So, for starters, I’ve made some huge mistakes recently.
I was pursued by a married man, a colleague, who I connected with through playing music together. I’d liked him from afar for a long time but had no intention of acting on these feelings. I was feeling strong and happy in myself at the time and looking back, I can’t say what led me to falling for his pursuit except that something in me was blinded by him from the start.
Initially, he began to text a little more than needed. We met to play music a little more than needed. He made subtle yet obvious comments, such as, “Time goes by so fast when I’m with you.” I could write an essay on the subtleties of how it happened, but somehow I ended up in an emotional affair with this guy.
He said his marriage was over, they were only together for the kids and that he wanted to leave but hadn’t found the strength to be away from his children yet. We texted, met up for walks, and he in particular expressed an overwhelming amount of feelings for me. That I had reminded him how to feel, that he knew he could love me, adored me, felt like he could do anything when he was with me.
I feel so stupid looking back but I remember thinking that perhaps I had met my soulmate. I convinced myself that I wasn’t really doing anything wrong because we hadn’t been sexually intimate, and that now we had “found each-other,” he would leave his marriage and we would be together. I ignored every sign along the way that this wasn’t going to happen, because I thought I had fallen in love.
I distanced myself from friends because I felt I couldn’t talk to anyone yet about this connection. I stopped caring about my work and became obsessed with when I would see or hear from this guy. He was consistent, sweet and reassuring. I felt so safe and comfortable in his company.
After 4-5 months of this intensity, things began to subtly change. His contact slightly lessened and I began to feel insecure in myself. Out of nowhere I began to have a gut feeling that he had connected to someone else, even though I had no real reason to think this.
Soon after this, he moved out of his marital home for a short period of time. I visited him a few times, but he also wanted time alone because he said he needed to see how it felt. The next time I visited, I noticed he was sketchy with his phone… picking it up to text every time I left the room, taking it to the toilet with him soon after it buzzed, etc. He was suddenly colder, but when I questioned him he put this down to missing his kids.
I tried to believe this, but felt the pit in my stomach growing. We had been sexually intimate by that time, though hadn’t had sex.
Weeks later, he moved back into his marital home because he said he couldn’t afford a second place and wanted to be with his children for Christmas. I know this is the point I should have left. It’s hard to describe, but the subtle lessening in his connection with me had already plummeted my self-worth. I was desperate for things to return to the initial connection. I could see how addicted I’d become to his attention, but I couldn’t stop trying to seek the fix.
He began to stop being the first to text, became a bit more busy, a bit less reassuring, and the power-tables turned. I asked him what was going on. Had he connected with another woman? He was so much less available, never around at the times he used to be and took longer and longer to reply to messages.
The fog of confusion began to descend on me. Every response to my questioning of things made me feel like I was crazy. I don’t know how to explain it because it was so subtle. He never answered any of my questions properly, and started to put everything down to feeling depressed.
One night he told me he was in bed feeling poorly, and shortly afterwards drove past me in his car. I confronted him and he was incredibly defensive, saying at the last minute he’d realised he needed to tutor for money for his children’s Christmas. He was relentless until he thought I believed he was honest.
Shortly after this, he asked if we could meet for a walk. I knew something was coming, but he kept telling me not to jump to conclusions, like I “always do.” On this walk he told an elaborate story about going to the Doctor’s and them telling him he was severely depressed and that he was starting on medication. Eventually, he said that the situation between us wasn’t making him or me happy, that none of his feelings for me had changed, but he had realised he needed space for his mental health.
Every one of my gut instincts was telling me he was lying about the trip to the Doctor’s. I can’t explain why, but I felt it intensely. I felt like the world had been torn out of me, but there was nothing I could say. Everything had turned so quickly and I felt like I was living in a nightmare.
He said he couldn’t ask me to wait for him because he didn’t know if he would ever sort himself out, but he also refused to say things were over.
Two days later he texted asking how I was. When I didn’t reply, he texted again asking if he’d lost me and saying he couldn’t fathom his future without me.
I was so desperate to reinstate the connection, that I replied. By this time I was convinced he had connected to someone else because of several signs, but part of me was so desperate for him that I thought I could win him back.
I tried asking him for answers about what was happening, but they were all so confusing. He would say he didn’t have the words to explain “right now,” because of the medication, and how he’d lost his thoughts and was too tired to text.
I told him how much I was struggling with no closure or contact, and he knew I was alone with it all but wouldn’t give me any clear answers. I felt like I was going crazy. I genuinely began to question my sanity for the first time in my life, and I kept wondering what I’d done wrong.
I felt worthless in a way I never had before. How could someone “love” me and know I was hurting so much but do nothing to help? It was maddening and I felt in constant panic.
Some weeks later, he messaged asking again if I wanted to go for a walk. I was so desperate for some kind of closure that I agreed to meet him. I would never have described myself as a weak or gullible person in the past, but within ten minutes of me expressing to him how unhappy and confused he’d made me, I just fell back in to trying to believe that it had been the side effects of the medication and trying to get through Christmas that had made him shut me out. I looked at his soft eyes and just thought, “I love this man.”
He came back to me, but not in the way he had before. He wanted to see and message me again, but not as much as we did before and with none of the same promises. There were more and more excuses and I became more and more confused.
I felt so empty. I still do. Like all of my power had been zapped away. I didn’t recognise myself in the mirror.
The best thing I did for myself was open up to some friends about what was happening. I was afraid they would hate me but they didn’t. I read them some of the recent texts between me and this guy, and they were shocked by how confusing and avoidant his replies where whenever I asked for answers/closure/clarity.
Having their perspective at least allowed me to claw back my sanity and to stop imagining it’s been me who’s been too needy/paranoid or intense. At the moment he’s gone back to coldness, and though it’s excruciating, I am here to accept that I’m never going to get the answers or love I deserve from him.
At the moment I feel so lost, but realising that his tactics fit so well with the traits of a narcissist is helping so much, because for a time I thought it was my fault and I felt so alone with it. For now I have to find a way to end contact, surround myself with the people that love me in a real way and basically detox from the high I was getting from his attention and “love.”
I’ve been so scared of letting go of the fantasy of a future of him, but I know it would be one full of mistrust and hurt. I also know I have to find the courage to tell his wife, because everything he said about his marriage being over appears to be a lie, and she deserves to know. This man seemed like the sweetest, gentlest soul when I met him, but when someone shows their true colours, trust what you see and don’t just hope they will go back to who you though they were.
Trust your instincts, you’re not going crazy!
Eight months ago, I would have had a very different Bio. I felt happy, strong and content in myself. Right now I’m writing from a shell of myself, but with hope for recovery beginning to grow as I find others who’ve shared the experience of loving a narcissist.