Dear Fearless Love,
A year ago I broke off a 15-month on-and-off-again relationship with someone I was deeply in love with. When we were together he was fun and made me laugh, and we talked for hours. He liked being spontaneous, which I found exciting, but it meant he never planned our dates. He wouldn’t define our relationship and he also didn’t want to involve our families or friends. When we saw each other it always involved being intimate even after I had just finished saying I didn’t want that! I fought with him about this blatant disregard for my wishes and safety, and I found myself asking him over and over again if he really cared about me or anything at all. As much love as I felt for him, many times he left me feeling confused and insecure. When I would break up with him, he would write me love letters and bring me gifts, so I believed things had changed.
Recently, I noticed he is pursuing other women as he pursued me – so sweet and charming! I feel betrayed! Doesn’t he know how much he’s hurt me? Is it normal to feel so hurt even after a year apart?
It sounds like the relationship, while very enjoyable in some respects, also brought you much inner turmoil. The behaviors you describe fit some of the traits of a sociopath – someone who is charming but manipulative, who experiences little empathy, shame, or remorse. He entices you with his words and invades your personal space, expertly building rapport to create a false sense of intimacy with you. But he’s not sincere and has no desire to honor you.
Someone who fits into this category tends to disregard your rights and sentiments, often violating stated boundaries around sexual integrity and your physical being. He cannot commit well to relationships and wants to “keep you all to himself”, isolated from friends and family. Drawing you ever closer to himself, initially may make you feel special, but in truth, he’s increasing your dependency and vulnerability to him. Often this is done with a play for your sentiments and compassion.
In finally breaking up with this man, you stopped playing his game, so he has moved on and doesn’t care if you see him for who he is. For you, this was about love. For him, it was about what he could get. This type of individual lives in the moment. Based on his inherent lack of trust, there is no tomorrow. Your feelings of betrayal are real and understandable. You should consider yourself lucky, though, that you got out of this toxic relationship. Marriage would not have changed his behavior. Your heart will heal and it is free to love someone who is deserving of it and able to return what you have to give.
Additional signs to help identify a sociopathic individual:
1. An underdeveloped individual who lacks the ability to love, to live by higher values or possess a sense of obligation based on an emotional attachment to another
2. Guiltlessly charms others in order to take advantage of them through parasitic relationships
3. Disregards the safety of others and is indifferent to the one he has mistreated, hurt or stolen from
4. Fails to conform to social norms or lawful behaviors and may have a history with trouble with the law
5. Fails to honor financial obligations, subsequently can be in and out of financial turmoil
6. Avoids sustained effort, organized projects, commitment, long-term goals or plans
7. Chronically bored and empty, therefore lives in pursuit of a “rush”
8. Impulsive and never monogamous
9. Gravitates towards behavioral addictions to sex, porn and/or substances
10. Does not miss others when they are alienated or gone
If your symptoms persist, consult with a professional for the trauma that arises from the betrayal.
From Love Trauma To Fearless Love: 7 Tango Steps for Breaking Free From Narcissists and Predators
Download the Free Excerpt: Lovetrauma.com.