No, Really…F*ck This Guy

Alias (DO NOT USE A REAL NAME!!): n_shrimpfckthisguy

Comment: this is really long, and i tried to be concise but it’s complicated. please edit as necessary.

My first bf from 25 years ago (who i was infatuated with even at 17- he broke my heart then) contacted me in early may on FB. He lives in Boston, I live in nyc. He had separated from his wife and moved out Jan 1, and was in the divorce process. his pretrial was july 28, and he fully expected to be divorced then so we only had a 2 month wait. he lives in boston, but we were going to make it work.

we’re speaking constantly via email, he starts complimenting me, telling me how much he’s missed me, there was always something about me etc. we email and talk for hours, every night, but he doesn’t ask me a single question about myself, nor acknowledge anything i have to say about myself.  He comes here with his 3 kids the following wkdn and we pick up like we had never split up- feels so natural. his kids love me, daughter is crying when i leave, his son starts texting me.. no romantic activity at this point. He visits the following weekend and it’s blissful- i felt like i was on a drug, and realized i’d never been in love before, and it wasn’t overrated.  If i could have invented a guy, he would be it. best sex i’ve had, he is, literally, the hottest guy i’ve ever seen, polite, affectionate, kind, (to everyone) funny, sexy, romantic, amazing dad….we were so happy. another amazing week in sf, and another in nyc. he talks about getting a part time apt in nyc, a future after his divorce, things are moving fast and i’m blissed out. I spend the last wknd of june with him- everything is great.

july 4th-his wife takes his kids, major drama stress.. i don’t hear form him for 2 days, he’s ignoring me, which had never happened. usually texted me 20x/day. Like a psycho, i freak out, called him a bunch of times, left a teary vm, texted, emailed.. and i was actually worried something had happened. he texts me later that night with a horror story of his wife/daughter. is very upset, and rightfully so. a few days later, he tells me that he is way too stressed to be a good bf to me, that he can’t handle any emotional accountability to anyone,  had nothing to give and wanted to revert to casual dating. I asked him what he would do if I gave him an ultimatum (me or casual dates) and he chose dating, but said he didn’t even have the time or energy for it. And he was an emotional mess- on the verge of a breakdown- he’s not lying, and i know he hates being alone, it’s almost pathological. so i’m ok as long as there is no emotional attachment with these girls.

We’re still speaking daily, he’s sending me pics of his kids etc.. but, now i’m treated completely platonically. no i miss you, you’re beautiful etc..which was confounding and unsettling, and it happened overnight. i started feeling anxious, insecure, got clingy..we’re arguing a lot, can’t see each other for 6 weeks because of work etc. later, i’m later told that he was hiding his feelings because he didn’t want me to get more attached or think we were getting married. of course this tactic backfired and just hurt me. he was sincere, he actually spoke to my best friend about how to make things less serious without hurting me. but my emotions don’t have a switch, i can’t just backtrack. then his pretrial is pushed up 4 months, so my hopes are dashed. more stress.. he suggests taking a break while we’re still friends and before i’ve become so sad and angry that i’ve had enough, and seeing how we feel when his divorce is final. but i want to hold on. i don’t see him all of july because
he’s traveling, kids etc.

late july he tells me that he doesn’t see anything wrong with casual, local dating. i say, if you are really sleeping with other women, then i can’t have sex with you. I meant it at the time, but of course i caved. he tells me not to worry, that he’s too busy working and training for this marathon, he doesn’t tell me that he’s already sleeping with someone.  so I feel totally sure he’s not sleeping with anyone.

he schedules an August visit We’ve been arguing so he’s hesitant, but he comes to nyc and says lets just take this slowly and start with one date and act like it’s our first date. he’s been distant. i ask him if he has a gf. a day before he’s scheduled to arrive. he says my instincts were right, and he has been seeing someone locally since early July, and still wants to see me but doesn’t know if I’m ok with that.

I have another meltdown- because it’s one thing to hear that he wants to date others, but to find out that he actually has been dating one person for a month, only a week after i was at his house and things were great, is a shock. I didn’t think he’d move that fast. He sees her because she’s fun and simple and a destressor for him. I am not fun and simple- his emotional fallout and overnight withdrawal, the divorce delay, trying in vain to reverse my emotions, finding out he needed casual sex and was having it shortly after i’d seen him, imagining him in bed with another girl, it all blindsided and hurt me.  I became an anxious mess who needed constant reassurance and was having meltdowns, with which he was very patient. i’m told this girl is a relief to him, because i’m not my usual fun happy self. and if i was, he wouldn’t need to see her. well of course i’m not myself! He wanted to see me on his terms at his convenience and expected me to be A-OK with that. But I still
convince myself that I’m ok with this situation. Which I’m so not.

I still tell him to come! I go to his hotel room on Monday night and I bring a bunch of clothing as I assume I’ll be there for the 3 nights  because that’s just what we’ve always done, but he says 1 night only, because ‘people who are casually dating don’t spend 3 nights in a row together’. He’s right, technically, but I’m upset. again. it’s hard to downgrade to casual dating after you’ve been serious for 2 months- in his email he signs his name, thanks, michael, like i’m some business associate, it feels forced and contrived.  So we go out, and it sucks. he’s usually soo affectionate, has his hand around my waist, holds my hand etc.. But now he won’t even touch me, which hurts. Though I’m with him, I feel alone and awkward, but I put on a fun front as best I can and try to be my old happy self, but i’m not at ease. he reassures me that though he’s dating, he has no intention of getting into another relationship. He can’t, he’s suffering and about to snap over custody stuff and having nightmares. I can tell he’s on the edge. So I go back to his hotel, we’re wasted, and have shitty sex. I want sex the next morning, and he’s unsure, as he doesn’t want me to become more attached, and wants to make things less serious without hurting me. then, we’re sitting in bed, and he says ‘hypothetically, how do you feel about me sleeping with other women”, which a)wasn’t hypothetical because i knew he was because he told me and b)insensitive. I’m upset, AGAIN, because I assumed that dating=sex. And being sexually rejected by someone i had had amazing sex with countless times is awful.  he’s clueless, but well intentioned so it’s hard to stay mad. . We see each other Thursday night. Still no affection until end of night, but then we have an amazing time, so i feel good. He leaves next morning, wants to come back to nyc to visit. he was his old self.

back to totally platonic. but still talking every day. i have no idea if we’re dating or friends or where we stand and don’t want to ask, but i finally do., the night before he’s due to visit, and he says he really likes her. I’m shocked, blindsided- i was so sure that he wanted to avoid a relationship. i’m a mess at this point, and all he can say is, i’m so sorry, i never wanted to hurt you. I can’t control my feelings, and i went with what i felt” he says ‘this just can’t work right now’ if he wasn’t so stressed he could deal with me, but not right now. I finally accept it.

we spoke briefly this wknd about some things i’d left at his house, and i discover that he’s just spent 4 days in Canada with her. We struggled so hard to find time together, and had so much fun before the divorce drama became too much, so this is unbearable and i finally snapped. i start sending texts, emails, he tells me these meltdowns are why he broke things off with me. which i get, he’s under so much stress, but he made his bed. I’m driving myself crazy with what ifs.. what if i had been more mellow and accepting, and just gone with it and not been so reactive.. would that have changed this and kept me in the picture? Did we have anything real? Was he playing me or just clueless? Is he a player? How strong could his feelings have been if he was willing to forsake me for casual sex two weeks after he had asked me to move to Boston? Did he stay in touch so he could keep me on the back burner?  One second i love him, because he was nice to me and very patient with me always being
upset, but the next i hate him, and then the next i hate myself for ruining it. I feel like i’m going insane.

i told him that i could never be platonic friends with him, and he said that was mean of me, that he wanted to be friends forever. He couldn’t understand that nobody wants to be around the source of their pain.

And sadly, even after two months of emotional torture and volatility and heartbreak and crying and losing 12 lbs, from stress, I STILL want him back!! I’m still making excuses for him, and remembering how safe and happy and loved i felt with him for the first two months, and i’m driving myself crazy trying to figure out how to get that back.

and of course every single one of my friend and family warned me of this at the very beginning, that it was a disaster in the making, but i felt so good and loved that i dismissed them as cynics. I was such an idiot.
Age: 42
City: brooklyn
State: new york

 

Before we unpack this, I wanted to link to the previous letter you submitted a few months ago.

Okay. Now for this letter.

Fuck. This. Guy. Fuck him and all his words about how sorry he is and how he never meant to hurt you. And totally fuck him for being way more honest than he needed to be. Seriously. Fuck. This. Guy. He doesn’t care about anybody but himself, and that includes his children.

He took his three kids to NYC so he could spend a weekend with you? Yeah. That’s selfish. He dragged his three kids who are probably going through their own personal hell due to their parent’s divorce to another state so he can introduce them to another woman?

Listen to me: you do not want this guy back. Right now you feel shitty and awful and like you did something to ruin this, but you didn’t. It was always going to end like this. This guy separated from his wife and immediately started combing through his little black book and reached out to women he could bang. He was planning a new life before his divorce was even final. I absolutely believe you when you say this guy can’t be alone. He probably needs the security of a relationship to function.

I know this guy. I dated this guy. And like you, the way he treated me and how he handled things absolutely broke me.  Not because I had feelings for him, but because – like you and this guy – his abysmal treatment of me triggered a massive several month long depressive episode. Guys like this are bad for us. They’re too self-involved and self-obsessed to even consider the feelings of other people. They’re too reckless with their words and actions. They’re unhealthy for everybody, but especially people like us.

While I have no doubt that your flurry of erratic messages bothered him, he’s AN ASSHOLE for trying to use that against you. This guy is like Lucy with the football. He builds you up and then, just as you’re about to kick it, he pulls it away and you crash to the ground. Then he’ll stand there looking down at you while you writhe in pain and ask, “What did I do?” And he will genuinely be confused, because he truly doesn’t understand what he did. It’s not an act. He honest to God hasn’t a clue why you’re hurt. He’s so utterly consumed with himself that there is no room in his brain to make any sense of it. Then, when you call him on it, he won’t just re-trace his steps to see if – maybe – he’s at fault. Nope, he will turn the tables and makes it about you and what you did to bring the pain on yourself.

Like I said: I know this guy. Intimately. I’m sure, to the woman he’s dating now, he describes you as some crazy pants who can’t let go. I guarantee you he will tell her about you, too. He’ll probably give her an abbreviated version of your history, which is what I think my guy did. I’d love to believe he had the backbone to tell his extremely young new girlfriend the truth: that I was a woman he cheated on multiple girlfriends with, possibly even her depending on the timeline, but I know better. He worked her up into a frenzy to the point where she was watching everything I said and running back to him about it. He in turn would tell her I was delusional.  And, of course, because she was young and he was desperately trying to cover his ass, she believed him. He’d write me emails where he was a bitchy cunt rag so he could show them to his wife, then turn around and do a 180 degree turn and email me to tell me how sorry he was and how I was an open wound for him. I have no doubt in my mind that if he meets a woman who is assertive enough, he’ll cheat again.

But enough about me…

Girl, get yourself to therapy stat before this situation does anymore damage. And if he tries to do spin control by assaulting you with words, ignore him. He will never see things from your perspective. Ever. It is all about him and his feelings and his needs. He will say whatever he needs to say to walk away with his image intact, and he will mean none of it.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go find my voodoo doll and stick some pins in it.

Seriously. Fuck. This. Guy.

Thoughts?

Sometimes the love of your life is the love of your life. (R)

@ATWYSingle

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67 Responses to “No, Really…F*ck This Guy”

  1. The Original D Says:

    I didn’t have to read any farther after she said he brought his kids into the picture while still in the middle of the divorce. That’s fucked up.

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  2. Stephanie Says:

    Nailed. It. Thats all.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 0

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  3. bbdawg Says:

    There is so much going on, wow…

    Here’s the thing, from someone who also met “an amazing” guy going through a divorce: a man who instantly introduces his children to some woman he has just met is a moron, and an irresponsible person. Children are going through hell and there he is looking to get laid.

    That right there is a huge red flag. Second of all, you can’t “be serious” with a person who is not divorced. He is married to someone else. When you meet someone you feel a strong connection to, in this position, you both wait until the divorce is finalized before you start a physical relationship.

    The other thing is, relationships, esp. between mature people, that start really intensely don’t last, because you simply don’t know each other. Normal people understand that it takes time to “merge”, to see if you are realistically compatible.

    We are drawn to these situations at different points in our lives because they work like a drug…you crave the intensity…but that’s not a relationship, that’s something else.

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  4. SS Says:

    1. “he can’t handle any emotional accountability to anyone, had nothing to give”

    When people tell you who they are – BELIEVE THEM!!

    2. “we email and talk for hours, every night, but he doesn’t ask me a single question about myself, nor acknowledge anything i have to say about myself”

    Why on earth was that not your first clue? He didn’t ask because he didn’t care. It was all about him from the very start. The intensity is the hallmark of an abuser/narcissist – it’s classic lovebombing to blind you to reality.

    3. “if i could have invented a guy, he would be it”

    This is huge red flag #2. No one is perfect. No one. Remember the old adage “if it seems too good to be true” ? There’s a reason for it. This also points to the guy being a textbook narcissist. And in textbook fashion, the second he knew he had you, he dropped you.

    4. “even after two months of emotional torture and volatility and heartbreak and crying and losing 12 lbs, from stress, I STILL want him back!!”

    This emotional addiction you’re experiencing also demonstrates you were in a relationship with a narcissist. The utter confusion, the craziness – all of it.

    https://afternarcissisticabuse.wordpress.com/2013/12/01/signs-that-youve-been-abused-by-a-narcissist/

    OP – Moxie is right. You need to get yourself to therapy stat in order to process what happened, recover, and strengthen so that you can escape this very toxic dysfunctional man for good. If you stay, you will get progressively more broken down, and he will continue to treat you worse and worse. Nothing you did caused him to behave the way he has. You need to know that it’s simply who he is as a person.

    And please be very clear – the other woman didn’t “win” something that you lost. Narcissists triangulate for a while to torture their victims, and when they get bored they move on. The second you are not there? He will begin to treat her the way he treated you. He will find a new #2 to triangulate, and she will experience THE EXACT SAME TREATMENT that you did. Please please believe me – I bet everything I own on this coming to pass.

    Get yourself to therapy NOW. And FUCK. THAT. GUY.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 37 Thumb down 0

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    • The Original D Says:

      Narcissists have a unique ability to make you think everything is your fault.

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    • Amy Says:

      Yes yes yes. And there are many wonderful books out there about relationships with narcissists, too. (I read one in its entirety sitting on the floor of a Borders eight years ago, increasingly amazed that I wasn’t crazy after all, just dating an asshole. I broke up with him that night… not that he cared; he already had another woman in the wings, who, of course, had been told I was a crazy bitch. I ran into her a few months later and the same thing had happened to her. It was good-not-good to be able to share war stories.)

      Once you start to learn more about narcissists, it will probably help you feel a little more grounded and less crazy. You’ll be able to put labels on his behavior (for example, narcissists are a little like vampires, and they need other people’s energy in order to feel good about themselves) as well as identify where you fit into the cycle. You’ll also be able to figure out whether this is a pattern (ie, are you drawn to narcissists?) and, if so, why and how to both change the pattern and recognize when you’re falling back into it.

      Reading the books is just the beginning. It took me a lot of work in therapy to get over my narcissist (plus I got sober—which based on the OP’s first letter about her depression and drinking may be something she may want to look into, as it sounds like there is some self-medicating going on—and started dealing with Adult Children issues as well), and I’d say it was about a year or 15 months before I was able to be in a healthy relationship.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

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    • fuzzilla Says:

      I’m not surprised someone beat me to it – Google “narcissistic personality disorder,” OP.

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    • wishing u well Says:

      Cosign completely! I’m going to piggy back on this with another article that might really help the OP understand what was just horribly done to her:

      https://psychopathyawareness.wordpress.com/2010/12/22/the-psychopaths-relationship-cycle-idealize-devalue-and-discard/

      http://esteemology.com/the-three-phases-of-a-narcissistic-relationship-cycle-over-evaluation-devaluation-discard/

      I am so sorry that this happened to you. Been there, and the advice of going to a good psychotherapist is dead on. I cannot stress enough how much that helped me deal with the emotional aftermath of being involved with an extreme narcissist, begin to heal, and also work through my issues to identify how I attracted this dynamic in my life in the first place. I look back now and I am glad that I did (and still am doing) the work to recover – better than I was before this experience. OP listen to the advice above: eff this guy, get professional help, take the time to heal, and focus on self-care, spoiling yourself. You will emerge from this better and stronger.
      Also:

      1. A great, free, but dead-on resource online – check out Beverly Banov Brown MS’s videos on YouTube. I think you will find them helpful.

      2. Also: he will be back. Don’t let him in – it’s called “hoovering” and it will completely undo all of your healing and progress. Cut him off and whatever you do, don’t let him back in.

      http://www.goodtherapy.org/blog/hoover-maneuver-the-dirty-secret-of-emotional-abuse-0219154

      Hang in there, and I wish you well!

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

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  5. KK Says:

    There is nothing here that indicates that this guy meant well. At all. I think it is commendable of you to want to see the best in someone, but this is NOT a well-intentioned guy. A guy with good intentions doesn’t ask you about sleeping with other women while he is in a bed with you. No. A guy with good intentions doesn’t talk about exclusivity OR sex with other women.

    And he brought his kids with him while visiting you? I am STILL angry that my dad introduced me and my brother to his girlfriend, fucking a month after he moved out. If it was even a month. And I love my dad, but empathy or compassion? Not so much. You don’t introduce your kids to a new gf until after you’re fucking divorced and/or (sometimes divorce takes forever) it is super serious.

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  6. Yvonne Says:

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, the vast majority of separated men are bad news for dating. Doesn’t matter if you knew the guy 25 years ago; that only leads to a false sense of comfort. These men don’t know what they are about, and sometimes this lasts well into the post-divorce period too. Some men take years to recover. I’ve seen some who never completely do.

    Plus, there are so many other red flags in your letter, in addition to all the separation/divorce drama. “He broke my heart 25 years ago”, “he doesn’t ask a single question”, texting 20x/day, “I felt like I was on a drug”, dragging his kids to NYC, the abrupt switch to casual dating…I could go on, but you get the idea.

    I do think he is staying in touch to keep you on the back burner. If things don’t work out with whoever the new woman is (and there may be more than one), maybe good ol’ n_shrimp will still be hanging on, hoping to get him back. But remember: this guy is not available and he may never be. Don’t wait around for him.

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    • The Original D Says:

      Hate to admit it but this is true. I dated while I was going through my divorce, but it was a solid year before I was really ready.

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  7. Bill Says:

    n_shrimp, even though Moxie has projected far more of her “ef’n guy” onto your “ef’n guy” than is necessary, her advice is still spot on and the two guys are similar. Put this guy in your rearview mirror as quickly as possible, BUT remember how much it hurts when you “attach” to someone far too quickly! In the future, take time to grow your relationships and never attempt one, or have sex again, with this guy.

    First, him bringing his children with him so soon was just totally whacked! Second, he never planned to have an exclusive bf/gf relationship with you to begin with. The “other woman” didn’t steal him, I’m sorry, but you were always going to be “just” the other woman.

    If I’m counting correctly, you saw each other three times in June, and other than text and voice communications, that was it at that point for the previous 25 years. He had a really rotten day of divorce-child-custody-battle and didn’t text you so you blew up his phone and his voicemail. THAT was when he immediately toned everything down because what he saw as a fun, casual fling, you were obviously seeing as much, much more.

    He has been honest with you that he only wants a friends-with-benefits relationship with you. THAT doesn’t make him a douche (other things do, and believe me, he is a douche) that makes him a man in the middle of a divorce that isn’t even final yet… let alone all of the dust settled. You are a 42-year-old woman, not a 17-year-old girl. You should be wise enough to grasp this fact, that even if he was the right guy (he’s not), the timing would still make him the wrong guy for you.

    He has told you what he is willing to offer you… FWB… you should be thankful that he revealed himself, REJECT IT and don’t look back. His feelings for you will never change beyond that level. That should be enough for you to move on.

    For getting his kids involved, for giving you details about the “girlfriend/other-woman”, for stringing you along for casual sex when you’ve made clear that isn’t what you want, and for cheating on his “girlfriend” with you… all of these things, including even having a girlfriend at this point, these, make him a douche.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 15 Thumb down 12

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  8. BTownGirl Says:

    Lord have mercy, I’ve dated this guy too. And he wasn’t even getting out of a marriage, he was just an asshole that popped up when it suited him, made a bunch of promises and, just like you, it was All My Fault that I was upset that he disappeared. Mind you, the extent of “upset” was literally four bitchy text messages, but dude made it sound like I was three steps from burning his house down. With these guys, it’s always Everyone Else’s Fault, which is why nothing ever changes for them. Ever notice that their relationships tend to be one sh*tshow after another? Still Not Their Fault.

    Yours really gets The Ain’t Sh*t Award for dragging his children into it. Seriously.

    Fuck. This. Guy.

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  9. jaclyn Says:

    I dated a guy exactly like your boyfriend 15 years ago. He and his two children were reeling from a recent divorce. He allowed his children to get close to me even though he wasn’t ready for a relationship, and unsurprisingly, they were devastated after we broke up. Here’s all you need to know about this guy: he could have come to NY to see how your relationship develops without risking hurting his children. And he chose not to do that.

    My ex who let his kids get attached to me proceeded to do the exact same thing again with the next relationship. And his kids were devastated again when they broke up. His oldest daughter needed to attend a wilderness camp, and just got off a psych hold. Now I obviously don’t know that his behavior caused her psychological problems, but she was obviously troubled and in therapy when we were dating and having a daddy who introduces a new mommy every time he is in a new relationship could not have helped.

    It is easy when you are in a long distance relationship for everyone to be on their best behavior, and for you to have a wonderful romantic time together. It is harder to be kind and supportive when the baby is crying at 3 am or one of you is fighting cancer or another long term illness. I know he appeared to be a loving, wonderful father but he failed his children by letting them get attached to you. This really makes him a pretty lousy person. I know it hurts since you thought you might finally have a loving, supportive family but it was always an illusion. He would have bailed on you the second you needed anything from him. You are much better off without this guy. Give yourself time to heal and move on.

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  10. maria Says:

    Moxie is spot on. I wont’ repeat the things she already said but he is bad. he is toying with you and legit doesn’t care about you.

    “this bit really hit me hard:
    i’m told this girl is a relief to him, because i’m not my usual fun happy self. and if i was, he wouldn’t need to see her.”
    this is ABUSIVE LANGUAGE. this is the same line of reasoning abusers and rapists use to justify their abuse–they blame YOU for their shitty behavior. you need to look into yourself and get some therapy (not an insult. I went and it was the best thing for me) to realize why you are ok with being abused and mistreated by this horrible man. it cannot be because he is good looking and good in bed. by 42 you should know that does not make a relationship.

    moxie is spot on about all of what she said. a normal man would have just pulled the plug on this because he could see how much pain its causing you and he would see that he can’t give you what you want. nope, this is all about him. you aren’t a real person to him you are abstract and exist in his orbit but your feelings and wants and needs mean less than nothing to him. he will drag you and drag you for his own amusement and never leave you alone–until he is bored of you and then he will never contact you again. but you need to understand you will never get anything more than heartache from him. he will never change, he will never want anything serious with you. he doesn’t even care about his children and how damaging it is for him to introduce you to them when he knew he wanted nothing serious to do with you. he is a cruel and bad person and a bad father. his treatment of his children should have been your first red flag run away alert. if he doesn’t care about how his childrens needs and feelings what makes you think he will care about yours?

    PULL THE PLUG NOW before he hurts you even worse. he is toying with you–a big cat with a wounded mouse.

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    • fuzzilla Says:

      **moxie is spot on about all of what she said. a normal man would have just pulled the plug on this because he could see how much pain its causing you and he would see that he can’t give you what you want. nope, this is all about him.**

      Yeah, you know how most men – whether good guy or asshole – hate drama? As in, it makes them extremely uncomfortable when women are very emotional and demonstrably upset with them? Narcissists EAT THAT SHIT UP like they need it to survive, while simultaneously claiming to hate it.

      Normal people – even if they’re not particularly good or honorable people – dislike negative attention and avoid it. Narcissists love ANY AND ALL attention because it makes them feel important. They will call you a crazy bitch one minute and then pout about you “ignoring” them the next.

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  11. ATWYSingle Says:

    moxie is spot on about all of what she said. a normal man would have just pulled the plug on this because he could see how much pain its causing you and he would see that he can’t give you what you want. nope, this is all about him.

    Exactly. He built her up just to tear her down. A decent human being would have disengaged, not encouraged. Like you said, he will engage her when he can get something out of it. Once he achieves that goal, he will abandon the situation with no warning, triggering her again.

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    • maria Says:

      he is going to come and go from her life forever if she doesn’t put a stop to this now. this is probably the most heartbreaking letter I have read on here and I have been reading a long time, because I know what the future holds for her. months and even years of this push pull, hot cold. sadly she doesn’t see that she doesn’t deserve this bad treatment. I agree when you say fuck this guy because he knows she is emotionally fragile, deals with depression, has strong feelings for him yet he still plays with her. instead of telling her that he had to have sex with another woman because she wasn’t fun anymore (god forbid she’s human) he should have told her that he can’t give her what she wants and its obvious this situation is causing her a lot of stress and that he doesn’t want to keep hurting her and leave her alone. but he is an abuser so he is getting off on this. makes him feel good and important that she is in pieces over him.

      I have mentioned before how wary I am when a woman gushes uncontrollably about a guy being incredible and perfect and the perfect man like OP does. there is ALWAYS something else at play. I wonder how did he earn the title of amazing and perfect? good looks and good sex? nobody is perfect ever, and people have to EARN all the gushing that is bestowed upon them over time. this whole situation is upsetting because its quite obvious she will never disengage from him.

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      • fuzzilla Says:

        **I know what the future holds for her. months and even years of this push pull, hot cold.**

        Yeah, the push/pull, hot/cold crap is what makes him a narcissist rather than just a garden variety, “guy who just wanted to get laid.” Your typical “just wants sex” guy might not care about her feelings, but he wouldn’t *enjoy* causing her emotional pain, he’d just move on.

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      • BTownGirl Says:

        The comparing her to the other woman he’s dating was appalling. I’m getting “Oh, I enjoy making you feel inferior, so please try to jump through hoops to prove you’re Good Enough. Won’t work though!!”. God, some people are sick.

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    • Marshmallow Says:

      Yes. Yes. Yes. A few emotional emails will not turn a good person into an asshole.

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  12. Nicki Says:

    What they all said before me, I echo that. Fuck this guy. Cut all ties and move on. There are many single men out there who will treat you in the way that you deserve so don’t shed another tear over this asshole.

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  13. n_shrimp Says:

    Just one addendum- He had plans to take his kids to the city for the weekend as a vacation, knew i was there, and asked me if i wanted to spend time with them. He was already going, he wasn’t going specifically to see me. not sure if this makes him a better person.

    That said, this advice just truly saved my sanity and probably years in therapy. I truly felt like I was going crazy. I didn’t know whether to trust myself, him or my friends/family, it varied from hour to hour. I was on this constant cycle of guilt from meltdowns, and then anxiety, anger, jealousy, worry about him, sadness that we were going downhill, and intermittently having fun with him, which made me miss him more. It has been an absolutely harrowing and hellish experience.

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  14. Jenny Says:

    OP, I can only pray that you have the strength within yourself to listen to what everyone here is telling you. Trust them; and trust me. I was married to that man and that is not a life I would wish on anyone! Guaranteed, he’s been cheating on his wife their entire married life and before. She finally found the strength to get out from under, and more power to her! It took me 20 years, and he stole my strength, my personality, my inheritance, and almost my life. You have to dig deep, OP. DO NOT DISCUSS ANYTHING FURTHER WITH HIM! These people are experts at manipulation and rationalization. As others have said, he will twist and whine and wheedle and bully you into submission. Cut all communication, because all he will communicate to you is wicked lies, lies that he actually believes. It’s hard, believe me, I know! But, you have to turn your back and not look back at him! It’s the only way.

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  15. n_shrimp Says:

    “I’m sure, to the woman he’s dating now, he describes you as some crazy pants who can’t let go. I guarantee you he will tell her about you, too” YES!! And I’m not crazy- before he pulled this downgrade to casual BS I was perfectly fine.

    One note- his ex wife is literally crazy (takes his kids to the police station etc.) and HATES him. But though she’s insane, i suspect he did something to push her over the edge.

    And I loved him, which makes this even more horrific. I actually miss his company.

    and I received this final response below to my last angry email. But he cherry picked- there is SO much that he never addressed- like why he started dating someone a week after making plans for the future with me. And he never told me he understood my feelings- that’s why i kept sending repetitive texts, because i was desperate to feel understood.

    “I have told you countless times that I understand how you feel, and my part in it, and that I am sorry that you are hurt. I tried to handle this in many ways and never did find a way that doesn’t hurt you. That is because there is no way to do that without hurt. It’s impossible and I’m very sorry for that because I never wanted to hurt you. I never did anything out of malice, and tried to be honest with you without hurting you, but obviously that is not realistic. I do wish you happiness and know that won’t believe it, but it is true.

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    • fuzzilla Says:

      **”I am sorry that you are hurt.”**

      Yeah, fuck this guy. That’s the classic calling card of the manipulative POS.

      He should be sorry for HIS BEHAVIOR, and own exactly what that behavior was to show that he actually understands why it was wrong and how it was hurtful. Don’t fall for that “sorry you’re so sensitive” bullshit. What he did (promise you a loving, exclusive relationship and then abruptly tell you he was fucking someone else) would hurt anyone…who stuck around for it.

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    • wishing u well Says:

      ***his ex wife is literally crazy (takes his kids to the police station etc.) and HATES him. But though she’s insane, i suspect he did something to push her over the edge**

      On the ex-wife? She is not “crazy.” Take whatever he told you about her with a grain of salt. What he is doing is called “triangulation” – putting you against her, to show “how much better you are than her” while making him seem as if he is in “high demand” and / or “the ultimate victim.” so that he can better manipulate you. I GUARANTEE that what he did was likely so over the top that he would never tell you: i.e. damaging or destroying property (car, house); possible physical abuse (sadly some do take it there); theft of property, out of control behavior (such as making a scene and refusing to leave), etc. It is possible (and probable) that she is doing this to ENSURE HER OWN PHYSICAL SAFETY AND ENSURE NO CHANCE OF ANY ATTEMPTED LYING TACTICS TO TRY TO GAIN SOLE CUSTODY SUCCEEDING.

      Having been on the flip side of this – they are experts at manipulation and rationalization. And control is huge. Her initiating, and following through, with a divorce with him is NOT something he took well. Google “divorcing a narcissist” and there are some true horror stories.

      I’ll give you a real life personal example. My ex-narc keyed my car that I had just purchased at the time – and I mean a down to the grain keying that cost $1500 to fix. His reasoning? “Because I didn’t get the car he ‘told’ me to purchase”….even though it was all my money and my decision. He had “plans” for MY car. So this was his version of “payback.” Narcissists do things that are so irrational and do not make sense to normal people…getting him out of my life and doing the work was the best thing to ever happen to me. My boundaries and self-confidence have significantly increased. And I will continue moving forward, each day stronger than the last.

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    • ATWYSingle Says:

      I seriously doubt his ex-wife is as “crazy” as he’s said. As annoying and melodramatic as I find the wife of the guy I was talking about, I have no doubt that he presented me in a way that made her feel insecure. There was no justifiable reason for him to tell her about me. I wasn’t contacting him or her. I wasn’t trying to come between them. I wasn’t posing any kind of threat. He was stalking my site and social media and saw stuff I said about him (no specifics) and for whatever reason he told her and then she started stalking me around then internet. At least, based on the pieces of the puzzle I have, that’s what I think. So, take what this guy says with a big grain of salt.

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  16. Selena Says:

    Tour de force response Moxie.

    I have nothing to add n_shrimp, but your letter touched me. Do whatever you need to take care of yourself my friend and know there are people out there though you may never meet, who care about you. (((HUG))))

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  17. n_shrimp Says:

    it was like this- you promise someone they can run a marathon in 2 months. when it comes, you break their legs, and tell them oh, sorry i picked someone else because you have broken legs.

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  18. ATWYSingle Says:

    I’m really uncomfortable with the leap to call this guy a narcissist. I also hate, hate, HATE encouraging women to read all that woo woo self-help crap about how to spot a narcissist or a sociopath. Sometimes it’s as simple as they’re a selfish asshole. No need to run to Amazon.com and buy a bunch of books on the topic and become over-programmed. Just go to therapy. Don’t bother trying to rationalize with him or get an apology. He might offer one, but it will be insincere.

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    • Selena Says:

      I realized over a decade ago the term narcissism had pervaded the American lexicon to the extent that it became a common way to describe a shitty lover. Mostly by people who had never heard of the DSM, let alone were qualified in any way to diagnose a psychiatric disorder.

      These days…maybe because there has been so much description of narcissism available, it may be helpful to people who need to get rid of/over a shitty lover, because most of them will never be diagnosed by a professional anyway.

      I believe therapy can be very useful. I also believe many self-help books are useful because they can pave the way for insights that can be further explored in therapy. Reading/researching may help some people with fear of therapy, and also give some clarification as to what they want to work on.

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      • BTownGirl Says:

        Exactly – who cares what his problem is? All you need to know if a guy sucks is “How fast can I run in the other direction?” or “Why am I not running in the other direction?” He’s irrelevant. Personally, I have a friend who’s a very highly trained mental health professional and she always says those books are crap, because they don’t actually solve anything for the person who’s hurting.

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    • SS Says:

      Narcissistic behaviour lies on a spectrum. All people possess a certain degree of Narcissism – some of which is inherent, and some situational. So technically we can all be labelled Narcissists.

      Narcissistic Personality Disorder is something different – NPD is a DSM V clinical diagnosis. This is why I avoided calling him NPD although I’d bet everything I own that he meets the diagnostic criteria very easily.

      Suffice to say your bottom line is the most important – who cares whether this guy is NPD or PQRblahdeeblah – he’s an incontrovertible ahole that she needs to ignore stat.

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    • BostonRobin Says:

      Exactly. Why pathologize bad behavior? That’s for that person’s therapist to do. The rest of us get to just WALK AWAY from these assholes. This armchair analyzing is way above my pay grade.

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      • fuzzilla Says:

        I’ve been to enough therapy to know what my therapist would say about this guy, though. Isn’t that the point of therapy, to eventually figure shit out on your own in the real world? And if I’m wrong (or she is, hypothetically) that he’s a narcissist…I really don’t see the harm in that. Everyone here agrees that he’s bad news, so – potayto, potahto. It’s not like anyone’s calling him a murderer or using armchair psychology to convict him in court.

        Maybe Moxie’s point is “stop focusing on him and start focusing on you moving on.” Okay. What I don’t get, though, is how people are making the leap from “he’s a narcissist” to “therefore she has no personal responsibility or agency.” I think people are conflating the two.

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        • Selena Says:

          At one time it bugged me when people on the internet freely applied the terms narcissist or co-dependent to people they couldn’t possibly know or have the ability to diagnose. Seemed to minimize the import of these terms in some way.

          Constant repetition inured me I suppose, because now “armchair analysis” doesn’t bother me. If misused or diluted psychological terms are enough to help a person who is stuck in getting out or getting over a lousy situation who cares?

          I was taken aback a bit though by the OP’s assertion that her recent jackass really did have a “crazy ex”. If I had a dollar for every time I read that I’d be an extremely wealthy woman. Definition of Crazy Ex: a person who did things I didn’t like!(Possibly because I drove them to it? Oh, ofcourse not.)

          The OP is probably being called “another crazy ex” by this same guy right now. Oh the irony.

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  19. n_shrimp Says:

    i do not believe that he’s a narcissist, and overusing that word dilutes it’s meaning. I have dated true narcissists, and he is not one, just clueless, emotionally stunted, and selfish. I’m done trying to rationalize with him- he’ll never be able to take a hard look at himself, which I suggested.

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  20. n_shrimp Says:

    I believe he’s truly sorry I’m hurt, but he won’t ever take responsibility for it.

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    • SS Says:

      A mentally healthy person knows they’ve harmed you, and take responsibility for it. If someone refuses to take responsibility for the harm they’ve caused, then they don’t truly believe they’ve harmed you. It’s either one or the other.

      I know you don’t believe he’s a narcissist, but this is one more *textbook* example: narcissists sympathise but do not empathise.

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  21. n_shrimp Says:

    so he’ll do the same thing over and over…

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  22. n_shrimp Says:

    He never insulted me or put me down or devalued me, he simply disposed of me as a gf when my legit reactions to his behavior became inconvenient, but was really nice and patient and polite because i was a source of attention, and wanted to keep me on the back burner as an option. He even spoke to my best friend about how to make things less serious without hurting me, but his good intentions backfired because he’s so clueless. And prior to the fourth of july wknd- i do believe he wanted a real relationship-he was actually looking for an nyc apt. – but only to fill a void. He seemed desperate for a relationship with me for the first two months, but when he actually had to reciprocate- he bailed. And when i mentioned that maybe he was on the rebound and used me to fill a void- his first words weren’t ‘i wasn’t using you for that’, but ‘it saddens me that most girls think i’m only capable of a rebound relationship’. And I’m sure that when this girl gets attached and starts requiring things, he’ll dump her too. He really thinks she’s the 1 in a billion girls who only has love to give and needs nothing in return. yes i was an idiot and ignored my gut feelings and the red flags, because i loved him and WANTED to give him the benefit of the doubt. fantasy land felt better than reality. I do take some blame for this. oh, and when i asked him how many girls he was sleeping with, he said ‘not that many’. which is more than one. why his ex went nuts on him.. it’s all starting to gel. And i wondered in the beginning why she hated him so much- what he did- another red flag.

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    • ATWYSingle Says:

      Okay, enough. Let’s stop with all then narcissist talk and picking apart everything he did. This is why I hate when unqualified people start diagnosing guys on the internet. It’s just an excuse to simmer and stew over the guy.

      Go to therapy. Don’t try to work it out here. This is not the place.

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      • SS Says:

        I have an MSc in Psychology and a lifelong passion for the topic so I find it hard to avoid constantly diagnosing people lol.

        If its any consolation I keep my thoughts to myself IRL – I’m not a doctor I just play one on the internet ;) lolol

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        • DrivingMeNutes Says:

          I think it’s probably her hyperactive Oxytocin disorder. Between that and women’s endless periods and pregnancies, it’s a wonder they can function at all in the workplace!

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    • Yvonne Says:

      I have to say, as Moxie did, I don’t know if this man is a “narcissist” or not, but over the years my friends and I have all encountered some version of a guy who is separated or recently divorced, and swears up and down that he wants a committed relationship. A couple of my friends had relationships that dragged on for years with the man never quite being able to commit. Too many – and I’m sure that women can do this too – are looking for the quick fix and the high that a new relationship provides, but once reality sets in, they bail, or simply spend months dragging their feet.

      Whatever he is, he is not ready for a relationship and not emotionally available, period.

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      • Selena Says:

        Yvonne,

        This was my thought when I read the early paragraphs of the letter. Soooo many people have been through a similar situation with a separated/ recently divorced/ recently out of a relationship person. The word REBOUND has been around for a very long time. So has the phrase “Transitional Person”.

        Never a consolation to the ‘interim lover’- (current phrase?) though.

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  23. n_shrimp Says:

    He cannot empathize- true. once he laughed at me when i was crying because i found some tinder chick on his phone while looking for pictures we took at the bronx zoo. and this was after he had wanted to get an apt for me in SF. Excuse? i just didn’t want to go alone to the concert, (which i was going to attend with him but had to cancel at the last minute)- i wasn’t pursuing a relationship. Bullshit. And I still swallowed it. He literally could not tolerate being alone. i hate it too, but not to the point that i resort to tinder every single time i have a night alone.

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  24. n_shrimp Says:

    Narcissists are malicious. he was not. just stupid. he laughed because he has no idea how to cope with or address or discuss any emotions but his own, he’s at a loss- it’s a nervous reaction. My jaw dropped, but he was so charming that I STILL accepted his excuse. I now realize that there is something truly wrong with me for overlooking this stuff, so at least this was educational. Hindsight really is 20/20.

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    • Bill Says:

      Most separated guys and those recently divorced, for the first year or more, are at most capable of casual dating, regardless of what they may say or think. To expect otherwise is betting against some very heavy odds and naive or worse.

      He is going through a contentious divorce with a sh!t storm of drama and stress, and has repeatedly told you he is only interested in light, casual, fun involvements like the two of you had in May and June. Which you absolutely don’t want and have done nothing but add drama to his life since July 4th. He should man up and completely end it… but why haven’t you ended it since he has told you in no uncertain terms that he isn’t willing to give you what you want?

      He’s, likely, going through the most horrible year of his life. What’s your excuse?

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  25. n_shrimp Says:

    Yes, he is going through a horrible, horrible time. He is an emotional mess. I used that as an excuse for a long time. Also made me wonder if I should have been more understanding.

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    • fuzzilla Says:

      Clearly I don’t agree with Moxie on whether or not he’s a narcissist (hell, call him a flyin’ purple people eater if it gets you away from him). I do agree that it’s pointless to obsess over what an asshole he is and more productive to focus on you and your patterns with men to make sure this kind of thing doesn’t keep happening over and over.

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  26. n_shrimp Says:

    You clearly didn’t read my post.

    May and June were NOT light and casual. He wanted me to move to Boston, looked at apts in NYC in earnest, flew me to SF, he was aggressive and needy and moving VERY fast… said we were exclusive, we were NEVER casual.

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    • ATWYSingle Says:

      Okay. That’s it.

      N – While this guy is a douche, you are CLEARLY unstable. There’s a reason why you have so much trouble with men, and it’s not just because you choose the worst men possible. You are damaging yourself by sitting her obsessing over this guy. Seriously, stop commenting.

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  27. DrivingMeNutes Says:

    I totally agree with Moxie and the other commenters. The OP should take no responsibility for her decisions and actions. She’
    s fine. Go girl. After all, she is a woman. It’s the guy what made her crazy.

    Jesus Fucking Christ.

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    • SS Says:

      To be fair we didn’t know *she* was cray cray until the comment-a-thon.

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      • n_shrimp Says:

        SS-a bit mean spirited, unhelpful, and hurtful, but I will say that your post was actually the most helpful and grounding for me. I’ve referred to it a number of times, and after reading the linked article, and the 4 red flags, yes, he’s absolutely above average on the narcissism continuum. Not what I wanted to believe about him, but true. I may be ‘crazy’ but that fact remains.

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        • SS Says:

          Please understand that was not intended at all. Sometimes we (me included) need a smack upside the head in order to register reality. You’re still justifying his shitty behaviour – why?!!

          And know why I’m harsh? I’ve been through it with bells on. I understand how impossible it is to disengage. I wish someone would have smacked me with a 2×4 when I was going through it because I was still addicted to that oh so yummy lovebombing. They get us *addicted* pure and simple.

          If you havent already found it, I heartily recommend the website www dot chumplady dot com – INVALUABLE RESOURCE AND SUPPORT.

          I wish for you peace of mind and heart. None of which will come while you continue to engage or dissect his behaviour.

          As my therapist once said to me: you can’t understand it because you’re not like him. Be thankful. Do not seek to understand what is not understandable to rational feeling beings.

          I wish you well – truly.

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      • Bill Says:

        SS, I agree and perhaps now have an inkling of what the receiving end of the following was like…

        “Like a psycho, i freak out, called him a bunch of times, left a teary vm, texted, emailed.. ”

        … not to mention the numerous “meltdowns” she mentioned. For all his faults, poor parenting decisions, douchiness, and real or faux-narcissism, his reaction was quite normal, to back away slowly, no sudden movements, lol! The fully healthy reaction would have been, “run, Forrest, run!”

        n_shrimp, you cannot just “vomit” out an avalanche of all of your emotions, anger, disappointment, hurt and insecurities and hurl it at a man. This is especially true if you had only been seeing, actually, physically together, for a short time. If that time is measured in weeks or months, IT IS SHORT!

        These meltdowns, and the tsunami of drama that comes with them, leads men to use the hated term “bat sh!t crazy.” Most guys have been in situations or relationships where they are forced to do the math: is the crazy worth putting up with in exchange for the good part? Very typically, great times and awesome sex top the list. Most healthy guys with options conclude, sooner or later, that no, the low parts of the roller coaster ride aren’t worth it.

        The good news is that unlike, say, how tall you are, this is a part of you that can change. It will definitely take a tremendous amount of time and work on your part, most likely require professional help and possibly even medication.

        Please take this as a plea, not a put down, get help… for your own good and happiness.

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    • BostonRobin Says:

      This discussion did turn into a bit of a shitshow. LW needs a new picker. A good therapist can help you build one! WHO CARES what DSM diagnosis this guy gets. The key to a happy relationship is learning to walk away from people who are bad for you.

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  28. MBS Says:

    OP – I very much enjoy ATWYS but have never responded to a post. I think the regulars on the site pretty much hit the nail on the head as does Moxie. However, I thought I might be able to lend some additional insight as the adult child whose father did this very thing not too long ago.

    1) If a man has just recently separated and is already dating, beware. Moxie was spot on when she said that a man like this can never be single. This topic has been covered many times here in various forms.
    2) Keep in mind that behind the scenes he does have a real, flesh & blood wife who is probably rather scorned depending on the circumstances regardless of fault. How would you feel if the shoe was on the other foot? The fact that they are taking this to court is not a good sign. It’s indicative that the situation between them is now out of control. To some extent, I am sure he is going through hell (as are his wife/children) and perhaps he does need a release. Do you want to be someone’s release valve?
    3) Moxie brings up yet another excellent point – the children. This really speaks to his character or lack there of. Again, I am writing this from an adult point of view – my brother and I were in our late 20’s when this bomb was dropped on us. Our emotions were all over the place when the girlfriend was introduced. The term “broken” is a term used often here. Yes, “broken”, “shattered”, and “destroyed” would all be fantastic adjectives to describe what happens to our family while dad and his girlfriend were on weekend holidays. It states you are 42, which would reason that his children must be quite young. I can’t imagine what they are making of this situation, visiting you in NYC. Awkward. If you knew his children were some level of trauma would it make a difference?

    Bottom line – why oh why would you want to get yourself involved in this very messy situation when he’s not even that into you to begin with???? Trust an insider, get as far away from this mess as you can and don’t look back. I promise you as someone now in my 30’s, in the game with everyone else, being single cannot be worse than how you are feeling now

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    • n_shrimp Says:

      Not sure if I was clear on this, but he introduced me to his children as nothing more than a friend, which we were at first. We spent a few days in the city with them, and had some followup dinners, but were never affectionate together around them.

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  29. ATWYSingle Says:

    The reasons the narcissist/sociopath conversation is so pointless and damaging is that it’s never based on any facts. I’m sure you could take a list of outliers of any personality disorder and you’ll be able to match those outliers with someone you know. Women spin their wheels analyzing these guys but never once turn that white hot glow of introspection on themselves. These guys succeed with women who have pretty major issues themselves. Rather than focus on him, someone they can not change, they should work on fixing whatever it is that is broken inside of them.

    No credible therapist is diagnosing someone they haven’t treated. Which means that all these stories that get shared by women are based on nothing but projection and speculation. If a woman says her therapist agrees with her assessment that some guy is a narcissist, she’s either lying or has a bad therapist, and therefore should be ignored.

    Seriously, fucking drop this topic.

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