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.
It is a huge relief to read this and to help others like myself trying to make sense of all this madness. Knowing that there are patterns of behaviour of a narcissist has helped me understand the cold and emotionless reaction to my confrontation of a suspected affair. His reaction was to abandon his family and promptly move in with said woman not looking back. Just having more knowledge on this condition has helped me to comprehend a little further, I still have a long way to go. I ignored his history thinking he just wanted stability and a family life and just hadn’t had the opportunity with past relationships. Boredom set in as domesticity grew and what became a more secure situation for me became tedious to him. He loves drama and chaos and I want peace and quiet. What drew me to read this article was “we deserve better”. It has become one of my new mantras that I say to myself in low moments. I had absolutely no idea that someone who I thought loved me unconditionally as I did them could just throw a marriage away so easily. I am heartbroken and devastated. However, his definition of love is very different from mine and I am working on myself so that I never allow this to happen again. They are truly damaged souls and everyone should be educated so thank you for sharing.
I needed to read this post as a reminder that I have just ended a relationship with a narcissist, not a misunderstood soul. The similarities of behaviour are startling to me, and I have the “bonus” of knowing this guy is most likely a true psychopath, as he spent years in prison for the attempted murder of a former partner and the rape of a cellmate. Even as I write that, I can’t believe it. I’m a highly educated woman who has dedicated her life to serving the community through anti-violence work, and I fell for him. Or more realistically, I ignored the flaming red flags burning in my face. I thought he was done being violent, and maybe he is, but he’s not done being a predator.
After a two-month ghosting that began in the middle of a text conversation, I heard from him again this past Tuesday. I couldn’t believe it. I was doing so well, feeling happy, eating, sleeping, and enjoying life. And there he was – he’d come up with a story that he did what he did to protect us, just as the first time he went silent and claimed he’d done it because he knew I needed time to think. It nearly killed him, but he did it for me (eye roll). I was at once elated *and* dejected that he’d written. As if flipping a switch, I lost my appetite, stopped sleeping, started crying, and began taking Clonazepam again. Over a course of three days, I lost four lbs.
I responded to him somewhat distantly but also kindly. He probably couldn’t believe how easy I was to manipulate. I was so excited that he was back in my life, and I had fantasies of our early days when he made me feel like the most beautiful, adored, intelligent woman on the planet. But then something came over me, and I knew I had to stop this madness. In a moment of strength, I texted him this message: “Dennis, I’m giving you a heads up that I am going to block your number. I didn’t block before because I didn’t plan to hear from you. You claim there’s a good reason you disappeared, but we both know there’s no good reason not to give an explanation first. Your most recent re-emergence has confirmed to me that you don’t have a place in my life anymore, so I’m closing the door on this unhealthy dynamic. You may not believe this, but I’m not angry with you, I’m glad you are okay, and I wish you well. This is why I’m giving you something you never gave me – the respect of an explanation for why I am no longer in your life.” And then I blocked him.
I feel strong for taking that step but also angry at myself because I have closed the one avenue through which he can contact me. As a violent offender, he knows that any steps he takes that could be perceived as harassment could cause complications in his life. How can I miss this person whose actions against others and myself are so vile? How can my opinion of myself be so low? As I reread this post, I’m disgusted by the person who wrote it more so than I am by him.
Wendy, maybe my guy makes yours look like a saint, but I promise you their MOs of narc behaviour were the same. Thanks for having the courage to tell your story. I hope to tell mine in full someday once the same subsides.
Final sentence: *shame subsides, not “same”
I don’t even know wtf I’m dealing with or if I’m the narcissist. I just know that this not the way a marriage like situation is supposed to feel and that I am being lied to and not given honesty.
Hey Jessica, trust what you feel about your situation. If things don’t feel honest or how they are supposed to feel, then trust what you are sensing, you’re experience is valid and important even if someone else makes you question that. If you end up feeling more confused, guilty or bad after trying to discuss any of this with your partner then it’s possible you are being gaslighted (research if you don’t know this term yet, it’s really helpful to know about, and incredibly common).
Whether or not someone is a narcissist is besides the point, if you feel like things aren’t ok then something is wrong. Reach out to anyone around you that you trust and speak to them, make sure you are not alone with this. You may never get a straight answer from your partner if they are a narcissist or toxic person, and it’s possible they’ll try to turn everything round on you which is why it’s so important to have people around you that can support you with this experience. I’ve found this website + watching Dr. Ramani videos on youtube. Also many of us do begin to mirror toxic behaviour when in relationship with a toxic person, so this could be why you are questioning whether you’re a narcissist. I think the fact you’re on this website and struggling with knowing whether you’re being lied to in your relationship is a very good signal that you are not the narcissist in this situation. I really hope you can find some clarity and support. Do comment again if you have any questions about anything i’ve written.