I received the following email from the Lovefraud reader who posts as “Zimzoomit:”
I saw the Lifetime Network show about you and lovefraud.com. What I would like to know is how the man who came next (your true lover, after the fraud) helped you to overcome the emotional havoc your ex who frauded you caused? Is there a specific blog or link on lovefraud.com to tell us how he helped you?
Were you able to talk about things that bothered you about your ex, even ever so occasionally, when/if the haunted thoughts encroached on you … even if only occasionally but for years after the fact, and if so, what things did your new love say, to help you overcome those thoughts? Was he willing to listen, or did he occasionally treat you like a “broken record”?
Yes, after the sociopath, I now have a wonderful husband, Terry Kelly. We truly love each other, care about each other, and want each other to be happy. I should point out, however, that Terry wasn’t my first relationship after the con artist.
First post-sociopath relationship
Seven months after I left my sociopathic husband, James Montgomery, I started dating a man named John. John was younger than me, fun and entertaining. We actually met online and corresponded for more than two months before meeting in person.
At the time, I was in the midst of finding out what my ex was really all about, communicating with some of his other victims, and filing for divorce. I described some of what was going on in my emails. The story, of course, was outrageous, and I guess that John was actually intrigued.
John lived an hour and 45 minutes away from me, so we saw each other only on weekends. We did normal dating things — going out to dinner, to concerts, to parties with his friends or my friends. That’s one of the biggest things John offered me—a sense of normalcy, like a safe harbor amid the insanity of my divorce. He also paid for all our entertainment, which I appreciated, because I was broke.
I did talk to him about my outrage at my ex and my frustration with the legal case. John stayed with me until the divorce was finalized, and for a few months after that. Eventually, however, the relationship ended, and he did make a comment to the effect of, “all you talk about is James.” He may have also begun to feel that my problems were just too big, and he couldn’t solve them.
Still, we had loved each other, and because I loved him, the end of the relationship was emotionally more painful than the end of my marriage. In retrospect, however, John and I were really quite different, not an ideal match. I believe that John was in my life to support me at a very difficult time — and that was it. I have fond memories of him, but our relationship was not meant to be forever.
Second post-sociopath relationship
Ten months after I broke up with John, I met Terry at a nightclub. A week or so later he took me out to dinner, and we talked about our circumstances. He had been in a long-term marriage, and his wife had just asked for a divorce. I figured I might as well be honest, and told him that I was married to a con man who took a quarter million dollars from me, cheated with multiple women, etc., etc.
I didn’t know how Terry was going to react. In fact, a month passed before he called for another date—I thought I had scared him away. But when he arrived for our second date, he brought his most recent tax return to show me. He thought what I had been through was terrible, and wanted to show me that he did make his own money.
Terry and I dated for four years before we married. With him, I truly learned to give and receive love, and live in partnership. We care about and support each other. He’s my biggest cheerleader with Lovefraud. In fact, I couldn’t have created it without his support.
If you’d like to read more about how these men helped me, it’s all in the printed edition of my first book, Love Fraud. (The e-book has been abridged, and does not contain the description of my relationship with John.) The story really is romantic
Primer for post-sociopath relationships
Here are what I think are the take-home lessons:
1. In order to have a happy, loving relationship with someone else, we must first heal ourselves.
No one can overcome the emotional havoc for us — we must do it ourselves. While I was dating both John and Terry, I was also working with my energy counselor to release all of the pain of the betrayal by my sociopathic ex. Then, I had to work with her to release the emotional pain of losing the relationship with John. By the time I met Terry, I had made a lot of progress, so I was in a much better place to build a solid relationship.
2. Sometimes we find interim relationships before we find true love.
Not every relationship is meant to be permanent. Sometimes we just travel life’s journey together for awhile, supporting each other in some way, then our journeys diverge. This was my experience with John. Although I was sad when the relationship ended, I eventually realized that it had been exactly what I needed at the time. It was perfect.
3. Real love is easy.
In a true loving relationship, there are no games, no power plays, and no exploitation. There is an honest give and take. The two people in the relationship truly care about the each other’s welfare, happiness and success. Real love is peaceful and easy.
Terry and I have been together for 12 years, and I’m still excited to see him. We still make each other laugh; we still want to snuggle. But if I hadn’t done all the internal work that I did, I’m not sure if I would have been able to experience such a wonderful love.
The relationship we experience always depends on what is going on inside of us. That’s why it’s so important to make a decision to heal, and then do what it takes to rebuild ourselves.