Editor’s Note: The following post was written by a Lovefraud reader who comments as RobertinSeattle.
Boy, I’ve started and re-started this post several times. Each time, a new idea or thought comes up that changes what I want to convey in my first open post about a recent breakup that started from a popular online dating site late last year.
But let me start off with some general observations: I’ve noted on many websites and blogs that sociopaths make up anywhere from 1% – 4% of our society. And that male sociopaths outnumber females by as many as 8-to-1. While I might agree with those percentages in general, from my personal experience and research, I’d argue and debate those numbers when applied to specific segments or occupations. For example, I’ve been working with retired football players for many years now and I know I could successfully argue that at least 20 – 30% of professional football players – if not more – are sociopathic/psychopathic because of the very nature of the sport itself. Where else can you get paid big bucks for the privilege of legally beating the crap out of others with almost no repercussions or consequences as the huge crowds cheer you on?
Or how about cops? Want to bet that at least 20% of our police forces are likely sociopaths? Just look at some of the recent police violence flaring up all over the country, often unprovoked. Think about it: You get a gun and a badge and almost unquestionable authority to do just about anything you want to others.
Given that line of thinking, why would online dating sites be any different? You’ve got a nearly perfect storm: online anonymity, everyone’s wants and desires are posted openly on their profiles and – let’s face it – each of us are there for one main reason: We’re lonely and we’re looking for that perfect match to spend the rest of our lives with happily ever after. So I would propose that sociopathic types populate at least 10% – 15% of dating sites because they’re the perfect platform for these predators.
More female sociopaths
As a male victim, I think I could also make a strong argument that perhaps we might also be underestimating the numbers of female sociopaths. I’m beginning to believe that the ratio may be more like 4- or 5-to-1 and not that 8-to-1 everyone touts. While I can’t prove it with hard research, I’d posit that guys are much less likely to open up and admit that they’ve been duped by a woman after they’ve just spent time telling all their friends about this incredible woman that was finally their absolute perfect match.
And I also believe – as many do – that female sociopaths are a lot more cunning and different in their approach simply because of their gender. While males can be more physically aggressive and even more dangerous at times, I believe that females employ a completely different approach to how they manipulate men because of their very nature and their physical differences.
Perhaps if we all make enough of a fuss about this growing problem, these sites might do more to help the majority of us who are there with good intentions. In the long run, I suspect the dating sites which put checks in place would actually benefit greatly.
I can feel pain
As for me, one of the points I did want to convey first is that my pain after the breakup is still very real and it lingers. As with any breakup, it eventually starts to diminish, but no doubt at the early stages, the down cycles are a lot longer than the up cycles. Each of us has our own way of dealing with it and the healing process manages to seek its own level when it finally kicks in and takes over.
While I’m certainly not a masochist, I’m now actually admitting I’m trying to enjoy my pain, believe it or not. Do I like it? Of course not. But feeling the pain means I’m not a sociopath! I’m real. I’m healthy. I’m not like her. If I were a sociopath, I’d have no remorse or regrets or pain from the breakup. And this is something none of them can or will ever truly acknowledge.
There are those of us who suffer and endure the cycles of loss and depression from losing something that we thought we had. But not feeling anything is truly their loss, not mine. I can love. I can hurt. And I can at least comfort myself in knowing that this is something they will never ever truly know or experience.
Met her online
I met her late last year on one of the major online dating sites. I had spent days creating what I felt was an open and honest profile, eventually answering close to 3,000 questions in hopes that I’d find someone with a matching personality and interests. Several trips back-and-forth across the country (I live on the West Coast and she was in Florida) and “we” were absolutely convinced we were made for each other. Of course, being a gentleman, I paid for everything.
Looking back on the time we spent together, I now realize how she basically fed me back everything she learned about me from my profile. Every detail from likes and dislikes, ranging from political viewpoints right down to the most minute details of sexual preferences.
Naturally, at first, it was like a dream come true. It was incredible. Everything was magical and seemed almost perfect in how the two of us matched up so closely so quickly. But of course, I’d provided her with an absolute roadmap to my life in great detail and she very skillfully worked it all into every interaction we had, whether it was on the phone or in e-mails or texts and especially when we were physically together. She was good.
This woman would deserve an Oscar for her command performance if it had been in a movie or on stage. Her approach was text book behavior: Move in on me quickly, emphasize our compatibility, reinforce it with repeating back everything I told her I felt for her and then start suggesting that we move in together because we were perfect for each other so why wait? We never argued or had any disagreements; our thoughts and points of view were so idealistically aligned that I thought it would never end. I can honestly say I never saw it coming.
Changing my approach
I’m now going into a period of pondering different things I might adjust or change in looking for that special love online. Should I make most of my answers private and let them find out more about me in person? How much or how little should I put out there? Or can I learn to filter out the bad ones by coming up with my own set of questions and flags that tell me to run? And could changing all of these things end up make me someone different from who I really am?
But as I keep getting reminded more and more by everyone, “If it’s too good to be true…”
And my closest friends keep reminding me that it could have gotten a whole lot worse and much harder to break off had it gone any further. I hope to have the opportunity in future posts to share more details with all of you so that we can help each other by using the same tools that these people use to take advantage of us. What kinds of questions or techniques have you used to help screen out these people on first contact?