Editor’s Note: Lovefraud received the following email from a reader whom we’ll call “Alexa.”
I’d like to tell you a brief story of something that lasted nearly 3 years ALL ON SOCIAL MEDIA and the telephone. I am a 27-year-old Law Student with a Master’s Degree in Sociology and Criminology of all things and this happened to me. A raging feminist who rarely dated somehow fell helpless prey to a sociopath. This was the hardest thing I have ever dealt with in my life and now I can see him doing it to someone else. I went to law enforcement with no avail because of the Internet and my lack of real knowledge of who he is.
It began with love bombing — he friended me on Facebook and liked almost 40 pictures on Day One. Red flag went up immediately and after I told him I don’t trust men and I figured he’s a player from his overzealousness; he told me he was a law student at Emory and an alumni from University of Florida like myself. I began to take the bait … I was applying to law schools at the time. Within one month of our first interaction we were “a couple” that hadn’t even met. He asked me to be his girlfriend after sending me bouquets everyday for 5 days straight. He also sent one to my mother and chocolate covered strawberries to my younger handicapped brother, whom I had told him was my life … That action is what made me fall and I’ll never forget my stepfather telling me, “He’s a psycho or con artist.” He acted like his compassion was for battered and disadvantage women and children, which was mine. I believed in it.
Within a few weeks of me agreeing to be his girlfriend and feeling like I was on cloud nine for the first time in my life, he began to flirt with others, which I would not tolerate. I told my mother I believed he had been abused because there was no way for a man to need as much validation as he seemed to seek. He would tell me after I broke up with him that he was sexually abused by a male and he always sought validation in the form of love and sex from other females so he didn’t feel “gay,” or to help him cope with the theft of his childhood and manlyhood, as he saw it. AGAIN, I fell for this and decided to show him the love he never had. WHAT AN IDIOT I WAS!
Months would turn to years of him avoiding meeting me — he called sometimes 45 times a day and he would belittle me, call me names, and threaten to kill himself if and when I left. I never knew if he was serious, and I am so naive and compassionate I couldn’t let myself feel like I was contributing to someone doing that. I stayed … through it all. He would want me to sleep on the phone with him and I often wondered how he had time to do anything. Eventually he threatened to kill me when I began making him angry by hanging up on him and ignoring him for periods of time. All the while I still “loved” him and blamed his behavior on his past.
Long story short, he faked his death and disappearance multiple times, to which I felt the responsibility to help. He faked his death (as far as I know now) in May —which I fell for. I eventually attempted to overdose after his so-called “attorneys” called me during my law finals to say he left me everything. I felt immense guilt, sadness, and hopelessness. I was hospitalized and lost my semester, only to be released from the hospital and find out he was alive.
Everyday I reflect on this experience. I see visible scars from self-inflicting wounds during my overdose. I have medical bills from seeking help during the relationship because I couldn’t handle it. I see how my family was affected and my poor friends who had tried to get me to wake up. It didn’t matter how bad things got … I always went back. It took me almost dying to really see the light.
But even now I wonder “why me?” and what did he get from ruining my life practically? I know that time heals most wounds, or at least helps us move on, but no one deserves what I went through. I went from a summa cum laude honor student to leaving law to escape a man that never faced me … I live my life between fear and regret, and trying to be okay and actually make progress. I am so grateful to see clearly now. I just wonder when the anger will leave and when I will no longer feel “crazy.”