I can understand how someone that had recently come out of a bad situation would have a hard time ever letting themselves be vulnerable again, but eventually we have to make peace with it all. I refuse to be defined by my past. If I refuse to date I let my past define me and my abusers win. They have beaten me down to a point where I am not even willing to risk a relationship again. I will not let that happen. That being said, I’m currently planning on taking at least 3 months or so off of dating. I’ve been dating a lot and haven’t really found anyone that has real LTR potential, and I need a break (that would be me listening to my gut :))
I recently received an email from a regular visitor to this blog, Stephen Bach, who has a blog called The Narcissist’s Son commenting about a recent post of mine; Judgement Day.
He was question whether my post might cause confusion for some people reading it because I was warning women to be wary of a man who asked too many questions early in the relationship; in other words if the guy is arrogant and self-centered RUN and if he is too attentive and wants to know all about you RUN! It doesn’t leave a woman many choices. This is the conversation we had on the topic which will hopefully clarify any confusion my post caused. ( If it seems a little disjointed in spots it’s because I removed some personal sections of the emails from Stephen to protect his privacy)
The email from Stephen:
I was reading your Judgement Day post and had a comment that I was thinking of putting in the comments section but thought better of it. I don’t want to incite others. I do think the Judgement Day post is excellent and you expound on many excellent points.
My comment is this:
You mentioned that you found an N’s initial approach of getting the woman talking as a sign of an N. While I do agree with this in concept, I also disagree with it at the same time. Yes, an N will pump someone for personal information during the love bombing phase in order to collect information to later be used against you, but I don’t feel that just because a man asks a bunch of questions that it makes him an N. During the initial phases of a relationship, I will ask many questions to try to establish our compatibility. I will talk about myself when asked a direct question, but I am also very interested in learning to understand my potential partner’s desires, hobbies, and passions. I think it’s very important that there is some common ground with interests, etc, or the relationship will have a very difficult time when there is only 1 activity that we like to do together (1 activity as an example situation).
So the question becomes, how does a woman establish if she is being love bombed or if she has met someone that is taking a genuine interest in her?
I agree, listening to someone talk about themselves ad nauseum on the first date is a huge turnoff. I’ve had it happen a few times. If I’m constantly being interrupted and I feel like she’s orating her resume to me, it’s gonna be our last date.
Stephen, even as I was writing the post I had the same thoughts as you. It just so happens that when I met JC I was actually waiting for a date to arrive that I met off POF. JC had said to call him if the date didn’t work out. Well the guy was what most people would consider a narcissist, full of himself, loud, everything had a price tag that he made sure everyone in the bar heard, ie: how much his car cost, how much his suit cost etc. He was a pompous ass lawyer and I couldn’t wait to get out of there.
I went home and called the handsome stranger I had just met in the bar a few hours before. JC was the opposite, he was interested in me and what I liked but was (appeared) totally open and honest about himself. I could not believe my good fortune, especially after the hellish hour and 1/2 I had just spent with the lawyer.
It is very hard to know and that is what makes them so hard to detect. They have perfected effective communication, (in most cases) they are the ultimate sales man not your stereotypical car salesman, loud and brash.
I think the key is to take things slow and see if what they tell you about themselves is the truth, which can also be difficult. Like with James, he was new to town, didn’t have any long-term friends and the friends he had, seemed to think he was a great guy (none of those people are his friends now) He was in school to change his career due to a motorcycle accident so no way of knowing how his work ethic was. Many times a narc is new to town because it makes it easier to reinvent himself. I didn’t learn the truth about some of the things James told me in those first few months until 10 years later and many of them didn’t get revealed as lies until I was fully committed in the relationship. Mind you we did move in together rather quickly (about 4 months) and I think that is key; not get in over your head before at least a year has passed. Had I waited a year I doubt I ever would have moved in at all, that is why they push for commitment so hard, they know they are on borrowed time, their lies are going to start becoming obvious and they want the victim firmly hooked before that happens.
There are so many factors but I think the big one is………………taking it slow!!! and listening to your gut.
Thanks for bringing it up, you are right and it makes it even harder for a nice guy to be believed and find a nice person.
Do you think I should change the post? I don’t want to mislead anyone.
Great to hear back from you!
Wow, that’s really interesting how you met JC! A question – did you tell JC during that first conversation about how much of a pompous jerk the guy that you were meeting in the bar was? If so, you unwittingly told JC exactly what NOT to do in order to ‘win’ you. Plus if JC was validating your experience with Mr. Pompous during that first conversation, you immediately would feel a bond with him.
I completely agree that it’s hard to know what a potential partner is truly like during the initial dating phase. It’s very easy for someone to morph into someone else for a rather significant period of time. Eventually their true colors will show, but it’s possible for a true master love bomber to keep up a good act for a very long time. I totally agree, time is the best predictor of long-term potential. I also agree, we have to trust our gut instincts. If our gut tells us it’s too good to be true, it probably is. If our gut tells us things are moving too fast, they probably are. I’m always amazed at people that are shacking up within a month of meeting each other. That is a total recipe for disaster.
(I am learning to) build trust in myself that I am capable of spotting the red flags and capable of keeping myself from getting entangled in another dysfunctional situation. I think one of the major keys is to be able to trust ourselves and our instincts. If we see red flags, what does our gut tell us? Does our gut tell us that the red flag that’s flying is a serious issue or is it just him / her having a bad day and they truly don’t mean to behave that way? Another behavior I had to learn was to confront bad behavior when I was exposed to it. I often would never do this, and let my abusers get away with bad behavior because I did not hold them accountable. When we confront the behavior, how does he / she respond? Does he / she say “tough, it’s who I am, take it or leave it”? Do they attempt to minimize the issue and rewrite our perceptions? Do they gaslight and pretend it never happened? Or do they own the behavior, offer a reasonable explanation, and / or apologize? I feel that their response to being confronted regarding their behavior is one of the most indicative signs of someone who could be an abuser.
I don’t think your post is necessarily misleading, although it could be confusing. I would hate to think a woman would read that post and interpret it as “if he’s being nice, he’s really a jerk”. That could have the effect of essentially closing the door on just about any man: If he’s being a pompous jerk he’s not nice, and if he’s showing interest in you he’s not nice either, so what’s left? I do agree that often (even for ‘normal’ people) the initial conversation and approach can be misleading with regard to a person’s true intentions. I feel the key is to be on the lookout for abusive behavior and boundary issues, just like we might be on the lookout for other features of a potential mate. I know for me, that as shallow as it sounds, I have to feel some sort of physical attraction or it just won’t work. I have tried to date women that I don’t feel attracted to and it’s very difficult if not impossible after a while. It’s part of who I am, and I know it’s shallow, but it doesn’t appear to be something I can change, so I’ve grown to accept it.
Have a wonderful day!
Stephen, I had to laugh when you asked if I mentioned that the lawyer was a pompous ass because once I studied Narcissists I realized what I had done, I have always been an open book. I have always thought it was best to be open and honest, especially when first meeting a guy, why pretend to be something I am not, the guy might as well know what he’s getting into. I never play games, or try to change a guy and it had always worked for me, I always had an “if he likes me fine if not that’s fine too” attitude………….this is how our first few conversations went. The night we met I told him I was meeting this guy I’d met on a dating site. He asked what I thought of on-line dating, (he had never tried it himself) I said that I hadn’t had any luck and found a lot of the guys just wanted to talk over the net and I was an old-fashioned girl who liked face to face or at the very least a phone call.
Later he gave me his number. (putting the control in my hands, or so I thought)
(I had already given him a HUGE hint by saying I wasn’t into the internet and valued face to face)
When I called him later that night the first thing he said was, “How was your date?”
My exact words were, “He was a pompous ass lawyer.”
(how is that for putting a bulls-eye on myself?) He laughed. I thought he thought I was cute and witty, now I realize he was laughing with glee at how easy this was going to be.
I refuse to never date again because I am afraid, there are N’s every where and we will never be able to eradicate them from the world, we had better be prepared to deal with them and be able to protect ourselves. They don’t attack the weak, they attack anyone and they are masters at impersonating a caring human being, perfect for the target but we don’t have to believe everything everyone tells us, we can date someone for a few months while we get to know them and pick up on the little things that give them away. The little giveaways’ are there as long as we listen to our gut and not bury them because we don’t want to face the truth. As much as the narcissist is cunning and a master manipulator we do have to take responsibility for part of our own deception, we lied to ourselves and that is the most dangerous part. We saw the truth and chose not to believe our own instincts, that is what really got us in trouble and hurt.
As for the attraction thing, I agree…… there was a huge physical attraction with James right from the start and that is the way I have always been. If I am not physically attracted to a man I just do not date him, he could be a great guy but if that physical attraction isn’t there I can’t get past it, i have tried and after a while it just isn’t fair to the other person. That is part of the reason I don’t think I will date again, at my age a lot of men don’t take care of themselves and they have a big beer gut etc and I know I am older and not as attractive as i used to be but I still take care of myself and haven’t let myself go. I am just not attracted to a guy if he is over weight and out of shape. it might be different if we grew old together, I don’t know what I would have felt like if James had let himself go, I can’t imagine not loving him no matter how he aged.
Well this got really long.
If you don’t mind I would like to use some of our conversation in a post, I will eliminate the personal stories, give you credit and link your site but you made some good points and I can link it to the other post and then people get all sides of the issue.Hi Carrie –
Sure, you are welcome to use whatever you would like in a post from our conversation. I’d be honored 🙂
Isn’t it wild how when we look back at those initial interactions we find that we literally spoon fed vital information to our abuser? With my 2nd exW, she had shown me SO many red flags that even in my lifelong state of denial of red flags I saw them. Yet I married her anyway. She was truthfully very smart and knew exactly how to manipulate me. She was a master gaslighter, and we would have conversations about “issues” and then she would go off and behave like our conversation never happened and I would be left dumbfounded. I mistakenly felt that if I loved her enough that she would see just how wonderful I was and stop abusing me. (yeah, right! I took the same approach with my narcissist mother and look how that one turned out!). She had absolutely zero respect for me, and would openly flirt with other men right in front of me. It was disgusting. She had every trait of BPD. The whole relationship was a total nightmare. I knew she was a train wreck from the day I met her. When I met her, she was sleeping with a married man and I knew it. I should have never pursued her.
That’s horrible about JC and his porn / sex addiction. I agree, the lying about it is the worst part. I’m surprised that he never contracted an STD and brought it home to you if he was philandering that much. I don’t doubt for every incident that you knew about there were probably 5 that you didn’t know about. In my opinion, cheating is the ultimate disrespect in a relationship. I think you were more than fair when you told JC that some people are OK with having an open relationship, but I’m not. I wonder if he was more lying to you or to himself when he said he wanted a committed relationship with you? One of the aspects of N behavior I find ironic is that they are often looking for ‘ideal’ love, and then turn around and destroy any chance they might have of getting into a situation that might resemble ‘ideal’ love. My BPD exW used to call me her ‘split apart’, like we were made for each other and then go back to flirting with any guy (or gal) that would pay attention to her. She had the audacity to once tell me that I should be proud that so many men hit on her and it shouldn’t bother me. Yet, if a woman ever came onto me at a gig, she would be furiously jealous. Someone hitting on her is one thing, her flirting back is an entirely different animal.
Stephen, I don’t think James ever intended to be in a committed relationship, I think he “wanted” me, he wanted to own me, I was what he needed at the time to convince his family that he was a nice guy, (he had totally annihilated the relationship with his family, been disowned by his step dad and needed credibility, respectability and to appear changed) and I was just the woman to do that for him. The first half of the relationship I truly believed he was misunderstood and his greatest crime was to be naive and get involved with the wrong type of people. He may have been possessive of me but I know now (even though at the time I thought we had a special love and bond that few people ever find) that I was only there as a tool and he had full intentions of screwing around. He knew he could not be faithful, he knew he needed the attention of other women in order to survive. When he came back to me the last time saying he had been given 6 months to live and I was all the woman he would ever need, he was living with another woman in another province; yet he promised total honesty and fidelity. He was trucking and needed a woman in BC because he was doing a monthly run to Vancouver, I was nothing more than a convenient source of narcissistic supply; the “sure thing” in BC. He actually referred to me as a “sure thing” and I thought he was just struggling to find the right words and not being honest. I think sometimes they actually are honest and we interpret it the way we want to and they just allow us to take it anyway works for us. One thing I know for sure, James never loved me.
When he met his new woman he had different needs, he needed a roof over his head, stability, and he was looking to retire. He set out to find a woman with money. Again he was “honest” with me when he explained why he chose her over the woman I had caught him with. He had been dating 10 different women and had narrowed it down to one who I gather was good-looking and into him AND had a home but the house was tied up because her husband’s name was on title and he was fighting her for the house. James’s exact words were, “Her husband is fighting her over the house and it just wasn’t going to work for her and I so I went with M.”
He was also honest with me when after we split he said he was “as faithful as he could be”.
No matter how I look at the relationship, No matter what he did or how many lies he told, it all boils down to one fact that would have saved me 9 years of heart ache………………….
I did not listen to my gut and react to the deception as I felt I should have, I can not count how many times in the last 9 1/2 years my gut was screaming for me to run from the relationship and I didn’t listen. I thought leaving him was more than I could bare. Yet here I am after all those years of abuse, without him and still standing. We can all survive a broken heart even if we don’t think we can and it is always easier to leave sooner than later. Never before in any of my relationships did I have such indecision about leaving so I am going back to the way I used to date, when things don’t feel right I am not going to doubt myself.