Secondtimearound's Story

I recently left a "relationship" that I knew was toxic. I had met XX at a VA medical center a few years back. We saw each other quite a bit around that time but not outside of the VA. I thought that I had gotten to know him a bit. Anyway, a few months back I took a temp assignment and it ended out being where he is employed. We didn't get much of a chance to talk at work but did the normal "How have you been...." On the last day of my assignment, he asked me out. I was not "romantically" interested in him at all but I thought "What the hell." I figured we had things in common and we could at least be friends and go out and have a good time. By the end of our first date, I was totally smitten. I remember thinking "How did I not see what was right in front of me. He is amazing!" Wow, was I wrong. I had no idea the lengths they go to lure you in. I did not know about mirroring etc. He totally swept me off of my feet. He had gotten to parts of me that nobody else had. By the third date, he told me he loved me. Red flag, right? I blew it off thinking "Well, we kind of already know each other." We are both ex military and had shared some deep stuff in that respect. The weird part is that I was feeling like maybe I loved him too. I wasn't sure what hit me at the time.
Now, I also have to say that about 6 or 7 years ago, I dated a man for about 5 months. Now that I understand a bit about narcissist, I realize he was one too. Though, compared to the narc that brought me in search of this site, he was what I now consider, a very mild narc. After 5 months of off and on bullcrap with him, I finally realized he was a selfish prick and would never be anything else. I left. It was difficult but it was nowhere near as hard as it has been to leave current narc. This narc got so deep in me and in such a short time, it still blows me away to think about it.
I have realized that over the years I have seemed to date more and more selfish men. I have had some good relationships with some really good men in the past. Most of the time the relationships ended because we were going on separate paths. I have always been very independent and followed my own dreams. Unfortunately, that does not leave much room for relationships with men. It sucks but traditionally the women seem to have to be the ones to drop their dreams so they can follow the men who follow their dreams. I have accepted that and have chosen to just take relationships as they come and let them go when I have to. I am starting to see now, that as I get older the dating pool gets more and more shallow and what seems to be left are these "rejects." That has been a depressing thought but I would still chose being on my own than settle with assholes. I have been working on recapturing my old standards, as far as men are concerned, and not letting myself settle just because that is what is left. It sucks but I have chosen my life and would choose it again if I had it to do over. I just hate that the good ones are much fewer and far between. Oh well, it beats putting up with these miserable assholes. I have also realized that narcs destroy pieces of us inside. The scariest part is that some of them are really psychopaths and that can not only cost us our self esteem and sanity but could very well end out costing us our lives or our the lives of our loved ones.
I am also very scared of how hard it was for me to let him go. It scares me that I can be so drawn, even feeling addicted, to someone so bankrupt. I still don't fully understand the how and why of it all but I do know that I do NOT want this kind of life.

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