Editor’s note: Lovefraud received the following e-mail from a reader who posts as BentNotBroken.
My head is so full that I don’t really know where to start.
I dated a man (off and on) for 2-1/2 years, and recently found out that he was having several long-term relationships at the same time. I had never been in an abusive relationship, so I didn’t know what the gut-wrenching feeling meant. I didn’t know to trust it.
My mind is playing tricks on me at this point. Is he or isn’t he? The signs are so obvious, but then I think of his face, his touch, his words, and I melt. How can this man … this love of my life … how could he have done all those horrible things? My friends tell me to just forget him. Ignore him. But it’s harder than that. It hurts so much. I was completely fooled. Well, if I’m honest … not completely fooled. My instincts were screaming at me, telling me there was something wrong, but I didn’t have enough confidence in myself to listen or walk away. I justified. Women are so good at that. I also couldn’t prove anything. He is a very good liar, and was able to keep us all separate. At least for a while.
We “broke up” last November. His way of breaking up was to just disappear. He promised me the world, then just quit calling. Again. So this time I just let him go. He had done it before, but always came back. Usually used his young daughter as bait. He knew how much I loved that little girl, and he would send a picture or a text and pretend like nothing ever happened. He waited just long enough for me to forget. But this time, he didn’t come back. By the end of January it was eating me alive. The Why of it all. I had begged him to just say goodbye. To tell me the truth. But he never did. He just professed his love over and over.
So I started searching and found his daughter’s mother online. The mother my ex always said was psycho. Well, finding her opened a huge can of worms. As the story unfolded, I found a trail of lies and deceit and disgust. I had always kept a diary because his behavior was so erratic. I found that he had been with two or three of us within a 24 hour period. He had 5 children with 4 different women (that I know of), and one woman has recently claimed she is pregnant.
I could go on forever explaining all the horrible things he did to me. But I’m sure you’ve heard it many times before. I recently found your site, but only after I had let him back into my life. When I discovered his lies, he began to threaten me (indirectly of course). So I changed my keycode and changed my phone number and blocked his emails, etc. Then as I continued to talk to his most recent girlfriend (who kept going back to him) he started to play us both. He would call her in the middle of the night and ask if she talked to me saying that I was trying to destroy his life, etc., etc.
One day I had had enough, so I emailed him and told him off. Well, of course that just opened the door for him. The back and forth emails started, and I finally called him to just end things. Say goodbye. And he sucked me right back in. I have since ended all contact with the other woman. I tried blocking his number, and that just made him more determined. He emailed over and over, and I finally gave in and unblocked him.
So now he has my number again, and I know he’s just trying to keep me under his thumb. I try to ignore him, but if I do he calls my work, shows up at work, and even showed up in front of my house at 3 am last weekend. He’s trying to make me feel sorry for him. He loves me, needs my help, promises to change, is willing to do what it takes, blah blah. I know it’s all lies, but at this point I don’t know how to break free! I am afraid that if I am blunt with him he will try even harder. If I am nice, he will suck me back in. If I just ignore him, he will show up at my work or home.
I desperately want to be free, and at the same time I ache for him. I honestly don’t know how to break free. I was doing so well. I went out with friends Friday night, and he called six times. I did not answer. As soon as I got home he called every 2 minutes. Finally he left a message saying, “You CAN answer.”
So the next time I did. He said he had been driving around all night and couldn’t go home until he saw me. He needed a hug. He wanted to see my face. “Come to the door, I just want a hug.” I opened the door, finally, and he held me. It felt so good. I made him leave with tears in my eyes. I was proud of myself for not letting him in. But he knew he had me then. He knew because of the tears that I was under his control.
How do I resist this?! I don’t know how to let him go. I’ve read so much on this site my brain hurts. Nobody understands how devastating this is. “You’re beautiful and loving and smart, and you deserve better.” Whatever. And my phone is ringing as I type. The 11 pm call. He knows I’m tired, vulnerable, alone. He probably just left another woman’s house to “shower and pack clothes for tomorrow.”
How the hell did this end up being my life? I plan on getting books as soon as I get paid, but for now I just need an understanding soul. I need to be able to obsess and write and get it all out until it makes sense.