There was a guy I dated that went back to his abusive ex wife for the kids. So instead of making a peaceful loving home for his kids he chose to continue the fighting and aggravation so that he didn’t have to spend money on a divorce. My father did the same thing years ago. After years of struggling to have a relationship with my father I finally cut ties. My ex doesn’t realize-and I’m not about to tell him-that by saving a few dollars he could potentially be losing his children forever. This decision he made is one of those decisions that changed my opinion of our relationship forever. If you can’t save your children I don’t want you. And that’s when I decided to let him go.
He still has no balls to say, “Hey, I’m sorry for making up that huge elaborate story about how I’m getting a divorce and that I tried to get my parents-in-law to get my ex-wife to sign the already drawn-up divorce paperwork THEN told you later that I never said any of that,” just watches me everywhere and gets on elevators with me trying to strike up conversations. No, thank you. Because I have nothing left to give you. But you know what would help? “I’m so sorry I wrecked you.” That would actually help. But if he doesn’t have the balls to remove his kids from a toxic environment, he definitely won’t have the balls to ever say, “I’m sorry.”
Here’s something you may not have even considered: You have the power to save yourself. The strength to save yourself is like an old closet in your home. You may have forgotten it’s there, you may not use it as much as you used to – you may even be afraid to look inside. But when you do, you’ll be thrilled at the strength you forgot you had.
Years ago I invited my best friend to my family’s Thanksgiving dinner because – for various reasons – the rest of her family was unavailable. After hanging up the phone, my father asked who I had been speaking to. I told him who it was and that because she was alone on Thanksgiving, I invited her to our family’s house.
My father then flipped-out and said, “If you ever invite anyone over for another holiday meal I’ll fucking kill you!”
Shocked, I called her back and uninvited her, telling her I wouldn’t be eating there as well. I left the house and my family of six – none of whom defended me – and went to the movies.
To this day, two of those siblings are still in-deep with my parents. Two of us escaped. Sometimes “the orphanage” is the better option. In the years since leaving both my parents and my similarly-mannered ex-husband, my Thanksgivings have been the most beautiful I have ever imagined.
And I owe it all to me.
If you’ve ever dated someone who has cheated and lied, you may have gone through this. Two boyfriends ago I was dating a guy who claimed had filed divorce paperwork (we were both in the middle of divorces at the time). After we broke-up I decided to call the county where he supposedly filed and asked the woman to confirm. “He said he filed already,” I explained. She put me on hold. After a few minutes she returned, verified neither his name nor his wife’s were in the system, “There’s no paperwork under either of those names.” Embarrassed, I explained that we had already broken-up, but still wanted to look into a few things. She laughed like she’s heard this multiple times before.
Because my ex and I were still in communication at that time, I told him – among other things – that he indeed was NOT divorced, and had never even filed like he said he did multiple times. Instead of feeling guilty, or horrified, he had the audacity to act mad at me for “checking up on him.” Ladies – Men – if you feel like you have to play detective, it’s not a relationship. And if the asshole acts indignant, with no sympathy, empathy, or is a complete asshole, then the breakup may be for for the best.
And quite frankly for me, it pissed me off enough to help me heal.
The last two guys were relatively the same: Undercover assholes. Acting like their exes were bad people. But after they drove me crazy for years with their game-playing and lies, I realized their exes were probably made that way. I had sympathy. No – EMPATHY. And as a final straw, neither of these men were divorced, getting a divorce, etc, like they claimed. I want to send flowers to their wives. But on the flip side – THEY ULTIMATELY CHOOSE TO STAY WITH THOSE IDIOTS.
Martyr Syndrome. It’s what I told friends my mother had. “You’re hurting Mommy’s feelings,” was a popular statement, meant to control me after all else failed. In the last year I’ve purposely studied couples and took mental notes on which seemed genuinely happy. None of the genuinely happy couples contained a martyr. They seemed to respect each other and openly trust the other. And this makes sense considering martyrs almost flaunt their manipulation in the face of their partner. Almost like saying, “I don’t care about you as much as I care about my immaturity. I’m about to control you with guilt, are you strong enough to call my bluff?”
When I was young, I didn’t have the capacity to call my mother’s bluff and tell her to cut the crap. The best I could do was return her favor with passive aggressive comments. Thankfully, years of therapy later gave me the strength to cut both her and toxic boyfriends out of my life. Thanks to her training I knew if the guy felt no guilt acting like a martyr while we dated, it certainly wouldn’t improve after marriage.
For over a year I was being dragged along by a misguided, undeserving liar who repeatedly told me that he was divorcing his dysfunctional wife. There are a few reasons I had even bothered to entertain thoughts of dating him in the first place, most of which had nothing to do with my instinct or first opinion. I had ended it more than once only to allow myself to get sucked back into a very ridiculous adult high school-like drama. After months and many “looks” from him, we had an email conversation where he pretty-much proved his need to lie. Needless to say I was still disappointed in him, but with this round of torture, I also found the very much needed Closure.
This guy is crazy.
As he attempted to weave spells of magic around the last year of lies that he’s spilled while drunk, I realized, “This guy is not only toxic, but he’s never going to change, and he doesn’t want to.” And I realized he’s just like my alcoholic ex-husband.
And so the shackles have opened and I finally see him in a new light — which is awesome, but I feel lost as well. I feel alone in the world. Strange — considering I’ve got plenty of friends.
I think this permanent closure has opened my world for me, but without having — or better yet: Constantly focusing on my — goals, I feel lost. There’s overhanging “residue” from my mother who insisted my life goal was to meet someone and get married.
Screw that. I have closure. I’m holding my closure close and protecting it like a homeless man with a freshly baked baguette.
Closure is awesome. I don’t check my many forms of communication for signs of his toxicity anymore. I now pity him. What a fool. He’s accepting a life of negativity. What a shame. Oh well.
The day I had received the closure I needed and I was finally done with him, I wanted to skip through the halls. I couldn’t, but I’ll settle for this:
Sometimes I forget this. People who complain endlessly seem to want help, and coming from my background, I just assume others want to be helped as well. But not everyone does, and lots of time the hand that tries to help gets bitten. Pull back. Focus on yourself. We broke up with these people for a reason, don’t question your decision. And most of all, take care of you.
Got to let it go. Refocus on good. Step away from the keyboard, put down the phone and let it go. There’s someone much more mature out there who will be proud of you for doing so when you tell them about your ex.
I’ve heard of folks going back to someone who cheated on them because the cheater begged for forgiveness. By then the trust was blown to bits, but they’d still go back. “I feel like I should try again, just so I can say I did try again.” They’d breakup with the rebound and return to the cheater.
And they’d be miserable, waiting for their past relationship — before the cheater contemplated cheating — to resurrect itself. The problem is that once someone cheats, the relationship is never the same. Why? Because the cheater has finally revealed their true selves. Their true intentions.
At that point iff the couple “tries again,” they’re just “settling.” The cheater begged forgiveness because they know they’ve ruined a good thing, but more so because they want the partner to see them once more in that angelic light.
Someone who goes back to a cheater is just settling. And the cheater won.
The dumbest thing I never did was get involved with someone from work. I know the rule, yet for some reason I blanked out, bypassing that rule and a major red flag on the first date. A year later, after catching him in a tremendous lie, I’m forced to see him in the halls, catch him looking at me and turning away. It’s heartbreaking, and I have to relive it every day. It’s like God’s punishing me for ignoring a red flag. I failed the test.
What’s worse is the fact that I see him looking at me and yet he can’t bring himself to say, “I’m so sorry I hurt you.” You’d be surprised how these words can help and heal, and yet he doesn’t say them. But at the same time, he didn’t have the strength to divorce an abusive wife, so how would he possibly find the strength to apologize?
Right now I’m in a constant cycle of healing and hurting. It’s like as soon as I start healing he’s suddenly in the halls, passing me 400 times a day and the wound becomes fresh again.
I’m tired of it. I want to heal. I was healing, yet I have no idea what happened. Like a scab picked open and bleeding again. And every time my focus goes back to, “What kind of a man destroys someone else, and never says, ‘I’m sorry?’ “
Lately I’ve been wondering exactly how many life lessons I have to learn before I’m rewarded. If you compare life to school, we should get payouts every few weeks or so. But unfortunately life isn’t the same as school. Can you imagine paying tuition, attending classes and studying for a final exam without ever receiving a final grade, or worse — a diploma? And yet that’s what life offers us: Endless exams without the benefit of a final review.
For some, a lack of final review offers a comforting sigh of relief. But for Capricorns such as myself, it’s like fully stretching a rubber band without ever allowing the Snap!
Considering the lack of Snap!, I started reviewing previous relationships and constructed a list that I could consider Lessons Learned, hoping it’ll soon produce a positive payout. They are:
1.) Innocent Faces Don’t Represent the Innocent
I dated one guy who I would consider an “All American Pie Boy.” His visual presentation stirred mental images of warm apple pies sitting on window sills while young boys play baseball in woolen trousers all across midwestern Americana. Safe, comforting and honest.
Unfortunately his outer presentation of honesty and integrity belied his deep-seeded affection for a toxic relationship. Thankfully I wasn’t the toxic relationship – but that in itself was a problem. I spent close to a year watching him implode, addicted to an unstable ex with whom he continually played childish mind and manipulation games like they never left high school. It was exhausting and I thankfully realized after connecting too many dots that he was already spinning a web of lies for me. I cut him loose.
2.) Couples Breakup For A Reason
I was like the fly that repeatedly smacked against the same spot on the window pane, hoping for better results with each head whack. Giving men multiple chances has been one of the stupidest repeated mistakes in my dating career. Cheaters, liars, alcoholics. The one lesson I’ve learned: What they had no problem doing once, they did again. There’s a reason why phrases like “Zebras don’t change their stripes,” “Leopards don’t change their spots” and “History repeats itself,” exist.
3.) They Don’t Automatically Know Better
If you’ve read “How My Mother Made Me Desperate,” you’ll understand the devaluing of my intelligence by my parents and how it caused me to question all my decisions. This, in turn, caused me to rely heavily on the opinions of the men I dated — alcoholics and all. Thankfully, because of praise from countless teachers and coaches, I was able to grab hold of the glimmer of hope in myself, get therapy, and eventually see that most of the putzes that I dated were even less informed than I was. I realized I replaced my parents with men — or even friends — allowing them to approve of my choices or tell me how to live my life based on the little facts that I was willing to relay.
4.) Dating Exists so We Can Get to Know Someone
My mother had a way of making me feel like I always had to take any offer that was given. From colleges to jobs to men. And not only did I have to consider the “generous” offer to date, but I also had to consider it may be my only option to wed, as well. I wasn’t taught to go on dates as a casual way of getting to know someone. It was subtly and continuously drilled into me that if I accepted one date, I was locked-in. So if I said yes to the first date, there was already talk by my mother of life integration.
Half the time this sent me running from the good guys — primarily because I wasn’t ready to marry. So I spent years distracting myself with sub-par men out of fear. And since I was brainwashed to believe I wasn’t worth a good man and that he’d eventually cheat, I grew to believe I also couldn’t handle one and was drawn more toward the not-so-good man. Unfortunately in doing so I learned:
5.) Ugly Slobs Screw Up Too
There’s a misnomer that ugly men treat women better because they’re so appreciative of having a good woman. Not so.
In a futile effort to impress my dysfunctional, negative parents, I gained countless scholastic and athletic awards and accolades. But after years of unsuccessful attempts to impress them — due to the changing tides of their expectations — I was still unable to extract the proper parental love based on my own merits. It was at this point that I gave up and accepted being offered-up like a sacrificial lamb to the (alcoholic) son of my parents’ friends. I was exhausted waiting for the right guy to come along.
“At least if he’s not really put-together — no one else will want him and he won’t cheat,” I found myself thinking, not even realizing that he was a serious alcoholic. My thought process focused on my mother’s insistence that all men eventually cheat. Pathetic, I’ll admit. But when you’re riding someone else’s train to Crazy Town you don’t really take full inventory of the passengers. And so I wed.
Four years later I left him, ala Sleeping With the Enemy style. And to this day I feel like I was never a bride, never married and never lived through a honeymoon phase. What I did live through was toxic and terrifying, but without it I would never have awoken to a few much-needed, life altering revelations.
6.) Good Guys Can’t Handle My History & Bad Guys Try to Compete
This is by far the most difficult thing I’ve discovered in the last few years, and I’m hoping that it was only because of how I introduced my history into relationships that sent the good guys running.
I’ve known many good guys in my life. I’ve been in love with them and they loved me. But at those times, because of the mental torment from my parents, I couldn’t handle dating. I’d either retreat completely or reveal too much too soon, thereby overloading them with grisly facts about my home life. They couldn’t handle it because they had never been exposed to that type of dysfunction. Total overload.
In contrast, psychopaths had no problem hearing the dysfunctional details of my life and sometimes even attempted to extend an honest hand of help. Unfortunately their own demons eventually surfaced and we’d always be left in a proverbial “Who’s Life Is Worse” match.
To this day I’m not sure where that leaves me — other than that I need to be friends with someone before dating. But at least I’m now aware.
7.) I Need to Acknowledge My Good Decisions and Stick to Them
Alcoholics. Thieves. Druggies. Cheaters. Thankfully after years of praying and practice I’ve gotten better at accepting the things I can not change, changing the things I can, and recognizing the difference. Ironically most of my bad decisions were second-guesses brought on by parental pre-conditioning. The good decisions? I’m finally starting to roll around in those — beginning with the choice to leave my alcoholic husband without telling my mother of the plan.
8.) Only I Know the Whole Story
After years of being taught that I couldn’t make a correct decision on my own, I started to believe that I couldn’t date on my own as well. And it opened the floodgates for both solicited and unsolicited advice in relationships. Only I knew all the details of situations, but I continually asked for advice from friends. This changed drastically the moment I decided to cut my mother from The Evacuation plans. It was the best decision I ever made.
9.) Compatibility is Always Important
I’ve dated everything from suits to surfers. It took a few years to realize I leaned more toward the “suit who wouldn’t mind surfing,” type of guy, but before that ever happened I was testing the waters in all things coastal.
It’s funny what can happen after graduating college. I went from being well-known in a school of 16 thousand students to a small group of my friends. And because of their new careers and availabilities — and my unwillingness to venture out alone — the pool of potential boyfriends dried up like a maple leaf on a sunny fall day.
Enter one dorky surf guy looking for direction and you’ve entered my alternate dating universe. It was only after we broke up and he kept giving me pitiful looks that I realized I never really wanted to marry the guy anyway. We were ridiculously incompatible. He had no direction, no backbone nor the mental capacity to earn himself either one. I didn’t realize I needed more of a suit — not someone who folds under pressure like a wet Baja Hoodie.
You’d think the major incompatibilities I found in this one fried fellow would deter me from a few more years of aimlessly dating in the wrong genre, but it didn’t. With my mother constantly introducing me as “The last one left [to get married],” and subtly devaluing my personal accomplishments, it’s no wonder I was ready to form a lifelong partnership with just about anyone remotely tolerable.
But dating someone who’s incompatible is like trying to blend oil and water. Only after disowning my mother and starting a year free from dating did I finally accept that dating is just a way to get to know someone, and if you find yourself incompatible, you can go your separate ways. And most importantly — it’s not an absolutely mandatory part of life.
10.) If He’s More Interested in His Toxic Ex, She Can Have Him
“You can’t save everyone,” I’ve been told multiple times. I’ve witnessed countless men (and women) try to please dysfunctional partners and in the end they always — always — breakup. Whether it takes a few weeks or the couple is able to drag it out to 20 years.
Because no one tried to save me from the toxic relationship with my mother, I feel compelled to help men who had toxic relationships with their ex. I literally thought if they had a good love, it would turn on a light and they’d not only realize, but be strong enough to save themselves. Ridiculous.
They don’t want to be saved. I’m floored by the countless excuses men make in order to stay with someone who’s destroying both their physical and mental health. And what makes it more difficult for me is knowing that their future guarantees one of two things: the end of their relationship anyway, or the end of their life. Instead of seeking happiness, love, peace and partnership, they’re willing to go to the grave in misery. These men literally do not want to be happy because they choose suffering over love. You can’t save a masochist.
11.) Love Only Works If Both Parties Want a Partnership
I’ve lived at both ends of this spectrum and can attest to how good a relationship can be if both people continually work to keep the relationship a partnership. And yes, this does incorporate respect. Someone who “allows” you to do something isn’t respecting you just as you’re not garnering respect by constantly seeking someone’s authoritative approval.
12.) The First 3-12 Months of Dating is The Honeymoon Phase
If he can’t pull it out for you during the honeymoon phase (no pun intended!) then the relationship is not worth keeping. Men will work for women they love and if they love them enough it won’t be work. So if you feel like you’re sucking a relationship out of a man (no pun intended!) it’s time to call it quits.
How awesome would it be if life was like the Nickleback song, “Saving Me,” but instead of a death ticker floating over your head, it’s a When You’re Lessons Will Start Paying Off ticker?
Or maybe they are already and we just don’t know it…
Meet the face of a fake online dating profile! I discovered this fake Match.com profile after I was supposed to meet the guy. This really shouldn’t be a shock, but since I was supposed to meet the guy, I’m slightly freaked out – for all I know he could have been a serial rapist. How did I discover it was a fake profile? I was Googling facial expressions when the guys profile photo turned up in the search results!
A veteran online-dater friend of mine, Jessica, said, “Oh yeah — as soon as you see a professional photo you’ll know it’s a fake profile.” Not a bad theory, but I’m a photographer — I’ve photographed guys for online dating sites. So I’m prone to think if the guy has attention to detail, he’s potentially going to get a real photo taken of himself, no?
How do you weed out the wackos? And what was the guy’s real intention? And who the hell was it, really? And why must everyone lie? This guy’s fake profile just set-me-off thinking about the guy I just broke from, and the gigantic, heart crushing lie that he told. Do you see the can of worms it opened?
I’ve reset the 1 Year Of Single date twice now, but it looks like three’s a charm! I think part of me was still hoping for some kind of divine intervention, where a higher power bestowed a great-partner reward on me even though I shouldn’t have been looking in the first place. And yet part of me can’t help but realize that between my fabulous little son and myself, we don’t really need anyone else.
In any case, what do you do if you discover someone has been lying? I would think it depends on the severity of the lie. Someone who tells you that you look good when you’ve clearly gone overboard in the Tostitos department shouldn’t be sliced from your life. But if you’re like me and you’ve been told a whopping lie so shocking that it sets you sputtering for an hour, these are just a few of my suggestions:
Completely Cut It Off
This is much easier said than done, especially when you’ve been blindsided after finally believing that you may have a future with the fool. But my suggestion is to cut off everything about them immediately. This includes:
- No calls
- No Emails
- No “friendly reminders”
- No fulfilling “Well, we always used to…” routines
- No attending bars, gyms or clubs that they go to
- No chit-chatting with their friends or family
- Remove them from every friend list on every site you know
- Change their cell name to “Do Not Answer” or change their name to describe their lie “Do Not Answer – Lied About Divorce.”
- Remove all reminders of them from every calendar you have so it doesn’t pop up when you least expect it
Remake Your Fun Wish List
I’ve been slacking on this more than I thought I’d be. I have yet to climb a rock wall or even make a goal list. So far the most I’ve done is complete a Match.com profile. Bad. Bad girl.
The meatier tactics you could take are:
Change Departments or Jobs
After Halle Berry told-off Eddie Murphy in Boomerang, she got herself a new job. Consider it. Chances are if you’ve accepted behavior like this from a lover, you’re probably allowing it at work from co-workers or bosses as well. You deserve more.
Change Your Cell Number
I always found this one shocking, and it feels very mean – but if you can do it, you’re golden. If they ever try to contact you again it sends a clear message that you won’t tolerate their sh!t. Uhm… No, I haven’t… But I’m working on it.
Whatever you do, do NOT – I repeat, do NOT:
Do Not Stalk Them
So they left you for a whore or a man-slut. If they can’t see how fabulous you are, they can’t be too bright now, can they? The last thing you want to do is provide fodder for the fool to feel justified. Hold back the crazy and refocus on yourself.
Do Not Stalk Their New Partner
Ew. Why would you want to, anyway? Again – if they’re not bright enough to choose you, why bother? It’s like standing at the meat counter in the grocery store and yelling at the folks who choose chuck over sirloin. Seriously – if you have to explain it, you’re better off without them.
The last few weeks for me have been a wide slap in the face, considering I gave the same person a repeated chance, then ran into someone else’s fake dating profile. Oh we’re all fools for love, don’t pretend otherwise. It’s the few of us that are able to bend our energies into refocusing on what we want, instead of what we don’t want, that make it through the wreckage.
I have a problem accepting weak people. I get this from my father – who’ve I’ve most recently discovered is the mother of all wimps.
Years ago I left my husband while my son was still in diapers. I was terrified. I was scared I was going to die as well. My ex-husband had hunting equipment – including a gutting knife. But the thing that I feared the most was that my son would grow up living in a toxic environment and not learn what healthy love is.
I have a problem with fathers that dont have the same fear. I have a problem with these men because they dont defend their children. They’re so wrapped up in their fear of living alone that they allow the children to live in unhealthy and sometimes dangerous environments.
My father was the epitome of this kind of coward. While he safely went to work every day, his children were left alone with a passive aggressive psychotic whack job, and he allowed himself continually to believe that we were okay.
Years later the most atrocious facts were revealed to me that made my own sad outlook on my mother pale hideously in comparison. After struggling to process the newest information, one thought formed: my father never saved us. He could have saved us at any time, but he never did. As twenty-somethings we joked about how my father put his head in the sand whenever there was a problem with the family, but it ran much deeper than that.
I was dating a great guy with a wife who sounded similar to my mother. After months of brainwashing by her, he’s now walking in my father’s shoes. He’s not saving his kids.
As a child of psychological abuse, it’s devastating to know children may be in similar situations, and I so desperately want to help them. But I’m nobody in their lives. At this point I can only pray that he finds his strength again before his children end up like my father’s.
But I have a problem sitting back and waiting to see if that day will ever come.