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Dating After the Narcissist

For 12+ years I have not kissed any man besides JC, from the first time we kissed I knew I didn’t want to be with any other man and for the first time in my life I truly didn’t even think about another man the whole time I was with him and for over two years after he left me for another woman. I can’t guess how many women he was with, I know of 6, but I am sure there are more, unfortunately his ease at moving from one woman to the next or having several on the hook at the same time did not diminish my faithfulness.

To be honest he was a lousy lover most of the time but when he wanted to he could rock my world like no man ever has and have me begging him to stop. When a man has that kind of control over your body, knows your body that well and wants you that badly you can’t help but feel he must love you with the same intensity that he makes love to you; it is very hard to let that go, to forget it.

I always had a feeling that JC knew me better than anyone had ever known me, and still loved me, of course I know now that it was all part of his m.o. He always told me that no other man would tolerate what he did and no other man would want me.

I had never had any trouble getting and keeping a man prior to meeting JC but entering the dating scene over 12 years later was a scary proposition, not only did I have the tiny voice telling me, “Sure he thinks your great right now, but wait until he gets to know you and finds out what JC did.” but now I am 12 years older, 12 years wrinklier, 12 years grayer, with dentures, and a heart that had been torn out of my chest stomped on and tossed in the garbage.

I had joined several on-line dating services but didn’t reply to any of the guys that showed interest. Where I was living had a lot to do with me not wanting to meet anyone, for a long time my teeth held me back but getting the job at Ccon took care of many of the excuses I had to not date. I couldn’t imagine ever having another man touch me, or kissing another man, I was afraid I’d be disappointed, I was afraid I wouldn’t recognize the signs of an N. I was afraid of rejection, I was just plain afraid, like a virgin, unsure of what to expect.

Then I asked C to help me with my trailer and we became friends, a man and a woman can be friends, right? It felt good to be in the company of a man who seemed to appreciate and like me and not have the pressure of “dating”. Over the course of the last 2 months the girl he had living with him moved out, I had to drive him to Kelowna and we shared a hotel room, we had seperate beds, my dogs have fallen in love with him and he has been a HUGE help with my move. He has cooked me many suppers, he text messages me every night to say good night and every morning to say “Have a nice day”. He calls me “Babe”, which has been an alarm bell since the first time he did it, yet it also feels good.

The relationship has progressed slower than any relationship I have ever had with a man, I have held back on getting too intimate, gotten to know him slowly, stayed true to myself and not stayed when I really wanted to go home, and he has been very understanding about my fears and need for space. We have talked openly about my past with JC and my fears.

How scarred I really am was very apparent this last weekend. Because C still doesn’t have his BC drivers license I have to pick him up and take him home, it had gotten late and I was too tired to drive him home so he had to sleep on the couch. I could tell he was not really happy about it but he didn’t say anything. In the early morning hours I woke up and Kato was not in my bed so I got up to look for him and discovered he wasn’t in the house any where. C was asleep on the couch and I checked the house twice for Kato as I felt panic welling up inside me. Where could Kato be?? I was fighting the panic, my immediate thought had been that C was angry about not coming to bed with me and in typical JC passive aggressive fashion had let Kato outside and now Kato was gone or he had done something worse. I opened the back door and there was Kato tied to the back porch. He looked cold and I filled with a mixture of anger and relief. The sound of the door opening woke C up and I asked him why Kato was outside, he told me Kato had come and asked him to go out so he had let him out. It all made perfect sense but it sent me reeling back in time to when I was with JC and lived in constant fear of his retaliation for perceived slights against him. I felt the tears welling up inside me and found myself explaining as best I could some of the things I went through with JC.

C said,”Maybe you will never be able to have a relationship again”.

He appears very understanding , he tells me he has the utmost respect for what I have been able to over come, I have told him I am not into being tied down to one man and really need my space. I have explained that I have wanted a place to call home for so long and now that I have it I want to enjoy it and I need my solitude and my independence. I feel he is needing more and doesn’t like to be alone but he doesn’t pressure me too much, I don’t allow it.

I knew I was scarred but had no idea how deeply until I started to date, I have found I think about JC more, I am acutely aware of any red flags, my “N” radar is working overtime and because of that I don’t feel at risk of getting pulled into another relationship like I had with JC. I am staying true to me and not letting my guilt talk me into having sex sooner than I feel ready for, I know that having sex too soon could be my downfall. Having sex takes the relationship to another level and makes it harder to leave. I feel in control and because I feel in control I feel safe.

Being in this relationship has shown me how easy it was to get pulled into JC’s web. When you tell people about the narcissist they can’t believe you put up with the treatment and its very hard to explain what you were attracted to in the first place, but it is all coming back to me now. As much as we all want a man to be attracted to us and find us sexy I know I don’t ALWAYS look great yet with C it doesn’t matter what I am wearing he thinks I look great, everything I do is great, how I decorated the cabin, the way I love my dogs, and I find him repeating back to me things I have said maybe a day or two earlier. If I mention something I like within a day or two he will mention he likes it also. He takes on my opinion on things, if I say my back is sore so is his. I have started teasing him that his back must be really sore when I have a sore back. He never gets angry, never, he is always happy. over time he has mentioned things he has done in his past he is not proud of but he has learned and changed, he has mentioned he used to be really jealous but has overcome that. He is more than willing to help me with anything, and he is multi talented (just like JC), he is valued at work just like JC always was; at first. I find slight discrepancies in his stories and find myself wondering if I heard him wrong the first time. He says he can not understand or accept that a man would ever hit a woman but JC said the same thing, after all it was my fault he hit me, I drove him to it.

But there are no glaringly obvious signs he is a narcissist. He actually text messaged me the other night and asked what a narcissist is (|he knows about my blog) and I tried to explain as well as a person can in a text message. He asked if I thought he was a narcissist, and I can see why he would ask, I ask some pretty straight forward questions and I have to admit I am keeping notes. Is that fair to the guy?

Do I care if I am being fair? yes, I do care and that is why I have been straight up with him about what I have been through and made it very clear that I am not ready for anything more than just a casual, no commitment type relationship. It has crossed my mind that I might be passing up a good thing but you know what? I am quite ok with spending the rest of my life alone. Never before in my life have I ever been more ok with being alone.

For almost 2 years I haven’t even been able to listen to the radio because so many songs made me sad.

(Hey I was a real basket case, I admit it, I never thought I would heal. I see women come on here and they are 3 weeks into the breakup and at the same spot I was at over a year after the breakup. Don’t ever beat yourself up because you are taking too long to heal. My God it took me over a year to stop crying every day, 2 years to even want to live. But I made it and so can you!!)

There is a song out now that I love, I’m sure you’ve all heard it.
But it really says the way I feel right now and every time I hear it I crank up the volume

Kelly Clarkson – Stronger

You know the bed feels warmer Sleeping here alone
You know I dream in color And do the things I want
You think you got the best of me
Think you’ve had the last laugh

Bet you think that everything good is gone
Think you left me broken down
Think that I’d come running back
Baby you don’t know me, cause you’re dead wrong
What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger
Stand a little taller
Doesn’t mean I’m lonely when I’m alone
What doesn’t kill you makes a fighter
Footsteps even lighter
Doesn’t mean I’m over ’cause you’re gone
What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, stronger
Just me, myself and I
What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger
Stand a little taller
Doesn’t mean I’m lonely when I’m alone
You heard that I was starting over with someone new
They told you I was moving on over you
You didn’t think that I’d come back
I’d come back swinging
You try to break me
But you see…
What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger
Stand a little taller
Doesn’t mean I’m lonely when I’m alone
[ From: http://www.metrolyrics.com/what-doesnt-kill-you-lyrics-kelly-clarkson.html ]

I am proof that:
What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.
Don’t lose faith!
Hugs
Carrie

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About Carrie Reimer

I am a 56 year old single woman who has taken her experiences from a 10 year abusive relationship and turned them into a positive. Through my blog I share my experiences and help other women in similar circumstances find happiness and safety. There is life after a narcissist and I stand here before you as proof. Don't let the bastards get you down. View all posts by Carrie Reimer

25 responses to “Dating After the Narcissist

  • countingducks

    I hope the Narcissist doesn’t make you a prisoner of your past

    Like

    • ladywithatruck

      Countingducks, I don’t think of it as being a prisoner of my past; I was a prisoner when I was with him, now I am free. But as with any experience in life especially the traumatic ones; you had better learn something from it so you don’t repeat history. I think that is what I am experiencing. I doubt that I will ever take a man at face value ever again,. That makes me sad to a degree because it takes away alot of the excitement of meeting someone and getting to know them. But my reality is; JC almost killed me, physically, mentally and financially; the after math of being with him lasted oer two years, how does that not cause major scars?

      I lost my innocence and will never get it back, I was terribly romantic and niave before JC, I am pleased to say I am not jaded or closed off to men but I am cautious and right now in my life I can take or leave being in a relationship and that feels good. Perhaps some day I will want to share my life with someone but right now I am right where I want to be.

      thanks for stopping by.

      Like

  • Dee

    Carrie, I personally feel, you should give yourself longer to just enjoy your new house alone, and not have the pressure of feeling you have to date. you have an excuse, a good one, youre not ready.
    Him getting angry that he had to sleep on couch not good.
    You shouldnt have to explain your past thats your experience.
    Im not sure if this man is really independent and able to offer you equality, if he needs to be driven.
    His saying that “maybe you will never be ready for a relationship” sounds impatient and hurtful, and does not sound like something a good hearted person would say, thats a big red flag right there.
    you have too much to loose… your freedom has taken so long to win.
    youve just started a job and got a house.
    stop, breathe relax.

    your beauty, desirability, is defined by you, not anyone else, dont feel pressured into sex yet,your body is telling you no.
    You will be a narc magnet if this JC name is still popping up all the time.

    My instinct isats to back off from this guy and let him prove his friendship over at least six months. He can find sex somewhere else if hes in a rush.

    stay away from online dating sites, huge Narc territory, theres not a man on there who is not leading a double life or is disordered, or just looking for upaid sex.

    Please take this from where it comes from, my heart. Give yourself time to heal, spend your money on your little house, not tarting yourself up for a man.
    Love ya
    Dee.

    Like

    • ladywithatruck

      Dee, maybe I didn’t express it clearly but I have not responded to any of the men from the dating sites and have no intention of doing so. For one thing that is where JC found most of his victiims and I read his correspondence with these women and I could never trust a man on any of those sites.

      As for JC coming to mind, I think that is quite normal and to be expected when you start dating again because it takes you back to when you started dating the N and you are trying to identify similarities in order to avoid another N.

      I have had 2 and 1/2 years to heal and I do feel ready to start dating again, I enjoy the company of a man, some times I need a man, and I do enjoy being taken out or cooked for, I do like being told I am attractive but I don’t need it and that is the main thing.

      I am in control of the situation, i see signs that make me cautious but I am not “falling” for the guy. I have no intention of getting into a committed relationship, especially the first man I date. But I also feel that if I want to ever be with a man again I need to start the process because the longer I go without a man the less I will be open to it.

      I appreciate you concern but I am not “tarting up” for any man. lol or putting myself out.

      don’t worry, I am taking time for me and enjoying my new life.
      hugs and love to you
      Carrie

      Like

  • Kelly

    What you say is so true in so many ways! I ended my 25 year marriage to an N. last year. I am now dating someone new and I see so many differences between him and my ex, yet I still find myself afraid that every word out of his mouth is a lie, I am terrified of sex, and I feel sure he will soon see that I am really unloveable and damaged. Despite this I am better and stronger than I ever was during my marriage. It is scary to go back out and date after what has happened to us, maybe scarier than not dating ever again. But I decided that the last story in my romantic life was not going to be the sickening tale of what my ex-husband did to me. Hang in there girlfriends, as Carrie says, it does get better, even if we do have the scars of the past.

    Like

    • ladywithatruck

      Kelly, thank you for confirming what I am feeling is normal. I consider it quite a positive step forward to be able to even kiss this guy and that because I have taken it slow I have had time to see the warning signs that I would have probably ignored had I not taken slow. A person has to build confidence in their own instincts again and the only way I see to do that is to get your feet wet.

      Does your new fellow know about your ex being an N?

      Like

      • Kelly

        Yes my new guy knows my ex is an N. New boyfriend is a friend of my brother’s from high school and so knew me/us for years in a more distant way. In general though, I find I have to watch who I tell and when, in terms of what my ex-N did and what he is, because it is so far from “normal” or even within the understanding of most humans, that it is sometimes unbelievable even to me.

        Like

        • ladywithatruck

          That’s the truth!! Most people just can not fathom the way the N operates and think you must be crazy or exaggerating.
          I don’t discuss it with people who havrn’t been there unless I know them well. Usually if it does come up I just say I was in an abusive relationship and I was lucky to get out alive.

          Even when I remember events that happened I find it hard to believe he was able to make me doubt myself. He did things so blatantly wrong, no room for doubt but I doubted myself.

          It truly is scarey the control they manage to get over a person.

          Like

          • Kelly

            And you have to add in the fact that our ex-N’s have told us and others that we are “crazy” and have “mental problems”,, so the last thing we want is anyone thinking that the truth is so strange that maybe he’s right…
            I simply tell people who I can’t fully trust that my ex- did some very bad things and I’m glad he’s gone.

            Like

            • ladywithatruck

              I think that is whype they are able to get away with that they do victim after victim their whole life. Because what they do is so insane every victim is just so afraid to speak about what happened for fear of sounding crazy or for fear of retaliation.
              I had one of his ex’s call me and fill me in but she sounded crazy to me even though I had already experienced some of the stuff she talked about. She was drunk and it was 2 am and it had been almost 20 years since they split. But now I think she

              Like

              • ladywithatruck

                Now I think she had a breakdownwwhen they split and never recovered. He told me she died a couple of years ago; drank herself to death. I wish now I would have told her that he never changed; for her peace of mind.

                Like

  • Peacelily

    Thank you for writing this. I am in the same place with a new man. He is everything I could ever want and the absolute opposite of the narcissist I was with. He doesn’t brag about himself, he doesn’t talk about others in a derogatory way. He never, ever manipulates my words or actions. He never judges me. He calmly offers advice when I ask for it. He gives me all the space I need. He tells me he is proud of me, that I’m beautiful and he listens to what I have to say. We share everything and we support each other. We celebrate each others achievements and we take care of each other. I finally have a chance to remember what an emotionally nurturing relationship is and be nourished by it. I feel I can lean a little and my fall will be steadied by someone who wants to offer their strength to me.
    I am very blessed. I know I could live alone if I chose and there are still days when I want myself for me alone.
    But if we are to truly experience joy and love, we need to be brave enough to keep our hearts open and allow life to travel its path. Each experience is something we can learn from. Some of the lessons we receive are painful but we can learn more from these than the easy ones.
    Thank you for your amazing blog, and for raising further awareness of how damaging narcissism can be.
    I wish you every happiness and I will look forward to the next instalment!

    Like

    • ladywithatruck

      Peacelily, thank you for your kind words and encouragement. How long have you been seeing this wonderful man? It would be so encouraging for the others on here to read about a victim coming out of a relationship with a N and actually meeting a healthy man and having a truly healthy relationship.

      Good luck and much love to you!
      hugs Carrie

      Like

      • PurpleIris

        I agree and for one believe there is a right person for everyone. If we focus on a bad relationship it might rightfully cloud us to be open to a good person. More stories of finding the right guy after an N relationship could provide a sense of hope and encouragement for the many women(and men) who seem to have been affected. I for one am processing all the information I have learned about narcissistic behaviour and my own relationship.

        Like

        • Carrie Reimer

          Purpleiris, I only have a few examples. One is a friend of my mom’s who lost everything because of a narcissist, her house, all her savings, and almost lost her kids. She met a guy while she was still involved with the N, well actually they had broken up but he was still coming in and out of her life. The new boyfriend told her, either you stop seeing this asshole or I am walking. She made the right choice and she has been married to him for 30 years and he has treated her wonderfully. My cousin met her soul mate after a really abusive relationship, unfortunately he died of cancer 10 years ago and she still misses him terribly, but the fact remains she did find true love after an N. There is a woman who comes into my blog named Tik Tok and she is very happily married after a horrific relationship with a psychopath who tried to kill her. There is also Paula who has a blog and has written books about her relationship with a psychopath, she is very happily married to a wonderful man. Her blog is Paula’s Pontifications, check it out.
          I have had others drop in and say there is hope and they had found true love after an N. For me, I am not that concerned about finding true love, not because of being so damaged from the N but I think just because I am older and have other priorities right now. I don’t feel the need to have a man in my life, I get lonely but plan on solving that problem by getting another dog.

          Like

  • ellie2013

    Hey Carrie!

    Your post kinda concerned me especially the part:

    ” I know I don’t ALWAYS look great yet with C it doesn’t matter what I am wearing he thinks I look great, everything I do is great, how I decorated the cabin, the way I love my dogs, and I find him repeating back to me things I have said maybe a day or two earlier. If I mention something I like within a day or two he will mention he likes it also. He takes on my opinion on things, if I say my back is sore so is his.”

    That sounded ALOT like mirroring don;t you think? The idealization phase. :(

    You are a very SMART lady, though, I am sure you saw it too, that’s why you posted it. To get opinions, since we have been conditioned to not trust our own instincts.

    It would not be uncommon for another N to try and get into your life almost predictable really. Especially if you shared your story about JC. Think of the rush they would get fooling someone who had already been to hell and back and who is supposedly on their guard. Triple AAA plus supply!

    Be careful, Carrie, none of us wants to see you hurt, in any way shape and form. You’ve come too far………..we need you!!!! But whatever happens, we will all be here to listen, to cry with you and laugh with you too.

    That’s what friends are for………….

    Like

    • ladywithatruck

      Ellie, yes I think exactly as you do, red flags, and I wanted to see what everyone thought. I certainly don’t know if he is an narcissist and I probably will never know for sure because I don’t plan on it going any further than “friends”.

      I remember early in the relationship with JC he wanted to see me all the time and I found myself feeling frustrated because he never just let me have a night alone and didn’t seem to understand I needed time with my son and just to be alone and I feel that with C. Also with JC I was “perfect” just the way I was and I remember one night actually crying and telling him I couldn’t keep up the pace, burning the candle at both ends and he had “hushed” me and said, ” I love you just the way you are, don’t be so hard on yourself.” and I had thought, “:I am not being hard on myself YOUr expectations are being to hard on me” but I didn’t stand up to him and refuse to always be there for him. If I had he probably would have moved on to a more willing supply.

      Thank you for your support and freindship…….yes that is what friends do and it is reassuring to know I am not doing this alone but have friends along who will speak their minds and have my best interests at heart. that is what a true freind does and I appreciate it so much!
      Hugs
      Carrie

      Like

  • My Inner Chick

    Carrie,
    you asked this question: Is that fair to the guy?
    And I say to you: It doesn’t matter a damn. It’s what’s fair to you, It’s what your heart says, it’s what you feel is right. It’s, for once, What You Want.
    You. Deserve. Everything.
    Love Love Love.
    Xxxx

    Like

    • ladywithatruck

      Kim, thanks for stopping by and the words of support. It isn’t even a choice for me to take it slow, its a NEED. I can’t go there; maybe its instinct, maybe my past, but I am listening to whatever is telling me to take it slow.
      Hugs and love to you Kim thanks:)

      Like

  • The Heretic

    I am glad you are staying strong and have your guard up. As I have said; a lot of positivity sent your way by everyone here on my end. Don’t get discouraged.

    Like

  • ladywithatruck

    Michael, so good to see you!! Your family has become my extended family, its so reassuring to know they are rooting for me.
    How is school going?

    Like

  • twistedheart

    I am afraid of this. I haven’t dated anyone since I left my N and, honestly, I don’t want to now or anytime soon. I just have no interest. I also have the fear that, as with you, I will begin dating someone and start remembering so many details on my N. I am afraid I will see red flags when there aren’t necessarily any there. I mean the only way I can function is to try to not think about it. To fool myself whenever I can that everything that happened in those 3 years didn’t happen. If I started dating, I don’t think I could not think about it.
    I have to say the fact that you are at a place where you can even contemplate a relationship means you have come so far. Perhaps the fact that you know yourself and your heart well enough to know what you are and are not ready for means even more. You are an amazing woman and you have come so far :)

    Like

    • ladywithatruck

      Twisted! So good to see you! I have been wondering how you are. You have come so far yourself. You have to remember its been 28 months since JC and I split. A life time ago.

      It is scarey and I don’t feel comfortable getting too intimate mainly because JC’s rejection the last year left me with some body image issues that I never had previously. I must admit it does feel good to have a man put his arms around me and kissing has been fine. I assume with time the rest will come. I’m in no hurry. Patience is one thing I never had alot of but have developed through this whole experience.

      I think the danger in dating after an N is they discarded us in such a cruel fashion, rejected us on every level and we have a need to feel desirable to a man again. That leaves us open to another N because they always come across as thinking we are perfect at first. I am very aware of that, so as much as I want a man to find me irresistible; if he does I am suspicious.

      I don’t envy any man who might be interested in me right now because he probably can’t win for losing. But I make no apologies; I am what I am, I don’t play games, I am honest and when the time is right I will take a calculated chance, but jumping in with both feet never was in my best interest and now even less so.

      I had to go to Surrey this week for work and that always stirs up Shit about JC, I got out of there as fast as possible.

      It is all a process, a year ago the though of kissing a man made me cringe.

      Like

  • WordsFallFromMyEyes

    I love your “but I made it so can you”, Carrie – this is just exactly why blogging can be a powerful medium. Bless you for sharing, and being so open and honest in it all.

    Good on you, galore.

    I have to confess, on the outside of it all I’ve thought ‘how can a woman stay with a man who treats her like that?’ but when I LOOK AT MYSELF, and think of what I have ENDURED, BEEN PATIENT ABOUT, FELT SORRY FOR THE MAN IN HIS ABUSE OF ME, ABOUT, I realise I’m just exactly, albeit by a different theme, ‘one of those women.

    It is so, so awesome to see you this well, Carrie. I feel much value in having known you a year now, and then read your todays. It is great, no less than great.

    xxx N.

    Like

    • ladywithatruck

      Noeleen; so good of you to take the time to stop by and give your words of encouragement and support. I admire your honesty in what you right and it has given me the courage to do the same.

      It seems only fitting to continue sharing my experiences because the after effects of being with an abusive man linger long after the relationship ends. Now I am sharing my experiences in “real time” and hopefully in doing so helping others and it gives me a feeling of not doing it alone.

      I would love this all to come to a “happy ending” not just for me but to show the world and the N’s in the world that they are not “all that” and the world does not revolve around them, life does go on without them and is wonderful without them.

      Never in a million years when I started this blog did I realize how much support and encouragement I would get, nor all the lives I would touch. Of all the thing the internet provides I truly cherish my blogging friends.

      Like

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