce; more on that later.) ExN let me sleep in one morning, to give me a "break" (his idea!!!), and took my son on a bike ride to his mother's beach club and then had lunch with him, played with him. He bought him a treasure map at a store and talked about ship wrecks with him. Amazing, I thought. When my son and I got back he said to me that exN is the nicest most wonderful person he has EVER met!! I was a bit nervous at such a strong statement, but happy nonetheless. During the weekend, I had brought presents wrapped for exN for his birthday. I made him two containers of homemade granola and packaged it nicely with my name: "Culinaria's Granola". I also gave him two books , one fiction, one nonfiction on subjects I knew he'd like. I gave him spices from a great shop near me. He said it was the best birthday he'd ever had and the best, most thoughtful presents he'd EVER received!!! I was just touched (and tears now thinking about this). I also thought that it really wasn't *that* big a deal. I had wrappped each one nicely and displayed them all on a table for him, but I was wondering what had happened in his life that this was the best he'd ever had? Things continued on great. At some point he told me he loved me. I didn't say it back and I never did tell him that I loved him in our whole relationship. He said that he knows how I feel and that I don't have to say it until I'm ready. He also urged me to check mark the box on FB that we are "in a relationship" with each other. He wanted it to be "public" and said he would be honored if I agreed. I said I didn't like to to do that and would only do it, maybe, if we were living together or married, but otherwise didn't see the point, since the important/close people in my life already know. He pushed and also said he wanted some women he knew to see it so that they would know he is "taken". I said I would think about it, but never agreed. He told me countless times how much he loves me, what a great mother I am, fantastic cook, etc. He then came up to visit me for about five days while my son went to Europe. I had arranged that friends of mine came over for a small dinner party and we all got along great. He praised me endlessly for my cooking/hostess skills and remarked at how great a "team" we were. He got along well with my friends, talking about sailing, etc. My friends said he was a good guy. We got along great while he was visiting. The only thing I was not happy about was his performance in bed. He had several instances of erectile disfunction (ED) and I was so worried that this would be the end of us, since I will not be in a relationship again without a healthy sex life. He said that had never happened to him before, he thought he was just intimidated by my experience and healthy sexual appetite. I tried to help him and we did manage to have some successful, harmonious time together in bed. He said I was the most passionate woman he's ever been with and he was impressed with how open and direct I was with sex. I didn't think I was so overly open and direct, but I just thought he was very inexperienced. He left and time went on with hours of contact a day, etc. During this time he said over and over again that we have to find a way to be together more permanently. He was persistent about this subject. I was reluctant to move so fast because of my son. He wanted me to consider moving down to where he is and he looked at schools for my son. Over a span of a few weeks he sent me links to houses in the area where he currently lives of places he wanted to buy for us to live together. He always asked me over and over which would I prefer: a condo or house, city, suburb, or country, etc. He also said he would be willing to move up to where I am even though he said he is an ideal place for the law practice he wants to open. He said if he moved to me, he would make the practice work. He always said "I have your back" and would "backstop" me in all situations. He constantly talked about us being a team and caring for our children together. He talked about travel plans: he wanted me to attend a wedding in S. America with him this summer, go to a western state with him to where his mom has a summer home and drive up a truck from the south full of wood he has in storage of an old barn which he wanted us and our kids to build together on a plot of land his mom is giving him. He said he wanted me to travel with him to Europe and S. America when he has to go to drum up business for his law practice. He said he wanted to hike mountains with me in Poland, and hike a different volcano each year. He often said he wanted me to meet his boys. He also wanted my son to meet his boys. There is more, but this is the general idea. I never indicated that I was going to do all this with him, except this summer's plans. He brought up all of these plans and ideas on his own. He asked me several times what I thought about marriage and having more children and always said he would want to marry me and have one more child with me. At first he said he thought four children between the two of us would be enough, but when I said I really wanted one more chance to have a girl and another baby, he said, happily, that he would want to also.
On and on, all good, positive things. I was falling in love and in my head thinking I had found a needle in a hay stack and potentially the man I would be able to spend the rest of my life with...
One day at the end of March we were on the phone while my son was at his swim lesson. We were talking about his teen son and I very innocently asked him if he had had a talk with him about sex/masturbation/birth control, etc. He said he had not, at all, ever. I found this a bit troublesome, since this boy is past the age where he ought to have had this talk with his father. I disagreed with him and we discussed it. He was a bit argumentative, but I just thought it was a healthy debate/disagreement. The conversation lasted about 20 minutes and then I had to go to get my son at the pool. I didn't think anything of it other than we had had a bit of a disagreement. Then a few hours went by and I was making dinner and I realized I had not heard from him: no text, no call, nothing, which was unusual. Meanwhile I had quickly shot off an email to him with a link to a web site about talking to your teen about sex and he never responded. That night we finally spoke and he harshly lectured me for over FOUR HOURS and said I was unnecessarily hostile, argumentative, offensive, irrational, combative, unnecessarily intense, overbearing, not diplomatic, that I don't recognize how I come across to other people, stubborn, cold, not supportive, a bulldozer, not giving the unconditional benefit of the doubt, overzealous tone, making blanket statements, condescending, etc. etc. He was like a totally different person! I just sat there, with my mouth open, in total shock. I could not believe what was happening to me. Every time I tried to defend myself he attacked me again and again. He is incredibly smart and I found myself not able to stand up for myself because he would shoot down everything I say. At one point he said he felt like he was arguing with a "first year law student" (an insult , I presume)! He said he wants me to make him feel warm and good about himself and is only looking for a little civility, pleasantry. He said that it would be appropriate for me to give him a qualified benefit of the doubt, not challenge him. He wanted me to gently redirect him, without him even knowing, be sweet. This is a skill, an art to conversation/interaction. He said he expected emotional backstopping and that I was there for him, radiating empathy. He was careful to say that it doesn't mean we have to blindly endorse each other. When I said I thought he was putting me down, he freaked out and said that it was offensive that I think that, not constructive at all, it surprises and hurts him to hear me say that. He said he can't see being in a partnership with someone who thinks I put her down and it is really offensive. He said it flies in the face of everything I've said and done over the past months, etc. etc. Over and over he said I am COLD, INSENSITIVE, and CONDESCENDING. He said he has no interest whatsoever arguing/debating with his significant other or parsing the meaning of words. He hates doing that. He said we have a COMMUNICATION DISCONNECT. He said he is a mediator not a litigator. He said he is very worried of people who think I put them down and that he had that in his life before and he finds that a nightmare. It touches a raw nerve and is completely insensitive. ON and ON!!! His voice and tone was totally different from how I'd ever heard him speak. I was in shock and confused. I totally questioned myself and wondered if he is right. For a few days we had these horrible conversations. It was excruciating for me and so utterly confusing. I just had no idea what was going on. I never in my life had heard the things he was saying to me. I do like a healthy debate and my family and I discuss politics, world events, etc. and we raise voices, but not in a terrible way, and even so, it's not the end of the world. I was wondering if I was wrong and was to harsh with him. One of my friends suggested that I should never talk with him about his kids and ex wives or family: tabu subjects that he is sensitive about.
Then we agreed to proceed and try to see if we could work it out even though he thought there were an alarmingly large number of issues! A few days later we had a talk about dogs (I'm a dog lover) and he said something I disagreed with. I couldn't just not say anything, and I said what I felt, but I never thought I was being cold, condescending, abrasive, etc. Well, another tirade ensued. I then tried to placate him. A few days later he brought up that he didn't want me to discuss our relationship, especially any difficulties between us, with any of my friends or family. I had mentioned to him that I had asked my two dear friends for advice on what to do about our conflict and he said he thinks it was not good for our privacy and our foundation as a couple to reveal "weaknesses" in our partnership to others. He thought that they would feel sorry for us, etc. I told him I didn't agree completely and that I didn't want to go around telling everyone I know about us, but just a few, close friends. He said this was a deal breaker for him. I then thought, well, maybe he is right. I agreed to his "terms".
At this time, end of March, we had already made plans for him to come up for a weekend. He then threatened up to the day before that he wouldn't come. My son already knew that he was supposed to come and was very excited. He was arguing with me over and over about the same stuff and saying he would not come. I said I thought it would be good for us to see each other and that we communicate better in person. He was relentless. Finally, I said I give up. If he didn't want to come that was fine. Then he texted me within the hour asking to call when I could. He then changed and said that he had thought about what I said and he thinks that since my INTENT is/was not bad that that is a significant and positive thing he shouldn't overlook and he would come. I tried to get back to "normal" again and was sing-songy excited. The next day he was at the law library all morning. I knew his flight details and told him he needed to get going to the airport. He was on the phone the whole time with me as he got to the car, drove there etc. He got to the gate, after traffic, parking, etc., too late and missed his flight!!! I was furious, but was so scared of being too hard on him for that mistake that I just swallowed my disappointment. He was upset at himself, but sort of explained it away as too much traffic, etc. I knew he was leaving with not enough time.
Our next time to get together was for two weeks of April vacation. At the last minute, it turned out that my son couldn't go to Europe for the whole time, as planned. I told exN about that and he said that I should absolutely bring him down and we could all go camping, kayaking together and that my son could then leave from there to go to Europe. I thought about it a lot, and thought that it was worth a try and I agreed. We made all the arrangements and went down. The first few days were great. We still stuck to the "just friends" status quo in front of my son. Some weird things happened though. One night when we were eating dinner exN said to my son things like: would he like to have him for a step father?, to which my son said an enthusiastic YES! I couldn't believe it! What an inappropriate thing to say/do! He was clearly fishing for compliments from my son and kept talking about wanting us to be a family, step-siblings, etc. It was so strange, but I didn't want to say anything while my son was there. Also, that night, exN told my son he loved him as we tucked him into bed. My son didn't respond that he loved him, too, like he does to me and my family. I thought that my exN said that WAY too soon and was confused by it.
On day three, I woke up to an Urinary Tract Infection (UTI). Painful, annoying, etc. I had to go find an Urgent Care Facility to get antibiotics. ExN came home from the law library and I told him I was sick (from something which essentially came from HIM). He totally had NO SYMPATHY. He acted annoyed that we had to find a doctor. My son was across the street with exN's sister and her kids (another story) and we were about to leave for the doctor's when exN said he had to check his email. (He had lost his iPhone the day we arrived and had not replaced it at that point and was involved at that moment with buying out his ex wife from their house in the other state, which was very stressful for him [wonder why?].) I was waiting by the door ready to go. He was at least ten feet away. He then very harshly ordered me to sit down and to stop "hovering" over him while he checked his mail. I was very uncomfortable and didn't want to sit. He then looked up at me and SLAMMED his laptop close so hard I thought it would break and STORMED off to the other room, yelling at me. I was shocked and frightened. I couldn't believe it. A lot more happened such as he said several times that the day is "RUINED" because I had to go to the doctor. It was awful. Later, when we got my son and his nephew and started to drive to exN's mother's house to spend the night I just tried to make everything ok. I just tried to be cheerful and act like all was normal. That night he blew up at me again when he pointed out a flowering honeysuckle bush and wanted me and the boys to smell it. It was very late and we were going inside to get ready for bed and none of us wanted to stop to smell it. After the kids were in bed (all my effort), he sat in the living room with his books and completely IGNORED ME. I tried to ask him questions, engage him, offer him wine, etc. NOTHING. Total silent treatment. I was in shock and horribly heartbroken. He slept in another room even though we had decided previously to sleep together and wake up early to separate so the kids would not see. The next day he ignored me!!! We were with his mother, step-father, brother, sister-in-law and their three kids from out of town. He treated me like this in front of them! It was so horrible. I just tried to be the perfect "new" girlfriend. Make pleasant conversation, help with meals/cleaning up, play with the kids, etc. Finally, at the end of the day of being at the beach, etc. I managed to "butter up" exN enough and "sweet talk" him to get him "back". We had dinner with everyone and he praised the salad I made over and over again. That night we slept together and it was great, although I had major panic thoughts about what was wrong with him. I attributed it to the stress of buying the house from his ex. The next morning was the day we were off to drive five hours north to go camping. We were loving in the morning (sex, which was great), and then when we were out on the driveway, getting the car packed, I asked him if he minded if he got nicks and scratches on his car. It is a rugged car he had used for work stuff/camping/hauling an Airstream etc. I noticed as he was strapping down the gear that he threw the straps with the metal buckles around the car a lot and the metal scratched the car. He FREAKED OUT at my question. At that moment, he was standing up on the roof on the car speaking down to me so harshly. He accused me of questioning his values/morals of taking care of his belongings, and not being wasteful. I actually can't remember much of what he said since I was barely breathing I was so scared and shocked. It was a beautiful morning and we were off on an adventure and he was having a vile fit! I was terrified that my son would walk out and see him. Again, I managed to turn his "mood" around within the next few hours. Under normal circumstances, I would have "freaked" out back at him, but I felt trapped in the situation with my son. We were away from home, has plans for the next days, etc. I didn't want to make a scene and I didn't know what else to do. The camping was great fun and with no incidents (thank goodness!!). He told me the whole time how wonderful I am, how much he loves me, we took photos, talked about the future, he was affectionate, sexy, sweet, great with my son, etc. When we came back, though, it was very late and we were at his mother's house. I was already in bed, almost asleep. He came in and I asked him to please open the windows/doors to the balcony which overlooks a lovely courtyard. I wanted fresh air, not air conditioning. He protested, said he didn't want the "noise" from outside (?), but then opened them. He then came back to bed, and all of a sudden bolted up and said harshly to me something about getting my way and abruptly left the room!!! I was just so shocked, yet again. This outburst was over NOTHING. If it had been so important to him then I would have said I would not mind to have the windows closed. He never gave me a chance. He slept somewhere else that night. The next day he barely spoke with me, even though just the day before he was constantly saying how much he loved me, etc. We were getting our stuff ready to go and at one point he took my bag which was not all packed and put it in the car. I said I wanted it back to pack it and he harshly said to me: It's not all about you! (What??) We spent the day at the beach. My son wanted to play with him the way he had before, but exN only stayed on a lounge chair with his books saying that the day was "for him" and he wanted to relax and read. He totally ignored me, even when I tried to talk with him, tried to be "sweet", etc. My poor son asked him several times to go in the water with him and play just for a little while, and exN would not. I then went with my son down the beach a ways to collect shells. A little while later I realized that exN had left without telling me to go to the Apple store. He just took off without a word. That night we were to drive back to his home a few hours away. He suggested we get fast food for dinner. I said NO, since there were other options, including getting bread, cheese, yogurt, meats, etc. for a quick picnic instead. He knows since the beginning that I am totally anti-fast food and will eat it every once in a while only if there aren't any other options. He again completely ignored me and my suggestions to stop at each store we drove by. I kept thinking: what if we had been in MY car, in my town, would he still do this? We were hungry, but I just kept quiet as he drove in silence. I couldn't believe it.
The next day my son was to fly to Europe. ExN and I had previously discussed that we would bring him together to the airport. That morning, though, exN woke early and got ready to leave. He handed me the keys to his car and said I could bring my son by myself to the airport and said I would just have to find my way (in a foreign-to-me city and no navigator). He took off on his bike to the law library and said he would be home that night late. The whole day I was just trying to have a good day with my son and get him prepared for his overnight flight. I did manage on my own to get him sent off. On my way back from the airport I bought food and wine at the store to prepare a nice dinner for exN and me. ExN came home at 9:20 pm. He BANGED much too loudly on the door, which I had locked since I was home alone (?) and then when I let him in, he scowled at me and asked me a few curt questions. I could see that he was in one of his "dark" moods, so I just sat there. He went into the kitchen, then came out and asked me for the keys to his car. He then went out to his car and I thought he was going to start to unpack it from our camping stuff. I was all prepared to go out to help when he got in and DROVE AWAY!!!! I was in shock (familiar sounding?). This was 9:30 pm. I waited, and waited, and waited. 10:30, 11:30, Midnight. No sign of him and I couldn't call him since he still had not replaced his phone. I decided to got to bed (not sleep) and at 4:30 am, my son's father called to tell me that our son had arrived safely. ExN was still not back! Then, at 6:30 am I heard him come in and take a shower. Then he left again and left me a note simply saying that he took the car and I could use his bike. That's it. He didn't come home that night until after midnight and I was already in bed!! He slept in the other room. I then saw him the next morning. I offered him coffee, which he always said he loves, and he refused. I asked him if we could talk and he said he would not have time until MID MAY due to his exams, papers, etc and he couldn't risk loosing his serenity and focus to talk with me!!! (It was 22 of April) So, I spent the week all by myself basically (and was asked out on two dates when I was out and about, HA!). I had planned to leave the following Monday, but I booked a ticket to leave on a Saturday morning. I saw his sister several times and had to pretend that all was ok and the her brother was just really busy studying a lot. It was horrible. I had no friends in the area and usually had no car. I exercised a lot by speed walking all over and listened to podcasts and read my stack of New Yorkers. It was beautiful down there, so I made the best of the situation and it was cold and rainy up where I live at that time, so not all was lost. I emailed him a few times asking if he could take a break to see me and go for a walk. He answered, harshly, that he had to write all sorts of papers, study, etc. He also said that he had no desire to be distracted by me and out of focus. He said I would take his peace and clarity away. I saw him one night when he came home "early". I tried to ask him innocent questions about his day, etc. I smiled and tried to engage him. He said in a condescending tone: do you have something you want to tell me, Culinaria? It was like he wanted me to apologize, but I didn't want to start up a discussion about us, and what he had done, when he said he had to concentrate on his finals. I then asked him if he would drive me to the airport in the next days. He said if he had nothing else planned, he would. We got up early on Saturday morning and left. He drove like a maniac on the highway: weaving in and out of traffic, speeding, etc. I just sat there without saying anything. He then dropped me off and we gave each other a half hug and he said good luck (WTF?!!!?). This was the last time I saw him.
I got home, in shock, depressed, and also angry, thinking that he would certainly call me soon to apologize. I got an email from him asking me to FedEx his things he had left at my place and he gave me his account number to pay for it. I was in shock and confused. Over the next days I noticed he was posting all sorts of things on FB that were somehow related to me: an article about my home state, saying he'd live there in a second if he could make a living (remote state and we had talked about how nice it would be to have a farm there), YouTube videos of music he and I listened to (Latin American artists), and then, after about a week or two, he posted his "reactivated" OKCupid profile (when he had taken down in January: he said he had already met the best woman on the whole site!) right onto his FB wall with the comment: Looking, in no particular rush, for a genuinely sweet, honest, family-oriented woman... (WTH!?) On that weekend he first posted his OKC profile to FB, he took it down and reposted it at least five times, probably so that it would come to the top of my news feed! He also made a status update within the first week that I was back home: Isn't life great or what? Hardly anyone of his 300+ "friends" commented on any of these things. Also, he posted photos of a new BOAT he bought within the first few weeks of our break up, BEFORE the all-important Mid-May time period that he claimed was when he was finally done with exams/papers. (He always said he wanted us and the kids to go sailing together, he wanted to go with me to remote places and make love on the boat, etc., UGH--the pain!) I waited and waited, looking at FB, dying. Nothing. Absolutely nothing. Then after a few weeks, I was so distraught and I thought this is crazy, what is going on? Is this IT?!!!?
I thought of his ex-wife (exW). I had, from the beginning, always been uncomfortable about how he spoke of her, the mother of his young children. I thought that maybe he was still really hurt, since he said she initiated the divorce which became final in fall of 2010. He had moved out in Jan. of 2010 and she told him she wanted a divorce in November of 2009. I decided to email her. I emailed her a simple message saying who I am and I was confused about her ex's erratic behavior and she called me back the next morning.
ExW and I spoke for over 1.5 hours. Within the first sentence or two she told be he had Narcissistic Personality Disorder!!!! I was stunned. Since that initial conversation, BLESS HER HEART, we have spoken two or three more times, at least an hour each time. She told me countless stories of abuse over their ten year marriage. Physical and, of course, relentless emotional abuse. My heart BROKE hearing her stories of pain and suffering. I am in so much agony thinking what she has gone through. She told me that she is lucky to be alive. I am just horrified at what she has gone through. He tried to alienate her from her family and friends. He abused her in front of the kids. Told her that she is not worthy of his respect. He tried to STRANGLE HER when she was pregnant. Shoved her, jabbed his fingers into her chest to the point of bruising/marks, and so many other unbelievable ABUSE. She said it was non-stop torture being with him. She said she saw signs of his abuse before they got married, but at that point, the wedding was already planned with thousands of dollars already spent, people from all over the world had flights and hotels booked to come, etc. so she didn't want to cancel it. She was very young (23 and he's ten years her senior) when he "plucked" her out of the law library where she had been in law school. He told her to quit law school since there only needs to be one lawyer in the family.
She forwarded me messages he has written to her: utter contempt and unbelievable abuse, STILL. I can't believe he was writing to her this disgusting evil filth while on the SAME DAYS interacting with me!!! The time at Christmas that we were constantly emailing, he was horribly abusive to her with regard to the "handover" of the kids. Unreal.
She told me, and this also breaks my heart, that exN was badly and consistently abused by his alpha male, hyper-successful father: emotionally and physically. His mother, whom I know, is a co-dependent and enabler (but also, the exW thinks, narcissistic and controlling with money) who just did whatever exN wanted and rubbed his back after he was abused by the father. ExW told me that exN was overweight as a child (I've seen photos and he was) and that his father always wanted him to be successful in sports (football, baseball, etc.) and he wanted him to have a career in banking/finance, like he had. (ExN had told be some of this and that he tried finance/banking after college, but hated it. ExN had also told me bits and pieces of his father, some seemed negative, but he always "justified" it and he basically idolized his father, who died of a massive heart attack when exN was in his late 20s.) ExW told me that the mother of exN was abused by HER father as a child (then she married an abuser, hmmmm...).
ExW told me that really ExN has hardly ever worked or earned any money. He is a never-ending student. He does have a law degree, one LLM, another LLM, PhD which never ended, etc. He's licensed as a United States Customs Broker, too (huge, difficult exam to pass). She said that he worked once at a law firm for about eight months and hated it every day and complained about having to keep track of his hours. She said he spent thousands of dollars decorating an office to open a law practice and never made a dime and didn't really work. She told me exN's mother pays for her child support and basically everything else! ???? My mind is spinning. When I told exW that exN had left me one night, without a word, she told me a horrible story about him leaving her when their first child was just a few days old and was gone for two days with no word or warning. I could go on and on about the sick and horrible torture she told me.
The exN is extremely nice and generous to talk with me and I am forever grateful that she called me when I reached out to her!!! She seems to be in a good place now and has, unlike me, not one bit of desire to be with him. She practices what she calls "indifference to negativity" to all of his abuse he still tries to inflict on her. I would be in a very different place now if it weren't for her! I knew what Narcissism is, but I had NO IDEA he would have NPD and I'm not sure I would have figured it out if we had not spoken.
Me, now. I admit, I'm a wreck. I think about exN constantly. CONSTANTLY. I am always wanting to call him and share with him bits and pieces of my day, share stuff I've read or seen, what I've done, what my son is doing, etc. I want to hear about him, what he is doing and feeling!
It is not as thought I am not without friends. I have several really good friends and we share so much with each other. But, it is DIFFERENT with a man, a "good man" (he always said that is what he is!). I went to a professional baseball game with a friend and her son a few weeks ago. The whole time I was smiling, having fun, talking with my friend and our kids, watching the game in this wonderful stadium, etc. But, there was a constant exN "cloud" or "presence" around me. Like background music of HIM. Inside, I really was not having fun, enjoying myself. I was/am suffering. I wanted to share with exN my experience, especially since he likes baseball, but I knew I couldn't. It is like this EVERY DAY. Over the last weeks, I have been to parties, a wedding in Virginia, to the Air and Space Museum over Memorial Day weekend in D.C., etc. etc. I'm constantly trying to stay busy, active. I exercise and do yoga every day. I find myself crying through entire 75 minute yoga classes!!! Just unbelievable. I have to go to the bathroom to hide my tears throughout the day. I drive in the car, crying. I stand at the kitchen sink, doing the dishes and suddenly find myself overwhelmed with grief, and tearing up. I feel like I am not myself. I am so often overcome with such sorrow and pain. I have lost my appetite too. I have to really make an effort to just eat something.
I put my OKCupid profile up for about a week and got several emails, but I just have no desire to interact with anyone (men). I took it down again.
On the one hand I KNOW I dodged a bullet, big time, but there is a part of me that obsesses about him and what we had planned for this summer and our future. I wonder all the time about his kids, since he shared so much about them with me, I feel like I know them after the countless photos, videos I've seen of them. Their cute little voices he let me hear when they were on the phone. That is actually a really hard part of this situation, since I had already had it in my head that I would be a step parent to them. I think of what will they all do together this summer, when I was supposed to be with them. I care for these little, precious kids of his!
I KNOW I am supposed to be strong and think that I would NEVER put up with his abuse, none of it!! But, I feel like I love him (!!!!!!!!!) even though I never said the words to him (I had planned on telling him when we were together, but it never happened since the abuse started).
Part of me is angry, too! I want to contact his mother and tell her what happened and that she needs to get him into therapy, if only to help protect future abuse to others and, especially, his children!! I am so mad that I was just Devalued and Discarded so suddenly with a "we aren't good for each other" explanation. @#$% What??? Right after he told me countless times he has my back, he loves me, we're partners, there for each other, etc.!??!
From what I read here, on the Lisa Scott forum, I think that he realized that I am strong enough to not put up with his abuse and that I "figured him out". When he did all of the horrible things to me I was in "fight" mode much of the time, even though I realized I could barely breath!! Amazing. I think he saw that I would not just acquiesce! I didn't fight back too strongly, though, since I was really just in shock. I don't know. He is also simply brilliant, I really couldn't keep up. Unreal.
I can't help thinking what a wonderful, smart, creative, talented, loving person he was. I think for his exW, she suffered real, long-term abuse. I can understand she either hates him or feels indifference now. Either way, she doesn't want to be with him at all. For me, I had definitely experienced abuse, inappropriate treatment, etc, but I never experienced it very badly. (Or am I kidding myself?! Ugh) So, I still have MORE of my memories and experiences with him, actually the majority of our time together, as good memories and experiences. This makes it so hard!! I have to force myself to read what his exW sent me that he wrote to her over and over to convince myself what a horrible person he is. This must be the cognitive dissonance. On the one hand, I have constant memories of how wonderful, caring, interesting, available he was to me, BUT, at the same time, I remember the "psycho eyes" he had when looking at me (MY GOD, THAT IS FRIGHTENING) and the voice he had when yelling at me/ speaking so HARSHLY to me. I also know what he did for YEARS to his exW and his kids. I just can't handle the two opposing realities!! I am so heart broken. I wish that I would just wake from this nightmare and all would go back to what it was.
I found this forum a few weeks ago, after the exW told be to google NPD. I am SO LUCKY to have found this site! I have been reading for hours all of the stories you all have told and I have found it to be just about the only thing that has helped me get through my days. I feel a bit guilty that many of you have children with these NPDs and also invested years with them when I only had about five months with mine. I feel like I should consider myself lucky that I found out so "soon" and that I never got pregnant. I admire all of you, though, for your strength and wisdom!
I often see posts people write and I want to read the background of the person and/or the person's original "story". I don't see anywhere on the site a search bar or how to search for threads of what just one person has written. I'd also like to be able to search for key words (like ED), but don't see how to do that. Any tips?
Also, I want to start to see a therapist. Do any of you have any tips on how to find someone with experience with this sort of "special" abuse? I see often here and other sites people complaining that very often therapists are "duped" by the Narc and that they sometimes just don't "get" this type of abuse.
Is it better to see a M.D. (psychiatrist and/or psychopharmacologist), a social worker, psychologist, or what? Any tips are greatly appreciated.
Finally, I know this is "wrong", but I am really shocked at how vulnerable I am to reaching out to exN. At the encouragement of the exW, I blocked exN from Facebook a few weeks ago. He noticed and wrote me an email asking me if I had done that or just gone off FB. I never responded. I HATE not having closure and just wish I could see him again. I feeling like reaching out to him and asking if we can see each other. I am is such utter shock that he can keep up this "silent treatment" for so long. We have gone from speaking ALL THE TIME to now not having spoken once since I've been back at the end of April. I am just devastated.
One last thing: Sorry this is so long. I just had to get it out.