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LETTERS TO LOVEFRAUD: Before marriage, do your homework

Editor’s note: The following article was received by the Lovefraud reader who posts as “Adelade.”

It’s been over a year since I discovered that the man that I married had been living a double-life before we ever even met. My vulnerabilities were the beacon that he gravitated towards: exiting an abusive marriage, loving to my children, spiritually “grounded,” artistic and creative, and all of these attributes and vulnerabilities in addition to a “socially connected” family with a colorful history were exploitable and desirable.

I believed his words and assertions because I wanted to. I “needed” to feel validated and valued because I couldn’t provide this to myself, on my own. I’ve mentioned this, before, but I represented only 3 things to the exspath. I was a “safe mommy” figure. A substantially older woman who was nurturing, encouraging, supportive, and tolerant. I was a “cloak of respectability.” The exspath’s true nature is so deviant and self-serving that my “attributes” and family history could provide a respectable cover for him. I came with money. My father worked, very hard, to be a successful man and I had been raised in a middle-class environment that bordered on upper-middle-class except that he was frugal and didn’t flaunt his amassed wealth.

When my father passed, I was still unmarried to the exspath. He had asked to marry me during a camping trip and I accepted his proposal. He seemed fun. He seemed to genuinely love me, care about me, and to love and care about my children. He even attended meetings with the court-ordered social worker that was assigned to my case. He was spontaneous and seemed to have a sense of responsibility. After all, he worked in the office of a state prison and that was a substantial responsibility.

“Integrity” and “honesty”

After we married, I maintained my trust in the exspath. He openly disdained his coworkers’ extramarital activities and their illegal misdeeds. From multiple affairs to using illegal substances, he would vociferously malign his coworkers and state (and, I quote), “I won’t ever do those things.” He constantly spoke, in veiled terms, of his “integrity” and honesty. He would make demonstrations of this, whenever possible, that (in retrospect) seem entirely coincidental. One example of this was when he received a number of holiday cards from coworkers with substantial cash enclosed as “thank you’s: for his having scheduled overtime for these employees. We were quite broke, and he insisted that he was going to return the money because it would be “unethical” to keep it. To this day, I’m almost certain that he did nothing of the sort and simply used the cash for other purposes. Another example was a terrible leak in our roof that wasn’t covered by insurance unless it was caused by wind or storm damage. An adjuster apparently made a veiled suggestion that a missing shingle or two would result in repairs and his response to that suggestion was (and, I quote), “I don’t have enough larceny in me to….” do that.

The exspath also used his words very carefully to maintain my trust. The first marriage was extremely abusive and I endured beatings, verbal abuse, financial abuse, threats of suicide and murder, and extreme sexual abuse. I had disclosed these facts to him and, true to spath form, he asserted (again, I quote), “I will never abuse you like that.” And, he didn’t abuse me “like that” in the abuses that I had previously experienced. He was very careful to avoid angry discussions or expressions of anger within the relationship because (again, I quote), “I can’t stand arguing. That’s all my parents do is argue.”

My inheritance

My inheritance had been bequeathed in such a way that I would not be able to touch the principal until I was 45 years of age. I believe that my father wrote this clause to prevent the first exspath from claiming any part of this inheritance, legally, under the guise of child support (we each had custody of a child), and the exspath was well aware of this, as well. I trusted him, implicitly, and he always had “an answer” that seemed reasonable and sensible.

But, I had not healed in any manner from my previous experiences with the first abusive exspath, and I wasn’t looking hard enough at the second exspath’s family dynamics, behaviors, friends, or associates. Perhaps, I didn’t “want” to look hard enough and I was isolated, seemingly by choice, but clearly by his design, in retrospect. The second exspath convinced me to trust his abilities in investing and frequently criticized my investment broker for having “failed” to alert me of trends in the markets, etc. When I turned 45, the exspath blew the doors open on my finances, convinced me to “fire” my investment broker, and laid waste to my investments within 2 1/2 years through coercions, forgeries, gaslighting, and endless cash withdrawals.

I asked my counseling therapist, “Why didn’t I see this happening?” Well, we all know why we never “saw” the spaths for what they were. We didn’t want to believe that anyone that we loved could be capable of the abuses that they perpetrated, so those behaviors and choices never happened.

No-fault divorce

Now, I’m in the end-stages of a “no fault” divorce. Since the exspath left the marital home, I have existed in a state of poverty that I could never have imagined deserving or even possible. I lost my primary home and the cash equity that I had in that home. I lost a studio that I had paid for. I lost my transportation. I had to relocate to a property that I had been coerced into purchasing, IN CASH, that is remote, falling apart, in an extremely depressed county, very few opportunities for employment, managing a lifelong condition, and with no hope of financial recovery.

The state in which we were married maintains “No Fault” divorce, and this means that whatever one party has done to destroy a marriage, the only legal issue is “equitable distribution” of property and assets. The exspath could be a pedophile, and this fact would have no impact upon division of property or the granting of alimony. Indeed, even the forgeries that the exspath clearly committed will not be a factor in my divorce because there are no punitive damages awarded in “No Fault” divorce. The exspath will not face being charged with a Federal Offense, nor will he experience any anxiety with regard to his misdeeds. The exspath will never face a single consequence for his actions.

Of course, if I had the opportunity to go back in time and review the second exspath’s family dynamics and observe him, independently of my codependent state when we first began living together, I would have never entered into a legal contract of marriage with him. But, I can’t change the past. I can’t live in a state of regret.

Today, I’m living with an auto-immune disorder and multiple emotional issues that will take me the rest of my life to sort out. Yes, I’m angry at the exspath. I’m also angry at myself because I trusted him to a such a degree that it allowed him to dismantle every aspect of my life and render me destitute. I’m angry that “No Fault” means exactly that: it’s nobody’s fault that the marriage ended. But, I have the opportunity of a lifetime: to “get it right” and learn who I am, whom I’m supposed to be, and to make some kind of difference in some capacity.

Hard-won wisdom

I don’t know what I’m “supposed” to be doing, but I do know that I can face my Life with a new set of eyes and some hard-won wisdom. I know that this marriage is finally going to be declared dead in a few weeks. I know that the exspath won’t be able to argue that alimony won’t be “sustainable,” as his attorney asserts. I know that I am going to recover, in due time. And, I know that I am a valuable human being with my own attributes that I intend to hold tight unto myself.

For those of you who may read this before you enter into a legal binding contract of marriage with someone that you believe to be your soul mate or “The One,” for the love of God, do the homework. Wait. Watch. Observe. And, put your feelings aside and see this potential mate with an objective eye. Even one “Red Flag” is reason enough to stop, look, listen, and make an educated, objective decision about your own well-being. Nobody is worth tolerating damage for, under any circumstances. Even if the damages aren’t physically abusive, pay attention to the words and assertions. What kind of person needs to convince another person that they will “never” be like the “other guy/gal?” The only type of person who would make such assertions and guarantees is someone who has an agenda. We cannot promise anyone that we’ll never hurt them or abuse them. We don’t know whether our own actions will cause hurt or be interpreted as abusive. Given that fact of human nature, anyone who makes such glib and sweeping promises is attempting to convince us of something that is, for all intents and purposes, impossible.

Marriage contract

A contract of marriage is a legal, binding arrangement. It’s not something that can be easily dissolved if the relationship disintegrates. It costs very little to apply for license to marry. In most states, less than $100. To divorce without children, it can cost upwards of $6000, especially if the divorce is bitter and spath behaviors abound. In the cases where children, custody, and visitation are issues, legal fees can run into the tens of thousands with countless hours wasted in Courtroom hearings, and anxiety levels that exceed human tolerance.

It’s not a crime to make a mistake in our choices of partners. We aren’t going to stop living if we walk away from a relationship that is questionable. We’ll survive, recover, and move on with our lives with wisdom under our belts before we choose another partner. If we call it quits with someone who is manipulative, abusive, and wholly toxic, we have not “failed.”

I will be “paying” the consequences for marrying a second exspath for the rest of my life, and my refusal to walk away when I had the opportunity and finances to do so falls squarely upon my shoulders. I didn’t “deserve” this, but the exspath perpetrated his crimes and sins, regardless of what I deserved. I own my choices because I’m in possession of empathy, conscience, and remorse. The exspath owns nothing because he is a hollow, deviant, and malevolent Thing. For this raw truth, I am grateful.



54 Comments on "LETTERS TO LOVEFRAUD: Before marriage, do your homework"

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  1. behind_blue_eyes says:

    Aledale’s assessment that she provided her x-spath a “safe mommy” figure and a “cloak of respectability” (along with money) seems to be a common feature of many sociopathic relationships — certainly so with mine, if you change mommy for “big brother” or something like that.

    There are even words from the x-spath in an online profile that directly confirm this.

    I remember OxDrover posting that a dating partners should be vetted with the 4 “-tions”: education, vocation, transportation, and habitation. Even if these are met, as in the case of many, perhaps an even more critical assessment should be made for red flags: significant differences in income, age, education, family background or even distance.



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  2. Truthspeak says:

    BBE, I was already deeply invested in the second spath relationshit and wholly isolated from the exspath’s family dynamics. I rarely saw them iteract, and when I did, I actually chose to ignore the venom, the gossip, the cruel criticisms, and the mean-spirited humor that the family members expressed.

    I will never, ever, EVER use the interwebs as a source to “meet” people. Online profiles are designed specifically to set the lure with appropriate bait. Whatever they’re looking for is either clearly or subtly indicated.

    As far as someone meeting the “4-tions,” I will pay attention to that, intensely, only for academic purposes. I have NO intention of even dating, ever again. 🙂

    Brightest blessings



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  3. behind_blue_eyes says:

    Truthspeak;

    Very good comment about “avoiding venom, the gossip, the cruel criticisms, and the mean-spirited humor…”

    I did the same regarding the x-spath and his friends, who kidded him in a way that made me very uncomfortable, like they were trying to undermine him. Later, I would see similar venom from him directed at me.

    Another red flag ignored… ducks fly with ducks, geese fly with geese…

    I did not meet my x-spath on the Internet and I generally avoid it. However, I was in a situation where I was confined to bed and looked at this one site on recommendation from a friend. Due to geographics, it was the last place where I expected the x-spath to have a profile. Not only that, I came across it as a result of a “matching” algorithm…

    While that whole profile was juvenile and embarrassing to me, as somebody who thought highly of him, the particular offending words are like this:

    Where are you most likely on a Friday night? “Passed out on a sofa in Manhattan.”

    Keep in mind the x-spath lives in London. I live in Manhattan. Hence, my comment regarding Adelade and her assessment of what the spath in her life was seeking.

    Interesting, isn’t it…



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  4. hilary says:

    Tami,
    I can totally relate to having lived in close quarters with a Spath after finding out what he was. Because of the work I do, we were literally in the middle of nowhere, in the middle of the ocean. Within hours of my revelation that I saw through his mask, he systematically targeted every other person (there were only 40 of us) on the island who might be vulnerable to his charms. People he’d said he couldn’t tolerate, people to whom he’d been psychologically abusive, people who’d hated him, suddenly started to say he wasn’t that bad, after all. Several of them even developed “friendships” with him. He worked hard to make sure that I’d have no one to whom I could turn. But the most disconcerting/fascinating/unbelievable aspect of his behavior was the way he let his mask fall away when we were alone. Although we had to work together, when I’d try to enroll him in a project or dialogue about something that needed to be done, he’d pretend he couldn’t hear me and refuse to acknowledge that I existed. His normally animated face, his intense stare, would disappear, and all his features would go slack. He became a blank slate. An empty, dark husk. And then someone else would enter the room and he would put the mask back on. He’d turn on the gaze, time his jokes, and charm everyone in the room. And he’d engage with me verbally, although he looked me in the eyes only when he had to. The first time, I almost called him on it. I almost freaked out in front of everyone. But luckily I realized that I would sound like the crazy person, which would have been exactly what he wanted. And so I let him do it. I played the game along with him, and when others were around, I pretended that we were both being good sports about a failed relationship. And then when they left, when he dropped the mask, I’d talk to him like the Spath I knew him to be and he’d scurry out of the room as quickly as he could. I didn’t realize until later that I’d been playing with fire. And I didn’t realize the toll that being in the presence of such emptiness had wrought. It opened me up to be vulnerable to Spath #2. But I’m thankful that I had to live with him, that I was able to see beneath the mask and acknowledge what he is, and that this will prevent me from ever romanticizing him in any way, no matter how smart or engaging he continues to be toward people with whom I work and whom I would like to consider friends.



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  5. Truthspeak says:

    BBE, it’s very interesting and it’s a huge “tell,” in retrospect, right?

    One of my friends had used Match.com for a few years and kept meeting really “bad” guys. Their profiles were ALWAYS peachy-keen. They were “loyal,” and “respectful,” and “genuine.” Okay….what kind of person needs to assert that they truly have these attributes in the first place? So…yeah.

    I don’t intend to ever date, again. If I ever did meet someone that was a potential partner, I would watch, wait, listen, and observe them in every situation. OxD put it so perfectly that the only way to really “know” someone is to watch them in their natural environments, and she’s spot-on.

    With the exspath’s family dynamics, I simply ignored them and chalked them up to being ignorant people – people who hadn’t been taught how to be kind or loving. Since the exspath didn’t like to argue and seemed far more intelligent than the rest of his family (and, I DO mean the rest of his family), I chose to believe that he was the exception. Uh, no. He wasn’t an exception, at all. He was the most farked up of the whole bunch because he put so much effort and energy into creating this illusion of “good guy” in a sea of dysfunction. LOL!!!! At least the rest of the family demonstrated exactly what they were. He, on the other hand, depserately wanted to appear to be (in his own words), “…not like them.”

    Passed out on a couch in Manhatten? Yeah, the spath couldn’t hide EVERYthing, could he? What a twerp.

    Brightest blessings



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  6. stormy says:

    It’s Sunday morning and I am sitting here having my cup of coffee and a cigarette (I will give these up again), reading the posts and crying again. There are times when I think that my life isn’t my own. That somewhere along the line I went to sleep and woke up in a parallel universe. I truly feel like I am going mad. None of the pills the doctor perscribed (depression) seem to be working. My mind is not working.

    I know why I am in such a horrible place. My best friend (my ex-husband) died two weeks ago. They delivered his ashes to me on Friday. He had cancer and was suffering terribly so I am happy that he is finally at peace. We had many long talks together as I drove him to and from doctor’s appointments. I had the chance to telll him how sorry I was that I had caused him such pain when I left him for my spath. He released me from that guilt by telling me that it was all his fault. I had never stopped loving him but was in just the right place at the right time when the spath got his hooks into me and then it was over.

    As I sit here and cry for this loss I find my mind wandering and missing my spath. This angers and dimay’s me. How could I, in the same thought, cry for my best friend and even think of the vile thing that tore me from him? I must be crazy, insane or a mental case. So here I sit, with the circle of new friends I have met asking for help and guidance again. I had really thought that I was on the road to recovery, only to find out that I am again in that bottomless pit.



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  7. skylar says:

    Stormy,
    emotions don’t know reason, they just are. They don’t know time, either. In this vulnerable state, all of your emotions are flooding you and the love you felt for the spath is going to pop up even though you know that it was based on a misconception. You still can remember how that love felt, and that is what you are missing.

    I’m so sorry for your loss. Give yourself time to heal.



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  8. Ox Drover says:

    Stormy,

    I am so sorry for your loss of your friend, that is a tremendous grief even if their pain is so great that you know that death is his friend and that life has ceased to be a pleasure.

    I am glad that you were able to come to closure about your marriage ending like it did, that is important I think that you and your x husband/friend were able to put closure to that.

    Right now you are hurting. Google Elizabeth Kubler-Ross and read about the stages of grief she studied for so many years.

    There is denial, anger, bargaining, sadness, and finally acceptance, but they do not go 1-2-3-4- they go 2-1-3-2-3-1-3-4-1- and so on jumping around in a single hour through maybe all four and then back to denial. Eventually though you will get to acceptance and STAY in acceptance. I realized this list time, that I would actually GET TO ACCEPTANCE and then “back slide” and then each time I would get to acceptance over a loss and grief I would realize that the time I stayed in acceptance was longer and longer until One day I just realized I had been in acceptance for a long time.

    Acceptance means that I can look at a photo of my husband which I keep on the wall in my office and not feel sad, I can think about him and the funny things we did or even the silly fights we had that in retrospect were so childish on both our parts. That’s acceptance and the memories are there I haven’t forgotten him, it is just that I can remember without pain.

    Even the UNpleasant people in my life, like my X BF that I believe was a P. I can remember him in the NIRVANA OF INDIFFERENCE and no longer care if he lives or dies. That’s acceptance too.

    Knowledge is power so keep on reading and learning and you will get your power back. God bless



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  9. hilary says:

    Stormy,
    Grief comes in waves. Whether it be grief for a loved one who passed on or grief over a relationship that never was, it rolls back over us when we least expect it. But, like the surges that accompany storms, they lessen over time. Or we move to make room for their recurrence.
    You had closure with your ex, and you were able to care for him in the end. That is indeed a blessing.



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